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Farm broadcaster Max Armstrong featured at conference

[JAN. 18, 2003]  Max Armstrong, nationally known farm broadcaster, will highlight the 15th commemorative year of the Adopt a Farm Family organization at their 13th annual Rural Restoration Conference. Armstrong is co-host of "WGN U.S. Farm Report" and hosts a daily syndicated radio program, "Farming America."

The conference will be at the Ramada Inn in Sikeston, Mo., during Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 14-17. "The Foundations" will be the theme for the networking, education and spiritual renewal at the gathering.

William J. Federer, nationally known speaker, historian and author of "America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations," will also be featured as a keynote speaker. He will also be joining Richard Wheeler of WJLY radio in Ramsey in honoring former and present board members. Federer and Wheeler are both known for their research on the Founding Fathers.

Robert McGee is the Friday evening keynote speaker. Today's farmers face tremendous stress, and McGee is founder of the Christ-centered Rapha counseling and mental health centers, which can help people cope with stressful situations. He is also the author of the book series "The Search for Significance," "The Search for Peace," "The Search for Freedom" and "The Search for Joy."

Joshua Atieno of Kenya, Africa, who directs the Rural Restoration mission project, will be attending with foreign missionaries Court and Sandy Wood of Virginia, who have been active members of Adopt a Farm Family since the organization's founding. 


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In a breakout session Saturday afternoon, rural development specialists will present information on starting value-added, farmer-owned crops with the assistance of U.S. Department of Agriculture grant funds. Value-added crop programs can be adapted to your area.

Farm panels, a workshop for wounded marriages, special music and other sessions will provide variety for all who attend. Children will be kept busy at sessions especially designed for them.

Adopt a Farm Family was founded in Waynesboro, Ga., in 1988 by Mary Myers, and her husband, Peter, who was at that time USDA deputy secretary of agriculture in Washington, D.C.

For conference information, call Carol at (573) 472-4673 or toll-free at 1 (800) 472-4674. Information is also available at www.farmersruralrestoration.com.

[News release]

ACES open house offers
something for everyone

[JAN. 14, 2003]  URBANA -- Kids in nursery school through 99 years of age will enjoy the 2003 open house at the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The annual event provides a diverse range of presentations for all levels of interests, including displays and activities related to the fields of agriculture and horticulture. People considering a professional role, such as veterinarian, in one of these areas will be as welcome as a master gardener looking to plan next year’s garden. Youth groups and school field trips will find plenty to entertain and educate with subjects like 'The Animal Sciences Classroom" and "Maggot Races."  The fun will begin on Friday and continue on Saturday, March 14 and 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the U of I campus at Urbana-Champaign.

This year's will be the 14th open house at which hundreds of exhibits and activities are open to the public. "Every year we have new exhibits to share with visitors," said Scottie Miller, director of special events for the College of ACES. "But we know that the 'regulars' who come to the open house year after year would be disappointed if some of the old favorites weren't there, too." Miller said that teachers from all over the state, from nursery school to high school, include a field trip to the open house as a regular part of their curriculum.

The theme for this year's open house is "Where do we grow from here?" which fits beautifully with the many plants, insects, animals and other programs studied in the College of ACES. But it also fits with the College of ACES' Department of Human and Community Development -- a department that conducts research and outreach programs to benefit growing families and communities.

One interactive computer exhibit which will be on display in the atrium of the octagonal-shaped ACES library will feature a new website for parents. The website, called "P2P" or "Parent to Parent," incorporates video clips of real parents talking about the joys and challenges they face as parents.


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Sheep shearing and other demonstrations are scheduled to take place throughout the two-day event.

Visitors can pick up a free brochure at any of the buildings that are part of the open house. The brochure will include maps, a complete listing of exhibits, the schedule of demonstrations, and information on parking and concessions.

On Friday, March 14, visitors can park for free in lot F-23 at the corner of First Street and St. Mary's Road, then take a free shuttle from the lot to the open house. On Saturday, visitors can park for free on the street and in campus lots. The shuttle will run continuously both days to help visitors move easily from the Stock Pavilion, the Meat Sciences Building, Plant Sciences and finally to the College of Engineering open house on the north end of campus.

For a listing of the exhibits from last year’s open house, visit http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/openhouse. Details about the 2003 exhibits will be added to the same Web address soon. For more information, call (217) 333-9355.

[U of I College of ACES news release]

What is Logan County agriculture?

[JAN. 13, 2003]  The face of agriculture has changed greatly in the last 10 years, and the rate of change is accelerating greatly. Now the Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce is having a mapping exercise to plan for agricultural development in the area, and looking at the historical facts is the first step.

Farm size has increased from 396 acres in 1987 to 515 acres in 1997. The new census of agriculture being conducted right now will probably show acceleration in this trend and many others. The number of farms has had a corresponding decrease from 949 in 1987 to 739 in 1997. Cropland has increased from 78 percent of land in farms in '87 to almost 92 percent in '97. 

The value of land and buildings has increased from an average of $638,191 to $1,371,841 over the same period. Even corrected for inflation, the value has increased about $330,000 for each farm.

The biggest changes have come in the livestock area. There are almost 40 percent fewer farms selling cattle and calves, and over 50 percent fewer farms are selling hogs and pigs over this 10-year period. We are down to 76 farms in the county (as of 1997) selling hogs, but these farms have increased swine sales almost 150 percent, selling over 190,000 in 1997.

Probably the most telling numbers are the per capita income figures for the county (all residents and not just agriculture). The per capita income, when adjusted for inflation, has increased less than $1,000 over the 20-year period from 1980 to 1999. This is an 11.2 percent increase over the 20 years. 

The mapping exercise has an end goal of planning to increase economic development in the area, so if anybody has any ideas they would like to pass along please feel free to contact me.


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Upcoming meetings

Jan. 14:  Corn and Soybean Classic, Bloomington, $50 fee, 333-2880 to register.

Jan. 14:  Sheep Grazing Telenet, telephone, 333-7351 to register.

Jan. 16:  Strip Tillage Workshop, Springfield, 782-6515 to register.

Jan. 18:  Herb Day, Urbana, 333-7738 to register.

Jan. 23:  Corn and Soybean Classic, Springfield, $50 fee, 333-2880 to register.

Jan. 24:  PAT training, DeWitt County, 935-5764 to register.

Jan. 24:  Certified Livestock Manager, Sangamon County, 1 (800) 345-6087 to register.

Jan. 29:  Sustainable Ag Grant Writing, Logan County, (217) 968-5512 for info.

Feb. 20:  PAT training, Logan County, 732-8289 to register.

Feb. 25:  Crop Problems Diagnostics, Logan County, 732-8289 for information.

Feel free to call the local Extension office at 732-8289 for information that is available on these programs.

[John Fulton]

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