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Grundy County Farm Bureau celebrates its centennial

MORRIS – For 100 years, the Grundy County Farm Bureau has provided service to the community, and Saturday night, members celebrated its anniversary on a farm owned by Terry and Carol Seggebruch.

“In 1914, 11 men came together out of their desire to improve farming practices in Grundy County,” farm bureau President Steve Kodat said Saturday. “They came together to prevent deadly livestock diseases and to have a voice in government regulations affecting farms.”

Farm bureau Manager Tasha Bunting said the organization wanted to host a celebration to remind the community of its involvement here, and to celebrate its history.

The celebration started Saturday morning with an old-fashioned tractor drive, with 34 tractors making their way from the Seggebruch farm to downtown Morris.

The weather held out long enough for the tractors to make it to Morris and be on display around the courthouse for a little while before heading back to the farm for lunch.

After the rain passed, the sun came out in time for people to gather Saturday evening for family activities, including bounce houses, a DJ, dinner and a ventriloquist.

“We lucked out with the weather,” Bunting said. “We only lost one tractor due to mechanical issues. We’re very happy with the first attempt at hosting a tractor drive.”

Frank Halpin, a farm bureau board member, said the bureau’s legislative action working toward farmer’s rights often gets overlooked.

“The farm bureau is more important today than it was in the past,” Halpin said. “We’ve participated in ‘Ag in the Classroom’ for over 35 years. You used to ask if the children had relatives on a farm and a large number said yes. It’s rare that they have farmers in their family now.”

That’s why it’s important to keep the agricultural community in the minds of those growing up in Grundy County; there are about 450 farms in Grundy County, and the average farm size in the county is 400 acres.

“The farm bureau has changed a lot in the 100 years it’s been in Grundy County,” Kodat said. “It used to help farmers who couldn’t access fuel and information about farming. Today, it’s more political. You can get information everywhere.”

He said it’s especially important to use the farm bureau’s resources to educate suburban neighbors who aren’t in touch with what the agriculture community’s needs are.

As part of Saturday’s program, the Grundy County Farm Bureau presented state Rep. John Anthony, R-Plainfield, and state Rep. Kate Cloonen, D-Kankakee, with the Friend of Agriculture Award for their legislative support of the agricultural community.

“Agriculture is important. It’s the fiber of Illinois,” Anthony said. “It is in so many aspects of our lives, from food to energy.”

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