Tuesday, January 02, 2018
Education funding and issues facing rural schools among the topics highlighted during the Cook County senator's trip.
State Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, left, learns about a mobile growing unit for Stewardson-Strasburg High School crop classes from Shelby County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Jennifer Barker, the agriculture teacher and FFA adviser. The Shelby County Farm Bureau included visits to the elementary and high schools as part of a farm tour for its adopted legislator. (Photo by Bailey Edenburn, Shelby County Farm Bureau manager)
By Bailey Edenburn
The Shelby County Farm Bureau was proud to host its adopted legislator, Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, for a recent farm tour. The senator represents a district in northwest Cook County. After a fantastic August visit to Mulroe’s district, the county Farm Bureau looked forward to showing him around Shelby County.
An introduction to the county started at the county Farm Bureau office with a brief overview of the county and the day’s agenda. The first tour stop was the Lake Shelbyville visitor’s center. Local state Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, and several county Farm Bureau members discussed issues with the senator during lunch.
Education funding and issues facing rural schools were highlighted during a stop at the Stewardson-Strasburg Elementary and High Schools. FFA Adviser and county Farm Bureau Young Farmer member Jennifer Barker explained the opportunities offered to students in FFA and several chapter members shared their FFA experiences.
One highlight was impromptu chats in several classrooms to discuss students’ perspectives about Chicago. All parties involved realized students in Chicago aren’t much different from those in Shelby County.
Next, the group traveled to Sigel to tour S&B Dairy, the county’s largest dairy. S&B milks about 500 Holstein cows. Dairyman and owner Ed Schumacher talked about the financial struggle facing dairy farmers. During tours of the milking parlor and free stall barn, the group talked about animal care and feeding. It became clear to Mulroe much more goes into producing a gallon of milk than he suspected.
During a stop at the TGM Elevator in Windsor, the senator learned about grain handling and storage. County Farm Bureau members also discussed the mechanics of selling grain, contracts and the current economic outlook for Shelby County farmers. Mulroe’s accounting background allowed him to quickly grasp the fact that the farm economy is struggling. He quizzed the farmers about how they make decisions to sell and how to manage risk.
County Farm Bureau Director Brian Rincker hosted the next stop on the family’s small feedlot. Topics included beef cattle selection and feeding. The senator viewed several types of hay and hay production was discussed. Mulroe also climbed into a combine cab and talked about the technology used to increase efficiency and lower costs.
The tour ended at Doug Uphoff’s “Shed” for an evening meal with Illinois Farm Bureau Director Troy Uphoff and more than 25 county Farm Bureau members.
The county Farm Bureau would like to thank the following for graciously opening their doors for the tour, and providing fantastic stops and learning opportunities:
- The Stewardson-Strasburg school district
- S&B Dairy
- The Schumacher family
- TGM Windsor
- South Central FS
- Will Rincker
- The Brian Rincker family
- The Doug Uphoff family
Most importantly, thank you to Mulroe for being willing to spend a day learning about farming, rural communities and agriculture in Shelby County.
Bailey Edenburn serves as Shelby County Farm Bureau manager.
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