Randolph County Farm Bureau Manager Heidi Smith enjoys the versatility of her job.
“Being a farm bureau manager means wearing many different hats from all areas depending on the day,” Smith told SW Illinois News. “The days are always offering something different and that’s why I enjoy it. As the need arises, I may be in contact with the IFB (Illinois Farm Bureau) to discuss a current policy we have in place if it pertains to any of the members in my county. Other days, I may be planning an upcoming event, thinking of new ideas for our members, attending meetings for different organizations, etc.”
Smith became manager of the Randolph County Farm Bureau in March and looks forward to educating others about agriculture.
Randolph County Farm Bureau Manager Heidi Smith
“I want to get more involved with members and the county throughout the year, as well as utilize several different methods to communicate with the general public from both ag and non-ag backgrounds,” Smith said. “I hope to influence non-agricultural background consumers as I come from one as well. There are many misconceptions about the agricultural industry, and as someone who can relate to those non-ag consumers, I believe I could assist with informing individuals.”
Smith believes country farm bureaus are a great local resource for agriculturists.
“The opportunities and benefits are above and beyond what people think a membership provides,” Smith said. “If we don’t have what someone wants or needs, we will do what we can to find what they’re searching for. The Randolph County Farm Bureau also sponsors different organizations, partakes in activities throughout the community, offers scholarship opportunities to students, and much more.”
Smith became interested in agriculture during her junior year of Sycamore High School.
“After taking a few ag classes, I found my future in agriculture could be more than just an interest in FFA,” Smith said. “Contrary to popular belief, agriculture is more than just animals, and anyone can work within the industry regardless of background. I began to realize the agricultural industry is quite large, and the employment opportunities are endless. With my interest in accounting and business management, I knew going the agribusiness route would be best.”
Smith attended Highland Community College, where she received an associate of science degree geared toward agriculture. She then transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville to pursue a bachelor of science degree in agribusiness with an emphasis in management.
Throughout her college years, Smith was involved in many different clubs and organizations on campus including the Collegiate Farm Bureau, Ag Council, Ag Business Club and School of Agriculture Student Ambassadors.
“With much of my involvement, we participated in different events throughout the year to benefit the community such as learning opportunities, food drives or volunteering to work at an event,” Smith said.
Smith, who was born and raised in Sycamore, currently lives in Red Bud. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, working out, riding motorcycles and going on spontaneous adventures to new places.
“Looking into the future, it is my desire to get my PhD and become an educator at the college level,” Smith said. “I hope to motivate and inspire students interested in being involved in the agricultural industry, especially for those who are non-traditional or non-ag background as well.”