Farm broadcaster shifting gears, sharing more stories

Farm broadcaster shifting gears, sharing extra tales


Max Armstrong knew from the time he was 7 years outdated that he needed to be on the radio, and is now celebrating 48 years in his profession in agricultural broadcasting. For the primary couple of years in his profession, the person identified immediately as “The Voice of American Agriculture” labored with the Illinois Farm Bureau, then with Orion Samuelson on WGN Radio, and afterward the TV reveals “U.S. Farm Report” and “This Week in Agribusiness.” He has been a well-liked voice and face at vintage tractor occasions, farm reveals and conferences for nearly 5 many years, is an writer, and helped begin a well-liked vintage tractor occasion.

Armstrong is slicing again on his broadcast hours this 12 months and releasing a brand new e-book.

IFT: What made you determine to pursue a profession in agricultural broadcast information?

ARMSTRONG: I grew up in southern Indiana, close to Princeton, on a grain and livestock farm, then went to Purdue College. I at all times needed to be on the radio. Once I was 7 or 8 years outdated — that early — I knew. It was the fascination of that voice popping out of a field from St. Louis, Detroit or Chicago. I used to be so dedicated to that purpose I by no means let go of it.

IFT: Throughout a lot of your profession, you have got been related to fellow legendary broadcaster, Orion Samuelson. Do you keep in mind the primary day you met him?

ARMSTRONG: It was on the ground of the Chicago Board of Commerce at a media dinner. We dined proper within the soybean pit. I launched myself and mentioned I labored for the Illinois Farm Bureau. “Should you ever have a gap, consider me,” I mentioned. Orion mentioned, “It’s good to satisfy you. Thanks.” I feel it was one other 14 months and he had a gap.

IFT: What is that this I hear about you presumably retiring?

ARMSTRONG: I wouldn’t precisely name it retirement. I’ve shifted gears — altering course a bit. I’ve been tied to deadlines for thus a few years. Now I can spend extra time visiting farmers, mates. I used to be simply in Michigan Metropolis, Indiana, visiting mates at a radio station there and one in Princeton, and one in Danville, Unwell. … I’m slowing down my broadcast schedule which permits me extra face-to-face time with folks.

IFT: What is an effective opening matter for you when chatting with farmers?

ARMSTRONG: It’s usually our ardour for vintage tractors. In all honesty, that has allowed me to satisfy much more farmers than I’d have in any other case. My mother and pop took supply of a 1953 Farmall Tremendous H the identical summer time they took supply of me. I purchased it at their public sale.

IFT: It’s almost time for the Half Century of Progress present that brings vintage tractor lovers to Rantoul, Illinois, earlier than the Farm Progress present in Decatur. How had been you concerned in beginning and rising what’s billed as “The World’s Largest Classic Working Farm Present”?

ARMSTRONG: In 2003, the fiftieth anniversary of Farm Progress was held close to Henning, Illinois. They needed to do one thing particular. Mark Randall put the concept on the market to have an vintage tractor occasion. Darius Harms, who handed seven years in the past, had the contacts of who had machines to carry from throughout the U.S. for the present.

After that first 12 months, it has been held in Rantoul yearly since. We have now such an expansive facility with paved runways and over 1,000 acres. … The eleventh Half Century of Progress Present is from Aug. 24-27 in Rantoul.

Individuals are additionally studying…

IFT: What’s it about vintage tractors?

ARMSTRONG: All people I’ve met who has an outdated tractor has a narrative. An outdated John Deere tractor that President Reagan rode was on the Half Century present one 12 months. Within the Nineteen Sixties, some scenes for the film “Within the Warmth of the Night time” had been shot in Sparta, Illinois, at an IH dealership. A tractor from that film was right here two years in the past.

IFT: You’ve got earned many honors and recognition over time together with NAFB Farm Broadcaster of the 12 months again in 2001. Amongst these awards, does one thing stand out?

ARMSTRONG: Plaques and trophies are great. You recognize them. I’ve been a farm broadcaster for 48 years and on the radio for 53 years beginning in highschool, however two months in the past, a younger man in central Indiana made me the topic of his class venture. He stood there and imitated me. At this stage in my profession, one thing like that younger man did actually means one thing. His granddad recommended it, his mother and pop helped and he did it. It made me very proud and humbled.

IFT: Since your first e-book “Tales from the Heartland” revealed in 2015 that includes inspiring and sometimes humorous tales out of your travels throughout the Midwest and world wide was very fashionable, can we count on extra?

ARMSTRONG: There’s a brand new e-book popping out — “Extra Tales from the Heartland.” I can be doing an audio model too after I get time too.

IFT: The place do you discover your tales?

ARMSTRONG: I discuss to folks on my travels, I’ve performed quite a lot of posts on social media and another issues. Not all my tales are about rural life, however most of them are.

IFT: Do you have got any profession recommendation for teens simply beginning out?

ARMSTRONG: Get on the radar display screen of a mentor. They could provide you with a elevate alongside the way in which. They could criticize you, make you giggle, or make you indignant and be by your aspect. Darius Harms was a kind of folks to me. He had nothing to do with broadcasting. However he knew folks. He was into social media earlier than there was social media. He at all times had a telephone in a single hand.

In a LinkedIn submit lately, I requested “Is it doable to be mentored at age 70?” It’s. 4 guys, senior to me, from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Nebraska, mentor me. One man writes notes and mails them, one other will textual content me tales virtually day by day and one other will touch upon a broadcast. The opposite gentleman whispered to me about my jacket lining hanging out at an occasion. They lead me down a wide range of paths and have been useful to me.

IFT: What makes mentor?

ARMSTRONG: They will see somebody setting the world on fireplace and might uplift and encourage them.

Six weeks in the past I met a 67-year-old Minnesota farmer with 6,000 acres and no one to succeed him. A younger man about 30 was with him. He noticed this younger man at FFA and on sports activities groups locally. He had a fireplace in his stomach for farming and was at all times displaying up early. The older farmer noticed this and handpicked him. I instructed the younger man, “You received the lottery.” He mentioned, “Sure sir.”


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