Pastor Rick Warren: God says you are capable

God Says You Are Capable
By Rick Warren — Mar 21, 2018

Franklin County Farm Bureau News

Franklin County Farm Bureau News –

Gay Bowlin, Manager

Spring is here – now let the good weather begin and farming will be on the fast track. With that being said  –   you will begin seeing these signs around the county soon and if you would like to pick one up for yourself just stop in at the office and we will get you one.

Anhydrous is being put on now and farmers have been and will be when the rain stops – spreading and spraying fertilizer. Several area farmers are also taking care of the wheat that is still in the fields.

I know that the sign says “Start Seeing Farmers” but what it really means is “Drive Safely” – remember that we have to share the roadways with big equipment and we want everyone to be safe.

Things have changed a lot over the past 20 years for farmers. Technology on tractors that was once a shot in the dark is now a much appreciated reality. From auto-steer to field mapping, these are making it easier for farmers to get the crops in and out of the fields.

  Marketing Myths on PORK – BEEF – POULTRY

Antibiotic free: All pork, beef and poultry is your grocery store is antibiotic free.

Gluten free: There is no gluten (a grain product) in pork, beef or poultry

GMO-free: There is no GMO in pork, beef or poultry

Hormone-Free: Added hormones are not allowed in raising pork and poultry – however, all animals have hormones but the USDA allows the label “raised without hormones” to indicate that no extra hormones were given to the animal

For those of you who ordered smoked pork loin from out Young Leaders they would like to say a big thank you. They sold over 50 loins and have close to $1,300 for their scholarships.  If you have not already applied for the Farm Bureau and the Young Leaders Scholarships either call the office at 435-3616 or stop by – applications are due on April 5th.

The TV Show “Small Town Big Deal” which airs in our area on KBSI and WDKA – FOX on Saturday 7 am and Sunday at 6 am. “Small Town Big Deal “ has added a new section to their website. If you go to the last tab to the right is “Small Town Big Heart”.

Rodney Miller and Jann Carl are using this as a platform to help fundraise for people across the nation who have extra special needs. The first fundraising commercial was filmed right here in Franklin County to help to benefit Makanda Williams from Ewing who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer known as DIPG. Some of you might know her facebook page “MakandaStrong”.

The commercials will air during the weekly shows and on their website and hopefully will help in raising funds for the people who are highlighted. We hope that this brings even more awareness to DIPG and helps to raise money for Makanda’s treatments.

The primary election is over and now the real works for those who have been put on the ballot for the general election in November.  If you think that there have been a ton of ads on TV and radio thus far – just wait. Now the real work begins for these people so expect even more mailing and even phone calls for the next 7 months.

Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.


Pastor Rick Warren: God says you are accepted

God Says You Are Accepted
By Rick Warren — Mar 19, 2018

The Bost Bulletin

Congressman Mike Bost’s weekly update.

Here’s the link.

Steelworkers love Congressman Bost … but won’t take him home to meet folks

U.S. Congressman Mike Bost was all smiles last week as President Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on imported steel.


Here’s the editorial in the Belleville News-Democrat.

Pastor Rick Warren: Working Together, We Can Accomplish More

Working Together, We Can Accomplish More
By Rick Warren — Mar 15, 2018

Pastor Rick Warren: ‘Do You Have a Safety Net?’

Do You Have a Safety Net?
By Rick Warren — Mar 16, 2018


That’s what they used to call it: on-the-job training. In the professional discipline of architecture, it was common for people to become architects by being an apprentice in an architectural office. After 12 years of apprenticeship, a candidate could sit for a state licensing examination—on-the-job training leading to professional certification.

Over time, a combination of formal education and apprenticeship became the norm. Currently a professional degree, typically a Master of Architecture and two years of internship experience (aka apprenticeship) followed by an examination, is required. This hand-in-glove relationship between formal education and on-the-job training is a powerful one-two punch to prepare people for productive careers in fields ranging from architecture to zoology.   Internships and apprenticeships, mandatory or voluntary, paid or unpaid, are important topics of discussion on many university campuses – including what components make internships most valuable.

The combination of formal training with internships in contrast to a more traditional apprenticeship with little classroom exposure is growing. In 2014, President Obama wanted apprenticeships to grow 100% in five years so that by 2019 there would be 750,000 apprentices. President Trump has also authorized a $200 million increase to apprenticeship programs. This issue is nonpartisan and originates from skilled worker shortages nationwide, especially in the fields of construction, healthcare and information technology. The distinction between skilled worker and manager is diminishing. Rather than white or blue collar, light blue is becoming the destination color.

Many college students say hands-on work is “very” satisfying. The intellectual ability to identify, diagnose and solve problems comes in many forms and is in high demand.  Inspired education and training allows students to gain experience applicable in any setting. Joseph E. Aoun, in Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, says that anyone who creates a new “thing” or process becomes invaluable in the marketplace as well as “robot-proof.”

Internships and apprenticeships create appreciation for the consequence of a hierarchy.  Organizations are not flat, pancake-like structures. Not everyone is equal. Operational workplaces have workers and decision makers functioning with different roles dispersed throughout. In addition, both up and down the chains of command, accountability and effectiveness flow in both directions. This may be the most important lesson that anyone learns in any work setting. Unlike a college classroom, which is a pancake-like structure where all students are equal and guided by a single faculty member, the workplace demands complex interdependencies. Effective leaders and workers understand this interdependency as necessary to accomplish goals. In formal educational settings, the abilities and accomplishments of an individual are typically elevated above collaboration, as they should be. This makes the combination of the workplace and the schoolhouse powerful.

The apprenticeship model, with indentured servitude mindsets embedded in history, is just that—a historical artifact. Apprentices were functionally important and produced goods or services of value. Today, too many internships rely on and count shadowing, watching and observation as “work.” Such experiences do provide insight and knowledge, but very little experience with the real responsibility for the production of goods, ideas or services; in a word—work. Room to Grow: Identifying New Frontiers for Apprenticeship, from Burning Glass Technologies reinforces the impact of apprenticeships and their contribution to individuals and industries.

Effective universities build more opportunities to incorporate on-the-job training in both apprenticeship and internship settings as a pedagogical extension of the classroom. All areas of study would benefit from a model of internship/apprenticeship that combines learning and doing. Providing enough mentors and meaningful experiences for students to bridge the gap between learning about something and working is a challenge.

Many institutions and corporations provide unpaid internships, which seem to be a “win-win” situation. However, the model falls short because of the old adage, “You don’t value what you don’t pay for.” An unpaid worker, not to be confused with a volunteer (another subject altogether), provides questionable value to both the individual and the organization beyond networking—important for sure but not a substitute for work.

There is little, serious argument about whether or not either of these experiences contribute to positive knowledge and insights and future employment. One study at Southwestern University showed that 13% of the students engaged in internships were more likely to find employment. One in three of the students engaged in internships were “very happy” with the experience. In the African-American and Latino student populations, over 70% of the students were so positive regarding work experiences as part of the curriculum that they believed on-the-job training should be required. These observations were from a survey of 50,000 college students and graduates.

Internships and apprenticeships have amplified value when the student is engaged in real work that depends on and grows from the classroom learning experience at the university. Benefit is chrome plated when there is tangible output from the labor. That is what people should mean when they say on-the-job training.

Franklin County Farm Bureau News

From Franklin County Farm Bureau Manager, Gay Bowlin

BENTON – Spring is coming – but not soon enough – with the cold and some snow this past weekend it seems like it will take forever for warm weather to get here. Before long we will be seeing combines on the roads and I want to make sure that everyone remembers that they are Slow Moving Vehicles and to Share the Roadways.

Also, another reminder is to NOT text and drive – whether you are in a car, truck, tractor or combine it is illegal and dangerous. SAFETY IS OUR MAIN CONCERN.

Identity theft topped the list of consumer complaints filed to the Illinois Attorney General’s office in 2017. Most of the 2,500 complaints involved the unauthorized usage of credit cards through cyber-attacks. Just be careful when ordering online and/or giving your credit card information out.

COUNTRY Financial Representatives in West Frankfort – Adrienne Mason and Gavin Suver – had a pancake breakfast last Saturday at their new location in the VF Factory Mall. They asked Franklin County Young Leaders and Franklin County 4-H members to come in a help serve and clean up. The pancake breakfast was free but they received donations for both of these groups. The money that will be given to the Young Leaders will help on Scholarships this year. We want to thank Adrienne and Gavin for their support.

Franklin County Young Leaders Pork Loin Sale





½ LOIN – $35             FULL LOIN – $50


Orders must be in by March 21


The Foundation Scholarship and the Young Leaders Scholarships are available to anyone attending a post-secondary school to study in an agriculture related field.  All applicants must be a resident of Illinois and must be a Franklin County Farm Bureau Member or dependent in good standing.

The Foundation and the Young Leaders will both award scholarships based on: Academic performance and honors, rank in class, ACT/SAT score, community involvement, demonstrating an interest in agriculture and/or agribusiness, character and personality, maturity, intellectual interest, moral character and demonstration of leadership skills.

Applications must be returned to the Franklin County Farm Bureau no later than April 5, 2018 to be eligible for consideration for the 2018 scholarships.

Applications are available now and can be picked up the at the Franklin County Farm Bureau Building at 1210 Highway 14 West in Benton send to you by email. Call the office at (618) 435-3616 if you have any questions.

Franklin County Ag in the Classroom (AITC) has been very busy helping to promote the IL Reads Book Festival held on March 10th, 2018 at the DuQuoin High School in Perry County.  The Franklin County AITC Coordinator, Melissa Lamczyk, gave away one book to every school district in Franklin County.  A box was placed in each school district for teachers to enter their name in the drawing.  The drawing was for one of the highlighted books, “Popcorn Astronauts”, at the book festival.

A book was given to Akin Grade School 5th Grade, St John’s Catholic School in West Frankfort Pre-K, Denning Kindergarten in West Frankfort, Ewing Grade School Kindergarten, Thompsonville Christian Junior Academy, Sesser-Valier Grade School, Thompsonville Grade School and to Christopher and Zeigler Libraries.

Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

What Do I Owe Parents?

I daily take in and reflect on student expectations of our university. I speak with parents and guardians less frequently, though I owe them a great deal. While the step-out-of-the-nest for the student is a “big deal,” it is also a challenging transition for parents. Here is a catalog of parental ponderings.

A 2015 study by Noodle reveals a few parental preoccupations. There is considerable and justifiable heartburn over costs. Concern about whether or not a child will complete a degree, questions regarding the selection of a major, starting salaries and academic performance are all priority concerns. Parents agonize over whether or not the college is a good fit for their child. College leaders fuss and fret over the U.S. News & World Report rankings, yet only one in five parents care about rankings. Parents like the idea that their student might finish college in four years, but 40% recognize that is unlikely. Fear over a student incurring debt for the family grows. Costs to the student are one thing, but parents taking on second mortgages to send their child to college brings a completely different set of concerns. Intergenerational educational debt is particularly vexing, especially when bankruptcy courts rarely discharge student loans. A degree, or a portion thereof, cannot be repossessed.

Coupled with this lengthy list of concerns, parents want a safe environment. Eighty percent of families are worried about sexual assaults on campuses. Four decades of drastically altered views of human sexuality and what constitutes appropriate behavior between men and women have taken a toll on the public understanding and morality in relationships. Alcohol abuse is frequently present in cases of sexual assault, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Embedded in all of these concerns is a growing lack of trust regarding universities and institutional ability to provide an environment conducive to learning. I am not talking about “safe spaces” where protection from various ideas exist; that perspective is antithetical to our purpose. We strive to create spaces safe for ideas, not from ideas. Both the U.S. Constitution and effective universities share this mission.

Some of what I owe parents:

Transparency – Cardinal John Henry Newman captured the role of a university in this unpretentious statement: “Accordingly, in its simple and rudimental form, it is a school of knowledge of every kind, consisting of teachers and learners from every quarter.” I need to serve all who come calling when they demonstrate sincerity and a commitment to purpose and are prepared to work toward academic excellence.  

Honest Cost-Benefit AnalysisThe New York Times, and countless publications of every sort, provide generic assessments of the costs and benefits of university attendance. However, these overgeneralized prognostications fail individuals. Parents care about single students, not randomized data points. The value of a given degree from a particular institution to a particular student is absent. I owe every student and parent a specific assessment of individualized value to the best of our institutional ability.

Likelihood of Success – Students enter universities with a history. While history is an imperfect predictor of the future, it is available and I should use it. If a student comes from high school with a “C” average and minimally acceptable college preparation, I need to help that student and family appreciate the “odds” on the likelihood of successful degree completion—be an educational handicapper of sorts. This is essential, even if not always a “pretty picture.” It may not be encouraging. “Curve breakers” show up as the exceptions that prove the rule, but these represent a miniscule portion of the population, e.g., Gates, Zuckerberg, Turner, Pitt, Winfrey, Jobs, Disney, Lincoln…

Safety – Campus safekeeping creates anxiety for parents. There are data available from the U.S. Department of Education and those warrant study, but more importantly families must sense that an institution is committed to a safe and secure learning environment. Canyon, Texas, is rated as a very safe campus community—number 12 nationally. Ask the hard questions of a specific campus. Do not trust the data alone. Trust also your heart. Coupled with the data, trust what you see in the place.

Growth in Personal Responsibility – An institution cannot guarantee moral decision-making, nor can a church, temple or synagogue. Rather, it is a personal understanding and exercise of free will and its limits. St. Paul said it clearly in his letter to the church at Rome: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Our university should encourage thoughtful and reflective understanding of each individual’s place in the world and the role of self-determination in establishing that foundation.

I owe parents an honest expression of what our university can do. I also owe them an honest expression of what it cannot do.

Walter V. Wendler is President of West Texas A&M University. His reflections are available at