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Local News Archives for 2020-02

USDA Grant for a Snow Plow for Schram City

Washington, DC -- U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) announced today that the Village of Schram City has received a $25,000 federal grant for the purchase of a new dump truck with a snow plow. The funding comes from the Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants program through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.

"This grant will replace a 30 year-old truck that Schram City has relied upon to do critical public works operations. In the winter it is incredibly important for public safety that small rural communities have the ability to clear roads of snow and ice. I am certain that Schram City will be responsible stewards of this truck like they were to their last. This is a great example of the kind of investments the federal government is making in rural America and Im proud to support it," said Davis.

Rep. Davis Announces USDA Grant for a Snow Plow for Schram City

Washington, DC -- U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) announced today that the Village of Schram City has received a $25,000 federal grant for the purchase of a new dump truck with a snow plow. The funding comes from the Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants program through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.

"This grant will replace a 30 year-old truck that Schram City has relied upon to do critical public works operations. In the winter it is incredibly important for public safety that small rural communities have the ability to clear roads of snow and ice. I am certain that Schram City will be responsible stewards of this truck like they were to their last. This is a great example of the kind of investments the federal government is making in rural America and Im proud to support it," said Davis.

Guebert Testifies in D.C. on Behalf of Illinois Farmers

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Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. testified during Wednesdays U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means committee hearing.

The hearing was held to discuss U.S.-China trade and competition, and featured a variety of witnesses.

In his testimony, Guebert explained the importance of trade to Illinois farmers, the impacts of the trade war and reasons for optimism.

Our geography and our transportation assets (in Illinois), with easy access to rivers and barges and rail lines and unit trains, give us the ability to efficiently and cost-effectively supply domestic and international markets, explained Guebert. And without access to those overseas markets and to the 96% of consumers who dont live in this country, we (farmers) cant make ends meet. Thats not a theory, thats reality. Our reality.

In 2016, Illinois farmers exported $2.3 billion worth of soybeans almost exclusively to China. In the last four years, that number has steadily declined. In 2019, roughly $800 million of soybeans were exported from Illinois.

This and other commodity export declines have significantly decreased farm profitably. While farmers greatly appreciated the Market Facilitation Program payments, Guebert stressed the desire for trade, not aid.

I certainly hope no one on this committee or watching this hearing doubts that Illinois farmers, like all farmers across this country, would much rather earn their living from the marketplace, said Guebert. We would much rather have expanded trade.

Guebert also reflected on his recent meeting with Illinois farmers and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Gregg Doud. The meeting brought reassurance concerning the phase one U.S.-China trade agreement.

We recognize that China is managing through a deadly coronavirus outbreak, that the purchases called for in the agreement have not happened yet, said Guebert. And that USDA economists have not even built those anticipated phase one sales into their export reports. We certainly know the markets have yet to move. But farmers are optimistic. We understand that were just at the beginning of an exciting new chapter and we patiently await the benefits of this new trade agreement.

Guebert also answered questions from committee members ranging from the decrease of soybean exports to enforcement mechanisms in the phase one agreement and agricultures aspirations for the phase two agreement.

Illinois February Crop Progress and Condition Report

Statewide, the average temperature for the month of February was 30.8 degrees, 1.7 degrees above normal. Precipitation for the month averaged 1.52 inches, 0.06 inches below normal. As of February 23, topsoil moisture supply was rated at 63 precent adequate and 63 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated at 73 precent adequate and 27 percent surplus. Winter wheat condition was rated at 2 percent very poor, 6 precent poor, 36 percent fair, 46 percent good and 10 percent excellent.

The next monthly report will be released on March 29.

iDREAM Program Impacting Childrens Lives

Litchfield, Ill. On Thursday, January 29, over ninety second graders at J.D. Colt Elementary School in Litchfield received their first lesson from the iDREAM program. This is a U of I Extension program that encourages students to navigate the world of dreaming, goal setting, and creativity. The curriculum is being facilitated by a dream team of local community leaders.

Valerie Belusko, Community and Economic Development Program Coordinator for University of Illinois Extension and Rhonda Reener, mortgage loan officer with Litchfield National Bank, teamed up to introduce the second grade students to this new curriculum.

Reener asked the students to share some of their dreams and then told them that adults dream too! Through her job at Litchfield National Bank she helps adults fulfill their dream of home ownership. In her free time she enjoys volunteering for Montgomery County PAWS Care, which is a nonprofit that rescues and re-homes companion animals. I love having a job that helps make dreams come true for so many of our community members, but in my free time, I have my own dreams and goals to fulfill. I want to see every animal adopted into a safe and happy home which is why volunteering my time at PAWS is so important to me, she explained.

A partnership between Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) and University of Illinois Extension of Montgomery County made this program possible. MCEDC is on a mission to develop happy, healthy and productive community members. They believe that through goal setting and dreaming, we can build lasting community capital.

Belusko said, The Litchfield second graders were given an opportunity to dream about what they would like to see for their future, family, school and community. By teaching our youth about active dreaming and goal setting we are preparing them to aspire for greatness!
The iDREAM program was created in Marshall School District with Tiffany Macke, Community and Economic Development Educator for University of Illinois Extension, leading the way. Litchfield is the first school in Montgomery County to participate in this curriculum. This program is created by and copyrighted by University of Illinois Extension. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Valerie Belusko at valerieb@illinois.edu or call the Montgomery County Extension Office at 217-532-3941.

Illinois Counties Receive $7.3 million for Rural Broadband

Eight counties in Rep. Rodney Davis 13th District have received $7.3 million in Federal Communications Commission grants to expand rural broadband.

Davis, R-Taylorville, noted the funding will go toward connecting unserved homes and businesses. The grants will be dispersed over 10 years with the minimum download/upload speeds provided at 100/20 megabits per second. Wisper ISP, Inc. will conduct the work.

Grants will go to Bond County, $206,170; Calhoun, $824,818; Greene, $746,490; Jersey, $762,362; Macoupin, $3.5 million; Madison, $333,786; Montgomery, $917,689; and Sangamon, $32,441.

Matli: Animal Care Award Winner from IL Pork

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SPRINGFIELD, ILL. On behalf of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Josh Matli of Raymond has been presented with the inaugural Animal Caregiver award at the 2020 Illinois Pork Expo and Annual Meeting.

This recognition was created to honor those who exhibit outstanding work ethic in the barn and exceptional care to their animals. Boehringer Ingelheim
has graciously sponsored this recognition. Josh, and wife Jennifer, currently live in rural Raymond with their two daughters JoBeth and Jenna. Matli is a sow farm manager for Borgic Farms in Nokomis. This farm has 10,000 sows that produce piglets for their grower partners.

He has been with the Borgic team for 17 years. His career began as a high school student through the work study program. He then obtained an associate degree in agriculture from Lincoln Land Community College before returning to the farm fulltime. For the past 12 years, Josh has been dedicated to his role as farm manager. He oversees 32 fulltime employees plus 5 part-time student team members. He also manages an off-site gilt developer unit as well as their truck wash.

Josh comes to the farm every day prepared to do the best he can for his girls (sows) and their pigs, shares Phil Borgic, Borgic Farms. His passion for livestock and people is abundant, and we are proud to have him on our team.
During a recent expansion from 7,200 to 10,000 sows, Josh was able to keep his team focused and maintain goals. He has the ideal people skills and personality to work with a large team daily. So much, that his passion has instilled aspirations in others to become farm managers, too.

Weitekamp Named IL Pork President for 2020

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Springfield, IL - February 4, 2020 - During the 2020 Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) annual meeting, Dale Weitekamp of Raymond, was elected to serve as president for the coming year. Dale has served inthe officer rotation for the past three years, holding all titles.He has also been active on the State Fair, Production Tech/Research, Industry Services and Marketing committees for IPPA.

He and his brother, Allan, are part of a fifth generation centennial
farming family. Along with row crop the farm currently contractfinishes 22,000 head in wean to finish buildings. They also are partners in a 6,400 head breed to wean sow herd. Dale and his wife, Kim, have three children, Sarah, Sam and Anne. The Weitekamps were awarded The Family of the Year award in 2007. Dale is an EMT with theRaymond - Harvel Ambulance Service, a member of Saint Raymond Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus, and previously served as Scout Master for Troop 77 in Raymond for six years.

As today's pork producers we must remember that the farm gate is not where our job ends, but where our commitment to the consumer begins, shared Weitekamp.

Since joining the IPPA board, Dale has seen the importance of engaging with the public and government in order to solve problems. Dale believes promoting the safe, affordable, andhealthy attributes of pork, while at the same time showing consumers that we can do so in a way that protects the environment, is key to the success of our generation of pig farmers and
will allow us to pass this farming tradition on to the next.

Montgomery County Ag in the Classroom Receives Local Donation

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Members of the Montgomery County Board of Directors presents a check to Rebecca Livingston, Montgomery County Ag in the Classroom Program Coordinator. (L to R) Brad Young, Rebecca Livingston and Joe Pope.

HILLSBORO, Ill. University of Illinois Extension Montgomery County Ag in the Classroom (AITC) was presented with a generous donation from Montgomery County Farm Bureau in Hillsboro. Rebecca Livingston, Montgomery County AITC Program Coordinator, stated, Montgomery County Farm Bureau supports our Ag in the Classroom program in so many ways. Members serve on our Agricultural Literacy Advisory Council, and the Womens Committee volunteers at programs and events in our county. The mission of Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) is to teach Illinois children agricultures importance and the vital role it plays in their lives and society. IAITC supports local educational and outreach efforts by providing high quality, standards based, scientifically sound agriculture information that can be easily integrated by teachers into the existing classroom curriculum.

Katie Wilson, Montgomery County Farm Bureau Manager, stated, Montgomery County Farm Bureau understands the importance of educating youth about agriculture. Even though our county is very rural and farming is very prevalent, we realize that there are still students who have no exposure to livestock or row crops. We appreciate our county AITC program and wanted to support their efforts with this donation and keep educating kids about ag! Their support will allow us to educate students about the important role agriculture plays in our day-to-day lives and to excite the next generation with high-quality, hands-on educational experiences in agriculture to students and teachers in Montgomery County.

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