Stephenson County Farm Bureau News and Views

News and Views Bruce Johnson

Wrapping up another successful fair
We completed a successful week at the 2016 Stephenson County Fair held July 6-10, with a number of highlights. Our Celebrity Showmanship Contest during Wednesday night’s Youth & Family Night activities saw five area celebrities paired with 4-H swine exhibitors who instructed them for an hour prior to the celebs displaying their talents and knowledge in front of judges and the audience. When the judging was completed, United Way of Northwest Illinois Executive Director Tiffany Nieman claimed the $500 top prize for her charity (United Way), with the $300 second prize going to 89th District State Representative Brian Stewart (FHN Leonard Ferguson Cancer Center) and the $200 third prize claimed by WREX-TV news anchor Kristen Crowley (Friends Forever Humane Society). Close behind and earning $50 for their charities were Highland College President Tim Hood (Boys & Girls Club of Freeport) and Adkins Energy General Manager Ray Baker (Conservation & Agricultural Partners Foundation). Thanks also to our 4-H partners Jazmin Wingert, Nicole Moest, Jordan Johnson, Jase Sheffey, and Levi Sheffey for their expert coaching, and to Stephenson County Pork Producers President Kirk Dorty for helping me with the judging.

On Saturday we debuted the inaugural Master Showmanship Contest with four 4-H exhibitors displaying their skills in exhibiting a beef animal, hog and sheep in front of a judge. Claiming first prize of $200 and a feed bucket and scoop was Jazmin Wingert (Kent), with Gwen Heimerdinger (Pearl City) taking second prize of $100 and a bucket and scoop. Third and fourth places were claimed by Zach Brinkmeier (Pearl City) and Drake Musser (Pearl City), each getting a gift card. Jazmin will now represent Stephenson County in the state competition on Friday August 12 at 7 p.m. in the Junior Livestock Barn at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Thanks to Lori Tessendorf and her staff at the University of Illinois Extension office for their help in organizing this event, and to our terrific judge Steven Haas from Elburn and his assistants Jacie and Jade for their expertise.

Sunday saw 45 contestants in our annual Kiddie Pedal Pull in the Swine Show Ring, with the top three competitors in each of the three weight classes qualifying for the state finals pull on August 16 at the Illinois State Fair. Winners (listed 1st-3rd) were: 30-45# – Abby Busker, Colson Lamm, and Jayden Bremmer; 46-60# – Rachel Busker, Matt Busker, and Lucas Bremmer; and 61-80# – Dominic Granno, Tucker Wichman, and Max Freier. The middle class was one of our wildest ever with eight full pulls leading to a pull-off that resulted in two ties, requiring additional pull-offs to determine the winners. Thanks to our Young Leaders Lucas Kempel, Logan Kempel, Brock Musser and Riley Fluegel for their excellent help and to our new fair royalty – Queen Alissa Johnson, Junior Miss Lindsay Halter, and Little Miss Gemma Musser – for their assistance in handing out prizes.

Our Farm Fun Zone tent was busy all week, and we thank our volunteers, animal providers, Farm First Dairy Cooperative (cheese sticks), Tee-Lee Popcorn (popper and salt), Farm & Fleet (feed trough and shavings), and the fair staff for making our presence a positive one. The fair board is already reviewing this year’s results and will begin serious planning for the 2017 fair at our July 28 board meeting at 7 p.m. at the Farm Bureau.

Paying respects to a great man
The county fair family and the broader community lost a great friend with the untimely passing of Denny Manus at the age of 63 on June 30. Denny had become ill earlier in the year with a rare blood disorder that doctors were ultimately unable to contain, and he passed away after his condition had spiraled downward in recent weeks. Denny was a local farmer, longtime member of the Freeport Rural Fire Department, and actively involved in many local activities. He and his wife Pam handled the commercial department activities for the Stephenson County Fair in recent years, where I enjoyed working with him on fair issues. Our sympathies are extended to Denny’s family and friends as we lose yet another good one well before their time.

Stroke Detection Plus returning on August 16
We’re pleased to welcome Stroke Detection Plus back on Tuesday August 16 for another round of their timely and affordable screenings to determine your risk for arterial blockages and osteoporosis. The full package of tests only costs $135, and Farm Bureau members can get the package for just $100 (a tremendous return on your dues investment). Call (877) 732-8258 to schedule your appointment for a quick and informative screening!

Bus trip update
Get on the bus with us for our August 20 trip to Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, one of the Midwest’s top “agri-tainment” destinations. You will be in awe of the modern dairy and pork operations that serve as educational venues for your tour, and the new crop center just opened this spring. The restaurant and cheese store are highlights, and you can watch new calves being born in the theatre-style auditorium where over 50 cows give birth daily. This bus usually fills up and only 8 seats remain as of July 13, so don’t delay if you want to join us.

Peach orders
Don’t forget to place your order for those delicious Cresthaven peaches from Rendleman Orchards in southern Illinois, with delivery anticipated around August 9. Order information is available at or at the Farm Bureau office.

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

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