The DeBlock family was honored as the 2010 Illinois Farm Family of the Year during the Salute to Agriculture at the University of Illinois. Pictured (from left) are Hannah, Susan, Macy, Vic and Kaitlynn DeBlock in the front row and Illinois AgriNews Executive Editor James Henry; John, Angie, Kim and Matt DeBlock; and Burrus Hybrids vice president Tim Greene in the back row. Not pictured is Jake DeBlock.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The DeBlock family now is the Illinois Farm Family of the Year. The Mercer County family was honored during the Salute to Agriculture at the University of Illinois.
Vic and Susan DeBlock received the award alongside their two sons, John, with his wife, Angie, and their children, Jake, 12, and Hannah, 10; and Matt, with his wife, Kim, and their children, Kaitlynn, 5, and Macy, 3. Vic and Susan also have three other children, Diane, Debra and Kristen, and 10 more grandchildren.
The annual award has been presented by Burrus Hybrids and Illinois AgriNews for 12 years. It honors an outstanding Illinois family for contributions on and off the farm and is aimed at raising awareness of the important contributions farm families make to everyone’s daily life.
“We are very happy to honor the DeBlocks with this award,” said Burrus Hybrids vice president Tim Greene. “They are a great example of a modern farm family.”
The DeBlocks raise 3,350 acres of no-till and conventional corn, 900 acres of no-till soybeans and 100 acres of hay, as well as 4,800 pigs and 110 beef cows a year in northwest Illinois.
Vic and Susan began farming in 1963, and both still are integral on the farm today. Vic does daily chores with the livestock and oversees the health of the cattle, as well as is in charge of the hay production and helps with planting and harvest.
Susan has worked by his side, literally, driving the grain cart for 46 years. She keeps the farm’s records and delivers meals to the field.
Matt returned to the farm in 2000, after graduating from the U of I with a degree in agricultural economics. He is responsible for making agronomic and grain marketing decisions for the farm.
Kim shares tillage responsibilities in the spring, and she does cattle A.I. work. She also runs the semis and the grain cart in the fall.
John built his 2,400-hog confinement building in 2005 and returned to the farm full-time in 2008 after working as a parts manager for the local John Deere dealership. He manages the pigs’ health, nutrition and quality measures with assistance from Angie.
John also is accountable for sprayer applications in the spring and shares other farm responsibilities.
Angie now also helps with spring tillage, and she provides complete meals to the field in the fall – the family jokes that they gain about five pounds during harvest.
Vic said he his very grateful to get to farm with his sons.
“We enjoy what we do,” he said. “And we enjoy being with each other.”
The family truly is a team. They work together to support each other and always are willing to help with a job to make sure it gets done.
“We really do work together and support each other,” Susan said.
“At the end of the day, there is no other way we would want to raise the next generation of DeBlock Farms.”
Their work, however, reaches beyond the farm and beyond agriculture.
Vic is a Eucharistic minister at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church and is serving his ninth year as a member of the Country Bank board of directors, including one year as president.
He also served 18 years as a board member of the Mercer County Farm Bureau, including five years as chairman and four years as treasurer; 12 years as a board member of the Mer-Roc FS Cooperative, including two years as president and two years as vice president; 10 years as a board member of the Mercer Growth Organization; four years as the District 2 representative for the Mercer County Board of Supervisors; and four years as the Greene Township trustee.
Susan has been a member of the Mercer County Homemakers’ Extension for 46 years, including four years as president and is in her second year as treasurer, as well as 4-H club leader for 21 years; Greene Township campaign fundraiser for the American Cancer Society for 18 years; Mercer County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee member for 12 years, including six years as president; and St. Catherine’s Parish Council member for six years, including two years as president.
John has been assistant coach for Aledo youth softball for four years and head coach for Aledo youth baseball for three years. Angie has been a member of the Aledo/Mercer County School District PTO for four years, including two years as treasurer; Market Day fundraising coordinator for three years; and Myrna Rae’s Dance Studio booster for one year.
Matt has been a Mercer County Farm Bureau board member for 11 years, including seven years as a delegate, and a Country Bank Board of Directors member for five years, serving four years as a member of the loan committee.
Kim has been a board member of the Mercer Foundation for Health for four years, including one year as secretary, as well as Mercer Growth Organization member for two years, Mercer County Hospital Board of Directors member for one year and Mercer County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom volunteer for one year.
“The DeBlocks really are a part of their community,” said Illinois AgriNews publisher Lynn Barker. “They are committed to God, to agriculture, to their community and to each other.”
As the 2010 Illinois Farm Family of the Year, the DeBlocks were presented with a plaque and yard sign, as well as tickets and hotel accommodations to attend the U of I Salute to Agriculture and subsequent football game between the Fighting Illini and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
They also will receive a vacation package to country music haven Branson, Mo. The popular getaway destination is known for its live music venues, outdoor activities such as golfing and fishing and the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains.