R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Illinois FFA Convention elects new officers

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Five new state leaders were elected during the Illinois State FFA Convention. They are (front row, from left) Kate Colgan, treasurer; Rachel Hood, president; Haley Bode, secretary; (back row, from left) Levi Maierhofer, reporter; and Derek Sample, vice president. (FFA photo)

This week we have information about a pair of exciting new programs offered by Illinois Soy and Illinois Pork, along with recognition of the new state FFA officers. We’ve also got news about Illinois Corn’s 50th birthday bash and a link to Peoria-area farmers markets. Please read on …


First ‘20 Under 40’ farmers class honored

BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois Soybean Association brought the “leaders under 40” concept to the agriculture industry with the announcement of the inaugural class of Illinois 20 Under 40 Farmer-Leaders on June 23. The young farmers are agricultural leaders, exceptional community citizens and role models for their generation and the next, who are upholding traditions, starting their own and helping their neighbors out along the way, according to ISA communications lead Rachel Peabody.

“We’re honored to have the opportunity to recognize exceptional Illinois young farmers in collaboration with the Illinois ag family,” Peabody said. “We look forward to following this first group to watch their impact in our industry and at home in their communities.”

The ISA received support from the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, Illinois Grain & Feed Association and Illinois Pork Producers Association in establishing the program. Busey Bank and John Deere were corporate sponsors of the program. For information about the 2022 Illinois 20 Under 40 award winners and the program, visit: https://www.ilsoy.org/isa-20-under-40. (ISA news)


Pork producers roll out CDL program

SPRINGFIELD — A new scholarship program to help prospective semi drivers obtain a commercial driver’s license and to address labor shortages impacting all employment sectors is open for enrollment, the Illinois Pork Producers Association announced last week.

Exacerbating the shortage of semi drivers, the new stricter federal CDL requirements that were implemented on Feb. 7 now require entry-level drivers to successfully complete a prescribed program on theory and behind-the-wheel instruction prior to taking the CDL test. As the additional requirements could also make an applicant’s overall costs increase, the goal of the scholarship program is to help incentivize more candidates to consider a career in trucking and assist Illinois pork producers in transporting their pigs to market.

“A common issue pork producers continue to talk about is the difficulty they face in finding and retaining good labor both on farm and transportation support,” states Thomas Titus, IPPA President. “Now, more than ever, it is our association’s goal to help producers support and retain their employees. Additionally, we want to recruit the next generation of pork industry advocates.”

As of April 12, the United States was in need of some 80,000 drivers to alleviate the trucker shortage, according to the American Trucking Association.

To qualify for one of the $1,000 scholarships, applicants must have a valid Transport Quality Assurance certification (or sign up for the class) and they must also show proof that they haul pigs or feed for a producer located in Illinois. For more information on the IPPA CDL scholarship program, reach out to 217-529-3100 or info@ilpork.com.


Illinois FFA Convention elects new officers

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State FFA Convention returned to a traditional three-day event of business sessions, award recognitions, workshops and a career show after a hybrid event in 2021, when hundreds of blue FFA jacketed-youth converged on downtown Springfield from June 14-16. During the convention, five new state leaders were elected by 350 voting delegates. They are President Rachel Hood, elected from the Rushville-Industry FFA Chapter, Vice President Derek Sample, Sesser-Valier FFA Chapter, Reporter Levi Maierhofer, Seneca FFA Chapter, Secretary Haley Bode, Waterloo FFA Chapter and Treasurer Kate Colgan, Princeville FFA Chapter.

The 94th annual Illinois State FFA Convention, with the theme of “Initiate,” hosted more than 5,000 FFA members, advisers, and guests, according to an FFA news release. The 2022 convention spotlighted the Association’s annual service project, which provided $250 scholarships to 20 FFA chapters planting trees throughout the state. Congratulations to the new Illinois FFA officers and youth leaders!


IL Corn still growing after 50 years

BLOOMINGTON — The Illinois Corn Growers Association has been peeling back the leaves on important agricultural issues since the 1970s, providing representation and guidance to the state’s corn farmers. The ICGA will celebrate a half-century in existence with a party and program on Monday, Aug. 8 at Bloomington’s DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center.

“Each and every year, ICGA farmer leaders gather together to discuss and resolve the issues that impact Illinois corn farmers. They trigger calls to action when needed. They invest their own time getting to Springfield and Washington, D.C. to make sure farmer voices are part of the conversation,” said Lindsay Mitchell, communications director for Illinois Corn. “There’s a lot to celebrate here and the Illinois Corn Growers Association hopes that our membership will show up to celebrate with us.”

For more information and to RSVP (required), reach out by July 25 to ILCORN@ILCORN.org.


Peoria-area farmers markets cataloged

PEORIA — Of the more than 300 present in Illinois, over a dozen farmers markets link the urban, suburban, and rural Peoria Area communities through bountiful production of locally raised, healthy food. Discover Peoria recently published a blog with information and locations for each market, accessible at www.peoria.org/blog/post/discover-central-illinois-farmers-market/. Check ’em out this summer!


Illinois Farm Fact:

The Illinois Corn Growers Association was incorporated on July 30, 1971 by John Curry of Victoria, Housel Roberts of Altona, Rolland Main of Altona, John Block of Gilson, and Donald Love of Galva. The group’s first meeting was held at the Knox County Farm Bureau in Galesburg on Feb. 18, 1972. (IL Corn)

R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Right-to-Repair lawsuit heading to Illinois