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  • State’s agricultural mixture showcased
    This south-central Illinois county is not only a microcosm of the state’s diverse agriculture, but also is the home of some key inventions in agriculture and home technologies. 
  • Student-based efforts deliver data to farmers
    Students, farmers, seed dealers and ag retailers continue to reap the benefits of a decision made in this Shelby County seat 65 years ago. It was at that time when the community was planning to construct a new Shelbyville High School building and had the opportunity to buy either 40 or 80 acres. 
  • Hand-shelling to get yield data
    John Rentfrow witnessed the enormous change in crop production over the past few decades at the ground level — with an emphasis on ground. He was hired as Shelbyville High School FFA adviser and ag teacher in 1973. 
  • LaGrange lock and dam creaks along as needs mount
    Bill Cross is not new to showing visitors the wall. He kneels down and points out spots where pieces, chunks, of concrete have broken away. “I’ve done this many times,” he said. 
  • Burrus Seeds stays close to family, Cass County roots
    Tom Burrus’ first job with his family’s company was in weed control. “I started when I was 10. They gave me a hoe, and we had a half-mile row of corn,” said the seed company president. 
  • White squirrels, redtop grass and black gold
    While it isn’t the population center of the United States anymore, Richland County definitely is a center of interest. The 1950 U.S. Census Bureau designated the county in southeastern Illinois as the nation’s mean population center, but the center has since moved westward and now is in Missouri. 
  • Pork producer content staying independent
    The future of pork production may be contract operations in which the farmer doesn’t own his animals, but Steve Weiler is happy living in the present. The Richland County farmer is content to raise his own pigs at the farrow-to-finish operation he shares with his brother, Kenny. 
  • Soil diversity challenges farmers
    Farmers in Henderson County use crop rotations and tillage practices to match the types of soils found in the fields on the western edge of the state. “A lot of the ground I farm has really nice flat, black soils,” said Chad Scott, who farms about 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans near Media. 
  • History of county preserved at museum
    It started with one piece of furniture, and today pieces of history fill five buildings at the Henderson County Historical Society Museum. “We started with one couch on Memorial Day in 1976, and by July 4, we had two and a half rooms of things,” said Jim Cook, museum director. 
  • Unique research farm connects ag, community
    Dudley Smith Jr., always the visionary, looked at the big picture in his thoughts and actions.That trait was no doubt passed down from his father, Col. Dudley Chase Smith, who served as a first lieutenant under Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, was wounded at Shiloh, but rejoined his command three months later. 
 



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