The 47th Annual Illinois Agriculture Legislative Day (IALD) was held this week on March 30th. The Ag legislative Day brings together farm, agricultural commodity organizations and other diverse agriculture interest groups to the state Capitol during National Agriculture Month to speak to state lawmakers in Springfield. Jointly, they provide baskets filled with agricultural products and specialty lunches for the legislators. This package simply serves to remind lawmakers about the multiple facets agriculture has in the lives of their constituents and the impacts their choices make on the world of Agriculture.

(Top Photo) Greenville FFA: Stephen Zimmerman, Kimberly Lovatto, Skylar Snow, Brooke Krankel, Taylor Snow, Shlebi McCvay, Chad Stearns, JT Thiems, Cole Wall, and Caleb Gaffner.

"I am always impressed with the young leaders in FFA who come to the Capitol to advocate for their program," said Rep. Cavaletto, Republican Spokesperson for the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and also serves on the Appropriations Committee for Elementary and Secondary Education.

(Bottom Photo) Sandoval FFA: 

Front Row: Cady Williams, Abby Shaffer, Savannah Estes, Hope Beckmann, Jalynn Day, and Mika Taylor. Back Row: Levi Brown, Beth Pennington, Bailee Dykstra, Riley Thompson, Dori Brandt, and Mack Weiss.

This year, IALD hosted a working breakfast for the sponsoring organizations to meet and connect with friends of the ag community. Legislators and their staff received an invite to the have a cup of coffee with agricultural leaders. IALD added a new dimension to their regular program by inviting the majority and minority leaders from the Agriculture and Conservation Committee to address the group.The Illinois Farm Bureau gave a briefing from the Round Table Discussion held earlier in the year. This briefing covered the various issues that were determined as priorities for the current legislative session from the agricultural organizations.

Reaching out to state senators and representatives to communicate the agriculture priorities of the year is the main purpose of the Ag legislative Day. The Illinois FFA President and the Illinois County Fair Queen visit their local legislators, give remarks to the Senate and are recognized by the House of Representatives.

The sponsoring organizations provide the legislators and their secretaries a uniquely packed lunch featuring Illinois products and legislators receive a commodity basket filled with foods and items from the sponsoring organizations. Illinois FFA members and agricultural instructors assemble and deliver these baskets to the legislators.
Marion County's new Coalition Against Drug Use met on Wednesday and was told by Marion County Coroner Troy Cannon that there have already been five deaths in the first two and a half months of the year from confirmed or suspected heroin overdoses.

The group is currently focusing on opioid addiction. After watching a film called "Chasing the Dragon," the moderator opened the floor for questions and comments. Most of the comments centered around the idea of marijuana as a gateway drug and the need to fight against its legalization.

Read the full story from WJBD Radio by clicking here.
The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD), is a grass roots organization formed in 1948. It is made up and serves Illinois’ 98 member Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). The AISWCD’s board members are representatives from local SWCD’s. Each local District is governed by an elected five member board. Members of each local board represent their district at the Land Use Council (LUC) level. Each of the 16 Council’s elects one Director to the voting body of the AISWCD Board of Directors.
Along with technical assistance the Illinois SWC Districts will help you with developing conservation planning and implementing conservation practices with help from the state and federal agencies.

Pictured (l-r) are Rep. Charlie Meier, Rep. John Cavaletto, and Judy & Tom Beyers from Marion County. The Beyers were in Springfield at the Capitol for Soil & Water Conservation Legislative Day. They are active in the Farm Bureau and sponsors of the 2016 Envirothon Compitition.
Illinois Department of Agriculture Assistant Director, Don Moffit, addresses the Kaskaskia Watershed Assn.

The 17th Annual Kaskaskia Watershed Association (KWA) Summit was held at the mariners Village Conference Center  at Carlyle Lake on Monday. The KWA is a groups of volunteers that works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve watershed issues that includes the five counties in the 107th district of Rep. John Cavaletto, Republican Spokeperson for the House Environment Committee.

The Kaskaskia Watershed Association has been a key partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and now with the Illinois Farm Bureau to address issues concerning water quality and  
water use. Currently, the Farm Bureau is working to reduce nutrient loss from farm run-off that eventually ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. Clinton County farmers are participating in a Nutrient Stewardship Grant program focused on the relationship between cover crops and manure application.

“I am proud of the research work going on in Clinton County with the assistance of Kaskaskia College students to study different cropping systems,” said Rep. John Cavaletto. “This another one of those win-win situations where farmers can save money on the cost of fertilizers by lowering the run-off and the water quality can be improved for use by people down-stream,” he added.

Completed in 2016, the Carlyle Lake Fisheries Habitat Improvement Project received a $20,000
Army Corps of Engineers ‘handshake grant’ to improve fisheries habitat and complement the operation of existing brood pond facilities at the James Hawn Access Area. Other habitat improvements included placement of artificial fish structure, planting of aquatic vegetation, and planting of willow and cypress trees. Partners in the project also included: Alan Crocker (Let’s Talk Fishin’), Bromley Excavating, the McKendree University Bass Fishing Team, The Highland High School Bass Fishing Team, the Carlyle High School Bass Fishing Team, and the Lake Volunteer Association.

2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the completion of Carlyle Lake that was begun in 1958. There are activities June 9-11, 2017 at the Dam West Recreation Area in Carlyle.

Clinton County Farm Bureau leads the demonstration of nutrients movement through water.

In 1922, just two years after women were given the right to vote, Lottie Holman O'Neill was the first woman elected to the Illinois State legislature.  She continued to serve in the Illinois House and Senate for 40 years.

Two years later, in 1924Florence Fifer Bohrer, daughter of Governor Fifer, was the first woman elected to the Illinois Senate.

Floy Clements of Cook County became the first African-American woman to be elected to the Illinois House in 1958.

Fifty years after the first woman from Illinois was elected to the U.S. House, the first African-American woman was elected to that position. Cardiss Collins became a U.S. Representative in 1973 and served until 1997. In 1979 she became president of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The first woman in a leadership position in the Illinois legislature was Celeste Stiehl who became the first Assistant House Minority Leader in 1975.

Earlene Collins, elected as the first African-American woman to the Illinois Senate in 1977, served until 1999.

In 1985 Adeline Geo-Karis became the first woman to serve as Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois Senate.

Dawn Clark Netsch was elected as Comptroller in 1990 becoming the first woman to be elected to a constitutional office. Four years later she ran for governor, becoming the first woman in Illinois to be nominated by a major party.

In 1994Carol Mosely-Braun became the first African-American woman in the U.S. Senate.

Also in 1994Judy Baar Topinka was elected State Treasurer, the office she held until she ran for governor in 2006. In 2010 she became Comptroller. Topinka was the first woman to become the Illinois GOP’s nominee for governor, first woman to serve as state Republican chairman and first woman to win two different statewide offices.

After 18 years in the Illinois House, Barbara Flynn Currie became the first woman to become the House Majority Leader in 1997, a position which she continues to hold.

In 1997Sonia Silva became the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Illinois House.

Corrine Wood served as the state's first woman Lieutenant Governor beginning in 1999.

In 2003, the first Hispanic woman, Iris Y. Martinez, was elected to the Illinois Senate.

And, in 2003Lisa Madigan was the first woman to be elected Attorney General in Illinois.

Debbie DeFrancesco Halvorson became the first woman to hold the position of Senate Majority Leader in 2005.

State Senator Christine Radogno became the state's first woman Caucus Leader, Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate in 2009.

Information from the website of the Illinois Conference of Women Legislators.
In light of the severe storms that came through Illinois last night, this is a reminder that we need to be prepared in case of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages people to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared to act quickly if storm warnings are issued. The month of March is designated as "Severe Weather Preparedness Month" to remind residents about the resources available in prednisone the case of an emergency.

IEMA suggests that people have storm radios on and wireless emergency alerts enabled on their smartphones in case more storms roll through.

Seek shelter immediately if a tornado warning is issued for your area. The best shelter is in a basement or cellar. If an underground shelter is not available, find an interior room or hallway on the lowest level, such as a closet, small interior hallways and bathrooms without windows.

You can download a disaster kit checklist HERE to help you and your family be better prepared.