Celebrating 90 years of progress

Celebrating 90 years of progress

Oct 26
Theresa Miller, Academic Advisor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Today I was teaching in 313 Mumford. Left on the instructional media cabinet is a program from the 1974 50th anniversary banquet of the Farm Business Farm Management Association (FBFM). I waxed nostalgic. . .

FBFM is now celebrating its 90th year in existence, an impressive feat. This organization of staff and farmer members provide business analysis services for farmers across the state of Illinois, allowing farmers in Illinois to make better business decisions about their farm. The program is alive and well and farmer members assist in program development and recruitment of field staff. And its home, where the analysis of data take place, is right here in Mumford Hall, in the ACE Department.

Farm records were first gathered in 1910 by Ag Econ professor Handschin, who gathered livestock production records from Illinois farmers to help him organize a first-of-its-kind class in farm management. When he saw the various ways farmers kept books, he came up the idea of creating a standardized farm record book to meet the needs of farmers in Illinois. The Illinois Farm Record Book was used for many years pre-personal computer.  But this still wasn’t enough. Farmers using the books wanted help with analysis, and the Agricultural Economists in Illinois began holding schools for farmers to interpret their books. 

Woodford County farmers organized further to create associations to supervise the analysis of these records and encourage farmers to pay for this service, and the first FBFM association was born. Dean Mumford named the program, born in El Paso, Illinois, the Farm Business Farm Management association. 

When I see a document lying around a classroom in this building, I can’t help but stop to appreciate the rich history of agriculture that was commissioned inside of the walls of the building I work in every day. The leadership by the Agricultural Economists of yesterday mean a robust means of managing the most productive farms in the nation today, and the professors that worked RIGHT HERE in Mumford saw the vision that is now a reality.


The October 4, 1974 50th Anniversary Banquet Program for FBFM.