SIU Agbassadors planning Fall Fest

The Agbassadors at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have been representing the university’s College of Agricultural Sciences for 30 years, and it’s time for a reunion. 

The fourth annual Fall Fest, a celebration of the college, includes the 30th anniversary Agbassador reception, to which all current and former Agbassadors are invited. 

Fall Fest 2016 is planned Oct. 21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the University Farms Service Center. The Agbassador reception precedes it, beginning at 5 p.m. 

The Agbassadors is a student recruitment organization made up of students whom faculty, administrators and other agricultural sciences students have recommended based on academics, communication skills, overall knowledge of agricultural fields and university achievements. 

Agbassadors visit high schools and community colleges, attend career fairs and open houses, and generally represent the college at many college and university events throughout the academic year. 

The Fall Festival itself is an opportunity for alumni and current college students, faculty and staff to socialize, and to honor alumni award winners, announced at the event. 

Activities are slated to include a barbecue, live music by Murphysboro-based bluegrass/country Irish folk band Nine88 and a cash bar. Tickets are $30 a person and benefit the Agbassador program. 

Reservations are required; for more information contact the college at or 618- 453-2469 to reserve tickets. 

This year’s alumni award winners include: 

Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award: Steve Ellis. 

Mid-Career Alumni Achievement Award: Nathan Johanning. 

Early Career Alumni Achievement Award: Spencer Janssen. 

Ellis, who earned his bachelor of science degree in forestry at SIU in 1976, is the deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management. 

That means he has oversight responsibilities for more than 245 million acres of public land and a $1 billion budget. 

Ellis’ long career with the BLM began in 1979 when he was hired as a forester in Idaho. His job then included forest inventory, timber harvest and sale appraisals, reforestation plans and watershed impact statements. 

Ellis is scheduled to deliver the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s Gil and Jean Kroening Lecture, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the SIU Student Center on Oct. 20. Preregistration is required. 

Johanning works with the University of Illinois Extension as an educator on local food systems and small farms. He’s based in the Murphysboro office. 

He talks with local horticultural crop producers about production practices and marketing strategies. 

He is also co-editor of Illinois Fruit and Vegetable News, the author of several scholarly articles on agricultural topics, and he serves on the board of directors of the Midwest Crop Council among several other organizations. 

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SIU. 

Janssen earned his bachelor of science degree in agricultural system technology in 2006. He is manager of Litchfield Farmers Grain and farms Janssen Farms in Fillmore. 

As manager, Janssen is in charge of the supervision, hiring and termination of employees, customer and buyer relations and selling Channel seed corn and soybeans. 

He is a part of the class of 2014 for the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation, for which he met with legislators in Washington, D.C., to discuss agricultural issues. 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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