Stephenson County, Illinois — The local ag community lost two more treasured individuals in recent weeks, both of whom left their mark in significant ways. Edgar Engelkens passed away at age 82 on February 2 after a farm accident, and Duane Wenzel left this earth on February 9 at the age of 68.
Edgar was actively involved in the local ag scene on many levels, including the Stephenson County Fair, Freeport Rural Fire Department and Stephenson County Beef Association among other affiliations. Edgar and his wife Mary were part of the group that founded the Freeport Rural Ambulance service and the Beef Association’s popular Beef Corral at the fair. Edgar and Mary enjoyed over 59 years of marriage and a great family of four children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and he was a spirited and enthusiastic man who will be greatly missed.
Similarly, Duane Wenzel, known as Delightful Duane, was a farmer by age 16 and launched his own handyman service in 1980 before starting Wenzel Painting in 1987, where he made quite a name for himself in the area. Duane was also active in many local causes, but one of his proudest accomplishments was creating the “Hog House” at the Stephenson County Fair where the Pork Producers serve throngs of hungry visitors. Duane and his wife Sherry enjoyed 46 years of marriage and were blessed with four children and four grandchildren, and we’ll miss his smiling face and perpetually happy demeanor. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Engelkens and Wenzel families.
Beef Association banquet on March 8
The Stephenson County Beef Association has developed a tradition with a wonderful annual banquet each year, including the terrific prime rib dinner and tasty pies. In recent years, we’ve heard enlightening, entertaining and uplifting messages from some excellent speakers including Kim Bremmer, Emily Webel, Holly Spangler, and Katie Pratt among others. We’re excited to announce that the “Farm Babe”, Michelle Miller will be the guest speaker at our banquet on Thursday March 8, 2018 at the Farm Bureau. Michelle is one of the most popular speakers and ag advocates on the circuit these days, and we’re thrilled to be able to get her on the schedule for our event. The evening begins with dinner at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program and door prizes. Read about Michelle at www.thefarmbabe.com, and tickets for the banquet are available at the FB office for $15 each through March 1.
The Conservation & Agricultural Partners (CAP) Foundation is holding another popular Prep/Freeze/Cook fundraiser on March 13 with pickup from 5-6 p.m. at the Farm Bureau. You can once again select either the 2-person or 5-person option featuring 10 delicious entrees including Creamy Garlic Tuscan Chicken, Chicken ’n Biscuit Casserole, Apple Rosemary Pork Roast, and Root Beer Pulled Pork among others. Entrees are ready to pop into your freezer for preparation at your convenience. Details and order form can be found at the FB office or at www.stephensoncfb.org, and orders must be placed and paid for by March 2 – call (815) 232-3186 for more info.
IEPA informational update on Pec River Watershed assessment
The Illinois EPA Watershed Management Section – Planning (TMDL) Unit and the Agency’s Community Outreach Program have worked together and issued a public meeting notice for Pecatonica River Watershed Draft Stage 3 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Report. The public meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 7 at 1:00 p.m., at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau, 210 West Spring Street, Freeport. The draft Stage 3 report for Pecatonica River Watershed is available online at www.epa.state.il.us/public-notices. A hard copy of the draft report is available for viewing at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau and the City of Freeport Public Library during business hours.
Join us on April 7 for the Farm-to-Farm 5K/10K
Runners and walkers of all ages and paces are encouraged to join us for a morning of fun, food and fellowship at the 2nd annual Farm-to-Farm 5K/10K run, with proceeds benefitting Ag-in-the-Classroom programs in Stephenson County that are coordinated by the Conservation and Agricultural Partners (CAP) Foundation. Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success with 137 runners and walkers and terrific sponsorship resulting in $4500 raised for CAP Foundation. Registration information can be downloaded at www.stephensoncfb.org or you can register online at www.getmeregistered.com/FarmToFarm. This year’s run will be bigger and better with an added 10K route, electronic timing, and music along with the farm equipment, farm animals and more. All competitors get a great shirt, finisher’s medal, swag bag and the superb post-race food. Call (815) 232-3186 for more information on this event sponsored by the SCFB Young Leaders.
Moving and shaking as baseball season approaches
The 2018 major league baseball season is fast approaching, with many teams making roster changes including the Cubs and Brewers. The Brewers have picked up some quality talent to bolster their lineup, and the Cubs have made a few big moves as well. On Chicago’s south side, the White Sox are building a promising young lineup that is generating lots of excitement as well, and it was just announced that media powerhouse WGN Radio will now be carrying the White Sox games. I’m looking forward to an exciting season ahead – our June 13 Cubs/Brewers bus is already full, with the trip on April 6 rapidly nearing capacity. Call us today to reserve your seats and see details at www.stephensoncfb.org.
Marketing program postponed
We’ve had to postpone our marketing program with Joe Webel originally scheduled for Wednesday January 21 at 7:00 p.m., and we will communicate a reschedule date in the coming months.
Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.