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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2007

State Agriculture Employees Honored For Outstanding Service

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The creator of the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s online hay directory has been awarded the agency’s top individual honor. 

Jerry Millburg, a Litchfield resident who works for the Market News Service, was presented the Director’s Achievement Award today at the department’s 29th annual Employee Awards Ceremony.

“In essence, what Jerry has created is a more efficient hay market,” Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said.  “He recognized a need for information about the pricing and availability of hay and developed a web-based resource that brings together buyers and sellers in a competitive marketplace.”

The hay directory was launched in 2003, but its value is just now becoming apparent.

“Because of extreme weather patterns, Illinois and surrounding states are experiencing a shortage of hay and pasture,” Hartke added.  “The hay directory gives producers a place to turn when they can’t find a local supplier.”     

In addition to the directory, Millburg also is responsible for starting three, new, weekly hay auction reports.  He compiles data received from field reporters that he helped train to cover auction sites in Arthur, Shelbyville and Bethalto, adds his own expert analysis and issues weekly market updates that have been positively received by livestock producers, hay suppliers and the media alike.

Employees of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Compliance Section won the Commitment to Quality Award. They were honored for their extraordinary efforts to make sure meat and poultry products were safe and properly marked for consumption after one of their colleagues was called to active duty in Iraq Security officer David Johnston was presented the Assistant Director’s Fellowship Award.  Johnston, of Middletown, was honored for his positive attitude, warm spirit and enthusiasm to help others.

Meat inspector James Deterding of Red Bud won the 2007 Ag Ambassador Award.  Deterding, whose work has earned him the respect and admiration of co-workers, was described as a “true ambassador for the Department of Agriculture, in general, and consumers, in particular.”

The Ron King Award for Efficiency went to Linda Rhodes, a Chesterfield resident and assistant to the general counsel.  Co-workers cited her outstanding work habits when nominating her for the award. 

“Linda not only conducts herself in a most professional manner, but also maintains an energetic and helpful attitude toward others,” they said.  “Her positive inspiration and straight-forward approach make her uniquely qualified to receive the Ron King Award for Efficiency.”


Thirty-nine employees were honored for 10, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service. A complete list follows:

35 Years
Name Hometown
Robert Dennis   Springfield
Udell Meyer   Edwardsville

30 Years
Name Hometown
Theodore Arnold  Alma
Karen Benning  Harvel
James Cavanaugh  Wonder Lake
Jean Churchill   Springfield
Denis Crivello   Alton
Patrice Fulgenzi  Springfield
Thomas Hutchings  Centralia
Lynda Musselman  Sherman
Lester Wanless  Loami

25 Years
Name Hometown
Katherine Firch  Springfield
Dale Hook   Millington
John Lohse   Rochester
Paula Neal   Gurnee
Tammy Payne   Springfield
Rita Taylor   Pleasant Plains
Thomas Tournear  Dover

20 Years
Name Hometown
Howard Baker   Minonk
Brenda Books   Petersburg
Kenneth Corcoran  Sandwich
William Herrin  Colfax
Michael McCann, Sr.  Milford
Gina Merano   Kincaid
Beth Pokojski   Centralia
Gary Price   Cissna Park
Brenda Shanle   Buffalo
Janet Still   Mt. Sterling
Loren Stone   Marshall
Roy Winbigler   Galesburg


10 Years
Name Hometown
Richard Davis   Ashmore
David Dhom   Newton
Amparo Garza-Lang  Chicago
Edward Gray   Loami
Kimberly Janssen  Lyndon
David Johnston  Middletown
Raymond Ratajczak  Richton Park
Gary Schmidt   Riverton
John Spiller   Mt. Vernon
Roger Vandeburg  Belvidere



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