Sesser Community Garden

AITC1Franklin County 4-H and Franklin County Ag in the Classroom have teamed up to provide 5 raised beds for community gardens in Sesser. Cindy Bauman, Program Coordinator, 4-H and Youth Development, and Melissa Lamczyk, Franklin County Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Coordinator, have been working with the county schools and FFA chapters the last couple of years to put together some community gardens and/or opportunities to donate produce to local food pantries.
Mrs. Bauman put together a couple of raised beds last year at the Franklin County Extension office with plants from AITC school projects and plants she provided. The produce from these beds was donated to the food pantry in Benton.
Mrs. Lamczyk was able to work with Sesser-Valier’s 2nd grade (Leann Miller’s classroom), and Sesser-Valier’s FFA chapter to provide over 250 plants and produce to the Sesser food pantry. The Ag in the Classroom program was able to do this with an Innovation grant received from the IAA Foundation. This grant, along with grants Mrs. Bauman has written through 4-H, are helping to provide the needed materials for the 5 raised beds in Sesser.
The five raised beds were built on April 2nd, 2017 by the Franklin County 4-H groups, the Mudrunners and the Puddlejumpers. There were around thirty 4-H members, twenty parent volunteers and a few city officials, including Jason Ashmoore, Sesser Mayor, and Travis Zettler, Sesser Alderman.
The 4-H members planted a few seeds that day. Megan Zurliene, S-V Band and After-School teacher, and the After-School program students started six flats of plants, consisting of vegetables and fruit, to be planted in the beds during April and May.
The 4-H groups and some other local groups will be doing the planting and caring for the gardens throughout the growing season. The community is welcome to help and keep an eye on the beds to prevent vandalism. We hope there is plenty of produce for the food pantry and the community to share throughout the summer.
If your community would like to start a community garden or find out more about these programs, contact Cindy Bauman at the U of I Extension office (439-3178) or Melissa Lamczyk at the FC Farm Bureau office (435-3616).

Manager’s Article April 20, 2017

gayIT IS OFFICIAL – farming season is in full force. Farmers are planting now – even with the rain that we received last Sunday they are still able to get in the fields and have smiles on their faces! But with the rain on Easter Sunday the saying goes that it will rain for the next 7 Sundays. I am not sure exactly how accurate this is but listening to the farmers at the board meeting last week they are saying that it will happen at least for 5 Sundays out of the next 7. Our hopes are that is it not down pours on these days.
Illinois farmers ranked estate tax repeal and interest deduction as their highest tax reform priorities, according to a survey conducted by Illinois Farm Bureau. The results will help IFB advocate for issues that matter most to members. “This is our opportunity, the first time in 30 years, to do tax reform,” said Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development.
In a recent survey of our members on Farm Bureau tax policy, the interest deduction was the single most prioritized policy.  Maintaining that critical provision is a top IFB priority in tax reform.
However, the U.S. House Republican Blueprint for Action takes interest deduction and makes it meaningless for virtually every farm businesses.
“Under this Blueprint, job creators will be allowed to deduct interest expense against any interest income, but no current deduction will be allowed for net interest expense.  Any net interest expense may be carried forward indefinitely and allowed as a deduction against net interest income in future years.”
Does your farm business generate enough interest income – now or in the future – to offset interest expenses on your operating loans or the loans you’ve taken out to purchase land or equipment?
If the answer to that question is “no,” you need to take action NOW!
Please take a moment to send an email to your Congressman, your U.S. Senators and to the Illinois members of the tax writing U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.   Tell them to insist that any tax reform bill allow farmers to deduct their interest expenses regardless of whether they have any interest income.
The Franklin County Farm Bureau is pleased to be award $500 scholarships to three students who are going into an Ag related field of study. Those recipients are: Tara Brown – Sesser-Valier, Jared Emberton – Thompsonville and to Wade Hutchens – Benton. Tara and Jared are both going to attend Rend Lake College and study welding with Tara’s focus on Ag Mechanics as well. Wade will graduate from Rend Lake College and is going to attend the University of Illinois to work on his double major of Animal Sciences and Animal Production. We wish these three the best in furthering their education.
Make plans now to attend the 2017 Farm City Days on June 10th. We have many events planned for the day – Farm Machinery Parade starts at 11:30 from Immanuel Baptist Church. On the square there will be: Farmer’s Market, Craft & Flea Market Booths, Farm Machinery Display, Food Concessions, Car and Motorcycle Show, and more.
The kid’s area will consist of at least 4 inflatables, petting zoo and corn bin. There are other things in the works so stay tuned for more exciting new and events to come.
For more information and for applications for the events go to the website farmcitydaysil.com. Get your applications in early for booth space as we will not have competing booths.
The Rend Lake Water Festival is fast approaching with the parade to take place on Saturday May 13th. We are looking for entries for the 6th Annual Farmers Memorial Antique Tractor Drive. We will once again be in the front of the parade and then proceed on our route to the Barren Township building for a fish fry then over the lake and back. The fee is $25 per tractor. For more information please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.