Monday, July 30, 2012

Hats off to Funk Farms

I wanted to share this awesome accomplishment by a family who I consider to be my own!  Congrats Dan and Kathy!

Originally posted by the Illinois Beef Association

Dan Koons of Funk Farms Trust
Picture courtesy of Summit Livestock Facilities
Funk Farms Trust, located in Shirley, Ill., was recognized as a 2012 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winner during the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo. Funk Farms Trust is the Region III ESAP award winner and will compete with six other regional winners for the national ESAP award, which will be announced during the 2012 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Tampa, Fla. The ESAP award is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); U.S. Fish and Wildlife; the National Cattlemen’s Foundation; and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

According to a nomination by the Illinois Beef Association, conservation of the land and efficient utilization of the resources have been a long time priority at Funk Farms Trust, which is managed by Dan and Kathy Koons. The Funk Farm Trust is one of the oldest farms in Illinois, dating back to 1824. Presently, Funk Farms Trust encompasses 2,175 acres, of which 1,700 acres are used for corn and soybean production.

Funk Farms Trust has worked with many organizations to improve the environmental quality of their operation, including the USDA NRCS, the McLean County Soil Conservation Service, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Conservation and stewardship measures taken by the farm include establishing 35 miles of waterways and 25 miles of terraces to prevent soil erosion, establishing grass along hedge rows, recycling nutrients back into fields by utilizing a feedlot and handling manure through composting.

Preserving hedge rows and buffer areas throughout farm is required at Funk Farms Trust. The farm uses hedgerows to help improve air quality by diminishing wind and airborne dust and pollutant distribution. These hedge rows also address water quality issues by filtering and slowing rainfall, allowing runoff to percolate slowly into the soil and water table.

“Funk Farms has always been a shining example of what conservation and stewardship could be and should be on farms and feedlots in the Midwest,” said Steven L. Foglesong, owner of Black Gold Ranch and Feedlot, and past NCBA President. “Funk Farms has always been willing to try new technology in their conservation efforts and then share the results with others as is evidenced by the many open houses and field days held there over the years. Dan and Kathy have always been willing to open their doors and be advocates for not only the beef industry but the rest of agriculture as well.” Through a dedication to responsible environmental practices and conservation, NCBA has represented America’s cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef.

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF) advances the future of the beef industry by assisting in the education of the next generation of beef industry professionals. For more information, visit

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Food, Think!

I attended a conference today for work.  Since I work in the ag industry, this was a conference centered around agriculture.  I have been so busy the last few weeks I hadn't really had a chance to look at the agenda before actually showing up at the conference.  Once there, I took a peak at it and one speaker stood out to me, Cassie Payne Webb. 

Cassie grew up with an urban childhood, attended college at Vanderbilt University and was a school teacher in Brooklyn, NY.  She readily admits she was a believer of all things Michael Pollan and had MANY questions about the safety of our food supply.  She went on to get her Masters Degree at Texas A&M University in Animal Science.  She now understands the degree of safety and system of checks and balances the U.S. food supply undergoes and is now advocating for the industry! 

Check out her blog, Food, Think!  Cassie does a great job at getting right to the heart of the matter of food safety and dispells a lot of the myths that are out there.  It goes to show that first-hand experience is the best way to change someone's opinion.  If someone is willing to learn, we should be willing to teach.  Let people come to your farms and answer the questions that they have. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fancy Footwork

This cool cat is celebrating a birthday today....

He's the funniest, strongest, most supportive and just all around greatest dad out there.  Coudn't have made you better if I built you myself. Love you Pops!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


What do you think?  My vote is with ingenuity.


A pro-gun group claims it flipped the script on Chicago's firearms buyback program by selling old, broken rifles to the city and then using the money to buy guns and ammo for an NRA-sponsored shooting camp for kids.

"Guns Save Life," based in Champaign, Ill., recently sold 60 firearms to the Chicago Police Department -- 10 of which were manufactured before 1898 -- in exchange for $6,240 in gift cards, according to group president John Boch. The sale also included five BB guns and a rickety pump-action shotgun that was held together by duct tape and zip ties, he said.

"They recognized it for the junk it was," Boch said of the sale. "At one of the locations, one of the detectives was very tenacious ... And hit the guys with a flurry of questions like 'Where the hell did you get these, from a graveyard?' "

But the department carried out the transaction anyway, and the organization used the proceeds to fund the youth shooting camp. Boch said the money earned is being used to buy rifles and ammunition for an annual summer camp held at Darnall Gun Works & Ranges in Bloomington, Ill.

"The real delicious irony here is that the city of Chicago is paying for rifles that we're giving away to young people as part of this camp," Boch told "The program was intended to get unwanted and unused guns off the street to make the community safer. We provided them unused and unwanted guns."

Unwanted, because "they just didn't work."

Chicago's gun turn-in program, dubbed "Don't Kill a Dream, Save a Life," was implemented with the goal of removing dangerous weapons from the street. The program claims on its website that a "gun in the home is more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide or unintentional shooting than in self-defense." The initiative cites alarming statistics on its website to bolster its argument -- such as the claim that "States with the highest levels of gun ownership have 114 percent higher firearm homicide rates and 60 percent higher homicide rates than states with the lowest gun ownership."

The police department accused Boch's group of "abusing" a program intended to fight Chicago's crime rate.

"The amount of gun violence in Chicago is simply unacceptable and the impact of gun violence is far reaching," the police department said in a statement. "There's a ripple effect following every shooting incident that we all feel. We host the Gun Turn-In event on an annual basis to encourage residents to turn in their guns so that we take firearms off our streets and it's unfortunate that this group is abusing a program intended to increase the safety of our communities.”

But Boch used his group's sale to mock the effectiveness of the city's program, saying, "Just look at the murder rate in Chicago – is it working?"

"There’s a heavy police presence at every one of those turn in locations," he continued. "What criminal is going to submit themselves to that kind of police scrutiny for a couple hundred bucks?"
"Guns Save Life" said it sold its firearms to the city on June 23. For every gun sold, the group received $100 in the form of Visa debit card, Boch said. They received $10 for each BB gun.

The youth camp, which caters to children ages 9 to 16 and is sponsored by the National Rifle Association, "teaches the next generation how much fun shooting sports are and how to handle guns safely," he said.