GROWING YOUR ROOTS • Meet The New Country Financial Rep

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Be kind to your mind. It’s okay to not be okay. Not all wounds are visible. What do these three statements have in common? Mental health. May is Mental Health Month and Farm Bureau has new resources to share. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation has published a new online directory of resources for farmers and their families who are experiencing stress and mental health challenges. The directory is titled “Farm State of Mind” and can be found using the web address fb.org/land/fsom.  It allows you to search for resources by state and includes contact information for counselors, a crisis text line, publications, and more. The quote “A healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you” is listed at the top of their webpage and serves as a great reminder that it’s extremely important to care for both your physical and mental health–even when it’s busy season.  

For our May member spotlight, I’m introducing you to a new business owner in Hillsboro. Jessica Chappelear is serving as the new Country Financial Representative on Main Street.  Born and raised in Montgomery County, Jessica is the perfect fit for this position. 

“I grew up in rural Raymond, in between Raymond and Nokomis on a family farm and I was the oldest of four girls. Jessica Wernsing was my maiden name. So I grew up on that farm, and took a love for working in the agricultural world through FFA.  That was one of my favorite activities going through high school. I was a member of the Lincolnwood FFA program and took a very active role in that organization and after my senior year of high school, I ran and was elected as a state FFA officer and I served as the 1997-98 State FFA Treasurer and that required me to take a year off of college to do that role.  I traveled the state of Illinois representing agriculture to FFA chapters as well as speaking at banquets and working with the state government. After that I started college at the U of I and majored in ag economics, farm and financial management.” 

After college, Jessica started her career with Aldi Foods as a district manager and married her husband, Joe Chappelear, of Hillsboro. A farming opportunity for Joe brought them back to the area and Jessica then accepted her most recent position as Executive Director of Fusion Fitness and Aquatics.  Her journey with Country Financial began on April 1 this year and Jessica said she’s excited for the new opportunity. 

“So far so good. I started April 1 and through Country most of that involved a lot training.  Due to the current COVID situation, a lot of that training has taken place online so I've been sitting behind my laptop with a camera on me and doing a lot of training that way.  Some of those days have been 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. solid training, and then other days there hasn't been as much. Being in the position I'm in, that training has also been mingled with business currently happening in the office, so that has not stopped. So I'm learning via an online platform and I'm also learning hands-on from the people who are coming in and out of the office and the phone calls and situations that are occurring in people's lives.  It's been great to kind of see a hands-on approach as well as learning things online.” 

While Jessica is new to the office, previous contact information remains the same. Address and phone have not changed and you will still be greeted by office assistants Paige Meyers and Christie Wolf when you walk through the front door on Main Street. Although Jessica still has some training to complete, she welcomes clients to stop by the office and is looking forward to meeting everyone. 

“Now that I’m through a lot of my training I’m going to be reaching out to current clients to introduce myself and get to know them and what their needs are and try to answer any questions that they have about their current coverage and learn along the way. We are also planning to host a ‘meet the agent’ luncheon here at the office towards the end of May where people can come in to the office, meet me, and have lunch on us. Meeting clients is going to be the focus for the next couple of months and I want to be there for those clients who have questions about their insurance.” 

Jessica can be reached by phone at 217-532-3536 or email at Jessica.Chappelear@countryfinancial.com. 

Spring has brought a refreshing change of pace to Farm Bureau events. We have been able to schedule several events for the upcoming months and it’s exciting to be able to plan activities again. First on the agenda is our Defensive Driving Course scheduled for Thursday, May 27. The Young Leaders will have a booth at the county bicentennial event on Saturday, June 5, and plan to walk in a few local parades this summer. Member appreciation meals are on the docket for several dates in July and we will be hosting our inaugural “Drive Out Hunger Golf Scramble” on Friday, July 30, at Indian Springs Golf Course in Fillmore.  For more information on any of these events, call the office or visit our Facebook page! Thanks for growing your roots! 

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