GROWING YOUR ROOTS • Meet Raymond Director Joe Pope

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The 12th wettest July on record for Illinois has crops looking pretty good for the month of August. Recent rains this month have also been a blessing. For our August column we’ll visit with a Farm Bureau member from Raymond Township. 

Joe Pope has served on the Montgomery County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for the past several years.  He is involved with the family farm, Pioneer Seed business, and a small trucking company.  During our chat, Joe said things are looking pretty good on the north end of the county. “It was a very nice spring for the most part. We were dry about two to three weeks ago in different parts of the county and I think everybody got at least two to three inches of rain. Some might have had too much, but right now things look fantastic.” Joe expects harvest to start around the middle of September in his area. 

The Pope family farm and businesses have seen changes over the years. Joe has been a part of several of those. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1967 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. After college, he went to work for Fiat-Allis in Springfield, and later returned to the family farm in the Raymond-Harvel area after his father passed. Joe said the businesses have expanded over the years and he’s been able to see his sons get involved. 

“It’s difficult to let go of that reins and give it to somebody else, but as it turned out, when I’ve given it to other people it’s worked out better,” he said. “They’ve done a better job than I was able to do and it’s really been great. My sons have done a great job.”  

One of the final questions I asked Joe was what he has enjoyed the most about serving as a Farm Bureau Director. He shared with me that his involvement with the board began because someone asked him if he was interested. He thought he wanted to help be a voice for farmers and he’s enjoyed working with such a diverse group. 

“Montgomery County is a unique county,” he noted. “It’s large, there is quite a contrast in different farming operations from north to south. We’ve seen the livestock industry almost completely disappear in our area except for the hog barns, so it’s really interesting to talk to directors who are in Montgomery County, but they still have different problems than where I farm.” 

In other exciting Farm Bureau news, we have a new local discount! Farm Bureau members can now receive 10 percent off their purchase at Nokomis Gift and Garden. Lola and Tom Spears have a wonderful selection of plants and floral arrangements as well as other items in the gift shop. They are located at 123 Morgan Street in Nokomis. This discount cannot to be used with any other specials or discounts. Stop by and check out what they have to offer! 

I also wanted to share that we are hosting a frozen meal order as a fundraiser for our scholarship program. This year we awarded six $2,000 scholarships to local students. We want to continue offering these awards well into the future, and this fundraiser will help us do just that. The meal order is through Prep Freeze Cook. There is no shopping, prep work, or clean up; you just stick the pan in the oven and dinner is served! The order form can be found on our website and Facebook page. You can also call the office to request a copy by mail. The order includes ten meals that you choose to serve either two or five people. Meal pick up will be on Thursday, Sept. 3. 

Thanks for taking time to grow your roots in local agriculture and Farm Bureau. See you next month! 

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