10/23/2017 12:00:00 AM
On October 23rd, the Shelby County Farm Bureau was proud to host Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, for a farm tour in Shelby County. Sen. Mulroe is the SCFB’s adopted legislator and serves a district located in northwest Cook county. After a fantastic visit to Sen. Mulroe’s district in August, the SCFB was greatly looking forward to showing the Senator around Shelby County.
The tour started at the SCFB office with an introduction to Shelby county. A brief introduction to the county and an overview of the agenda were discussed. The tour really got started with lunch at the Lake Shelbyville Visitor’s Center. Local State Rep. Brad Halbrook and several county Farm Bureau members enjoyed lunch with Sen. Mulroe and discussed the issues Shelby County farmers deal with daily.
Education funding and the issues facing rural schools were highlighted during a stop at the Stewardson-Strasburg Elementary and High Schools. At the school, FFA Advisor, and SCFB Young Farmer member, Jennifer Barker explained the opportunities students have in FFA and several Stew-Stras FFA members discussed their experiences in FFA. A highlight of the day was stopping in various classrooms to discuss the students’ perspectives on Chicago. There was a realization for all parties that students in Chicago aren’t much different from students in Shelby county.
Next, the group traveled to S&B Dairy, located in rural Sigel, IL. The largest dairy in Shelby county, S&B milks ~500 Holstein dairy cows. The financial struggle facing dairy farmers was discussed by owner Ed Schumacher. Animal care and feeding was highlighted during tours of the milking parlor and free stall barn. It became clear to the Senator that there’s a lot more that goes into a gallon of milk than what he thought.
At the TGM Elevator in Windsor, Sen. Mulroe learned about grain handling and storage. SCFB members also discussed the mechanics of selling grain, contracts, and the current economic outlook for Shelby county farmers. Sen. Mulroe’s accounting background allowed him to quickly grasp the fact that the farm economy is currently struggling, and he quizzed the members on how they make their decision on when to sell and how to manage risk.
SCFB Director Brian Rincker hosted the next to last stop on the tour. His family has a small feedlot, where beef cattle selection and feeding were highlighted. Hay production was also discussed, and several types of hay were provided for the Senator to look at. Senator Mulroe also got to get up in a combine during this stop and discuss the technology farmers use to increase efficiency and lower costs.
The day concluded at Doug Uphoff’s “Shed” for supper. IFB District 11 Director Troy Uphoff and over 25 other SCFB members joined the Senator for the meal and to socialize afterwards. It was a great end to a wonderful day.
The SCFB would like to thank: the Stewardson-Strasburg school district, S&B Dairy, the Schumacher family, TGM Windsor, South Central FS, Will Rincker, the Brian Rincker family, and the Doug
Uphoff family for graciously opening their doors for the tour and providing fantastic stops and learning opportunities throughout the day.
Most importantly though, thank you to Sen. Mulroe for being willing to spend a day learning about farming, rural communities, and Illinois agriculture in Shelby county.
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at (708) 579-6060.