ILLINOIS COMMODITY CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES THEME FOR 2014: STRIVING TO SUSTAINABLY FEED THE WORLD

The 2014 Illinois Commodity Conference will take place Tuesday, November 25th, at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal, IL.  The annual one-day event brings together crop growers and livestock producers from all over the state to discuss the trials and triumphs the agricultural industry faces.

“Striving to Sustainably Feed the World”, is the theme for the conference, which starts at 10:00 am.  A full day of speakers can help attendees regroup and recharge, and include:

  • “Farmers Needed: Field to Market”
    Rod Snyder, President of Field to Market
  • “Water Quality Control”
    Caroline Wade, Nutrient Watershed Manager at IL Corn
    Mike Plumer, Coordinator of CBMP
  • “The Intersection of CAFO and WOTUS”
    Lauren Lurkins, Director of Natural & Environmental Resources at ILFB
    Ted Funk, PhD, PE, Engineering Consultant, University of Illinois (retired).
  • TBD
    Chris Kennedy, U of I / Coca Cola Invited

Participants should register with their respective commodity groups.  Before Nov. 15, registration is $60, after Nov. 15, the fee is $90.  Students can register for $25.  Stay tuned for information on a $100 conference fee for two full days of farm information!

For more information, visit ilcommodityconf.wordpress.com. The conference is hosted by the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Wheat Association.

EARLY REGISTRATION ENDS FRIDAY!

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Have you registered for the 2013 Illinois Commodity Conference? If you plan on attending you won’t want to miss out on the reduced early registration rate of $60 that ends on the 15th.

The 2013 Illinois Commodity Conference will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 26th, at our new location, the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal, IL. The annual one-day event brings together crop growers and livestock producers from all over the state to discuss the trials and triumphs the agricultural industry faces.

Connect with your Customer” is the theme for the conference, which starts at 10:15 am. A full day of speakers can help attendees regroup and recharge, and include:

“Connect with your Membership”
Moderated by Jeff Nalley
Featuring ICGA President Paul Taylor, ISA Chairman Bill Raben, IPPA President Dereke Dunkirk, and IBA President Alan Adams

“International Buyers in a U.S. Economy”
Speaker from USMEF

“What Women Want”
Amy Rossi, Naperville, IL

“Connect with your Congress”
Mike Stokke, Farm Credit

“The New Face of Uncle Sam”
George P. Bush

Farmer leaders are encouraged to register with their respective commodity groups. Other farmers, agribusiness leaders, students, or others may register by downloading the registration form and sending it with a check to the address indicated.

DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM HERE

Before Nov. 15, registration is $60, after Nov. 15, the fee is $90. Students can register for $25.

The conference is hosted by the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Wheat Association.

We look forward to seeing you on November 26!

NEXT-GENERATION BUSH WILL DISCUSS GOP, AG DURING ILLINOIS CONFERENCE

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Featured in Farm World, by Tim Alexander

Connecting with the changing profile of the American voter to help boost agriculture’s political presence is a major focus of the 2013 Illinois Commodity Conference, Nov. 26 in Normal.

bushFollowing lunch and an annual awards ceremony, the conference keynote speaker, George Prescott Bush, will discuss “The New Face of Uncle Sam.” Bush, the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will share lessons from a long family history of public service, and as biracial individual working to increase Hispanic Americans’ involvement in politics.

The 37-year-old Bush will also discuss the changing demographics of the electorate and how agriculture might adapt to continue to be politically relevant.

“We’re really excited about this session,” said Lindsay Mitchell, special projects coordinator for Illinois Corn and a conference organizer. “Mr. Bush is working significantly with the Hispanic population in Florida trying to help the Republican party reach out to that population and get a better grasp of what some of their issue points should be, and convert that demographic to the Republican way of thinking.”

George P. Bush is a U.S. Naval Reserves intelligence officer who recently returned from a mobilization in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is cofounder of Pennybacker Capital and has been involved in a variety of non-profit organizations.

According to his biography, his political career began as an assistant to his grandfather’s presidential campaigns and continued during his father’s three gubernatorial races. He’s currently chair of MAVPAC, a political action committee (PAC) focused on engaging younger Americans in the political process. Bush, a law school graduate, is also cofounder of Hispanic Republicans for Texas, a PAC focused on identifying, recruiting and supporting Hispanic candidates for state political offices.

“The reason why (his appearance at the conference) is important to us is because the demographics of America are changing drastically. It used to be that agriculture had pretty significant representation in Congress. We had a great lobby and, to a sense, what the public thought of us was irrelevant – our focus was on educating Congress so we could get what we needed (politically),” Mitchell said.

“Those days are kind of over because even if you consider every single Congressman that represents a rural district in the whole United States of America, we still only have (approximately) 40 Congressmen. We don’t have a majority if we only represent people who live in rural areas. (Bush) will look at how agriculture can be more relevant.”

Bush will seek elected office as Texas land commissioner in 2014. The Republican has raised more than $3.3 million for his campaign and is one of three Latinos vying for top open Texas political seats. He is considered by many to be a rising Hispanic star for the GOP, Fox News Latino reported.

“I’ve been asked whether knowing Spanish and being Hispanic myself is a positive in getting Hispanic voters and I don’t believe it is,” Bush told The Associated Press recently. “I think Hispanics look for a friend, they look for someone who understands, who is willing to relate, to hear their issues and welcome them to the party and to their campaigns. That’s what we’re doing.”

He said that his earliest memory is of standing in a park clutching a balloon at age three while his grandfather delivered a stump speech. Though his family history is etched in the annals of American political history, Bush insists he is running for office strictly on his own merits and not on the strength of family legacy.

“It’s a legacy that I embrace and that I’m not going to run away from,” he said. “But certainly, in this campaign, I have to identify myself and talk about my own track record.”

He is also the founding partner of St. Augustine Partners, LLC, described on its company website as an opportunistic, Texas-based partnership focused on principal investing and consulting services for small to middle-market transactions in the oil and gas industry.

Bush will be introduced by Jon Doggett, public policy vice president for the National Corn Growers Association.

“CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMER” THIS YEAR’S THEME OF THE ILLINOIS COMMODITY CONFERENCE

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Featured in Farm World, by Tim Alexander

The theme for the 2013 Illinois Commodity Conference, set for Nov. 26 at the Normal Marriott Hotel, will be “Connect With Your Customer.”

“The conference represents a good opportunity for farmers in Illinois to see coalition-building and how the state agricultural commodity organizations are working together to improve agriculture as a whole,” said Lindsay Mitchell, special projects coordinator for Illinois Corn.

“Primarily, the Illinois Commodity Conference is held to invest in our leadership and to promote leadership among Illinois agriculture and Illinois farmers.”

Conference sponsors include Illinois Corn, along with the state’s soybean, pork, beef, milk and wheat associations.  The conference’s general session, “Connect With Your Membership,” will focus on how state farm commodity associations are working together to achieve priorities for all ag families.

“We hope to reintroduce some of our farmer-leaders to some of the customers they are serving every day.  Each of our associations is serving their membership as customers.  We want them to know how we are doing and how well we are working together to serve Illinois agriculture,” Mitchell elaborated.

Breakouts sessions include “International Buyers in a U.S. Economy,” “What Women Want” (a perspective on what an urban mom wants from the food she puts on her table) and “Connect With Your Congress.”

“We’ll be taking a look at international customers and what they expect from us in terms of a product and in terms of communication,” said Mitchell.  “We are also going to talk to a Chicago mom, Amy Rossi, about what consumers want in terms of food production and communication.

“And we’ll also talk about connecting with your Congress – how we can better communicate with them and understand what is going on in Washington, D.C.”

During the breakout sessions, a representative of the USDA Meat Export Federation will discuss why international markets for grain-fed beef are one of the most important for the domestic livestock industry.  At the top of the agenda will be a presentation on what international customers desire when they consider buying U.S. meat.

In another breakout session, Rossi, of Naperville, will tell farmers that moms expect quality when it comes to what they feed their families.

She’ll present an insider’s view on what she wants from the food she puts on her family’s table and share her experiences with Illinois Farm Families.

A third breakout session, featuring Mike Stokke of the Farm Credit Administration, will demonstrate how, through trial and error, he has learned how to better communicate with Congressional members and make his voice heard.

The conference’s general session on connecting with membership will feature a panel discussion consisting of Paul Taylor, the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) president, Bill Raben, Illinois Soybean Association chair, Dereke Dunkirk, Illinois Pork Producers president, and Alan Adams, Illinois Beef Association president.

Cost for the conference will be $60 before Nov. 15, $90 thereafter and $25 for students, with sessions beginning at the conclusion of the annual meeting of the ICGA at 10:15 a.m.  The conference adjourns with an ice cream social sponsored by Prairie Farms at 2:30 p.m.

Farmers and other planning to attend should note the new location of the conference at the Marriott, 201 Broadway Street in downtown Normal, near the campus of the Illinois State University.  More details on the conference, including registration information, can be found online at www.ilcommodityconf.org.

ILLINOIS COMMODITY CONFERENCE ENCOURAGES PRODUCERS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMER

The 2013 Illinois Commodity Conference will take place Tuesday, Nov. 26th, at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal, IL.  The annual one-day event brings together crop growers and livestock producers from all over the state to discuss the trials and triumphs the agricultural industry faces.

“Connect with your Customer”, is the theme for the conference, which starts at 10:15 am.  A full day of speakers can help attendees regroup and recharge, and include:

  • “Connect with your Membership”
    Moderated by Jeff Nalley
    Featuring ICGA President Paul Taylor, ISA Chairman Bill Raben, IPPA President Dereke Dunkirk, and IBA President Alan Adams
  • “International Buyers in a U.S. Economy”
    Speaker from USMEF
  • “What Women Want”
    Amy Rossi, Naperville, IL
  • “Connect with your Congress”
    Mike Stokke, Farm Credit
  • “The New Face of Uncle Sam”
    George P. Bush

Participants should register with their respective commodity groups.  Before Nov. 15, registration is $60, after Nov. 15, the fee is $90.  Students can register for $25.  The conference is hosted by the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Wheat Association.

WATCH US GROW: MOM TESTED. MOM APPROVED.

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We know moms have questions about food.  That’s why Mike and Lynn Martz of Larson Family Farms and many other Illinois Farm Families are giving city moms a behind-the-scenes look at what really happens on Illinois farms.  Mike will share with us the tough questions they answer, along with a few surprising revelations.

Mike and Lynn Martz are part of a larger family operation called Larson Farms.  Larson Farms began in 1953 when Ray and wife Carol started with 150 acres at a location east of Sycamore.  They moved to the present farmstead in 1965.   The farm continued to expand in grain production and cattle feeding over the years as members of the family joined the operation.  Presently there are eight members and three generations of the family actively involved in the operation consisting of Ray and Carol, son Norm and wife Barb, daughter Lynn Martz and husband Mike and grandson Justin and wife Jamie.

In recent years consumers has become increasingly interested in how and where their food is raised.  This has led to consumers coming from urban areas to tour farms and secure a better understanding of agriculture.  One of the most successful and publicized programs is the “Chicago Field Moms Tour” which brought a group of housewives from the Chicago area to Larson Farms to see first-hand how their food is grown and raised.  The field moms recorded their day on the Larson beef and grain farm by taking photos, videos, and journaling their observations.

Now that the farm tour is over, the Field Moms will share what they have learned with other moms and consumers through video clips, photo albums, blog posts and other media outlets.  Lynn Martz has posted pictures, blog and other items of interest on the Illinois Farm Families web site at   http://www.watchusgrow.org/Martz-Family.html

WHY A GROWING LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY IS IMPORTANT TO ILLINOIS

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The Illinois livestock industry is shrinking, yet it continues to grow nationwide.  Nic Anderson, Illinois Livestock Business Developer for the Illinois Livestock Development Group, will shed light on how improving this industry will not only help agriculture but the entire Illinois economy as well.

Since graduating from WesternIllinoisUniversity 1988, Anderson has worked in the livestock sector serving in procurement for FDL Foods in Rochelle, as promotion and producer service director for Illinois Pork Producers Association, and most recently in customer consultation and sales for Premier Pork Systems.

The livestock business developer serves an essential element of ILDG’s priorities by providing key support to both current and prospective Illinois producers by assessing their siting and feasibility potential

ILDG created the position as part of the coalition’s long-term effort to support a vibrant livestock industry in the state.   ILDG was formed in April 2003 with representatives from Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, and Illinois Farm Bureau.

ILLINOIS COMMODITY CONFERENCE ENCOURAGES PRODUCERS TO WORK TOGETHER

The 2012 Illinois Commodity Conference will take place Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center in Bloomington, Ill.  The annual one-day event brings together crop growers and livestock producers from all over the state to discuss the triumphs and challenges the agricultural industry faces.

“Working Together Everyone Achieves More,” is the theme for the conference, which starts at 10 a.m. A full day of speakers can help attendees regroup and recharge, and include:

  • “Marketing Plans for a Difficult Year”

    Jody Lawrence, Strategic Trading Advisors

  • “Why a Growing Livestock Industry is Important to Illinois” Nic Anderson, Illinois Livestock Development Group
  • “KIC 2025: Embrace Good Stewardship and Water Quality Practices”

    Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association

    Dan Schaefer, Illinois Council on Best Management Practices

  • “Telling the Story of Illinois Agriculture”

    Kevin Daugherty, Ag in the Classroom

  • “Watch Us Grow: Mom Tested. Mom Approved.”

    Mike and Lynn Martz, Watch Us Grow

  • “The True Value of Working Together”

    Coach Herman Boone, inspiration behind Remember the Titans

Participants should register with their respective commodity groups.  Before Nov. 8, registration is $45.  After Nov. 8, the fee is $60.  Students can register for $20.  For more information, visit ilcommodityconf.wordpress.com.  The conference is sponsored by the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Milk Producers Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Wheat Association.

THE TRUE VALUE IN WORKING TOGETHER

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In 1971, Herman Boone faced the challenge of a lifetime, and his inspirational story was captured in the Disney film Remember the Titans starring Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington. In 1971, racial tensions ran high in Alexandria, VA, as three schools were newly integrated to form the T.C. Williams High School. It was from this union that the Titan football team was created. The former rivalries between the schools coupled with the strain between the black and white players resulted in a team that was far from united.

Tensions only escalated when Boone, assistant coach of the former T.C. Williams High School, was named head coach of the Titans, passing over Bill Yoast, the local favorite and successful head coach of the former white Hammond High. Yoast’s supporters were angered by Boone’s appointment, which was seen as a gesture of goodwill to the black community.

Remarkably, the two coaches were able to put aside their prejudices, and in doing so they unified their players to form a team whose common vision was to respect each other and win football games. At the same time, through the game of football, Boone and Yoast were able to help their small Virginian community put aside their intolerance and join together to support their children. The Titans became one of the best teams in Virginia, compiling a 13-0 record and went on to win the state championship.

Remember the Titans screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard said in a Washington Post interview, “Herman is Shakespearean. The beauty of Herman and what he did was that it was sort of unconscious. If you’d ask Herman when he took over T.C. Williams, ‘Were you trying to make a point with these kids?’ he would have said, ‘No, I just want to win football games.’ He had to get the players to get along to win football games. And it worked for just that reason—because it wasn’t self-conscious. He did something quite beyond what even he realized.”

Boone is now retired but continues to motivate and inspire audiences.  In the closing session at this year’s conference, he will discuss the importance of teamwork in agriculture and how if we work together, we can achieve extraordinary results.

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