Farmer To Table Program, Year 5

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We just completed our 5th year of the Farmer to Table program at Zeigler-Royalton Elementary. Thank you Jim Chamness, Chris Menckowski and Larry Flowers for bringing in equipment to the school. Thank you to the following presenters and volunteers. Eric Green-Southern FS; Marc Lamczyk-U of I Extension; Tony Lamczyk-FSA;  HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/brad.browning.5” Brad Browning,  HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/kendall.browning.39” Kendall Browning,  HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/charles.m.browning” Michael Browning, and Chris Walter – Young Leaders; Seth Schlag and Matt Kramer – Consolidated Grain and Barge; Mary Bolen – Benton Farmers Market;  HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/cindy.bauman.161” Cindy Bauman – U of I Extension 4H; Jennifer Newbury- U of I Extension Snap-Ed; volunteers Cassie & Sierra Rich – Frankfort FFA; Shelby Hewlett & Camden Kirkpatrick- 4-H Members from Zeigler-Royalton High School;  HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/lori.robertson.127” Lori Robertson – Farmer and the Farm Bureau Board. Thank you to Mrs. Bailey –Z-R Principal, and to the teachers and students who participated on Tuesday for this program. Without these great people, this program would not be possible.

 

FB Act Appreciation Dinner

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Franklin County has a great focus on FB Act and Action Requests. As many of you know we ask for your help when it comes time to making the Action Request Calls to your Legislators. So very many of you have stepped up – that once again I am still praising your efforts in making Franklin County Number 1 in the state for the third year in a row. Our only focus now is that we continue to make Franklin County No. 1.
On Tuesday evening, February 28, 2017, we invited everyone who has made their calls to attend a very special dinner. This years dinner was at the Benton Elks where a meal of Filet Mignon, grilled asparagus, baked potato and cheesecake was served as a seated meal.
We started off the evening by thanking everyone for attending and then introduced the Board . Kendall Browning gave the invocation. Then the waitstaff began to serve meals to – no buffet line – this was the real deal.
COUNTRY Financial reps Mike Brachear and Darla Sloan were on hand with information on insurance needs. They also had a drawing for 3 gift certificates – $50 went to EllaJean McClerren and $25 each to Denise Smith and to Megan Zurliene.
Our special guests for the evening were Adam Nielsen, Director of National Legislation & Policy Development and Lauren Lurkens, Director of Natural & Environmental Resources. Both of them came down Bloomington to share the importance of what Franklin County has been able to accomplish with the help of our members. Lauren also spoke about the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and how the Illinos Farm Bureau can be of assistance to those with questions.
Sponsors of this dinner were COUNTRY Financial, Southern FS, Consolidated Grain and Barge, and Farm Credit Services.
We had 85 Franklin County Farm Bureau Members attend this event. We need all of the help that we can get when it comes to the issues that are set before us throughout the year.
We felt that just getting together to discuss how important it is for everyone to make their Action Request Calls has helped enormously for our causes in the future.
Remember, if we don’t already call please call the office and get on the list – it is not painful and the rewards are great. (618) 435-3616.

Senator Fowler Visits Conference

FowlerSenator Dale Fowler stopped to visit with those in attendance from Franklin County during the Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference held at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield on March 1, 2017. Pictured: Brad Browning – Young Leader Chairman, Gay Bowlin – Manager, Dale Fowler, Ivan Berner – Board Member and Leon McClerren – President.

Managers Article by Gay Bowlin

gayWe had 32 in attendance at our meeting with Representative Dave Severin and Senator Dale Fowler last week. They both discussed the main issues that they are working on right now and were very grateful for the opportunity to have them come to our office and meet with the farmers and listen to what we feel is important. Of course, the most important issue right now is the budget and how to finally get one in place in Illinois. They both indicated this was one of their main priorities as well. We look forward to having a close working relationship with both of them.
Last week, NASS released county yields for the 2016 crop year, helping the U of I’s Gardner Agriculture Policy Program create accurate estimates of the 2016 ARC-CO payments. Check out FarmDocDaily.com for maps showing estimated payments per base acre for soybeans, corn, and wheat, as well as maps giving 2016 county yields relative to benchmark yields, and estimated payments per Illinois county.
Action to pass Illinois Farm Bureau state legislative priorities set by the IFB Board moves to the Capitol and legislative committees.
Property rights influenced a priority related to utility projects. Through HB 3207, sponsored by Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, and SB 777, sponsored by Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, IFB seeks to amend the state’s expedited review process of large, complex utility projects.
Some recent utility companies in the state used expedited review procedures for projects that went before the Illinois Commerce Commission.
“The use of expedited review for complicated projects that impact many landowners has created significant concerns and hardships for landowners in the project’s potential path,” said Bill Bodine, IFB associate director of state legislation. “Often, impacted landowners do not have enough time to consider their options and participate in the review process. The proposed changes to the expedited review procedures will help landowners better protect their property rights.”
IFB also seeks to address transportation challenges during a harvest emergency. Under HB 2580, sponsored by Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, and SB 1576, sponsored by Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Moline, the governor would gain the authority to increase gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent for divisible loads of agriculture commodities during a declared harvest emergency.
“This will allow farmers to transport agricultural commodities from fields to local grain bins more efficiently, reducing overhead costs, saving time and allowing a more expedient harvest during an emergency,” said Russell Orrill, IFB assistant director of state legislation. Neighboring states, including Iowa, have similar provisions, Orrill noted.
Another IFB priority bill focuses on traffic and conviction surcharges on truck overweight fines. HB 3343, sponsored by Rep. Elgie Sims Jr., D-Chicago, and SB 1581, sponsored by Sen. Anderson, would reduce the surcharges that create a significant burden on farmers and truckers in Illinois.
Bodine explained 2015 legislation created a funding mechanism for police body cameras by raising the surcharge for traffic violations and criminal convictions. Truck overweight fines are considered traffic violations.
Under the law, a speeding ticket with a $120 fine would come with a $45 surcharge, a $15 increase compared to the previous amount. A driver of a truck that is 5,000 pounds overweight would receive a $950 fine and a $356 surcharge, an increase of $118.
“As the truck increases in weight, so does the fine. This leads to even more substantial increases in overweight fine surcharges,” Bodine said.
IFB also plans to again oppose legislation that would allow landowners’ property to be taken without just compensation.
HB 2557, sponsored by Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Westchester, and SB 1388, sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, would allow telecommunications companies to install their equipment in road rights-of-way without negotiating an easement with the underlying landowner. Currently, telecommunication companies are required to obtain an easement from landowners before installing cable or equipment in these road rights-of-way.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

April 4th sales Tax Q&A

On the ballot in April is the 1% Sales Tax Proposition for the county. At our Farm Bureau Board Meeting we invited County Board Chairman Randal Crocker to come and speak with us about the issue. The Ballot will read as follows:
FRANKLIN COUNTY LOCAL SALES TAX
To pay for public facility purposes, the construction of a new Franklin County Courthouse, shall the County of Franklin be authorized to impose an increase on the share of local sales taxes by one percent (1%) for a period of not to exceed 20 years?
This would mean that a consumer would pay an additional one dollar ($1.00) in sales tax for every one hundred ($100.00) of tangible personal property bought at retail. If imposed, the additional tax would cease being collected at the end of the 20 years. If not terminated earlier by a vote of the county board.
The Franklin County Farm Bureau is helping to host an open meeting on March 7th at 6 p.m. at the Benton Civic Center for the sole purpose of making the public more informed on this matter. We have not taken a stand one way or the other on this subject but we feel that it is necessary to make all voters better informed. There is no need to RSVP it is an open meeting. Hope to see you there.

Representative Severin and Senator Fowler

SeverinFranklin County Farm Bureau had 32 in attendance at our meeting with Representative Dave Severin and Senator Dale Fowler last week. They both discussed the main issues that they are working on right now and were very grateful for the opportunity to have them come to our office and meet with the farmers and listen to what we feel is important. Of course, the most important issue right now is the budget and how to finally get one in place in Illinois. They both indicated this was one of their main priorities as well. We look forward to having a close working relationship with both of them.
Pictured: Senator Dale Fowler, Kendall Browning – District 17 Young Leader Representative, Brad Browning – Franklin County Young Leader Chariman and Representative Dave Severin.