Expanding Young Minds at Ag Adventures 2017

Expanding young minds at Ag Adventures 2017
bruce-johnsonAround 230 fifth-grade students, teachers and assistants from seven Stephenson County schools participated in the 2017 Ag Adventures Day on April 26 at the Stephenson County Fairgrounds. Organized by the Conservation & Agricultural Partners (CAP) Foundation and the Stephenson County Farm Bureau, this event introduces participants to the world of agriculture through multiple stations and presenters in 25-minute rotating sessions. This year’s topics were swine, beef, dairy, sheep, bees, ag careers, veterinary medicine, grains, water and GPS, and the rain subsided in time for the majority of the day to be unimpeded. Presenters included Becca Moest, Alisha Conrad and David Leitzinger (swine); Nikki and Ryan Keltner (beef); Scott Brenner (dairy); Sid DeVries and Rose DeVries (sheep); Philip Raines (bees); Lynette Kearns and Andrea Finkenbinder (ag careers); Abe Trone (vet); Jo Wenzel (grains); Jackie DeBatista and Jay Solomon (water); and Melinda Charbonneau (GPS). We also had assistance from students from the HCC ag department and Lena-Winslow FFA, along with Karen Seuring from the CAP board (who helped serve lunch) and Jerry Kubatze and the fairgrounds crew setting up the bleachers and tables. Kudos to CAP Foundation Education Coordinator Brittani DeVries for an outstanding job of coordinating this event.

Cheese & Cheers Tour 2017 kicks off
SCFB is pleased to be one of the partners promoting the 2017 Cheese & Cheers Tour, which allows guests to visit participating local businesses and fill out their “passport” from April 1 through October 31, 2017. You’ll have the option to claim one of the incentives offered by the participating vendors, after which you can submit your name for the grand prize drawing to be held after the conclusion of the tour. Tour hosts include The Cheese Market (Freeport), Famous Fossil Winery (Cedarville), Generations Brewing Company (Freeport), Lena Brewing Company (Lena), Megz Country Cheese (Davis), and Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery (Lena). You can pick up your passport at any of these locations as well as here at the Farm Bureau or at the Freeport/Stephenson County Visitors Center, and you can view the info at www.stephensoncfb.org.

Get on board for the Hawkeye Ag Tour
Signup has lagged a bit for what I feel is one of our best trips of the year, the Hawkeye Ag Tour to Iowa on June 28-29, so I encourage you to sign up soon as the deadline is May 26. This trip kicks off with a tour of Lely Manufacturing in Pella Iowa, where robotic dairy milking systems and other related livestock equipment are produced. Following a fabulous lunch at the Monarch Restaurant in the Royal Amsterdam Hotel in Pella, we’ll tour Vermeer Manufacturing where various haying and specialty equipment lines are manufactured. Our overnight stay in Des Moines at the new Holiday Inn Express downtown includes an evening at the Iowa Cubs baseball game at terrific Principal Park – the I-Cubs are the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, so you’ll see some familiar faces there in a very entertaining experience.

Day two begins with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a visit to Monsanto’s Learning Center at Huxley and a tour of John Deere’s Des Moines Works (where they will be manufacturing cotton harvesters). We’ll have lunch enroute to Williamsburg for our final stop at Kinze Manufacturing and Innovations Center, a fascinating facility that showcases the company’s ascent from a one-man welding shop started in 1966 to a global farm equipment leader today. This trip promises to be educational and enjoyable, but we need some more passengers to make it viable. Details are available at www.stephensoncfb.org or at the Farm Bureau office – join us for a great excursion to the Hawkeye State!

SCFB Foundation scholarships
The deadline is May 31 for our Stephenson County Farm Bureau Foundation college-level scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year, available at www.stephensoncfb.org or at the FB office. For college students with at least 30 credit hours earned, we’ll be offering up to six $500 Ag Studies scholarships, up to six $500 General scholarships, and up to two $500 Non-Traditional Student stipends (along with three $500 Ag Studies grants funded by the Stephenson County Pork Producers).

San Antonio trip filling quickly!
Our March 17-26, 2018 “San Antonio and More” trip with area Farm Bureaus and Tri-State Travel is filling rapidly, with the bus nearly half full already before some of the county Farm Bureaus have even had their preview programs. This promises to be a terrific excursion filled with highlights, and you can read about it on our website or pick up a flyer in our office. You can see the details on all our local and regional trips at www.stephensoncfb.org.

Send us your pics!
It’s prime time to send your entries for our Stephenson Scenes 2017 photo contest, as the flowers are blooming, tractors running, and family activities ramping up for the summer – check out the details at www.stephensoncfb.org.

Planting progress
The wheels started turning full-speed last week as corn planting leapt into high gear, only to be slammed to a halt by rain and colder temps. We’ll see what effect the cool, damp conditions will have on the planted corn as farmers await the next window of opportunity – as always, please exercise caution on area roadways as there will be lots of large agricultural equipment traveling between farm and field.

Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau

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