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View from the Cab: Extension matters

4-H'ers wait to be judged at the Livingston County Fair last week / CIFN photo.

Many across Central Illinois are in full fair mode – including the fine folks from the University of Illinois Extension.

The Livingston, McLean and Woodford county unit has three fairs in a row. The Livingston County event just concluded last week and this week, it’s the Woodford County 4-H Show followed by the McLean County Fair next week in Bloomington. It is strictly a 4-H event in Woodford County, which means there is no carnival. The grounds are similar to Livingston County’s 4-H park with several shade trees.

For those of you who may not know, 4-H is an Extension program, so the U of I Extension runs all of the 4-H fairs in the state. Local county director Bobbie Lewis-Sibley told me at last week’s Livingston County Fair that entries are up in all three counties this year and things are looking up when it comes to the state budget.

“Extension was funded the same as it was prior to the budget impasse,” Lewis-Sibley explained. “What we were funded with in the 2015 fiscal year, we are at the same funding level.”

Ag premium funds were included in the state budget as well. Lewis-Sibley hopes to have the proper funding in the years to come also.

The pending McLean County Fair is often referred to as the world’s biggest 4-H fair and the county has the largest number of 4-H’ers in the state with around 1,300 kids. Lewis-Sibley is also proud of the fact that Livingston and Woodford counties are numbers four and five in the state, respectively.

A large number of youngsters from the three-county area will be heading to the Illinois State Fair in August.

Thanks to those of you who stopped by to say hello the other day at the Livingston County Fair. The Central Illinois Farm Network “cooling center,” as I like to call it, worked out well with a large box fan and plenty of bottled water. Now if I could only figure out how to install an air conditioner on the roof of that tent!

(The View from the Cab blog is powered each week by Petersen Motors in Fairbury)

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