MAHOMET — Farm Credit Services of Illinois will sponsor presentations by farm-safety experts Friday in preparation for National Farm Safety and Health Week next week.
Bob Aherin, agricultural safety and health program leader and Illinois AgrAbilty program director at the University of Illinois, and Dave Newcomb, ag rescue program manager at the Illinois Fire Service Institute, will speak at the 10 a.m. kickoff event at the Mahomet office.
Also speaking will be two members of the Paxton-Buckley-Loda FFA, who will discuss their chapter's farm-safety outreach program.
During the 12-month period concluding June 30, Illinois had the lowest number of farm-related deaths in 35 years.
Of deaths that did occur, tractor run-overs or roll-overs and roadway conditions were the cause of eight of the 12 farm-related deaths.
Figures from the U.S. Department of Labor indicate the agricultural sector had the highest fatal injury rate of any industry. During 2012, a total of 475 fatalities were documented.
In coming weeks, more than 80 Illinois farm families will be served complimentary "Meals in the Field" by Farm Credit Services of Illinois, said President and CEO Dave Owens.
"As the long and hectic harvest days quickly approach, we will remind farmers during these meals to make the health and safety of their families and themselves a priority," Owens said.
"It pays in the long run to slow down enough to take breaks, drink plenty of water and stay alert while operating farm machinery," he added.
3 Lake Land students awarded startup funds
MATTOON — Three Lake Land College ag-business majors have been chosen to get $25,000 each as part of a business startup initiative established by Champaign-based Pfister Seeds.
Josie Fruhling of St. Joseph, Brennen Diessen of Pocahontas and William Klinger of Clay City were chosen from nearly 20 Lake Land students interviewed by Pfister.
Each of the three will get $12,000 the first year, $8,000 the second year and $5,000 the third year. Pfister Seeds will also offer guidance to help the students start their businesses.
"Our goal was to find students with an entrepreneurial spirit who had the desire to stay on the farm," said Blake Noland, college recruitment lead for Pfister. "The funding will allow these students to purchase the resources necessary to begin their own seed sales business."
The three students completed an internship with Pfister from March to July. As part of the "supervised occupational experience," they established a customer base near their hometowns, sold seed corn to customers and followed up with them throughout the growing season.
Open house set at Houchin Family Alpacas
HEYWORTH — Houchin Family Alpacas, an alpaca breeding business in southern McLean County, is inviting the public to visit its farm Sept. 28-29 during National Alpaca Farm Days.
Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are native to the Andes mountains of South America. There are now more than 160,000 alpacas in North America.
During the free open house — from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 28 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 29 — the public can feed the alpacas and see spinning and fiber demonstrations.
Adult alpacas generally weigh 150 to 200 pounds and are shorn every 12 to 18 months, producing 5 to 10 pounds of fiber.
The Houchin farm is at 16708 E. 400 N Road northeast of Heyworth — about 9 miles west of LeRoy and 7 miles southwest of Downs.