Up To Four $500 Ag Studies Grants To Graduating Seniors In This Week’s News & Views by Bruce Johnson

bruce-johnsonHawkeye Ag Tour filled with opportunity
In the midst of our many popular bus trips, I’m especially excited about a new offering this summer that features many great tours and social options. Our Hawkeye Ag Tour to Iowa on June 9-10 starts with a tour of Lely Manufacturing in Pella, where they build robotic milking and feeding equipment for the dairy industry along with other agricultural equipment. Following a lunch stop in beautiful Pella, we’ll tour Vermeer Manufacturing, where they manufacture a variety of haying and specialty equipment including round balers. We’ll then travel to our overnight stay in Des Moines at Country Inn & Suites, and participants will have their choice that night of attending the Iowa Cubs baseball game at wonderful Principal Park or enjoying an evening of horse racing and gambling at Prairie Meadows Race Track & Casino.

Following a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head to Huxley for a visit at the Monsanto Learning Center before our 10 a.m. riding tour of the John Deere Des Moines Works, where they build cotton pickers, forage harvesters, grain drills and tillage equipment. Lunch in Ankeny will be followed by a brief stop at the Maytag Dairy Farm and Cheese Store in Newton. Our last stop on the way home will be Kinze Manufacturing in Williamsburg, where we’ll visit their Innovations Center (we won’t take a plant tour as production is shut down on Fridays).

Cost for this jam-packed excursion is just $150/person double occupancy which includes everything except a few meals, and reservations with payment is due by May 31. Details are posted at www.stephensoncfb.org or you can call the FB office at (815) 232-3186.

Candle closeout
We’re discontinuing our Milkhouse Creamery candles at the Farm Bureau office, and prices are marked down for quick sale. It seems like candles have faded in popularity from our peak around a decade ago when we were one of the largest Beanpod soy candles retailers in Illinois, and I’m sure in a depressed economy that purchases of things like candles become a lesser priority compared to food, medicine, gas, etc. We thank everyone who has supported this venture in the past and encourage you to stop in while supplies last.

Nut and candy orders deadline
The deadline for our spring orders of Terri Lynn nuts and candies is approaching, so don’t miss this chance to stock up on the many delicious items perfect for gifts or snacking. The order form is online at www.stephensoncfb.org and orders with payment must be received by April 8 in order to get delivery in time for Mother’s Day.

Scholarship deadlines
April 8 is also the deadline for our SCFB Foundation high school senior scholarships, where we plan to offer up to four $500 Ag Studies grants to graduating seniors continuing their education in an ag-related discipline. We’ve only received one application as of press time, so don’t miss this chance for dependents of SCFB members to get some financial support – applications are online at www.stephensoncfb.org or at the FB office.
May 31 is the deadline for our college-level grants for those with 30 or more credit hours earned, with details on the website as well. Call (815) 232-3186 for more information.

More family fun
We had a great Easter weekend as our son and daughter-in-law Mike and Cassie and the grandkids Claire (8), Cora (6) and Clay (4) made the trek from Des Moines for a visit. My dad and brother from Knoxville Illinois joined us for lunch and cards on Saturday, and Mike and I got in a round of disc golf at Krape Park as well. We’re looking forward to an April visit to Des Moines to celebrate Claire’s 9th birthday, and we’ll get a chance to spend a little time with Dave and Andrea and baby Sofia in Arlington Virginia when we’re out in the Washington D.C. area hosting our Farm Bureau/Tri-State Travel trip next week.

Highland Leadership Institute
I made my annual presentation on the agriculture industry to the 2016 class of the Highland Leadership Institute on March 30, and as always it was a rewarding and encouraging experience. I am always impressed with the talent, diversity and promise displayed by the classes, and facilitators Alan Wenzel and Jim Phillips do an outstanding job of giving participants a thorough immersion into the culture and dynamics of the Stephenson County area. Many of the HLI alumni have found their way into leadership roles at various levels locally and beyond. Congrats to the students and leaders for a job well done!

Ag Breakfast plans underway
The first planning meeting for the 2016 Stephenson County Ag Breakfast took place on March 29, and it’s refreshing to see some new faces stepping into leadership roles as some of our longtime volunteers step away from their involvement. I’m excited about the new ideas and energy migrating into this important annual event, and I look forward to working with the many volunteers to make the June 25 event better than ever – mark your calendar now and plan to join us!

Bruce Johnson is the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau

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