Seeking Partners For “Growing Together 2016” Project – Farm Bureau News & Views

Seeking partners for “Growing Together 2016” project
We are pleased to announce a unique opportunity for area families or individuals to gain a better understanding of today’s farming environment through a special partnering initiative. With assistance from a grant from the Illinois Farm Bureau, we are introducing “Growing Together 2016”, a program in which we will pair local farm families with non-farm consumers to spend the entire growing season in a collaborative relationship. We plan to bring the people together at a dinner in March, after which the farm families will open their operations to their seasonal guests and share their experiences with them. We envision the opportunity to ride in the tractor cab during spring planting, watch the crop progress through the summer into the fall, and experience the harvest and even the marketing process in the fall. Livestock farmers will have an additional opportunity to expose their partners to that part of their farming enterprise and the specific elements involved there. The project will conclude with a harvest dinner in November.

Any interested families or individuals who would like to be considered for this program are invited to contact the Farm Bureau office at (815) 232-3186 or download the application form at Deadline for applications is February 29, 2016 and we will notify the selected participants in early March.

Deere trip confirmed for March 23
We’re adding a new option to our John Deere tour rotation this year as we’ll be visiting a new destination for the first time. We have typically visited the Deere Harvester Works and Pavilion in the Quad Cities coupled with a tour of Kinze Manufacturing at Williamsburg Iowa on even years, with a trek to Waterloo Iowa on odd years to tour the Tractor Works and Engine Works. This year we had planned to insert a tour of Deere’s Planter Works in place of Kinze, but they will be on shutdown for the entire month of March. I’m excited to report that we’ve scheduled a day trip for Wednesday March 23 that includes an 8 a.m. tour of Deere’s fascinating Harvester Works, a visit to the Deere Pavilion and Store, lunch at the Machine Shed Restaurant, and an afternoon tour of the Deere Davenport Works where they manufacture construction and forestry equipment. Cost for the trip is just $20/person for Farm Bureau members and $30 for non-members, which includes everything but lunch. Both tours are riding tours, and you must be at least 14 years old and all participants must wear closed-toe shoes. These trips usually fill up quickly, so call us at (815) 232-3186 to reserve your seat!

Scholarship apps now available
The Stephenson County Farm Bureau Foundation is once again offering scholarships for our members and dependents, and we encourage you to take a look at what is available. We have posted the application forms on our website at and they are also available at the SCFB office, with the deadline of April 8 for the high school senior applications and May 27 for the college level forms. Call (815) 232-3186 for more information.

Hoops heaven
I love this time of year when college basketball is ramping up towards March Madness tournament time, and I got the chance to watch two great games last week on ESPN. The opener was an offensive slugfest between North Carolina and Florida State, with NC’s Brice Johnson (not exactly a household name) becoming the first NC player since Mitch Kupchak in 1976 to score 30 points and grab 20 rebounds as he collected 39 points and 23 rebounds in their 106-90 victory.

The nightcap game is likely to become an ESPN Classic as I was glad to stay awake for the showdown between #1 Kansas and #2 Oklahoma (Oklahoma was actually ranked first in the coaches’ poll with Kansas second). The game lived up to the hype and seesawed back and forth with amazing momentum swings before Kansas prevailed in triple overtime 109-106. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield poured in 46 points and backcourt mate Jordan Woodard added 27, but Kansas had better balance and stronger bench contributions. It was a thrilling game to watch and it made me anxious for tourney time!

Mark your calendar!
Ready for some family fun? The 2016 Northern Illinois Farm Bureau Bowling Tournament will be held on Saturday January 30, 2016 at the Forest Hills Lanes, 7742 Forest Hills Road in Loves Park IL. Registration begins at 1 p.m. and the tournament will commence at 2 p.m. with the following men’s and women’s divisions: Under 12 with bumpers; Under 12 without bumpers; Young Adult 12-18; Young Adult 19-35; Adult 36-54; Senior 55-64; and Senior 65+. Awards will be presented for high score individual in each division as well as high score in the Child (under 12) and Adult (12+) divisions. Reservations are due to the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau office by Wednesday, January 27, 2016. The cost per bowler will be $14 (children under twelve will be $12) with free shoe rental. The registration fee will be collected at the bowling alley, and forms are available at or at the Farm Bureau office. Advance registration is preferred.

New year, new adventures
I can’t believe how quickly 2015 flew by as we roll into the new year – in fact, I was thinking the other day how it doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were getting used to writing the year beginning with a 2, and now we’re sixteen years into it! Andrea and I are excited about the year ahead as our family’s world will expand when David, Andrea and Sofia learn where their Foreign Service assignment will take them. We’ll be spending lots of time with Mike, Cassie and the kids and we plan to keep running as well (I’m planning my first half marathon on June 5 in Galesburg). May the New Year bring you and your family peace, prosperity and joy!

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

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