View from the Cab: A year to remember

By: Kent Casson

The final week of 2020 is here so it is time for us to take a look back at some of the top stories in local agriculture for the year.

Several conservation awards were presented in January during the annual meeting of the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District in Pontiac. The Conservation Farm Family Award went to to the Jim Ifft family of Fairbury. They farm around 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat and utilize cover crops on many of those acres.

Participation numbers skyrocketed in the Lexington FFA program, which held its annual fundraising auction and dinner in February.

“We kind of saw a need to get the program built back up,” explained David Schuler, a member of the Lexington FFA alumni. “As we’ve built up a surplus of cash, we help play for trips. We also like to help with projects they do in the ag shop.”

Everything changed in the middle of March, even for agriculture, when COVID-19 struck. Several meetings and conferences were postponed or cancelled. Also, different ag businesses and cooperatives started to announced safety protocols with the spread of the virus. The McLean County Chamber of Commerce Ag Awareness Breakfast was cancelled in March along with the Prairie Central FFA Hog Roast and Auction fundraiser and Heartland FFA Alumni auction at Normal.

Tom Kahle retired from his position of executive vice president and trust officer at Heartland Bank and Trust in Chenoa over the summer. He worked in Chenoa for 36 years and in Bloomington for two years prior to that. After starting out in farm management and with the trust department, Kahle gradually moved into lending, eventually serving as president for the former Bank of Chenoa.

Dan Fehr, who farms with his father and uncle in Livingston County, got started early on his corn harvest last fall since he had quite a bit of downed corn from summer wind events. The moisture was high but they wanted to get some fields opened up for the insurance company to look at the crops.

Two family-owned John Deere dealerships with deep roots in the northern half of the state announced plans to merge. The merger was officially announced in December by Kelly-Sauder-Rupiper Equipment LLC and Holland & Sons, Inc.

These are some of the top ag stories from 2020 as it was a year most of us will never forget.

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