Farm Credit Services Scholarships, Intern Applications Being Accepted & More – News & Views by Bruce Johnson

Freeport – Bruce Johnson at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau brings us his weekly update. This week:

bruce-johnsonCrop insurance program planned for January 20
We’re pleased to be partnering with COUNTRY Financial Services to present a Crop Insurance Update on Wednesday January 20 at the Farm Bureau in Freeport. COUNTRY’s Crop Agency Manager Doug Yoder, who has established himself as one of the most respected experts on risk management and government programs, will be the presenter for this timely program covering Farm Bill changes, program coverage options, and marketing strategies. The program will begin with a meal at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program, and reservations are required to assist with meal preparations and materials. Call your Stephenson County COUNTRY rep or the Farm Bureau office at (815) 232-3186 by January 14 to reserve your spot!

Farm Credit Services scholarships
1st Farm Credit Services is once again offering 24 scholarships of $1,500 each to graduating seniors in their 42-county service territory, and applications are now available online at, at their Freeport office at 651 W. Meadows Drive, or at the Farm Bureau office. Application deadline is March 31, 2016 and selection will be based on a combination of academic achievement, community and agricultural organization involvement, and an essay describing a past innovation, event or person that has greatly influenced modern day agriculture.

Holiday delight
We enjoyed a busy but rewarding Christmas and New Year’s holiday experience with family, beginning with a quick trip to Knoxville for the 4 p.m. Christmas Eve service at Grace Lutheran Church with my father, where I sang three songs in the choir along with Dad and my brother Jeff. After supper we raced home to meet Mike, Cassie and the kids as they arrived from Des Moines later that night. We had a wonderful Christmas morning with them, and Mike and I actually got in a round of disc golf at Krape Park that afternoon while the rest of the bunch hiked and played in the mild weather. Saturday found us at the Lindo Theatre where we enjoyed the Chipmunks movie and lots of popcorn, and later that evening Mike and I had a great time bowling at Four Seasons after the kids went to bed (though he beat me at both disc golf and bowling).

On Sunday we all traveled to Brimfield Illinois where my aunt and uncle hosted the Teel side of the family with around 27 in attendance. Dave, Andrea and Sofia made it down from Milwaukee, and my Andrea went home with them for a few days before I came up on Thursday to help watch Sofia while the kids enjoyed their last New Year’s Eve in Milwaukee. They will be moving to Arlington Virginia on January 8 as Dave begins training for his embassy position. We now know that February 12 will be Flag Day, the ceremony in which he will learn where he will be stationed for the next two years. It was a great time with family and friends over a busy few days, and we enjoyed lots of quality time playing with our wonderful grandkids!
Join us for trip preview program

In case you missed it previously, we’re holding another trip preview on January 19 showcasing our two big 2016 trips with area Farm Bureaus and Tri-State Travel. Jack Wideman from TST will be here to detail the Washington D.C. in the Springtime trip at 7 p.m., followed by a look at our Railroads of New England Fall Explorer excursion at around 7:45 p.m. Details of both trips are available at or at the Farm Bureau office, and there are two date options for each trip – March 30-April 5 or April 6-12 for the Washington trip, and September 23-October 2 or October 1-10 for New England.

Long-range trip options
For those wishing to look further into the future, we’re working with Lindstrom Travel on two trip options for 2017 that are both very interesting. We’ll be collaborating with a group of northern Illinois county Farm Bureaus to sponsor a 5-day trip to Pasadena December 30, 2016 – January 3, 2017 for the Rose Bowl Parade, with premium parade seating and a visit inside the building where the floats are assembled. For the more adventurous travelers, we will be presenting an 11-day European cruise on the Rhine and Mosel Rivers, starting in Amsterdam and ending in Zurich and planned for September 21-October 1, 2017. The cruise will be on a brand-new luxurious boat with just 60 beautiful cabins, so space will go quickly. We will have a preview program with Tony Caruana from Lindstrom Travel on Wednesday February 3 at 7 p.m. at the Farm Bureau, with the cruise highlighted first followed by info on the Pasadena trip. We will post info on our website when it becomes available. As with the Tri-State trips, these will be open exclusively to Farm Bureau members.

Intern applications being accepted
We are accepting applications through February 29 for our Summer Program Assistant position, which will run from late May or early June through mid to late August depending on school schedules. This individual will help plan and coordinate Farm Bureau programs and activities during the summer, including the county fair, Ag Breakfast, Dairy Days Parade, tractor drive, and more. The information and application form can be found on our website at or at the SCFB office at 210 W. Spring Street in Freeport. Candidates should ideally have at least one year of college, and an agricultural background is helpful but not required. Call (815) 232-3186 for more details.

Bruce Johnson is the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.

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