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View from the Cab: Looking back

(Last year's Livingston Co. Agronomy Day is shown in Pontiac)

As the end of the year is around the corner, it’s time for our annual look back at some of the top agriculture stories on The Central Illinois Farm Network from 2023.

Several conservation awards were presented during the annual meeting of the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District in January. The first conservation partner award was given to the Livingston County Environmental Association. Another conservation partner award was presented to Darrin and Eric Sass of Oakview Farms of Streator who have started using cover crops on their fields.

The former president of the Illinois Farm Bureau and past director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture addressed the challenges agriculture faces during the Illinois county fair convention in Springfield. Phil Nelson spoke to those attending the keynote breakfast in January, covering issues facing the industry and some of the attacks taking place on agriculture.

Changes for the state political landscape spilled over into the local farm scene. Brad Schmidgall is the new president for the Livingston County Farm Bureau after Jason Bunting was appointed to serve in the Illinois House to replace Tom Bennett who was named a Senator earlier this year. Schmidgall has always called this area home and says he has received strong support from the local Farm Bureau board.

A star from the A&E original series Duck Dynasty was in the area last March to participate in a family hunting event near Forrest. Tim Guraedy, best known to the show’s millions of fans as “Mountain Man,” was at Rooster Heaven Hunt Club. Guraedy’s connection to the Central Illinois hunting club started back in 2013 when he was doing a Shriner’s Hospital fundraiser in Chicago and met Rooster Heaven owner Patrick Harms who was also doing a Shriner’s fundraiser.

With a stretch of nice weather in early April, northern Livingston County farmer Matt Boucher felt things were about to “get crazy” out in the fields. Boucher, who farms near Dwight, was hoping to build off the success of the previous season when he experienced some of his best corn yields. Though he didn’t break records, Boucher was close.

The Illinois Beef Association has accomplished quite a bit in the past year. Highlights were shared during the group’s annual meeting in June at the state fairgrounds in Springfield. A newsletter has been launched, grant funding was secured for new programs and IBA moved into a new office space on the fairgrounds. Dave Duzan of Lexington was chosen as the new IBA president while Shannon Welsh of Blandinsville was named vice president.

I’ll share more 2023 reflections with you next week. Happy New Year!


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