CHICAGO — Mark Frels of Bloomington has been named the recipient of the 2013 Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) Eagle Award for Excellence. The award was presented during the Illinois Agricultural Association’s annual meeting held in Chicago Dec. 7-10.
Frels, who recently retired from IFB after more than 35 years, most recently served as the Member Services and Public Relations division head and was a member of IFB’s management team. Frels began his career with IFB in 1977 as a county Farm Bureau manager trainee. Frels also served as the Knox County Farm Bureau Manager and as a regional manager.
Frels has received numerous awards and honors including the Knox County Meritorious Service to Agriculture Award, the Illinois Wesleyan University Distinguished Alumni Award and Honorary State FFA Degree. During his tenure as a division head at IFB, membership in the organization grew from 264,000 to more than 400,000. Frels also oversaw expansion of the Illinois Ag in the Classroom program, member benefit programs, and significant expansion of the youth education activities programs.
Frels and his wife, Ann, live in Bloomington and have plans to move back to Rock Island County where his family farms.
The IFB Eagle Award for Excellence provides IFB with an opportunity to recognize an individual or organization for excellence on issues or programs important to Farm Bureau and to agriculture on a statewide and/or national basis.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 400,000 and a voting membership of more than 82,000. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.