Armstrong Announces Retirement

After 48 years of farm broadcasting, Max Armstrong has officially retired.

Unlike many broadcasters with a decades-long career, Armstrong says he did not work for very many employers over the years. After he graduated from Purdue University in 1975, he went to work for Illinois Farm Bureau for a couple of years. After that, he started broadcasting for WGN Radio in Chicago with farm broadcasting legend, Orion Samuelson. He stayed there for 31 years.

“It wasn’t just radio. It was television on WGN TV for the first ten years that I was there, and then syndicated farm TV programming,” Armstrong said. “We did two different farm TV shows over all those years, with the first being U.S. Farm Report and the second being This Week in Agribusiness.

After three decades at WGN, Armstrong started working for Farm Progress, where he has been for 14 years. He said broadcasting has been his dream since he was a child.

“I wanted to be in radio and television since I was seven,” Armstrong said. “I would listen to the radio and sit in the closet of our old farmhouse and practice being on the radio. To be able to live my childhood dream all of these years has been a wonderful ride.”

He officially retired earlier this year, bringing an end to an era in farm broadcasting. Before Armstrong retired, he was presented with two Telly Awards for his efforts in broadcasting and a feature highlighting him.

Christina Loren, host of The Rural Americans TV show, decided to feature him and his family on her show.

“Christina and her crew did a superb job, and that feature was given a Telly Award,” Armstrong said. “That’s how my name was connected with the first Telly Award.”

The second Telly Award was for his work as a host for Rural America Live: Ukraine Special with Howard Buffett.

“Howard Buffett is a philanthropist and investor who takes agriculture seriously, and he has been trying to do what he can to alleviate some of the pain and suffering in Ukraine,” Armstrong said. “We sat down for an hour on his farm in Nebraska and talked about why he does what he does and his work there.”

Armstrong gives the credit for his connections to these two awards to other individuals for their hard work on these projects.

“Christina Loren did all the heavy lifting for the first one,” Armstrong said. “Katie Avant is the news director for RFD-TV, and she did a tremendous job of pulling the pieces together on the Howard Buffett feature. All I did was sit down and draw out the feelings and emotion of the subject.”

Over the years, Armstrong has met several interesting people and seen some amazing places.

“I was introduced to the great-great-great grandson of John Deere one time, and I happened to have a cameraman right there with me,” Armstrong said. “I got to interview him on the spot, and those are the kinds of stories I enjoyed the most. To listen to people pour their hearts out about something they are passionate about is the most satisfying thing.”

His farm broadcasting has impacted millions of people across America, and his legacy will continue to impact generations to come.

“There’s a relationship the farmer feels with their farm broadcaster,” Armstrong said. “We’re guests in their homes and the cabs of their tractors every day and sometimes multiple times each day. The most memorable interviews were not politicians or heads of states. They were the farmers who shared their hearts.”