The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Cattlemen enjoy a little bite of everything at annual banquet

by Dessa Rodeffer,  Quill Publisher/Owner

The Tri-County Cattlemen's annual dinner banquet is growing by around 50 each year, according to one member with this year's attendance around 500.

515 delicious ribeye steaks were grilled outside WIU's student Union in Macomb by cattlemen and then brought into the ballroom buffet for attendees. There were only 14 steaks left when the evening's feast and entertainment ended.

Comedian, Tom Mabe told and showed pranks he had pulled and ended by singing a guitar dedicated to his teenage daughter.

He was preceded by Marty Pollio who interacted with the crowd, told jokes, pulled out his magic act and ended with some juggling.

President Jeremy Kane, Vice President Mitch Lefler opened the evening with a welcome and invocation, and after the meal Lee Moore recognized the 2009 Scholarship winners and put them on the spot with some pretty interesting questions - "How would you convince your new wife it's a good idea for you to purchase farm ground that's going to cost you $1,000,000?"

Justin Allaman who was asked this question said he would explain how there isn't going to be any more land and that the land could pay for itself, but he would first fix her a steak dinner and say, "honey", "darling," "Let's do it for the children." Then he said it would be good to marry someone who could afford it.

Ben Hawk was asked, "Who do you think will win the Super Bowl and why?"

He felt the New Orleans would win because they played with a lot of heart and felt their quarter back could show the Colts quarterback a few things. He finished with, "I don't think the Colts deserve to win because they beat my Bears."

He also asked them, with State Representative Rich Myers present, to each tell him what they would like to see done in Springfield.

Their answers included: Look toward the future and make Highway 34 become a 4-lane, think of us the younger generation and our future when you make your decisions, make sure that Agriculture remains in the high schools and let legislators know of its importance, and compete with other states and make Illinois the top state to live in,

The future will be safe with these young leaders of tomorrow which include:

Justin Allaman (West Central), Kelsey Bowman (West Prairie), Ben Hawk (West Central), Jon Strickler (Monmouth/Roseville), Shelby Twaddle (West Prairie), and also two others who were unable to attend due to school obligations - Julianna Gillam (West Central) and Jamie Bloomberg (Abingdon).

Maralee Johnson briefly talked from the Illinois Beef Association who said "We're in a fight for our life, saying there are groups out lobbying that want all of us out here to eat vegetables - not beef.

A special surprise guest was Steve Foglesong, newly elected President of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association who lives in Astoria in Fulton County.

He gave information about the state of agriculture and the cattle industry in Washington, and told of his concerns about the EPA where he said "they can shut us down over night."

He also said that they were going to Washington regularly to education those serving on what we do and why it is important, calling it Beef 101.

He addressed cattlemen "Are we afraid to step out and do something different?" and he asked them to get involved in educating others including our leaders starting with their aides about the very basics of what we do.

He said the rules are getting very stringent and "we are continually having to adapt to new rules."

It use to be that Washington was aware of the importance of Agriculture, but today there are very few with degrees in Agriculture. It's Political Science, History, Law, Engineering, Finance.

"That is why we have what we call BEEF 101 and we invite them in."

Foglesong said with only 2% of Americans in Agriculture, beef is just a tiny part of it. "We can't begin to tell our story without producers being able to step out and tell their stories."

He said, "Give them a two minute elevator talk of what we do for a living. They don't understand what we do to bring the meat," he said.

"We need you to become advocates for our industry."

"In Washington," he said, "there is now the new Senator from Massachusetts and since they can't move legislation through, they will move it through the back-door of the E.P.A. and they can take us out of business and no one has a chance to vote!"

Foglesong said they need their membership dues and they will be asking for more. He said they need to hire specialists to be in Washington and watch out for them.

"When you and I are feeding cattle, we need someone there everyday!"

Darryl Ricketts was pleased to hand out the Beef Backer Award to Tom Peterson (above) of Monmouth who has supported 4-H, FFA, ag and farming in general through many endeavors including radio. Peterson said he had a lot of love and respect for those serving agriculture and he will cherish the award.

Treasurer Jan Runner helped hand out door prizes and Jeremy Kane read the list of many sponsors and thanked them for their support that helps raise money to give scholarships to students who are college bound and have been involved in 4-H, FFA, or Ag related courses in school and complete an application and write an original 200-250 word essay "A Significant Challenge to the Beef Industry," with a teacher's recommendation included and send it to Lee Moore, 4245 N. 2200 Road, Blandinsville, IL 61420 by April 1, 2010.

The evening closed with Scott Boyer auctioning items including Cardinal game tickets and a night's stay in St. Louis, 1/4 Beef, and a BBQ cookout by the cattlemen and 50 or 100 steaks to go along depending on the size chosen.

Also other items were auctioned off to raise money for scholarships for college bound students living in the counties of McDonough, Henderson or Warren Counties. For information to apply, call Lee Moore.

Comedian Tom Mabe closed with a song to his teenage daughter.

Comedian Marty Pollio has been on Johnny Carson and Jay Leno