Stephenson County, Illinois — It doesn’t seem like it with the winter weather refusing to leave peacefully this year, but the calendar reminds us that summer is on the horizon and our schedule of activities is already ramping up. We kick off April with our first Cubs/Brewers baseball trip on April 6, followed by our 2nd annual Farm-to-Farm 5K/10K Run on April 7 and our Circa 21 Dinner Theatre buss trip on April 8. The pace will continue to be brisk with a number of other activities in April as we build momentum for a very busy summer ahead. We have already brought one of our summer interns Abby Endress in to help with some projects and we look forward to having her on boards for June and July along with Kendahlyn Schlueter who will be here from June through August. Keep an eye on our website at www.stephensoncfb.org to stay in touch with what’s happening with Farm Bureau.
One of the most exciting and entertaining NCCA men’s basketball tournaments that I’ve seen in years concluded on April 2 with the title game in which Villanova eventually pulled away from a determined and talented Michigan team for a decisive victory to claim their second championship in the past 3 years. The Wildcats are a well-coached talent-rich team that returns many of their key players, including junior Donte DiVincenzo, who came off the bench to score 31 points and make big plays on both ends of the court including some amazing blocked shots. If star guard Jalen Brunson decides to exercise his last year of hoops eligibility after graduating this year after just 3 years (and comes back next season, Villanova should be an odds-on favorite to win the title in 2019.
The NCAA women’s tourney was equally exciting with Notre Dame taking out perennial power and top-ranked Connecticut in the semi-finals on a last second shot, only to come back two days later and shock second-ranked Mississippi State 61-58 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the championship game. I’m now ready to fully shift my focus to baseball as the Cubs begin their quest for the crown.
Nurse Practitioner Scholarships available
Applications are due May 1 for five $4,000 scholarships being granted this year through the Illinois Farm Bureau® Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program. The scholarship program, now in its twenty-sixth year, helps encourage and develop the pool of rural health practitioners to help meet primary health care needs in rural Illinois. Students who receive scholarships agree to practice for two years in an approved rural area in Illinois. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be Illinois residents and be a Registered Nurse accepted or enrolled in an accredited Nurse Practitioner Program. Funding is provided by the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program. Applications are available at county Farm Bureaus® throughout the state, on the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program website at RIMSAP.com, or by writing Donna Gallivan, Program Manager, Illinois Farm Bureau, PO Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. For additional information, contact Donna Gallivan at (309) 557-2350, or via e-mail at dgallivan@Ilfb.org.
Speaking of scholarships…
Our SCFB Foundation scholarship applications are now posted on our website at www.stephensoncfb.org under the Education tab on the SCFB Foundation page. We’ll again be offering up to four $500 Ag Studies scholarships to graduating seniors who are pursuing an ag-related degree, and we have a variety of grants available to current college students. Applications are also available at the Farm Bureau office. The deadline is April 14 for the high school scholarships, so don’t delay in applying!
Defensive Driving class scheduled
Back by popular demand, we’ve scheduled another Defensive Driving class with popular veteran instructor Doug Sommer. The course will be held on Wednesday and Thursday April 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Farm Bureau, and those completing the course may be eligible for discounts on their auto insurance premiums. Call (815) 232-3186 to sign up – cost is $15 for FB members and $25 for non -members which includes lunch both days and all materials.
Solar inquiries continue
We continue to get a lot of calls from landowners who have been contacted about opportunities to lease their land for solar panel installations, as there are in excess of 30 companies working statewide in this field. There are many questions to be asked and answered before signing any agreements, and we encourage anyone with questions to give us a call at (815) 232-3186 and we can consult with our IFB legal staff and renewable energy experts to provide guidance. It is imperative that landowners do their homework thoroughly, and we can refer you to legal professionals who work exclusively with these renewable energy agreements.
Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.