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Serving: IL

Quick Take: Farm roadway safety, pork donations and more

Sierra Day John Deere sprayer driving down rural road
FARM SAFETY: Springtime and planting season mean more farm equipment traffic. Williamson County Farm Bureau provides tips for safely sharing the roads with farmers.
Check out a virtual roadway safety day, specialty crop grant opportunity, tree-buffer program for pig farmers, loans for vet students and commodity groups partnering to help others.

Share the road with farmers

Farm roadway safety is an important topic of discussion, especially when teaching new drivers.

In the past, Williamson County Farm Bureau has hosted an in-person Traffic Safety Days program for high school students in 15 southern Illinois counties to learn more about roadway safety and farm equipment. This year, the event is being presented virtually — which means everyone can tune in. 

The take-home message: All motorists should practice driving with caution when encountering farm machinery on the roadways. Check out the Traffic Safety Days video below.


IDOA offers dollars to expand specialty crop production

Are you involved in specialty crop production such as fruits, vegetables, horticulture and nursery crops? You may be eligible for the Illinois Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant.

Here are the application requirements you need to know:

Type of applicant. Nonprofit organizations, local and government entities, trade and commodity associations, and public and private colleges are eligible.

Project initiation. All projects must begin in 2022.

Benefit of the project. Applications should focus on improving specialty crop production through food safety, pest and insect control, and increase of specialty crop education and consumption.

The program is designed to help expand the specialty crop industry within Illinois. For more information and to access the application, visit the IDOA website. Applications are due May 24 by 4 p.m.

Tree buffer help available for pig farmers

The tree buffer cost-share program through the Illinois Pork Producers Association is open for applications. The program offers financial help and design expertise to pig farmers who want to add trees to their operations.

Many pig farmers are using tree buffers to exercise good stewardship, says Jennifer Tirey, executive director of IPPA, and IPPA wants to encourage pig farmers to take part in an environmentally friendly management practice.

IPPA wants to help farmers develop the most efficient buffer, offering up design help from Ted Funk, an IPPA environmental engineer. Local Extension educators also may be available to help farmers research and plan the best type of landscape for the operation.

If you are interested in the program, visit the IPPA website and fill out the application by June 15.

Illinois Farm Bureau helps offset vet school costs

Illinois Farm Bureau is offering a new loan program to help large-animal veterinary students pay for vet school, known as the Illinois Veterinary Education Training Program.

Eligible applicants for the IVET Program must be second-year veterinary students attending any accredited college of veterinary medicine in the U.S. and who are focused on Illinois food animal medicine.

According to IFB, the program’s two- to three-year loans have a five-year repayment period. During the repayment time frame, graduates must commit to working in a food animal practice that services Illinois livestock producers.

In addition to loans, students who receive the IVET award will receive a $1,500 stipend during their fourth year to help offset clinical rotation expenses.

Online applications are due May 15.

Illinois commodity groups donate to Eastern Illinois Foodbank

As a contribution to its Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, the Illinois Pork Producers Association worked with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Illinois Soybean Association to provide 4,100 pounds of ground pork to Eastern Illinois Foodbank in Urbana, Ill. The association shares how it used the college basketball season to raise donations:

University of Illinois Athletic Department partnership. IPPA agreed to donate 50 pounds of ground pork every time the men’s basketball team earned 50 points in a game. After 31 games that met this point requirement, IPPA donated 1,550 pounds of ground pork.

State pork association alliance. To build on the U of I partnership, IPPA created a competition with Indiana Pork Farmers, Wisconsin Pork Association, Minnesota Pork, Michigan Pork Producers Association and Ohio Hog Farmers. The state association of the losing team would donate $1,000 worth of ground pork to the winning state’s chosen food bank. Through this, $5,000 worth of ground pork, about 2,550 pounds, was also donated to Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

Pork Power was launched by the IPPA in 2008. The program serves as an avenue “for farmers to donate pork to food banks throughout Illinois”.

To learn how you can help combat hunger in Illinois through the Pork Power program, visit the IPPA website.

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