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Award-winning weather contributed to a successful Illin o i s S t a t e Fa i r f o r f a i r g o e r s, exhibitors and animals.........3-5 IFB market tour member s learned corn exports could rebound from a 42-year low in the face of bin-busting yields...............7 Energy continues to ride the r a i l s, f u e l i n g e x p e c t a t i o n s o f increased freight movement for major rail carriers.........................8-9 A service of ® New ag deputy: USDA ready to implement farm bill Illinois Farm Bureau mission: Improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life. Monday, August 19, 2013 BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek Modernize and Innovative Delivery of Agricultural Systems (MIDAS) program at many of the 2,200 FSA offices around the country. The new system provided updated software at FSA offices and is designed to allow farmers to sign up for programs and maintain their records from home more often, similar to online banking. But the MIDAS system at times has been overloaded and some FSA employees have had trouble inputting data during peak business hours. “The MIDAS program has been a huge undertaking and it’s hit some snags,” Harden said. “But it will be worth it. We’ve got to keep up with technology.” Schmidt said many of the glitches that weren’t detected during testing of the MIDAS system have been or will be resolved. “Incrementally we’re seeing improvement,” he said. “We have to modernize and become more efficient.” FSA staff in recent years has declined by as much as 15 to 20 percent nationwide. If a farm bill is passed, it Krysta Harden, left, meets with Illinois Farm Bureau members, left to right, Jim Neuschwander (Ford-Iroquois counties), and Dennis Green (IFB District 13 director from Lawrence County). Harden, who was named USDA deputy secretary a day before the meeting last week, assured IFB members USDA is ready to implement a new farm bill if Congress passes it. (Photo by Daniel Grant) Scientists seek ‘NitroGenes’ to grow more corn with less See Farm bill, page 2 BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek Periodicals: Time Valued Krysta Harden, who last week was named USDA deputy secretary, believes there still is a chance Congress could pass a farm bill this year. And, if that happens, Harden assured participants of the Illinois Farm Bureau Marketers to Washington tour that USDA is ready to implement the massive piece of legislation. “I remain hopeful that we are going to have a bill (this year),” Harden said during a meeting with IFB members at USDA headquarters. “It could be in a larger budget package later this fall.” Harden believes it is important to maintain the nutrition title as part of the farm bill so every member of Congress “will have a stake in the farm bill.” A new farm bill with a comprehensive crop insurance program also is vital to provide a safety net for farmers, she said. “We know the difference it makes having some certainty,” Harden said. Harden and Mike Schmidt, Farm Service Agency (FSA) deputy administrator for farm programs, acknowledged there have been some issues with the implementation of the Three sections Volume 41, No. 33 University of Illinois graduate fellow Jessica Bubert displays corn from high nitrogen, left, and low nitrogen NitroGene research plots during U of I Agronomy Day last week in Urbana. Looking on is Stephen Moose, U of I maize genomics professor. (Photo by Kay Shipman) FarmWeek on the web: University of Illinois genomic researchers have identified corn genes whose traits may be able to improve corn yields without increased nitrogen. “We want to improve traits at the molecular level,” said Jessica Bubert, U of I crop science graduate fellow. Bubert and Stephen Moose, U of I maize genomics professor, described their research during Agronomy Day at the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, Urbana. The researchers studied corn lines from different eras. “Plant nitrogen has not changed much since the 1940s. We have For more from not bred for nitrogen uptake. Agronomy Day, see We’re breeding for nitrogen efficiency,” Bubert said. page 11 Plant breeders have increased corn’s utilization of nitrogen as evidenced by plants that produce more grain from the same amount of nitrogen, she noted. The corn plant’s biomass production also has increased with the same amount of nitrogen, giving farmers “more bang for their buck,” she added. U of I researchers identified nine “NitroGenes” that are involved with nitrogen cycling within a corn plant. However, no single NitroGene had a positive effect greater than 2.5 bushels per acre yield. The researchers searched for lines that had all or the most of those nine genes and also for lines that had none or few NitroGenes. They weren’t able to find a line that had all nine. Last year, they planted and compared the lines with the most NitroGenes with lines that had few. Despite the drought, the lines with more NitroGenes had higher yields — as much as six bushels per acre higher in some cases — compared to the lines with fewer NitroGenes. This marks the second year of growing lines with NitroGenes, and researchers will analyze the data. And a super NitroGene line may be in the offing. “We didn’t have any lines with all nine genes so we’re doing breeding to have a super line,” Bubert said. “This strategy should be translatable into industry,” she summarized. Illinois Farm Bureau®on the web:

Farmweek august 19 2013

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