Manager’s Article For May 25, 2016

GayFarmers in the fields is a pleasant sight in the county. Some have not planted anything for a month and are now in a much better mood than they were this time last week. Corn and beans are being planted all around the county with some of these as re-plant acres. With rain in the forecast for the majority of this week they are really trying hard to get as much done as possible before it is too wet. START SEEING FARMERS is very important as they will be working hard to get their crops planted. Please be courteous to this very large equipment on the roadways and they will be courteous to you as well.
Last week many of you were asked to call Representative John Bradley to ask him to vote NO on SB2237 – this is the same bill that the Senate passed just a few weeks ago that would allow telecommunications companies to install their equipment along road right-of-ways without negotiation an easement with the landowners. We are hoping that with enough push to our Representatives throughout the state that this bill would die in committee. I will keep you all informed as to the outcome. Thank everyone who took their time to call of this very important issue.
This entire week we are asking everyone to call Congressman Mike Bost to support the passing of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – this is one of the Illinois Farm Bureau’s top national legislative priorities. TPP is a trade agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations that Congress could vote on before the end of the year. The 12th District farmers will benefit from TPP – economic analysis concludes that TPP will cut tariffs, reduce non-tariff trade barriers and increase net U.S. agricultural exports by $5 billion per year.
Please take time to call Congressman Bost at 202/ 225-5661 and urge him to SUPPORT TPP then please report your contact to my office by calling 435-3616.
Thanks to a grant from the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board the Franklin County Farm Bureau will provide 5 area grocery store meat departments (butcher shops) with the knowledge of what happens when their “meat” eats corn and corn products.
Posters will be provided with bullet points and pictures to make it interesting to read and hopefully provide information that consumers were not aware of.
WQRL Radio will also participate in this promotion by giving information on air during their afternoon drive from 3-6 with Ashley. Tune in June 6th through the 17th.
We will complete the promotion by presenting 9 Franklin County Food Pantries with $100 each.
There are many local member discounts for Franklin County Farm Bureau Members – F B McAfoos & Company, Big O Farm & Garden, Earth Works and K & K Storage Barns, LLC just to name a few. For the entire current list and/or to become a member please call us at (618) 435-3616. If your business would like to be included in our membership mailings to renewals and to new members please contact us as well.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know

Manager’s Article for May 18, 2016

GayWho would have thought that we would have 40 degree weather in the middle of May? This coupled with all of the rain farming just isn’t getting done.  Some corn has been planted and what is on higher ground will be fine but several farmers are already talking re-plant. Bean planting has just barely begun but by-and-large farming has been put on hold until more favorable conditions.
The Franklin County Farm Bureau and the Young Leaders are proud to announce the recipients of this year’s scholarships.  At Christopher Larry Miller and Brad Browning were very proud to present scholarships to Luke Winget. Luke will be attending Southern Illinois University in Carbondale majoring in Agribusiness. Luke’s parents are Mike and Beth Winget from Mulkeytown.  At Benton Larry Miller made the presentation of both scholarships to Matthew Robertson.  He will be attending Rend Lake College majoring in Ag Production/Ag Business. Matthew’s parents are Kelly and Lori Robertson from Benton.
We are very proud of these two young men who will help to produce food for our families and our country in the future.

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At the state house, we were successful moving SB 2160, which extends the sunset date on property tax assessments on agriculture filter strips to December 2026, out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee. Rep. John Bradley, Chairperson of the Revenue and Finance Committee, is the sponsor of the bill and presented it in committee. The bill now moves to the House floor. We will be working to gain its passage before the May 31st scheduled adjournment.
There are many local member discounts for Franklin County Farm Bureau Members – Thomas Printing, YFC – Social Media Marketing, Mr. D’s Drive In, Martin’s Restaurant, Stark’s Total Fitness & Tanning, Benton Lawn & Garden, The Weeping Willow, Four Season’s Ace Hardware, and Rend Lake Marina just to name a few. For the entire current list and/or to become a member please call us at (618) 435-3616. If your business would like to be included in our membership mailings to renewals and to new members please contact us as well.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article May 10, 2016

GayWe could not have asked for better weather this past Saturday for the 5th Annual Antique Tractor Drive. A total of 37 tractors were in the parade and then proceeded on the tractor drive route. We made a stop at the Barren Township building in Sesser where Martin’s Catering fried fish with all the fixin’s for a great lunch time meal. We then proceeded on the Rend City Road and over the Dam and back to our original starting place. Everyone loved being in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade and from the people I have spoken with they all enjoyed it as well.
With all of the rain the farmers are still having a difficult time getting into the fields to plant anything. And with the forecast for this week it looks like planting will be on hold until after the middle of May. This means that farm machinery will be on the roads and sometimes they will be late so please be on the look out and be safe.
CRP ACRES – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA will enroll more than 800,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program this year, while expressing hope that Congress will allow for even higher enrollment in the next farm bill.
The State House continues to deal with legislation and there appears to be some attempt at budget discussions between the four General Assembly caucuses and the Governor’s office.  A group of close to 30 people, including each chairman and minority spokesperson for the six different appropriation committees, key budget negotiators, legislative staff and the Governor’s budget and legislative staffs, have been meeting for a couple of days. Based on the “unofficial” reactions from a few of the participants we have talked to, things are not going all as well as one would hope.
Some of the specific issues we have been working on have also seen some movement. On Wednesday, the Illinois Senate approved SB 2237, which gives telecommunication companies access to install lines on your private property located in a road right-of-way. The bill was approved with 35 yes and 18 no votes (thank you to Senator Forby for accepting our lead on this one and voting NO). It has now moved to the House. We will continue our all-out efforts to oppose the legislation and work for its defeat. This legislation is very troubling because it is yet another effort by utilities to erode the rights of private property owners.
Another bill has created some controversy. SB 3130 is legislation to exempt seed libraries and seed swaps from the Illinois Seed Law. We are clearly not opposed to seed libraries or seed swap events, where individuals can share seed they grow in their gardens with others.  We have simply asked that the seed libraries or seed swaps maintain some very basic information to help the Dept. of Agriculture. The sponsors and proponents of SB 3130 have been resistant to our suggested change and therefore we have had to oppose the bill until this small change can be made. The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Sesser-Valier Elementary Recognized By Dairy Council

More than 172,000 students in Missouri and Illinois woke up to school breakfast with dairy and happily captured the moment as part of St. Louis District Dairy Council’s (SLDDC) annual school breakfast campaign Wake Up with Dairy.
The Wake Up with Dairy campaign, conducted throughout 131 counties by SLDDC, aimed to promote the benefits of breakfast. “Research shows that a healthy breakfast helps fuel academic success. And milk makes the morning meal even better, with 9 essential nutrients to power learning in the classroom” notes Dairy Council registered dietitian Laura Morton. Laura took in magic milk straws and according to school nutrition director Lisa Moore, breakfast participation went through the roof!
750 participating schools received posters and signage to decorate their cafeterias, along with photo props of milk cartons, yogurt and a cartoon cow. The schools were challenged to showcase how their students enjoy dairy as part of breakfast by snapping photos of them with the props. The pictures were submitted to Dairy Council and entered into a drawing for grand prize and runners-up packages that included incentives for cafeteria staff, along with student prizes.
2016 Wake Up with Dairy Grand Prize Winners:
Illinois: Sesser-Valier Elementary (Sesser, IL), Auburn Middle School (Auburn, IL), Gale Elementary (Galesburg, IL),
Missouri: Sorrento Springs Elementary (St. Louis, MO) Sunrise R-9 Elementary (DeSoto, MO)
For more information about the Wake Up with Dairy Campaign winners, please call St. Louis Dairy Council at 314-835-9668,  email at info@stldairycouncil.org, or online at www.stldairycouncil.org.

Manager’s Article, May 3, 2016

GayTRACTOR DRIVE UPDATE, GUEBERT, AG IN THE CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
Gay Bowlin, Manager

UPDATE: It is almost time for the Fifth Annual Farmer’s Memorial Antique Tractor Drive – May 7th – parade begins at 10:02 a.m. If you would like to be part of this event please call the office at 435-3616. Registration will take place at 8:45 a.m. behind the Magnuson Hotel at the old Toler Cinema (this is where we will park the trucks and trailers and also the parade route will begin from here).
Rain – farmers are looking for dry weather so that they can get in the fields – not much has been planted so far in the county.
On the east of the county there are hopes to get into the fields by the end of the week if the rain holds off. On the northwest side of the county with Saturday nights rain makes it questionable as to exactly when they will be able to plant.
Spring is here. Tractors are rolling, planters are planting and farmers are farming.
But, according to Richard Guebert, Jr., president, Illinois Farm Bureau, this spring is bringing more than just the normal spring planting routine for farmers — it also is bringing a third consecutive year of low commodity prices and high input costs for farmers across the country.
Guebert, who testified Wednesday before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research, said low commodity prices, rising seed and high fertilizer costs, and tight credit will mean another tough year for farmers and ranchers.
“Illinois Farm Business Farm Management reports that over the past four years, farm income has dropped 6 percent a year, while costs have fallen at half that rate,” Guebert said during his testimony. “In fact, indexed to inflation, the economic return for Illinois farmers after family expenses is currently at its lowest level since 1972.”
But, Guebert added, the farm economy isn’t the only factor affecting farm income and stability. Congressional legislation and federal regulations can greatly impact farmers’ ability to operate.
Some actions by Congress will help American farmers, including changes affecting covered farm vehicles, improvements to waterway systems and improvements that will affect agricultural drivers and shippers. Other Congressional action is less than positive.
“Unfortunately, the list of things that increase [farmers’] costs is even longer,” Guebert said. “A few at the top of the list are the most urgent.”
Guebert named the following as pressing concerns of farmers: The Senate’s failure to pass a voluntary GMO labeling bill; the backlogged H-2A program, which allows farmers to hire migrant workers; and the Senate’s failure to pass a companion bill to HR 897, which would ensure that when farmers lawfully apply pesticides, they are not subject to a Clean Water Act permit.
Guebert was quick to thank the Subcommittee and Congress for defending and maintaining programs which support farmers, and thus, support a stable food supply.
Ag in the Classroom has been hatching chicks in Ewing, Frankfort Intermediate, Christopher and Sesser. There were a total of 47 chickens hatched this year. Incubation has ended for the year but if you are interested for next year contact Melissa Lamczyk to set you dates.
Garden in the Glove finished up in April. This is one of the favorite activities for the students where they germinate lettuce, cantaloupe, carrots, cucumbers and radishes to transplant at home.
Three FFA Chapters in the county are mentoring younger students with raising food for the local food pantries. Thompsonville, Sesser and West Frankfort receive supplies to begin to grow the plants that will be donated. These plants will be handed out at the food pantries for pickup to take home to grow their own food. Our goal is to give people the knowledge to have their own garden – no matter how small.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.