R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Farmer, volunteer EMT and firefighter honored

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Dunlap farmer and EMT/volunteer firefighter Nicolas Pullen was honored with the Peoria County Farm Bureau Volunteer Emergency Service Award at their annual meeting. Also honored was Jennifer Glover, leader of the PCFB’s Ag in the Classroom literacy program, with their Ag Service Award. (Peoria County Farm Bureau photo)

In this week’s digest of Illinois farm and rural news, we have information on an upcoming farm bill listening session sponsored by Illinois Soybean Growers, along with recognition of 2021 Illinois dairy leaders and Peoria County Farm Bureau awards recipients. We will also tell you how much money that restored antique Deere tractor brought last week at the Mecum Auction to benefit the Illinois-based Fellowship of Christian Farmers International. Please read on!


Producers can sound off on 2023 Farm Bill

BLOOMINGTON — Farmers love to debate the contents of the federal farm bill. To that end, the Illinois Soybean Growers group is offering Illinois producers a chance to express their wants and needs regarding the soon-to-be-debated 2023 Farm Bill during an in-person and virtual listening session, to be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Dec. 14.

Producers will have an option to attend the in-person session, which will include lunch, at the Illinois Soybean Association office in Bloomington, or request a link to join the bull session via internet connection. The purpose of the meeting, according to an ISG news release, is to help inform the group’s outreach, promotion and legislative efforts.

A recent report in Iowa Farmer Today that explored potential topics of discussion for lawmakers addressing the next farm bill predicted lawmakers will be looking at supply chain issues and pandemic aid for farmers, with a debate likely on what should be continued or scrapped.

Food security and climate change are also issues that were brought to the surface by the pandemic and will be part of the next farm bill discussion, according to Mike Stranz, vice president of advocacy at the National Farmers Union, and Andrew Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

More information on the ISG listening session and free registration can be found at www.ilsoy.org/events. In conjunction with the listening session, the soybean growers are asking attendees to fill out an optional online Farm Bill 2023 Survey, also available on the website.


Illinois dairy leaders recognized

BLOOMINGTON — Recipients of the Illinois Milk Producers Association’s Dairy Industry Service Award and Sustainability Award were honored on Nov. 15 for their leadership, excellence and stewardship.

Recently retired Illinois dairyman Ken Koch, who served 40 years on Prairie Farms’ board of directors and has held leadership roles for IMPA and the St. Louis Dairy Council, was presented the IMPA Dairy Service Award. Koch farmed alongside his brother and son. Together, the family previously received the Western Illinois Dairy Promotion Committee Heritage Award in 2017.

Triple V Farms, Inc. of Clinton County was recognized with the IMPA Dairy Sustainability Award for its outstanding contributions toward best management practices that improve environmental stewardship and economic viability within the state’s dairy industry. Triple V is operated by three generations of the Vonder Haar family — Ed, Gary and Ryan — who in 2019 were honored with the Gateway FS Enduring Farms Award for their sustainability efforts. Congratulations to Triple V Farms and Ken Koch for their IMPA achievement awards! (Illinois Farm Bureau news)


Mecum Auction nets $10,500 for FCFI

LEXINGTON — Last week’s Mecum Gone Farmin’ Auction, seen live on the RFD Network (no affiliation to this column), netted $10,500 for the Lexington-based Fellowship of Christian Farmers International, Inc. through the sale of a donated John Deere 4020. The beautifully restored, 1964 diesel tractor is equipped with an eight-speed power shift and six-cylinder 404 engine. It came across the auction line fairly early in the broadcast, with RFD-TV personality Rodney Miller offering the winning bid.

“This has been a new endeavor for the Fellowship of Christian Farmers,” the FCFI stated in a news release. “A donated tractor is a wonderful gift that will help us to register for many farm shows to come in 2022 and beyond.” With the holidays here and the end of the year coming, FCFI is asking anyone who may have a restored tractor (or even an old, well-used tractor that they could restore) which they would donate to auction, please contact Dennis Schlagel, FCFI executive director, at fellowship@fcfi.org.


Pullen receives PCFB EMS award

PEORIA — Nicolas Pullen, an EMT and firefighter volunteer for the Dunlap Community Fire Protection District, was recognized as the Peoria County Farm Bureau 2021 Volunteer Emergency Service Provider Award during their annual meeting Nov. 13 in Peoria. A member of a multi-generational farm family, Pullen specializes in training for agricultural emergencies including grain bin rescues and farm implement accidents. A trusted member of the 30-person volunteer Dunlap department, Pullen responds to at least half of the 450 rescue, fire and EMS calls the department is called to each year.

In addition, Jennifer Glover was honored with the 2021 PCFB Ag Service Award. As the current PCFB Ag in the Classroom Coordinator, Glover has dedicated her life to ag and education. The Missouri native is licensed to teach in three states, and has led preschool and junior high science classes, in addition to her agricultural education background.

Congratulations to both of these Peoria County agricultural and community leaders!


Farm Econ Summit to go virtual

URBANA — The University of Illinois farmdoc team is again offering their popular Farm Economics Summit presentations, albeit in an all-virtual format. A series of five, one-hour webinars began Nov. 29 and continue Dec. 1 with a Farm Income Outlook for 2022. The series continues on Dec. 3 (Supply Bottlenecks and Management Decisions), Dec. 6 (Farmland Values and Rental Rates for 2022) and Dec. 10 (Policy/Legislative Update for 2022).

Participants can sign up for the Farm Economics Summit for free at www.farmdoc.illinois.edu. But with an online format, sadly, lunch will be up to you. (farmdoc news)


 Illinois Farm Fact:

Triple V Farms next generation owner Ryan Vonder Haar and his cousin Luke have developed a custom drone business specializing in precision crop applications, continuing a family legacy of agricultural sustainability. (ILMA)