Tori Richter and Quinton Huelsmann graduated from Illinois Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) program, a comprehensive leadership development course, on March 20.  

Richter and Huelsmann, members of Clinton County Farm Bureau, joined 17 other graduates in 2024. Now in its 45th year, ALOT has graduated more than 1,200 leaders since 1979. The eight-session course featured experts in communication skills, political process, ag economics, and global issues. Through a broad range of process and content skills, graduates enrich leadership abilities and enhance agriculture’s voice in Illinois. Past graduates have included past and current Illinois state legislators and agricultural influencers across Illinois. Various leaders of the Illinois Farm Bureau have graduated from the ALOT program, including past President Rich Guebert and current Vice President Evan Hultine. 

Richter is an accountant with the USDA – Rural Development Agency, and dairy and grain farms alongside her husband and father-in-law. Tori graduated with a double major in accounting and agribusiness economics from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2016. During her time there, she served as the President for the SIUC Collegiate Farm Bureau and Agribusiness Economics Club. She also served two years in their Agbassador program, which is a recruitment effort for the College of Agriculture. Upon graduation, she began her accounting career and became heavily involved on the dairy. Their operation consists of a 500 head milking herd and growing corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and sorghum. Her main focus on the farm is managing the calf facility. She currently holds the position of Vice President of the Clinton County Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee and serves on the Scholarship Committee. In her free time, Tori enjoys cooking, exercising, and spending time outdoors with her husband and dogs. 

“The ALOT program has been such an honor to participate in,” Richter said. “It has given me the confidence to become more involved in my community and to be a stronger advocate for agriculture. I would encourage anybody with the desire to better themselves to apply. What you put into the program, you will see a return 10 times over. The most valuable thing I took away from this experience were the friendships I was able to build.” 

Quinton Huelsmann (Germantown, Ill.) is a customer support supervisor with Growmark, Inc., where he leads a team focusing on national accounts in the energy division. Quinton was active in the Boy Scouts of America for over 20 years, where he earned Eagle Scout Rank and spent time as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Quinton received his B.S. in agribusiness economics from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in December 2017. He is the current Chairman of the Clinton County Young Leader Committee, sits on CCFB Public Relations Committee, and was recently elected to the Clinton CFB board of directors in January. Quinton and his wife, Chelsey, are expecting their first child in April of 2024. Quinton enjoys horseback riding, gardening, and travelling with his wife. 

“ALOT contributed to my personal development as a leader by constantly challenging me to step outside my comfort zone,” Huelsmann said. “Through examining my strengths and growth opportunities, I am able to lead myself and others better and better every day. A newfound network of peers motivate me and provide insight where I have none. Now, I push myself forward in the face of discomfort so that I may continually grow as a leader.”

The 2024 ALOT graduating class heard from nearly 30 speakers, with topics ranging from ag economics to state and local government policy to communication and professionalism and more. Graduates from 17 Illinois counties attended sessions across the state in Edwardsville, Mt. Vernon, Springfield, Salem, Bloomington, Ina, and two virtual sessions on Zoom. Sessions are designed to give participants a head-start on tackling tomorrow’s leadership responsibilities.  

Applications for the 2025 ALOT program can be sent to [email protected] and are due in November.

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