McLean County farmer recognized for ag education

John Olson, of McLean, spoke with WJBC’s Marc Strauss. (Neil Doyle/WJBC)


By Neil Doyle

BLOOMINGTON – A farmer from McLean County has been recognized statewide for helping others learn about agriculture.

John Olson has been named this year’s Illinois Ag in the Classroom Volunteer of the Year. Olson and his family grow corn and soybeans near McLean.

“It wasn’t anything I was seeking or expecting,” Olson told WJBC’s Marc Strauss.  “When I opened the letter I was quite tickled, and actually I handed the letter to my wife to finish reading.  It was quite an honor.”

In the 1980s, Olson and others hosted hundreds of local fourth graders for farm field trips.  He also helped develop an ag exhibit at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal.

Olson served as a founding member of the local ag education committee that created an educational exhibit at the McLean County Fair called the Food and Farm Fun Zone. He also designed and built several hands-on exhibits including a combine cab simulator with interactive videos and games.

“We appreciate all of the hard work and creativity John has contributed over the years,” said McLean County Ag in the Classroom coordinator Bridget Caldwell.

Olson will be recognized Dec. 8 at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in Chicago.

Neil Doyle can be reached at


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