Prairie Bounty of Illinois,
a directory of direct-from-the-farm sellers, farmers markets and agritourism businesses, is available online at

Provided by the Illinois Farm Bureau® and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, the directory contains contact information and locations for more than 900 individual growers of fruits, vegetables and herbs throughout Illinois. The directory also provides consumers with farms’ contact information, products available, method of sale, and a complete list of all community farmers markets and agritourism businesses in Illinois, searchable by city, county or zip code.

The directory is constantly updated as growers add their names and markets to the system. Growers interested in adding their names and businesses to Prairie Bounty of Illinois may contact Diane Handley at 309-557-3662 or via e-mail at, or may visit the Illinois Specialty Growers website at for additional instructions on how to register.


Mission Statement

Be the voice, resource, and advocate for farm families and agriculture,
while promoting stewardship for today and future generations.


Illinois Farm Bureau will host a webinar to discuss the Illinois State Water Survey’s requirement that irrigators report their water usage to the state. Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources, Illinois Farm Bureau, will host the webinar May 18 at 1 p.m.

The requirement stems from the Illinois Water Use Act, which was amended in 2010 to make reporting for all high capacity wells or intakes mandatory in Illinois, including agricultural irrigation.

“This is a new requirement that many of our irrigators may not be familiar with,” Lurkins said. “This webinar will provide a comprehensive look at the requirements of the Water Use Act as they apply to agricultural irrigators.”

All Illinois Farm Bureau members are invited to attend the webinar. For those unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and posted on the Illinois Farm Bureau Water Use Reporting webpage at  

The webinar is free of charge, but members are required to register in advance of the webinar on the Illinois Farm Bureau Water Use Reporting webpage.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 400,000 and a voting membership of more than 82,000. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.


The Illinois Wheat Association will again hold a wheat yield contest open to all Illinois Wheat Association members. Entries for the contest, which is in its second year, are now open and will close May 15.

“We started this contest not only as a way to recognize our growers, but also to give them an opportunity to learn more about the most efficient ways to grow wheat in Illinois,” said Diane Handley, executive director, Illinois Wheat Association. “The yield contest really serves as a tool for Illinois wheat growers to learn new methods and products to help increase their own yields.”

Growers interested in entering the contest must be current members of the Illinois Wheat Association, or may pay for a one- or three-year membership when submitting their entry form and $50 entry fee.

Entry forms must be submitted by May 15. Once a completed entry form has been submitted, the Illinois Wheat Association will provide a harvest form to collect additional information, which must be completed and returned by July 24, 2015. Entries must also be verified by a qualified supervisor.

The top four entries will be awarded in both the northern and southern region of the state, with first place receiving $500, second place receiving $250, third place receiving $125 and fourth place receiving a three year membership in the Illinois Wheat Association.

Prizes will be awarded at the Summer Wheat Forum, held Aug. 25, 2015, and the Knights of Columbus in Highland.

For more information and contest rules, visit, or call the Illinois Wheat Association at 309-557-3662.


Illinois Wheat Association hosting wheat tour- May 21st

URBANA, Ill. - The Illinois Wheat Association will host the Southern Illinois Winter Wheat Tour Thursday, May 21, giving Illinois wheat growers an opportunity to tour winter wheat fields and make observations that will factor into yield estimates of the 2015 winter wheat crop.

Fred Kolb, University of Illinois professor of small grain breeding; Emerson Nafziger, U of I professor and Extension agronomist; and Robert Bellm, U of I Extension educator in commercial agriculture and crops, will be on hand to discuss wheat development and wheat diseases.             

The tour will include field checks during the day with an evening report session at Brownstown Agronomy Research Center in Fayette County. Prior to the evening meal, yield estimates will be calculated, and attendees will have an opportunity to view wheat variety and seed treatment trials.

Tour participants will meet at 9 a.m. at one of four locations:

  • Siemer Milling Co., 111 W. Main St., Teutopolis, 217-857-3131
  • Mennel Milling Co. of Illinois, 415 E. Main St., Mt. Olive, 217-999-2161
  • Wehmeyer Seed Co., 7167 Highbanks Rd., Mascoutah, 618-615-9037
  • Wabash Valley Services Co., 1562 Illinois 1, Carmi, 812-483-2966

Participants are asked to call in advance with the location from which they would like to depart.  Reservations can be made for dinner by contacting Charlene Blary at 309-557-3619 or by May 15. 

Those wishing to bring samples of their own and join the group for the dinner and wrap-up are asked to RSVP by May 15. The Illinois Wheat Association will provide the tour instructions to those bringing independent samples to ensure sampling procedures are consistent. Instructions can be found on the Illinois Wheat Association website at

U of I Workshop to focus on Alternative Gardening Techniques- June 2nd

When you don't have or want a traditional garden, you can still enjoy homegrown vegetables and herbs, thanks to some alternative ways of planting. Come learn from University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Candice Miller, about some of these alternative gardening techniques. Topics covered will include growing in pallets, strawbale gardening, vertical gardening, and using self-watering containers, among others. Participants will also have the option of participating in a hands-on portion where they can make their own 18 gallon self-watering container to take home.

Join us June 2 from 3:30 – 5:00 pm at the Center for Agriculture, 1350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore. The cost of this program is $5 and an additional $15 to make the self-watering container. Pre-registration is recommended by May 28, as space will be limited.

Registration can be completed online at or by calling the University of Illinois Extension at (815) 758-8194. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the DeKalb County Extension office at 815-758-8194.

The Summer Horticulture Field Day-Thurs., June 11th

To learn more about growing fruit trees, pumpkins, mums, sweet corn, asparagus, cider making, beekeeping or get the latest information on new varieties, fruit thinning, and integrated pest management practices then don’t miss the opportunity to attend the annual Summer Horticulture Field Day at Boggio’s Orchard and Produce, hosted by Keith and Denise Boggio.  The Field Day will be held on Thursday, June 11, from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm.   Boggio’s farm is located about 12 miles southwest of LaSalle/Peru at 12087 IL Highway 71, Granville, IL 61326. Registration will begin at 8:00 am.

The Field Day gives you the opportunity to learn about Boggio’s farm operation as well as to connect with other fruit and vegetable farmers in Illinois and neighboring states.   Keith Boggio will share his knowledge about the farm operation, and University of Illinois Extension Specialists and Educators will discuss a range of topics related to orchard production.

A concurrent session covering agritourism and marketing will be presented by co-owner Denise Boggio.  Denise will share her experiences organizing craft fairs, leading school tours, bakery management, gift shop products, and other successful agritainment activities. 

The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Horticultural Society, University of Illinois, and Illinois the Specialty Growers Association.

Directions: From I 39, take exit 51 toward Oglesby/Hennepin.  Head west onto Highway 71 for about 7 miles.  Boggio’s Orchard and Produce will be on the left about a half mile past Granville.

Join us for the 2015 Summer Horticulture Field Day!  Advance registration is $25 and includes lunch. More information about Boggio's Orchard and Produce is available at www.boggiosorchardandproduce.comEvent information is available at  For questions and reservations, email Rachel at or call 217-853-6048.


Wheat and other small grains producers across the state are invited to attend the 2015 Northern Illinois Small Grains Program, June 18 at 5:30 p.m., at the University of Illinois Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center in Shabbona, Ill.

Sponsored by the Illinois Wheat Association and University of Illinois Extension, the small grains program will feature several presentations from extension and university agronomists, breeders and plant pathologists, including University of Illinois professor and small grains breeder Fred Kolb, who will discuss oat and wheat variety development for northern Illinois.

University of Illinois professor and Extension agronomist Emerson Nafziger will discuss the 2014 Illinois wheat crop prospects and management practices, including a look at the commercial variety trial.

“We have an excellent group of presenters this year, offering valuable information for any small grains producer here in Illinois,” said Diane Handley, executive director, Illinois Wheat Association. “Producers interested in learning more about wheat management and wheat and oat variety selection will have an opportunity to get the latest information from experts located right here in Illinois.”

Those interested in attending are asked to register in advance by contacting the Illinois Wheat Association office at 309-557-3619 or by emailing Charlene Blary at Registration is free, and the evening meal will be sponsored by the Illinois Wheat Association. For additional information and directions to the Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center, please contact Charlene Blary or visit the Illinois Wheat Association website at

Plant a pollinator pocket: Create a pollinator-friendly garden

URBANA, Ill. - Just imagine your dining table without the delectable fruits of apples, blueberries, cherries, and peaches or the versatile almond or pumpkin. Flowering plants and their associated pollinators are responsible for an estimated one out of every four mouthfuls of food and beverage. Unfortunately pollinators are in perilous decline, reported a University of Illinois Extension educator.

Pollinators include butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, bats, flies, and wasps. In North America, 99 percent of pollinators are insects and, of those, most are bees.

“The causes of pollinator decline include a combination of habitat loss, infectious disease, and pesticide misuse; however, the implications ripple through our native areas and crop lands,” said Sandra Mason. “Not only does pollinator decline affect our food production, but pollinators also sustain plant communities by pollinating native plants that provide food, nesting, and shelter for wildlife.

“Yet gardeners can be a positive influence on pollinator populations and diversity if we all do our part to plant pollinator-friendly gardens,” she added. 

A “pollinator-friendly garden is also a people-friendly garden,” as we enjoy many of the same plants, Mason noted. “We just need to add a few elements to provide pollinators with food, water, shelter, and a nice place to raise the ‘kids’,” she said.

Mason provided a few of the basics for a pollinator-friendly garden.

Food for pollinators is generally provided by flower nectar and pollen; however, some pollinators such as butterflies need specific plants such as milkweeds for monarchs to serve as food for caterpillars. To attract particular pollinators, conduct additional research to determine their needs during each of their life stages.

Good pollinator plants include asters, beebalm, native roses, Joe Pye weed, purple coneflower, great blue lobelia, white indigo, lead plant, blazing stars, beard tongue, bellflowers, hollyhocks, monkshood, snapdragons, sunflowers, foxglove, mints, butterfly weed, goldenrod, larkspur, milkweeds, herbs, and many more “bee-utiful” flowers.

When possible choose native plants and not cultivars of native plants. Ornamental changes within cultivated plants may not provide the necessary attributes of a good pollinator flower. Exotic plants such as butterfly bush can provide food for bees and butterflies but cannot sustain the complete life cycle of pollinator insects. In addition, native plants provide food for a greater diversity of pollinators.

Plant masses of similar flowers and design areas to have flowers blooming all season. Aim for a variety of flowers blooming at once. Add easy-to-grow annual seeds such as zinnia and sunflower to existing perennial flower gardens to support flower diversity.

Convert a section of your lawn to a “Pollinator Pocket,” a suggested planting plan developed by Mason, Master Gardeners, and Master Naturalists. Designs are developed for an approximately 5-foot by 5-foot space and include options for a variety of sun, shade and moisture conditions. Check out “Pollinator Pockets” at for designs and additional pollinator information. 

Allow spaces between masses of flowers to provide shelter from wind and cold. Leave dead stems over the winter to provide shelter and nesting areas.

Limit, or better yet, eliminate pesticide use. Plants tolerate some leaf damage without affecting plant health. Learn to live with some plant damage. Check with your local U of I Extension office for plant problem diagnostics and least toxic options. To find the office nearest you, go to

“If you are worried about luring something into your garden that can sting, keep in mind bees are not bullies looking for a fight,” Mason said. “A happy bee is like a gardener in a garden center, focused on each flower.”


USDA Provides One-Time Extension of Deadline to Update Base Acres or Yield History for ARC/PLC Programs

According to the press release issued by the USDA Office of Communications, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 “that a one-time extension will be provided to producers for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres has been extended one additional month, from Feb. 27, 2015 until March 31, 2015. The final day for farm owners and producers to choose ARC or PLC coverage also remains March 31, 2015.”  For more information, visit your local Farm Service Agency county office.

Key Dates for Farm Programs

USDA announced key dates for farm owners and producers to keep in mind regarding the new 2014 Farm Bill established programs, Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC).  The new programs, designed to help producers better manage risk, usher in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades.  Farmers may begin visiting their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices in Freeport, IL if they want to update their yield history and/or reallocate base acres, the first step before choosing which new program best serves their risk management needs. Letters sent this summer enabled farm owners and producers to analyze their crop planting history in order to decide whether to keep their base acres or reallocate them according to recent plantings

Dates associated with ARC and PLC that farm owners and producers need to know:

·         Sept. 29, 2014 to Feb. 27, 2015: Land owners may visit their Freeport Farm Service Agency office to update yield history and/or reallocate base acres.  (Must bring completed PLC Yield worksheet to the meeting.)

·         Nov. 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015: Producers make a one-time election of either ARC or PLC for the 2014 through 2018 crop years.

·         Mid-April 2015 through summer 2015: Producers sign contracts for 2014 and 2015 crop years.

·         October 2015: Payments for 2014 crop year, if needed.  

USDA helped create online tools to assist in the decision process, allowing farm owners and producers to enter information about their operation and see projections that show what ARC and/or PLC will mean for them under possible future scenarios.  The new tools are now available at    Farm owners and producers can access the online resources from the convenience of their home computer or mobile device at any time.

Additional decision assistance is available at farmdoc: and Agriculture Policy Analysis System (APAS):



Do you have questions about agriculture and wish to know the answer?  Here is your chance! 

Q: How many hours a day does a farmer work?
A: Depends on the farm operation.  I raise beef cattle as well as produce corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, and hay.  In the summer months, I typically work 16 days.-David

Q: Can there be more than one queen bee in a hive?
A: No, there is only one queen bee in each hive.- Phillip, Raines Honey Farm

Q: How many honey bees does it take to make enough honey to fill a 12 oz. bear?
A: It takes 12 honey bees make one tablespoon of honey.  Therefore, it will take 864 honeybees to make enough honey to fill a 12 oz. bear bottle.- Phillip, Raines Honey Farm

Q: When a farmer does crop dusting, does he do it or does his brother/hired guy?
A: The Farmer generally hires an outside source or company to spray (crop dusting) for them due to requirements for licenses, insurance and experience.- Cody

Q: What percentage of crops grown and sold in Boone County are organic? GMOs and non-GMOs?
A: "Short answer is no one knows... The most recent USDA Ag Census data lists Boone county as having 137,000 acres in farmland in 2007.  While it may look like it, not all acres are corn and soybean fields.  Of the acres planted in 2007, 59% were planted to field corn, 24% to soybeans, 3.5% to alfalfa and other forage (mainly used to feed cows, horses, and other ruminants), and 2% to wheat.  The remaining acres are a diverse mix such as nursery trees, fruits, vegetables, and pasture for animals.  

Seed that has been developed with a genetically modified organism (GMO) is most often found in corn and soybean seed varieties.  Farmers do not have any wheat GMO seed varieties that they can buy.  Most of the fruit and vegetable production is produced for local food markets and is mainly organic and non-GMO. 

So that leaves corn and soybeans.  I have grown both GMO and non-GMO varieties.  What I plant depends on; seed variety yield, the weeds and insects that I find in my fields, and market prices.  I sell my grain to two local elevators.  One contracts directly with farmers to raise specific varieties of corn and soybeans depending on what a buyer such as a food processor wants.  The grain buyer at that elevator estimated about 90% of the soybean seed varieties grown in the local area are GMO and 80% of the corn.  

Working through the math, a good estimate would be about 70% of the farm land acres in Boone County are grown using a GMO seed variety."- Ken

Q: Why do honeybees make honey?
A: Honey bees make honey to feed the hive and store enough to get through the winter.  If there is extra, that is what the beekeeper. -Phillip, Raines Honey Farm

Q: What starts their (honey bees) honeycomb?
A: When honey bees eat nectar and honey, they secrete wax on their abdomen (same as people grow hair).  They use this wax to build the honeycomb.  TRIVIA: 1 pound of honeycomb will support 24 pounds of honey. -Phillip, Raines Honey Farm

Agricultural Security & Terrorism Awareness

In January 2013, the Winnebago Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in partnership with Win-Bur-Sew Fire Department hosted an information meeting on “Agricultural Security & Terrorism”.  The presentation was given by Steffan Nass, Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator- FBI’s Springfield Division. 

Agro-Terrorism is defined as the deliberate introduction, use, or threatened use, of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive agent against one or more components of the food or agriculture sectors, with the goal of causing mortality or morbidity, generating fee, precipitating economic loss, or undermining sector stability and confidence in government.

Here are a few indicators of Agro-Terrorism.

  • Suspicious persons asking specific questions about a facility or process.
  • Unauthorized photography of processes in or around facilities or farms.
  • Possessions of chemicals, biological agents, vaccines, or medication with no apparent purpose
  • Manuals, communications, or websites pertaining to chemicals or biological agents
  • Attempts to rent or borrow ag-related equipment for no logical reason or purpose
  • Thefts of anhydrous ammonia or other fertilizer products
  • Thefts of livestock

 Agricultural Retail Facilities should report any of the following:

  • Any attempted purchases of pesticides by those not authorized or those without need
  • ALL security breaches if applicable
  • Suspicious activity around anhydrous ammonia storage facilities
  • Suspicious attempts to purchase fertilizer (such as ammonium nitrate, or agricultural use pesticides) by unfamiliar or suspicious persons

Producers and Auction Markets should report any of the following:

  • Suspicious behavior around farms or ranch operations
  • Theft of nurse tanks containing agricultural use pesticides or hazardous materials (Report Immediately)
  • Unusual symptoms or behavior in livestock
  • Sudden unexplained death or loss in livestock
  • Severe illness in large numbers of animals
  • Suspicious illnesses among employees

Aerial Applicators should report any tampering or attempts to purchase or rent aircraft or chemicals. 

Suspicious signs and symptoms of illnesses in employees should be reported to your local health department.  Health officials should be made aware of the emergency, normal duties and any contact with sick animals that may have led to the illness.  Details of contact with feed products, medical supplies, or chemicals that the employee may have had contact with should also be noted.

Suspicious signs and symptoms of illnesses in animals (such as blistering or ruptured blisters around the mouth, nose, teats, or hooves; central nervous system disorders that prevent the animal from rising or walking normally; loss of appetite and conditioning; swelling around the eyes and neck in poultry; dramatic drop in egg or milk production; large number of dead insects, rodents or wildlife; and unusual ticks or maggots) should be reported to your veterinarian.

If a crime is in progress, CALL 9-1-1 immediately.  If you have information about a crime, or to report suspicious activity, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (217) 522-9675.  The following information is needed: 

  • Your location
  • What activity is occurring
  • If a weapon is involved
  • Location of the activity
  • Description and license plates of any vehicles involved (make, model, color and direction of travel)
  • Description of persons (race, age, height, weight)
  • Your contact information

This information was provided by the Illinois Agro-Security Working Group.  The Illinois Agro-Security Working group is a partnership between frontline agricultural industry personnel and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for the purpose of preventing criminal and terrorist activities in and around Illinois agriculture and food systems.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Fertilizer Chemical Association, Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Beef Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture form the Illinois Agro-Security Working Group.

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Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau® is affiliated with the Illinois Farm Bureau®. Illinois Farm Bureau® is a member of the
American Farm Bureau Federation®, a national organization of farmers and ranchers including Farm Bureaus in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and is responsible for Farm Bureau® membership and programs within Illinois.

FARM BUREAU® and FB® are registered service marks owned by the American Farm Bureau Federation. More information regarding the American Farm Bureau Federation can be found at



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Information provided is for convenience purposes only. You should consult a professional, as applicable, for advice tailored to your particular situation. Any safety information included on this website is not intended as health or engineering advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice on these topics.

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