Bruce Johnson’s Stephenson County Farm Bureau Update

bruce-johnsonBeef producers invited to upcoming program

The Illinois Beef Association will be holding Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) sessions throughout Illinois in December. These sessions serve as the beef industry’s best source of continuing education and will provide producers with up-to-date standards and technologies to improve animal welfare and beef quality. Local meeting dates include December 2 at the Community Building in Elizabeth and December 17 here at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau in Freeport, with both events starting at 6 p.m.

“The Illinois BQA program is a proven education system that teaches sensible management practices that help improve the quality and safety of beef,” said Travis Meteer, University of Illinois Extension beef specialist and state BQA coordinator. “It clearly demonstrates how a producer’s actions on the farm have a huge impact on the final beef product.”

BQA is a national program that hopes to raise consumer confidence through offering proper management education and guidelines for the beef industry. A $15 fee includes the cost of a meal and training materials. Pre-registration is encouraged. Attendees should RSVP to the Illinois Beef Association at (217) 787-4280.

As an added incentive, any producers attending the Freeport meeting who sign up as new members of the Stephenson County Beef Association will get their $15 registration fee reimbursed. Contact me at (815) 232-3186 or (815) 499-9387 for more info.

Holiday closing
The Stephenson County Farm Bureau building will be closed on Thursday November 26 and Friday November 27 in observance of Thanksgiving. We will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday November 30, and we wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday with family and friends.

Wrapping up harvest
At this point there are very few fields of standing crops remaining to be harvested in our area, which is a good thing with snow in the forecast on November 20. Some much-needed rain came slowly and steadily over a few days recently, which will help recharge soil moisture levels. Yield reports have been good to above average on corn and good to excellent on soybeans, but prices continue to be depressed. We thank everyone for your patience and cooperation sharing the roadways with agricultural equipment during harvest season, and we ask that you continue to watch for lingering traffic as tillage and fertilizer work may still be occurring.

Date change for stroke screenings
The date for our next Stroke Detection Plus screenings here at the Farm Bureau is moving up one day to Tuesday January 19 to accommodate scheduling issues with the SDP staff. As a reminder, Farm Bureau members are eligible for a significant discount on the full package of four tests; the regular price is $135, but FB members only pay $100 making it very easy to recapture your annual dues investment in just one shot. Call SDP at (877) 732-8258 to schedule your appointment for this fast and simple screening!

I want to clarify that a similar screening is being held here on December 4 with Lifeline Screening, sponsored by FHN, but we are merely renting them the space to hold the event. The FB discount does not apply to the Lifeline testing, which I believe is somewhat more expensive than SDP.

A different outcome
For the first time since 2009, there will not be a team from the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference competing for a state title in the Illinois boys’ high school football playoffs. While the NUIC proved itself to be a powerhouse again with at least 6 teams being state ranked during the season, the playoff path turned out to be more challenging than usual. Hats off to all of the teams that made the playoffs and competed hard – I’m sure next year will bring the same level of competitiveness.

We also salute the Eastland girls’ volleyball team who claimed their third Class 1A volleyball crown in Coach Kristy Pierce’s final season with a decisive win over Cissna Park on November 14. Our region continues to churn out outstanding efforts athletically and otherwise.

Intern applications being accepted
We are now accepting applications for our Summer Program Assistant position, which will run from late May or early June through mid to late August depending on school schedules. 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 ag 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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