Baley Milton always thought she would make her way back to her hometown of Monticello.
But she did not know it would be just a year removed from graduating college.
The 2014 Monticello High School graduate is the new Piatt County Farm Bureau manager, named to the post in May. After the required training, she began her duties in Monticello on July 26.
“I kind of wanted to help in this area, because this area’s done so much for me,” said Milton, who earned her agriculture education and horticulture degree from SIU-Carbondale in 2018. She then spent a year as the agriculture instructor in the southern Illinois community of Odin, teaching both middle and high schoolers.
The opportunity to work for the Farm Bureau enables her to continue in the field of education, just on more age levels.
“Farm Bureau was always on my mind,” she said of her vocational aspirations. “It’s similar to teaching because of the education background that they have. I like the idea of educating different age levels, not just high school, not just (elementary school) Ag in the Classroom, but all age levels and informing the public about what agriculture does. I think that’s extremely important in our county.”
Milton is technically not from a farming family, although her mother works for Piatt County FS in Bement. But she got the agriculture bug at MHS, where she was a very active member of FFA for three years. It included stints as chapter historian and vice president, earning a State Degree and winning the Illinois Supervised Agricultural Experience award in 2015.
Her role with Piatt County Farm Bureau will be to “make sure farmers are heard for legislative purposes, and providing them with the educational resources for new things coming into the county.”
That includes the possibility of wind and solar farms. For that reason, Piatt County Farm Bureau is offering an informational meeting on wind farm leases from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the DeLand American Legion post.
“We want to provide information to farmers and to the general public,” said Milton of such educational efforts.
Other hot topics this year include the late planting of crops and how it will affect yields, and the continuation of product tariffs.
And while Milton has never strayed too far from home, she’s happy to be back in Monticello.
“I didn’t think it would happen as soon as it did, but I always saw myself coming back to the area,” she said. “I think Monticello’s got a really good hometown feel, and it’s good to get the small town support.”