Every year since 1985, the Champaign County Farm Bureau Young Ag Leaders have honored a member of the Champaign County community who is making a positive impact on agriculture. The 2016 recipient of this award is Brooks Marsh owner of Mahomet IGA. Brooks is a supporter and member of the Champaign County Farm Bureau. He supports Farm Bureau programs, caters Farm Bureau events, and this past summer participated in and sponsored a Farmer’s Share Lunch event held at Mahomet IGA.
Brooks’ Urban Ag Leader of the Year award and his involvement in Farm Bureau circles back to his childhood. Growing up on a family ranch in Montana with his family, tending to cash crops of winter barley and some wheat has given Brooks a lot of life lessons he can directly relate to his adult life. Brooks believes his farming and ranching background have given him a strong work ethic. Brooks says lessons learned at an early age on the ranch tie directly into the day to day operations of Mahomet IGA including “thinking in terms of production, valuing work, respecting people, the patriotism and hard work ethic.”
During high school Brooks began working in a local grocery store and still found time to work on the ranch. College life called to Brooks after high school and he headed to the University of Montana, eventually making his way to Fort Lauderdale and earning an MBA. Brooks was employed by Supervalu for 30 years and has been at Mahomet IGA for 12 years.
Brooks is still involved in his family ranching operation in Montana. Many of his siblings are still actively working the ranch and Brooks is able to visit and help with business decisions. Brooks may have moved off the ranch, but his adult life has still been tied directly to agriculture through food distribution. Mahomet IGA provides the community with products produced by farmers from milk to cheese to bread. The demand for locally grown products has increased too. Mahomet IGA and its suppliers strive to meet demand by stocking local products for customers.
Brooks is a great example of breaking out of the traditional way people think about agriculture. Brooks is directly tied to the agriculture industry and isn’t producing food. He is distributing food and is a link in the chain of food from farm to table!
Brooks says “it is great to be honored by the Champaign County Farm Bureau. The Farm Bureau has always been full of great people who are leaders in the local and global economy. I was involved in the Farm Bureau in Montana and enjoy being involved today!”
Brooks and his wife, Tammy, live in Mahomet and are the proud parents of 6 children ranging in age from 27 to 15.