News and Views This Week From The Stephenson County Farm Bureau

Preview planned for “Colorado’s Historic Trains” trip

Area Farm Bureaus and Lindstrom Travel are again offering the popular “Colorado’s Historic Trains” trip that sold out quickly when offered several years ago, and we’ve scheduled a preview program here at the Farm Bureau on Tuesday November 28 at 7 p.m. Tony Caruana from Lindstrom Travel will be here to share the details of this exciting excursion, which is planned for September 14-22, 2018. The tour originates in Denver and involves train expeditions on five historic routes of the Old West, including the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (voted one of the “Top Ten Most Exciting Rail Journeys in the World”), the Cumbres & Tollec Scenic Railroad, Royal Gorge Railroad, and the Pikes Peak Cogway. Tour highlights also include Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Garden of the Gods Park, and the Air Force Academy and Chapel (if available). Trip details are posted at and are available in the Farm Bureau office, and we encourage you to join us for the preview program as this trip will fill quickly.

Fall fun with the family

Andrea and I enjoyed a road trip to Iowa on October 28-29 to visit our son Mike and his family, and as always a good time was enjoyed. We met them for lunch in Winterset south of Des Moines, and we then spent the afternoon at The Pumpkin Ranch, a fabulous entertainment destination in the country. The ranch features a wide variety of activities for kids including zip lines, bounce pads, an obstacle course, an elaborate corn maze, and horseback rides, with wagons hauling guests to the adjacent fields to pick out their preferred pumpkins. Abundant rains had resulted in a bumper crop of pumpkins, and they shared the bounty by giving every paid guest a voucher for a free pumpkin up to 7 pounds. Our energetic grandkids Claire, Cora and Clay had a great time as they took in all the activities on a beautiful fall afternoon. We all went to church and lunch back in Des Moines on Sunday before making the trek home, and we’ll look forward to seeing them for the holidays.

Harvest marches on

A few rain interruptions slowed the pace briefly, but harvest 2017 continues to progress in northwest Illinois. The October 30 Illinois Crop Progress Report showed our region at 49% complete on corn harvest and 83% on soybeans, lagging behind the corn pace statewide but right on track for soybeans. The statewide corn harvest pace is 17% behind last year and 11% off the 5-year average, but farmers have been pleased with how well the crop is drying in the field and are allowing the process to continue as weather conditions allow. The wheels will continue to turn at a brisk pace in the weeks to come, so please continue to drive with caution as you travel our rural roadways and encounter agricultural traffic – let’s all be safe out there!

UCR registrations delayed

For farmers needing to renew their Universal Carrier Registration (UCR) for farm trucks, you can sit tight for a while as the process has been delayed. The Unified Carrier Registration Board of Directors has announced that the start of the 2018 registration period will be postponed until further notice as they’re awaiting completion of the rulemaking process for 2018 fees by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The UCR board is recommending that the enforcement period for 2018 compliance not begin until 90 days after the final rulemaking is published. That decision could be up to the individual participating states, but we anticipate they’ll follow the UCR board recommendation. The board’s announcement noted that, “Until further notice, please do not submit any carrier fees or forms for the 2018 registration year (online or paper forms). If received prior to the final rulemaking, your fees and forms will be returned.” The fee levels being proposed for 2018 are about 9% lower than they have been for the prior seven years.

Great new John Deere discounts for FB members

Illinois Farm Bureau members now receive special access to John Deere’s GreenFleet™ Loyalty Rewards program, providing members with a free two-year Platinum 2 membership. It’s easy to become a GreenFleet member too! Just sign up for John Deere GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards program using a valid member ID and zip code for membership verification, and become a Platinum 2 level by visiting A valid e-mail address is required to be eligible for this benefit. Farm Bureau members are eligible for the following benefits as Platinum 2 status members: $350-$3200 off Commercial Mowing; $100-$250 off Residential Mowing; $200-$350 off Utility Vehicles; $200-$350 off Tractors; $500-$3700 off Golf & Sports Turf; and 17% off MSRP – Commercial Worksite. You can read the complete program details at or call (815) 232-3186 for more information.

Additional Ford discounts for military and first responders

Through November 30, Ford Motor Company is offering an additional $500 cash bonus for active or retired military personnel, recent veterans, and first responders on 2017 or 2018 new vehicles purchased from dealer stock. This discount is offered in conjunction with the standard $500 discount available to Illinois Farm Bureau members. You can see complete details at Ford wants to say thank you to those who serve us every day!

Bruce Johnson is the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau

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