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A Publication of WTVP

Centuries Worth Celebrating
To endure for 100 years or more is no easy task for any organization, whether it’s a business, church, sports team, nonprofit or a farm. Most certainly, that kind of staying power is something to be celebrated. When it comes to honoring Illinois’ agricultural heritage, the state has a number of programs in place.

In 1972, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) created the Centennial Farms and Sesquicentennial Farms programs, honoring those generations of farmers who have maintained family agricultural properties for at least 100 or 150 years, respectively. To earn the Centennial or Sesquicentennial designation, a farm must have been owned by the same family of lineal descendants (children and grandchildren) or collateral descendants (siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews) and still have a viable presence in today’s agricultural world. Applicants who meet the requirements (which include a listing of ancestral owners and third-party verification of genealogical records) receive an official Centennial or Sesquicentennial Farm sign for display at their property, as well as a certificate signed by the governor and the IDOA director.

Family farms meeting these criteria can be found all across Fulton, Knox, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Peoria, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford counties. Together, these nine counties boast 889 of the 9,200+ Centennial Farms and 54 of 600+ Sesquicentennial Farms in the Land of Lincoln. Every Illinois county has at least one Centennial Farm; Champaign County has an impressive 309, the most in the state.

Marshall and Woodford counties boast two of central Illinois’ oldest farms: the Iliff family farm in Washburn and the Schertz farm in Metamora were both purchased in 1831, making them each 183 years old. Tazewell County has this region’s highest number of Centennial Farms—138—while Knox County leads the Sesquicentennial count with 10.

Established in 1902, Cahill Farms in Brimfield is one nearby Centennial Farm that continues to thrive in the 21st century. The family recently established an extensive Suffolk sheep program; Cahill Suffolks began as a hobby in 2009, and now includes the efforts of the entire family in breeding, showcasing and selling Suffolk rams and ewes. Its sheep and lambs have won numerous awards over the last five years.

The next time you’re driving in the country, keep an eye out for the Centennial and Sesquicentennial Farm signs bearing the IDOA emblem—you’ll see more of them than you’d think. iBi

For more information on Centennial and Sesquicentennial Farms, visit agr.state.il.us/marketing/centfarms. For more about Cahill Suffolks, visit cahillsuffolks.com.


Above the Influence of… Facebook?
We all know Facebook can be addictive, and most of us know a few addicts… or are addicted ourselves. But recent trends in social media seem to indicate many Facebook users—mostly Millennials, oddly enough—are kicking the habit. The news website Mashable recently conducted inquiries of the younger generation to determine why they are weaning themselves off the social network. While half of the users with whom they spoke have returned—with reduced activity, that is—the other half quit entirely, and happily describe themselves as “free” of Facebook. Here are the top reasons cited for quitting:

Source: mashable.com.th


Flex Your Green Thumb
The worldwide gardening and outdoor living market is big business—a $220 billion one by the year 2016, according to this year’s Garden Trends Report from Garden Media Group. As spring settles in, be on the lookout for the following hot trends, which are expected to impact consumer gardening habits, both now and in the future.


Building a Rain Garden
On September 8, 2012, the City of Peoria broke ground on a demonstration rain garden near the intersection of MacArthur Highway and Richard Allen Drive, not far from the Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center. The 500-square-foot, six-inch-deep rain garden was initiated by City Treasurer Patrick Nichting and funded by a $6,000 environmental grant from Illinois American Water.

Rain gardens of any size reduce flooding and water pollution by allowing rainwater to enter the ground rather than seeping into the stormwater infrastructure. In addition, they sustain wildlife and beautify the neighborhood while providing an educational opportunity for the community.

Typical rain gardens are shallow depressions, about four to eight inches deep, that require just a bit of loosening of the dirt before planting. Native plants are the best choices for rain gardens, since they have deep roots which promote infiltration and help break up the soil—but many varieties of perennials can be used. They don’t even attract mosquitoes because they normally drain within a day or two.

The City of Peoria Public Works reports that the demonstration rain garden is still being maintained by neighborhood volunteers, as well as drainage consultant Foth Infrastructure & Environment. It contains nearly 500 native perennial plants.

Interested in building your own rain garden? Here are some tips from Peoria Public Works.

Source: peoriagov.org/public-works/public-works-rain-garden


Things are Great… Downtown
Livability.com recently released its picks for the 10 Best Downtowns of 2014, with criteria including population and income growth; housing affordability; home, retail and office vacancy rates; ratio of residents to jobs; unemployment; and the number of people moving into the area. Not too far from us, Indianapolis, Indiana ranked third on the list for its sightseeing opportunities, local architecture, art lifestyles and places for citizens to connect with one another. Fort Worth, Texas and Providence, Rhode Island ranked first and second, respectively. For the complete list, visit livability.com. 

Billion Dollar Brands
Brand Finance US 500 ranks American companies by the net worth of their brands, naming the top 500 most valuable as members of the Billion Dollar Brands Club. The total combined value of the 500 top company brands is $2.5 trillion—and the Land of Lincoln has a substantial piece of the pie. Ranked as the fifth most valuable state by brand value ($125 billion), Illinois’s most valuable brand is McDonald’s at $26 billion, followed by 29 others, including Walgreens, Kraft and Kmart. The nation’s most valuable brand? Apple, valued at $105 billion—the first and only brand to break the $100 billion mark. 

Get Movin’ With the PPD!
The Peoria Park District offers recreational sports classes and leagues for adults year-round, and spring is a great time to get involved and shed some pounds before swimsuit season! Registration is now open for summer sand volleyball leagues at the RiverPlex beginning the week of May 12th. Other opportunities to get some fresh air include golf, basketball, softball and disc golf activities at facilities around town—or hockey leagues, yoga classes and more for the indoor types. Visit peoriaparks.org for more information. iBi

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