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Historic renovations launched on Lock 25

Quick Take: Lock 25 to get upgrade (finally), Illinois State Fairgrounds reopens renovated building, Illinois Beef plans summer meeting and Compeer gets new leadership.

May 19, 2023

3 Min Read
Marty Marr, Bill Leigh, Kenny Hartman and Randy DeSutter, Woodhull in front of sign at Lock 25 groundbreaking
GROUNDBREAKING: IL Corn was on hand for the Lock 25 groundbreaking this week, including IL Corn farmer-leaders Marty Marr, New Berlin (left); Bill Leigh, Minonk; Kenny Hartman, Waterloo; and Randy DeSutter, Woodhull. Hartman and DeSutter also serve on the National Corn Growers Association board. IL Corn

Historic renovations launched on Lock 25

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a groundbreaking ceremony this week on Lock 25, marking the start of repairs to an important lock and dam on the Mississippi River. Located at Winfield, Mo., just north of Alton, Ill., Lock 25 has not undergone extensive repairs since it was built in the early 1900s. Funding passed in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make the renovations possible.

“Finally getting to this point is cause for celebration,” says Matt Rush, IL Corn president and Fairfield, Ill., farmer. “I am speaking for all corn farmers today — corn farmers that attended barge tours, corn farmers that called their elected officials on this issue, corn farmers that walked the halls of Congress with their association to ask for new locks and dams — when I say how excited we are to see this progress.”

Some 60% of all U.S. corn and soybean exports travel down the Mississippi River. Jim Tarmann with IL Corn says the cost of inefficiencies amount to about 1 to 1.5 pennies per bushel per lock. Upgrading all seven locks on the Upper Mississippi means farmers will gain 8 to 10 cents per bushel of efficiency.

“Our hope is this will be the beginning of a waterfall of infrastructure work on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers,” Rush says.

In addition to IL Corn, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, and Grain and Feed Association of Illinois lobbied hard for this renovation work. Rush adds that farm groups were joined in their lobbying efforts by the Waterways Council Inc., MidAmerica Carpenters Regional Council and conservation groups.

Multi-Purpose Arena reopens at Illinois State Fair

The Multi-Purpose Arena underwent an $8.6 million overhaul in 2022 and is now open for the 2023 Illinois State Fair and summer events.

The arena needed foundational repairs of its retaining walls, canopy, tension structure, electrical systems, joints, steps, sidewalks and more.

Funding came from the Rebuild Illinois capital program, which modernizes infrastructure throughout the state. The Pritzker administration invested $58.1 million in the fairgrounds alone, which is already being put to work in this building, the Coliseum and other buildings.

“The Illinois State Fair is one of the jewels of our state, and my administration has prioritized investing in our fairgrounds to make sure every inch of the grounds reflects the best of Illinois,” says Gov. JB Pritzker.

Look for the following events during the state fair:

  • Aug. 10, monster trucks

  • Aug. 12, rodeo

  • Aug. 14-16, tractor pulls

  • Aug. 19, demolition derby

Time for Illinois Beef meeting

The Illinois Beef Association is holding its annual meeting and awards ceremony on June 6 at the Artisans Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. The day’s events include the meeting, three Cattlemen’s Education Series sessions, tours of the new IBA office on the fairgrounds, and both lunch and dinner. Registration is $25 online at, or call 217-787-4280.

Compeer hires new top leadership

Compeer Financial, a $29.7 billion Farm Credit cooperative, has hired Betsy Horton as the organization’s chief financial officer and Susan Sachatello as chief marketing officer.

Horton replaces Jase Wagner, who was named CEO in January. Her background is in chief financial officer roles at S&W Seed Co. and Miller Milling Co., and several positions at Cargill. Horton will be responsible for managing Compeer Financial’s accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, and asset and liability functions.

Sachatello brings experience in marketing and digital leadership to her new role as chief marketing officer. She previously worked with Allianz Life, Principal Financial, Cuna Mutual Group and Lands’ End. Sachatello will lead marketing, sales, events and education, and client experience teams at Compeer Financial.

Compeer Financial is the third-largest cooperative in the Farm Credit system and services 144 counties in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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