Mission Statement

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

Seeking a part-time Ag Literacy Educator! 
Click on Ag In The Classroom for more information.

Attention Irrigators & Livestock producers: 
New Water Reporting Requirements in 2015

Info Meeting-Thursday, January 22nd

The Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau is partnering with McHenry County Farm Bureau to host Mr. Steve Wilson, Groundwater Hydrologist, at 8 a.m. on Thursday, January 22nd at the Machine Shed Restaurant located at 7475 East State Street, Rockford, IL.  Steve will provide information on the 2010 changes to the Water Use Act and the Illinois State Water Survey’s (ISWS) Illinois Water Inventory Program’s (IWIP) reporting requirements. 

The Illinois Water Inventory Program (IWIP) has been in existence since the late 1970s.  Until 2010, it was a voluntary program for public water supplies and industrial/commercial high capacity users run by the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).  In 2010, changes were made to the Water Use Act (525 ILCS 45, et seq) such that now, any person or land occupier that is responsible for a point of withdrawal classified as a high-capacity well, high-capacity intake or public water supply shall participate in the ISWS IWIP.  A high-capacity well is one with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more. 

Agricultural irrigation was exempt from the reporting for the first five years following the change in 2010.  Therefore, beginning in the fall of 2015, ISWS will require irrigators to report how much water was pumped from high-capacity wells. The Water Use Act allows agriculture to utilize estimation methods deemed acceptable by ISWS.  And, if a person or land occupier responsible for the high-capacity well lies within the boundary of a water authority or other local government entity that estimates irrigation withdraws through a method deemed acceptable by the ISWS, that individual is exempt from participating as an individual in IWIP.

Agricultural Producers who own high-capacity wells are invited to attend.  Time will be allowed for questions following the presentation.  Breakfast will be provided.  Please contact the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau at 815-962-0653 to register.

Raffle to raise money for Rock River Valley Food Pantry

Looking for a way to help raise money for the hungry in the Rockford area and possibly fill your freezer at the same time?

The Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau Young Leaders are selling raffle tickets to raise funds to help out the Rock River Valley Food Pantry.  The Young Leaders will raffle off two quarter sides of beef and two half hogs at the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau’s 95th Annual Meeting on March 18, 2015.  Tickets cost $5 each or three for $10.  (You need not be present to win.)

Tickets are now available at the Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau office located at 1925 S Meridian Road, Rockford, IL.  (Tickets are limited and all proceeds will benefit the Rock River Valley Food Panty.) Stop in today and pick up your ticket.

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):


Key Date for Margin Protection Program (MPP-DAIRY)

A key date for dairy producers to keep in mind regarding the Margin Protection Program (MPP-DAIRY) is November 28th.  Producers participating in the MPP-Dairy program need to submit their Production History Establishment and Premium Calculation worksheet by Friday, November 28th.

2014 Farm Bill Meetings

Got questions about the 2014 Farm Bill?  Need to update your program yields or reallocate your base acres?  Don’t worry; there are a number of opportunities in the local area to find the answers.

Friday, January 30th from 1:00-4:30 p.m. at the NIU Conference Center, Rockford, IL (hosted by: Illinois Farm Bureau, University of Illinois Extension, and Farm Service Agency- more info to come)

Additional resources may be found on the Farm Bill page of the Illinois Farm Bureau website at

New Certified Crop Advisory Courses

Now available are four new CCA Online Courses that are presentations from this year’s Crop Management Conference. You may go to   to visit each course and click on begin course to view . For obtaining CEUs, a person must register for the course.  Courses include:

Management of Wheat Diseases in Illinois
This lesson contains content presented at the 2014 Crop Management Conferences by Dr. Carl Bradley. This lesson discusses integrated management strategies for Fusarium head scab and associated mycotoxins and stripe rust of wheat.

$15.00 - 1.0 CEU in Integrated Pest Management

Rootworm Update
This lesson contains content presented at the 2014 Crop Management Conferences by Dr. Mike Gray. This lesson discusses the biology and evolution of the Western corn rootworm to past and current management practices. Other topics include: integrate pest management, resistance management, crop rotation, in-furrow soil insecticides and more.

$15.00 - 1.0 CEU in Integrated Pest Management

Getting High Corn Yields in a Lower-Corn-Price World
This lesson contains content presented at the 2014 Crop Management Conferences. Dr. Emerson Nafziger presents results of his research on diverse, agronomically important topics: from seeding rate to row spacing, from nitrogen rate to weather, from foliar fungicides to irrigation and more.

$15.00 1 CEU in Crop Management

Planning and Using Data from On-Farm Trials
This lesson contains content presented at the 2014 Crop Management Conferences by Dr. Emerson Nafziger. This course covers many topics important to the planning, establishment, data collection and analysis of on-farm research trials including: general experimental design, site selection, why some treatments are better candidates for on-farm research, replication, basic statistical concepts and more.

$15.00 - 1.0 CEU in Crop Management

2015 Dairy Summit to take place January 20, 22 & 23

Three regional Illinois dairy meetings sponsored by the Illinois Milk Producers Association and the University of Illinois Extension are scheduled at Freeport (Jan 20), Centralia (Jan 22), and Bloomington (Jan 23), Illinois.  This year's theme is "Economic Opportunities," and program topics include feeding check list, update on MPP and CAFO programs, University of Illinois research, diary survey results, and a generation transfer producer panel.  For details and registration, go to or call 309-557-3703, or download the brochure at


Farmers throughout Illinois are invited to attend a Meet the Buyers event to meet local and regional food buyers Feb. 3, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Orland Civic Center in Orland.   

“This will be our 19th Meet the Buyers event and we expect it to be one of our largest,” said Cynthia Haskins, manager of business development of compliance, Illinois Farm Bureau. “Farmers will hear from several buyers and meet with the buyers one-on-one so they can begin building working relationships.”  

Meet the Buyers events are an opportunity for farmers to hear directly from buyers about what it takes to do business with their organization. Buyers representing retail grocery stores and chains, foodservice distributors, wholesalers and others are invited to participate.  

The following organizations are partnering to support the one-day event: Illinois Farm Bureau, Cook County Farm Bureau, Illinois Specialty Growers Association, Illinois Department of Agriculture, and several surrounding Farm Bureau and University of Illinois Extension offices.  

“This event will include buyers who are looking for local fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, artisan cheeses, dairy, value-added products and more,” said Bob Rohrer, manager, Cook County Farm Bureau.  

Farmers are encouraged to bring business cards and any handouts they have about their farming operation to share with buyers.   

The event is free to farmers. Those wishing to attend should RSVP to the Cook County Farm Bureau at 708-354-3276 by Jan. 27, 2015.

2015 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference held again in Stockton- Feb. 4th

Mark your calendars for the 2015 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference, scheduled for Wednesday,   February 4th.  The conference will be located at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 223 E. Front Ave, Stockton, IL, beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding at 3:30 p.m. with a lunch provided.

A variety of topics will be covered at the conference:

  * Cow Nutrition Considerations while Grazing Lush, Spring Forage

  * Utilizing Alternative Forages

  * Feed Value of Corn Stalks

  * Herd Health Considerations (Reproduction and Parasites)

  * Economics of Grazing with Falling Grain Prices

  * Silvopasturing  (Livestock plus Timber)

Presenters include:  Travis Meteer and Teresa Steckler, both U of I Commercial Agriculture Educators, Gene Schriefer, Agriculture Agent for University of Wisconsin Extension, and. Jay Solomon, U of I Energy and Environmental Stewardship Educator.

To register for the 2015 Northwest Illinois Grazing Conference, call the University of Illinois Extension at (815) 858-2273 or visit us on-line at  Registration is required by Friday, January 30th.  Cost for the workshop is $20 if paid by this date ($30 per person after this date). 

Farm Bureau Night at the Rockford Ice Hogs- Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Join Farm Bureaus from Northern Illinois to see the Rockford Ice Hogs vs. Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday, February 7th at 7 p.m. Cost per ticket is $14.  Call us at 815-962-0653 by Friday, January 23rd to order your tickets.

Winter Wheat Forum- Feb. 17th, 2015

The Illinois Wheat Association's annual Winter Wheat Forum will be held Feb. 17, 205, at Krieger's Holiday Inn Convention Center in Mt. Vernon, IL.  The forum, which aims to help Illinois wheat producers increase productivity and profitability, again features a wide variety of attractions for producers and processors alike.

Attendees at this year's forum can expect to participate in sessions covering several topics, including scab and vomitoxin management, fungicide application, an Illinois legislative update, along with sessions on weather and markets.  In addition to browsing a wide variety of exhibitors, participants will also have the opportunity to attend the Illinois Wheat Association annual meeting, held at the conclusion of the forum.

Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m., with educational sessions beginning at 9:00 a.m. The forum will conclude at 3:00 p.m., and will include lunch for registered attendees. Illinois Wheat Association members may register for the conference on site for $15 per person; the general public may attend for $30 per person.                

To receive more information about the Winter Wheat Forum, visit the Illinois Wheat Association website at, or contact Diane Handley, executive secretary, Illinois Wheat Association, at 309-557-3662. The forum is made possible through the support of the Illinois Farm Bureau.                

The Illinois Wheat Association is a member organization serving all aspects of the Illinois wheat industry from producer to processor. Illinois Wheat Association provides educational opportunities, encourages research relating to wheat and wheat products, promotes marketing alternatives and represents its members in state and federal legislative activities relating to the needs of the Illinois wheat industry.

Drive Out Hunger Collectable Tractor- Only 90 left!
The Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders have teamed up with Feeding America, the nation’s largest food bank to help reduce the number of households in Illinois that faces hunger this year.  You can start a “collection” that will not only help area families, but also increase in value over time.  When you purchase the limited-edition tractor collectable, 100% of the profits will go to Harvest for All!

The1:32 scale metal die-cast, Illinois Farm Bureau, Steiger® 450 RowTrac TM is fully equipped with an opening cab door, opening hood, articulated body, detailed engine, movable 3-point hitch with draw bar, movable mirrors, a detailed interior, and a GPS dome.  The tractors are available for $60.00 through the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Department at 1701 Towanda Avenue, Bloomington, IL  61701.  For details contact the Young Leader Department at 309-557-2536 or download an ORDER FORM.  This is a limited edition of 276 tractors, so order yours today.


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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