Visit our Presentations section to download all the presentations from the conference as they become available.
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
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.
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.
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.
The history of ag in our education system has evolved from being an integral part of every student’s life to being studied only as a specialty for those who want to go into farming. Kevin Daugherty, Ag in the Classroom coordinator, will tell us how educating students and teachers about the interlocking role farming has on food and fiber production makes a positive impact on our future.
Kevin Daugherty became Illinois Farm Bureau Education Manager in April 2000. In that role he is responsible for the IFB Board’s Expansion Plan for Agriculture in the Classroom. He was named Education Director June 1, 2009.
Teacher Training heads the priorities for Ag in the Classroom. Kevin directs his staff’s involvement with over40 week long Summer Ag Institutes per year, workshops & exhibits for teacher conferences, and workshops for pre-service teachers at universities throughout the state.
Kevin also directs development of classroom resources for County Farm Bureau use with teachers including Ag Mags, teacher newsletters, teacher resource guides, and the http://www.agintheclassroom.org website. Agriculture in the Classroom volunteer training, program evaluation, and networking round out Kevin’s responsibilities.
Kevin was elected President of the USDA Agriculture in the Classroom Consortium for 2004. He also serves on the Governor-appointed Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education.
Kevin came to Illinois Farm Bureau following 10 years as a classroom teacher and work as a marketing and implementation specialist for an educational materials publishing company. He holds a bachelors degree in Secondary Education from the University of Illinois, and a Masters in Technology with focus on human resources and training from EasternIllinoisUniversity. He and his wife, Katherine-the Senior Marketing Research Analyst for GROWMARK, and their three children live in LeRoy, where he is active in church and serves as President of the LeRoy School Board.
The 4Rs of nutrient stewardship – Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right place – are key to the new collaborative program “Keep it for the Crop by 2025” or “KIC2025”. Jean Payne and Dan Schaefer will share how utilizing these practices will help growers reduce nutrient losses and enhance farm economics.
Jean is President of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association which represents over 1,100 members of agricultural input supply and service industry. The IFCA office is headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois.
She is involved in the management of the Association, including oversight of regulatory and legislative issues that impact the industry.
Jean is a graduate of Illinois State University. She has served on Board of Directors for the Ag Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute. She is also a member of the College of Agriculture Advisory Committee for both the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University and represents the industry on Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s ag advisory committee.
Dan is the Director of Nutrient Stewardship for the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices. He joined CBMP in this new role in January 2012. Previously Dan spent 30 years in the ag retail business as an agronomist and plant manager for Illini FS, working directly with growers on improving their yields through agronomic practices and recommendations, and assisting the University of Illinois with on-farm research to improve nutrient efficiency.
Dan has a Master of Science degree in Agronomy from the University of Illinois. He is a Certified Professional Agronomist and a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA). Illinois Farm Bureau named him CCA of the Year in 2010.
Dan and his family reside in Tolono, Illinois.
Mr. Lawrence has been in the commodity and farm consulting business since 1991 as both a broker and cash advisor. He started Strategic Trading Advisors in 2001 and writes a daily marketing newsletter that is subscribed to by over 3000 farmers in 32 states across the U.S.
The 2012 Commodity Conference has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 20th. We are hard at work on the agenda and look forward to diving into the theme of this year, Working Together Everyone Achieves More.
Stay tuned for updates and registration information!
Two former directors of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Chuck Hartke and Tom Jennings, were awarded the 2011 Friend of Agriculture Award at the 2011 Illinois Commodity Conference that was held in Bloomington Tuesday, November 22.
“Both Chuck Hartke and Tom Jennings have dedicated many years to serving Illinois farmers and improving Illinois agriculture,” said Mike Haag, a pork producer from Emington, Ill., and current Illinois Pork Producers Association president. “They both have been outstanding ambassadors for agriculture and have been supportive of the pork industry in Illinois. Chuck and Tom are very deserving of this honor.”
The Friend of Agriculture Award is presented 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 salute former Director Jennings for being such a strong supporter and friend to Illinois beef producers,” stated Jeff Beasley, Illinois Beef Association president. “Tom had a great way of solving issues in a common sense manner. He used his years of experience as both an ag professional and producer to help better the lives of many cattlemen and women statewide. We wish him the best in his retirement and congratulate him on this distinguished award!”
The award is given each year to individuals who have significantly contributed to improving agriculture in Illinois. Nominees are submitted by each of the sponsoring commodity groups and selected by representatives of the groups.
Hartke was named interim director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture in April 2003 and was confirmed by the Illinois Senate in May 2003. He stepped into the position of Illinois’ top agriculture official with more than 30 years in local and state politics and a lifetime of experience in the agriculture industry. As director, Hartke supported the expansion of livestock in Illinois; worked to expand the biofuels industry including ethanol, biodiesel and biomass; strengthened relations with foreign trading partners; supported specialty crop and diversified agriculture operations; and worked to protect the state’s food supply and expand use of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Hartke retired in February 2008.
Jennings worked for the Department of Agriculture in various capacities for over 30 years. He began working at the Department as a grain warehouse examiner in June 1978 after graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in agricultural economics. During his career, he also served as the Department’s assistant director, chief of staff, manager of the Division of Agriculture Industry Regulation and bureau chief of warehouses. In addition, he managed the Illinois Grain Insurance Fund. Jennings was appointed acting director when Hartke resigned from the director’s position, and he was named director in October 2008. Jennings retired October 18, 2011.