Steve Prince was named the Farmer of the Year during the Urbana Rotary Club’s 46th annual Rural Urban Night on Monday.
Prince, a 1985 graduate of Graham High School, received his agriculture and business degree from Wilmington College in 1989. He touted his staff and teamwork as the keys behind being successful in agriculture.
“It doesn’t happen without that and it certainly doesn’t happen without my family and everything they do for us,” Prince said. “Dawn is the chuck wagon that comes at night – about six o’clock – and keeps us all fed so we can run later into the evening. I’m just blessed to have a great family and a great work crew, and I appreciate the award.”
His wife, Dawn, is a graduate of Wittenberg and the University of Dayton. She is an intervention specialist at Graham.
Together, they own more than 650 acres and farm 2,300 acres – mostly corn and beans, though some wheat and hay is also part of the job. The family also owns sheep used for 4-H projects.
Steve is an active member of the community. He’s served as a member of the Graham Board of Education for six years and has been a member of the YMCA’s board and a Johnson Township trustee. He coaches youth basketball in the Graham school system, as does Dawn.
The Rotary also honored its Acre of Corn Club on Monday – a group of farmers that donates directly to End Polio Now. The program, now in its eighth year, has donated more than $150,000 from Champaign County.
“Every dollar that we put in goes directly to them. The overhead is nil,” said Rotary President Ty Henderson. “And the Bill Gates Foundation matches every dollar. That’s $300,000 from this county. And at 50 cents an inoculation, that’s over a half-million children that we’ve inoculated.”
This year’s Acre of Corn Club includes Bob and Gloria Ward, Bud Runyan, Mike Pullins, Alan Thompson, Dale Circle, Doug Hurst, David Clapp, Don Bauer, Steve Prince, the Michael Terry Family, Terry Howell, William Runyan, Jim and Nancy Virts, Lucy Millman, Bev and Ron Maurice, Tom and Pat Detwiler, John and Sandy Detwiler, Michael Farms, Tom Prince, Scott Haerr, Jason and Justin Dagger, Chuck Stadler, Todd McGuire, Paul and Michelle McGuire and Sons, Burley and Pat Hall and Ward Family Farms.
Members who have donated more than $3,000 include Dale Circle, David Clapp, Paul McGuire, the McGuire family and Jim and Nancy Virts.
Members who have donated more than $4,000 include Michael Farms and Steve Prince.
Ward Family Farms has donated more than $6,000.
Rural Urban Night showcased locally produced foods, with the Rotary Club providing pork, beef and lamb cooked by Chris Anway of Grillable Catering, and Amy Forrest of In Good Taste Catering providing the rest of the food for the evening. The event celebrates the symbiotic relationship between urban development and rural agriculture, highlighting the need each has for the other.