History

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Fayette County was settled by hard working and frugal people who cleared land to make their farms and homes. Early businesses depended on their supply of raw materials and they in turn were customers for city products and consumer goods. At one time ten flour mills, 20 sawmills, 11 wagon and carriage factories and four furniture-making plants flourished in Fayette County.

The first organized effort of farm people was recorded in 1878 when three local Granges boasted a membership of 190. Twenty years later the Farmers Institute was organized. At the same time the Land-grant College Act of 1862 was passed and agricultural experiment stations were established.

The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 made it possible for organized groups of farmers to employ county farm advisers. It is said that in 1918 the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Vandalia offered to pay for the required number of memberships in Fayette County to start a farm bureau so that a farm adviser might be employed. The U of I College of Agriculture advised that a farmer adviser would not be placed until local farmers showed interest enough to pay their own memberships. Even though the farmers were skeptical, they found themselves attending meetings and listening to discussions on farm programs and cooperation.

On October 23, 1933, W. C. Buzzard was chairing a meeting at which Vernon Vaniman, Organization Director of Illinois Agricultural Association was speaker. This was the beginning to the Farm Bureau in Fayette County which officially started offering services on March 1, 1935.

There have been several different locations which housed the Fayette County Farm Bureau® offices over the years. The first recorded full time office location was on the top floor of the Greer Building on the north-west corner of 5th & Gallatin Streets, in Vandalia, 1933- 1936. It then relocated to offices in the First National Bank building, 1936- 1954. The next recorded offices were in the 100 block of north 6th Street in Vandalia from 1955- 1979. That office was the target of arson and was destroyed. Temporary offices were set up at the old Crane Packing building located in the 1000 block of West Jefferson Street from 1979-1981. The Fayette County Farm Bureau® then moved into the offices that now house them at 1125 North Sunset Dr. in Vandalia in October 1981.