Bell takes fourth in national Achievement Award competition

When Chad Bell was preparing for the national Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award competition, he decided for some extra luck to wear the same green dress shirt he wore when he won at the state level.

The move paid off.

Bell, a sixth-generation farmer from Mercer County, placed fourth in the national competition. He was awarded a Case IH 40-inch Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card.

“I was just thankful to be up on that stage with the rest of the top 10 and be announced as one of the winners,” Bell told FarmWeek. “It’s just an overwhelming experience and is awesome to think of where I’ve come from and where I’ve made it this year.”

Bell has been farming full time since 2013, raising corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. He also finishes about 4,800 pigs a year for a local farm.

He won the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Achievement Award at IFB’s 2021 Annual Meeting in Chicago. The award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farming or ranching operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities.

In the competition, participants are evaluated on a combination of their agricultural operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

A current Mercer County Farm Bureau member, Bell also served as the District 3 Young Leader representative from 2015-2019, holding an executive board position this last year.

Bell said his final interview with judges on “went well, better than what I was expecting,” even though many of the questions he was planning to answer were not asked.

And the judges also didn’t ask Bell about his leadership with Farm Bureau, so when he had the chance to add information before the interview ended, he elaborated on that topic.

“I think maybe that was one of the defining factors that got me the fourth-place finishfor today,” Bell said.

Asked by FarmWeek what it was like to compete at the national level against nearly two dozen participants, Bell said he felt some pressure, but he was able to ease that tension by getting to know some of his peers on a personal level.

“We all come from different backgrounds, grow different crops, different animals,” Bell said. “But really our passion, our drive we’re all the same type of people, have the same values. It’s just nice to compete in an environment with like-minded people and just get to know some of those competitors from across the nation.”

Credit to and IFB A/V Team