No dues for Illinois FFA members this year
Illinois FFA members will save $12 each this year, thanks to a $550,000 appropriation that will cover FFA dues for every member in the state. Eliminating dues will make Illinois an FFA-affiliation membership state, which means every student enrolled in ag education will have their FFA membership dues automatically paid, making them an FFA member.
Illinois Agriculture Director Jerry Costello announced the appropriation during the Illinois FFA Convention, and says it was spearheaded by state Sen. Doris Turner, Springfield. Gov. J.B. Pritzker supports the initiative, saying he wants students to pursue extracurriculars based on their interests, not on what they can afford.
In 2022, nearly 37,000 students in Illinois took ag classes, and 23,000 were FFA members. Costello believes the funding will open doors to FFA membership.
“This news couldn’t come at a better time,” says Illinois FFA Executive Director Mindy Bunselmeyer. “Illinois’ No. 1 industry touches so many beyond traditional family farms. FFA continues to expand its mission to prepare our ag leaders for tomorrow.
50 years of IL Corn
Mark your calendar and save the date: The Illinois Corn Growers Association will celebrate 50 years of service to farmers on Aug. 8 in Bloomington at the DoubleTree Hotel.
The association was incorporated on July 30, 1971, by John Curry, Victoria; Housel Roberts, Altona; Rollie Main, Altona; John Block, Gilson; and Donald Love, Galva. They held their first meeting at the Knox County Farm Bureau on Feb. 18, 1972.
Cocktails begin at 5 p.m., followed by a dinner and program at 6 p.m. To RSVP, email email@example.com by July 25.
Is your county eligible for CREP funding?
USDA and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources opened enrollment for the Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program on June 15.
Efforts are focused on the Illinois and Kaskaskia river watersheds in the following 68 counties: Adams, Bond, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clinton, Coles, Cook, DeKalb, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jefferson, Jersey, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Logan, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Menard, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Randolph, St. Clair, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Tazewell, Vermilion, Warren, Washington, Will and Woodford.
Illinois CREP offers federal and state resources to those who enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program for 14- to 15-year contracts and a subsequent 15-year or permanent conservation easement with the state of Illinois. The goal is to remove cropland and marginal pastureland from agricultural production and convert the land to grasses, trees or other approved vegetation. In return, the Farm Service Agency provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance, and the state of Illinois provides a cost-share match in addition to a one-time payment for all land entered into an easement.
Eligible farmers and landowners can qualify for annual rental payments, a 50% cost share for installing the approved conservation practices, and incentive payments for certain practices. IDNR will also provide a 50% cost-share payment for practice installation cost and a one-time payment for all land entered into an easement.
Don’t forget: File crop acreage reports
Farm Service Agency Director Scott Halpin has a reminder for Illinois farmers: If you haven’t filled out your crop acreage reports after planting, make an appointment now.
Filing an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage, can prevent the loss of benefits, he says. In Illinois, the deadline for corn, soybeans, oats and hay is July 15.
New online option for labeling maps
Producers with an eAuth account linked to their USDA customer record can now access their Farm Service Agency farm records, maps and common land units by logging into farmers.gov. Farmers can export field boundaries as shapefiles and import and view other shapefiles, such as precision agriculture boundaries. They’ll be able to view, print and label their own maps for acreage reporting purposes.