Stephenson County, Illinois — Around 90 people attended the free showing of the highly acclaimed documentary film “Food Evolution” on March 12 at the Lindo Theatre in Freeport, followed by a discussion featuring a panel of four individuals from varied backgrounds answering questions and sharing insights. The panel included Greenwood Wisconsin dairy farm wife and nationally-known ag advocate Kim Bremmer; Dr. Joel Stafstrom, Associate Professor from the Northern Illinois University Biology Department; Highland College ag student and ag entrepreneur Drew Groezinger; and Freeport farmer and SCFB board president Steve Fricke; with local ag leader Jim Endress competently serving as the moderator of the discussion. The film was very enlightening and informative, and the discussion afterward brought out some excellent questions and thought processes. We appreciate the Consumer Communications grant that we got from the Illinois Farm Bureau to assist with the cost of the event, and we hope that the conversation that was started will continue and keep gaining traction as we work to keep our ag economy vibrant and embrace all the opportunities that exist on many levels. If you were unable to attend, the film is available for viewing on HULU and Amazon Prime.
Four decades of bliss
March 18 marked the 40th anniversary of the day my life changed for the better when my beautiful bride Andrea said, “I do”. I’ll never forget we had two inches of snow that Friday evening, and by the time we exited the church after our reception on Saturday afternoon in Abingdon Illinois it was sunny and 65 degrees (which was fortunate for washing the shaving cream off the car)! We were young and in love as we embarked on what’s proven to be a memorable and adventurous journey, and each successive chapter in our shared book of life has been even better and more fulfilling. I cherish every day that I get to spend with this amazing woman, and as we continue on this incredible ride, suffice to say that “I still do” and always will!
Join us for the 2nd annual Farm-to-Farm 5K/10K Run/Walk
The early registration deadline is rapidly approaching on March 23 for the upcoming Farm-to-Farm 5K/10K set for Saturday April 6, and I encourage everyone to sign up to be guaranteed a shirt and finishers medal. This year’s event will be even bigger and better than our successful inaugural run in 2017, with J3 Electronic race timing, the added 10K option, music, and even more post-race food and festivities. Our scenic ag-themed out-and-back course on the rolling roads in the heart of farm country, provides a great experience for runners and walkers alike. Don’t miss one of the top runs in northwest Illinois on April 7 – complete details are at www.stephensoncfb.org.
Another tremendous Prep/Freeze/Cook fundraiser
The demand continues to grow each time as our fourth offering of the Prep/Freeze/Cook program saw a record number of meals ordered for pick up on March 13. We sold 51 of the 5-person options and 71 of the 2-person packages, along with some nice donations benefitting the Conservation and Agricultural Partners Foundation to support our AG-in-the-Classroom programs in Stephenson County. Thanks to everyone who supported this initiative and to the CAP board members who helped with the pickup – be sure to mark your calendar for our next PFC program on Tuesday September 18, with ordering information to be made public in advance of the date.
Beef Association banquet draws big crowd
The Stephenson Count Beef Association held its annual banquet on March 8 with around 150 in attendance at the Farm Bureau. Everyone enjoyed the terrific prime rib dinner served by H&H Porta-Catering from Cedarville with delicious pies from Vicki Mulder of Ridott. The program featured excellent comments from Illinois Beef Association President Joni Bucher from Marietta in Fulton County inspiring advocacy and promotion, followed by a comprehensive and entertaining presentation by Michelle Miller “The Farm Babe” who is one of the most sought-after ag advocates on the speaking circuit these days. We thank everyone who attended and the many sponsors who made generous contributions to support the event.
Our numerous trips continue to fill up quickly as we now have quite a few with standby lists. Our Deere Kinze trip (March 27) and Circa 21 Dinner Theatre outing (April 8) are both now full, and we only have 4 seats left for our first Cubs/Brewers baseball trip to Miller Park in Milwaukee on April 6 for a night game. The Cubs have been hot in spring training and the Brewers have added some great talent for the 2018 season, so these clashes promise to be entertaining. The retractable roof at Miller Park guarantees no rainouts, and for those worried about the temperature in early April it’s usually comfortable. Take a look at our full lineup of trips at www.stephensoncfb.org and give us a call for more information – we’d love to welcome you on one or more of our great excursions this year!
Tractor drive plans taking shape
Mark your calendar for Saturday July 14 for our “Then and Now” Tractor Drive in rural Stephenson County, with parades through the parking lots of several area senior living centers. This year’s drive welcomes tractors of all ages and sizes as we’d like to give everyone a look at how tractors have changed over the years, watch for complete details coming soon!
Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau