This Week From The Stephenson County Farm Bureau – High School Scholarships Announced

SCFB high school scholarship winners announced
bruce-johnsonThe Stephenson County Farm Bureau Foundation was formed in 1994 as the philanthropic arm of the Farm Bureau, providing scholarships, teacher grants, and other continuing education support. Member contributions, fundraisers, and memorial bequests provide the basis for funding. The SCFB Foundation typically provides around $10,000 annually in educational support to its members and their dependents, including $500 Agricultural Studies grants to qualified graduating seniors at area high schools. This year we are pleased to honor six area graduates with stipends as they continue their education: Aaron Ackerman (Pecatonica), Mark Alber (Orangeville), Makayla Henneman (Forreston), Matt Holste (Dakota), Kaylen Miller (Orangeville), and Destiny Swalve (Eastland).

I want to remind everyone that May 31 is the deadline for applications for our college level scholarships, with forms available at or at the SCFB office at 210 W. Spring Street.

Speaking of scholarships…
Congratulations to Abigayle Endress, daughter of Brad and Shauna Endress of Pearl City, who recently was named a Top Scholar winner from the IAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Abby was one of just three winners of a $5,000 scholarship from the field of over 340 applicants, and she will use it as she enters her sophomore year at Highland Community College in Freeport majoring in Agricultural Communications. Abby serves as a Beef Ambassador for the Stephenson County Beef Association and is an excellent advocate for agriculture. Congratulations and best wishes, Abby!

A “must see” film
Andrea and I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon at Freeport’s fabulous Lindo Theatre, where we saw one of the most moving and emotional films I’ve ever watched. “The Promise” chronicles the 1915 genocide that saw 1.5 million Armenians perish at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Our personal linkages to Armenia in recent years made the film especially compelling, but I highly recommend it to anyone and particularly to history buffs.

Rain, rain, go away!
Our brief window of opportunity for spring planting was immediately followed by a cold, wet snap that may put corn in jeopardy in some fields. A kernel of corn reportedly takes its first drink of water 36 hours after planting and you don’t want it to be a cold drink, but that’s what we’re dealing with in many cases. Time will tell how the crop will respond, but we’re definitely better off than southern and central Illinois where repeated heavy rains caused major flooding concerns.

The May 1 crop progress report showed a 29% jump in corn planted statewide following a 28% leap the previous week, going from 6% (April 17) to 34% (April 24) to 63% now which puts us even with the 2016 pace and well ahead of the 5-year average of 47%. The northwest and northeast districts continue to lag behind at 29% and 33% respectively, with the other seven districts ranging from 53-87% planted. We hope for a stretch of opportune conditions so planting can resume at a normal pace, but it’s raining hard as I write this.

Third bus added for Branson Christmas trip
The continued strong response has resulted in a third coach being added for our November 16-20, 2017 Branson Christmas trip, sponsored by area Farm Bureaus and Tri-State Travel. This trip is packed with highlights including great shows like Daniel O’Donnell, Grand Jubilee Evening Show, Maxine’s Christmas Carol Morning Show, “The Miracle of Christmas”, the Red, Hot and Blue Morning Show, and the Showboat Belle Dinner Cruise. There will also be tours of Anheuser-Busch (including the Clydesdales), the Trail of Lights Tour, and a local Branson tour including the College of the Ozarks. Complete details are available at or at the Farm Bureau office.

Milwaukee trip nearly full
We only have about 12 seats left for our Saturday May 20 excursion to Milwaukee visiting the fabulous Milwaukee Zoo and the fascinating Discovery World Science and Technology Center. This family-friendly outing will be a fun-filled time at two outstanding attractions just a short bus ride away – check out the details at and call (815) 232-3186 to reserve your spot!

We’re still taking reservations for our August 8 Wisconsin State Fair bus trip, our August 30 journey to Decatur Illinois for the Farm Progress Show, and our November 12 trek to Ft. Atkinson Wisconsin for the Fireside Dinner Theater presentation of “Miracle on 34th Street – The Musical”. Check out the details at or call (815) 232-3186 for more info.

Preparing for our centennial
2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau, and we’re beginning the planning process for our centennial year. We’ll be planning a large celebratory event for next year, and we are looking for any historical items that will help us chronicle the story of our organization. If you have anything that we could copy or borrow to use in our display, please give us a call at (815) 232-3186 or e-mail We hope to produce some type of commemorative booklet to capture the history of SCFB over the years, and we welcome any input that will assist us in the process.

Thought for the day
A quote from the “Home Fires” series on PBS – “It’s always good to have a second opinion, especially when one is mine”.

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

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