Cook County Young Leader Utilizes Technology to Improve Farming
The Cook County Farm Bureau® Young Leader Group offers younger agricultural and agriculture related professionals the opportunity for involvement in activities, programs, committees, and leadership. Through service to agriculture, leadership development, fellowship, and team building activities these individuals bring fresh ideas and vitality to the organization.
In the past group members have “adopted” a third-grade classroom, competed in events, and participated in numerous charitable activities including packing food at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg, volunteering at the Greater Chicagoland Food Depository, and hosting a holiday teen toy drive and a holiday coat, hat, and gloves donation drive for Together We Cope in Tinley Park.
The Young Leaders Group is an incubator for the development of strong, lifetime friendships, organizational leadership skills, and service to agriculture. The Cook County Farm Bureau Young Leader Group Vice-Chairman is Doug Yunker, a Precision Agriculture Specialist with John Deere and a farmer in Frankfort. Yunker is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a degree in Technical Systems Management and a minor in Crop and Soil Science.
Along with his family, Yunker grows organic and conventional corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay on over 1,500 acres in Will County and southern Cook County. A portion of the farm is also used to grow hay for local stables and racehorses.
In 2015, the Yunker family received the Conservation Farm Family Award from the Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District. The award recognizes family farms that have implemented conservation friendly farming practices. The Yunker family employs conservation tillage and crop rotation in addition to utilizing conservation plans calling for nutrient management, residue and tillage management, and upland wildlife management.
In addition to utilizing conservation methods, Yunker employs technology on his family farm. Through Global Positioning Systems (GPS), variable rate application of crop protectants, hybrid seeds, aerial imaging of farm fields, and other technological advancements farmers like Yunker can minimize soil compaction and crop protectant use while identifying the best course of care for their farms.
Although Yunker utilizes technology on his farm and his profession focuses on agricultural technology, agriculture has endless opportunities. No matter an individual’s interest there’s a job in agriculture that fits that passion including machinery, animals, crops, accounting, teaching, and even law.
When asked what advice Yunker would give his younger self, his response was never miss an opportunity to learn from a mentor because the information that they can provide can steer you in the right direction to help you achieve your goals.
The Young Leaders Group is open to young farmers and professional members of the Cook County Farm Bureau. Additional information is available here.