QUINCY -- Mike Tenhouse understands it's easy to overlook the impact of agribusiness to the economy.
"We always have to remind ourselves that agriculture as an industry in our area, region, state and nation is the largest industry out there," Tenhouse said. "The people that work within that industry are vital to our local economy."
The Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee wants to recognize that impact with its 19th annual Agribusiness of the Year Award.
"Being able to identify a few people or individuals, families that have worked very hard in this business is really healthy for all of us," Tenhouse said.
Nominations will be accepted through 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, and the winner will be recognized at a March 6 dinner event.
"With fewer farmers and larger farms, our voice isn't that big, but agribusiness is still extremely large," said Tenhouse, who chairs the committee.
The contest is open to businesses of any size within a 50-mile radius of Quincy with strong ties to the agricultural community, a record of community involvement, a record of good customer service and modern business practices. The contest is not limited to chamber members.
Agribusiness and its employees continue to play a key role in telling agriculture's story -- especially to consumers increasingly far removed from the farm.
"Our young people have to understand it's even more important today that they're advocates for the industry than it's ever been," Tenhouse said. "If you're not involved in singing your song the public, there's not very many out there to do it."
Nomination forms are available online at quincychamber.org. Forms may be mailed to the chamber at 300 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 245, Quincy, IL 62301-4169, faxed to 217-222-3033 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past winners were U.S. Wellness Meats in Canton, Mo., Quincy Tractor, Professional Swine Management in Carthage, F&T Livestock Market in Palmyra, Mo., Baucom Truck Service in Camp Point, Mast Productions in Payson, Western Illinois Veterinary Clinic in Quincy, B&B Livestock Supply near Camp Point, Bunte Truck Service in Payson, Dearwester Grain Services in Golden, Selby Implement in Quincy, Geo. Keller and Sons in Quincy, Lee Fertilizer in Camp Point, Quincy Farm and Home Supply, Farmers Livestock Sale Inc. in Coatsburg, Ursa Farmers Cooperative, Apple Basket Farms in Barry and Lewis Hybrids in Ursa.
With the annual award, "It's good to remind ourselves of the power that the industry has and the difference it makes in our area," Tenhouse said.
More information on the Agribusiness of the Year Award is available by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 217-222-7980.