Miller’s Keep Downtown Energy On An Upswing – This Week From The Farm Bureau

Millers keep downtown energy on an upswing

bruce-johnsonI was thrilled last week to learn that my good friend and SCFB board member Greg Miller and his wonderful wife Sheila are the new owners of the popular This Is It Eatery in downtown Freeport, taking over the reins from Randy Skeens and his partners who were very accommodating in the ownership transfer. Greg and Sheila, who are well immersed in the Freeport and Stephenson County community, have brought in their good friend and successful restauranteur Scott Gross to manage the business, along with Scott’s former associate Joyce Wright. The full staff of the restaurant will be staying on, and plans include retaining most of the menu options while adding some new features and specials. I’m very excited to see this infusion of energy and vision into an existing successful venue, and I encourage everyone to get out and support the new team as they embark on this great adventure.

Dairy Days Parade

Sign-up is underway for our annual Dairy Days Parade, which kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday June 25 in downtown Freeport. The route is the same as in past years, starting at the corner of Washington and Van Buren and heading north on Van Buren, east on Main, north on State, west on Exchange, north on Van Buren, east on Douglas, and north on Chicago before ending at the corner of Chicago and Clark. There will also be lots of activities that afternoon at Union Dairy, our event co-sponsor. Entry forms are available at or at the Farm Bureau office or Union Dairy, and you can call (815) 232-3186 for more info. Join us on June 25 as we celebrate agriculture in Stephenson County!

Team Johnson takes on RGR

Andrea and I enjoyed our fourth consecutive year competing in the Run Galesburg Run events on June 4, this year running the 5K while my brother Jeff and my 84-year-old father Howard walked the course. While it’s not a large event (850 runners between the mile, 5K and half marathon races), it drew runners from four continents and numerous states with the half marathon winner hailing from Kenya. It was fun to see many friends from my home area and experience the great sense of community exhibited by the participants and the many volunteers. After getting third in his age group last year, Dad came in fourth this year due in part to the presence of Freeport’s ageless running icon Peter Flynn, who took second place in the 70-plus age group. It was a fun time that we plan to repeat next year!

An eye-opening tour

I enjoyed the company of ten fellow county Farm Bureau managers and our regional manager, along with a few spouses, as we traveled to St. Louis on June 1-2 for our managers’ outing. Day one featured a great time at the Cardinals/Dodgers baseball game and a visit to the awesome Ballpark Village, but my highlight was Friday’s tour of the Monsanto facilities in suburban St. Louis. The 225-acre campus is home to numerous buildings housing various elements of the company’s research and development activities, and I was absolutely amazed at the scope of projects and capabilities displayed there. Perhaps the most impressive was the Technical Discovery Center, where in-house engineers utilizing 3-D printers and computer design software create nearly every piece of equipment that the company uses in its research. Another amazing technology was the seed chipping process, where a tiny sliver of a corn kernel or soybean seed is precisely extracted to enable seed DNA analysis and research while keeping the seed intact for planting and normal growth. I have always appreciated the efforts of our ag industry to advance science and technology to improve productivity and efficiency, but I gained a new perspective with this opportunity to see it first-hand. Thanks to SCFB director and Channel Seed district manager Andrew Garnhart for arranging the tour for our group.

Save the date!

I’m pleased to announce that Friday March 18 is the date for the popular Women in Agriculture Conference, which will again be held at the Jumer’s Hotel/Casino/Conference Center in Rock Island. The 2018 event will feature keynote addresses from Kim Bremmer (who delivered an awesome presentation at our recent beef banquet here) and “The Farm Babe” Michelle Miller from northeast Iowa, along with a great lineup of breakout sessions and fellowship with women involved in agriculture from the tri-state area. Watch for more details to follow, including a possible charter bus transportation option.

Farewell good friend

Andrea and I made the difficult decision last week to euthanize our 10-year old cat Ozzie after he had developed liver failure resulting in frequent vomiting and weight loss. Ozzie was the silent partner of our remaining cat team, content to rest on the arm of the sofa next to Andrea and sleep at her feet in bed. His brother Murph, the alpha male, is my lap cat and will probably get along just fine as our exclusive pet, though I’m sure he’ll miss his buddy. Thanks for the memories, Ozzie!

Member benefits

We welcome Country Lane Pet Lodge (Freeport), Rock & Rust (Freeport), Amo’s (Freeport), and Just in Time BBQ (Cedarville) to our Membership Value Program with more additions expected – check out the details at and watch for more to come!

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

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