ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE CHOOSES ITS “SUSTAINABLE FARMERS OF THE YEAR”
Ron and Angie Ackerman of Chenoa, proprietors of Ackerman Certified Organic Farm and More, were named the 2013 Sustainable Agriculture Farmers of the Year by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. They received the award during Agriculture Day Luncheon on the Director’s Lawn at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Wednesday.
The Ackermans grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and grains on the same small central Illinois farm where Ron grew up. “I was a missionary in Vietnam for three years and came back with my new wife and a desire to farm,” Ron said.
The Ackermans’ organic farming life began more than 30 years ago with a simple experiment. Ron decided to plant a 40-acre section of corn using manure as the only fertilizer and to apply varying amounts of conventional, nitrogen fertilizer to his other fields. He discovered the yield difference between the fields was, at most, ten bushels, so he transitioned to certified organic farming. Ackerman readily admits his fields may yield less than conventional fields, but claims he nets about 50 percent more because he has almost no input expenses. This, according to Ackerman, is what allows a tenant farmer with 310 acres, like himself, to continue to farm.
They market products not only on their farm, but also at the downtown Bloomington Farmers Market, the Common Ground Grocery in Bloomington, Naturally Yours Grocery in Normal and various winter markets, including the McLean County Museum of History and the Illinois Sustainability and Wellness Expo.
Ackerman Certified Organic Farm and More is located at 29087 North 2850 East Road in Chenoa. It also can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ackerman-Certified-Organic-Farm-More/233110203467.
Illinois State Fair press release: