Stories of Naperville

Sep 19

[ARCHIVED] Meet Barn Raising Benefit’s Masters of Ceremony

The original item was published from September 19, 2016 11:09 AM to February 23, 2024 2:58 PM


In an effort to preserve and support our region’s rich agricultural history at the Barn Raising Benefit on Saturday, Nov. 5, Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society are proud to announce two very special guests as masters of ceremony, award-winning agricultural journalists Orion Samuelson and Max Armstrong.

Samuelson and Armstrong have dedicated their lives to educating the public on agriculture and have a weekly radio show on WGN Radio “The Morning Show with Orion and Max,” as well as a popular RFD-TV program “This Week in Agribusiness.” Samuelson and Armstrong both grew up on Midwestern farms and recognize the importance of educating urban residents and students on agriculture.

Proceeds from the Barn Raising event will benefit the new 5,000-square-foot Agricultural Interpretive Center that will be an ideal place for students, teachers and visitors to share and talk about the history, business and modern-day innovations of agriculture.

For more than 55 years at WGN, Samuelson says he’s been trying to build bridges of understanding between farmers and city residents. With less than 2% of the world’s population involved in producing food, fiber and energy, Samuelson thinks it’s essential to educate people living in cities. “It becomes more important than ever to educate city folks, or as I say non-farm consumers, on what it takes to put food on their table, clothes on their back, a roof over their head and now energy in the tank,” said Samuelson.

“I think if the tools farmers use is explained to [consumers] they’ll have a better understanding of why farmers do what they do,” said Armstrong on the advancements of agriculture for the ever growing population. “We need high output agriculture, scientifically based agriculture and environmentally friendly agriculture which is what our farmers are working on today.” 

Armstrong previously lived in Naperville for 25 years and is overjoyed the community is supporting the Agricultural Interpretive Center. “I’m so thrilled that the community is embracing this kind of a center,” said Armstrong. “You can go into a lot of places to get information about our food supply... but with the kind of interactive displays that will be at the facility in Naperville it will really bring [the message] home.”

Samuelson hopes the center will create more interest in agricultural science. “I'm hopeful the Agricultural Center can lead the way to better understanding and that's why it is important to support educational programs based on science,” said Samuelson. 

Samuelson and Armstrong have won countless awards and honors throughout their careers. As the most honored agriculture journalist in the country, Samuelson is a member of the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame, the National 4-H Hall of Fame, the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame. 

With 30 years of agriculture broadcasting under his belt, Armstrong has created broadcasts from all 50 states and 30 different foreign nations. He has twice received the Oscar in Agriculture from the National Association of Farm Broadcasting with awards in the highest honors by the National Agri-Marketing Association and the American Agricultural Editors Association.

Join us for a unique evening to support Naper Settlement’s Agricultural Interpretative Center at the Barn Raising Benefit on Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. at 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, IL. This special night will feature a preview of the center, while guests enjoy cocktails and a beautiful, locally sourced farm-to-table dinner by green restaurant and caterer Big Delicious Planet. Tickets are $250 each. To reserve tickets or for more information, please contact Nata-Leigh Preas at