"You get to be outside. That’s the biggest thing. raise your kids in the country -- and not have a neighbor fifty feet away from you. If you were to go outside without your clothes on, you could."
Born in 1934, near Sadorus County, Illinois, Dale Stierwalt is now one of the most well-respected members of the local agricultural community. As a child, he expected to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and become a farmer. Voted 2011’s Farmer of the Year by the News Gazette, he started Central Illinois’ movement toward more sustainable agriculture by using no-till and limited herbicides. "He's conducting experiments all the time. He has good ideas, but he doesn't press them on anybody," a News-Gazette article says. He has been an active participant in the Champaign County Farm Bureau for over sixty years, and in 1972 was named Township Supervisor.
On his 200+ acre farm in Tolono IL, Stierwalt grows corn and soybeans, as well as several cover crops like winter wheat, oats, alfalfa, rye, and radishes. He sells seeds to Illinois Foundation Seeds, Syngenta, and Pioneer, and food-grade corn to Frito-Lay. A small piece of land on his farm is also used for Grey Bird Farm, a chicken farm run by his daughter, Peggy Stierwalt.