Stephenson County Farm Bureau – Bruce Johnson’s News & Views

bruce-johnsonInput is needed for program planning meeting
Each year the Stephenson County Farm Bureau leaders gather to brainstorm ideas for programs and activities in the coming year, and this year’s event will take place on Tuesday January 5 at 7 p.m. at the Farm Bureau. Rather than dividing the process into our four traditional Task Force areas, we are taking a different approach this year and taking a broad-stroke look at overall program needs and opportunities. This process can benefit greatly from the involvement of our grassroots membership to gain a fuller perspective on what our members want us to be doing and offering, so I am extending the invitation to our members – farming or non-farm – to join us in this important exercise. We will have food and drink provided, and I would ask that you give us a call at (815) 232-3186 if you plan to attend so we can plan accordingly. I really hope that our members will take this opportunity to have their voice heard and their ideas considered as we seek to develop effective and relevant programs and services for the future.

The SCFB board met on December 21 and welcomed new director Earl Klinger of Pecatonica to the group after being elected to a 3-year term at our annual meeting on November 24. Earl succeeds Ryan Keltner of Pearl City, who stepped down after 20 years of stellar service on the board including six years as president from 2007-2012. The current officer team was reelected for a 1-year term, including President Steve Fricke of Freeport, Vice President Chad Bremmer of Pearl City, and Secretary/Treasurer Jon Rosenstiel of Pearl City.

Cubs update
We have filled both buses for our July 20 outing to see the Chicago Cubs battle the New York Mets at Wrigley Field in Chicago, and those of you who are signed up to go are asked to submit your payment for the seats you reserved by January 15, as we have already had to pay for the seats. Those seats not paid for by January 15 will be offered to the next name on the waiting list, so don’t delay and miss your chance to see this great game. I will be submitting our ticket request for our Cubs/Brewers trip to Miller Park on January 5, and we are hoping to get seats for the Friday July 22 game at 7:10 p.m. Watch for more details when confirmation is received, and we expect those seats to go quickly as is usually the case.

Enthusiasm for the Cubs 2016 season ramped up even more recently when they signed rising star outfielder Jason Heyward away from the St. Louis Cardinals for less money than the Redbirds offered. He indicated that he is eager to play with the talent and leadership possessed by the Cubs these days, and the Cubs lineup is getting scary good right now. We’ve always had no problem filling our buses for Cubs games, and this year the demand is at fever pitch. Go Cubbies!

Deere trip
We’ve submitted our request for our tour of the John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline for Wednesday March 23, and we are awaiting confirmation as of press time. The Seeding Division, where the John Deere planters and seeders are produced, will be on shutdown for the entire month of March and unavailable for our tour, but we plan to take the 8 a.m. riding tour of the Harvester Works and a 10:30 a.m. visit to the fabulous John Deere Pavilion and Store, followed by lunch at the Machine Shed in Davenport. I am looking into another possible afternoon tour stop that can be worked into the schedule, so watch for more details coming soon.

Budget woes continue
Frustration continues as our state legislature is still struggling to make any progress on a state budget while the bills keep mounting. The negative impact is being felt statewide with facility closures, program and staff cuts, and general uneasiness. Governor Rauner and three of the four leaders met last week, but once again House Speaker Mike Madigan was a no-show due to personal obligations. It has become a sore subject in terms of Madigan holding the state hostage and limiting progress on anything substantive, and the hole we’re in just keeps getting deeper. Hang on for a bumpy road ahead!

Stroke Detection Plus
The outstanding team of professionals from Stroke Detection Plus will be back on January 19 for another round of their timely and effective screenings to determine your risk of stroke, arterial blockages or osteoporosis. The full set of tests only costs $135, and Farm Bureau members can get the tests for just $100 for a great return on your membership investment. Call SDP today at (877) 732-8258 to schedule your appointment as space is limited and fills up quickly.

Trip preview program scheduled
Interest continues for our two trips with Tri-State Travel in 2016, and we’ll be holding a preview program for both trips on Tuesday January 19. The Washington D.C. in the Springtime excursion will be featured at 7 p.m., with the Railroads of New England Fall Explorer trip highlighted around 7:45 p.m. Dates for the D.C. trip are March 30-April 5 or April 6-12, and the New England options are September 23-October 2 or October 1-10. Details can be viewed at

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

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