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Miranda Lambert to perform at 2024 Illinois State Fair

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Miranda Lambert to perform at 2024 Illinois State Fair


Another Grammy Award-winning artist has been added to the grandstand lineup for the Illinois State Fair this August. 

Miranda Lambert will be performing at the 2024 Illinois State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17. 

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The fair takes place from Aug. 8-18 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 E. Sangamon Ave., in Springfield.

Tickets go on sale Saturday, March 23 via Ticketmaster. Presale starts Thursday at 10 a.m. and ends Friday at 10 p.m. 

Other artists slated to perform include Keith Urban, the Jonas Brothers, Mötley Crüe, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit along with Jordan Davis.

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For more information, head over to the Illinois State Fair website.



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Illinois State Capitol Reopens After Being Placed On Lockdown For Bomb Threat

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Illinois State Capitol Reopens After Being Placed On Lockdown For Bomb Threat


April 22, 2024

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield was placed on lockdown Sunday after receiving a bomb threat.

Illinois Secretary of State police were called for a bomb threat outside the Capitol, and ordered the lockdown as they conducted a sweep for explosive devices.

The threat was deemed not to be credible, and the Capitol reopened at 1:59 p.m., the Secretary of State’s office said.

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What to know on April 22: This week in Illinois ag

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What to know on April 22: This week in Illinois ag


Last week saw heavy rains across parts of the state, just as many central and southern Illinois farmers had dropped the hammer and planted fast and furious. Here’s a quick look at what to know for the week ahead.

Who got rain

For Illinois farmers who’ve had the planter hooked up and sitting in the machine shed with the door open, the week of April 15 was the week they took off. Planters ran across much of central and southern Illinois. Southern Illinois is far ahead of the curve at this point, and agronomist Kelly Robertson reports corn in Jackson County that’s not only emerged but also has two and three leaves.

Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford says soil temperatures across Illinois regularly hit the 60s and even low 70s during a week that felt like summer. Parts of the state saw a few days over 80 degrees F before temperatures dropped again later in the week. Ford says February, March and April have all been 2 to 5 degrees warmer than normal.

Rain was a good thing, too.

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“Most of the state picked up at least a half-inch of rain last week, and some parts of southern Illinois caught nearly 2 inches,” Ford says. Only far southern Illinois remains drier than normal, while most of northern Illinois has been 1 to 4 inches wetter than normal.

Water tables have rebounded in a big way since the start of the year, and soils are wet to saturated in most places north of Interstate 74.

The tough part? That rain came with severe storms, producing wind and hail. Nearly 60 mile per hour wind gusts took the metal roof off a large building in Wayne County, Ill., and damaged trees across much of southern Illinois. Tornado activity on the evening of April 18 created damage in Latham, Ill., located in Logan County.

This week, Ford says temperatures will be closer to “normal,” with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s. In the last week of April, look for above-normal temperatures — and an active storm track. May forecasts indicate better chances of above-normal temperatures and mixed signals on precipitation.

Government’s message to foreign landowners

The Illinois Farm Service Agency office issued a statement last week reminding foreign farmland investors to check in with the government. Turns out, they are to report land holding and transactions to USDA, per the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act passed in 1978. Foreign investors are supposed to file AFIDA Report Form FSA-153 with the FSA county office in the county where the land is located within 90 days of the transaction.

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Scott Halpin, head of Illinois FSA and a farmer from Gardner, Ill., adds that failure to file a report or filing something that’s late or inaccurate could result in a fine of “up to 25% of the fair market value of the agricultural land.”

This applies on all land holdings of 10 acres or more for agricultural use or timber production, and any leases for 10 years or more. Foreign investors are also supposed to report when a land use change occurs, like going from agricultural to nonagricultural.

Where does the information go? Straight into a report to Congress, which happens annually. You can check out all past reports online.

Good news for gas buyers, corn farmers

On April 18, U.S. EPA announced a temporary waiver for summertime E15 sales to increase fuel supplies, which is supposed to offset supply issues caused by the war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East. A provision in the Clean Air Act allows the administration to temporarily waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages.

E15 sales are normally banned in summer months due to air pollution concerns. This waiver was granted at the request of Midwestern states and applies to Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. That means fuel blends containing 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline will be available throughout the summer in those states.

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Illinois farmers deliver more than 657 million bushels of corn to 13 ethanol plants in the state, which produce 1.84 billion gallons of ethanol.

The catch? It doesn’t take effect until April 2025. That means corn farmers won’t feel the effects of this win for a full year or more. Dave Rylander, IL Corn president and Victoria, Ill., farmer, is quick to point out this is a temporary solution.

“There is a permanent fix for this problem sitting in Congress right now called the Next Generation Fuels Act. The bill permanently fixes this E15 access issue, while also cleaning up our transportation sector by allowing the use of homegrown, renewable fuels,” Rylander explains. “The Next Generation Fuels Act will protect consumer choice to buy the cars you want to buy and have access to the fuels you need, without compromising our country’s greenhouse gas emissions goals.”

Consider running for office

No, not that office. Commodity board offices. The Illinois Soybean Association receives more than $16 million in checkoff funding, and its board is slated with spending that money responsibly. On the corn side, IL Corn collects more than $14 million in checkoff dollars, and its board does the same.

ISA has six seats up for election in 2024, and petitions have to be filed by May 14.

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  • District 2: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, McHenry, Will

  • District 10: Christian, DeWitt, Macon, Moultrie, Shelby

  • District 11: Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Piatt

  • District 14: Clark, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Jasper

  • District 16: Clay, Edwards, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, White

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  • District 17: Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Washington

Board terms are three years, and you can serve three terms. File a petition with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which includes signatures from at least 250 farmers in the district. Email Dustin Scott at ISA for a petition or call 309-846-3673.





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Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Welch travels to Washington on fundraising trip

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Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Welch travels to Washington on fundraising trip


WASHINGTON — Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is in the nation’s capital for major fundraising — targeting organized labor contributions — and to attend a Sunday memorial for nationally known Illinois union leader Ed Smith.

On Monday afternoon, Welch raises money for his People for Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch committee, with the ask ranging from $1,000 for a ticket to $68,500, the contribution limit, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections, for a political action committee per election cycle.

The event, at the Washington Hilton, is timed to coincide with the North America’s Building Trades Unions 2024 legislative conference and is taking place at the same hotel. Illinois state Treasurer Mike Frerichs is scheduled to speak to the conference Tuesday.

The hosts for the Welch event are Eric Dean, president of the International Union of Iron Workers; Tim Drea, president of the Illinois Federation of Labor; Mike Macellaio, president of the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council; James Gardiner, president of the Iron Workers District Council of Chicago; and Bob Reiter, president of the Chicago Federal of Labor.

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The People for Emanuel ‘Chris Welch committee had a cash-on-hand balance of $7,271,044.07 as of March 31, according to the committee’s latest report, posted April 15.

Welch’s political spokesperson, TaQuoya McConnico, said House members from Illinois who are expected to attend Welch’s funder in Washington include Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee; Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora; and Rep. Mike Kelly, D-Chicago.

Ed Smith, who died in January, was the chairman and chief executive of Ullico Inc., the Laborer’s Union life insurance company.

Welch to replace Yarbrough in township political post

In Chicago on Monday, Welch is expected to be appointed by the Cook County Democratic Party as the new Provisio Township committeeman, taking the place of Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, who died earlier this month.

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