Ellis is a 50-Year Ag Communicator

Stu Ellis (WHOW, Decatur, Illinois) has been a well-known agricultural communicator in Illinois for nearly 50 years. Beginning as the farm broadcaster at WSOY (Decatur, Illinois), Ellis extended his service to Corn Belt farmers through radio, television, newspapers, newsletters, the Internet, and numerous facets of education, wanting to ensure they had the information they needed to be more profitable.

Ellis was raised on a Christian County farm near Taylorville, Illinois, and received BS and MS degrees from the University of Illinois in communications. His voice and information about agriculture have been heard on many Illinois radio stations, including reports about agriculture from six continents and all the way from Gorbachev’s Russia to Reagan’s White House Rose Garden. He has expanded his agricultural offerings through video reports on a wide range of issues from various locations, shooting and editing daily farm programs for WCIA-TV (Champaign, Illinois).

He also provides a daily radio program for WHOW (Clinton, Illinois) and WTIM (Taylorville, Illinois) and is in negotiation to provide daily programming to other Illinois radio stations. His farm broadcasting career began in 1972 at WITY (Danville, Illinois) and extended to 16 years at WSOY in Decatur. He was an NAFB member in the 1980s until a station ownership change upended his fun. In a mid-career pause from broadcasting, Ellis served as director of marketing for the American Soybean Association and was responsible for launching soybean ink into national use by thousands of newspapers and commercial printers. He was hired by Illinois Farm Bureau to create an educational curriculum for farmers on marketing, financial management, and risk management and conducted seminars throughout Illinois and other states “helping farmers make more money and stay out of jail,” which Ellis says has been a life-long goal. Then he served University of Illinois Extension teaching farm management and marketing and wrote USDA’s risk management education curriculum. He still manages a farm marketing club that meets monthly.

As the Macon County Extension Agent, he and a Farm Bureau colleague were instrumental in the development of Progress City and locating the Farm Progress Show to its all-weather home at Decatur. “We gave Farm Progress leaders an offer they could not refuse, and the community was thrilled with the new partnership that brings hundreds of thousands of people to Decatur.”

Ellis is a graduate of the Illinois Agriculture Leadership Program and recently received the Torch Award, its highest honor, for his Progress City efforts. He has served as president of the Decatur Rotary Club, the Illinois Agricultural Extension Association, the Illinois Farm News Association, and he served as an advisory member to the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors. He has written a weekly column for the Decatur Herald and Review since 2000 and has published a weekly newsletter for Corn Belt farmers for 21 years, which is also branded for many banks and agribusinesses for their clientele. Ellis has been a frequent speaker on a multitude of agricultural topics in many communities.

Ellis and his wife of 40-plus years, Cindy, have two adopted daughters and a trio of small grandkids who are being raised in their home in Decatur. For more than a decade, he has served as a part-time chaplain at Decatur Memorial Hospital. And when he’s not working, you’ll find him…well…working.