Interest Growing For 2017 Bus Trips

Socks for Stephenson County another big hit
bruce-johnsonOn behalf of the Conservation and Agricultural Partners (CAP) Foundation, I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to our second annual “Socks for Stephenson County” drive which concluded on December 22 with a record 1222 pairs of socks delivered to the Salvation Army for distribution to needy individuals.

CAP Foundation Education Coordinator Brittani DeVries gets the credit for originating the idea last year when a little over 1000 pairs of socks were collected, and we look forward to repeating this worthwhile cause next year. A number of area residents are experiencing extreme need in many ways, and we appreciate everyone who shared a compassionate donation to benefit this program.

The calls are coming in steadily for a number of our upcoming bus trips, and we encourage you to give us a call if you’re interested in joining us. We’ve had a lot of reservations called in for our March 22 trip to Waterloo Iowa for tours of the John Deere Tractor Works and Engine Works, and we expect that trip to fill up quickly as these are both great tours that show you the inner workings of two of Deere’s key assembly processes. Cost is just $35 for Farm Bureau members and $40 for non-members, and you must be at least 13 years old to attend.
We’ve also had significant interest shown for our two Cubs/Brewers baseball trips to Miller Park in Milwaukee, and we submitted our group ticket order on January 4 requesting tickets for the 7:10 p.m. games on Saturday April 8 and Friday July 28. We’ll get confirmation sometime later in January and will announce our official plans ASAP.

the-vapor-shop-320x250The typically hot tickets are especially popular on the heels of the Cubs’ historic World Series victory, and the Brewers organization has acknowledged this fact by pricing the Cubs games $20-25 higher than any others. We are working to keep ticket prices bearable, so we are moving up one level to the Loge Outfield Box level on the left field side which are still great seats. Watch for more news coming soon when we get confirmation, and call us now at (815) 232-3186 to reserve your spot. These are our only Cubs games this year as I refuse to fight the dreadful traffic and logistics issues of going to a game in Chicago.

You can learn about all of our upcoming trips and everything else happening at the Farm Bureau by visiting our website at www.stephensoncfb.org or our Facebook page for the latest news and updates, or call us at (815) 232-3186.

Summer Program Assistant position
Applications are due by January 31 for our 2017 Summer Program Assistant post, which is a paid position that will run from late May through mid-August depending on the individual’s school schedule. This is our twelfth year employing a college-age student to assist us in coordinating our summer programs and activities and helping out in the FB office. We are looking for someone with a pleasant personality, good interpersonal skills, and the ability to work independently and collaboratively. Reliable transportation and insurance are a must, and an ag background is helpful but not required. Complete details and application form can be found at www.stephensoncfb.org or at the Farm Bureau office.

Livestock’s economic contributions
A 2015 study conducted by Decision Innovation Solutions highlighted the economic impact of livestock on each of Illinois’ 102 counties, and I’m pleased to report that Stephenson County ranks fourth in the state with $587.9 million in livestock-related impact. Without knowing the criteria or demographics of the study fully, I will share that Cook County ranked first with $4.265 billion (which could possibly include pets, zoos, etc.) and neighboring Kane County was second at $1.108 billion with downstate Cass County third at $783 million. Assuming that processing venues such as cheese plants and ethanol plants producing livestock feedstuffs might factor into the equation, I would speculate that our livestock industry diversity certainly contributed to this ranking. We continue to celebrate the significance of agriculture to our local economy, and we will be hosting a series of Lunch and Learn programs here at the Farm Bureau in March and April showcasing that very fact as we bring the farm to town – watch for more details coming soon!

Holiday relaxation
Andrea and I had an unusually quiet holiday season this year with Mike and Cassie and their three kids making their alternate-year trek from Des Moines Iowa to Texas for Christmas with her siblings, while David, Andrea and Sofia were settling in for their first Christmas in their home in Yerevan Armenia where his new job in the U.S. Embassy there is going well. We traveled to Knoxville where we attended Christmas Eve services with my dad at Grace Lutheran (and I got to sing with the choir), and we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Packinghouse Restaurant in Galesburg. Christmas Day featured a small gathering of twelve family members for lunch at Dad’s. I went to church on Sunday morning with Dad while Andrea prepared lunch, and we were saddened to learn that the church had been vandalized overnight on Christmas Eve (one of several in the area, along with the township shed).

Fortunately, nothing of value was taken and no significant damage was incurred, but it’s frustrating that there are people with too much time and too little respect for what really matters.

Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau

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