Irish Grove Farms, Inc. has been in the Flynn family for over 100 years and is located in the beautiful rolling hills country of northern Illinois. The farm has been lovingly managed by four generations of Flynn’s, and was also home to the Brown family who tenant farmed this land for close to 40 years.
Jackie (Flynn) and Marcelo Batista have managed the farm since 2006 when Jackie’s father, John, died unexpectedly. Jackie grew up on the farm, although down the road from the main homestead, and has always loved the outdoors. A rural girl at heart, she dreamed more of becoming a park ranger than a farmer. But life happens, and she now finds herself back in Irish Grove, running the family farm and loving it. Jackie has a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and a M.A. in Environmental Studies. She also works full-time off the farm as the Executive Director of Farmers Rising. On the farm, Jackie shares the daily chore responsibility and is in charge of sales, marketing, finances and record-keeping.
Jackie met Marcelo while she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama. They married in 1998 and moved back to the States in 2000. Marcelo is a very talented mechanic and works full time for the City of Rockford. Between his amazing ability to fix everything and his inability to sit still for more than a few minutes, Marcelo truly is the backbone of this operation. He can operate any machinery like he was born doing it and is a true innovator. Marcel has built a pitching machine for the kids, a bale mover for the farm, automatic feeders for the chickens, and his welding skills are in demand on a regular basis. He’s also the only Panamanian in Pecatonica. Go figure.
Jackie and Marcelo have three wonderful kids, one dog, three pet goats, and a very big but sweet horse named Lucero. Thankfully, we work well together and our happiest times are often during a cattle round-up or while moving fences. We believe happy farmers make for happy animals. So far, it’s worked pretty well.