john manning finalist for operator of the year award

NEWARK, Ill. – John Manning, Operator for CHS Elburn in Newark, Ill. has been named one of four finalists for AGCO’s 12th annual Operator of the Year award, which recognizes hard working applicators across the country. The winner will be announced and presented with the grand prize of a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle at the 2017 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo, which is held November 28-30 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

Manning has been with CHS Elburn for 13 years, with 18 years of experience as an operator. He applies 36,000 acres a year and treats each field as if it were his own. Even during peak seasons Manning takes his time to do the little things that make a difference in an application such as switching to a fence row nozzle to keep weed pressure down or making sure he is backed into all his corners.

Manning is also a talented mechanic. He makes sure every piece of equipment is gone over with a fine tooth comb before the season starts, saving the company both time and money. “Some people cringe when they hear there was a breakdown in the field, “says Tara Bernard of CHS Elburn, “I don’t worry as much, because I know the best person to work on John’s machine, is John.” When he is not spraying fields or working on company machines he is at his shop repairing other people’s vehicles and equipment, including working on cars for those who cannot afford to take their vehicle to a repair shop.

The Operator of the Year program is open to all ag retailers and custom applicators in the U.S., regardless of the machine brands in their application fleets. A panel of judges from AGCO will evaluate nominees based on their performance — both on and off the field — including criteria such as skill, dedication and customer service as well as community involvement. For more information about the Operator of the Year award, visit