Hancock County farmer earns Illinois Farm Bureau's highest award

Terry Pope
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 5, 2017 6:20 pm Updated: Dec. 5, 2017 6:36 pm

CARTHAGE, Ill. -- The award might carry his name, but Terry Pope said earning it was a team effort.

"It's more than just me," Pope said. "To do the things I've been able to do, it had to include my whole family."

The "team" -- his wife, Gayle; their six children; and some of the eight grandchildren -- were on hand to see him honored with the Illinois Farm Bureau's highest award, the Charles B. Shuman Distinguished Service Award.

"I was just very both humbled and honored that my county Farm Bureau would nominate me and the state Farm Bureau would see fit to give me the award," said Pope, who raises corn and soybeans near Burnside in Hancock County.

The award, presented Sunday, honors the memory and service of Shuman, a Moultrie County farm leader who served as president of both the Illinois Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The award recognized Pope's contributions to the organization, serving as president, vice president and treasurer of the Hancock County Farm Bureau and serving as state Farm Bureau district director from 2003 to 2013.

As a state director, Pope was appointed to committee and leadership positions, including Illinois Governance Committee chairman, the ACTIVATOR Executive Committee, the Illinois Government Committee, IAA Foundation Board treasurer, Illinois Ag in the Classroom Program Council and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association.

Pope said he and the Farm Bureau share many of the same values and interest in speaking up for agriculture.

"We have to tell our story to our legislators at the state and national level, and we have to tell our story to our neighbors and people that aren't on the farm," he said. "It's often said urban people trust farmers, but they don't trust what we do."

Pope remains involved with the Farm Bureau, but not at the leadership level, and he continues to be active in several community organizations and boards.

The Farm Bureau "has been a very good organization to me. I've often said I got more out of it than I gave to it," Pope said. "It was an investment in time on agriculture to be better than it's been in the past. As the 4-H motto says, make the best better. That's one motto I've always held dear to my heart."