Mondays back from vacation are always hectic. Throw in a farm bureau trip to “Elf” on Sunday, our regular board meeting Monday night and our annual meeting Tuesday night, and you know how that makes a person feel. That makes me feel thankful! I am thankful for my amazing family around me and a job I love. I would like to thank all the kind people who have sent me cards or just stopped in with a hug or words of encouragement. It is always wonderful to know your efforts are appreciated.

Also, a huge thank you the board of directors for allowing me the opportunity to step up during this interim period. Bruce is somewhat of a legend in Stephenson County and has big shoes to fill. Even though I hate the circumstances surrounding this opportunity, I have learned so much and had some great experiences.

Our annual meeting held in conjunction with Stephenson Service on Nov. 20 had about 80 people in attendance. Besides an annual year in review for both organizations, those in attendance enjoyed pie and a presentation on the Ag Program at Highland Community College. Thank you, Justin Ebert and Monica Pierce, for working with area businesses and working toward educating our local students for local employment opportunities!

And, of course, these skills can be used most anywhere. Steve Rothschadl was recognized as Country Financial Agent of the Year in Stephenson County. Steve registered the most members between Sept. 1, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2018.

In December, we are holding a new membership contest. Register a new member with us and you get a chance to win a $50 gift card to the local restaurant of your choice. One new associate member gets you one entry into the contest and one new voting or professional member gets you two entries into our contest. The discounts associated with membership in the Stephenson County Farm Bureau and the Illinois Farm Bureau make this an excellent Christmas gift.

We currently have Terri Lynn nuts and candy for sale in our office. When we take the orders, we order in full cases. We sell these extras on a first-come, first-serve basis. For the best selection, stop in soon. We have pecans, pistachios, trail mix, cranberry granola, almonds and a variety of chocolate treats. All make great Christmas gifts, or just a treat to yourself. Prices range from $9 to $12.

We have the 2019 schedule for the Fireside Dinner Theatre, and Dec. 4 marks the day we can request Brewers/Cubs tickets from Milwaukee stadium. Watch for updates here, on Facebook and on our new website. You should see flyers with pricing for many of our 2019 trips by mid-December.

Speaking of trips, Tony with Lindstrom Travel will be having a preview meeting on two trips to areas around California. The trips are next June and July. The preview meeting is at 6 p.m. Nov. 29. Tony does not think the devastating wildfires in California now will have any impact on the trips next summer.

If anyone wants the address to send Bruce and Andrea Johnson a card, please give our office a call. They so appreciate the notes and Bruce has the beginnings of an entire wall of cards! Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

As we traveled to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, on Sunday, you could see that many more of the crops have been harvested. You still see an occasional corn or soybean field still standing. Many farmers are trying to get into the harvested fields to chisel. Local farm service companies also have slow moving and large equipment on our roadways. Slow down and share the road.