Illinois Farm Bureau members, staff and agriculture industry professionals are invited to attend the 2019 Farm Income and Innovation Conference, to be held July 30-31, 2019 at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

The pre-conference seminar kicks off Tuesday evening, July 30, featuring Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, cooperative extension specialist, animal genomics and biotechnology, UC Davis. Van Eenennaam will discuss “Misinformation in Agriculture and How It Threatens Sustainability and Innovation”.

Wednesday, July 31 is the day of the full conference. Three general sessions and six breakout sessions will help farmers analyze and adapt to today’s complicated trade landscape, as well as efficiently manage their farms even as profit margins continue to erode.

“For Illinois farmers, and farmers across the country, a difficult situation in the depressed farm economy has gotten more complicated with escalating trade tensions,” said Mike Doherty, senior economist, Illinois Farm Bureau.

“General sessions and breakout sessions at this year’s conference are designed to help farmers more effectively manage the tough situations they’re facing. We’re bringing in excellent speakers on financial management, health insurance, succession issues, farmland values, grain and livestock market outlooks, trade policy and more to help farmers make immediate and longer-term business decisions.”

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is the conference’s opening keynote speaker on the morning of July 31. She will present on “Enabling Innovation in Agriculture: Animals, Plant Breeding, and the Future of Agriculture.” Participants can then choose between concurrent breakout sessions in two sets. Topics include: 

  •  Farm Management, Paul Stoddard, lecturer in agribusiness at the University of Illinois College of ACES, University of Illinois;
  • Grain Market Outlook, Todd Hubbs, assistant professor, agricultural commodity markets, Department of ACES, University of Illinois;
  • Health Insurance for Farmers, Sara Sturgeon, lead brokered insurance solutions, COUNTRY Financial;
  • Cash Rental and Farmland Market Outlook, David Klein, vice president, managing broker and agricultural asset manager, Soy Capital Ag Services;
  • Hog Market Outlook and ASF Update; and
  • Drones & Crop Loss Assessments, Brad Clow, COUNTRY Financial

The mid-day general session after lunch will focus on “Exports – Trade, Treaties, & Tariffs” by Veronica Nigh, international trade economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. Finally, Jolene Brown, popular speaker from West Branch, Iowa, will tackle farm succession and proven methods to help resolve family farm succession issues.

“Farming always has been a risky endeavor, but as farm income forecasts are revised lower and lower, it’s more important than ever for farmers to adopt new ideas and strategies,” Doherty said. “This conference should provide an abundance of both.”

Those wishing to attend the conference may register now through July 24 by contacting their local county Farm Bureau, or by registering online at On-site registration will be available the day of the conference. Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders can register at half price; discounted rates do not apply for on-site registration.

A special guest room rate of $136 per night, plus tax, is available for Tuesday, July 30. The special rate is available until July 8.  After July 8, the block of rooms will be released, and rooms will be available at the market rate. To make reservations, call 309-862-9000.


Deadline Extended:

Friday, May 31

Which Grass is Which?   Identifying Grasses Made Easy

The spring series of the Four Seasons Gardening program from University of Illinois Extension concludes with a session titled Which Grass is Which? Identifying Grasses Made Easy.

Identifying grasses can be tricky!  Join Erin Medvecz, Energy & Environmental Stewardship Educator, as she discusses basic grass identification and shares tips and techniques to identifying a number of common grasses in Illinois, without learning complex terminology or needing a hand lens.

This program will be offered via computer on Tuesday, June 11 at 1:30pm at the Boone County Extension Conference Room located at 205 Cadillac Court, Suite 5 in Belvidere.

This webinar may also be viewed from home by pre-registering at

Recorded videos of these session can be viewed following the program at

There is no fee for this program, but advanced registration is needed.  To register to attend Which Grass is Which? at the Extension office, call 815-544-3710 or visit our website at  If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the Extension office.  Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.