Local food grants available
A new resilience fund from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance will provide 25 Illinois farmers with grants to adapt their business and meet heightened demand for local food. With support from the Chicago Region Food System Fund, $225,000 will be distributed to farmers for on-farm investments, supply chain infrastructure and multiple-farm collaborations. There will be 25 awardees, with grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. Farmers can submit proposals to increase the efficiency of their operation with investments such as refrigeration units, grain storage or online sales development. All applications will be reviewed after the July 28 deadline by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s review committee. To apply, visit their website or contact Ana Fochesatto at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-920-6062.
Prairie Farms announces ice cream giveaway
In recognition of July being National Ice Cream Month, Prairie Farms is inviting ice cream lovers to visit its webpage. After entering their information, users are eligible to win one of 10 weekly ice cream packages. A package comes with 10 free coupons for Prairie Farms Premium Small Batch Ice cream cartons and 10 coupons for North Star Frozen Treats. “I’m excited for customers to try our delicious ice cream products during National Ice Cream Month,” says Frank Doll, a dairy farmer for Prairie Farms. “We’re using the highest-quality milk and cream from our local family farms to bring them the very best.” Eligibility is exclusive to people 18 years old or older. They must also reside within these states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, eastern Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Illinois ag teacher posthumously honored
River Ridge High School ag teacher Ed Curry, who died in July 2019, is Illinois’ first Ag Educator of the Year through the 2019-20 Golden Owl Award. As a result of his efforts, Curry’s family will receive the Golden Owl Award trophy and $3,000 in funding. There were four other Illinois finalists for the award. “As the first Illinois state winner of this award, Mr. Curry leaves a legacy of impacting students and friends far beyond the walls of his classroom,” says John Edgar, Illinois FFA Center assistant director. After accepting nominations in late 2019 and early 2020, insurance company Nationwide and its partners announced 31 finalists across five states for the 2019-20 Golden Owl Award in April. Each finalist was recognized and presented with $500 to support his or her programs before being entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be crowned as their state’s Ag Educator of the Year. In conjunction with the Golden Owl Award, Nationwide is donating $5,000 to each participating state’s FFA association, including the Illinois FFA. The Golden Owl Award is the result of a partnership among Nationwide, the California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, the Iowa FFA Foundation, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania FFA, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Compeer Financial. For more information or to learn more about the Illinois Golden Owl Award finalists, visit goldenowlaward.com.
UIUC bioprocessing facility makes hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer, disinfectant and wipes will be in ample supply on University of Illinois campuses, thanks to the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory in Urbana, Ill. When the coronavirus pandemic took off, IBRL began production to provide hand sanitizer for first responders and the health care industry in Illinois. As that need became less urgent, IBRL’s focus turned to supporting the U of I campuses, says Brian Jacobson, IBRL assistant director of pilot plant operations. “We provide 5-gallon containers of hand sanitizer and 55-gallon drums of disinfectant to U of I’s Central Stores, where departments and units can request what they need,” he says. Since March, IBRL has made over 13,000 gallons of product. That’s enough to fill over 200,000 desk-size 8-ounce containers. Daniel Gaither, director of safety for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, says ACES buildings will feature hand sanitizer stations with 5-gallon jugs so employees and students can fill their smaller bottles. Motion-activated pump dispensers will be at building entrances. IBRL received donations for their production from ethanol and shipping companies, including a donation of 5,000 gallons of ethanol from Pacific Ethanol in Pekin, Ill.
Digital portal for CFAP applications
USDA’s Farm Service Agency will now accept applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program through an online portal. This expands the options available to producers to apply for the program, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. FSA is using commercial document storage and e-signature solutions to enable producers to work with local USDA Service Center staff to complete their applications from home. Through the farmers.gov portal, producers with secure USDA eAuthentication login credentials can certify eligible commodities online, digitally sign applications and submit directly to the local USDA Service Center. Producers who do not have an eAuthentication account can learn more and begin the enrollment process at farmers.gov/sign-in. Currently, the digital application is only available to sole proprietors or single-member business entities. USDA has several other options for producers to complete and submit their CFAP applications:
Manual. Download the AD-3114 application form from farmers.gov/cfap and manually complete the form to submit to the local USDA Service Center by mail, electronically or by hand delivery to an office drop box. In some limited cases, the office may be open for in-person business by appointment. Check the status of your local office.
Excel. Complete the application form using the CFAP Application Generator and Payment Calculator found at. This Excel workbook allows customers to input information specific to their operation to determine estimated payments and populate the application form, which can be printed, and then signed and submitted to their local USDA Service Center.