The beloved voice of agriculture

The beloved voice of agriculture

Sep 1
Kendra Courson, Director for Special Events

During my almost seven years in the College of ACES, I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know many wonderful people. However, as I was sitting in the audience in the college's tent at the Farm Progress Show this week, I realized the person who has been the kindest, most genuine and also most generous of that group is Orion Samuelson.

Orion is known as the beloved voice of agriculture. Many generations of families have tuned in to listen to his WGN broadcasts over the past five decades. He is well known and well loved by so many and for good reason. Orion does not just broadcast the market reports or keep everyone in the know in regards to agrinews, but he is someone everyone relates to and feels they know even if they have never met him. Orion is somehow as popular now as he was back when his career took off. That, in and of itself, is pretty amazing.

I have had the privilege of getting to know Orion over the years and fairly well the past two years as I had the pleasure of being his "event chauffeur" after a couple of major surgeries. As the college event planner, I know how much Orion graciously gives of his time and energy at so many ACES special occasions. Not once has Orion asked for more than a bottle of water let alone a dime for a night emceeing our annual Salute to Ag Day or hosting his daily stage show at every Farm Progress Show. He loves the College of ACES and is very proud of the honorary degree he received from the University of Illinois several years ago.  

This past week, I sat in an audience with many others watching Orion tape This Week In Agribusiness with Max Armstrong and Greg Soulje. As I watched Orion provide his "Samuelson Sez" update, I suddenly became overwhelmed with gratitude: both gratitude for getting to know a man with a career so many admire and even more importantly, knowing a person with such an incredible self-sacrificing heart. I will always be thankful for being able to get to know someone who truly is an icon in his own right, but also to get to know a man who knows what selflessness truly means. To be able to call this man my friend....well, it makes me feel even more blessed.

Greg, Max, and Orion at Farm Progress Show 2017

Kendra and Orion