Well water testing offered by SWCD
The Stephenson County Soil and Water Conservation District is sponsoring a Well Water Testing Program August 8-16, 2016. The program, which tests drinking and well water for nitrates, certain pesticides, and 22 different heavy metals, has been organized as a drive to keep costs down. Kits will be sold from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. August 8-15 at the SWCD office, 1620 S. Galena Avenue. Participants are asked to take water samples as close to August 16th as possible and return the kits to the District office by 3 p.m. on August 16. The water samples for all tests will be immediately shipped to the laboratory. Prices will vary, depending on the type of test ordered. Any test or combination of tests may be ordered.
As in past years, a $10 Farm Bureau discount will be given to any Stephenson County Farm Bureau member. A valid member card will need to be presented when purchasing kits. A confidential report of the results will be mailed directly to the home or farm owner within four to six weeks. PurTest® Bacteria self testing kit is available from the District for $15. This is not part of the regular testing kits. For more information, call the SWCD office at 235-2161, ext. 3, or stop by the District office.
Speaking of water testing…
I want to remind our farmers and landowners of our nitrate testing services being offered through the Farm Bureau. We can test your surface or tile water samples for nitrates and ammonium to give you benchmark readings, and calculations can be performed to determine nitrogen loss based on flow rates. We’d like to start running tests once a week as samples are submitted, so give me a call at (815) 232-3186 or (815) 499-9387 for more information. Tests are free to FB members, and a nominal fee will be charged for non-members.
Great day for a drive!
Twenty-seven classic tractor enthusiasts from six counties participated in our Town & Country Classic Tractor Caravan on June 18, enjoying a 33-mile ride through the countryside and the streets of Freeport. A highlight was cruising through the parking lots of seven area nursing homes and senior residence facilities, and several of them had nice crowds waiting to greet the drivers and see the classic iron as it paraded by. The drivers ended up at Union Dairy for a delicious lunch as their rides were on display there for several hours. Thanks to Jodi Miller and her staff at Union Dairy for their significant part in this fun day – we’re already talking about ideas for next year’s route and some long-term ideas.
Stephenson County Fair draws near!
As the smoke clears from our busy month of June, we’ll immediately shift into preparation mode for the July 6-10 Stephenson County Fair. Our Farm Fun Zone tent will be buzzing with activity including our lineup of animals (including baby chicks), numerous displays, the popular corn trough and other games, and cold water and fresh popcorn all week. The tent will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Wednesday night is Youth & Family Night in front of the grandstand beginning with the 4-H Parade of Excellence at 6 p.m., followed by the Chicken Scratch for kids ages 5-7. Our Celebrity Showmanship Contest will feature area celebrities showing their swine showing skills with coaching from their 4-H partners, and the evening will conclude with presentation of the Friends of the Fair awards and introduction of the new fair queen and her court.
Saturday at 1 p.m. will be the inaugural Master Showmanship Competition in the Swine Show Ring, with the winner representing Stephenson County at the state fair. Finally, our Kiddie Pedal Pull will be Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in the Swine Show Ring, with trophies and gift coupons for the winners and the top three in each class headed to the state finals in Springfield. Join us for great fun, food and fellowship at the 2016 Stephenson County Fair!
The joys of grandchildren
Andrea and I enjoyed some quality time in Arlington Virginia recently with our son and daughter-in-law Dave and Andrea and their delightful daughter Sofia, now almost 21 months old. I got to spend three days there while Andrea stayed on for another week to help watch Sofia while Mom and Dad had training obligations before they leave in November for Dave’s first Foreign Service post in Armenia. We’re also looking forward to visits from our Iowa girls Claire and Cora in July as we enjoy the magic of grandparenting. As I’ve heard it said, “If I knew grandkids were so much fun, I would have skipped the previous phase entirely” – just kidding!
Bruce Johnson is the manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.