His innovative leadership was credited with helping the fair
increase attendance while reducing expenses. As one of his
nominators said, "His forward thinking and willingness to implement
new ideas have been crucial in making the fair a success."
McGuire's character and work ethic also were cited as reasons for
"Jim is at all times approachable and supportive of others at all
levels in the organization. With his drive and dependability, he
serves as a role model to all the fair directors."
McGuire and his wife of 32 years, Pat, have five children, Jim, Bob,
Dan, Mairead and Jack.
Illinois Department of Agriculture chooses its sustainable
farmers of the Year -- The winner will be honored on AgDay at the
Illinois State Fair
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has named a Morgan County
couple its 2014 Sustainable Agriculture Farmers of the Year. Jim and
Mary Burrus (Indian Creek Farm) of rural Jacksonville will receive
the award on Aug. 12 during the Agriculture Day Luncheon on the
Director's Lawn at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The Burruses live on the farm where Jim was born and raised. His
grandfather purchased the original 192 acres in 1946. Jim bought the
adjoining 128 acres in 1998 and they also rent an additional 340
acres nearby. About half of the farm is pasture, the other half
tillable cropland on which Jim grows conventional corn and soybeans
using no-till farming. The remaining cropland is devoted to the
production of organic alfalfa, which is used as supplemental feed
for the 130 certified-organic, grass-fed Angus and red Angus cattle
"We direct market about 40 head of certified-organic, grass-fed beef
to our customers each year," Jim said. "We also direct market 250
Cornish cross chickens that are raised organically, but can't be
certified because there is no certified processing facility anymore
in Illinois to take them to."
Jim's interest in raising grass-fed cattle began in 1994 when he
attended a Pasture Improvement Seminar on Management Intensive
Grazing. After attending a grazing school in 1995, he decided to
convert his operation. Their first grass-fed beef was sold in 1999
and the herd was certified organic in 2006. Since then, he has
installed over 12,000 feet of water lines with partial funding
through the NRCS EQIP program to provide water to the 13 paddocks on
the farm. Fescue grass not eaten during the summer as the cows are
rotated through the paddock system is harvested and stockpiled to
use for winter feed.
Jim and Mary have hosted several field days, farm walks and
sustainable agriculture tours on their farm and Jim has shared his
expertise with others while speaking at the Illinois Specialty
Growers Agritourism and Organic Conference, the Missouri Forage and
Grassland Conference and at Western Illinois University.
"We went to direct marketing grass fed organic cattle under a
management intensive grazing system and pastured poultry as a way to
better utilize our existing farm resources and generate added value
without having to expand our acreage," Jim said. "By going organic
with our livestock and staying more conventional with our cropping
system using no-till, we are able to find a balance that works for
our farm and helps us sustain our resources. That is the key."
Indian Creek Farm is located at 2095 Arcadia Road, Jacksonville. Jim
and Mary also are vendors at the Department of Agriculture's
Thursday night farmer's market on the State
Illinois State Fair crowns Husband and Hog Calling champions
A large crowd gathered at the Lincoln Stage Sunday afternoon for the
State Fair's husband and hog calling contests, two long-time fair
traditions that generate both national and, occasionally,
First; the contestants for the husband calling competition. Three
women, Maxine Lanman of Highland, Solomohn Ennis of Charleston and
Cheryl O'Reilly of Beverly Hills, demonstrated their skills for
getting their husband's attention - in a very forceful manner.
O'Reilly, in her contest debut, won first place. Lanman was second
and Ennis, third.
"Absolutely," O'Reilly said when asked if her demonstration was
really the way she called her husband's name. "I call downstairs to
tell him dinner is ready."
"I don't miss any meals," her husband, Frank, deadpanned.
Chris Karr of Seymour gave the winning performance in the hog
calling contest, using his newest invention, a GPS, or Good Pig
Signal, to attract a hog.
Karr, who was participating in the contest for his 23rd year, said
he does it only to promote agriculture. He was a hog farmer until
2002, and his family has showed at the State Fair for three
Stan Chmeleck of Chicago gave a pig call that was a parody of
LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It."
"When I walk into the swine barn, what do I see? All those prize
hogs are staring at me," Stan rapped. "I got a knife and fork in
hand, and I ain't afraid to show it. Show it. I eat pork, and they
The creative call earned Chmeleck a second place finish. After the
announcement, he returned to the stage and informed the crowd that
he was giving his winnings to veterans on this Veterans' Day at the
John Klyczek of Chicago Heights was third.
The State Fair gives a $250 premium to the winners. In addition, Hog
Inc., a Greenfield pork processing business, donates $100 to each
winner. The runners-up will receive $150 apiece, and the third place
finishers each will receive $50.
Audio of the award-winning hustand and hog calls can be heard and
downloaded by clicking on the following link:
Fair hosts first Celebrity Showmanship competition
The Illinois State Fair, in partnership with the Illinois Beef
Association, held its first Celebrity Showmanship Competition.
Springfield-area celebrities competed for the coveted title of Grand
Champion, entertaining young and old alike at the Junior Livestock
Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
included: State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick; Illinois Agriculture
Director Bob Flider; Illinois County Fair Queen Summer Robbins; WAND
sports director Matt Loveless; Illinois State Police Colonel Jill
Rizzs; Springfield Park District Board President Leslie Sgro; and
WCIA storyteller Joe Barlow.
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The judges had a tough decision, as all of the celebrities
exhibited great showmanship while guiding their steers in the
show ring. Ultimately, though, Bliefnick won the title of Grand
Champion, while Flider was selected Reserve Grand Champion.
Grand Champion Steer selected
A Grundy County youngster won the 2014 Illinois State Fair Junior
Steer Show Saturday before a capacity crowd in the Junior Livestock
Shaelye Varner's crossbred was selected from among six division
champions, and a deafening cheer filled the building when the judge,
after examining each of the animals, announced his decision.
Now twelve, Shaelye, a resident of Morris, has been showing since
she was five-years-old. Her champion steer will be sold Tuesday,
Aug. 12, in the Governor's Sale of Champions, an auction of the
fair's prize-winning junior livestock.
Shaelye plans to save her winnings and use them to further her
"I want to continue in livestock," she said. "When I grow up, I want
to judge competitions like the ones that I have been competing in."
The Sale of Champions starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Livestock Center.
Gretchen Simpson of Mercer County exhibited the reserve grand
champion, a red and white crossbred steer.
Lee County teen named Supreme Champion of Junior Heifer Show
A 15-year-old from Dixon exhibited the Supreme Champion in the
Junior Heifer Show. Derek Humphrey's one-year-old, Chianina heifer
first won in its breed division, then was judged as the best of all
breeds and declared the Supreme Champion.
"It was a dream come true to win," Derek said. "It was a huge
affirmation of all the work I put in this year working with my
As the winner of the Supreme Champion Heifer title, Derek received a
$5,000 savings bond in memory of Jill Walker as well as a trophy
donated by the Tom Very family.
He intends to use a portion of the proceeds to help pay for next
year's entry in the show.
"I plan to use the rest of the money for college," Derek said.
"Though I want to continue in agriculture, I want to go to Georgia
Tech or MIT for engineering."
In addition to his overall win, Derek also was named the reserve
grand champion in the purebred Simmental division.
Winners of Junior Barrow and Wether shows announced
James Dobbels, 16, of Cambridge will join Shaelye at Tuesday's
auction. James' hog was declared the grand champion of the Junior
Barrow Show, leaving him tongue-tied.
"I am speechless," he said. "I never expected to win. This has been
a lifetime goal for me, and I just hope that one day my kids will
show just like I do."
The Grand Champion sheep wether was exhibited this year by
15-year-old Brooke Ryner of Alexis. She, too, will participate in
the Sale of Champions.
Grand Champion Poultry Trio and Meat Goat Selected
Bailey Hunt of Sycamore exhibited the grand champion poultry trio.
This was only his third year showing chickens. However, the
sixteen-year-old has been exhibiting for eight years.
"I didn't think that I would win grand champion this year," Bailey
said. "I don't think I had the same quality of birds that I did last
year. I won, so now I hope to have the same quality next year."
The reserve grand champion, Jared Hinshaw of Secor, has a family
history of showing chickens. He and his two brothers, Levi and
Jacob, all show poultry and conversed after the show about what
would have made their animals better this year.
"Next year, I want to have better birds that are a bit older," Jared
said. "If they were a week older, I think that they would have done
A sibling rivalry was renewed at the Junior Meat Goat Show. Tara
Hummel was the victor this year, as the judges declared her meat
goat the 2014 grand champion. Tara's brother, Dylan, who has won the
competition twice previously, including last year, came in second.
His goat was named the reserve grand champion.
This was the fourth year in a row a member of the Hummel family,
which resides in Caberry, has exhibited the grand champion meat
goat. Tara also won in 2012.
Tara's goat will be sold along with Bailey's chickens in next
Tuesday's Governor's Sale of Champions, an auction of the fair's
prize-winning junior livestock. The sale begins at 5:30 p.m. in the
Grand Champion Rabbit Meat Pen chosen
The 2014 Illinois State Fair has crowned its first grand champion.
Sarah Brown won the top prize Wednesday in the Junior Rabbit Show.
Persistence paid for the Jacksonville youngster. Her rabbit meat pen
was judged the reserve grand champion a year ago.
She credited her victory this year to hard work, discipline and a
little good fortune.
"My win is really down to a whole lot of luck," Brown said. "If
someone wants to raise a Grand Champion rabbit, they should work
harder each year and learn more about their rabbits."
Brown's Grand Champion Rabbit Meat Pen will be sold Tuesday at the
Sale of Champions along with the fair's other prize-winning junior
livestock. The auction begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Livestock Center.
Nicholas Heimes Jr. of Waterloo exhibited the Reserve Grand Champion
[Text received; JEFF SQUIBB, ILLINOIS