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2014 Spring Edition

farms & fields

A look at agriculture in West Central Illinois A special supplement to: Calhoun News-Herald • Greene Prairie Press • Jersey County Journal Pike Press • Scott County Times • The Weekly Messenger


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Welcome to Farms & Fields

Innovations in farming technology and agribusiness have created more efficient farms. It’s the hard work and dedication of our family farmers and the people behind the technology that are the heart and soul of our nation’s agriculture industry. Their efforts plant the seed for prosperity, nourishing our bodies as well as our economy. Campbell Publications recognizes the challenges and changes facing today’s farmers and gratefully acknowledges the important impact of their continued successes – on our lives and our futures. This 2014 spring agriculture magazine is available for free to all of our readers. To keep updated on continuing farm and community news, visit our four newspaper websites: • www.calhounnewsherald.com • www.greeneprairiepress.com • www.jerseycountyjournal.com • www.pikepress.com For a subscription to any one of our six newspapers, call 618-498-1234.

Calhoun News-Herald - Greene Prairie Press - Jersey County Journal Pike Press - Scott County Times - The Weekly Messenger

Index of Articles Whites’ ag background turns into careers.............................. 2 Farmers cope with the cold................................................... 4 Crop update......................................................................... 6 Farm facts......................................................................... 14 Is this the demise of honeybees?........................................ 21 Aerial ag taking off............................................................. 22 Farm bill approved............................................................. 23

Farmers plan for spring...................................................... 30 13th annual 4-H day.......................................................... 31 On-Demand system provides best application...................... 33 Sever Storey...................................................................... 36 Illinois regains title of top soybean producing state.............. 39 CGB Diversified Services announces new agent.................... 42 EPA’s rule ignores bin-busting corn crop.............................. 44

Index of Advertisers 1st MidAmerica Credit Union................ 23 A.C. McCartney................................... 28 ADI Ag Drainage, Inc........................... 14 Advance Trading.................................... 3 Arends-Awe, Inc.................................. 34 B&B Livestock..................................... 44 Bader Ag............................................ 39 Beard Implement................................ 26 Blessing Physicians................................ 6 CNB................................................... 17 Carrollton Bank/Jerseyville Banking...... 21 Chenoweth Bulldozing & Tiling, Inc......... 5 Countryside Builders............................ 13 Cox Farm............................................ 34 Curless Auction..................................... 6 Diversified Services............................. 43 Evergreen Lawn.................................. 14 Farm and Home Supply....................... 35

Farm Credit Services....................... 10-11 Farm Credit Services............................ 41 Farmers National Bank......................... 39 Farmers State Bank................ Inside front Hanold Auction................................... 16 Hardin Financial.................................. 14 Heetco............................................... 44 Hurley Dodge........................................ 7 Illini Community Hospital......... Back cover Illinois Soybean Association................. 40 Jerseyville Estates............................... 22 Kunkel Commercial Group, Inc............. 39 Logan Agri-Service, Inc........................ 33 MTS................................................... 24 Marshall Chevrolet Buick GMC.............. 30 McKay Autoparts................................. 19 Morton Buildings................................. 19 Neal Tire............................... Inside back

Passavant Hospital................................ 4 Peters Heating & Air............................ 39 Prairieland FS, Inc................................. 7 R&E Enterprises.................................. 29 Save-A-Lot.......................................... 25 Scheffel Boyle..................................... 19 Sever Storey....................................... 37 Sievers Equipment............................... 18 Sloan Implement................................. 15 State Farm.......................................... 34 Stine Seed-Cody Hanold...................... 20 The First National Bank........................ 31 Tom Wombles Bulldozing & Tiling......... 12 Tri-County FS, Inc............................... 16 U of I Extension.................................. 38 UCB................................................... 27 Worrell-Leka....................................... 32


2 fields & farms

Whites’ ag backgrounds turn into careers

By BETH ZUMWALT Campbell Publications Is it a surprise that all three of John and Janice White’s sons have chosen careers in agriculture? Not really, according to Jeff White, the oldest of the three. “We grew up on a farm, ag was where we felt comfortable. We didn’t necessarily want to be in ag production, but I think we always knew we would be involved in ag in some way.” Jeff is an employee of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and is currently assigned to Washington D.C. He and his wife and two daughters live in nearby Virginia. Twins Craig and Greg White are both employed by manufacturers of farm equipment, Craig with John Deere and Greg with Krone. “My title is customer support planning leader,” Craig said. “I work on crop care platforms which consists of seeding, tillage and sprayer equipment. I see that all of the customer support plans for the new products are followed. It is also my job to improve and streamline those processes.” Craig said the requirements for maintenance on machinery is constantly changing and he is in charge of overseeing the implementation of new procedures. “For example, on one of our sprayers there used to be 216 grease points,” Craig said. “Now there are 40.” Greg White is manager is technical support–eastern region, which is everything east of the Mississippi for Krone, whose main distribution center is in Memphis. “I’m responsible for providing technical support for any of the approximately 250 dealers east of the Mississippi River for our company,” Greg said. “I manage five territory field representatives.  Each field representative covers 3-5 states.  Because of this, they travel 3-4 nights per week.  As their manager, I’m responsible to make sure they complete field modifications (these are changes to the previous years’ equipment to make it perform better or improve reliability), handle in season issues with the equipment, report issues to the factory and provide service training to the dealers and customers through on site clinics.”  Greg said last year there were 1,100 modifications made to Krone equipment in an effort to improve longevity, efficiency or safety. “Usually we are called in after a technician has been there and can’t find

Beth Zumwalt/Campbell Publications

The three White brothers from north of Baylis have all entered various fields of agriculture. Left to right are Craig White, with John Deere; Jeff White, with the National Resource Conservation Service; and Greg White, with Krone, another manufacturer of farm equipment. Third from the left is Charles “Chief” Ferguson, who taught agriculture at Pittsfield High School where the brothers attended. Ferguson was the FFA sponsor for all three boys and they all give him great credit for their successes.

the problem,” Greg said. “That’s a couple of days of lost production. Usually the customer is pretty appreciative of us coming out and finding the problem.” Greg said Krone is not as big as his brother’s John Deere company. “One of our dealers may carry $2 million worth of parts,” Greg said. “John Deere dealers carry $4 million worth of hydraulic oil alone.” Jeff’s job entails working with the ag leaders and departments of all 50 states. A graduate of Pittsfield High School and a 1993 grad of the University of Illinois, Jeff is a team leader and helps supervise implementation of the farm bill. “Our focus us environmental,” Jeff said. “What I like about it, it is entirely voluntary. It is an environmental quality incentive program but nothing is mandatory. The EPA is regulatory but we’re not. ” Jeff said NSCS will offer technical support, planning support and even a portion of financial assistance for conservation measurers. “Our job is to prevent soil erosion, protect water quality,” Jeff said. “We help with design for those things.” The three have seen a lot more of the world since they left their Fishhook area home.

Jeff has lived in New Hampshire, out west, in Illinois and now in Washington D.C., commuting from Virginia. Greg says he travels three to five nights a week and has also been in Australia for a stint with a previous employer. Craig probably logs the most miles, traveling to Brazil, Russia, India, Germany, Netherlands and Spain several different times. “Being able to work with people from other countries is probably the most interesting part of my job,” Craig said. “It’s is interesting to see how other farm operations work.” Craig said some of the farms in Brazil are so big, they have cafeterias for their workers while in China, there are still small, individual farmers. “We’ve seen the same thing in our neighborhood,” Jeff said. “When we were growing up, there were probably 10 farmers along our road, now there are four.” All three of the Whites say the industry has changed since they started their careers. Greg graduated from Western Illinois University in 1999, the same year his twin, Craig, graduated from Jeff’s alma mater, the University of Illinois, (See, WHITES, page 3)


3 fields & farms WHITES’ Continued from page 2 “In my business, I rarely see a diversified farm anymore,” Jeff said. “It is either grain and that might include beans, corn, cotton, any number of types of crops or it’s livestock. There aren’t many that do both on a large scale.” Both of the twins say the equipment business is getting more computerized and efficient. “The size of machinery is getting bigger,” Greg said. “When I started we had a 600 hp Forage Harvester. Now, we have an 1,100. It has six different computers on board. Not only will it guide itself through the field, it will tell you when you need to empty the hopper, it will fill the truck evenly without you having to do anything. We even have computers on our hay rakes.” Craig agreed John Deere is also making technology more a part of agriculture production. “Not only will your tractor idle down on curves, it will make adjustments to the spreader or whatever you are doing to compensate for that. By having that information, a tractor will use less fuel and oil, making it more efficient for the producer.” Greg agreed. “It is much cheaper to have one large piece of machinery than two small ones,” he said. “It makes you more dependent

on that piece but it can cut your input costs.” Jeff says the USDA is also worried about costs. “We have to work within our budget,” he said. “And it is an ever shrinking budget. The number of employees has dropped in the last 10 years. I think we will be increasing efficiencies so we can do more with less people.” Jeff said the NSCS has already starting sending technicians out in trucks equipped with computers and all the tools they need to meet a producer. “I think we will see less and less brick and mortar,” he said. “Not every county will have an office, but a technician will be within driving distance.” All three of the Whites studied ag at Pittsfield High School and had Charles “Chief “ Ferguson as a teacher. “He taught us a lot of stuff that we still use today,” Greg said. “He used to tell the story of one time his television broke and he took it to a repair shop. He had done a little bit of investigating and knew a little about it so when the guy told him stuff, he knew it wasn’t true. He used to tell us ‘You don’t have to know everything, you just need to know where to go.’” Jeff said he earned an American Degree in FFA under Ferguson’s tutelage.

“In my job now it is not uncommon for me to have to get up and speak to 200-250 people,” he said. “It is because of Chief that I am able to do that. He had me do a lot of public speaking in FFA and I gained a lot of self confidence.” Craig said ag at PHS under Ferguson and affiliated programs with FFA have helped him immeasurably. “He was hands on everything,” Craig said. “You didn’t learn it from a book, you went out in the shop or out in the field and learned it. I wasn’t really interested in school except for ag. I didn’t know how good of a teacher he was until I got to college and everything was easier for me because I had seen it. Not read about it, seen it.” “We did surveying,” Jeff said. “When I got to college nobody there had any idea about surveying. I was the only one there with surveying experience.” Greg said he appreciated Ferguson’s style of teaching. “I’m not a book learner,” he said. “We physically did so many things,” Greg said. “We could study about building something from a book or we could go out in the shop and build it. He was like that on every level. When we went to soil judging, we hadn’t learned about layers of soil in a book, we went out and dug holes and looked at the levels.”

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4 fields & farms

Farmers cope with the cold

BY CARMEN ENSINGER Campbell Publications Early-January’s bone-chilling temperatures not only presented a problem for humans, but also for their animal counterparts. While all the weather reports advised everyone to stay inside unless absolutely necessary, local farmers who care for livestock never really have that option. While animals are more equipped for the cold weather than humans are, the subzero temperatures experienced the beginning of this year were enough to put stress on the animals which mean owners had to take extra precautions. Schutz Family Farms in rural White Hall raises both cattle and hogs and they made sure to be prepared for the cold snap ahead of time. “We made sure we had plenty of feed on hand ahead of time for both the hogs and cattle, “Stacy Schutz said. “The hogs are all raised inside temperaturecontrolled buildings, so they stay

File photo

Cattle at Schutz Farm battle the blowing snow and cold in January.

extremely comfortable. We used to raise hogs outdoors and we would probably have lost hogs this weekend to the cold. We made sure to have their feed tanks full and a generator ready should we lose power.” The cattle do not have the luxury of an indoor abode like the hogs. “Cattle generally withstand the elements well, but these were extreme temperature and wind chills,” Schutz said. “We made sure they had extra bedding of

wheat straw, extra wind blocks and more shed space opened up. They also get extra feed because any temperature below 20 degrees requires extra feed to help keep them warm.” Then, of course, there is the problem of keeping fresh water. In “the good old days,” the farmer battled the elements with an ax to keep the ice broken. Now, farmers have heated troughs, but even the best heated troughs had a tough time keeping up with the recent wind chill factor.

“We had a couple of our automatic waterers freeze up in this extreme cold, and we had to use hot water to thaw them out,” Schutz said. “We also had one of our well houses freeze up. The heated waterers are meant to withstand the cold, but not the extremely cold temperature we experienced.” Along with trying to keep the animals warm and dry - then there is the problem of keeping the humans caring for them warm and dry. “On snowy days our work actually takes us twice as long,” Schutz said. “The day starts with feeding all the livestock, which can take until noon some days, and the rest of the day is spent on repair work, field work, maintenance or any number of projects that we are working on. When it snows, a huge chunk of the day is spent on snow removal on top of everything else. We try to dress in layers, but our comfort is less important than making sure the livestock are comfortable.”

Trustees of Passavant Area Hospital are grateful to visionary donors whose generous bequests of farmland and provisions through trusts enable Passavant Area Hospital to provide quality healthcare.

Irma Fox Barsnes William and Oley Beilschmidt Frances W. Corrington Frank C. Dinwiddie Mildred J. Dinwiddie Lloyd Gordon Emma Lucille Hembrough Edward P. Hostman Howard and Vera Million Nellie Rice Charles A. Rowe Robert Shekelton Thomas Tissington To discuss your desire to establish a family legacy, please visit with Pam Martin, Executive Director of the Passavant Area Hospital Foundation. 217.479.5575 • foundation@passavanthospital.com • www.passavanthospital.com

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6 fields & farms

Crop update

By Mike Roegge, University of Illinois Extension, Adams/Brown/Hancock/Pike/Schuyler Composting is a process that takes a waste product and turns it into a highly valued, useful soil amendment that has numerous beneficial uses. The difference is that you control how the waste decomposes. For instance, you have a watermelon rind, a newspaper and a dead tomato plant. You leave them outside and they’ll eventually decay. If however, you place them in your compost pile (along with other organic matter) in as little as a couple of months, you could have some valuable compost. And compost is a highly valued amendment that adds benefits to all soils, including: increasing water and nutrient holding capacity, improved air and root permeability, improved tilth, and much more. Why have a compost pile? The simplest response is this: you have to pay to have someone pick up the leaves you’ve raked from your yard, why not save some money and compost them? But the biggest reason is that the compost you’ll get is such a great amendment to the soil, you can’t go wrong. Let’s start with the basics: how to construct a compost pile. You need a combination of 4 things: carbon (energy source), nitrogen (green organic matter), water and air. And you need them in the proper mix. The carbon can be anything organic that is dead. Think of brown (leaves, dead plant material, chopped up sticks and twigs, etc.). The nitrogen is anything green, usually grass clippings, or you could use kitchen waste (fruit and vegetable wastes) or hay, etc. The microbes that will decompose the organic matter need water and oxygen. The pile should be about (See, COMPOSTING, page 7)

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7 fields & farms

Continued from page 6 the moisture level of a wrung out sponge. You might need to add additional water to achieve this balance. But you don’t want it too wet as then anaerobic bacteria can form, and those will cause an unpleasant odor. Air is necessary for the microbes to prosper. So turning the pile every month or so allows for quicker decomposition. Layer the pile, starting with 2 parts green and 1 part brown. To that add a little soil (to provide the microbes) and a little fertilizer to provide some nitrogen for the microbes. The size of the pile needs to be at least 3 cubic feet and no larger than 5 or 6 cubic feet. Smaller or larger and you can’t keep adequate moisture or temperature or oxygen levels. Keep layering until you reach the size you need. You’ll need to monitor for quicker composting. Passive composting (where you layer the pile and then basically keep hands off) can take up to a year to complete. But active composting can be accomplished in 3 months’ time. You’ll need to monitor temperature (150 degrees is optimum) and moisture. Add water if needed. Turning the pile every month or so to mix the layers will greatly increase the decomposition process.

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Tom Wombles Dozing and Tiling 217-242-3375 Celebrating 25 Years in Business

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fields & farms

Farm Facts

• What state produces the most cranberries? Wisconsin - Each year, cranberry producers grow more than 300 million pounds of the tart berries. • How many honeybees does it take to produce a tablespoon of honey? 12 - Twelve busy little bees must collect the nectar from 2,000 flowers to make a tablespoon of honey.

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fields & farms

USDA accepting grant applications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for competitive grants to develop and accelerate conservation approaches and technologies on private agricultural and forest lands. “Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) have contributed to some of the most pioneering conservation work on America’s agricultural and forest lands,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It’s an excellent investment in new conservation technologies and approaches that farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can use to achieve their production and conservation goals.” About $15 million will be made available nationwide by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). State and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, nongovernmental and educational organizations, private businesses and individuals are eligible to apply. Vilsack said priority will be given to applications that relate to nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, air quality, climate change, wildlife, economics, sociology, environmental markets, food safety, historically underserved groups, or assessments of past CIG projects. In the 10 years that NRCS has administered the program, grants have helped develop water quality trading markets, demonstrated ways to increase fertilizer water and energy efficiencies, as well as address other resource concerns. For more on this grant opportunity, visit http://www.nrcs.usda. gov/technical/cig/index.html. To apply electronically, visit www. grants.gov.

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fields & farms

Is this the demise of the honeybee?

Bees flitting from one newly sprouted flower to another as they collect pollen is one of the more common sights of the spring. Honeybees are content to buzz between plants for hours. But in recent years the honeybee population has declined considerably, and scientists and environmentalists continue to study and debate why bees seem to be dying out. Although bees are best known for their honey production, their symbiotic relationship with nature goes much further. Honeybees are instrumental in transferring pollen from plant to plant, which helps to foster new life for many agricultural species. In addition to wild flowers and other plants, bees pollinate many of the crops that end up as food on dinner tables across the globe. Bees help pollinate more than 90 commercially grown field crops, citrus and other fruit crops, vegetables and nut crops. Without these insects, crop yields would decrease dramatically, and some foods may cease to exist. Without bees, food production would diminish and the prices of produce would skyrocket. Commercial beekeepers in the United States have reported deaths of tens of thousands of honeybee colonies. Ninety percent of wild bee populations in the United States have disappeared, according to Target Health,

Honeybees pollinate many of the world’s plants. But their numbers are on the decline, and the environmental impact of that decline is significant.

Inc. In the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, bee species have declined considerably, and some have even become extinct. Since 2006, millions of honeybees have died off due to a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. CCD refers to the absence of adult honeybees in a colony with few or no adults remaining. Worker bees simply disappear, leaving behind the queen and vulnerable developing young. Bees are not usually known to leave the hive unguarded. While similar disappearances have been

documented in the last 100 years, those incidences have grown considerably in recent years. Officials in the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have not been able to determine why the honeybee population has undergone such a steep decline, though some believe that a complex combination of factors, including parasites, lack of genetic diversity, poor nutrition, and pesticides, could be responsible. Examination of dead bees has found residues of more than 100 chemicals, insecticides and pesticides, including some used to control parasites, in bee hives. Other factors that come into play involve climate changes that affect wildflower production. Without wildflowers, bees have no sources of food. Rainy, wet or overly dry weather can wreak havoc on the landscape, resulting in fewer flowers and, as a result, a smaller bee population. Scientists are still studying the situation and working toward a solution to restore the honeybee population. Individuals can do their part by keeping plenty of blooming flowers in their yards and never killing honeybees found on their property. Disturbing an established hive can result in the bees abandoning their work, leading to even greater losses.

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A Holzwarth Flying Service airplane applies product to field. Holzwarth serves a large portion of Illinois and eastern Iowa.

Aerial agriculture taking off with local farmers

ASSISTED LIVING

By ROBERT LYONS Campbell Publications An airplane takes a sharp dive towards the ground, disappears from sight only to twist up into the sky hundreds of yards later, and do it all again. In this area, most likely it was Chuck Holzwarth or one of the pilots from Holzwarth Flying Service, applying a product to local fields. Once primarily referred to as crop dusters, the aircrafts used in aerial agriculture are just faster, more efficient versions of their ground equipment counterpart. “These airplanes are basically farm tractors with wings on them,” Holzwarth said. “They’re designed and built to do one job, and that’s to spray crop protection products.” With up to 19 airplanes in service during the busiest time of year, Holzwarth’s operation services a large chunk of Illinois and eastern Iowa. “There’s really no other aerial applicators to the south of us here in Virden, so we go clear down to Sparta and over to Interstate 57,” Holzwarth said. Aerial applications include herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, fertilizer, as well as seeding of cover crops and soybeans. Holzwarth even offers mosquito control and mapping services. A 1976 graduate of Calhoun High School, Holzwarth received his commercial pilot’s license in the late-1980s and began his aerial aviation service in 1994. From 2005 to 2006, he served as president of the Illinois Agriculture Aviation Association. Financial Assistance Available When he first got into the business, Holzwarth primarily worked during the summer months, but has since expanded into a year-round operation. The benefits of aerial farming – less fuel PRIVATE APARTMENTS, RESTAURANT STYLE MEALS, WEEKLY HOUSEKEEPING AND LAUNDRY, consumption, no soil compaction and reduced crop loss commonly associated with ground equipment – have become more attractive COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT, SOCIAL EVENTS, to farmers over the years. EXERCISE AND FITNESS PROGRAMS “Nowadays there’s so many people using airplanes because of AND MUCH MORE! compaction and because a lot of products go on when the beans or corn is tall - the airplane is playing a bigger and bigger role every year,” Holzwarth said. Holzwarth’s company has 13 full-time employees, and as many as 30 during the summer months. He has locations in Virden, Kilbourne, Lincoln and Belle Plaine, Iowa. “We currently have six airplanes and a helicopter,” Holzwarth said. “We’ll use those airplanes from the middle of March until the first of October.” Just as the demand for his services have evolved, so has the technology his company uses. Holzwarth’s aircrafts have been equipped with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) since he began EOE his business. Not only does the GPS help guide the pil (See, AERIAL, page 23)

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fields & farms

Continued from page 22 pass over a field, it also leads him directly to the job site, instead of looking for roads and landmarks to locate a field. “I got my first GPS set up in one of the old airplanes I had,” Holzwarth said. “That GPS cost $22,000 back in 1993. I can remember telling myself, ‘I’m going to spend that money and never make it back.’ As it turns out, it is probably one of the biggest things that have ever happened to our industry.” The GPS also makes the application process precise and efficient. A mechanism working in conjunction with the GPS can alter the rate the planes’ sprayers or spreaders

apply product, based on changes in wind and airplane speed – which commonly range between 120 and 150 miles per hour. The newest plane in Holzwarth’s operation cost $1.4 million and holds up to 800 gallons of wet or dry materials, as well as 325 gallons of jet fuel. “When that airplane is loaded, it’s burning around 90 gallons an hour of jet fuel,” he said, noting jet fuel costs upwards of $5 per gallon. Holzwarth’s operation also includes a helicopter, which is primarily used for pollination. Holzwarth said he added the helicopter to his fleet in 2006 to pollinate seed corn.

“We’re flying swath paths above the seed corn at low air speeds, about 30 miles per hour, blowing the pollen to pollinate all the female rows,” he said. When people see the agriculture planes in action, according to Holzwarth, some perceive the aerial agriculture process as potentially harmful to their health. However, all products used by Holzwarth are monitored and approved by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All pilots dispensing agriculture products must also have a commercial pesticide license.

President Barack Obama signed the fiveyear farm bill into law at Michgian State University Friday – just days after the U.S. Senate approved the measure. “This farm bill was a very challenging piece of business. It is a bill that positions us for the future,” said President Obama. “This bill is not just about helping farmers. It’s about jobs, infrastructure, research and conservation.” Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert Jr. applauded the news.. “I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “For Illinois

farmers, it’s a really good package and a good bill that went forward.” Guebert complimented legislators, who he said kept farmers’ interest in mind when crafting the bill. he also thanked IFB members who made phone calls uring Congress to pass it. The $956 billion bill, formally called the Agriculture Act of 2014, ends direct payments to farmers this crop year, beefs up crop insurance in 2015 and includes $8.6 billion in cuts to the food stamp program over the next decade.

The bill also does the following: • Imposes payment limits for all commodity programs of $125,000 per person or $250,000 per couple. • Alters the dairy program to include gross margin insurance but no supply management. The House passed the farm bill by a vote of 266-151. The Senate approved the farm bill by a vote of 68-32. Senator Dick Durbin said the farm bill provdes stability for farmers, while also increasing investment in rural development, energy and agricultural research.

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fields & farms

Farmers plan for spring amid snow

By BOB CROSSEN Campbell Publications Though a blanket of snow covered the region, it didn’t stop farmers from planning for spring planting after the frozen flakes thaw. Dave Lewis, Tri County FS general manager, said farmers tend to begin early on deciding what parts of the land to use for what crop, and how the elevation and drainage will affect the next cycle. “Naturally, they look at what they did this fall,” Lewis said. “You take a look at what’s been done and what needs to be accomplished in the spring before your crop gets planted.” Lewis said Tri County FS has crop specialists in each county it covers – Jersey, Greene and Calhoun – who help farmers plan for the next season. He said the specialists look at the management of the farm in addition to preparing soil and pairing the best seed with the soil. The general manager said they don’t assume anything regarding the weather for the following season, but rather use

a regular benchmark to gauge when planting could begin. “We don’t ever try to predict weather, whether we’re going to have a wet spring or dry spring, early or later,” Lewis said. “We just go with what we think normal is.” Lewis said the specialists try to plan out the farms field by field, taking into account the tilling of the land, its slope for runoff and other factors. “If it’s a field that’s got drainage problems, sometimes you adjust crop practices and seed varieties to have the most success based on the conditions you think you’re going to have,” Lewis said, noting planning begins as early as the summer before the next planting season. He said the company also worked with farmers on their year-end purchases in preparation for spring while a thick blanket of snow continued to cover the region. Lewis said the snow is beneficial for the added moisture in the ground, and could have an impact on river traffic, as well. During the past years, river levels

have fluctuated greatly – from low depths to historic flood levels – and the snow could keep the rivers higher for barge traffic. In times when the river levels are low, he said barges cannot be given large loads to transport because the bottom of the ships could drag along the riverbed as the weight of the load pushes the barge deeper into the water. “We needed moisture, and rivers need the runoff because the flow levels on the rivers are down and it’s starting to affect the barge traffic,” Lewis said. “Rivers are a big deal because just about everything a farmer buys in a big quantity, like fertilizer, comes up the rivers, and a lot of what they sell goes down them.” With lighter loads, he said farmers cannot bring as much of their crop to the elevators, nor do they get as many supplies like chemicals and fertilizer to maintain the fields. Farmers looking for some help from one of the crop specialists can call Tri County FS at (618) 498-5534.

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13th annual 4-H day with the Cardinals

Missouri and Illinois 4-H members, parents, volunteers and alumni will gather at Busch Stadium on Saturday, May 17, for the 13th annual 4-H Day with the Cardinals. The National League Champion Cardinals will be playing the Atlanta Braves in a 1:15 p.m. game. Tickets for the game will be $25 each and includes a specially designed T-shirt featuring the 4-H Clover on the back and the Cardinals emblem on the front. 4-H members, leaders, alumni, and their families who purchase 4-H Day with the Cardinals tickets will have the opportunity to participate in a parade around the Busch Stadium outfield. Families can also take part in a raffle for great prizes including the chance to throw out the first pitch, autographed baseballs, and tickets to Cardinals baseball games provided by the St. Louis Cardinals. Pre-game ceremonies will include a recitation of the 4-H pledge and ceremonial first pitches by an Illinois and Missouri 4-H member. Tickets for the event must be ordered on the 4-H Day with the Cardinals order form. Ticket order forms are available at the University of Missouri Extension office, or on the web at www.mo4h.missouri.edu. Ticket orders must be postmarked by April 7, 2014. Tickets usually sell out before the order deadline so families are encouraged to order early. 4-H Clubs, counties, or groups of families who would like to be seated together must send their orders in the same envelope. Families can also participate in the 4-H Day with the Cardinals raffle to win prizes such as throwing out the first pitch, autographed baseballs, and tickets to other Cardinal baseball games. Funds raised through the raffle support Missouri and Illinois 4-H programs. Complete information about the 4-H Day with the Cardinals raffle is on the ticket order form at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bcjmw/downloads/51774.pdf.

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On-Demand system provides best soybean seed treatment application Locally owned and operated Logan Agri-Service, headquartered in Griggsville, is now in its 52nd year of service to agricultural producers and businesses.  Edward Logan, company president, states, “We have 26 dedicated employees who work each day to exceed the expectations of our customers.  The On-Demand soybean seed treatment system is one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to our customers as this is the top-of-the-line unit on the market today.” Plant manager/crop specialist Troy Kennedy agrees.  “Our customers know the value of treating soybeans with fungicides and insecticides, and the yield bump they get from properly applied treatment.  The On-Demand system provides the most accurate and consistent application of treatment available.” The seed treatment system dispenses seed treatment products, measured by weight, through an atomizer that applies fungicides and insecticides evenly over the entire (See, LOGANS, page 34)

Erika Scott/Campbell Publications

Logan Agri- Service employees stand in front of the On-Demand seed treater and tender. Left to right: Jeff Butler, Troy Kennedy, Court White and Dave Bryant. This is one of just three seed treater and tenders that Logan Agri Service owns.

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Logans, continued from page 33 surface of the bean.  Extensive training was provided by the system’s manufacturer to Logan Ag seed treatment specialist, Drew Kennedy.  Kennedy supervises the treatment operation, and has a complete program of fungicides, insecticides, inoculants and root growth enhancement products available to meet the needs of Logan Ag seed customers.   Capable of treating hundreds of units of soybeans daily, the Griggsville facility treats all bulk soybean seed sold by the company, including Missouri warehouse locations in Paris and Hannibal.  The facility offers custom treatment for those who plant seed not purchased at Logan Ag. Several seed tenders are utilized to deliver soybeans to customers following the application of seed treatment.  These box and bulk tenders help fulfill the requirements of nearly every farmer, regardless of the size of planter or operation. Logan Ag offers full line of crop inputs to its customers including fertilizer, crop protection chemicals and petroleum products, as well as seed.  Experienced applicators custom apply fertilizer and crop protection chemicals.   The company is a major supplier of crop protection chemicals across the Cornbelt, working through its Missouri warehouses and a location in Pitsburg, Ohio, as well as through independent sales associates in Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.

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The impact of powerline negotiations

All over the state of Illinois, rural landowners and farmers are asking the same questions. “How will a powerline impact my land and property value?” Unfortunately, the answers to this question are not always simple. My name is Jordan Walker; I am an attorney and partner representing only landowners at the eminent domain law firm Sever Storey, LLP. I speak at seminars across the state to educate property owners about the impacts of an Ameren powerline. Currently we represent over 40 landowners who are seeking increased compensation as a result of the Ameren taking. As a firm we have represented hundreds of landowners faced with eminent domain and condemnation. When you are faced with a taking by a powerline—such as Ameren—the landowner should make their No. 1 focus on making sure that they are properly compensated for the taking. Both the Illinois and United States constitutions require that landowners who have their property taken by eminent domain should receive just compensation for their land. With powerline takings, there are numerous issues that should be considered to determine the proper amount of just compensation. First, the actual value of the land must be properly calculated. It is important to make sure that the company is applying the proper price per acre for your property. More importantly, the landowner should make sure that the residue impact to the property is properly calculated and compensated. If you don’t calculate residue damage you have failed to be properly compensated as required by Illinois law. Let’s use an example: You have a 40-acre farm. Ameren is taking two acres as part of their easement. Ameren’s proposal is to offer you $7,000/acre for a total of $14,000.00. It sounds pretty decent, but you think the per acre value should be higher. You negotiate to have Ameren pay $10,000.00 an acre for the easement for a total of $20,000.00. Sounds good, right? WRONG! Studies indicate that your entire 40-acre farm may lose value because of the introduction of the powerline. If your entire farm was impacted an average of 10%/acre, your true just compensation would be very different. Look at the math. Total farm value at $10,000/acre = $400,000 Total easement of two acres at $10,000/ acre = $20,000 $400,000 - $20,000 = $380,000 If that remainder loses just 10%, then $380,000 * 10% = $38,000 Total just compensation = $58,000

Easements are forever Easements, like diamonds, are forever. What you will be signing with Ameren will run with the land in perpetuity. When you sell the property, you will sell the land subject to the easement. When your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren inherit the property, it will be inherited subject to the easement. Take a look around the next time you drive on the Illinois countryside and spot the powerlines. Those powerlines likely are sitting on easements that were purchased decades ago. The permanence of Ameren’s easement, therefore, demands your utmost attention and effort.

($20,000 for the taking + $38,000 in residue) Just compensation more than doubles if you are impacted just 10%. Some impacts may be more substantial. It should surprise no one that this is generally where the biggest debate takes place. Some companies wrongfully believe there is zero residual damage. Sever Storey, and the more than 40 clients it currently represents on this project, believe differently. This is not the only strategy that can be used to properly calculate just compensation for landowners. If you have poles on your property, other strategies exist that may substantially increase the amount of compensation that is constitutionally required to be paid. Compensation should be the landowner’s number one priority when faced with a powerline taking, but compensation is not the only area where landowners typically need guidance. Here are some of the more common questions we receive from landowners: • What is an “easement?” An easement is a written contract that permits a party to use a certain area of the property for a particular use. Perpetual easements last forever and stick with the property through transfers. • Can I still farm or perform other activities on the easement land? The answer to this is: it depends. Everything Ameren can or can’t do and the landowner can or can’t do on the easement land is wholly determined by what the easement says. Furthermore, the exact location of the easement is not what the Ameren land rep says or even the map attached to the easement. In fact, everything you need

JORDAN WALKER, ESQ. PARTNERSEVER STOREY

to know as it pertains to parties’ rights, location, activities, etc., is detailed in the easement language. This is why it is paramount to read what you are signing. • What happens if the powerline will be coming close to my house? Quick answer: get paid for it. Powerline proximity to improvements and living structures often comes with a price. The calculations on residue damage we did earlier in this article apply to homes as well. In some cases the residue can be significant. Ameren may disagree, but the law permits otherwise. • How can I afford an attorney? Sever Storey operates on a contingency fee – meaning, we only get paid if we get you more than what you are offered. As a quick example, let’s say you are offered $30,000 for your property. After hiring us, we get you $90,000 total. Because we added $60,000 to the case, we collect a percentage of that $60,000 and distribute the remainder to the landowner. This is a stressful time for many landowners. Generational farmsteads are being threatened. A landowner has only one chance to make sure that they receive the compensation that they are constitutionally required to pay. Sever Storey is, and will continue to be, here to answer important questions for any landowners affected by the Illinois Rivers Project. We have two office locations in Chicago and Champaign to serve landowners throughout the state. If you have any questions please call me, Jordan Walker, at Sever Storey for a free consultation at 888-318-3761 or visit us on the Internet at www.Landownerattorneys.com or www. facebook.com/AmerenThreeRiversProject


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fields & farms

Illinois regains title of top soybean-producing state

Illinois has regained the title of top soybean-producing state for the first time since 2003, according to USDA estimates. “We’re proud this is happening in the same year we celebrate 100 years of Illinois soybean production and the 50th anniversary of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA),” says Bill Raben, soybean farmer from Ridgway, Ill., and ISA chairman. “ISA has set the goal to utilize 600 million bushels of Illinois soybeans annually by 2020, so now that we have reached this important milestone, it’s time to keep the momentum.” The USDA Crop Production Report released Nov. 8 estimates Illinois farmers raised 460.6 million bushels of soybeans in 2013 on 9.4 million acres with an average yield of 49 bushels per acre. Iowa ranked second in terms of total production with 415.3 million bushels raised on 9.23 million acres and an average yield of 45 bushels per acre. In the drought year of 2012, USDA estimated Illinois soybean farmers raised 383.99 million bushels. The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality and the most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.

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What did you have for dinner last night?

Illinois Livestock

Production & Processing:

Raising Livestock = $3.54 B

$27 Billion

Hogs = $1.8 B Beef = $.87 B Dairy = $.53 B Poultry = $.29 B Other Livestock = $.05 B

Economic Impact

Making Cheese = $1.91 B

That chicken breast, tenderloin, hamburger, pork chop or ice cream strengthens the Illinois economy more than you may realize.

Processing Fats & Oils = $2.53 B

Processing Livestock & Poultry =

Processing Milk & Butter = $4.49 B

RAISING ANIMALS:

$16.2 B

An Economic Engine for Illinois Raising animals and processing beef, pork, chicken, turkey and dairy products contribute vital goods, jobs and taxes to Illinois, according to a study by Peter Goldsmith, associate professor of agribusiness management at the University of Illinois. “When you look at inputs purchased, goods sold and economic activity generated by profits and wages, livestock production and processing creates a $27 billion impact in Illinois,” Goldsmith says. “And it’s increased 28 percent, or $6 billion, since 2004.” The industry accounts for $1 out of every $20, or 5 percent, of the state’s economy. Illinois is home to more than 30,000 livestock farms and a couple hundred processing companies that employ 99,000 people, according to Goldsmith’s research. The study was commissioned by the Illinois Livestock Development Group (ILDG), which receives funding from the Illinois soybean checkoff. “Livestock farms cause far-reaching ripple effects. For example, feed is a primary cost for raising animals, so corn and soybean farmers have strong local demand,” Goldsmith says. “On the other side of the supply chain, having a strong processing industry improves the prices livestock farmers receive.”

Making Ice Cream & Frozen Dessert = $.37 B

Illinois processing plants are relatively close to their end markets. But Goldsmith’s analysis found that they import about 75 percent of their raw materials — hogs, cattle, poultry, milk or eggs — from other states. That means there is potential to raise more animals in Illinois. Having more supply near these plants would trim transportation costs and provide more stability.

Illinois livestock provides a substantial supply base, but protecting and increasing that base encourages processers to remain in the state. A favorable business environment for both processors and animal agriculture in Illinois will ensure the future of this important sector of our economy.

— Peter Goldsmith, associate professor of agribusiness management, University of Illinois

Source: The Economic Impact of Illinois's Livestock Industry, Goldsmith and Wang. 2011. Total adjusted for economic link to avoid double counting.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit www.ilsoy.org.


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fields & farms

Proposed power lines fuel need for information

By JEANETTE WALLACE property for public use. Companies Campbell Publications usually try to avoid applying for A new trend has been emerging eminent domain because of several throughout the Midwest. New and old reasons. The process will cost them power line companies are choosing more money because of lawyer fees to build more transmission lines to and other expenses. It can also lead to convey the power from windmills bad publicity and possible delays in being erected all over the country. construction. Examples of some lines with Landowners need to consider several possible routes through Scott and Pike things when a company is looking counties are the Grain Belt Express to build transmission lines on their Clean Line project and the Ameren property. Make sure any agreement Illinois Rivers project. made minimizes interference with These lines often end up going farming. The contract should also through land owned by farmers and be specific so that it can be easily this can cause problems for them and understood and not misinterpreted. A future generations. landowner should The Illinois Farm also make sure Bureau wants company will “It’s not only the 150 the farmers to stay do everything it feet they are taking for can to prevent informed about the compensation to the power lines, it’s also damage negotiation process f a r m l a n d the 150 acres of crops during and after when a company is they are damaging. looking to install construction. _______ transmission lines Roderick or pipelines. explained that Jordan Walker, “Don’t sign it’s important Sever and Storey anything until for farmers and you’re sure what landowners to you’re signing,” Blake Roderick, work together and with the Farm executive director of the Pike and Bureau during a process like this. Scott County Farm Bureau, said. “If it’s a big project…we One of the terms to understand in recommend pooling your resources this situation is easement. An easement and getting an attorney,” Roderick is a stake in land owned by another said. person that gives the right to use the Some law firms specialize in property for a specific purpose. The easement transactions. owner of the easement isn’t subject to “Ameren has its lawyers, why the wishes of the landowner as long as can’t landowners?” Jordan Walker, it is reasonably used for its intended an attorney with Sever and Storey, purpose. eminent domain attorneys representing “Easements are forever,” Roderick landowners, said. “If you are a said, explaining that even when a landowner, we want to help you.” landowner sells their property, the Walker gave an example of how easement will still be in place, which landowners need to think outside the could affect the value of the land. box. If negotiations between the “Easements are very important landowner and the company go poorly and it’s important to understand and the company has been granted compensation is important, also.” One a Certificate of Good Standing or thing that can be overlooked is the Public Convenience and Necessity by residual damage, he said. “It’s not only the Illinois Commerce Commission the 150 feet they are taking for the (ICC), the company can apply for power lines, it’s also the 150 acres of eminent domain power under the crops they are damaging. This is just Illinois public Utilities Act. a very unique and stressful situation This is a process to determine the and at Sever and Storey, we feel this just compensation that must be paid situation requires professionals,” to the property owner. It gives the Walker said. company the power to take private

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44

fields & farms

EPA’s proposed rule ignores bin-busting corn crop

Farmers knew it and now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed that the 2013 corn crop is large enough to handle world demand, including the originally slotted U.S. ethanol blend requirements for 2014. USDA’s 2013-14 record-breaking corn crop comes in at 13.9 billion bushels, validating the Illinois Corn Growers Association’s (ICGA) position that condemns the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to reduce ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply as unwarranted and short-sighted. “We grew a record breaking corn crop this year, and prices have fallen year over year more than they have in the last four decades. What’s wrong with this picture? EPA’s proposed rule,” said ICGA President Gary Hudson. “The rule would lower demand even further and that’s flat-out bad news for family farmers and their communities.” “Illinois needs to show up with a good number of people voicing their opinion against the EPA plan,” Hudson explained. “We’re hearing from DC that we really need to be seen on the EPA docket and heard with phone calls into our Congressional offices. Numbers matter on this issue.” Illinois has 14 ethanol plants online right now, and is one of the top five producers of corn-based ethanol in the country. The state comes in number 2 in corn production. The Illinois ethanol industry means $76.5 million in total public revenue, more than 4,000 jobs, and $258 million in labor income. “Our absence in this discussion would certainly be conspicuous. It’s time to get plugged-in to this issue and take action,” Hudson said. “Thinking that the other guy will handle this one for you is dangerous and could end up costing you more than 500 million bushels of corn demand this year. Take a few minutes and use the system we’ve developed to make a couple phone calls and add your comment to the docket,” Hudson added. FUN FARM FACTS • Mature turkeys have more than 3,500 feathers. • There are 47 different breeds of sheep in the U.S. • Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world. • The average person consumes 584 pounds of dairy products a year. • Elevators in the Statue of Liberty use a soybean-based hydraulic fluid. • Like snowflakes, no two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots. • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds. • Twenty-nine cuts of beef meet government guidelines for lean. • The average dairy cow produces seven gallons of milk a day, 2,100 pounds of milk a month, and 46,000 glasses of milk a year. • Agriculture employs more than 24 million American workers (17% of the total U.S. work force). • Today’s American farmer feeds about 155 people worldwide. In 1960, that number was 25.8.


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CP 2014 Spring Ag Magazine