Page 1


APRIL - MAY 2013


IN THIS ISSUE ... AITC Receives Donation.................... page 3

Luau for Learning............................... page 4

Leaders to Washington...................... page 5

Key to Influence.................................. page 6

Farm Month Celebrations................ page 11

Urban “Field Moms”......................... page 13

Cubs/Cards Bus Trip & Theme Park Tickets...................................................... Back Cover BOOSTER


FROM THE BACK PORCH by David Sadler, President Vermilion County Farm Bureau

All my life I’ve held the belief that no one in this country should have more powerful weaponry than law enforcement. “Should have” even equated to “legally possess”. Let me be clear about what I’m saying: private citizens – criminals and law-abiding alike – should not have access to, own or possess high-powered weapons and armor-piercing bullets.

I know what you’re thinking. This is his knee-jerk reaction to mass killings, the most recent at Sandy Hook, but not so. This goes back farther than that, back to a time when it was gangsters and mobsters shooting it out with police. Criminals were robbing banks and killing rival gang members not slaughtering innocent people in crowded places. That part came much later. Gangster movies were all the rage but bad guys never prevailed whether it was the Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke or Elliot Ness and the Untouchables. Of course, all that was before Mirandizing suspects was required, before getting criminals off was an art form and before courts bestowed more rights on perps than on victims. Police shouldn’t have to raid gun shops in order to have adequate fire power to apprehend law breakers. We’ve gone the wrong direction in law enforcement far too long but that’s another discussion.

Many people connect masskilling sprees with the advent of violent video games. I have to agree but, like everything else, it’s not that simple. Sure, my

kids and I played video games when they were little. It started with Pong© and Pac Man© but quickly accelerated to Super Mario Bros© and Smurf©. How we survived all that carnage, I’ll never know. My son, 37, branched out into the more graphic stuff when he was in college. I was naturally concerned but, when I called him on it, he replied that lots of kids were playing those games but they weren’t blowing up schools or killing teachers. Of course, that’s still true. He knew it and I was slowly beginning to. The ever-increasing incidents involving multiple loss of life by gunfire can be traced to a myriad of little things that, inevitably, erupts into something horrific. The “what ifs” abound; the lousy childhood (whatever that means), counseling or lack thereof, easy purchase of weapons and ammunition, outside stimuli that foster improper thoughts. The list is endless. Since the national debate over gun control, driven by Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and others, I’ve tried to convince my colleagues of the need to curtail the sale and possession of these hightech weapons. I argued that specific types of weapons and ammo shouldn’t be part of the American landscape, that nobody “needed” (and therefore, shouldn’t have) them, that their only purpose was to kill people. All to no avail. Each, to a man, said that “Guns don’t kill people, people


kill people”, “If you limit this type of weapon, what’s next?”, “Gun-less societies don’t remain free societies” and “Enforce existing laws”. They’re on to something that’s not easily recognized because it’s nearly extinct today. Growing up we had the three R’s – Readin’, Writin’ and ‘Rithmetic. But two other R’s were implied that didn’t need to be espoused or emphasized. Sadly, both are all but forgotten. Today’s episode of life is brought to you by “Respect” and “Responsibility.” Remember those? My older readers will; the younger ones, not so sure. If you remember, promote them in all you do and pass them on to your children and grandchildren.

Respect for one’s neighbors. Respect for another’s privacy and property; what’s yours is NOT mine. Respect for those in authority, for one’s parents and even for one’s self. It’s an ancient concept, that “R” word that Aretha sang about, that’s fairly easy to grasp but difficult

to carry out without RESPONSIBILITY.

Without “Responsibility,” all of our good intentions fail. That old phrase may be trite but it’s still true: “Each is responsible for his own actions”. One can’t blame his woes on Twinkies®, Big Macs®, hot coffee, video games or machine guns. These, and other contributing factors, help explain one’s actions but don’t dismiss the consequences. One can’t blame others for his/her stupidity or foolish deeds. So, do I still wish we didn’t have automatic rifles and exploding bullets? Yup. Do I think gun violence can be eliminated by banning guns? Nope. Or that law-abiding gun owners’ rights and/or privileges should be revoked? Hell no! Do I wish we didn’t have to legislate sooo many things in today’s society? Absolutely, but until citizens start acting more responsibly and respecting themselves and the lives of others, what choice is there?

Calendar of Events April 18..................................................Board of Directors April 24............................ Administrative Professionals Day May 11........................................................5K Grow & Go May 16...................................................Board of Directors May 27............................ OFFICE CLOSED – Memorial Day June 4........................................ Young Leaders Committee June 13..............................................IAA AITC Golf Outing June 20...................................................Board of Directors June 25-29........................................ Vermilion County Fair June 29........................... Danville Dans Farm Bureau Night July 11-14.................. I & I Tractor Club Historic Farm Days July 12.................................................Cubs-Cards Bus Trip July 25................................... Barn Door Open Golf Outing August 3-10..............................................Georgetown Fair August 8-18...............................................Illinois State Fair For further information on any of these activities, contact the Vermilion County Farm Bureau office at (217) 442-8713 or visit us on the web at


Ag In The Classroom Receives Donation from Monsanto Fund Vermilion County Farm Bureau Foundation was the recent recipient of a $2,500 donation from the America’s Farmers Grow CommunitiesSM program. The money will be used for the Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to support local farming communities. The program, which launched in 2010, allows farmers to enter to win a $2,500 donation for their favorite community nonprofit organization, such as 4-H, FFA, schools, fire departments and BOOSTER Published Bi-monthly by the VERMILION COUNTY FARM BUREAU Kerry Wienke, Editor 1905-C U.S. Route 150 Danville, Illinois 61832 Phone (217) 442-8713 OFFICE HOURS Monday–Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. OFFICERS President................................David Sadler Vice-President........................ Mark Willard Secretary...................................Bruce Darr Treasurer...............................Dennis Smith STAFF Executive Director..................Kerry Wienke Director of Information.............. Tom Fricke Office Secretary...................Nancy Duncan Ag Literacy Coordinators.... Susie Willard & Eileen Huckstadt DIRECTORS District 1 Rick James Trenton Seaman David Heckerson Matt Willard Mark Willard District 2 Mark Crawford Steve Lane Greg Cunningham Allen Rutan Kevin Kemna Alan Chesnut Bryan Darr Dennis Smith

District 3

Bruce Darr Stewart Sheets

Periodical postage paid at Danville, IL Publication No. 061080 Postmaster - Send address changes to: Vermilion County Farm Bureau 1905-C U.S. Route 150 Danville, IL 61832 Subscription Price, $2.00 per year Display advertising - Apply for rates

other civic groups. One winner was selected in each of 1,271 eligible counties in 39 states.

To further support counties that have been declared disaster areas by the USDA due to drought, winning farmers in these counties can choose where to direct an additional $2,500 donation based on community needs that surfaced because of the drought. The 2013 winner in Vermilion County was Charles and Sheila Melecosky, farmers from Westville. The Melecosky’s selected Schlarman Academy and the Vermilion County Ag in the Classroom program as the organizations to receive donations.

“This gift will help us continue and expand the Ag in the Classroom program,” said Mark Willard, chairman of the Vermilion County Farm Bureau Foundation. “The Ag Literacy Coordinators – Susie Willard

Shown above receiving the Monsanto Fund donation are: (front l to r) Mark Willard, Foundation Chairman; Eileen Huckstadt, Ag Literacy Coordinator; Charles Melecosky, winning farmer; (back row l to r) Dave Sadler, Farm Bureau President; Matt Willard and Jeff Mosher, Monsanto representatives. and Eileen Huckstadt –visited 176 classrooms in January and February, reaching nearly 3,500 students with the message about what farmers do and where their food comes from.” The Ag in the Classroom program reaches nearly 65% of Vermilion County classrooms

with free materials, teaching kits, and classroom presentations.

The Monsanto Fund will invest over $5 million to local nonprofit organizations across the country through Grow Communities this year.

On the Cover ...…

As the weather gets more spring-like, farmers will begin planting this year’s crop with the hopes of a successful harvest. But my, how the equipment has changed over the years. The cover photo (taken in 1939 or 1940) shows John Huls, of rural Fithian, sitting on his 1936 John Deere Model A steel-wheel tractor. It’s pulling a horse-drawn corn planter that had been converted to a tractor hitch. While he’s not still actively farming, John (now 91) still lives on the farm that is operated by his son David, and grandson Steve. Last month’s cover generated several phone calls from folks who know the men shown working at the Vermilion County Livestock Association – including former livestock association employees Donald Creason of Fithian and Dorothy Wonderlin of Danville. Those pictured are (l to r): Harlan Steinbaugh, manager of the livestock association; Billy Bowers; and Ben Leonard.



Luau for Learning a Fun Night for All The chill in the night air did not dampen the spirits or enthusiasm of the more than 100 participants in the first annual Luau for Learning Trivia Night.

the evening, on topics ranging from Vermilion County knowledge and the Wild West to Hawaii and Baseball.

Sponsored by the Vermilion County Farm Bureau Foundation, Trivia Night was a fundraiser for the Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program.

“Thanks to the support of our teams and sponsors, we were able to raise more than $3,000 for our Ag in the Classroom program,” said Mark Willard, foundation chairman.

Teams of eight answered general trivia questions through

The winning team was hosted by Mark Wright, re-

tired ag and FFA teacher from Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School. Second place went to a team consisting of current teachers and former students from Armstrong Township High School. Plans are already under way for the 2014 Trivia Night to be held in late February or early March. Be watching future issues of the Booster for details.

A big

THANK YOU goes out to our sponsors! Title Sponsor

Country Financial – Rick Rotramel Round Sponsors

Upper Left Photo: Foundation Trustee Dean Grimes sells some 50-50 tickets to Brad Smith. Lower Left Photo: Former Ag Literacy Coordinator Crystal Allen and her daughter Caitlin Morris had a great time at the Luau for Learning. Top Photo: Steve Lane and Norma Andrews both pick “heads” during the Heads-Tails contest. You can see additional photos online at

Knights of Columbus Country Financial – Dave Harby & Mark Stutsman

David & Linda Sadler Mark & Susie Willard Anthem Chevrolet Dean & Dianne Grimes Russell Leigh & Associates

Left Photo: Local teachers Lisa Unzicker, from Northeast Elementary School in Danville, and Carol Finley, with Bismarck-Henning Elementary School, visit during a break in the trivia action. Right Photo: It took the hard work of a lot of volunteers to pull off the successful Luau for Learning event. Shown are (l to r): Sharon Sharkey, Heather Miyagi, Gary & Dorothy Lickfett, Norma & Brian Andrews, Eileen Huckstadt, Steve Fourez, Darlene Collins, Bruce Darr, Melinda Fourez, Dean Grimes, Kerry Wienke, and Tom & Mary Ellen Fricke. Not shown but serving as co-chairmen of the event were Mark & Susie Willard. 4


Local Leader Joins IFB in Washington D.C. By Curt Elmore Recently I was granted the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. courtesy of the Illinois Farm Bureau and represent Vermilion County regarding agricultural interests in the State. The main focus of our visit was to speak with congressmen and their aides regarding passing the farm bill, with emphasis on the federal crop insurance program; and expediting the repair and updating of our waterway infrastructure (i.e. locks and dams). When we first arrived in Washington, we were updated by American Farm Bureau economists regarding the possibility of the farm bill being passed this year. We were told there was about a 25% chance of that happening. But once the normal order of the legislative process is restored and budgets are hammered out, the focus should then shift to the farm bill.

From that meeting we then went to the Canadian embassy and spoke with a representative regarding the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) program as well as animal welfare issues and how they differ in Canada. The Canadian producers had issues in regards to the labeling requirement since it required US and Canadian herds not be comingled and specific days for Canadian only meat processing. This would greatly hamper the constant flow of livestock over the border and cause a bottleneck and decreasing revenue for Canadian producers.

The second day we headed to the congressional office buildings to speak with not only our congressman (in my case John Shimkus), but speak with congressional representatives for the northern portions of the state, specifically more urban areas. I wasn’t sure what to expect when speaking with these individuals as we tend to have very different priorities going into this legislative session. One common goal however, was passing the farm bill – the question is how we get there with spending cuts being dished out by both sides of the aisle. The comments we got from Congressman Shimkus was that he greatly supported our position of crop insurance and waterway infrastructure; however he commented that we needed to get entitlements under control. The other congressional spokespeople we talked with were in favor of supporting

our positions but cautioned us to not support limiting or partial defunding of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) program or their support could waver. The thing I find interesting – and I guess when you think about it, it’s a no brainer – but there is a great amount of give and take in legislation. Your interests may not be 100% represented in a compromise, but you have to accept some bad with the good. The final outcome is part of the price (literally and figuratively) when humans are involved. Following our congressional visit we traveled to the Senate office building where we met with Senator Mark Kirk briefly, and then followed up with his staffer regarding our concerns. She did indicate that Sen. Kirk’s physical capabilities are constantly improving since his stroke and he is as sharp as can be. We then traveled to the Capitol and met with Senator Dick Durbin. It was a great honor to not only meet with him but also have Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson with us to articulate IFB’s position on these issues in ways we might not have been able to otherwise.

The final day of our whirlwind tour was to the USDA offices where we discussed the topics of the Ag Census, climate change, the SNAP program, and the federal crop insurance program. The climate scientist indicated that in the Midwest there were equal chances of “you name it.” The crystal ball

seems to be rather hazy at the moment but according to their models there will be more extreme periods of drought and wetness in the upcoming decades.

The gentleman that we spoke to regarding crop insurance indicated that while climate change does play a role in developing crop insurance rates, it’s not the predominant factor. He also encouraged us as spokespeople for the agricultural industry to tell our story to anyone who will listen. I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there regarding the program and how important crop insurance is to farmers in this time of high input costs and increased growth.

With all these facts bouncing around one can expect big brother will have a few questions regarding our farms. The Ag Census was sent out this year much to the ire of some farmers. We spoke with Joe Patschke, a former Illinoisan and on that day the complaint department for the census. While we voiced our opinions as to the intrusive nature of the census he assured us that the information we give them never moves beyond his office with our names attached to it. You can draw your own conclusions regarding that statement but that is what we were told.

Overall I feel the trip was a great opportunity for me and numerous others around the state to actually experience and take part in the legislative process. I certainly hope young leaders like myself in the future take this opportunity to head to Washington and really make an impact on ag policy and learn what it’s like to lobby for a cause. Thanks again to the Vermilion County Farm Bureau for sending me on this trip.

Curt Elmore (middle), from Allerton, participated in the March 2013 Illinois Farm Bureau Leaders to Washington Trip. He’s shown with Congressman John Shimkus (left) as another leader makes a point during a visit to the Congressman’s Washington D.C. office.



You’re the Key to Influence Illinois Farm Bureau hosted is annual Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference in Springfield for two days in late February. The conference theme focused on Farm Bureau members being the key to influence in Washington, in Springfield, and in their own backyard. Breakout sessions on topics from utility easements to environmental issues, federal spending to local foods movement were highlights of the session. Those from Vermilion County attending included: President David Sadler, Alan Chesnut, Doug Kirk, Lynn Rohrscheib, Mike Marron and Jay Hageman, along with staff members Kerry Wienke and Tom Fricke. One of the keynote speakers was Scott Shearer, Vice President of Bockorny Group. Shearer told a room full of farmers and ag supporters from across the state that there are three trends in Washington that directly impact farm legislation. 1. Elected Officials Turnover “Turnover in Congress is much greater than Americans believe. And it really carries over into the House Agriculture Committee,” said Shearer. “Forty percent of the Agriculture Committee is new this year. Two-thirds are only in their first or second term.” This turnover makes it critical for the farming community to meet new congressmen as quickly as possible, he said. “A lot of these members don’t know about commodity programs, or risk management, or trade issues. So you become a resource for them, and you have to do it early in the process.” 2. Urban Congress Illinois has 18 congressmen, six from downstate and 12 from Chicago and the metropolitan area. “We have to get to know them… and remember that they look at things differently, but we all have things in common,” said Shearer. He pointed to education, pension reform, transportation, and healthy food as


common-ground issues. 3. Farm Issues Not In Ag Committee Shearer said, “We find that many of the issues we deal with in agriculture are not before the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.” A few examples include immigration reform in the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, trade issues being tackled by the House Ways and Means Committee, renewable fuels in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and animal antibiotics in the House Energy & Commerce Committee. He added, “It is important that we find spokespersons on both sides of the aisle in those committees to advocate on behalf of American agriculture.” As he ended his presentation, he told the group, “If you remember only one thing from me today, remember this: every day, decisions are made in Springfield and Washington that impact your bottom line. If you’re not there to represent yourself, no one is going to do it for you.” Another keynote speaker, Michael Stokke, played off the conference theme of “You’re the Key to Influence,” stating that the farm community’s natural optimism is the secret key to influencing decision makers. “Agriculture has a wonderful story to tell; let’s tell it!” said Stokke, Director of

the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs of Farm Credit Administration. He explained that in today’s economy and political environment, it seems like everyone focuses on the negative. A farmer with a positive attitude is a welcoming change for many legislators. Talking about agriculture’s successes, such as environmental improvements, growing global markets, and positive economic impact, help others understand that farming’s future is worth protecting. Stokke said, “You may ask yourself, why do I need to be involved? I think many of you know the answer to that already, but you might be saying to yourself that’s why we have Farm Bureau experts.” He added this about experts and lobbyists, “They are very smart about policies, but you - individually - are the ones who have to make the relationships with legislators and their staff.” Stokke said that relationship begins in your town. “When you see them at the local level and then see them in Springfield or Washington, they will remember you. A key function of the conference is the Legislative Reception held downtown near the Capitol. It gives Farm Bureau members a chance to meet with their elected representatives, as well as their adopted legislators, and to develop an open line of communications between the lawmakers and the farming community.

Vermilion County members met with some of our elected legislators at the Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference Legislators Reception. The top photo had shows (l to r): Doug Kirk, Alan Chesnut, Lynn Rohrscheib, David Sadler, Rep. Adam Brown, Rep. Chad Hays, and adopted legislator Rep. Dennis Reboletti. In the left photo, although the Senate was not in session, Sen. Jason Barrickman (center) was on hand and visits with Doug Kirk and David Sadler. BOOSTER

Farm Bureau Discount Program

PROCEDURE TO OBTAIN DISCOUNT: Simply show your paid up Vermilion County Farm Bureau Membership card at each visit at the time payment is required. Vermilion County Farm Bureau does not intend this as an endorsement of any of the professionals, businesses or products on which discounts have been obtained for our members and the Vermilion County Farm Bureau does not assume any liability for services rendered under this service. VERMILION COUNTY FARM BUREAU WILL CONSIDER REQUESTS FROM OTHER PROFESSIONALS AND BUSINESSES WHO MIGHT WISH TO PROVIDE DISCOUNTS TO OUR MEMBERS. FOR DETAILS PLEASE CALL 442-8713.

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Interior - Exterior • Spray, Brush or Roller Whole House or Partial Trims • Decks/Garages 15% Discount Power Washing Services

Owners – Dale Tweedy and John A. Boyer

Phone – (217) 304-6383 or (217) 304-6930 Land Improvement Soil & Water Conservation

5% Discount


RAHN EQUIPMENT COMPANY 2400 Georgetown Rd, Danville, IL Boom Mower Rental, Grain Bodies, Backup Cameras Call 217-431-1232 5% DISCOUNT on Hydraulic Parts, Repairs, and Pull Tarps


Quality Parts-Quality Service – Where Used Parts Save You Money Danville Urbana Bloomington 442-0156 800-252-7698 800-531-4684 Farm Bureau Members 10% Discount on all Cash Sales.



WELDING & FABRICATION Job Shop Rossville (217) 497-4820 or 497-3748

“We Weld Everything Except The Crack Of Dawn”


15 Years Experience Contact Bill (217) 446-8770


2000 Off





1500 Off

614 S. Gilbert, Danville, IL, Ph. 443-0673



1000 Off


5 Off

$ 00








Vermilion County Farmers Celebrate Illinois Farming Month March was celebrated as Illinois Farming Month. Volunteers started off the month by bagging groceries at the three Danville-area County Market Stores one afternoon. It’s a chance for farmers and consumers to meet one another and answer questions. The photo below shows the group at the Tilton County Market pausing for a picture (l to r): Jason Smith, Matt Hoose, Kerry Wienke, and Jennie Shepherd.

In the top right photo, Steve Lane and Rick James bag groceries for a customer at the Village Mall County Market. Participating at the Towne Centre store were Alan Chesnut, Bruce Darr and Kevin Kemna, where they were interviewed by WCIA Channel 3 News about the event. Some of the shoppers gave tips in gratitude for having their groceries sacked. While that wasn’t our goal for the event, the $120 donated was passed on to The Salvation Army Danville Corps for their food pantry. Shown below are President Dave Sadler and Marketing Committee Chairman Mark Willard presenting the check to Captain Judith Lowder with The Salvation Army. Farm Bureau also printed up 21,000 placemats that were distributed to just over 30 restaurants in Vermilion County later in the month. This is the 14th year of the placemat project, and wouldn’t’ be possible without the great support of our sponsors: Birkey’s, Bunge, Country Financial, Danville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Farmers National Company, First Midwest Bank, First National Bank in Georgetown, Illini FS, Learnard Seed Service, Midwest AgriCredit Company, United Community Bank, WDAN Radio, and WITY Radio.

IAA Foundation Fun Run-Walk Saturday, May 11 Bloomington To register, visit BOOSTER


New Savings On Case IH Hay Equipment For years, Vermilion County Farm Bureau members have found great savings on some CASE IH tractors, but this member-only discount just got better. Case IH has extended its list of great discounts for members to include hay and forage equipment. You can cut, condition, and bale while saving $300 to $500 when purchasing qualifying Case IH equipment from participating dealerships. Farm Bureau members can now save $300 on Farmall compact tractors - A Series & B Series, round or small square balers, disc or sickle mower conditioners, and the Case IH Scout. Additionally, you can save $500 on Farmall utilities tractors - C Series, U Series, and

J Series; Maxxum Series and Farmall 100A Series; self-propelled windrowers and large square balers. Melissa

Rhode, Illinois Farm Bureau’s Director of Membership, said, “This has been a great member benefit since 2006, but with the recent additions, it’s an even better deal for our members.”

Check out other discount savings on Pages 7-10, plus 2013 Theme Park Tickets discounts on the back cover!

County Board Chairman Meets with Farm Bureau

To top it off, the discount is stackable, she said. “This means it can be used with other discounts, promotions, rebates or offers that may be provided by Case IH or a Case IH dealership, saving you even more money.” Before you take advantage of this discount, you’ll need a

Large Animal Vet Opens New Mobile Practice Nanci Richards, DVM, has announced the opening of the Eastern Prairie Veterinary Service. Headquartered in St. Joseph, Richards will be serving Vermilion and Champaign Counties.

current IFB membership verification certificate. Present it to the Case IH dealer in advance of product delivery to receive the incentive discount on these great products. To get your verification certificate, visit www. or contact the Farm Bureau office at 217-4428713.

Richards opened her new service on April 15. She can be reached by calling 217-3692767 cell phone or call the office at 217-469-2767.

Vermilion County Board Chairman Gary Weinard (standing) attended the March meeting of the Vermilion County Farm Bureau Board of Directors to give an update on various county issues. Some of the items discussed included the current status of the nursing home, courthouse repairs and costs, the wind farm ordinance hearing held April 15, and various other financial concerns with what the state might do. Looking on are Farm Bureau board members (l to r) David Heckerson, Steve Lane, and Mark Crawford.

“I previously worked for Dow for 20 years, so I know many of the farmers in the area,” Richards said. “My husband and I had trouble finding a large animal vet for our farm, so I took on a life-long dream, went back to vet school at the University of Illinois, and am now opening my own mobile practice.” A large animal practice includes farm animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens along with horses. 12


Meeting the Animals & the Farmers Becky Martinez, from Glen Ellyn (In center of the photo at right) is one of 20 new “field moms” – Chicago-area moms participating in farm visits with Illinois Farm Families. This is Becky’s blog post following a visit to the seven-generation farm of John and Steve Ward in Sycamore, just 55 miles from Chicago.

Up until this January, for the past seven years, my family and I were vegetarians. After long, hard thought, discussion and exhaustive research we made the decision to fall off the wagon and get back on the meat. While we agreed on all the pros, my husband and I had different concerns about returning animal protein. The hardest thing for me to reconcile when deciding to readopt an omnivore lifestyle was that my food was once a living being.

So imagine my discomfort when I came face to snout with hundreds of little Wilburs that were being raised at Old Elm Farms. A big part of why I began our vegetarian mission was because of animal welfare. I saw documentaries and read books and articles touting the inhumane practices associated with today’s modern meat industry. I knew that if I was going to readopt this lifestyle I could not blindly pick up my neatly packaged, ready to cook

Field Mom’s Take-Aways/Surprises: • Raising pigs is a very health conscious/clean business. We wore coveralls and boot covers when we toured the finishing barns. Not so much to protect us-but to protect the pigs from diseases and germs we might bring them! Less disease means less need to treat them with drugs or antibiotics. • And while it may seem unnatural or unfair to keep them inside-it’s actually better for them inside. When pigs live outside-they are exposed to the elements, which can alter how they eat and drink. Cold, shivering pigs, need more food. Hot pigs roll around in the mud, that they and their buddies also poop in, along with birds and rodents., which exposes them to diseases, which then have to be treated. Yuck! Indoors, everything is controlled for optimum piggy comfort-from temperature, food and water, ventilation, and best of all-their poop falls through slats in the floor. • The overall respect and care for the animals. Even if it’s just to produce a better product, I heard over and over, from the farmers, to the corporate reps, happier, healthier pigs make better meat. • That no drugs can be in their systems when sent to harvest. And the incredible amount of tracking and paperwork that is done to be accountable for this. Also that keeping them inside (see my #2) helps prevent the need for antibiotics in the first place! • It’s all somewhat green/eco-friendly! Using the manure to fertilize the crops and feeding them bakery crumbs and discards are two ways this process is participating in some serious recycling!

meats and never consider the chain of events that got it to my grocer’s meat case. I wanted to meet the animals that nourish my family and see the farm operations for myself.

What surprised (and relieved) me most of all were the farmers themselves. I was spending a lot of time worrying about the poor little piggies in terrible conditions, but I never stopped to think that there are people out there devoting their life’s work to raising these animals. While it was a bit sad to see all the pink pigs, with curious, playful personalities nudging at the sides of the pens, it was reassuring to see Steve interact with them and seem to know them as individuals. The pigs I saw were clean, comfortable, alert and active. As social creatures, it was nice to see them together in large, open pens that provided plenty of room and access to food and water. It was clear that while a product, they were treated with care and respect. Steve talked about how he monitors the facility conditions and makes necessary adjustments. He checks each pen daily and separates any pigs that seem to be struggling or ill. Antibiotics are given as a last resort and pigs are never sent to harvest with antibiotics in their system. His wife talked about being woken in the middle of the night when an alarm goes off indicating that there is a problem at

the barn such as temperature or problems with the water supply. Farming is a 24-7, 365 day job. That is the nature of raising living beings and crops.

The bottom line is that whether they truly care about the comfort or mindset of the pigs or not, pork farming is a business, and like most businesses, it’s intent is to provide a product that consumers want to buy. John, Steve and his family want to produce the best quality of meat they can. I’m happy that they have adopted practices that they believe will do this and that just so happen to also be the right, humane things to do.

Illinois Farm Families are Illinois farmers who support Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association, and Illinois Beef Association through farmer membership and checkoff programs. They are committed to having conversations with consumers, answering their questions about food, farmers and farming, and sharing what really happens on today’s Illinois family farms.



COUNTRY COMMODITIES Registered Introducing Broker Clearing Through R.J. O’Brien & Associates Inc.

COMMODITY FUTURES & OPTIONS Commodity Broker Ron Leisch 19295 N. 1970 East Rd. Danville, IL 61834 217-431-1400 800-431-8030

Scott Harms, Mark Soderberg & Tim Smith Futures, Options and Grain Risk Management

Full Service Brokerage and Custom Hedge Programs P.O. Box 350 – Oakland, IL 61943 – 800.637.3123

Storage Containers For Rent or Sale Delivered to your Site 10’ - 20’ - 40’ - 45’ - 48’ long Perfect for seed or chemical storage

MEL PRICE & CO. 1938 N Bowman Ave ◆ Danville IL 61832

217-442-9092 14


Proactive Farm Management Our system of professional farm management includes: ♦ Investment analysis ♦ Annual farm budgets

♦ Commodity marketing ♦ Lease negotiation

♦ Farm visits and written reports ♦ Project analysis/implementation

Real Estate Sales ♦ Land auction services

♦ Buying and selling real estate

♦ Agricultural and recreational properties

Farmers National Company has been serving America’s landowners since 1929. Contact Brian or Russ, your local land professionals, for all of your agriculture and real estate needs! Brian Neville, AFM Real Estate Sales

Russ Hiatt, AFM Real Estate Sales

(217) 442-8003 or (217) 304-4317

(217) 442-8003 or (217) 474-9354

Danville, Illinois

Brian Neville

Russ Hiatt

Danville, Illinois

Real Estate Sales • Auctions • Farm and Ranch Management • Appraisal • Insurance Consultation • Oil and Gas Management • Lake Management • National Hunting Leases

21 N. Vermilion St. Danville, IL 61832


Specializing in the sale of Illinois & Indiana farmland and recreational property by private listing or public auction. Frank Butler Tim Busby Randy Hicks Scott Eggert

– – – –

217-260-4742 217-474-5626 765-230-8105 219-678-1173

“The entire team is working for you.” Is your farm ready for a drought? Or too much rain? Contact us to discuss your Financing options for Irrigation System and Field Tile.

First National Bank in



Check out the money savings discounts on Pages 7-10!

Where Membership Means Value Call Jerry, Jeff or Aaron for all your financial needs including operating loans, real estate loans and building equipment, or tiling leases!!

Georgetown, IL 61846



VCFB Booster April-May 2013  

Vermilion County Farm Bureau Booster bi-monthly membership magazine