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Farm families support ag exhibit

Farm families support ag exhibit

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NORMAL - John Feit and his five brothers and sisters were raised on the family farm south of Meadows.

"Dad farmed until he was 72," said Feit, who is retired from Evergreen FS and now is in farm real estate.

So contributing to the AgMazing exhibit at the Children's Discovery Museum seemed natural.

"We decided it would be nice on behalf of mom and dad (Bernard and Lucille Feit) to make a donation," Feit said.

The family was one of many in the agriculture community to help make the $800,000 exhibit a reality.

"It was funded almost entirely by the agriculture community," said museum manager Shari Buckellew.

The total fund-raising goal was $1 million. Buckellew said that goal is only $50,000 short of being a reality. The additional money will be used for programming and other components.

The museum received two grants - $175,000 from the state's Public Museum Capital Grants Program and $130,000 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services Museums for America grant program.

The majority of the rest came from 145 people and agriculture businesses and associations in the area.

The top donors were the Illinois Farm Bureau, Country Insurance & Financial Services, Growmark - $75,000 cash and $25,000 in videos and pictures; the McLean County Farm Bureau Foundation - $100,000; the University of Illinois Extension Foundation agriculture literacy program - $100,000; and the U of I College of Agriculture - $50,000.

Mike Swartz of the McLean County Farm Bureau said the U of I Extension Foundation also will match local individual contributions to the exhibit.

Other key contributors include: the Children's Discovery Museum Guild, Monsanto, Prairie Farms, Ameren and the American Midwest Dairy Association (donations between $25,000 and $49,999); Commerce Bankshares and William Kempter Foundation, Paul Funk Foundation, Pioneer and Evergreen FS (between $10,000 and $24,999); and CoBank, the Feit family, First Farm Credit Services, Illinois Soybean Association, Kelly Sauder Rupiper Equipment Co. and John Deere, (between $5,000 and $9, 999).

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