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WIU Alumnus Named 2022 Organic Farmer of the Year

March 1, 2022

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MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University alumnus Dave Campbell was recently named the 2022 Organic Farmer of the Year by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES).

The award was presented at the 33rd annual Organic Farming Conference, organized by MOSES, held in La Crosse, WI, from Feb. 24-26. This conference is the largest organic farming conference in the country.

Campbell, a 1980 graduate of WIU's teacher education program, was one of four students in his class who were given a unique opportunity to do their student teaching in Montana. During his time in the program, Campbell was awarded the Katherine Thompson scholarship for elementary education majors.

During his time as a student at Western, Dave, along with his training partner Scott Foster, a Macomb native, would spend many weeks running 50 - 60 miles per week around Macomb and the surrounding countryside. Campbell ran a two-hour and 46-minute marathon while attending WIU, and was also a member of the Hall Star basketball team. While he did not major in agriculture, he ventured into organic farming because the teaching job he had originally been offered did not work out, and the next job he was offered was simply not what he was looking for. As someone who was raised by a farmer, farming was the next logical step for him.

"I got to the point where I wanted to be outdoors farming, so I decided to go that route instead," said Campbell. "As it turned out, I have used my education background to assist me through many activities I have participated in over the past 20 years, including curriculum development work for organic farming publications written for some of the Land Grant Universities here in the upper Midwest, presenting numerous workshops, along with serving on National Policy Committees based in Washington, D.C."

Campbell was inspired to go into organic farming specifically because of his father, who adopted the organic method in 1967, when Dave was just 12.

"We believed that organic was the way to do it," said Campbell. "We didn't like spraying chemicals on the farm, and we knew with good management, we could grow our farm that way."

As an alumnus, Campbell has not lost his passion for the University. He returns to Macomb every time he has a chance in order to attend events at the Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm, such as the Organic Farm Field Day, to engage with current faculty and students. He has advice for current students, whether they are majoring in agriculture or not.

"Everyone needs to eat so there will always be jobs in the agriculture sector," said Campbell. "If you aren't afraid of hard work, and enjoy the outdoors, it can be a very rewarding field for you."

Andy Clayton, the research technician who manages the WIU Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm, said Campbell has been coming to events for many years and has been very supportive of the agriculture program, especially research programs involving current students.

"Dave has generously donated to our program, but has also given back in other ways," said Clayton. "Last year, on our Field Day, we were having an issue with some of our equipment and he went above and beyond to ensure we could fix it even though he was just a guest at the program."

Clayton has attended the MOSES conference before and therefore has an understanding of the importance of this opportunity for not only Campbell, but also WIU as his alma mater.

"This conference is the largest in the country and this award is the most prestigious award given at the conference," said Clayton. "The University should be proud to call Dave Campbell, the Organic Farmer of the Year, one of their own."

For more information about the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, visit For more information about WIU's Allison Organic Research and Demonstration Farm, visit

Posted By: Rachel Greene (
Office of University Communications & Marketing