Another Impactful Job Shadow With Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Students

Stephenson County, Illinois — Following a successful maiden voyage in February 2017, we were pleased to be able to coordinate our second day of job shadows for students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences on March 6.

We had 30 juniors and seniors paired up with 15 local hosts including Pearl Valley Farms, Hunter Haven Farms, Pearl City Elevator, Alliance Nutrition, Adkins Energy, Berner Foods, CoreFX Ingredients, Stephenson Service Company, Scheidairy Farms, High Plains Pork, Citizens State Bank, Compeer Financial, Lena Veterinary Clinic, New Hope Veterinary Clinic, and Holland & Sons Equipment.

Our terrific hosts immersed their student guests in the functions of their respective businesses, and the students got a first-hand look at a number of professions that they may have only read about previously.

CHSAS is a successful magnet school located at 111th and Pulaski on Chicago’s south side, drawing students since September 1985 from throughout the Chicago Public School District. The highly competitive application process annually draws over 3000 applicants for the roughly 180 freshman class openings, and students complete general education classes in their first two years before choosing one of six specific agricultural pathways (Ag Finance & Economics, Food Science & Technology, Animal Science, Ag Mechanics & Technology, Horticulture, and Biotechnology in Agriculture) for their junior and senior years.

CHSAS provides many unique enrichment and experiential opportunities for their students, and we’re happy to help these students broaden their horizons courtesy of Stephenson County’s rich agricultural landscape.

Last call for Circa 21 Dinner Theatre trip

March 16th is the deadline to reserve your seats for our Sunday April 8 journey to the fabulous Circa 21 Dinner Theatre in Rock Island to see the comedy “Rise Up, O Men”. We’ll depart from the north end of Freeport’s Wal-Mart parking lot at 1:45 p.m. and arrive at our front-row seats at Circa 21 around 3:45 p.m. After soup or salad, enjoy the bountiful 5-entree brunch with dessert included from 4-5 p.m. and the entertaining pre-show at 5:15 p.m. by “The Bootleggers”, Circa’s outstanding wait staff who also double as talented performers. At 5:45 p.m., relax and enjoy the hilarious, heartwarming production of “Rise Up, O Men!”, a brand-new musical featuring the men of the church and your favorite church basement ladies who serve them.

As these hard-working farmers discuss their scrap lumber piles and the benefits of solder vs. weld, they unintentionally disrupt the order of the kitchen. But that’s what happens when you let roosters in the hen house!

“Rise Up, O Men!” shows us a couple of days in the life of a small rural Lutheran church circa 1964. Mavis, Karin and Vivian are back in the kitchen frowning just a bit at the presence of the men. It turns out the kitchen needs a little fixing up, and there seems to be something wrong with the furnace. Pastor Gunderson is joined by Karin’s husband Elroy Engleson and handyman Carl, and the appearance of an elderly Arlo throws a little more confusion into the chaos. Between Mavis’ hot flashes, Karin’s missing mother’s ring, and Vivian’s annoyance at having men in the kitchen, more than just the coils in the old refrigerator/freezer need to be aired out. The pastor has aspirations about being a comedian, but all of his jokes go down the toilet. Karin is feeling the pangs of seeing her daughter go off to college, and the Lutherans need to get their act together for the talent show.

We’ll return to Freeport around 9:45 p.m., and you can call (815) 232-3186 to sign up or visit

Join us for the 2nd annual Farm-to-Farm 5K/10K Run/Walk

The early registration deadline is rapidly approaching on March 23 for the upcoming Farm-to-Farm 5K/10K set for Saturday April 6, and I encourage everyone to sign up to be guaranteed a shirt and finishers medal. This year’s event will be even bigger and better than our successful inaugural run in 2017, with J3 Electronic race timing, the added 10K option, music, and even more post-race food and festivities. Our scenic ag-themed out-and-back course on the rolling roads in the heart of farm country, provides a great experience for runners and walkers alike. Don’t miss one of the top runs in northwest Illinois on April 7 – complete details are at

Save the date for Farm-to-Table Dinner on September 13

The coordinating team met on March 6 and plans are taking shape for the second Farm-to-Table Dinner fundraiser for the Highland College Ag Department on Thursday night September 13, following the tremendous success of the inaugural event last fall. The sequel will again be held in the fabulous facilities at the Keith Hinrichs Farm west of Freeport on Pearl City Road, where we’re making logistical arrangements to accommodate a larger crowd while still providing the same quality experience. Watch for more details coming soon, as seating will be limited and we anticipate strong demand!

Be a responsible citizen by voting on March 20

A very important primary election for our region is coming up on March 20, and I encourage everyone to exercise your constitutionally granted right by voting for the candidates of your preference. Our SCFB president Steve Fricke is running against Andrew Chesney for the 89th District State Representative seat that will be vacated by Brian Stewart running for the 45th District Senate seat of retiring Senator Tim Bivins. Make sure your voice is heard in this important election!

Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau


Leave a Reply