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Serving: IL

Quick Take: Growmark supports FFA, CCA awards and more

Growmark/FS booth at Farm Progress Show
DONATION: Growmark/FS hosted the Check-In to Cash-In at the Farm Progress Show for donations towards the Illinois Association FFA and five local FFA chapters.
Growmark/FS donates to FFA chapters, certified crop adviser nominations, mental health series, tax change support, Illinois EPA grant, and business workshops.

Growmark/FS provides FFA donation

During the 2021 Farm Progress Show, Growmark and FS system companies hosted the second Check-In to Cash-In program. The program is designed to provide donations to local FFA chapters through check-ins at the show.

FFA students, alumni and supporters were invited to visit the FS tent and check in for FFA, and specifically their favorite Illinois FFA chapter.

For every check-in, the Illinois Association FFA earned $1, with the opportunity to receive up to $5,000. The organization was able to meet the 5,000-check-in goal to receive the maximum donation from Growmark/FS.

As a bonus, the five chapters with the most check-ins from the show received $1,000 each. They are:

  • Maroa-Forsyth FFA
  • Newton FFA
  • Greenville FFA
  • Oblong FFA
  • Meridian-Macon FFA

Nominate a certified crop adviser

Know a certified crop adviser with experience in soybean management or soils consulting? Consider nominating him or her for the Soybean Master Adviser or Dave Rahe Excellence in Soils Consulting awards.

These awards are made possible by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program as an avenue for recognizing CCAs’ efforts toward soybean production.

To be nominated for the Soybean Master Adviser award, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • active Illinois CCA
  • involved in soybean management
  • works with farmers

Any Illinois CCA who demonstrates excellence in soils consulting in relation to soybean production is eligible for the Dave Rahe Excellence in Soils Consulting Award. The award is a tribute to the late Dave Rahe, a former CCA with a passion for soil management.

Online nominations are due Dec. 1. Winners will be recognized at the ILSoyAdvisor Soybean Summit in February.

For more information on these awards or CCA programs offered by ISA, visit the ILSoyAdvisor website.

Virtual mental health series

To address mental health in the ag community, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is hosting a virtual webinar series on Nov. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The series will be hosted by Dr. Nick Weshinskey, an SIU faculty member in medical rducation with experience in crisis intervention counseling and outpatient counseling to groups, families and individuals.

The afternoon will be divided into two sessions, which will cover the following topics:

Helping skills. This session will provide attendees with tactics to engage in a helpful and calm conversation with individuals who may be dealing with mental health concerns.

Signs of mental stress. Participants will learn to identify the typical psychological signs of distress, such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Both sessions will include examples that are applicable to agricultural producers and families.

Registration is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, visit the SIU website.

Grant for water quality goals

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $156,000 Section 604B Clean Water Act grant to American Farmland Trust. The grant will help AFT in working with Vermilion Headwaters Watershed Partnership members on projects focused on the watershed’s water quality issues.

The 305,426-acre rural watershed is located in parts of Livingston, McLean, Ford and Iroquois counties. According to AFT, the watershed is one of the top five Illinois non-point source nitrogen loading watersheds and is a prime contributor to nitrogen loading in the Mississippi River.

As part of the grant, AFT and partners will create a nine-element watershed-based plan to increase the amount of continuing stakeholder involvement to help accomplish water quality goals as part of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.

The watershed-based plan will aid in resolving water-related problems in the Vermilion Headwaters Watershed, says John J. Kim, Illinois EPA director. AFT will also offer farmers financial and technical support to enhance environmental productivity while maintaining efficiency.

For more information about enhancing water quality and soil health, visit the American Farmland Trust website.

Food and farm business workshops

October marked the beginning of the 2021-22 Live Local, Shop Local winter workshops presented by Illinois Farm Bureau. The business development series continues through January.

The series is designed for food and farm businesses such as farmers, agritourism business and farmers market managers to grow their business through new skills and networking opportunities with peers in similar businesses.

Many workshops will occur online, but some topics may include an in-person session. This year’s workshop topics include:

  • Quickbooks, one session
  • grant writing, one session
  • Food Safety Modernization Act food safety, one session
  • e-commerce, four sessions
  • farmers markets, six sessions
  • human resources, two sessions

Organization partners such as University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Farmers Market Association and Grant Training Center will help provide timely and applicable content during these sessions.

In addition to these development sessions, IFB will host an in-person Live Local Conference on March 23.

IFB members and non-members are invited to attend; however, members can attend at an exclusive rate.

To see a full list of session dates and to register, visit the Illinois Farm Bureau website.

Support for farmers during tax plan changes

The Illinois Soybean Association has partnered with K-Coe Isom, a food and agriculture business accounting and advisory firm, to offer support to farmers during the tax plan changes coming this fall, which could increase farms’ tax liabilities.

The project will provide free tax education and consultation from K-Coe Isom, including:

Webinars. These ISA-hosted discussions will feature K-Coe Isom experts with information regarding the developing tax plan as changes occur. Watch the first webinar at the previous link.

Tax hotline. Call 888-768-0056 to speak with a K-Coe Isom professional about your questions regarding the current tax legislation.

Consultations. By calling 888-768-0056, farmers can schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a K-Coe Isom tax consultant who focuses on a specific area, such as estate planning, farm tax or farm programs.

The program runs through Dec. 31. For more information, visit the ISA website.

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