Down on the Farm: State Fair

August 23, 2012

August 23, 2012

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the Renewable Fuels Association, Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I am back from a week at the farm and the Illinois State Fair. I want to review what took place at the Fair. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a Proclamation naming the Illinois State Department of Agriculture building the John Block Illinois Department of Agriculture Building. Never in my lifetime did I imagine that I would have a building named after me. I am still trying to get in my brain just what happened. I wake up in the morning and pinch myself to see if I am dreaming.

Let me just say, how, as I did at the ceremony, how humbled and appreciative I am. Thank you to my State Representative from my county and a farm neighbor, Don Moffitt, for working to get this done. Thank you to State Senator Darin LaHood. I would not want to leave out Governor Jim Thompson who, back in 1976, took a chance and chose an Illinois pig farmer to serve as his State Director of Agriculture. And four years later, with the support from Governor Thompson and Senator Bob Dole, President Reagan asked a “hands on farmer” to serve as his U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

I have been very fortunate to have had support along the way from family, friends, and good people working for me. I know that timing and luck played a role. I am very grateful and intend to continue to support this great ag industry and rural America. My roots run deep in this black land soil.

After the event on the State Fair grounds, I spent the rest of the week at the farm. The soy beans look good. I expect an average yield. The corn, however, has been hurt by the drought. It was obvious to me that continuous corn really has suffered. We don’t have near as much land in continuous corn as we used to. We will continue to rotate soy beans into the mix. I think our corn this year will be better than last year’s. Last year’s corn was hurt by too much rain.

Our pigs are not as happy as they have been. They are discouraged because prices have crashed. They don’t feel appreciated.

In a week or two, we’ll start harvesting and then we’ll really know how good or bad the crop is.

In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.