POLO – Brian Duncan rustles around on his desk for his calendar, picks it up and starts looking at the days he has been gone from home recently.
“I’m gone more than I’m home by a long shot,” the Polo native said.
That’s what happens when you are elected vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Duncan was president of the Ogle County Farm Bureau for 14 years, but last December was elected to the state Farm Bureau. He said he visited all of the state’s 90-plus county farm bureaus during the campaign.
“It was humbling,” he said of being elected to the state position. “It was like running for statewide political office.”
He is serving a 2-year term as vice present. He can serve a total of 10 years in that position.
But it does mean time away from the farm he grew up on. He has hogs, grain and also a cattle feedlot on his farm, and Duncan said without a team working with him he couldn’t do the job he was elected to do.
He said his wife, son and daughter are involved in the business. He also has a partner in his hog operation – current Ogle County Farm Bureau President Keith Poole.
And he said he has a great team of employees, “That probably know more than I do about what needs to go on here day to day.”
Which is good, because he said there are many issues to focus on with the state Farm Bureau.
“Farm income is top of our list, that we’re concerned about,” he said.
Under that heading he includes many topics, including trade.
“We are greatly concerned about trade and the … ridiculously negative talk that has surrounded trade,” he said.
Also, the Farm Bill being written this year as well as a proposed infrastructure bill.
And Duncan has been tasked with exploring affordable health care options for his members.
“That initiative has landed on me,” he said of health care, adding that it is a top question they get from members. “It is just crippling our members.”
Duncan is still fairly new to his role on the state level, but his pride in the organization is clear. He said the Farm Bureau organization in the Illinois, from counties to the state level, is the best in the nation.
“It is the leading and most influential farm organization in the country.”
And that means plenty of work for Duncan. His truck is sitting just outside, warming up on a cold morning. He clearly has places to go.