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The Barn Quilts of Bureau County

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2 2 • Spring Farm • Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

BCR photo/Goldie Currie

Barn Quilts of Bureau County members Sandy Carpenter (from left), Rita Dabler, Tracy Hannon and Valerie Jensen take a break from painting one of the barn quilts that will soon adorn a barn in Bureau County. These ladies, along with others, have painted several quilt “squares,” which vary in size and design.

The Barn Quilts of Bureau County Trail of quilts will incorporate agri-tourism, the arts and community pride By Goldie Currie

TISKILWA — Bureau County’s first barn quilt trail is on the road to being completed. The trail will consist of 24 barn quilts, located in various parts of the countryside. Beginning this summer, barn quilt enthusiasts will be able to grab a tourism guide and follow the trail, using the directory inside the brochure. Barn Quilts of Bureau County was established last year when eight women came together with the same excitement about implementing a trail to help promote agri-tourism, the arts and a sense of community pride. The group made its first presence at the Bureau County Fair last summer, where they were able to attract attention to the project and gather more members willing to volunteer their time and efforts to help establish the first trail. The women have been able to network with area farmers, who have been more than willing to join

in as the “pioneers” of Bureau County’s barn quilt trail. The love and appreciation of what has been dubbed, “country art” has been popping up all over the United States since 2001. More than 6,000 quilts are part of organized trails with dozens more scattered through the countryside waiting to be discovered. Valerie Jensen of Tiskilwa was one of the founding members of Barn Quilts of Bureau County. Her enthusiasm for the project shines

through, as she talks about the long-term goals the group is hoping to establish. “It’s really been fun,” she said. “It consumes you in a good way. It’s become a passion to see each barn quilt progress and get done.” Right now the women all meet in a location in Tiskilwa, where they construct and paint the barn quilts. As the project expands, they hope to establish additional painting sites around the

At left, a “quilt” decorates the side of a barn owned by the Carpenter family outside of Ohio, Ill. Other various “quilts” can be seen throughout Bureau County, with additional “quilts” in the making. Photo contributed

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3 Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Thursday, March 27, 2014 • Spring Farm • 3

BCR photo/Goldie Currie

Valerie Jensen (left) and Rita Dabler mark out the design they will eventually paint on one of the barn quilts that will be hung in Bureau County. Once the first 24 barn quilts are completed and hung this summer, the goal is to eventually have at least one barn quilt in every Bureau County township.

Barn Quilts From Page 2 county to make the task more convenient for volunteers who live at different ends of the county. Once the first 24 barn quilts are painted and hung this summer, the next goal for the group will be to network with more farmers and try to get at least one barn quilt in each Bureau County township. The group is always interested in hearing from farmers or

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4 4 • Spring Farm • Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Barn Quilts From Page 3 Additional volunteers willing to help paint or help promote the group are also always welcomed. Right now, the group really needs someone who would be willing to help design a website for Barn Quilts of Bureau County. Sandy Carpenter of Ohio is among the volunteers and is the owner of one of the first barn quilts in the area. She became acquainted with the unique idea when taking her first quilt tour in Wisconsin. “When I saw them, I knew right then and there I wanted one,” she said. Fellow group member Rita Dabler was also in Wisconsin when she spotted her first barn quilt. “My husband was with me, and he was just as excited about the idea as I was,” she said. Tracy Hannon of Tiskilwa has displayed a quilt on her garage for years. She said her love for quilting is what inspired her to have one. For those interested in finding out more about the Barn Quilts of Bureau County, contact Jensen at 815-303-4608 or Dabler at 815-303-2845. The cost for an 8-foot-by8-foot barn quilt is $275, while a 4-foot-by-4-foot quilt is priced at $225. The cost covers all materials used to make the barn quilt. Materials are purchased locally at RP Lumber in Princeton and Sherwin-Williams of Princeton. Cornbelt Energy has been willing to donate their time and manpower to help install the first barn quilts. Comment on this story at

Anyone interested in learning more about the barn quilts can call Valerie Jensen at 815-303-4608 or Rita Dabler at 815-303-2845. Jensen of Tiskilwa and Laurie Bonucci of Princeton originally brought the idea to Bureau County to help grow agri-tourism in the area.


BCR photo/Goldie Currie


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5 Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Thursday, March 27, 2014 • Spring Farm • 5

Using ‘holy water’ to fight weeds ‘It’s back to basics, and it all works’ By Ken Schroeder

PRINCETON — It’s a farmer’s dilemma. In order to control weeds, a farmer adds an herbicide to his spraying routine. Over time, weeds grow resistant to the herbicide, which often leads to more herbicide used and a faster build-up of resistance in the weed. According to the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, 25 different species of weeds in Illinois have developed resistance to herbicides such as atrazine or glyphosate. There’s now a way around the problem. No, it’s not increasing the herbicide but improving the delivery medium. At Bonucci Farms in Princeton, Ag Focus LLC President/founder Brian Freed produces a fluid that has been called “holy water” among local farmers; its actual name is Blue Max. “As farmers, it’s incumbent upon us to try to feed the world. If something doesn’t work, we can come to that conclusion pretty quick,” Steve Bonucci said. “We’ve been using this for four years, and we see the value in it. We think it’s been helpful in adding quality bushels to our production.” Typically, spray water comes from a well and is hard and alkaline with iron and other contaminants. A typical water source has

Putnam County Record photo/Ken Schroeder

Above, Brian Freed shows the individual controls for each of the filtration tanks for Blue Max. The filtering tanks can handle 40,000 gallons in a 24-hour period. A nearby computer regulator will alert Freed via a self-programmed Smart Phone application if there are any problems in the system. At right, reverse osmosis tanks filter out the sodium in the water. These tanks have been heavily modified to perform the task and cannot be found anywhere else in the world according to Freed. a pH measuring between 7 and 8.5. Blue Max has a pH between 3 and 4 which most plants are more receptive to. The process of producing Blue Max starts with regular water. “We take out all of the hardness — the calcium, the magnesium and the iron — It’s all eliminated with any alkalinity and any sodium that’s in there. It’s pure,” Freed said. “That way, when you put any products in you’re applying to the crop, it works better.”

“Of late, one of the topics is resistance to certain chemicals, which means the natural tendency is to use more,” Bonucci said. “This takes you away from that because the way a plant develops resistance is by surviving an event. We’ve found by following the proscribed application using this water for solubility that it kills the weeds and delays the amount of time a resistance might occur.” “We’ve had this going on four years now and a resis-

tance problem, we don’t have,” Bonucci Farms Manager Rod Grunloh said. “We have no re-sprays. We’d go out and spray normally in the past. You’d go out later and ask, ‘Why didn’t it work?’ We don’t have that problem today because we know we did right with just good clean water. It’s back to basics, and it all works.” To make Blue Max, the source water is analyzed for impurities, then the water passes through a filtration process that removes

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each impurity individually before being stored. Freed was told by many of his peers he wouldn’t be able to produce large volumes of the liquid or be able to process it without using a lot of space. Taking that as a challenge, he has been able to assemble the equipment in a container the size of a small semi trailer. Much of the technology is one-ofa-kind, with many pieces of equipment available on the market re-purposed for the processing. In addition, with the computer software

installed in the system, Freed is able to monitor the process using a smartphone or an iPad, saving money by eliminating the need for someone to continually monitor the production and thereby keeping the cost — and price — down. The system at Bonucci Farms will produce 40,000 gallons in a 24-hour period. One of the last steps in the process is adding a blue dye to the water to make it easier to use. “I used to not put a color in there. I had a guy mixing one day with glasses as thick as a soda bottle,” Freed said. ‘He was standing about 15 to 20 feet from the tank he was filling, and there was a sight gauge. I saw him mixing, and then he reached over and grabbed a bottle of blue dye, and shot it in the mix. I asked him why he did that, and he said, ‘It’s so clean, I couldn’t see the mark on the sight gauge unless I throw in some color.’ It’s also an indication that once you see that, we’ve done the treatment.” There’s another additive that helps the water stay on the plant when it’s sprayed. A food additive called gwar gum keeps droplets from bouncing off the leaves without affecting the pH of the mixture, allowing the plants to get the most from the mixture and making for a more efficient coverage. Blue Max is made at several places throughout the state and is available to individual farmers through Bonucci Farms and some local FS dealers for 30 cents per gallon. Blue Max can be picked up at those locations or delivered.

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6 6 • Spring Farm • Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Fun facts about the food we eat Popcorn pops because water is stored in a small circle of soft starch in each kernel. As the kernel is heated, the water heats, the droplet of moisture turns to steam and the steam builds up pressure until the kernel finally explodes to many times its original volume. • Americans today consume 17.3 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year! The average American eats about 68 quarts! • While the first breakfast cereal was made by adding sugar and milk to popped popcorn, a shortage of baking flours after World War II forced breadmakers to substitute up to 25 percent of wheat flour with ground popped popcorn. Over the years, popcorn also has been used as an ingredient in pudding, candy, soup, salad and entrees. • Popcorn’s nutritional value comes from the fact that, like other cereal grains, its primary function is to provide the body with heat and energy. • Microwave popcorn is the same as other popcorn except the kernels are usually larger and the packaging is designed for maximum popability.

Cracking Up • In the U.S. in 1998, hens produced 6,657,000,000 dozen eggs — that’s 6.657 billion dozen! After these eggs were laid, about two-thirds were sold in the shell and one third of them were broken — not by accident, but on purpose. Because after the eggs are broken out of their shells, they can be made into liquid, frozen, dried and specialty egg products. • The egg shell may have

as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh! • Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator. • Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It is rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all. • It takes 24 to 26 hours for a hen to produce an egg; there is 30 minutes between each egg-producing cycle. • About 240 million laying hens produce about 5.5 billion dozen eggs per year in the United States. • Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.

are almost 4 million cherry trees which annually produce 150 to 200 pounds of tart cherries.

Head Strong • Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family. • Darker green lettuce leaves are more nutritious than lighter green leaves. • Americans eat about 30 pounds of lettuce every year. That’s about five times more than what we ate in the early 1900s. • In the United States, lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable. • Almost all lettuce is packed right in the field. • About 25 percent of all iceberg lettuce is made into fresh cut salads.

Macaroni Mania Cherrific! • The same chemicals that give tart cherries their color may relieve pain better than aspirin and ibuprofen in humans. • Eating about 20 tart cherries a day could reduce inflammatory pain and headache pain. • There are about 7,000 cherries on an average tart cherry tree (the number varies depending on the age of the tree, weather and growing conditions). It takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie, so each tree could produce enough cherries for 28 pies! • Today, in Michigan, there

• Pasta is one of America’s favorite foods. Last year, 1.3 million pounds of pasta were sold in American grocery stores. If you lined up 1.3 million pounds of 16-ounce spaghetti packages, it could circle the Earth’s equator almost nine times! • Noodles got their start in China, not Italy as many people might think. • Pasta made its way to the New World through the English who found it while traveling through Italy. The English made pasta by cooking it for about a half an hour and then smothering it with cream sauce and cheese. This was the beginning of macaroni and cheese!

• America’s first large pasta factory was built in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1848 by a Frenchman who would spread out his spaghetti strands on the roof to dry in the sunshine.

What’s up Doc? • The plant pigment that gives carrots and other vegetables their vivid orange color is Beta-Carotene. Fruits and vegetables that are yellow/orange in color contain Beta-Carotene and carrots are one of the richest in this nutrient. Our bodies convert Beta-Carotene into Vitamin A. • The bright orange color of carrots tell you they’re an excellent source of Vitamin A which is important for good eyesight, especially at night. Vitamin A helps your body fight infection, and keeps your skin and hair healthy!

Going Bananas! • There are more than 500 different types of bananas. That means if you ate a different kind of banana everyday, it would take almost a year and a half to eat every one! • Although generally regarded as a tree, this large tropical plant is really an herb. That means it does not have a woody trunk like a tree. The stalk is composed of leaf sheaths that overlap each other and grow from an underground stem called a rhizome. • The banana plant can grow as high as 20 feet tall. That’s as big as a two-story house! • Bananas are about 99.5 percent fat free. • Bananas are a great source of potassium. Potassium helps build muscle power and keeps your body fluids in balance. • Banana’s are most likely the first fruit ever to be grown on a farm.


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An Apple a Day • Apples are a member of the rose family. • Washington state grows the most apples in the United State. • The apples from one tree can fill 20 boxes every year. • Fresh apples float because 25 percent of their volume is air. • In the winter, apple trees need to “rest” for about 9001,000 hours below 45° Fahrenheit in order to flower and fruit properly. • If you grew 100 apple trees from the seeds of one tree, they would all be different. • Apples are high in fiber. • There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples grown in the world.

Berry, Berry Good for You! • Blueberries are the second most popular berry in the United States. • Michigan and New Jersey produce 66 percent of all the blueberries in the United States, followed by North Carolina, Oregon and Washington. • More than 200 million pounds of blueberries are grown every year in North America. • Blueberries are first picked by hand to gather the best of the early fruit. Later, if the fruit is to be mechanically harvested, a harvesting machine goes through the field and gently shakes each bush so only the ripe blueberries drop off. • Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber. Source: Agriculture Council of America.

7 Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Thursday, March 27, 2014 • Spring Farm • 7

USDA enhances farm storage facility loan program Effort meant to help small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers SPRINGFIELD — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, which provides low-interest financing to producers. The enhanced program includes 22 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand. This is part of a broader effort to help small and mid-sized farmers and ranchers, as announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Producers with small and mid-sized operations and specialty crop fruit and vegetable growers now have access to needed capital for a variety of supplies including sorting bins, wash stations and other food safety-related equipment. A new more flexible alternative is also provided for determining storage needs for fruit and vegetable producers, and waivers are available on a case-by-case basis for disaster assistance or insurance coverage

if available products are not relevant or feasible for a particular producer. Additionally, Farm Storage and Facility Loans security requirements have been eased for loans between $50,000 and $100,000. Previously, all loans in excess of $50,000 required a promissory note and additional security, such as a lien on real estate. Now loans up to $100,000 can be secured by only a promissory note. “The Farm Storage and Facility Loan program has helped American farmers and ranchers to finance on-farm storage for almost 13 years,” said Farm Service Agency administrator (FSA) Juan M. Garcia. “We anticipate these changes will increase the number of individuals who qualify for these loans and help them access new market opportunities.” The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include grains, oilseeds, peanuts, pulse crops, hay, honey, renewable biomass commodities, fruits and vegetables. Qualified facilities

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include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage facilities for fruits and vegetables. Other new changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program will allow FSA State Committees to subordinate Commodity Credit Corporation’s lien position. These changes to the program were issued via an official notice to state and county Farm Service Agency offices and are effective immediately. More than 33,000 loans have been issued for on-farm storage, increasing grain storage capacity by 900 million bushels since May 2000. More information about tools and resources available to small and mid-sized farmers will be rolled out in the coming months, including information about access to capital, risk management, food safety, and locating market opportunities on USDA’s Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage. Visit www.fsa.usda. gov or an FSA county office to learn more about FSA programs and loans, including the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.

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8 8 • Spring Farm • Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Farm, ranch safety for kids Children frequently want to imitate their parents, but they’re not always ready to take on the tasks they observe. Help protect youngsters on the farm or ranch by observing these safety practices. Keep hazardous materials such as tools, sharp objects, poisonous liquids, etc., out of reach of little hands. Put up child gates to keep children away from dangerous areas. For older children, funnel their need for “thrills” like driving fast into other areas. Engage your child in age-appropriate activities to distract them from a potential hazard. Here are some age-based guidelines for the kinds of risks children might be exposed to and the steps to take to minimize injury.

Toddler/Preschooler Typical Risks/Injuries Mistaking poisonous materials for something to eat or drink. Falling off farm equipment. Drowning in ponds or manure pits. Wandering onto roads. Injury by livestock. Protective steps to take Always have children in sight. Use physical barriers such as closed and latched doors, child safety gates, etc. Have them engaged with ageappropriate toys. Absolutely no riding on farm machinery.

Early School Age (5-9)

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Typical Risks/Injuries Wandering into animal pens and being injured by livestock. Getting tangled in augers, PTO or other farm machinery. Falling off of farm vehicles or machinery. Protective steps to take Discuss safe behavior. Make sure safe behavior is a hard and fast rule and not an option. Make sure to have consistent rules around machinery. Assign simple farm chores

with supervision to introduce safe farm habits. If children are riding a bike, make sure they wear a helmet.

Older School Age (10–13) Typical Risks/Injuries Injured by farm machinery. Falling from hay loft. Being struck by car while bike riding. Protective steps to take Create consistent rules with definite consequences for bad behavior and rewards for good behavior. Specific training/ education on farm machinery emphasizing the dangers involved. Increase in chores and responsibilities. Bike safety classes.

Adolescent (13–16) Typical Risks/Injuries Machinery or motor vehicle accident. Hearing damage from being around loud machinery. Exposure to farm chemicals/ poisons. Possible head injuries from ATV accidents. Protective steps to take Develop and enforce safety rules. Safety training on all equipment — motorized and non-motorized. Involvement in 4-H, FFA and other agricultural organizations that stress farm safety.

Young Adult (16–18) Typical Risks/Injuries Respiratory problems due to chemical and dust exposure. Motor vehicle accidents. Equipment rollover. Muscle or bone injuries. Possible alcohol or drug experimentation. Protective steps to take Clear and consistent rules about alcohol use especially around machinery. Rewards for accepting and adhering to adult rules and regulations. Opportunity to be a role model for other, younger children. Continued safety training on all equipment.

9 Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Safety tips Preventing injury from farm hazards When heading out to the fields for planting or harvesting, make safety a priority. Spring Planting Wear hearing and eye protection around running machinery. Use appropriate masks to filter dust and mold. If using chemicals, use chemical respirators. Wear appropriate gloves and protective clothing. Learn safe handling for all types of agricultural chemicals. Fall Harvesting Ventilate silo headspace at least 30 minutes before entering to remove concentrations of harmful or lethal gas. Always disengage the PTO before getting off a tractor. Never step across a rotating power shaft. Never wear loose fitting clothes around moving parts. When unhitching wagons or carts from a tractor, always use wheel blocks to prevent rollaway accidents. Make sure bystanders stay clear of the harvesting process. Closely supervise children in work areas.

Fence safety tips Fences keep animals where they should be and prevent them from going where they shouldn’t be. Different animals need different types of fencing. Here are general guidelines for barbwire cattle fencing: Fence should contain three to five wires. Top wire should be at least four feet from the ground. Bottom wire should be at least 18 inches off the ground. Center wires should be evenly spaced between the top and bottom wire. All wires should be tight and securely fastened to fence posts. Barbed wire should be at least 13-gauge. Posts should be no more than 16.5 feet apart; 12 feet is preferred. Posts should be anchored at least two-anda-half feet in the ground and stand at least four feet above ground.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 • Spring Farm • 9

Nominations still being accepted for third annual America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Rural school districts are eligible for grants up to $25,000 ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The deadline is fast approaching for farmers to nominate rural public school districts to compete for a grant of up to $25,000 through America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Nominations will be accepted until April 6. Eligible farmers can nominate their school district by visiting or by calling 1-877-267-3332. Grants are awarded based on merit, need and community support. The more farmers who nominate a school district, the more it demonstrates community support and can strengthen the school district’s application. This year, the program has expanded to 18 new counties, for a total of 1,289 eligible counties across 39 states. School administrators in nominated districts will have until April 21 to submit their applications online. The application website is also equipped to help answer specific questions about the Grow Rural Education program overall and assist with the grant writing process. “As we work to grow

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our next generation of farmers, building a strong math and science foundation is vital,” said Linda Arnold, Monsanto customer advocacy lead. “Working together with farmers and rural school districts, we are building relationships that benefit the community, with the ultimate goal of improving education.” The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of approximately 30 farmers from across the country, will review and select the winning grant applications. Advisory Council members were selected based on their passion for farming and education, as well

as experience in rural school districts. Last year, more than 73,000 farmers nominated 4,024 school districts, resulting in $2.3 million in grants to improve math and science education in 181 districts across the country. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund to strengthen farming communities. America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education launched in 2012, after a successful

The America’s Farmers campaign is an advocacy and community outreach program celebrating U.S. farmers through communications, awards and special programs that highlight the importance of modern American agriculture. Initiatives include: • America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which supports rural communities by offering farmers the chance to win $2,500 for their favorite local nonprofit organization. • America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, which supports rural education by offering farmers the chance to nominate local school districts, which can compete for a $10,000 or $25,000 merit-based grant to enhance math and science education. • America’s Farmers Mom of the Year, which celebrates women in agriculture by offering the chance to win up to $10,000 and the title of “National Farm Mom of the Year”. • America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders, which launched this year in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina and South Carolina, and aims to encourage the next generation to remain involved in agriculture by offering students the chance to apply for a $1,500 scholarship. pilot in Minnesota and Illinois, and has since awarded nearly $5 million to school districts across the county. For more information about the America’s

Farmers Grow Rural Education program and to view the official rules, a list of eligible states, counties and CRDs, visit

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10 10 • Spring Farm • Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Young farmers remain concerned about farm, grazing land availability Other concerns include: regulations, availability of labor and water, urbanization and healthcare WASHINGTON, D.C., — Securing adequate land to grow crops and raise livestock was the top challenge identified again this year in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual outlook survey of participants in the Young Farmers & Ranchers program. That challenge was identified by 22 percent of respondents, followed by economic challenges, particularly profitability, which was identified by 15 percent of the respondents. “For young people today, securing adequate land to begin farming or expand an established farm or ranch is a major challenge,” said Jake Carter, AFBF’s national YF&R Committee chair and a farmer from Georgia. “Another major challenge is figuring out how to excel – not just survive – in today’s economy.” Other issues ranked as top concerns by young farmers and ranchers included burdensome government regulations and red tape, 12 percent; availability of farm labor and related regulations, 9 percent; water availability and urbaniza-

tion of farm land, 7 percent each; and health care availability and cost, 6 percent. The 22nd annual YF&R survey revealed that 91 percent of those surveyed are more optimistic about farming and ranching than they were five years ago. Last year, 90 percent of those surveyed said they were more optimistic about farming compared to five years ago. The 2014 survey also shows 93 percent of the nation’s young farmers and ranchers say they are better off than they were five years ago. Last year, 83 percent reported being better off. More than 91 percent considered themselves lifetime farmers, while 88 percent would like to see their children follow in their footsteps. The informal survey reveals 87 percent believe their children will be able to follow in their footsteps. The majority of those surveyed, 69 percent, consider communicating with consumers a formal part of their jobs. Many use social media platforms as a tool to accomplish this. The popular social media

site Facebook is used by 74 percent of those surveyed. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they use the social networking site Twitter, 16 percent have a farm blog or webpage and 13 percent use YouTube to post videos of their farms and ranches. “Use of technology and all the tools at our fingertips to not only improve production practices on the farm but also to interact with consumers, our customers, among young farmers continues to grow,” Carter said. “Use of social media platforms, personal outreach through farm tours, agri-tourism, farmers’ markets or a combination of these methods is where we’re at today.” High-speed Internet is used by 71 percent of those surveyed, with 28 percent relying on a satellite connection and fewer than 2 percent turning to dialup. New this year, the young farmers and ranchers were asked about their rural entrepreneurship efforts, with 40 percent reporting they had started a new business in the last three years or plan to

start one in the near future. The survey also shows that America’s young farmers and ranchers are committed environmental caretakers, with 55 percent using conservation tillage to protect soil and reduce erosion on their farms. AFBF President Bob Stallman said the results of the YF&R survey point to the future of U.S. agriculture being in good hands. “I am confident that the know-how and tenacity of our young farmers and ranchers will ensure that the best days are ahead for our country and agriculture,” Stallman said. “They are the future of American agriculture and food production.” The informal survey of young farmers and ranchers, ages 18-35, was conducted at AFBF’s 2014 YF&R Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, Va., in February. The purpose of the YF&R program is to help younger members learn more about farming and ranching, network with other farmers and strengthen their leadership skills to assist in the growth of agriculture and Farm Bureau.

Illinois State Fair schedule Aug. 8: County Fair and Horse Racing Day More than 70 county fair queens and 105 fairs and expositions from across the state are represented at the fair on opening day. It is also the first day of harness racing at the fair’s one-mile dirt track, which is the fastest in the world. Aug. 9: City of Springfield/Local Officials Day The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development hosts a luncheon for local officials from across the state as they are honored on this special day. Aug. 10: Veterans Day Veterans and their families are admitted to the grounds for free. A veterans parade and activities are some of the highlights for the day. Aug. 11: Senior Citizens Day/Scout Day Fair visitors 60 and older are admitted to the fairgrounds for free. Special events in the Senior Citizens Center, including inductions into the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame, take place throughout the day. The Scout Day Tent will be located directly outside the entrance to the carnival midway. Aug. 12: Agriculture Day Illinois agriculture, which is featured throughout the fair, is highlighted on this day. Grand champion junior livestock including the barrow, steer, wether, poultry trio and rabbit trio are auctioned at the Governor’s Sale of Champions, and the best of Illinois processed foods are auctioned at the Commodity Auction. Aug. 13: Governor’s Day While the governor attends much of the Illinois State Fair, this is his day to host special guests, including former Illinois governors. Aug. 14: Republican Day Illinois Republicans host special guests on this day. Past activities have included rallies and parades. Aug. 15: Futures for Kids Day Many of the activities on this day are centered around younger visitors. Several competitions are held including decorated diaper, diaper derby, ponytail contest and smile contest. Aug. 16: Park District Conservation Day Members of more than 45 park districts from throughout Illinois entertain fair-goers across the grounds and host activities in Conservation World. Aug. 17: Family Day The general admission price is lowered to $3 per person to encourage more families to enjoy the last day of the fair.

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11 Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Thursday, March 27, 2014 • Spring Farm • 11

Farm Bureau kicks off Our Food Link program New program connects consumers with where their food comes from WASHINGTON, D.C. — Farmer and rancher members of Farm Bureau from around the country officially kicked off the organization’s new Our Food Link program in conjunction with a conference for state leaders of Women’s Leadership and Promotion & Education programs. “Our Food Link is a year-round program that county and state Farm

Bureaus use to provide consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture,” explained Terry Gilbert, a Kentucky farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. The AFBWLC spearheads the program with participation open to all Farm Bureau members. “People want to know where their food comes

from and who is growing or raising it,” Gilbert said. “Helping people connect with sources of clothing, food, shelter and energy in their communities is the foundation of this multi-faced new program,” she said. Our Food Link activities range from outreach at supermarkets or farmers’ markets to hosting interactive booths at community events,

speaking with lawmakers and neighbors about food and visiting classrooms to help students understand agricultural topics. Other program ideas include: an Adopta-Farmer program, fun runs, garden projects and “Zest ’n Zing” or other foodie events. Our Food Link activities may also include the collection of food and monetary donations for Ronald McDon-

ald House Charities or other charities. About 15 Farm Bureau members shopped for and donated food to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, D.C., in early March. The connection between Farm Bureau and Ronald McDonald House Charities was forged in the mid1990s. Since then, Farm Bureau members have donated more than $3

million in food and monetary contributions to Ronald McDonald Houses and other charities. The Our Food Link planning toolkit and publicity tools may be downloaded at http://bit. ly/1j1jH5H.

BCR File Photo

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12 12 • Spring Farm • Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bureau County Journal • Putnam County Record

Illinois Farm Bureau proposals shape American Farm Bureau policy Delegates at 95th annual AFBF meeting approve proprietary data rights and Renewable Fuel Standard proposals SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Voting delegates at the 95th annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) approved Illinois Farm Bureau’s policy submittals to protect the proprietary data rights of farmers and to prevent certain changes to AFBF’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) policy. Rapidly-advancing precision agriculture has enabled farmers to collect data on yields, soils, inputs applied and other variables. These advances in data collection hold the potential to be a very beneficial management tool for farmers and agriculture companies. However, control of the data and its uses are of growing concern to farmers. IFB’s data policy, which was a new policy submitted and adopted by the delegates, requires AFBF to support efforts to better educate farmers and ranchers on data collection, and support the rights of farmers who provide their data to agricultural

companies. “Proprietary data collected from farming and agricultural operations is valuable, should remain the property of the farmer, and warrants protection,” said Rich Guebert Jr., president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. “The policy Illinois submitted to the AFBF Resolutions Committee, which was subsequently adopted, encourages protocols and calls for compensation to farmers whose proprietary data is shared with third parties.” Additionally, IFB delegates helped to block submitted changes to AFBF’s RFS policy, which would have eliminated renewable fuels tax incentives for biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol as well as federal incentives for gas stations to install blender pumps. “We understand as an organization that any type of federal tax incentives must be justifiable to the tax payers,” said Chris Hausman, IFB delegate and district 11 director. “We believe the old

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blender’s credit did serve its purpose, so when it expired, we accepted that. But cellulosic fuels are still in their infancy stage and still need help, including blender pumps and infrastructure. Until that industry matures, we feel it’s going to need help.” The AFBF annual meeting took place Jan. 12-15 in San Antonio. An estimated 7,000 people from 50 states and Puerto Rico attended, including 362 farmer and rancher delegates who voted on grassroots policies and policy amendments. The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 400,000 and a voting membership of more than 82,000. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.

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