The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
It was another great evening of area cattlemen gathering with supporters for a wonderful evening of delicious steak, fun, and beef-talk at the annual Tri-County Cattlemen's annual banquet . The event was held the Saturday before Superbowl Sunday, at Western Illinois University's banquet hall in the Student Union in Macomb..
A full-house contained most of the area's most aggressive cattlemen along with most of the area's biggest supporters and friends who serve farmers and cattlemen in this region.
The event was assisted by the area's FFA members dressed in their blue and gold jackets and pleasant smiles as they handed out delicious ribeye brought in right off the grill.
President Marlene McChesney welcomed guests and Jeremy Kane gave the invocation prior to the steak dinner which included baked potatoes, green beans, corn, salads, and delicious cheese cake and beverages.
Sponsors who donated to the banquet and scholarship fund were read by John Emerick.
Lee Moore called the 2007 scholarship winners forward asking each to comment. There were ten recipients who each received a $250 scholarship from Tri-County Cattlemen last year to help their education in the ag field:
Calvin Covert, (West Central) was the first to speak and said he is looking forward in working in the agriculture field. He is attending Southeastern Community College.
Kris Dorethy, (West Prairie) said she is looking forward in working in a thriving business in agriculture as well after her college education.
Jessica England, (West Central) is attending the University of Missouri in Columbia taking some pretty tough courses in Pre-Veterinarian.
Rachel Jack (West Central) Senior appreciated the scholarship and said she will be an animal science major at WIU. She is concerned about the fuel costs and their effect to agriculture and families in the future.
Brad McClure (Yorkwood) said he was attending Southeastern Community College in the Ag program and ribbing his dad, said that his concern for the future is that he just wants his dad to make some money or at least break even this year.
Stephanie Nell (West Prairie) is attending Blackhawk College in Equine Science and plans on going 4 years and getting a degree.
Jessica Lynn Lauver (Yorkwood) was not present but sent a thank you letter along with her regrets due to prior obligations.
Matthew O'Hern (Schuyler-Industry), sent a letter thanking the cattlemen not just for the monetary scholarship but more importantly, for what they do as an organization for the industry. He said getting the scholarship is one of his greatest accomplishments, not just for the money, but for the prestige the Tri-County Cattlemen association holds. He is majoring in markets and management and a minor in science at the University of Illinois.
Kelli Titus and Courtney Fox (West Central) were other scholarship winners not in attendance.
Moore said he would encourage anyone to fill out the application for the 2008 scholarship. "We love giving money to you to help with your ag. education," he said.
Illinois Beef Association President Randy Faber touched on various concerns to cattlemen in farm legislation.
"COOL" Legislation-October 1st: "It's a piece of junk, but it served its purpose," Faber said.
The COOL (country of orientation legislation) will effect cattlemen, he said. - "Anyone can sign a paper and say cattle was U.S. raised."
It goes into effect Oct 1st and the Packers will be the ones who dictate the rules, he said.
"If the Packers want some kind of verification to get them to market, you don't want be left on the outside."
Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP):
U.S. Senator Durbin (D-IL) was told that Illinois returned billions of dollars to Washington that should have gone to Illinois, so Durbin made sure funding increased... some were pleased with this program and others wished they hadn't tried. EQIP people are trying to be easier to get along with, Faber said.
We were in Washington D.C. during the farm bill debate. There are "anti-large farmers" at it in Washington.
They thought it was too much and wanted to cut it in half.
Faber asked if they could get low interest rates for grain bins then why not for livestock?
"In 36 hours we had language down on the floor in the form of a bill.
"It did not pass..... now we are going to try to work with Durbin's office to see how we can get funding through without voting."
The next thing in the farm bill was Packer Ownership, he said "... I believe in free enterprise yet I see it now takes $1,000 a head to get a cow to market. "The Packers only concern is they want top dollar at market."
Faber says, "There will be a day of reckoning.... We don't have a balanced budget..... we have a state legislator here - Rich Myers (R) - our margin of profit is not very good sometimes. You will have to ask if the Livestock Compensation Program through your local Director is worth your time or not. You get $10.50 a cow or somewhat less... and they claim it takes an hour or an hour and a half and you can do the sign-up.
In 2005-6-7, if drought was declared a disaster in your area, you can find which year benefits you - you will have some figuring to do, such as hay acres - pasture acres, etc., but it should be worth it.
The Illinois Beef Association is going to avoid TV commercials due to its cost - but will advertise in magazines.
Faber said he is also against FFA exhibitors and 4-Hers having to do the I.D. program.
"I am Superintendent of two county fairs and I try my best to get kids there. So, Faber is trying to get 4-H and FFA exempt as first time exhibitors.
Premise I.D. he feels is an animal, plant, health safety issue.
Faber welcome all to the Illinois Beef Association website and said, to get on board -it is a great membership that helps lobby important issues to the cattlemen.
"Just because you pay checkoff dollars, that is not membership..."
"Our state office is there to help anyone who has a concern.
Some congressmen has helped us out, too," Faber said.
Mark Gillem presented the "Beef Backer Awards."
The awards, which usually are given to retail and wholesale businesses in the past were given to two select individuals who have been big promoters to the Tri-County Cattlemen organization, Dr. Raymond T. Huston, DVM, and Mike Hoyt,
Impersonator McAvoy Layne of Nevada, presented "The Ghost of Mark Twain."
He began by saying his life-long ambition was to be a steam boatman captain.
"I was advised that I would have to learn the entire river by heart," he said. "My brain was only full of blank cartridges," he thought.
Mark Twain had a variety of jobs from newspaper editor to cow catcher on a locomotive, but he said "but nothing I liked better than being a Captain of a steamship."
Twain said the boat was "slow as an island and comfortable as a farm. She was so slow that when she sank it was 4 yrs. before the owners heard of it."
Twain also mentioned if you drink a glass of Mississippi water, you need another drink to wash it down, then "you can grow corn in your stomach if you want to."
Twain's tales also told of mining for silver. "It is no more than a fool at the bottom and a liar at the top."
Twain says, "In all these years nothing has changed." referring to politicians. "They could talk for a week without ever getting rid of an idea."
Twain said he was asked why he wears a white suit - clothes make the man. His reply is that "naked people have little or no influence in society."
When asked who he was going to vote for, he replied, "I don't vote for politicians - it just encourages them."
Tri-County Cattlemen's President McChesney, and a professional photographer under "A Cowgirl's Heart" donated a photo for auction to help grow the scholarship fund, which was auctioned off by auctioneer Jim Sullivan. It was purchased for $400 by Dr. Ken Nimrick. Other items were auctioned as well.
Marlene's photos taken on a ranch in New Mexico, were given to Dr. RAYMOND HUSTON and MIKE HOYT for their contributions to the cattle association.
Incoming President for the 2008-2009 year is John Emerick of Macomb.
Dr. Raymond Huston, Veterinarian from Roseville, is being recognized with the Beef Backer Award and given a $250 framed photograph of wild Mustang stallion, by McChesney.
Outgoing President Marlene McChesney laughs when Mike Hoyt visits her after Tri-County Cattlemen presented Beef Backer Awards to him and to Dr. Raymond Huston.