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In 1928, 16 men met at the University of Illinois and officially organized the first professional farm managers organization in the United States, which is known today as the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. In 1929, the American Society of Farm Managers was formed, which consists of over 2,000 members nationwide today. The words “and Rural Appraisers” were added to the name of the organization in 1945.

The science and art of professional farm management and rural appraisal has evolved since 1928. Challenges in agriculture over the years have prompted those owning land to seek the best possible ways to resolve problems and obtain the best in professional services in rural appraising, farm credit, and managing land. As farm managers and rural appraisers compared problems through the years and sought better answers for them, they became true professionals together.

Today, the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers has grown to several hundred members and is one of the largest state organizations of professional farm managers and rural appraisers. Collectively, Illinois Society members manage over 1 million acres or nearly 5% of the farmland in Illinois. Our members have had and still have a sizable impact on agriculture in this largely agricultural state. By working together, professional farm managers, professional rural appraisers, landowners, agricultural loan specialists, and farmers enhance results for all in agriculture.

The contributions to the agricultural community by professional farm managers and rural appraisers is noteworthy. The founder of professional farm management in the United States, Mr. D. Howard Doane, was called to Washington by President Roosevelt during the Depression for his suggestions on how to reverse the financial plight in agriculture. Others have become deans of Colleges of Agriculture, state directors of agriculture, top officials in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, professors, and witnesses for legislation to improve agriculture.

The history of a profession is important. The better we understand past problems and how they were solved, the better we can understand the problems of today and tomorrow and not repeat past errors. We remember those who broke the first trails in professional farm management and rural appraisal and hope to continue to inspire those who will break new and even better trails in the decades ahead.

Adapted from the Forward of Golden Visions and Harsh Realities, copyright 1988 ISPFMRA.

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