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WIU alumnus David Erickson, center, accepts the 2021 Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) Charles B. Shuman Distinguished Service Award with his wife, Nancy, during the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago. (Photo courtesy of the Illinois Farm Bureau)
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WIU Alumnus Honored with Illinois Farm Bureau's Highest Award

December 16, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – A life filled with local, state and national volunteer service has earned a Western Illinois University alumnus the highest award given by the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB).

David Erickson, a 1980 agriculture education graduate, from Altona, IL, was presented the Charles B. Shuman Distinguished Service Award during the IFB's annual meeting in Chicago earlier this month.

"The award honors distinguished service within agriculture, as well as in other organizations," said Erickson.

Erickson and his wife, Nancy, farm in Knox County, and run a farm management business. He was originally supposed to receive the state award in 2020; however, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the organization's in-person, annual meeting.

"David has established a stellar record of leadership within the Illinois Farm Bureau and other community organizations," said WIU School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker. "We are very proud of David's achievements, and the Charles B. Shuman Distinguished Service Award is a true reflection of his advocacy work for the agricultural industry. David is a fine example of WIU's School of Agriculture alumni that are dedicating their time and effort to advance the agricultural industry."

In addition to serving in leadership roles in agricultural associations at the state and national level, Erickson has served as president and vice president of the Knox County Farm Bureau. He has also served as secretary-treasurer of the Illinois FFA organization, and chairman of the Illinois FFA organization.
Within his community, Erickson is a volunteer with the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Altona. He is also past director of the Oneida Telephone and Cablevision Companies, the Knox County Zoning Board of Appeals and past chairman of the Galesburg Cottage Hospital Board of Trustees. He also served on the board of directors for Midwest Bank of Western Illinois, Unit #10 Extension Council and the Knox County Board, and is currently the vice president of the Galesburg Community Foundation.

Within agriculture, Erickson has served as president of the State Soybean Association, as well and chairman of the board and president of the American Soybean Association.

"There I was active in legislative and trade issues," he said.

Erickson earned the American FFA Degree in 2005, and received the state 4-H Alumni Recognition Award from Illinois 4-H the same year. He was also named a Master Farmer by Prairie Farmer and Farm Progress Publications in 2003, and has provided advice as a Profit Planner Panelist for the magazine.

Prior to graduating from Western, Erickson served as a state FFA officer as a student. After graduation, he taught vocational agriculture over four years before moving into farming full time.

"WIU gave me the opportunity to learn in an environment where all students were involved in a wide variety of campus volunteer work," said Erickson. "Western provided me a lot of opportunities to engage beyond the classroom.

The Distinguished Service Award provides an opportunity for Illinois Farm Bureau to recognize an individual who has given a lifetime of exemplary leadership and service to agriculture to a major segment of the state and/or nation. This award honors the memory and service of Charles B. Shuman, a revered Moultrie County farm leader who served as president of both IFB and of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

For more information about the WIU School of Agriculture, visit

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