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1-8-80 Farmers Grain Subsidy

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Film Identifier: F.2012-03-1658
Run Time
0h 5m 49s
Mag Stripe
Date Produced
January 1980

An interview with Howard John Bonner on his Lake Villa, IL farm directly following announcement of the United States grain embargo against the Soviet Union in January 1980.


Opening footage captures a conversation between WLS-TV Channel 7 reporter Fred Villanueva and farmer Howard J. Bonner at his kitchen table. His wife, Mildred Bonner, stands and observes from the kitchen counter and a third man sits at the table, possibly a Lake County Farm Bureau representative. A Centennial Family Farm Award presented by the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture to Howard Bonner hangs on the wall. The scene’s banter is unfocused and easygoing, but the topic of their meeting is alluded to by a headline in the newspaper that sits on the table - “$2.6 billion farm bailout: U.S. to buy embargoed grain” - President Jimmy Carter’s provisional solution to an embargo on 17 million metric tons of grain exports to the Soviet Union.

Villanueva, Bonner, and the unidentified associate trudge through the snow on a tour of the farm’s grain silos, and pause to conduct a Q&A. After learning that Bonner was born in the nearby farm 61 years ago, Villanueva asks Bonner and his associate how they believe the new grain subsidy will affect them. Both indicate apprehensively that without an export market, they may face financial repercussions. The film concludes with coverage footage of the nearby fields, farm equipment, and a grain pile, as well as a brief outtake of camera operator Frank Koza sporting a Dekalb Alfalfa stocking cap while clapping and breathing animatedly in the tractor shed’s cold air.

In 1995, the Bonner family donated an 8-acre cluster of the farm to the Lake County Forest Preserve, known now as “The Bonner Heritage Farm,” on Sand Lake Rd. in Lindenhurst, IL.

Main Credits
Koza, Frank (is filmmaker)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Villanueva, Fred (is interviewer)
Related Place
Lake Villa (depicts)