February 02, 2023

From the Fields: Keeping connected

Greetings from Stephenson County, where we have survived another fair week. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the county fair once again. The county fair is a great grassroots way to showcase agriculture right in our own backyards. We had typical fair week weather. The first couple days were melt your face off hot and humid. We had rain a couple nights during the week. The rain was a lot heavier in the north. Around the state line, the rainfall totals for the week were around an inch and a half. The fairgrounds and here at our farm, we were around half an inch. We finished off fair week much cooler and less humid. Now that fair week is over and all the events happened, I would welcome a nice inch or so of rain through our area of the county. But the weather forecast for this week doesn’t look too promising for that to happen.

Crops are looking good in the area, but the places that have missed rains are showing stress from the heat and dryness. Wheat and rye are done for the season up this way. Yields on the wheat were varied through the region. I’ve heard both extremes of it being their best wheat yields ever to the worst ever. A late freeze this spring hurt some areas. Lack of moisture at grain fill hurt others. Some were lucky and got moisture that was needed at critical times and missed that late freeze. There simply is no such thing as a normal growing season nor widespread even coverage with rainfall any more.

The invitation to write once again this season came the morning after I was asked at the Midwest Summer Nationals if I wrote in the past for the AgriNews. When I told them, “Yes, that’s me,” they told me they missed the From the Fields feature in the paper earlier this growing season. It’s nice to be back and I look forward to meeting more nice folks like those guys at other events. For those of you new to my writing, as you can tell I am a supporter of county fairs and a tractor pull fan.

I farm with my parents, Keith and Linda, and my dad’s siblings, Idamae and Leon, as Meier Grain and Livestock Farms. We raise corn, soybeans, wheat, rye and alfalfa between Freeport and Ridott in Stephenson County. We also finish out feeder steers and have a custom farming business: strip tilling, planting, chopping and harvesting.

I am a member of the Stephenson County Fair Association, currently serving as Vice President and Entertainment Chair. The county fair was a favorite place and what felt like our family vacation every year. It’s fun to see my fair friends once again and show off the fruits of our labors in ag to the general public that may not be familiar with ag and farming like we are. Less farmers makes that county fair connection to the public even more important each year. Get out and support your county fair. Have that friendly conversation with the folks next to you in the grandstand, the line at your favorite food stand, in the barns, or the carnival. You never know what a positive impact you may have on their perspective of agriculture and farming from one simple interaction.

This week are both Carroll and Jo Daviess County fairs, followed by Boone and then Winnebago. I look forward to taking time to go visit these fairs and enjoy the hard work of their boards, volunteers and staff to bring successful fairs to our region. If you see me, please feel free to say hello, like the guys did this past week at the pulls in Stephenson County. I enjoy hearing about other fairs, your farms and crops. Bonus points if we can talk tractor pulling.

Kim Meier

Kim Meier

Ridott, Ill.