MANAGER ARTICLES

Franklin County Farm Bureau Manager – Gay Bowlin

Manager’s Article November 17, 2015

Gay  Franklin County Farm Bureau News – ANNUAL MEETING, FRUIT & PECANS
Gay Bowlin, Manager

You only have until November 20th to call and register to attend the 2015 Franklin County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday November 30 at the Benton Civic Center. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. and the meal will be served at 6:15 p.m.
We are also looking for Silent Auction Donations to benefit the Ag in the Classroom Program and the Scholarship Program. If you would like to donate please call the office and we will make a plan to stop by. Thank you in advance.
PECANS ARE IN – extra-large pecan halves – $9 for a 16 oz. bag and chocolate covered pecan halves – $8 for 12 oz. We are taking orders for fruit – 4/5 bushel of grapefruit or tangelos – $25 or 2/5 bushel is $15. For a 4/5 bushel of oranges the price is $31 and for a 2/5 bushel of oranges it is $21. The fruit will be here either December 14 or 15. Orders for fruit must be in by November 23rd.
It has been a long fight over the past 18 months, but the dam’s about ready to burst on a regulation that will greatly impact farmers.
Both chambers of Congress are now on record against the EPA’s onerous new “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS rule, which dramatically expands the reach of the federal Clean Water Act regulation across our rural landscape.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate took a rare but necessary action to disapprove of a federal regulation. With encouragement from Farm Bureau members and support from U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, the Senate decided that the WOTUS rule “shall have no force or effect.”
“Writing a rule from behind a desk at the EPA in Washington that makes farmers in Illinois question their right to use their own private property is the very definition of regulatory overreach, and I have consistently opposed this rule,” Sen. Kirk said.
Thank you Sen. Kirk.
And with a strong bipartisan majority, the U.S. House last May passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which also requires withdrawal of the WOTUS rule. Again, thank you to Congressman Bost for supporting the legislation.
In addition to creating liability on our land, the regulation creates nothing but uncertainty for farmers unsure of where federal control begins and ends on their land.
And that sets up farmers to be targets of agency enforcement actions and citizen lawsuits. We’ve seen this play out before. If this rule cannot be stopped, we are absolutely certain that court decisions will ultimately force us to obtain permits for routine farming practices like applying fertilizer or pesticides.
Fortunately, last month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a nationwide stay on the regulation. The court concluded that certain aspects of the rule, including a new, broad definition of “tributary,” are at odds with a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Clean Water Act. In addition, the Sixth Circuit wrote that the EPA’s rulemaking process was not only “suspect” but built on shaky scientific evidence. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
The House has acted. The Senate has acted. And now the courts are calling this regulation into question.
That’s why Farm Bureau will continue to work hard with our congressional allies over the next several weeks to pass legislation to either block or — at the very least — defund implementation of WOTUS through the end of this administration.
Our members believe strongly that it’s time to end this regulatory nightmare. It’s time drown EPA’s WOTUS rule.

Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article November 10, 2015

GayFranklin County Farm Bureau News – COUNTY ANNUAL MEETING – FRUIT AND PECANS – CALL NOW!

You only have until November 20th to call and register to attend the 2015 Franklin County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday November 30 at the Benton Civic Center. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. and the meal will be served at 6:15 p.m.
There is no charge to attend the meeting but you must be a member in good standing. We will have a goodie bag with gifts included from the Franklin County COUNTRY Financial Representatives – Mike Brachear, Darla Sloan, Krista Menckowski and Jeff Smith.
If you wish to attend the meeting or if you are not a member of the Franklin County Farm Bureau and wish to join please call us at 435-3616.
We are also looking for Silent Auction Donations to benefit the Ag in the Classroom Program and the Scholarship Program. If you would like to donate please call the office and we will make a plan to stop by. Thank you in advance.
We are currently taking orders for pecans – extra-large pecan halves – $9 for a 16 oz. bag and chocolate covered pecan halves – $8 for 12 oz. They should be in by November 20th so call the office to place your order today. We are also taking orders for fruit – 4/5 bushel of grapefruit or tangelos – $25 or 2/5 bushel is $15. For a 4/5 bushel of oranges the price is $31 and for a 2/5 bushel of oranges it is $21. The fruit will be here either December 14 or 15. Orders for fruit must be in by November 23rd.
The following is a statement from Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr., regarding Senate passage of Senate Joint Resolution 22.
“While it’s disappointing the Senate fell three votes short of passing S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, we are relieved to see the Senate formally disapprove of the rule and urge the House to quickly pass an identical resolution.
“While this doesn’t end farmers’ concerns with WOTUS, the disapproval resolution represents another definitive Congressional action reinforcing what farmers have now been saying for more than a year: The rule is poorly written, will lead to greater confusion, and gives the EPA nearly unlimited authority to regulate land and water at their discretion.
“Illinois Farm Bureau would like to thank Sen. Mark Kirk for his co-sponsorship and vote yesterday in support on S. 1140. Sen. Kirk clearly recognizes the threat that the WOTUS rule and an overzealous EPA pose to Illinois agriculture.”
I just want to remind the schools that we have many programs through Ag in the Classroom the Melissa Lamczyk, AITC Coordinator would be more than happy to teach in YOUR classroom. Just give us a call here in the office to set up your time – 435-3616.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article November 3, 2015

GayFranklin County Farm Bureau News – CALL NOW TO REGISTER FOR ANNUAL
MEETING
 
    The last two weeks have been busy ones with major issues for the farmers – first we had the issue with the Crop Insurance – with the help of everyone who made their Action Request Calls this should be resolved. The budget deal appears to be passing through the system.  That deal does still contain the language to cut crop insurance. 
However agreements are in place with both the House and Senate leadership to strip it out during the omnibus budget process in December.  That’s good for crop insurance, but also means those targeted savings, $3 billion over 10 years, will probably need to come from some other ag budget. 
Then just this week we were to make calls once again on the Waters of the U.S. We had asked everyone to call Senator Kirk and Senator Durbin to encourage them to vote for S. 1140 to force the EPA and the Corps to go back to the drawing board with WOTUS. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon so we shall see what happens.
We are currently taking orders for pecans – extra-large pecan halves – $9 for a 16 oz. bag and chocolate covered pecan halves – $8 for 12 oz. They should be in by November 20th so call the office to place your order today. We are also taking orders for fruit – 4/5 bushel of grapefruit or tangelos – $25 or 2/5 bushel is $15. For a 4/5 bushel of oranges the price is $31 and for a 2/5 bushel of oranges it is $21. The fruit will be here either December 14 or 15. Orders for fruit must be in by November 17th.
Are you looking for that unusual gift this holiday season? We are taking orders for personalized Gate Signs – each 11×14 metal sign is personalized with the farmers name and the year they became an Illinois Farm Bureau Member. Your cost is $35. Please allow 4 weeks for delivery. You can stop in the office or call and I can email an order form – unique gift idea for the farmer who has everything.
I just want to remind the schools that we have many programs through Ag in the Classroom the Melissa Lamczyk, AITC Coordinator would be more than happy to teach in YOUR classroom. Just give us a call here in the office to set up your time – 435-3616.
It is not too early to start planning on attending the Franklin County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting on November 30 at the Benton Civic Center. A meal will be served at 6:15 p.m. followed by a short business meeting and our speaker/entertainer this year is a former Pitcher – Danny Cox. Danny played for the St Louis Cardinals from 1983 – 1988 and pitched in the 1985 and 1987 World Series. He then moved to the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and then to the Toronto Blue Jays. Danny lives in Illinois and does some farming – he is an avid hunter and supports many charities.
There is no charge to attend the Annual Meeting but you must be a Franklin County Farm Bureau Member in Good Standing to attend. We have a “goodie” bag that has items donated from our Franklin County COUNTRY Financial Representatives as well as from us, a great meal and a great atmosphere – if you are not a member and would like to join and also to make your reservations call the office at (618) 435-3616.
We are also looking for Silent Auction Donations to benefit the Ag in the Classroom Program and the Scholarship Program. If you would like to donate please call the office and we will make a plan to stop by. Thank you in advance.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article October 30, 2015

GayFranklin County Farm Bureau News – Call to Action – Crop Insurance UPDATE

We had a Call to Action this week concerning an issue that we thought had already been addressed in the Farm Bill – crop insurance. The Legislative Action Team at the Illinois Farm Bureau was not made aware that this would be coming up for a vote and have major concerns over how this was handled.
As of Thursday morning the 29th the House has left the cuts in the budget with a side agreement that they will be take out during the omnibus in December. We are still waiting on the Senate’s decision.
This last minute budget cutting attempt is very volatile – this could have an impact to the farmer’s bottom line. This could reduce the farmers harvest price option for getting better protection – this would not go away just make it much more expensive to farmers. The biggest cuts would actually be to the crop insurance providers themselves.
I would like to thank all of the farmers who made their calls to Senator Kirk, Senator Durbin and Congressman Bost this week and hopefully these calls helped in the final decision making by taking out the section on crop insurance. I will keep you up-to-date on this and all issues.
If you would like to have your name and number added to my list of people to inform on these issues please call the office.
The rain this week has been a welcome sight – the ground was beginning to get a little dry and farmers were starting to worry. This gives them just enough moisture to make everyone happy.
I have heard many good things about the corn and bean yields in the county – many are more than happy with their end results and often surprised that their yields were as good as they were with the amount of rain that we had received.
Farm program checks totaling nearly $4 billion could start arriving as early as Tuesday in farmers’ bank accounts across the country, providing a much needed boost while many commodity prices are falling. It’s the first ARC/PLC payments for the 2014 crop year.
In light of the WHO report on processed meats and cancer risk.  Susannah Mushatt Jones, 116, keeps a steady diet of bacon, eggs and grits for breakfast. A sign in her kitchen reads: “Bacon makes everything better.”
We are currently taking orders for pecans – extra-large pecan halves – $9 for a 16 oz. bag and chocolate covered pecan halves – $9.00 for 12 oz. They should be in by November 20th so call the office to place your order today. We are also taking orders for fruit – 4/5 bushel of grapefruit or tangelos – $25 or 2/5 bushel is $15. For a 4/5 bushel of oranges the price is $31 and for a 2/5 bushel of oranges it is $21. The fruit will be here either December 14 or 15. Orders for fruit must be in by November 17th.
Are you looking for that unusual gift this holiday season? We are taking orders for personalized Gate Signs – each 11×14 metal sign is personalized with the farmers name and the year they became an Illinois Farm Bureau Member. Your cost is $35. Please allow 4 weeks for delivery. You can stop in the office or call and I can email an order form – unique gift idea for the farmer who has everything.
I just want to remind the schools that we have many programs through Ag in the Classroom the Melissa Lamczyk, AITC Coordinator would be more than happy to teach in YOUR classroom. Just give us a call here in the office to set up your time – 435-3616.
It is not too early to start planning on attending the Franklin County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting on November 30 at the Benton Civic Center. A meal will be served at 6:15 p.m. followed by a short business meeting and our speaker/entertainer this year is a former Pitcher – Danny Cox. Danny played for the St Louis Cardinals from 1983 – 1988 and pitched in the 1985 and 1987 World Series. He then moved to the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and then to the Toronto Blue Jays. Danny lives in Illinois and does some farming – he is an avid hunter and supports many charities.
There is no charge to attend the Annual Meeting but you must be a Franklin County Farm Bureau Member in Good Standing to attend. We have a “goodie” bag that has items donated from our Franklin County COUNTRY Financial Representatives as well as from us, a great meal and a great atmosphere – if you are not a member and would like to join and also to make your reservations call the office at (618) 435-3616.
We are also looking for Silent Auction Donations to benefit the Ag in the Classroom Program and the Scholarship Program. If you would like to donate please call the office and we will make a plan to stop by. Thank you in advance.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article October 13, 2015

GayFranklin County Farm Bureau News – TEMPORARY WOTUS STAY NATIONWIDE

We received some good news on the “Waters of the US” Rule on October 8th as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit based in Cincinnati issued a TEMPORARY stay of the WOTUS rule NATIONWIDE.  The stay will remain in effect until the appellate court rules on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case.
The new WOTUS rule cannot be enforced by the Corps or USEPA during that time.  While this is only a temporary victory, it is a victory nonetheless.  It is also a strong signal that this rule is unlawful and would impose intolerable burdens on states and the public.
The Franklin County Farm Bureau along with the Illinois Farm Bureau will continue to lobby Congress to pass legislation to force EPA and the Corps to withdraw and rewrite the rule.
A new survey finds most farmers will stick with higher cash rents in 2016, despite tough times. Fully 40% say they “probably” or “absolutely” will walk away from cash leases for which rates aren’t lowered in 2016. Yet 60% say they probably or absolutely will not abandon those leases.
State lawmakers are poised to debate a proposal this week that would automatically register Illinoisans to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card. I think one of the biggest issues with doing this will be those people who are not so well informed and go to vote. I know that it is everyone’s right to vote though and even now people go and vote who are not so well informed on candidates and issues. We will just have to wait and see what happens on this.
Mark your calendars for October 24 to attend the West City Fall Festival located at the Police Station/Community Building. There will be many booths and lots of things for kids and adults to do. Franklin County Farm will be there to give out coloring books, soy crayons and other items. There will be a fish fry from 4-7 and hayrides until 10 p.m.
It is not too early to start planning on attending the Franklin County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting on November 30 at the Benton Civic Center. A meal will be served at 6:15 p.m. followed by a short business meeting and our speaker/entertainer this year is a former Pitcher – Danny Cox. Danny played for the St Louis Cardinals from 1983 – 1988 and pitched in the 1985 and 1987 World Series. He then moved to the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and the to the Toronto Blue Jays. Danny lives in Illinois and does some farming – he is an avid hunter and supports many charities.
There is no charge to attend the Annual Meeting but you must be a Franklin County Farm Bureau Member in Good Standing to attend. We have a “goodie” bag that has items donated from our Franklin County COUNTRY Financial Representatives as well as from us, a great meal and a great atmosphere – if you are not a member and would like to join and also to make your reservations call the office at (618) 435-3616.
We are also looking for Silent Auction Donations to benefit the Ag in the Classroom Program and the Scholarship Program. If you would like to donate please call the office and we will make a plan to stop by. Thank you in advance.
A study finds social media usage among American adults has ballooned in the past decade with about two-thirds now on social networking sites. The 65% of adults in the United States using social media is up from 46% in 2010 and just 7 % in 2005, the year Pew began tracking usage.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article October 9, 2015

GayTTP Agreement Reached

WOW – this weather has been rather crazy this past week – first it was really cold now it is back into the 80s – sometimes it is hard to know how to dress except in layers and just peel them off. Regardless I am thankful that the crops are getting out of the fields and the farmers seem to be pretty happy with the results.
The budget fight between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats in the Legislature could leave Illinoisans stranded in an emergency. Without a budget in place, emergency 911 telephone systems in every corner of the state are no longer receiving revenue from a tax on phone users. Under current state law, 911 fees for landline phones are paid to the country-level systems. But, fees for phones go into a statewide pool. Without a budget in place, Gov. Rauner says the money cannot be distributed.
The following is a statement from Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr., regarding the agreement of Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“We’re extremely pleased to see an agreement reached in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. We believe this partnership will open foreign markets to U.S. food and agriculture, providing new and commercially meaningful market access and advancing regulations that are transparent and based on science.
“Trade is important to Illinois farmers and agriculture, and Illinois agriculture will certainly benefit from this agreement, as TPP partners purchase 42 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports.
“We look forward to reviewing the agreement in greater detail. In the meantime, we would like to congratulate U.S. Trade Representative Froman and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Vetter for their outstanding work on accomplishing this important milestone.”
Last weeks “Stunning” Self-Defense Course was a huge success. We had two sessions on the same night with a total of 78 in attendance. Everyone felt that they learned a great deal from the short time that they were here. I am thinking about having another one during the first half of November – if anyone is interested please let us know. A date has not been set yet.
Illinois Farm Bureau and Caterpillar Inc. have a new partnership that will provide members up to $2,000 in purchase incentives on Cat machines. In addition, Caterpillar plans to support Farm Bureau programs in 2016 and coordinate with Farm Bureau on other efforts. – See more at: http://www.ilfb.org/ifb-news-and-events/ifb-in-action/2015-october/10715-cat-benefit.aspx#sthash.Lfhhoia2.dpuf.
Eligible equipment includes Cat skid steer loaders, compact and multi-terrain loaders, wheel loaders, telehandlers, backhoe loaders, hydraulic excavators and track-type tractors. Range of incentives go from $250 to $2,000.
Mark your calendars for October 24 to attend the West City Fall Festival located at the Police Station/Community Building. There will be many booths and lots of things for kids and adults to do. Franklin County Farm will be there to give out coloring books, soy crayons and other items. There will be a fish fry from 4-7 and hayrides in the evening.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article October 2, 2015

GayFranklin County Farm Bureau News – JOIN FB ACT AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE

NO BUDGET MOVE IN SIGHT. If there ever was any momentum to get a state budget in place, it has evaporated heading into the second quarter of the state’s fiscal year. After meeting nearly once a week during the early months of the stalemate, the Illinois House’s next scheduled meeting will be Oct. 20, followed by another one Nov. 10. The Illinois Senate is following a similar schedule.
Would you like to have your voice heard by our legislators and possibly make a difference in what is going on? We have a program through the Farm Bureau that can help you do just that. Join FB Act – any time there is an issue that effects farmers we get information and are asked to make a call to one or more of our legislators.
It only takes a minute of your time and we have seen amazing results with the calls that Franklin County and the State has made. We have actually been able to change the votes of several lawmakers just this year. If you would to be a part of this please call the office for more information. Many issues don’t only involve farmers so please call our office today 435-3616.
I am sure that you have all seen many farm implements on the road and many semi-trucks as well. Please remember that they HAVE to be on the roadways with other vehicles and to please give them the right of way. If you see that they are going to make a turn – no matter which direction – please give them plenty of room to navigate these turns.
Don’t follow too closely as they might not be able to see you and make sure you have plenty of room to pass. SAFETY should always be your first priority.
There has been much talk about the generations and how they are receiving their information. Baby Boomers (1945-1964) read newspapers and rely on television to get the majority of their daily news. Generation X (1961-1981) can still fall into this same category but also turn to social media and the internet. Millennials (1975-1995) get most of their news from social media and the internet – sometimes not always validating the information that they are reading.
I would like to remind those Millennials who are actually reading this article that it is most necessary to make sure that the information that you are receiving on Facebook, Twitter and other types of mass media are truth. Just because he says he is a model in Paris does not make it so. Do your research before sharing information and always beware of those who mean you harm.
We had a farmer come into the office on Thursday and made a sizable donation to the Foundation to assist the Food Pantries. It was very much appreciated and any time of year would be a GREAT time to make a donation. We will be sending out letters soon asking for donations for the Harvest of Help – to date we have been able to assist the county food pantries with over $45,000 in donations. Every penny helps. The Foundation is a 501©3 Not-For-Profit and is totally tax deductible.
When I went in to the Benton/West City Ministerial Alliance a couple of weeks ago Vicki told me that the take old pots and pans, old clothes that are not wearable and of course aluminum – these items can be recycled and they receive money for them. So when you are thinking that you have any of these and are thinking of throwing them away please make a trip and drop them off. They will appreciate any donation.
Mark your calendars for October 24 to attend the West City Fall Festival located at the Police Station/Community Building. There will be many booths and lots of things for kids and adults to do. Franklin County Farm will be there to give out coloring books, soy crayons and other items. There will be a fish fry from 4-7 and hayrides until 10 p.m.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article Revised September 30, 2015

GaySorting Out the Class “A” Drivers License

  REVISED SORTING OUT THE CLASS “A” DRIVER’S LICENSE
There was a revision in the Class “A” Drivers License Rules as follows:
The Secretary of State’s Office now indicates that they are not issuing non-CDL Class A driver’s licenses for semi drivers under provisions of the Covered Farm Vehicle exemption.  They’re working on it, but they’re not yet ready for that.
Any Class A driver’s license issued to drive a semi will require the CDL testing–both knowledge and skills.  There are currently two different ways that semi license could be issued:
With no exemptions, issued as a full CDL; or,
Under terms of the FVD exemption, issued as a non-CDL with a J50 restriction*
The driver of any combination vehicle that meets both of the following two conditions must have a Class A license.
The combined weight of the truck and trailer or the combined weight of the truck-tractor and semitrailer is more than 26,000 pounds GCW or GCWR.
The weight of the trailer or semitrailer is more than 10,000 pounds GVW or GVWR.
Drivers of smaller combinations or single-unit vehicles will be required to have only a B, C or D classification of driver’s license.  If B or C, it could be either a CDL or a non-CDL.  The D license classification is issued only as a non-CDL.
The Class A license is not synonymous with a CDL.
* The J50 might be modified over time to apply equally to both the FVD- and the CFV-exempted licenses.  Watch for possible changes in the months ahead.
REMINDER:
More in-depth material on this topic and other trucking regulations is available on the Illinois Farm Bureau® website at:
http://www.ilfb.org/policy-issues/current-issues/transportation-infrastructure.aspx
I am sure that you have all seen many farm implements on the road and many semi-trucks as well. Please remember that they HAVE to be on the roadways with other vehicles and to please give them the right of way. If you see that they are going to make a turn – no matter which direction – please give them plenty of room to navigate these turns.
Don’t follow too closely as they might not be able to see you and make sure you have plenty of room to pass. SAFETY should always be your first priority.
There has been much talk about the generations and how they are receiving their information. Baby Boomers (1945-1964) read newspapers and rely on television to get the majority of their daily news. Generation X (1961-1981) can still fall into this same category but also turn to social media and the internet. Millennials (1975-1995) get most of their news from social media and the internet – sometimes not always validating the information that they are reading.
I would like to remind those Millennials who are actually reading this article that it is most necessary to make sure that the information that you are receiving on Facebook, Twitter and other types of mass media are truth. Just because he says he is a model in Paris does not make it so. Do your research before sharing information and always beware of those who mean you harm.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

 

Manager’s Article September 11, 2015

GayFranklin County Farm Bureau News – NEW TIME on “Stunning” Self-Defense Course

We are sponsoring a “Stunning” Self Defense Class on October 1 at 5:00 p.m. at the office. The 7:00 p.m. class filled up so quickly that that we have added a 5:00 p.m. class to make room for those who are interested. This class will introduce you to a stun gun, pepper spray and other improvised weapons to use for self-protection. This is a 1-hour course that will let you recognize dangerous situations and teach you how to deal with them. This class is put on by Extreme Exigency and meets all Illinois State Laws.
Price for the course is $50 ($40 for Farm Bureau Members). Upon completion of this course you will receive your own stun gun (civilian version) for personal defense ($39.95 value and Carry Case $10 value – FREE). Anyone can take the course but you must be at least 18 years of age and have a current FOID card to receive the stun gun.
Illinois Law requires participants to preregister for the course a minimum of 24 hours in advance. This course has limited availability so you can register by sending an email to extremeexigency@gmail.com, fcfb028@frontier.com, or call the Franklin County Farm Bureau at (618) 435-3616 or Extreme Exigency at (314) 925-0869.
We will be helping anyone who does not have a FOID card to apply that evening – it has to be done on line and the cost is $10 to Farm Bureau and $11 to the State. So don’t let the fact that you do not have a current FOID card keep you for signing up for this class.
Farm Bureau, Caterpillar Inc. Announce New Partnership – Thanks to a new agreement Illinois Farm Bureau just announced with Caterpillar Inc., members can save up to $2,000 on new Cat® machines, including wheel loaders, skid steers, backhoes, excavators and more. All Illinois Farm Bureau members are eligible. Discounts cannot be applied to past purchases. Members must provide a valid Member Verification Certificate to the Cat dealer at the time of purchase or lease quote to receive the discount. Certificates may be obtained at www.fbadvantage.com/cat.
BACK TO WORK – Congress returns to work with a long list of unfinished business to deal with this fall, including the budget, a long-term highway bill and a reauthorization of child nutrition programs.
Some work has been done in the fields the beginning of the week. With the rain on Wednesday everything was put on hold. I know that the Browning’s in West Frankfort were able to cut corn on Monday and I am not sure who else was able to do so but it will all start full force very soon.
ALL THE MORE REASON TO MENTION THAT THE TRACTORS, TRUCKS AND COMBINES WILL BE ON THE ROADWAYS AGAIN AND TO BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN PASSING AND DO NOT DRIVE TOO CLOSELY. REMEMBER, IF YOU CAN’S SEE THEIR MIRRORS THEY CANNOT SEE YOU.
We are pleased to announce that Breanne Brady was the winner of the Limited Edition Harvest for All Tractor that we had at US Bank. There were many entries and we would like to congratulate Breanne and we hope that Chance will enjoy his new tractor.
2015 Plat Books are now available for purchase in our office – the price has not gone up and if you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau member you can purchase one for $25 or $30 if you are a non-member.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article September 4, 2015

GayCorn Yield Results for Franklin County
September 4, 2015
Gay Bowlin, Manager

Wow I don’t have to tell everyone that the weather has still been amazing.  We have heated up a bit but just remember that Fall is upon us. Farmers have been cutting wheat and some are cutting silage for their cattle as well.
Last Tuesday – August 25th – Brad Browning participated in the Young Leaders Discussion Meet at Edwards County Farm Bureau in Albion.  There were 4 participants from District 17 (our District) and 4 from District 13.  Brad placed 3rd which is alternate for being able to go to Chicago to participate in the state Discussion Meet.  I would like to thank District 17 Director Larry Miller for his monetary donation to the participants.
Illinois Farm Bureau sent a Federal Legislative Action Request for last Thursday.  The purpose of this Action request was to call Senator Kirk and Senator Durbin to encourage them to support S 1140 – the Federal Water Quality Protection Act.
Because of the response on this Action Request Senator Kirk has decided to co-sponsor the bill when they come back into session. JUST KNOW THAT YOUR VOICE IS BEING HEARD!! If you are not on the Action Request phone list please call the office and I will make sure that when we have another one you will be informed as well. LET’S MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
The Waters of the U. S. Rule went into effect today and S 1140 is a bipartisan bill to force the EPA to withdraw and rewrite the WOTUS rule.  We had over 70 people make calls on this issue and hopefully many others throughout the United States did as well.  I will keep you updated on what happens.
On Monday the 24th we had the Regional Farm Talk Meeting at Mt Vernon with Illinois Farm Bureau President Rick Guebert Jr.  Vice President David Erickson along with several others were also in attendance to bring everyone up to speed with issues that have been on everyone’s mind this year.
Issues like WOTUS, The Farm Bill, Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and 100 Year Anniversary of the Illinois Farm Bureau events to name a few.  There were almost 100 people in attendance with 10 from Franklin County.  It is always nice to be able to get together with President Guebert and Vice President Erickson down here in the southern part of the state.
Volunteers helped to conduct the annual corn yield.  By getting samples from all 12 townships we are usually able to get a pretty good idea of what the yields will be for Franklin County.  This year is a little different.  With the excess rain there are many fields that have not produced well due to the wet bottom ground. Then there are the fields that have more of the higher ground that have good corn production yields.
Listed are the yields by township.  We are simply reporting the yields that we came up with on the fields that were checked.  If you have any questions on which fields were checked please call the office and I can let you know.  These averages are taken from between 5 and 9 fields per township.
We thought about taking the total yield and subtracting 10% to come up with a total or just simply taking 20 bushel per acre off the top but decided that we would report our actually findings. These are the projected corn yields based upon our survey:
Barren – 160.9
Benton – 133.6
Browning – 147.7
Cave – 159.1
Denning – 159.9
Eastern – 154.6
Ewing – 154.6
Frankfort – 161.0
Goode – 153.4
Northern – 162.4
Tyrone – 158.6
Six Mile – 165.8
TOTAL COUNTY AVERAGE – 156.3
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article August 21, 2015

GayCorn Yield – Wednesday the 26th – Come Join Us
  
The weather this week has been wonderful.  Not too much rain in the county even though it looked like we were going to get some really bad storms. But the cool temperatures beginning on Wednesday and going into the weekend have sure been great. Looks like we can’t get used to it though – mid to high 80s next week is the forecast for next week.
We will be conducting our annual Corn Yield on Wednesday the 26th of August and would love to have more help.  We split up in groups of at least two people and are then assigned specific townships within the county to check the fields in. If you have never done this and would like to help out this year we would put you with someone who is experienced and you could learn how the yields are figured.
We will meet at the Franklin County Farm Bureau office at 1210 Highway 14 West in Benton at 8:00 a.m. and will leave from here once assignments have been made. We will have donuts and drinks before we leave and then everyone is invited to lunch afterward.
Call the office at 435-3616 if you are interested in helping out this year – we would love to have new people to learn how this is done.
Illinois will form a task force to come up with rules for the use of drones under a plan signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Members of the task force will be appointed by the governor and will include representatives from more than a dozen special interest groups, including law enforcement.
We are sponsoring a “Stunning” Self Defense Class on October 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the office. This class will introduce you to a stun gun, pepper spray and other improvised weapons to use for self-protection. This is a 1-hour course that will let you recognize dangerous situations and teach you how to deal with them. This class is put on by Extreme Exigency and meets all Illinois State Laws.
Price for the course is $50 ($40 for Farm Bureau Members). Upon completion of this course you will receive your own stun gun (civilian version) for personal defense ($39.95 value and Carry Case $10 value – FREE). Anyone can take the course but you must be at least 18 years of age and have a current FOID card to receive the stun gun.
Illinois Law requires participants to preregister for the course a minimum of 24 hours in advance. This course has limited availability so you can register by sending an email to extremeexigency@gmail.com, fcfb028@frontier.com, or call the Franklin County Farm Bureau at (618) 435-3616 or Extreme Exigency at (314) 925-0869.
2015 Plat Books are now available for purchase in our office – the price has not gone up and if you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau member you can purchase one for $25 or $30 if you are a non-member.
As more farms open themselves up to visitors for apple picking, hay rides and other events, experts are advising owners to take steps to prevent accidents. Farming is one of the more dangerous occupations in the U.S. mostly due to the machinery and equipment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Agitourisim is becoming a big business, with the number of U.S. farms reporting income from such activities. Experts are advising farmers to purchase the proper insurance and to keep tourists away from any hazards on their property.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime.  If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article August 14, 2015

GayMINER’S GAME – FARMER APPRECIATION NIGHT AUGUST 28TH

The Department of Agriculture reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined that there were sufficient production losses in 87 counties to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster
designation. Therefore, Tom Vilasak, Secretary of the USDA, designating 87 Illinois counties as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by excessive rain and flooding that occurred during the period of June I, 2015, and continuing. Franklin County is one of these counties.
A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties
contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the
Fann Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes
FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial
disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm,
and the security and repayment ability of the operator.
Local FSA offices can provide affected fanners with further information. Contact the office in Franklin County at 438-4021 x2.
We will have our Regional Farm Talk Meeting with IFB President Rich Guebert, Jr. on August 24th at 5:00 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn. This meeting will give farmers a chance to ask questions and share their concerns. Please call the office at (618) 435-3616 I still have a few seats available.
Farmer Appreciation Night at the Miner’s Ball Park is August 28 and we have tickets for sale in the office for $8.00. We will be giving t-shirts to the first 500 people through the gates. Tickets may also be purchased on sight the night of the game. For more information please call the office at 435-3616.
Beginning this week there is a new way to get your local news. The West Frankfort Gazette is a new weekly publication that will cover mostly West Frankfort and Thompsonville news. The paper will come out each Thursday.
2015 Plat Books are now available for purchase in our office – the price has not gone up and if you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau member you can purchase one for $25 or $30 if you are a non-member.
CROP REPORT – USDA’s August crop report dealt a major bearish surprise to Illinois farmers.  USDA forecast Illinois corn production at just over 2 billion bushels; soybean production is expected to exceed 530 million bushels. Despite a soggy start, USDA says rain makes grain.
Just a reminder that you can go to our website at fcfbil.org to get local news and all local member discounts anytime. If you have any questions please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article August 7, 2015

GayRegional Farm Talk Meeting the 24th and Miners Game on the 28th

We will have our Regional Farm Talk Meeting with IFB President Rich Guebert, Jr. on August 24th at 5:00 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn. This meeting will give farmers a chance to ask questions and share their concerns. Please call the office at (618) 435-3616 by Tuesday August 11th to register.
Rain rain go away – I would say come back another day but I think we have had enough for a while. It hasn’t been so much the amount of rainfall but the time frame that it has come in. A lot of rain in short periods of time made for much flooding in the county.
We have another business taking part in our Local Discount Program. I would like to welcome YFC – Social Media Marketing – 502 W Main, Benton, IL (618) 513-5955. For All Your Business Identity Needs – Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – FREE CONSULTATION. Welcome to the Franklin County Farm Bureau family.
The survey of some 1,300 growers put corn production at 13.366 billion bushels, down 6% from last year’s record. Soybean production was estimated at 3.768 billion bushels, down 5.1% from last year. We will be conducting our annual Corn Yield Tour the end of August – stay tuned for more details.
A FREE course developed for citizens who refuse to be a victim and choose to take an active role in person safety for themselves and their family will take place at the West City Community Center located at 201 S Browning St will be held on August 13 from 2-4 pm and August 14 from 6-8 pm.
This course presented by Extreme Exigency will aid in your knowledge of self-defense should you ever need it. Space is on a first-come first-serve basis so get there early.
Two new apps that I have downloaded to my Smartphone have been a big help to me and I wanted to share them. First there is GasBuddy – this helps you to find the lowest gas prices no matter where you are. Once you have opened the app simply type in the zip code or city and state and it will give you the price and location and the last time that was updated.
Next is an app called Waze – this is wonderful for those who travel a lot – once you allow your location you can see where all road construction is, accidents and how fast cars are traveling and also where the police are located on the route. You can also see others who are using the app and actually “talk” to them if necessary. There is also a navigation feature available.
I found this to be very accurate when we had the accidents last Saturday on I-57- it told exactly where they were and that the “cars” listed were driving less than 10 miles an hour (which basically meant they were stopped).
2015 Plat Books are now available for purchase in our office – the price has not gone up and if you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau member you can purchase one for $25 or $30 if you are a non-member.
Farmer Appreciation Night at the Miner’s Ball Park is August 28 and we have tickets for sale in the office for $8.00. We will be giving t-shirts to the first 500 people through the gates. Tickets may also be purchased on sight the night of the game. For more information please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article July 30, 2015

Gay    If you grow soybeans don’t miss out on ILSOYADVISOR Field Days. Thursday August 6 at Kelly Robertson Farm, 98 Industrial Park Rd, Benton from 8:30 am – 4 pm. A FREE lunch will be provided. You just need to register at ILSOY.ORG/FIELDDAYS.
We will have our Regional Farm Talk Meeting with IFB President Rich Guebert, Jr. on August 24th at 5:00 p.m. at the Mt. Vernon Holiday Inn. This meeting will give farmers a chance to ask questions and share their concerns. Please call the office at (618) 435-3616 by Tuesday August 11th to register.
This past Wednesday I attended the Commodities Conference in Bloomington along with Leon McClerren, Brad Browning and Keith and Diann Browning. The purpose of this conference is to keep farmers and Farm Bureau informed on matters such as: Market Outlook, Farmland Price and Cash Rent Outlook, Global Grain Competition and Transportation, Employee Management – Recruiting Labor and many other topics were discussed.
Some of the highlights that I took away from this conference were:
By 2050 70% of the world population will live in cities – cities need organized food systems
60% of global soybean exports go to China
Africa has the world’s youngest population and has 60% of the world’s uncultivated farm land
Apps are on the rise – with the help of a “QR” code on products at the stores we will be able to trace our food back to its origin with our smart phones.
Scientists are learning how to “cook-up” lab grown beef in a dish – how to have beef without the cow
Last week there was a Call to Action for us to call Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth from the 8th Congressional District. This was to try and insure her vote on H.R. 1599 – the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. IFB supported the bill which will stop states and local governments from imposing mandatory labels on food products that contain GMO’s.  The bill will also define the term “natural” in food labeling and sets up a USDA certification process and label for companies that wish to voluntarily label their products.
This was an important call – even though she is not from our District – she was leaning toward voting “NO” on this and with all of the phone calls from throughout the state she changed her vote to “YES”. It is important for you to know that when we make these calls your voice is being heard. Thank you to everyone who has made calls on this and any issues that we have had in the past. For more information on how you can be a part of FB Act please call the office at (618) 435-3616.
2015 Plat Books are now available for purchase in our office – the price has not gone up and if you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau member you can purchase one for $25 or $30 if you are a non-member.
Farmer Appreciation Night at the Miner’s Ball Park is August 28 and we have tickets for sale in the office for $8.00. We will be giving t-shirts to the first 500 people through the gates. Tickets may also be purchased on sight the night of the game. For more information please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article July 23, 2015

Gay   The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) have officially released the final version of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (Strategy) for Illinois.
The Strategy outlines a framework for reducing nutrient losses to improve Illinois water quality and the quality of water leaving the state and making its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including other agricultural groups, wastewater treatment plant representatives, and environmental groups, to develop the Strategy through a process led by the IEPA and the IDOA. Agriculture will continue working to address losses from our family farms, but everyone—whether from rural, suburban or urban areas—will have a role to play.
IFB supports the Strategy because education, outreach, and voluntary, incentive-based best management practices (BMPs) will continue to be the primary tools for addressing nutrient losses from Illinois farm fields.
The focus is on reducing nutrient losses to the environment, not on reducing nutrient use for Illinois agriculture. For agricultural non‐point sources, voluntary implementation of BMPs is expected to build on efforts already underway by farmers throughout the state and in watersheds with existing nutrient management plans. It is expected that the implementation of BMPs will increase with additional outreach, education, and incentives.
This is Illinois agriculture’s opportunity to prove that voluntary conservation does work!!
IFB is a founding member of the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (C-BMP), a coalition of agribusiness and agricultural organizations. C-BMP encourages the adoption of BMPs to protect and enhance natural resources and the sustainability of agriculture in Illinois. It will also serve as an important resource for nutrient management information for farmers.
Visit the Illinois EPA website devoted to the Strategy.
Seeing plenty of fields with standing water and damaged crops as he traveled to Bloomington, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson said he will seek federal disaster designation for damaged crops. The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be working with the Farm Service Agency to secure secretarial disaster designation for portions of the state affected by the recent rains and flooding.
“Right now we are in the assessment stage, where farmers are working with their county farm service agency representatives to determine the extent of the damage to their farms,” said Scherrie Giamanco, Illinois State Executive Director of the Farm Service Agency. “That detailed information is essential for substantiating the need for a Secretarial Disaster Designation in a timely manner.”
If your crops or livestock are impacted by recent flooding: Contact your insurance provider and
The Illinois State Farm Service Agency at (217) 241-6600 or your local FSA office for more information.
2015 Plat Books are now available for purchase in our office – the price has not gone up and if you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau member you can purchase one for $25 or $30 if you are a non-member.
Farmer Appreciation Night at the Miner’s Ball Park is August 28 and we have tickets for sale in the office for $8.00. We will be giving t-shirts to the first 500 people through the gates. Tickets may also be purchased on sight the night of the game. For more information please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article July 16, 2015

Gay   2015 Plat Books are now available for purchase in our office – the price has not gone up and if you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau members you can purchase one for $25 or $30 if you are a non-member.
If you are a soybean farmer mark your calendar for Thursday August 6 for the ILSOYADVISOR Field Days to be held at Kelly Robertson Farm – 98 Industrial Park Road in Benton. The days will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. with lunch provided.
Improve your yields and profitability with these topics: Foliar Feeding: A Mid-Season Strategy; Adjuvants: Making Your Foliar Applications Work; Key to Higher Double-Crop Soybean Yields; Going for 100: Achieving High-Yield Soybeans; Getting Soybeans Off to a Good Start and Update on the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Register at ILSOY.ORG/FIELDDAYS.
Facebook and Twitter are increasingly becoming dominant news sources: Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults use the social media sites for catching up on current events a new study finds. In 2013, about half of U.S. adults said they used Facebook and Twitter for news, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
A recent study finds that many people trust their Facebook feeds more than they trust newspapers. The trend is especially true with Millennials.
You can also visit the www.ilfb.org for news around the state and don’t forget to visit our website www.fcfbil.org for local events in Franklin County.
We have teamed up with US Bank to be their “Business of the Month” in August. Stop in and for more information about joining the Franklin County Farm Bureau and to register for the 2016 limited edition “Harvest for All” Tractor. This year’s tractor is a 1:32 New Holland T9.700 with front and rear duals and articulating body. You can also call our office to purchase one of these for $60 with all proceeds going to “Harvest for All” in the state of Illinois.
USDA announced Monday a proposal to allow homebound seniors and people with disabilities who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to use their benefits for grocery home delivery services.
I would like to thank everyone who spent any time at the 4-H Fairgrounds these past two weeks. The kids that are involved in these activities are the future of the world and with our help they will make us proud to say that we are from Franklin County and that we are farm families.
Starting early is the way to get them involved – you don’t have to come from a farm family to be involved in 4-H though. For more information call the University of Illinois Extension at 439-3178. There are many projects that kids of all ages can do.
Farmer Appreciation Night at the Miner’s Ball Park is August 28 and we have tickets for sale in the office for $8.00. We will be giving our t-shirts to the first 500 people through the gates. Tickets may also be purchased on sight the night of the game. For more information please call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article July 2, 2015
GayCongressman Bost answered questions about the Trade Promotion Authority (The TPA is a measure that gives the President greater negotiating powers on trade deals, allowing only and up or down vote in Congress on such deals, like the Trans Pacific Partnership). He indicated that just because the bill was signed that the debate will not end here.
When discussing Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) he indicated that he is doing what he can to get this rule overturned. In May he made this statement: “Make no mistake about it: the impact of the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. ruling will be felt far and wide.  Here in Southern Illinois, our proud agricultural heritage will now be put at risk by federal bureaucrats intent on telling our farmers and family businesses how to use their land.  This unprecedented power grab over America’s waters upends the balanced, federal-state partnership that has regulated U.S. waters for over 40 years under the Clean Water Act.  I have voted to scrap this rule in the past, and I will continue to fight this shameful overreach in the future.”
The 4-H Fair begins this coming Tuesday – July 7th and concludes with the Auction on Wednesday the 15th. Tuesday the 14th is Family Fun Night and the Franklin County Farm Bureau, the Franklin County COUNTRY Financial Representatives and Franklin County Farm Bureau Young Leaders and will be cooking pork loin sandwiches and hotdogs. We will also be serving pasta salad, baked beans, chips, a drink and ice cream cups. Come out and enjoy the Fair and see how hard these Franklin County 4-H participants have worked to get their projects ready.
June was a record breaking month for rainfall with over 9 inches in some parts of the state. There are still farmers who do not have all of their wheat out of the fields yet. This is absolutely unheard of this late in the year. With rain still in the forecast it may be another week before they can get finished.
For those who do have all of their corn and soybeans planted – some will be fine, some will not come up at all due to the flooding, some will be replanted and some won’t ever be planted. Such is the life of a farmer – always at the mercy of the weather.
All of this flooding means that there is a lot of water covering roadways in Southern Illinois. Be safe when driving and do not try and cross any roads with flowing water covering them. Also, remember that those flooded areas could have contaminated water from septic tanks and sewage runoff so while kids like to play in the water please look where the water has been before it got to your location. Keep kids safe as well as adults.
We currently have tickets on sale in the office for the Miner’s game on August 28 – Farmers Appreciation Night.  Tickets are $8 each. You can come by and purchase your tickets at the office anytime.
Tune in to WQRL 106.3 FM next week Monday thru Friday and listen to “Ashley’s Afternoon Delight” from 3pm to 6pm for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Casey’s. We are trying to educate everyone about the benefits of ethanol thanks to the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau and the Franklin County Farm Bureau. One gift card will be given away each day.
I hope that everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.
Manager’s Article June 25, 2015

Gay   Congressman Mike Bost is holding a Franklin County Farm Bureau appreciation event and farmer roundtable on Thursday July 2 at 2:00 p.m. at Big O Farm and Garden in Thompsonville. Congressman Bost will be discussing Trade Promotion Authority and Waters of the U.S. This event is open to the public and I would like to encourage everyone to attend.
Rain rain go away. That is what the farmers are screaming right now. In fact that is what most everyone is screaming.  With all the flooding in southern Illinois it is hard to be optimistic. Many farmers have been able to cut wheat this week and hopefully they will be able to get the majority of it out of the fields before the rain starts again.
Farmers across Illinois want to maintain a choice as to the best practices used on their farms. Initiatives being discussed across Illinois aim to help farmers achieve that goal while at the same time protecting the environment. The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy will be implemented within the next few months after several years of development, said Lauren Lurkins, IFB director national and environmental resources.
I want to thank everyone who has been so diligent in making their Action Request calls on issues that are important to Farm Bureau. Whatever the issues that come up Franklin County farmers are always on board to help the fight and the cause.  I am sure that we are not finished with these issues and I will always try and keep you updated.
Have you wondered about the benefits are for joining the Franklin County Farm Bureau?  Our biggest benefit is to lobby for farmers rights – but what if you aren’t a farmer?  We all eat so when we lobby it affects everyone in some way regardless of the issue.
We have many local businesses we will offer Franklin County Farm Bureau members discounts, we have hotel discounts nationwide and theme park tickets are cheaper with our online code.
If you are going to purchase a new Ford you will receive $500, $200 to $300 off on Polaris (Must be a member in good standing for at least 30 days). We have car rental discounts and there are many more.
How would you like to be cruising the country in a brand new Ford F-150? Franklin County Farm Bureau and Illinois Farm Bureau members are eligible to win a 2-year lease during the Built Tough F-150 Haul in a Winner Sweepstakes! For more information call us today.
If you’re not already a Franklin County Farm Bureau member or an Illinois Farm Bureau member, contact us at 435-3616 to sign up and enter the Built Tough F-150 Sweepstakes! Enter the sweepstakes before October 30, 2015 to be eligible to win.
For $20 a year for a non-farm member you are eligible to receive these and other benefits.
We currently have tickets on sale in the office for the Miner’s game on August 28 – Farmers Appreciation Night.  Tickets are $8 each. You can come by and purchase your tickets at the office anytime.
Tune in to WQRL 106.3 FM the Monday thru Friday June 29 thru July 10 and listen to “Ashley’s Afternoon Delight” from 3pm to 6pm for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Casey’s. We are trying to educate everyone about the benefits of ethanol thanks to the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau and the Franklin County Farm Bureau. One gift card will be given away each day.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article June 16, 2015

Gay   Rain rain go away. That is what the farmers are screaming right now. In fact that is what most everyone is screaming.  With flooding in the forecast for the next week for southern Illinois it is hard to be optimistic about the outcome.
With most of the crops already planted this much rain still makes it difficult to think that everything will be ok.
On Monday June 22nd we will have a breakfast with Representative John Bradley at the K & D Cafe in Thompsonvile at 7:30. Take a minute to come out and visit and talk about the issues that are important to Franklin County. You don’t have to call to make reservations just be there.
Beginning June 29 listen to WQRL 106.3 FM during Ashley’s Afternoon Delight from 3 – 6 drive for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Caseys. Ashley will be giving you facts of ethanol and give your a chance to win for the next two weeks.  This is sponsored by the Illinois Corn Growers Association, the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Franklin County Farm Bureau.
I want to thank everyone who has been so diligent in making their Action Request calls on issues that are important to Farm Bureau. Whatever the issue that come up Franklin County farmers are always on board to help the fight and the cause.  I am sure that we are not finished with these issues and I will always try and keep you updated.
Have you wondered what the benefits are for joining the Franklin County Farm Bureau?  Our biggest benefit is to lobby for farmers rights but what if you aren’t a farmer?
We all eat so when we lobby it affects everyone.  We have many local businesses we will offer Franklin County Farm Bureau members discounts, we have hotel discounts nationwide, theme park tickets cheaper with our online code.
If you are going to purchase a new Ford you will receive $500, $200 to $300 off on Polaris, car rental discounts, and there are more. Must be a member in good standing for At least 30 days.
For $20 a year for a non-farm member you are eligible to receive these and other benefits.
We currently have tickets on sale in the office for the Miner’s game on August 28 – Farmers Appreciation Night.  Tickets are $8 each. You can call or come by and pick up your tickets at the office anytime.
Remember we are farmers working together.  If I can help let us know.

Manager’s Article June 10, 2015

Gay   Rain- that was the BIG talk at the beginning of the week. The rainfall totals throughout the county were so different – from .8 inches at Leon McClerren’s over by Thompsonville and .9 at Browning Farms by West Frankfort to 3.25 at Kelly Robertson’s farm in Benton to over 5 inches at Danny Vukadinovich’s farm in north Mulkeytown and Ivan Berner had the same amount in south Mulkeytown. Scott Kistner lives north of Sesser almost in Jefferson County and he had 3.5 inches with Chuck Mitroka in Royalton having 2.6 inches.
Most of the planting is finished in the county but there will be some re-plant because of this rain and it looks like there may be more rain before the week is over.
Illinois Soybean Association is challenging farmers to beat the 100-bushel record soybean yield recorded last year and reap the rewards – $5,000 in the 2015 Yield Challenge. New rules, less data entry and three different contests make it easier to compete.  Visit www.soyyieldchallenge.com to complete a simple form.
Congratulations to the new FFA Advisor in Thompsonville – Josh Thomas, Josh and his wife Hannah. Josh and Hannah are originally from Kentucky but made their way to Southern Illinois about a year and a half ago.
Josh has a degree in Ag Ed for Western Kentucky while Hannah is a Veterinarian and practices in both Thompsonville and Marion.
Even though we are not selling tickets for Holiday World and Six Flags in the office you can come in and we can help you make the purchase on-line.  You must have a credit or debit card to make the purchase but tickets are definitely cheaper.  You can call for more information 435-3616.
Members of a farmer’s immediate family who live with the farmer and are employed by the farmer in agriculture are exempt from nearly all federal and state child labor regulations.
Minors 16 years of age or older can be employed in any agricultural occupation at any time. Minors under 16 years of age cannot be employed during the normal school hours of the school district where the child is living. If the child is under 14, parental consent usually is required for employment. If the child is under 12, he cannot work on a farm where any of the employees are required to be paid minimum wage (these are large farms, typically those employing six or more persons). Generally, a non-family minor under age ten cannot work in agriculture at any time.
Tune in to WQRL 106.3 FM the Monday thru Friday June 29 thru July 10 and listen to “Ashley’s Afternoon Delight” from 3pm to 6pm for your chance to win a $25 gift card to Casey’s. We are trying to educate everyone about the benefits of ethanol thanks to the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau and the Franklin County Farm Bureau. One gift card will be given away each day.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article June 3, 2015

Gay   June is National Dairy Moo-nth! There are about 690 licensed dairy herds in Illinois, which makes it the 22nd largest milk-producing state in the United States. The average dairy cow produces about 6 gallons of milk per day.
Not only do dairy products taste good, they help the economy, too. Illinois farms generate more than $453 million in milk sales annually. I would like to encourage everyone to eat a lot of dairy products – like ice cream, yogurt, cheese and to drink a lot of milk.
Be sure to thank a dairy farmer as we mooove through June!
The Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, due out in July, sets aggressive goals of reducing nutrient losses by 45% by 2025. Agriculture plays a big role in this Strategy.
It is important for producers to understand these ambitious goals because making progress towards them gives us our best chance of avoiding government regulation here in Illinois. Our neighbors in surrounding states haven’t been so lucky. Producers in Ohio are facing tough new regulations about how to manage nutrients on their farm, while in Iowa, drainage districts are facing lawsuits over nutrients leaving tile-drained fields.
At the Roadshow event this past Tuesday at John A Logan College we were given a chance to learn about a variety of tools to better manage nutrient losses and to ask questions about individual practices. The theme of the meeting, “What’s your strategy?” encouraged farmers to find strategies that work for their specific operation, understanding that each operation is unique, and that we all must do our part.
I believe that if we each implement the best nutrient loss reduction strategy for our farms, we can demonstrate that we’re capable of improving our nutrient practices – and therefore water quality – without government regulation.
The weather this past week has been totally out of the norm. We have had some rain and with the cooler temps the ground has remained at least damp making it hard to get in the fields to plant. Most everyone has their corn planted and will probably have some re-plant to do later.
Beans are about 80% planted in the county and what has not yet been planted is because of the wet fields. What we are in need of right now is sunshine to dry everything up. This will also allow what has been planted to get a good start on growing. The farmers are looking at the weather and are smiling right now with the forecast of sunshine and no rain.
As I get older I realize that I have changed the way that I get my news each day. I used to get all of my news from local news channels. Even though I still watch the local news and then continue on to watch the national news every morning I get the majority of my news from my emails and the internet. By watching and listening to the news in the morning I will get on the internet to do more research on something that interests me.
Among Americans born between 1981 and 1996, a.k.a. millennials, 61 percent get political news from Facebook in a given week, versus 37 percent who get it from local TV. A new research poll finds that’s also the inverse of how that divide looks for baby boomers – 60% get news from local TV.
Among those born-between-1946-and-1964 crowd, 60 percent of boomers said they got news from local TV and 39 percent said they found news on Facebook. For those in between, Gen X, it’s about even: 51 percent for Facebook, 46 percent for local TV.
No matter the generational differences, it’s obvious that social media, especially Facebook, has become a key way for people to consume political news, a trend that will become more relevant as younger users become more interested in politics.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article May 27, 2015
Gay   The White House, U.S. EPA and the Corps finalized the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) on Wednesday this week. The rule takes effect in 60 days. While it contains some cosmetic changes it is still the same rule that opens the door to agency enforcement actions and citizen suits against farmers and landowners.
To insult to injury, White House senior advisor Brian Deese said at a news conference: “The only people with reason to oppose the rule are polluters who threaten our clean water”
Seriously?  Is he really talking about farmers who work every day to improve water quality?
Farm Bureau will continue to work to enact legislation to force EPA to withdraw and rewrite the rule.    If we’re not successful in getting H.R. 1732 or S. 1140 enacted, we will also work through the appropriations process to defund WOTUS implementation.
We’ve heard from a few farmers who are upset and would like to take action.  If you get would like to take action against this here are some suggestions.
Call the White House Comment Line at 202-456-1111 and tell them that you are a farmer trying to improve water quality and NOT a polluter.   Tell them you’re offended and outraged by Mr. Deese’s statement and by the EPA’s mishandling of the entire process.
Go to the Legislative Action Center and urge both Sen. Durbin and Sen. Kirk to cosponsor and support S. 1140.
Call your Congressman and ask them to hold EPA accountable for inappropriately ginning up public comments in favor of the WOTUS.  Tell them to support defunding the WOTUS rule.
This past Tuesday evening Cindy Humm, Supervisor of Assessments held the annual meeting of the Farmland Review Committee at our office. This is an open meeting to the public and many farmers attended to ask questions about the upcoming Farmland Assessments and how it would affect Franklin County.
Brenda Matherly, Assistant Director of Local Government from the Illinois Farm Bureau also attended the meeting. She helped to assure everyone that this increase was a necessary evil. The other way that the assessments could have been written would have been to use fair market value of the land and they assessment would come out to so much more. If anyone has any questions please call the office – Cindy left some paper work that I can share with you.
Franklin County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom will be holding a Summer Ag Camp for ages 6 to 11 on June 15 thru 17 from 9 a.m. to Noon. The camp will be held at the Franklin County Farm Bureau Building at 1210 Highway 14 West in Benton.
Registration is $20 per child. We have an application to fill out and we are limited to 20 children only. If you are interested please call the office at 435-3616 for more information. Deadline to register is June 3rd.
I want to take this opportunity to invite my fellow producers to the upcoming Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Roadshow event, taking place on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 6 p.m. It will be held at the John A Logan College and sponsored by the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices and the Illinois Farm Bureau. If you would please call the office at 435-3616 to make your reservation – food will be served.
The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) is once again asking its members to bring rural life into focus by taking and submitting pictures for the annual member photography contest.
Picture Illinois, the 2015 Member Photo Contest, is open to IFB members and their families. The contest is limited to photos taken in Illinois in 2013 or after, by amateur photographers.
Entrants can submit their photos to one of three categories, including “Looking Up,” “Fairs n’ Festivals,” and “Hidden History.” The grand prize winner will receive $150, while three first place winners will receive $75 each, three second place winners will receive $25 each and the photo selected as “Members’ Choice” at IFB’s 2015 Annual Meeting in December will receive $50.
The contest runs from June 1 to Nov. 1, 2015. Winners will be announced in the spring 2016 issue of Partners magazine and in FarmWeek in January 2016.
Employees and immediate family members of Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliated companies are not eligible. To view previous winning photos, obtain the complete contest rules and to enter online, go to www.ilfbphotos.org. For questions, or to obtain the contest rules and entry form by mail, contact Dawn Heggie at 309-557-2293 or dheggie@ilfb.org.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.ay 27, 2015

Manager’s Article May 20, 2014

Gay    Memorial Day is Monday so it is ok to have a get together and cook on the grill but remember those who served our country and gave us our freedom – that is what this day is all about.
The 2015 planting season is well under way. In fact according to USDA as of this week 94% of the corn is in with 75% already emerged across Illinois. On the soybean side it looks like we have about 47% in with approximately 14% emerged. Be careful on the roads and in the fields as the planting season continues.
CROP INSURANCE DEADLINE APPROACHES – The 2014 Farm Bill requires producers to file a highly erodible land conservation and wetland conservation certification form (AD-1026) with their local U.S. Department of Agriculture service center by June 1 in order to become or remain eligible for crop insurance premium support.
I want to take this opportunity to invite my fellow producers to the upcoming Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Roadshow event, taking place on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 6 p.m. It will be held at the John A Logan College and sponsored by the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices and the Illinois Farm Bureau. If you would please call the office at 435-3616 to make your reservation – food will be served.
The Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, due out in July, sets aggressive goals of reducing nutrient losses by 45% by 2025. Agriculture plays a big role in this Strategy.
It is important for producers to understand these ambitious goals because making progress towards them gives us our best chance of avoiding government regulation here in Illinois. Our neighbors in surrounding states haven’t been so lucky. Producers in Ohio are facing tough new regulations about how to manage nutrients on their farm, while in Iowa, drainage districts are facing lawsuits over nutrients leaving tile-drained fields.
Roadshow events are a chance for us to learn about a variety of tools to better manage nutrient losses and to ask questions about individual practices. The theme of the meetings, “What’s your strategy?”, encourages farmers to find strategies that work for their specific operation, understanding that each operation is unique, and that we all must do our part.
I believe that if we each implement the best nutrient loss reduction strategy for our farms, we can demonstrate that we’re capable of improving our nutrient practices – and therefore water quality – without government regulation.
The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) is once again asking its members to bring rural life into focus by taking and submitting pictures for the annual member photography contest.
Picture Illinois, the 2015 Member Photo Contest, is open to IFB members and their families. The contest is limited to photos taken in Illinois in 2013 or after, by amateur photographers.
Entrants can submit their photos to one of three categories, including “Looking Up,” “Fairs n’ Festivals,” and “Hidden History.” The grand prize winner will receive $150, while three first place winners will receive $75 each, three second place winners will receive $25 each and the photo selected as “Members’ Choice” at IFB’s 2015 Annual Meeting in December will receive $50.
The contest runs from June 1 to Nov. 1, 2015. Winners will be announced in the spring 2016 issue of Partners magazine and in FarmWeek in January 2016.
Employees and immediate family members of Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliated companies are not eligible. To view previous winning photos, obtain the complete contest rules and to enter online, go to www.ilfbphotos.org. For questions, or to obtain the contest rules and entry form by mail, contact Dawn Heggie at 309-557-2293 or dheggie@ilfb.org.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article May 14, 2015

Gay    Franklin County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom will be holding a Summer Ag Camp for ages 6 to 11 on June 15 thru 17 from 9 a.m. to Noon. The camp will be held at the Franklin County Farm Bureau Building at 1210 Highway 14 West in Benton.
Registration is $20 per child. We have an application to fill out and we are limited to 20 children only. If you are interested please call the office at 435-3616 for more information. Deadline to register is June 3rd.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is encouraging specialty crop growers and apiaries to register their crops in the online Driftwatch program to make pesticide applicators aware of their sites.
Illinois Department of Agriculture director Philip Nelson visited Alto Vineyards in Union County Tuesday to promote the benefits of the program.
Nelson says Driftwatch is an internet-based geographic information system, which allows growers the opportunity to enter the location of their fields on a map. To register, go to https://il.driftwatch.org.
The Farmer’s Memorial Antique Tractor Drive was a success even with the rain. For the first time in 40 years there was actual “rain” on the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade. We had 30 tractors participate. Everyone really enjoyed driving in the parade and are looking forward to it next year.
We have had anywhere from 1 inch to 2 inches of rain in the county and farming has essentially stopped at this point. Most of the corn is in the ground and there have been some beans planted as well. So far the rain has not been enough to affect the crops in the low areas. With more rain in the forecast we can only pray that it will not be enough to hinder the growing process and we won’t have to re-plant.
U.S. soybean prices sank to a one-month low after federal forecasters projected a larger-than-expected harvest this autumn and a sharp increase in supplies of the oilseed next year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that soybean growers will harvest 3.85 billion bushels this autumn, which would mark the second-largest U.S. soybean crop in history. The USDA estimated the U.S. corn crop will total 13.63 billion bushels this autumn, lower than last year’s record 14.216 billion.
WOTUS VOTE – H.R. 1072 – a bill that would force EPA to withdraw and rewrite the WOTUS rule – passed 261-155. Twenty-four Democrats voted for the bill including three from Illinois. Our delegation voted 10-5 with two not voting.  Thanks to all who made contacts over the past few weeks on this high priority issue for Farm Bureau.
Smartphones are now the third most-owned consumer electronics product in the country, trailing only TVs and DVD/Blu-ray players, according to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association.  Tablets saw the largest increase in ownership growth over last year now at 54% ownership, and for the first time joining the list of top 10 most-owned tech products.
I just received the proof for the 2015 Franklin County Plat Book – once all advertisers have proofed their ads we will go to print. Hopefully the final product will be available by the end of August. Watch my articles for more information.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.
The report projects almost half of the job opportunities will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Jobs in food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, and 12 percent of the openings will be in education, communication, and governmental services. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.
Manager’s Article May 3, 2015
Gay    Farming is in full swing and there are many happy farmers finally in the fields. If you drive around you will see them putting on anhydrous, planting corn, spraying bean fields and finishing ground getting ready for the planter.
There are many reasons to become a Franklin County Farm Bureau Member:
We have many local benefits offered plus there are many state/nationwide benefits as well.
Buy a new Ford to take advantage of the special offer of $500 to put in your pocket.
Keep your family safe and secure by using ADT – receive a free security system and $5 off your monthly bill.
Beltone Hearing Ads offering a free hearing screening plus 20% off services
20% off at Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotels across the United States
Up to 25% off car rentals
and more…
To utilize these benefits you must be a member in good standing for 30 days. For more information call our office at 435-3616. Don’t wait and miss out on receiving some great offers.
We on the final stages of having a 2015 Plat Book available. The hopes are that we will have them printed in ready for purchase by late July or early August of this year.
We will not be selling Holiday World and Six Flags Tickets in the office this year. We have a link that you can go to and purchase tickets on line and if you need help you can come into the office and we will be happy to help – you will have to have a credit card or debit card in order to do this however.
Mark your calendars for June 2nd – you are invited to be part of a meeting at John A Logan College on Nutrient Low Management Strategy. This meeting will focus on Best Management Practices specific to our region. Farmers are invited to bring water samples from their farms to be tested on-site during the meeting. If you would like to bring samples please contact our office for the water testing instructions. This event is free of charge and a meal will be served. If you would like to go please call and register today.
Get the Illinois Farm Bureau App today. This app provides farmers with up-to-date decision making information on commodity futures and cash market prices, weather, legislative updates and alerts, contact information, and membership benefits and activities for IFB.
“The best feature about this app is how easy it is to customize for your farm,” says IFB’s Ted Jankowski. “You can use your GPS to get local weather and bids, or add a zip code to make a selective location, such as your home farm, as the default.”
Jankowski continues, “You can customize your futures quotes, too. You can set it to show just grain, just livestock, or both.”
To download, search Illinois Farm Bureau in your App or Google Play Store and tap install.
This is the last week to register to participate in the Antique Tractor Drive to be held on Saturday May 9th. We will participate in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade and the tractors will be near the front.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.
Manager’s Article April 23, 2015
Gay   Farmers are finally being seen with smiles on their faces! They are in the fields and happy about getting some corn planted, spraying and anhydrous being applied. They are looking for dryer weather in order to really get started.
Everyone’s decisions are a little different as to exactly what they are concentrating on right now and with the cooler weather this slows down the drying process to get into the fields.
I believe that all of the wheat has had nitrogen applied by now and we should begin to see helicopter and airplanes applying fungicide. Warmer weather would mean a lot more activity.
The Farm Bureau and the Young Leaders voted to award scholarships to those students entering into an agricultural higher education college program. Those who were notified of their award are: Amy Kovarik and Kaleb Miller – Sesser-Valier High School, Ike Hutchcraft and Wade Hutchens – Benton High School.
Also receiving scholarships this year are Fallon Dublo from Sesser – currently attending Rend Lake College and will go to Murray State in Kentucky and Chris Walter who is currently attending Rend Lake College and will be attending the University of Illinois in Champaign in the fall.
Congratulations to all recipients for their hard work and we wish them the best.
Wednesday was the 45th anniversary of Earth Day! People around the globe voiced their appreciation for the planet and talked about plans to keep it vibrant and healthy.
This year’s Earth Day theme was “It’s our turn to lead.” Take a stand so that together, we can show the world a new direction.
For Illinois farmers, every day is Earth Day. Farmers spend the majority of their time outdoors with Mother Nature, so they have a strong passion for being good stewards of the land.
Modern farming tools such as global positioning satellites, biotechnology, conservation tillage, and integrated pest management help farmers grow more and healthier foods while shrinking their environmental footprints. Here are a few examples:
~From 1982-2010, Illinois’ erosion rate on cropland is down 38%.
~Since 2010, Illinois farmers’ cover crop acres grew 64%. That’s more than 4.1 million acres throughout the state!
~In the past 10 years, aquatic biodiversity grew 7%.
~42% of Illinois acres are farmed with some form of conservation tillage.
~Illinois farmers have converted 521,693 acres from farmland to wetlands in 20 years.
When you see a farmer out please know that he or she is doing their very best to preserve our lands for our children and their children and so on and so on. The only way that a farmer knows how to plan to produce for years to come is to make good decisions today. Thank them when you see them out in public.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article April 17, 2015

Gay    I would like to thank everyone who participated in our tree giveaway – it was a success and we have no trees left. We will plan on doing this again next year at the same time. I will let everyone know when it is time.
In 2010, the Illinois Water Use Act was amended to make reporting for all high capacity wells or intakes mandatory in Illinois, including agricultural irrigation. Ag irrigation was given five years to comply, which means that starting with 2015, irrigators are required to report their water use from both wells and surface water intakes. A high capacity well/intake is defined as a single point of withdrawal or a series of points that together pump more than 70 gallons per minute.
I have had a few calls concerning the reporting and if Franklin County farmers are required to do so and the answer is “No” – we do not have any farmers using irrigation at this time that I am aware of.
Farmers are beginning to get a little antsy to get into the fields but with the rain we have had it is rather difficult. Those with higher ground have been able to spread fertilizer and spray “burndown” before planting. Next there is more waiting until the rest of the fields dry, then more spreading, spraying and finally planting will begin.
When planting begins farmers are “under the gun” to get things done as fast as humanly possible – this sometimes puts a crimp in resting time. Remember to take a break every couple of hours, drink lots of fluids and keep an eye on everyone else on the farm to make sure they are doing the same thing. Sometimes this is not an easy task but to watch out for your health and to be safe try and get adequate rest during this busy season that is upon us.
The 7th Annual Williamson County Traffic Safety Days was held this week at the Williamson County Pavilion. School from throughout Southern Illinois, including Franklin County Schools, attended this well organized and eye opening event. Events included Motorcycle Awareness, Work Zone Safety, Distracted Driving, No-Zone Semi Display, Seat Belt Convincer and Roll-Over Simulator, Driving Simulations, Street Smart –given be paramedics and firefighters which was very eye opening and of course Agricultural Equipment Awareness.
Students were allowed to sit inside a tractor with and auger attached. We had a car parked approximately 4 car lengths behind and they were asked if they could see the car. Their answer was always no and it brought to their attention what the driver was able to see. There was other equipment there are well so that they could see the size. We explained about the difficulty in staying in one lane when making a turn off the roadway.
By being a part of this amazing event we hope that newer drivers will be more aware of farm equipment on the roadways. If you have a drivers education student please ask them what they got out of this event.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article April 10, 2015

Gay    Congressman Mike Bost set up a meeting this past Tuesday with farmers and Ag Business people to be on his Ga Advisory Council. Marc Lamczyk from the U of I Extension and myself drove to Waterloo to participate in this meeting. Along with the many farmers through the Southern Region of Illinois also in attendance was Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert.
Among some of the issues discussed were the Farm Bill and Conservation Compliance including cover crops. A big issue right now is USDA “Actively Engaged” proposed rule. Because Congress chose not to define what an “actively engaged” farmer was in the 2014 Farm Bill, instead, Congress let USDA decide.
A person must be actively engaged to receive certain farm payments. An individual or entity (partnerships, corporations, etc.) must provide significant contributions to the farming operation. Contributions can consist of capital, land, and/or equipment, as well as active personal labor and/or active personal management. Management must be critical to the profitability of the farming operation and the contributions must be at risk.
I have a booklet in the office if anyone would like a copy please call so that we can have one ready for you to pick up.
When discussing Waters of the United States (WOTUS) it was stated that it is an overreach of epic proportion.
Congressman Bost has signed on to be a cosponsor of H.R. 594 which prohibits the CORPS and EPA from taking further action regarding this rule. He has signed a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking that they not make any money available for implementation, applying, developing any part of the rule for FY 2016. He indicated that the Secretary of the EPA does expect final ruling on this to come out in May or June.
Another issue is GMO labeling – concern over a patchwork of state labeling laws is causing concern for the ag industry. 90% of scientists agree that genetically engineered traits that we consume are safe. 59% of the general public does not believe genetically modified traits are safe for consumption. The biggest issue is educating consumers.
We have trees available to be picked up to anyone who would like them. I thought that I was getting 20 and instead I receive 200. These are White Oak, Red Oak, Burr Oak and Swamp White Oak tree saplings. Please call the office at 435-3616 or just stop by.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article April 3, 2015

GayScholarship Applications MUST be turned in at the office by Monday April 6th from students continuing their education into an Ag related field. If you have any questions or need further information please call 435-3616.
This year we decided to take part in the “Living Lands & Waters MillionTrees Project”. We have some trees that have not been spoken for as of today but supplies are limited. If you would like to get a free Oak tree to plant please call the office – this is on a first-come first-serve basis.
I have said it before and I will continue to say it – WATCH OUT FOR FARMERS! and FARMERS WATCH OUT FOR VEHICLES! It is just beginning but there will be a lot of commotion on the roadways and it is imperative that everyone take extra care while driving.
We have a supply of START SEEING FARMERS signs in the office if anyone would like to come by and pick one up or call and I will be happy to deliver. These need to be put in places where there is a lot of farm traffic on the roadways. They are free to you and will help to remind drivers of the situation.
Farmers have always had a lot of choices to make when it comes to what to plant but it seems that those choices may be harder this year than in the past.
Farmers are watching the weather and the conditions of their fields while trying to make the decision on whether to plant corn or soybean crops this year. With corn prices tanking – about half of they were a couple of years ago – soybeans may be the way to go. It is not that farmers have the most confidence in soybeans but it costs less to grow them – about a fourth of the cost of corn.
There is always a chance that things will change between now and when crops will actually go in the ground so the final decisions have not necessarily been set in stone.
Farmers find themselves facing another year of declining income and steady, if not rising, production costs. One problem is that past record harvests have generated a lot of corn and soybeans thus driving the prices down to the point where some tracts of land simply can’t turn a profit once production costs are factored in.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture the net income of farmers is expected to drop by more than 30 percent this year.
This would be the second-straight year that incomes have fallen. The USDA said that net incomes slipped by 16% from 2013 to 2014. The agency predicts that land-owning farmers with low productions cost will be able to turn a profit. However, farmers renting at higher levels will see difficulty this year. Falling incomes are also central to decisions by farmers on whether they will purchase equipment this year.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.
Manager’s Article March 27, 2015
Gay“Farmer to Table” was a huge success this past Wednesday. We had the event with West Frankfort this year and the 3rd and 4th grades came to the Aquatic Center to experience farm machinery up close and to learn exactly how their food gets onto their table. A lot of interesting questions were asked and the students went away with knowledge and the teachers went away with lesson plans to continue in the classroom.
I want to thank Shane Croslin, Chuck Jackanicz, Brad Browning, Michael Browning, Kendall Browning, Marc Lamczyk, Matt Kramer, Seth Schlag, Eric Green, Mary Bolen and Cindy Bauman. Also the FFA students from Frankfort and from Thompsonville for all of their help.
We are accepting applications from high school seniors going into an Ag related field until April 6th when all applications must be received in our office. If you have any questions or need further information please call 435-3616.
New research funded by farmers aims to breed a wheat variety for people who can’t eat wheat and other grains, an endeavor that comes as wider consumer interest in gluten-free foods is booming. The Kansas Wheat Commission is spending $200,000 towards two years of research to understand all the parts of wheat’s DNA that cause problems for people with gluten sensitivities.
Summer Agricultural Institutes (SAI) will be held at SIU-C the week of June 8-12, 2015. There is a possibility of teachers receiving grants from the Franklin County Farm Bureau to offset their fee for attendance to the SAI. For more information on the Franklin County Farm Bureau SAI Grants please contact Melissa Lamczyk or Gay Bowlin at 435-3616.
Kevin Daugherty, Education Director for Illinois Farm Bureau, said the courses are beneficial for educators in more ways than one. “Not only do they receive graduate credit and certification units for attending, they also gain an action plan for their classroom, free teaching materials, and insight on hot issues in agriculture – from the experts. The hands-on experience and field trips give them tools they could never learn in the classroom, making it easier to mix some agriculture into their classroom curriculum.”
The IAITC program provides materials for teachers and their classroom to help teach kids where their food and fiber comes from. The IAA Foundation helps raise funds for the IAITC program through special events held throughout the year.
To find out more, go to www.agintheclassroom.org or check out their online brochure for dates and locations.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.
Manager’s Article March 20, 2015

GayYou may have heard that the Firearm Owners Identification Card process has changed and I am not exactly sure if it is for the better but none the less we have to deal with it. We have always filled out applications and taken pictures for people but now that process is a little more involved.
First of all you can apply on line or on the phone but either way you must be able to pay with a debit, credit or checking account. If you apply on line you must have a valid email address (not sure about on the phone) and then the 15 minute process begins. You must still have a current picture and a driver’s license or state ID. If you apply online you must be able to pay over the phone.
If you come to the Farm Bureau office we will be able to help with this – we will take your picture and fill out everything online for you and then print out the confirmation. If you do not have a debit, credit or checking account then we will use our information to pay on line for you. This entire fee for this process will be $20 – that includes the $11 to the state. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 435-3616.
Our breakfast with Representative John Bradley was well attended on Monday. We had a total of 28 in attendance with 21 of those from Franklin County. Also Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau Director of State Legislation and Chris Lowery, Administrative Assistant to Representative Bradley.
Many items were discussed including the Juvenile Detention Center in Benton and the uncertainty that surrounds it – John assured us that he and Senator Forby are doing everything they can to keep the center running as it is today.
Representative Bradley is looking to the future and working with Governor Rauner on keeping Southern Illinois in the forefront. If you need to get in touch with him his office number is (618) 997-9697.
As soon as this weather dries up you will begin to see the farmers on the roads once more. Please take into consideration that these are very large pieces of equipment and there is limited space where they can get off the roadways – drive slowly when approaching and be aware of their limitations.
This is the last chance to place your order for Smoked Pork Loin for your Easter dinner. They will be ready for pick up on Thursday April 2nd – that is the day before Good Friday.  1/2 loin is $30 and a full is $45 please call the office or stop by to order yours today.  We will take orders ending March 30 and we don’t have extra. This is a Young Leaders Project with all proceeds going to fund scholarships. See a Young Leader or call 435-3616 to place your order.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article March 13, 2015

Gay   Finally – nice weather!! I know that we are supposed to have rain but NOT having snow, ice and single digit temps is super nice. Farmers aren’t the only ones really loving this warm weather. Even with rain (hopefully not too much) it will only take a couple days of good sun shine to dry things up. But for now if you pass by a farm and see a farmer outside you will definitely see rubber boots as well.
One of the big issues being talked about today is food labeling. You’ve probably seen, but may not have noticed, labels on the meat at your grocery store that say something like “Born, Raised, & Harvested in the U.S.A.” or “Born and Raised in Canada, Slaughtered in the U.S.”
These country-of-origin labels, as they are known, are part of an ongoing international trade dispute that has swept up Midwest ranchers. And they may not be long for store shelves.
The 2002 Farm Bill was the first to require country-of-origin labeling on meat. It took another seven years of rulemaking and legal wrangling for the labels finally to reach supermarket shelves in 2009. But last October, the World Trade Organization, ruled that the labels were an unfair trade barrier for meat producers in other countries. That has left the labels — and the meat industry — in limbo.
At the ALOT (Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow) Meeting on Tuesday there was much discussion as to how this could affect meat in Illinois markets. If it was born in the United States but then shipped to Mexico or Canada and then fed for a period of time then shipped back to the United States for food purposes – how should it be labeled? Should there be a requirement to how long the animal can be in another country? Should we just have a label that reads “North American”? I am sure there will continue to be much discussion to the labeling issue and I will keep you updated.
We would like to invite everyone to attend our Breakfast for John Bradley on March 16 at the K & D Cafe in Thompsonville.  Breakfast meeting starts at 7:00am.  We will order off the menu so it is not necessary to reserve your spot but if you know you will attend please call the office so we can get a head count for seating.
I want to remind everyone that the Young Leaders are currently taking orders for smoked pork loin that will be ready for pick up on Thursday April 2nd – that is the day before Good Friday – and just in time for Easter dinner.  1/2 loin is $30 and a full is $45 please call the office or stop by to order yours today.  We will take orders ending March 30 and we don’t have extra. 
The proceeds will go to fund at least one $500 scholarship for a high school senior going into an Ag related field.  We are also accepting applications for these scholarships until April 6th.  Last year the Franklin County Farm Bureau and the Young Leaders funded five $500 scholarships.  For more information call us at 435-3616.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade.  The tractors will be near the front of the parade.  We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City.  Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt.  For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article March 6, 2015

Gay   This past Wednesday we had Kevin Rund in the office sharing all of the new trucking regulations and there are a lot to keep up with. Thank everyone who could make it out even though the weather was fine when the meeting started it began to get icy when everyone left. If you were unable to make the meeting and need information please let me know.
I want to remind everyone that the Young Leaders are currently taking orders for smoked pork loin that will be ready for pick up on Thursday April 2nd – that is the day before Good Friday – and just in time for Easter dinner. 1/2 loin is $30 and a full is $45 please call the office or stop by to order yours today. We will take orders ending March 30 and we don’t have extra. The proceeds will go to fund at least one $500 scholarship for a high school senior going into an Ag related field. We are also accepting applications for these scholarships until April 6th. Last year the Franklin County Farm Bureau and the Young Leaders funded five $500 scholarships. For more information call us at 435-3616.
We would like to invite everyone to attend our Breakfast for John Bradley on March 16 at the K & D Cafe in Thompsonville. Breakfast meeting starts at 7:00am. We will order off the menu so it is not necessary to reserve your spot but if you know you will attend please call the office so we can get a head count for seating.
This year we will have our Antique Tractor Drive on May 9th and for the first time we will be in the Rend Lake Water Festival Parade. The tractors will be near the front of the parade. We will drive the parade route then continue on to the Barren Township Building on 154 stopping for a fish dinner then continue back over the Rend Lake Dam back to the Rend Lake Plaza in West City. Entry fee is $20 and this covers the cost of meal and a t-shirt. For more information call the office at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article February 27, 2015

Gay   The U.S. House voted 272-142 on February 13 to pass the bill which would make the Section 179 small business expensing option permanent at $500,000, indexed to inflation. The bill now advances to the U.S. Senate.
Next week on March 4th Kevin Rund will be in the office giving information on the trucking regulations. The meeting will begin with breakfast at 7:00 a.m. This meeting is important and everyone is welcome to attend but please call the office to make your reservations – 435-3616.
The Young Leaders are taking orders for smoked pork loin again this year – the loins will be ready for pick-up on Thursday April 2nd just in time for Easter dinner. Full loin – $45 & ½ loin – $30. Call the office or contact a Young Leader to order yours today.
A paperwork problem will throw a wrench into this year’s tax season for 1 in 5 households that received subsidies in 2014 to pay for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services said the government sent the wrong tax information to about 800,000 households that used HealthCare.gov – people who signed up for health plans through the federal portal – and they’re asking those affected to delay filing their 2014 returns.
To be a woman in agriculture is to face a unique set of challenges. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden knows all too well the trials that women can face as they look to take on leadership roles, she made it a goal as USDA’s Deputy Secretary to start a community for women leaders in agriculture.
This past fall, she held a White House discussion with farmers, agribusiness, academics and youth leaders about the opportunities that exist to help advance women in agriculture to leadership positions. Since that meeting, the response has been overwhelming. Women from all walks of life and every sector of the agriculture supply chain are empowering one another, and they’re sharing beautiful photographs and touching stories about how they’ve done it.
Harden created the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network. This newly established network is designed to support and engage women across all areas of agriculture and to foster professional partnerships between women with shared backgrounds, interests, and professional goals.
This e-mail address, agwomenlead@usda.gov, was created for you to share your suggestions, stories and other snippets on how we can build a new generation of women leaders in agriculture. By e-mailing us, you will automatically be added to the Women in Agriculture Mentoring Network.
The Franklin County Farm Bureau has many businesses giving discounts and/or support to our members. Here are just a few:Fast Truck & Trailer – 125 Industrial Park Road, Benton, IL (618) 438-8411
* Repair all types of trucks ½ ton and up – onsite farm tire service & 24 hr road service
Martin’s Restaurant & Catering – 412 E. Main St., Benton, IL (618) 435-6166
* Free drink with $5.00 purchase
Stark’s Total Fitness & Tanning – 1 Rend Lake Plaza, Benton, IL (618) 435-3124
* Sign up for any gym membership & receive one month of unlimited classes free
* Sign up for any tanning package & get 50% off lotion ~~ ½ price first time spray tan
Benton Lawn & Garden – 409 S. Main, Benton, IL (618) 438-3331
* 5% off on parts & labor
For more information on joining the Franklin County Farm Bureau please call our office at 435-3616. There are many more discounts available to anyone who has been a member in good standing for at least 30 days. So don’t wait – call or come by and join now. The savings are amazing and it is a great organization.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

 

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