Harvest Is Just Around The Corner

SCFB leaders present Friend of Ag award

bruce-johnsonI was pleased to be joined by Stephenson County Farm Bureau President Steve Fricke and Secretary/Treasurer Jon Rosenstiel on a road trip to Chicago on September 12 as we presented Illinois Farm Bureau’s Friend of Agriculture Award to our adopted legislator, 35th District State Representative Fran Hurley. IFB recognizes legislators every two years for achieving a favorable voting record on selected key issues during that legislative session, and Rep. Hurley won the award for her 80% voting record (her second such recognition). We enjoyed having lunch with her, accompanied by representatives from Cook County Farm Bureau and Illinois Farm Bureau, and we also had a great discussion after lunch with Fran and 18th District State Senator Bill Cunningham, who was also presented with the FOA award and who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. We cherish our relationship with Rep. Hurley and Senator Cunningham and we look forward to many future interactions.

We will also be presenting FOA awards to our local legislators later this fall, with State Representative Brian Stewart scoring an 89% rating and State Senator Tim Bivins achieving 96% on the key issues. We thank all of our legislators for their continued support of agriculture.

A little reminiscing

Andrea and I enjoyed having dinner recently with some dear friends from my early days in the Farm Bureau family. Ken Kearney was the manager of the Alpha FS feed unit in western Illinois when he hired me as a new feed specialist in 1981, and Dan Josefson from Abingdon was my counterpart in our adjacent territories in Knox and Fulton counties who joined me on our first day on August 17 of that year. We met Ken and Phyliss and Dan and Sue for dinner after the Josefsons recently moved back to Abingdon from Harlan Iowa following Dan’s retirement from the GROWMARK system. We had a wonderful time catching up on everyone’s lives and sharing stories from our memorable years together, and we look forward to making this a regular event and including a few other former co-workers.

Family Portrait Program

We are now scheduling sittings for our upcoming Family Portrait Program, open to Farm Bureau members and families. Lifetouch Photography will be here on Sunday November 20 from 1:30-7:00 p.m., Monday November 21 from 2:00-9:00 p.m., Sunday December 11 from 1:30-7:00 p.m., and Monday December 12 from 2:00-9:00 p.m. FB members can call our office at (815) 232-3186 to schedule a sitting, or you can self-schedule by going to www.stephensoncfb.org and clicking on the link in the front page news story.

Harvest just around the corner

Crops are maturing rapidly and harvest will begin soon, which means it’s time to remind everyone to be alert and exercise caution when traveling rural roadways. Large, slow-moving farm equipment and agricultural vehicles will be sharing the roads for the next few months, and it’s critical that we all cooperate to avoid accidents. Please slow down and allow some extra room when you encounter such equipment, and we ask the operators of this equipment to also be courteous and cooperative as you deal with traffic. Let’s work together to make it a safe harvest!

Long-range trip planning

While it’s admittedly a long way in the future, we have our tentative itinerary planned for our March 17-26, 2018 trip to San Antonio and Corpus Christi Texas. This exciting trip includes a stop in Dallas, two nights in Corpus Christi with a tour of the famous King Ranch, three nights in San Antonio with a variety of tours and attractions, a rail trip from Dallas to Oklahoma City, and overnights in Oklahoma City and Overland Park Kansas with a tour of the Kansas City International Trade Zone. We have the tentative itinerary posted on our 2017 trips page at www.stephensoncfb.org, and we will have a preview program sometime in early 2017. Mark your calendar for this outstanding travel opportunity!

Here come the HOGS!

I’ve enjoyed helping to coordinate a tour for a group from the Chicago suburbs who will be visiting agricultural sites in Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties on September 20-21. The group of retired doctors, lawyers, business owners and others is based in Buffalo Grove and calls themselves the Happy Old Guys (HOGS), and Jo Daviess county landowner Paul Friedman is the coordinator of the tour. Sixteen members will be here on September 20 to visit Holland & Sons Equipment, Hunter Haven Farms, Stephenson Service Company in Lena, and High Plains Pork with lunch at Rafters Restaurant. Following an overnight stay in Stockton, the group will visit four locations in Jo Daviess county on the 21st before returning home. It’s always a pleasure to showcase our local ag landscape and tell the positive story of today’s food, fiber and fuel production systems.

Hope remains high

As I write this, the Cubs magic number to clinch the central division title is at 3, and it looks like they will reach that goal at home against the Brewers. Cub fans continue to revel in the unparalleled success of this year’s exciting team, and we hope that the journey continues all the way to the top, though we are well aware how perilous and unpredictable the playoffs can be. Go Cubs!

Bruce Johnson is the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau

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