IFB Young Leaders tour Canada, a key trading partner

Farmers hope to work with their north-of-the-border counterparts once NAFTA renegotiations begin.

Participants of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Ag Industry Tour to Canada check out technology at a dairy in St. Albert, Quebec. The recent tour through Canada included 45 Young Leaders from around the state. (Photo by Renee Deuth, Illinois Farm Bureau membership and program manager)
Participants of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Ag Industry Tour to Canada check out technology at a dairy in St. Albert, Quebec. The recent tour through Canada included 45 Young Leaders from around the state. (Photo by Renee Deuth, Illinois Farm Bureau membership and program manager)
By Dan Grant

Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders recently toured Canada during the group’s annual Ag Industry Tour.

And the 45 tour participants not only learned about different farming practices and commodities north of the border, they also gained a deeper appreciation about the importance of the trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada.

“We discussed NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement),” said Marc Bremer, chairman of the IFB Young Leader State Committee from Metropolis (Massac County). “They (Canadian ag leaders) look forward to working with us and making sure ag doesn’t suffer (during any possible NAFTA renegotiations).”

U.S. ag exports to Canada totaled $20.5 billion in 2016. The top five commodities in sales last year were prepared food, vegetables, fruit, pork ($793 million) and beef ($758 million), according to the USDA Foreign Ag Service.

Participants of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Ag Industry Tour learn more about the Ferme Landrynoise dairy in St. Albert, Quebec. The Canadian dairy milks about 1,100 head per day and features 19 robotic milkers. Tour participants learned about Canada’s dairy quota system, technology and other production methods. (Photo by Renee Deuth, Illinois Farm Bureau membership and program manager)
Participants of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Ag Industry Tour learn more about the Ferme Landrynoise dairy in St. Albert, Quebec. The Canadian dairy milks about 1,100 head per day and features 19 robotic milkers. Tour participants learned about Canada’s dairy quota system, technology and other production methods. (Photo by Renee Deuth, Illinois Farm Bureau membership and program manager)

And ag sales to Canada, the second-largest market for U.S. exports, continue to grow. U.S. ag exports to Canada increased 70 percent from 2006 to 2016.

“We both see each other as very important trading partners,” said Andy Lenkaitis, a YL State Committee member from St. Charles (Kane County). “Renegotiations (of NAFTA) have to be handled carefully to not limit trade.”

Young Leaders during the tour experienced GROWMARK’s presence in Canada by visiting the County Service Centre, along with Beatty Seeds, Hagerman Farms and a vineyard in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

They also learned about production of key cash crops there, including canola, oats and wheat. And they visited a large dairy in Quebec that milks 1,040 cows with 19 robotic milkers. There they learned more about the Canadian milk quota system and the latest dairy technology.

“I think it was interesting to see the level of automation on some (Canadian) farms, especially the dairy (which featured an automated feed and manure system),” Lenkaitis said.

The milk quota system limits production and helps set a profitable price for Canadian dairy farmers. But it also inflates prices and limits export potential, he noted.

“They produce about 92 percent of the milk in country and the other 8 percent (of dairy products) comes from the U.S., mostly in the form of dry milk and cheese,” Bremer said.

The group also learned more about government regulations that affect Canadian farmers. Bremer believes the lack of an inheritance tax on farmland and available loan programs are more beneficial to young people who want to enter production agriculture in Canada compared to the U.S.

Young Leaders also toured Agri-Food Canada along with the U.S. Embassy and Parliament in Ottawa, before concluding the trip with a visit to Niagara Falls.

“It was a very good trip,” Bremer added. “It gives you a different perspective on the way things are done (on other farms) and gives you an extra edge to stay on top of things.” 

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White County Young Leader pistol shoot event sets records

Proceeds from the event will support the annual Young Leader Collegiate Scholarship as well as the committee's participation in other county and state Young Leader programs.

Dawn Williams of Carmi takes aim at steel targets during the White County Farm Bureau Young Leader Pistol Shoot. Williams placed sixth overall in marksmanship. (Photo by Doug Anderson)
Dawn Williams of Carmi takes aim at steel targets during the White County Farm Bureau Young Leader Pistol Shoot. Williams placed sixth overall in marksmanship. (Photo by Doug Anderson)
By Doug Anderson

A record number of participants, sponsors and speeds marked the 7th Annual White County Farm Bureau Young Leader Pistol Shoot.

Twenty-seven shooters gathered for the event at the Carmi Rifle Club. In the “Speed Steel” competition, shooters had to work their way through five stations with five steel targets each. Individuals shot five relays at each station. 

In the adult division, Tim Armstrong of Tunnel Hill won the division with a total time of 61.94 seconds – the lowest overall time. Trevor Armstrong of Tunnel Hill took first place in the youth division with a time of 88.8 seconds. 

Following lunch, shooters gathered for the second event. The “Display of Marksmanship” contest tested shooters’ ability to hit a 12-inch target at 25 yards using the same gun they used in the speed competition. Each shooter got 10 shots with no time limit.

Frederick Holmes of Bloomington, Indiana, took first place with a score of 88 and two bullseyes.

All shooters received one ticket for the grand prize drawing of a Browning BuckMark .22 target pistol. The top three shooters in each division were given extra chances. Les Cline of Cisne won the pistol.

Proceeds from the event will support the annual Young Leader Collegiate Scholarship as well as the committee's participation in other county and state Young Leader programs.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

Doug Anderson serves as manager of Wayne and White County Farm Bureaus.