The Illinois Agri-Women (IAW) Award Committee has announced the winners of the Illinois Agri-Women Hall of Fame, Outstanding Illinois Woman Farmer, and Illinois Agri Business Awards. These honors were established to honor women from Illinois who have devoted their time and energy to enhance the role of women in agriculture production and business. The awards have been given annually each summer since 2013.

The winner of the Illinois Agri-Women Hall of Fame award is Christina Mosher Wilson, who was born and raised on a 600-acre grain and livestock farm in Knox County. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in animal science. Wilson parlayed this degree into an illustrious career beginning at the Illinois Department of Agriculture where she was involved with the development of a publicity for the Agri-Data kits, the forerunner to Ag in the Classroom. Wilson became a very enthusiastic member of IAW. She followed the director to Washington D.C where she continued to promote agriculture education at the state level. She later served as the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture in the state of Kansas.

Wilson has served in various capacities with American Agri-Women, including president, throughout the years. She has never forgotten the important role women play in agriculture. Wilson was nominated by Linda Swiercinsky, IAW immediate past president. Wilson currently resides in Manhattan, Kans.

Mary Meinhart of Montrose, Ill., is this year’s winner of the Outstanding Illinois Woman Farmer. She has been a strong partner of her husband Dan not only in farming but in their joint farming operation, Meinhart Farms. They operated a farrow to finish hog operation for many years during which time Meinhart became involved with the county and state Porkettes organizations. In addition to the production operation, Meinhart is involved in the accounting/record keeping for the Meinhart Farms bringing it into the computer age.

Meinhart is a long-time member of IAW and American Agri-Women. She has served as the secretary and treasurer of IAW as well as on numerous committees. Meinhart is a consistent IAW representative at statewide events such as the Illinois AG Round Table and Illinois AG Legislative Day in Springfield. Meinhart was nominated by Penny Lauritzen, WCFA Committee.

Karen Blatter was presented with the Illinois Agri Business Award. She is the Editor of Country Spirit and a Communication Specialist for 1st Farm Credit Services in Normal, Ill. Blatter handles external and internal communications, publications, public relations, youth and young farmer programs, scholarships, and a grant program for the association. Blatter has been student committee chair and a volunteer for the IAW career discovery event “Women Changing the Face of Agriculture” (WFCA) for six years. 

Despite the fact that Blatter grew up in an urban community, she was drawn to the agriculture industry. Blatter has effectively shared producers’ stories and encouraged young women to seek careers in agriculture despite the high percentage of males in most agriculture career tracks. She was nominated by Penny Lauritzen, WCFA Committee.