Connections Covers

Then and Now – A look back at some of our favorite covers of farm kids

This year marks the 10th year for our CONNECTIONS magazine, a membership publication of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. Previous publications were newspapers or newsletters (Point of View, The Farmer’s Point of View, DeKalb County Farmer) dating back to the early beginnings of the organization.

We thought it would be fitting to feature a few covers from the past at the same time as our Cover Design Contest for school children.

Farm Bureau staff has chosen the July 2014 cover of the Clausen boys and the June 2015 cover of the Heinsohn children to show the striking contrast and see the changes which have occurred in their young farm lives.

The Clausens

In 2014 – All three Clausen boys were in school at Sycamore. They showed their pigs and cattle at the 4-H and FFA Fairs, and helped their father, Jeff, with grain and livestock. Their mom, Anna, assisted with their school and other activities.

Jared, 11, was in 6th grade. He was in traveling soccer and won the Bucket Calf Class at the 4-H Fair that year.

Chase, 16, was a junior and heavily involved in FFA, including being plot manager. He was making plans to go to the University of Illinois.

Justin, 18, had recently finished his senior year and served as FFA treasurer. He would be attending Kishwaukee College in the fall.

Jeff, 43, was raising pigs at their wean-to-finish farm, had a small head of beef cattle, and was growing corn, soybeans and wheat.

In 2023 – The three Clausen boys had completed college and are currently employed in the agricultural industry.

Jared, 20, recently earned an agribusiness degree from Kishwaukee College. He holds a variety of ag-related jobs – he farms with his father, works for a seed dealer, and also has a snow plowing business in Sycamore.

Chase, 25, works for John Deere based in Des Moines, Iowa. He is a sales training specialist, providing application equipment training for dealers and customers. He resides in Johnston, Iowa.

Justin, 27, is an engineer at Dawn Equipment where he designs and builds toolbars for farm equipment in both Sycamore, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin locations. He resides in Milwaukee and Sycamore.

Jeff, 52, continues to raise pigs and grow crops on their farm. He also is a director of the DeKalb County Farm Bureau.

The Heinsohns

In 2015 – Maelee and Jack Heinsohn, first cousins, were pictured on their family’s Kirkland farm with their Holstein dairy calves.

Maelee, 6, was in first grade at Harvard Crosby Elementary. She played t-ball and soccer in the city’s recreational league. Together with her parents, Jeff and Bona, and brother, Greyden, the Heinsohns lived in Harvard and later moved to rural Kirkland.

Jack, 3, went to Kaneland pre-school and loved playing with toy tractors. He also enjoyed riding in tractors with his father. Jack and his parents, Gilman and Brooke, reside in Monroe Center.

In 2023 – Maelee, 13, recently graduated 8th grade from Hiawatha Middle School where her favorite subject was reading. She served as Chaplain for the Hiawatha FFA and in the fall will be chapter Reporter.

Maelee is secretary of the Flora Producers 4-H Club in Boone County, the same club her dad belonged to. She shows her dairy animals at 4-H and FFA Fairs. The teenager is also a member of the Stateline Spitfires Horse Drill Team and participates in several performances during the year. Her biggest accomplishments were winning First Place in Section 6 in the FFA Public Speaking Creed Contest and earning Grand Champion Intermediate Showmanship at the county 4-H Fair. She helps on the farm with tillage and other tasks. In the future, Maelee aspires to work in the field of animal genetics or nutrition based on her love for animals.

Jack, 10, recently completed 4th grade at Hiawatha Elementary where his favorite subject was math. Jack is a member of the Flora Producers 4-H Club and shows dairy heifers at the county fair as well as corn and soybeans. He’s proud of winning first place with his corn and beans at last year’s fair. He plays baseball in the 10 & Under Youth League in Kirkland rotating different positions of catcher, pitcher and first baseman.

Under his dad’s supervision, Jack likes driving tractors on their farm – he has disked, planted, and cultivated corn. He also helps with the family’s sprayer drops business. Jack plans to be a fourth-generation farmer. And maybe his younger brother, Henry, will too.