Page 1

THE U OF I received a $10-million grant from ADM to establish an institute to research ways to reduce post-harvest crop losses. ..................2

U.S. EPA actions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed could have a “draconian” effect on the rest of the nation, says the AFBF head. ...4

EPA ANNOUNCED Friday E15 blends are safe for use in all cars and pickups produced in 2001 and later. ......................................................5

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two sections Volume 39, No. 4

Ag collegiate chiefs share challenges of tight budgets BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois’ four collegiate agricultural programs are experiencing the best of times and the worst of times, the leaders of those programs reported to the Illinois Farm Bureau Board last week. The job market is one of the strongest ever for graduates with agriculture-related Bob Hauser degrees, and that fact is drawing more students, especially from urban areas, to their ag programs, the four leaders said.

“The jobs are tremendous. It’s never been better for students,” said Bob Hauser, dean of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES). In the midst of a strong ag economy, collegiate ag programs face dwindling state funding, tuition increases, faculty vacancies, hiring freezes, and infrastrucRob Rhykerd ture problems on their research farms. “Our biggest concern is eroding state support,” said Rob Rhykerd, chair of

Illinois State University’s (ISU) Department of Agriculture. Rhykerd and Hauser were joined by Todd Winters, interim dean of Southern Illinois University’s (SIU) College of Agricultural Sciences, and Bill Bailey, director of Western Illinois University’s (WIU) School of Agriculture. Shrinking budgets in Illinois have led universities in other states to Todd Winters target talented Illinois faculty and researchers and to lure top high school seniors with tuition offers, especially to other land-grant universities.

“Some schools are targeting certain areas (of study) they want to strengthen because these are tough times, and we’ve lost some (faculty),” Hauser said. Tuition dollars now comprise more of their budgets, leaving less to maintain and upgrade research farm facilities at the four universities, the leaders noted. “As the farm goes, so goes our teaching Bill Bailey program because we are very applied (knowledge),” Bailey

See Challenges, page 3

Small farms and consumers benefit from farm programs IFB, U of I research counters EWG claims BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

It’s come to be nearly a perennial event — the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) listing of federal farm payment recipients and its indictment of direct payments. EWG President Ken Cook argues the 2008 farm bill reinforced “an interlocking maze of subsidies that, taken together, force taxpayers to spend billions of dollars no matter what the condition of the farm economy.”

But analysts with Illinois Farm Bureau and the University of Illinois challenge the EWG’s premise that ag supports — according to EWG, the “continued bailout of corporate agriculture” — bolster large producers and agribusiness with little benefit to society at large. A new discussion document developed by IFB argues “good farm policy provides for a stable food supply, soil and water conservation benefits, and nutrition assistance for the nation’s children, senior citizens, and poor.” As a result of farm programs, U.S. consumers on average spend only about 6.9 percent of their total budget on food — half the percentage spent by most Western Europeans and a fifth the percentage Chinese consumers spend on food relative to income. “Part of that program puts a safety net under producers that allows them to manage through a volatile marketplace and affords the consumer relatively cheap food,” IFB President Philip Nelson said. “That’s an economic boon for everyone, including every man, woman, and child who’s a consumer.” Further, U of I ag economist Barrett Kirwan, who has reviewed the USDA data published by the EWG, argues that in terms of relative gain, small farms are major beneficiaries of commodity payments.

The farm bill provides “progressive support,” generally offering smaller producers more significant subBarrett Kirwan sidies per dollar of assets, Kirwan said. And those subsidies provide a crucial safety net allowing many of those producers to

continue farming. Farm tenants cannot offer lenders the collateral held by a landowner, and the security of program payments “allow relatively small farms better access to credit,” said Kirwan. If, as some proponents of small-scale “local agriculture” suggest, small farms provide enhanced environmental benefits, payments also may encourage more widespread stewardship by helping keep land in

diverse hands, Kirwan said. That’s in addition to conservation measures undertaken by program recipients as a whole, Nelson said. “I’m just not sure the vilification of farm programs causing massive farm consolidation and driving industrial agriculture is entirely accurate,” Kirwan told FarmWeek. “There really are people who are lifted out of poverty because of the subsidies.”


Frank Rapp, right, of Eldorado registers at the GROWMARK booth during the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association annual convention last week in Peoria. Looking on, left to right, are John Holthaus, Christine Duryea, and Steve German, all with GROWMARK human resources. The threeday conference featured exhibits that offered services and products. Read news from the convention on page 4. (Photo by Kay Shipman)

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FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, January 24, 2011


Quick Takes MINISH RESIGNS SIU POST — Gary Minish, former dean of Southern Illinois University’s (SIU) College of Agricultural Sciences, last week resigned his new position as the provost at SIU Carbondale, said Interim Ag Dean Todd Winters. Minish had joined the administration as provost and senior vice chancellor in mid-December. Minish asked to rejoin the ag sciences faculty as a professor and will be allowed to do so, Winters said. Minish and Chancellor Rita Cheng disagreed over goals and changes on the Carbondale campus. “While words cannot express how deeply disappointed I am that Dr. Minish’s service as provost was so short-lived, I respect his decision,” Cheng said in a statement. “It is clear that he has misgivings about the changes that have been implemented over the past several months and the initiatives that are planned for the future.” The university has no immediate timetable to select an interim provost. BCAP FUNDING UNCERTAIN — University of Illinois Energy Biosciences Institute legal/regulatory specialist Timothy Slating warns future initiatives for developing next-generation biofuels are far from a congressional lock. The 2008 farm bill’s program to help launch cellulosic-based biofuel, heating, and power sources continues to exist at Congress’ will, said Slating, who led Illinois Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) webinars last week. BCAP is seen as a key component in helping the U.S. meet a 36-billion-gallon-per-year renewable fuels standard target by 2020, but funding extends only through September 2012 — the official expiration date for the 2008 farm bill. Funding is capped at $432 million for fiscal 2011. “Continuation of the program is heavily dependent on congressional action,” Slating said. “Funding could be altered at any time by an appropriations act.” For details on BCAP and Illinois producers, see next week’s FarmWeek. DIRTY JOBS VIDEO — To commemorate the appearance of reality show Dirty Jobs star Mike Rowe as the featured speaker at the recent American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting, AFBF staged a dirty jobs video contest for Farm Bureau members. Jack McCormick, president of Randolph County Farm Bureau, was named a runner-up in the contest. His video, detailing a day of dirty jobs on his farm, was played prior to a general session at the convention. It can be can be seen at {}.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 39 No. 4

January 24, 2011

Dedicated to improving the profitability of farming, and a higher quality of life for Illinois farmers. FarmWeek is produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau. FarmWeek is published each week, except the Mondays following Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Avenue, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61701. Illinois Agricultural Association assumes no responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products or services advertised in FarmWeek. FarmWeek is published by the Illinois Agricultural Association for farm operator members. $3 from the individual membership fee of each of those members go toward the production of FarmWeek.

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ADM, U of I to focus on reducing harvest losses around the globe I Interim Chancellor and Provost Robert Easter. “If we waste 20 percent of the grain or oil seeds, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Co. and the then 20 percent of the resources — the fuel, ferUniversity of Illinois will develop post-harvest tilizer, and human effort that went into it — has training, tools, and technology to reduce losses been wasted as well.” of harvested crops around the Quinn focused on the initiaworld. tive’s sustainability aspect and Last week, Gov. Pat Quinn noted it would encourage stujoined officials representing ‘The potential for dents, researchers, and farmers to ADM and the U of I for the m a k i n g a n i m - “think in a way that is green and announcement of a $10-million act in a way that is green.” grant to establish the ADM Insti- pact on people’s In addition to ACES, the institute for the Prevention of lives is very real, tute, which will be headed by U Postharvest Loss within the Coland it’s endless.’ of I professor of agricultural lege of Agricultural, Consumer, management Steve Sonka, will and Environmental Sciences — Robert Easter work with the U of I colleges of (ACES). engineering, business, and inforUniversity of Illinois interim Given the constraints of natmation technology. chancellor and provost ural resources and the global The grant money will be used demand for food, “waste not, to launch new technology, collect want not seems more timely than ever,” said crop data, and offer training programs for stuPatricia Woertz, ADM chairman and chief exec- dents and farmers. utive officer. Woertz said she envisions the institute She noted the improving the world’s food supply and livelihood United Nations of farmers around the world from rice farmers Food and Agriin southeast Asia to sorghum growers in eastern Listen to Todd Gleason’s report cultural OrganiAfrica to sunflower farmers in India. about the new ADM institute at zation estimates Goals for the institute include establishing between 10 per- partnerships with governments, other academic institutions, and organizations to identify cent and 20 percent of harvested grain around the world is wast- research needs; developing courses to train farmers on practices and technology to minimize ed. Meanwhile, only 5 percent of agricultural research dollars is spent to address that problem. postharvest losses, and establishing of an online resource center to accelerate application of “The potential for making an impact on peoresearch into practice around the world. ple’s lives is very real, and it’s endless,” said U of


USDA, FDA heighten food safety efforts BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have launched a farmer-informed food safety agenda that Ag Under Secretary Elizabeth Hagen calls “stronger and smarter and equipped to meet the demands of the 21st Century.” A heavier regulatory hand should not be part of that agenda, according to Hagen and FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Mike Taylor. “I’ve got enough on my plate,” said Hagen, who oversees USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). New food safety law directs FDA to develop standards for safe fruit and vegetable production practices, including attention to water quality, worker hygiene, and fertilizer and other soil issues. Meanwhile, FSIS will provide the cattle industry guidance on safe pre-slaughter animal “harvest.” FSIS “is not looking to expand its jurisdiction” beyond slaughter to on-farm regulation, Hagen stressed. Produce standards are being developed “in dialogue with farmers,” said Taylor, whose agency has gathered input from 13 states.

“The job Congress has given us is to set standards and work with the community to help ensure what we know will work in a practical, commonsense way in fact becomes a standard everyone observes,” he told FarmWeek. “That can’t possibly happen by FDA inspecting farms — there are too many even if we wanted to. So how do we work with the community, provide technical assistance, education, and support? We’ll work with Farm Bureau, with Extension, with state ag departments. It has to be a community effort.” Similarly, Hagen seeks “to bring together the right people” — producers, packers, and scientists — to devise animal management practices that reduce point-of-slaughter risks related to contaminated intestines or hides. “A single outbreak or recall is devastating for (farmers),” she noted. Food safety again became a headline issue in December when about 70 people in Illinois suffered salmonella poisoning after eating sprouts distributed by Urbana-based Tiny Greens Organic Farm at Jimmy John’s restaurants in 14 counties, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

FDA reported a strain of salmonella involved in a recent multi-state outbreak turned up in water runoff samples at the organic farm. That doesn’t necessarily indict Tiny Greens in the Illinois outbreak: IDPH spokesman Melanie Arnold noted the pathogen found in the samples is “quite a common strain.” The new food safety act includes regulatory exemptions for producers with less than $500,000 in annual sales and who sell most of their product to consumers within their state or within a 275mile radius. But while recent peanut and egg scares spurred scrutiny of large “corporate” operations, Taylor said “food should be safe regardless of the scale of operation.” “We’re going to implement the provisions Congress gave us but continue to work with the community and try to be supportive of efforts to improve food safety across the board,” he said. “A lot of that’s a matter of providing knowledge, providing the understanding in the case of sprouts of how we can minimize, normally at the seed level, the risk of contamination with salmonella or another pathogen.”

Page 3 Monday, January 24, 2011 FarmWeek


Feb. 23-24

Rural development special focus for GALC

Truck weight limits on local roads have become an issue in some counties, including Fulton County. Truck weight access is a state priority issue for Illinois Farm Bureau, which is exploring the possibility of setting standards for local jurisdictions to post weight limits. (FarmWeek file photo)

County Farm Bureau seeking solution to road weight issue BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

The Fulton County Farm Bureau is working with the county government to find alternatives to controversial year-round weight restrictions on many county roads. Late last fall, the Fulton County Board approved an ordinance that designated weight limits of less than 80,000 pounds all year on many county roads. Stretches of only five county routes

‘This (ordinance) puts us at a disadvantage to ever y county around us.’ — John Spangler Fulton County Farm Bureau board member

were not posted for lower limits year-round. “This (ordinance) puts us at a disadvantage to every county around us. It affects all of us,” said John Spangler, a Fulton County Farm Bureau board member from Marietta. Spangler and some other county Farm Bureau leaders will discuss the matter Jan. 31 with the county government’s Road and Bridge Committee. The county Farm Bureau and others in the ag community reacted shortly after the ordinance was passed with little public input. To prompt discussion of the issue, the county Farm Bureau hosted an early January meeting attended by 65 people representing many sectors. “We appreciate the fact

that the county board is willing to talk with us,” said Elaine Stone, county Farm Bureau manager, of the Jan. 31 meeting. Stone and Spangler agreed the best outcome would be for the county to again allow 80,000-pound access on county roads and to post lower weight limits when warranted by weather conditions. They would like roadposting decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis. “We’re more than willing to stay off roads when they are soft,” Spangler said. “We understand during thaw periods that damage can be done. The rest of the year we see no reason why roads can’t be 80,000 pounds (access).” The issue extends beyond Fulton County. Road access is one of Illinois Farm Bureau’s state priorities for 2011 after Farm Bureau delegate action at the annual meeting. IFB is looking into the possibility of setting standards for local jurisdictions to post weight limits and will reach out to county Farm Bureau leaders for input, said Kevin Rund, IFB senior director of local government. Other counties also have enacted year-round weight restrictions, Rund added. It will be important to balance the need to ship heavy loads with the cost of keeping the roads in shape, Rund said. Spangler advised other county Farm Bureau leaders to stay in touch with their county government officials on road weight limits and possible year-round restrictions. “Try to stay ahead of it,” Spangler warned.

Rural development not only is a major focus of Illinois Farm Bureau it also will receive special attention at the IFB Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference (GALC) Feb. 23-24 in the Crowne Plaza, Springfield. The pre-registration deadline is Feb. 14. County Farm Bureau leaders are being encouraged to invite a local rural economic development coordinator to attend the conference. As an incentive, the coordinator’s registration fee will be waived for the first 20 county Farm Bureaus who reserve a spot, according to Liz Hobart, IFB associate director of national legislation and policy development, and Brenda Matherly, IFB assistant director of local government. “Hopefully, this is an opportunity on the local level for county Farm Bureaus to extend invitations and interact with local rural economic development coordinators,” Hobart said. The coordinators who attend will gain a broad perspective of agricultural issues and rural development, Hobart continued. She noted there has been a good response to the idea from county Farm Bureaus. In each breakout session, at least one topic will relate to rural development. In addition, a representative of USDA Rural Development also will speak in a breakout session. A new feature this year will be four concur-

rent “town hall“ meetings, each on a different issue. Those issues will be livestock, the environment, legislation and political involvement, and renewable fuels. A panel of experts will discuss different aspects, programs, and initiatives of the issues, the sessions will be opened for attendees’ comments and questions. A statewide legislative reception will be held on the first evening. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss issues with their lawmakers and others involved in the Adopt-aLegislator program. GALC workshop sessions will focus on a number of issues including rural development, transportation, environment, and legislation. Participants also will have an opportunity to visit exhibits related to public policy issues, organizational issues and programs, and IFB tools that are available to Farm Bureau members. The registration fee is $50 to attend the first day, $30 for the second day, or $70 for both days. Hotel accommodations are separate and must be made directly with the Crowne Plaza or the Holiday Inn Express. For more information or to register for the conference, contact your county Farm Bureau or go online to {}. — Kay Shipman

SIU ag sciences college raising planning funds The Southern Illinois University (SIU) College of Agricultural Sciences hopes to raise enough private funds by spring 2011 for pre-planning of a new natural resources

building, Interim Ag Dean Todd Winters reported to the Illinois Farm Bureau Board last week. To date, the college has raised $126,000 of $200,000 needed for a preliminary needs assessment and draft architectural drawings.

“Our college has grown significantly since 1955, Winters said, referring to the construction date of the current Agriculture Building. Until the roof was repaired recently, the Ag Building was “notorious” for leaking during storms, Winters said. Despite those repairs, the building has serious mold problems, an antiquated heating and cooling system, and out-of-date laboratories and technology. A new building would cost an estimated $40 million, and the final architectural and engineering plans would cost an additional $4 million. SIU would seek state funding for those expenses, Winters said.

Challenges Continued from page 1 said. “We aren’t going to get money from the university to fix it.” Asked about the direction of ag research, the leaders explained sources of research funding determine the types of research that is done. For example, the National Institutes of Health funds more medical-related animal science research than USDA funds ag production research. Winters, an animal reproductive physiologist, said he was a prime example of that situation. He said his last research project involved prostrate cancer because the funding came from health-related sources. As the tight budget situation continues, the potential for the four programs to pool some resources, especially on their respective research farms, is one possibility, the leaders said. “The universities (ag leaders) have a marvelous relationship; we can call each other,” Bailey said. “The more successful ag students are in general, the better it is for agriculture.”

“The goal is to have this (preliminary planning) in place for when state funding is in a better situation,” he said. — Kay Shipman

DATEBOOK Jan. 25 Tillage seminar, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Parkland College, Champaign. Illinois Milk Producers Association educational program, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kaskaskia College, Centralia. Jan. 26-27 Illinois Crop Management conference, Rend Lake Conference Center. 618692-9434, ext. 13 Jan. 26 Illinois Milk Producers Association educational program, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., IAA Building, Bloomington. Jan. 27 Tillage seminar, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Milan Community Center, Milan. Illinois Milk Producers Association educational program, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Highland Community College, Freeport. Jan. 28 Tillage seminar, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Joliet Junior College, Joliet. & Conference Center, Springfield. 618-6929434, ext. 13

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, January 24, 2011


Nutrient levels pose challenge for Illinois ag BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Agriculture must be part of the solution in reducing nitrogen and phosphorous levels in Illinois rivers, streams, and lakes, according to panelists at the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) annual convention last week. The panelists issued a call to action, but they reached no consensus on what specific practices should be applied. Marcia Willhite, head of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency water bureau, warned U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Region 5 that oversees Illinois has been given orders to have its states develop nutrient reduction plans or face “consequences if they don’t.” Willhite pointed to USEPA’s enforcement of nutrient standards in the Chesapeake Bay and in Florida as tough alterna-

tives to lack of action on the part of state EPA agencies. “If we can show we are making progress, we are less likely to have USEPA give us standards and less likely to be sued by environmental groups who think we aren’t making progress,” Willhite said. A major stumbling block is the lack of a common solution because of the state’s varied soils and topography. University of Illinois researcher Mark David acknowledged farmers in parts of Illinois are removing more nitrogen, mostly through higher crop yields, than they are applying. “That doesn’t mean we need more fertilizer. That’s not the answer,” David added. David noted farmers are using nitrogen more efficiently because yields have increased while average fertilizer use has stayed steady, and the net nitrogen load, which remains after subtracting

all nitrogen outputs from all inputs, has decreased steadily in Illinois since the 1990s. However, January-to-June storms and tile drainage cause nitrogen in the soil to be washed out, David said, referring to data from numerous research studies. “You can do a good job all year. Then you get a couple of storms and get the (nitrogen) loss (from a field) for the whole year. Timing is really important,” David said. “Fall nitrogen is not the source of all our problems, but it is one problem,” David continued. “I know there are problems. I guess that’s a challenge to all of you.” One challenge will be selecting a group of management practices to apply concurrently without knowing the consequences, said Cliff Snyder, nitrogen program director with the International Plant

Soil temperature critical for application of nitrogen U of I alters recommendation on when to apply fertilizer BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Soil temperature is such a critical component of the effectiveness of nitrogen applications that the University of Illinois changed its recommendation for fall applications in its agronomy handbook. The U of I no longer suggests anhydrous ammonia applications with an inhibitor, such as N-Serve, can begin in the fall once the soil temperature drops below 60 degrees. The recommendation now is that all fall N applications, with or without an inhibitor, should be delayed until the soil temperature falls below 50 degrees. “The reason we don’t talk about 60 degrees anymore is people started to equate 60 degrees with an inhibitor to 50 degrees without an inhibitor,”

Fabian Fernandez, U of I assistant professor of soil fertility, said last week at the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association convention in Peoria. “That never was the case. “Fifty degrees didn’t mean you didn’t have to use an inhibitor,” he said. “In fact, using an inhibitor at 50 degrees actually makes a lot of sense.” So why is 50 degrees the focal point to begin fall N applications? Nitrification (the conversion of ammonia to nitrate) is fairly rapid, with or without an inhibitor, until the temperature drops below 50 degrees. The breakdown of nitrapyrin, the active ingredient in N-Serve, also is slowed once the temperature drops below 50. “The cooler the temperature, the longer the N-Serve will be

Illinois Pork Expo slated Feb. 1-2 The Illinois Pork Expo, billed as the largest pork-specific trade show in the state, will be held Feb. 1-2 at the Peoria Civic Center. The event, sponsored by the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), will feature a tradeshow on Tuesday, Feb. 1, and Wednesday, Feb. 2. There also will be a full lineup of educational seminars throughout the day on

Wednesday, Feb. 2. One portion of the seminars will focus on commercial pig production while the other portion of seminars will focus on purebred swine and showpigs. IPPA also will host its annual meeting on Feb. 1. For a complete list of activities, a schedule of events, and to register, visit the IPPA website {} or call IPPA at 217-529-3100.

viable,” Fernandez said. And that means more nitrogen will be available for the crops the following spring and, in the majority of cases, farmers will see a yield response. Fernandez reported the use of inhibitors in the fall produced a yield response in 69 percent of studies, with an average yield increase of 9 percent. The yield response for inhibitors used in spring no-till averaged 13 percent in the 82 percent of studies that showed a yield response. However, the use of inhibitors in the spring conventional-till provided a yield increase in just 51 percent of the studies with an average yield gain of 3 percent. “The use of anhydrous ammonia in the fall with NServe typically is a good idea,” Fernandez said. “But the benefit of an inhibitor is reduced as it gets closer to the time the plant uses N.” So what does the change in temperature recommendation mean to farmers? “It means they’ll have to have a little more patience,” said Fernandez, who reported that from 1989 to 2007 it took an average of 24 days each fall for the average temperature in the state to drop from 60 to 50 degrees. “The first part of November, in most years, there still is a good window to get N down before it gets too wet or freezes,” he added.

Nutrient Institute (IPNI). “We have some best management practices and some tools that haven’t been evaluated as part of a chain. We badly need studies and four to five years to make conclusions,” Snyder said. He illustrated his point by describing how the adoption of no-till in the Lake Erie area decreased the sediment running into the lake. However, more phosphorous washed off the no-till fields and raised

phosphorous levels in the lake, resulting in algae blooms. “They traded one problem for another,” Snyder said. Snyder agreed with Willhite and David that the ag industry needs to work with others to develop strategies to reduce nutrient levels in waters. Snyder encouraged IFCA members to propose solutions and do more to address the issue. “We have to determine a strategy that is economically viable for farmers,” Snyder said.

Stallman: Chesapeake suit may save Midwest $$ BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

What would $3 billion in new regulatory costs mean to Corn Belt producers, businesses, and towns? How about $6 billion? American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman hopes Illinoisans never have to find out. AFBF has joined in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) legal and scientific justification for regulating farm nutrient-sediments “loads” and other economic activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which extends from Maryland into Pennsylvania. In an RFD Radio/FarmWeek interview last week, Stallman speculated on the potential Midwest consequences of EPA officials “overreaching their legislative mandates” within the eastern watershed. EPA attempts to control total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) in the Chesapeake Bay basin would have “draconian economic effects across the region,” he warned. Stallman stressed the suit seeks not to delay Chesapeake Bay “cleanup” but instead contests EPA’s attempt to “take unlawful control” of state implementation and “faulty” calculations of agriculture’s impact on watershed quality. Farmers within the region have been “working very diligently for a long time” to minimize runoff, he said. Initial estimates place the cost of Chesapeake Bay standards at $7 billion for Virginia and $3 billion to $6 billion for New York. That’s despite USDA estimates that regional ag nitrogen loadings in recent years have fallen by 36 percent, sediment by 64 percent, and phosphorous by 43 percent. “Even though it’s a small region of the country, EPA has already stated it wants to use this same model of regulation in other watersheds,” Stallman advised. “All one has to do is think about the Mississippi River watershed and what a vast area that covers. Having an approach like (EPA is) trying to use in the Chesapeake Bay applied to the Mississippi River watershed would just be horrific, not only for agriculture but for all businesses.” Congress intended to grant states authority over specific decisions about “how best to improve water quality,” factoring in any social and economic consequences of new regulations, but EPA “is trying to overturn that,” he said. Activist groups have driven EPA’s regulatory agenda through recent lawsuits. But Stallman noted some states are now challenging EPA’s reach in the courts. A federal court recently delayed EPA’s attempted takeover of Texas’ implementation of greenhouse gas permit requirements for refineries and power plants. EPA reportedly has determined 13 states currently do not have authority to regulate those emissions, but Texas’ attorney general charged the agency has “overstepped its legal boundaries.” A Washington appeals court lifted the stay on Jan. 12, but the attorney general plans to continue pursuing the case. “Part of the problem with states taking on EPA is that the EPA is a federal agency, and based on the interlocking relationship with the states implementing federal law, it can be somewhat coercive in trying to force states to take on roles EPA wants them to,” Stallman told FarmWeek. “Frankly, as a Texan, I certainly appreciated the fact that Texas was at least willing to stand up and challenge EPA on the greenhouse gas regulation implementation.”

Page 5 Monday, January 24, 2011 FarmWeek


EPA approves E15 for ’01-’06 cars The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday E15 (15 percent ethanol) blends are safe for use in all cars and pickups produced in 2001 and later, helping, but not entirely resolving, concerns about near-term E15 adoption. In October, EPA approved E15 use for 2007 and newer vehicles. With 2001 and newer cars and pickups included, EPA has approved the use of E15

for 62 percent of vehicles on the road today, according to car industry data. Tom Buis, CEO of biofuels advocacy group Growth Energy, called EPA’s latest decision “a bold move forward, changing America’s energy future for the better.” If E15 were used in all vehicles covered by this decision, the theoretical “blend wall” for demand-driven ethanol use would be approxi-

New glycerin feed research may boost biodiesel revival BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

New University of Illinois research into the livestock potential of a biofuels co-product could help feed revival of the biodiesel industry. Interest in renewable fuels production and a growing need to find cost-effective feed options led U of I graduate research assistant Omarh Mendoza and associates to further evaluate use of glycerin in swine diets. Developing markets for the key biodiesel production is seen as crucial to ‘ W e ’ r e a l w a y s byproduct the biodiesel bottomline, just s u p p o r t i n g a ny as ethanol-derived dried disn e w u s e s f o r tillers grains have improved g l y c e r i n , b e - that industry’s profit margins and cost competitiveness. c a u s e t h a t ’s The U of I study, published going to help the in the Journal of Animal Science, far mer’s bottom reports swine diets with up to 15 percent glycerin can achieve line.’ feed performance similar to a conventional corn-soybean diet. U of I scientists evaluated — Mark Albertson the feedstuff ’s energy Illinois Soybean Association digestibility and energy value. With biodiesel manufacturers regrouping after a year’s delay in extending the federal biodiesel blenders tax credit, Dave Elsenbast, Renewable Energy Group (REG) Inc. vice president for supply chain management, deemed U of I’s findings “great news.” An anticipated increase in biodiesel production under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2011 renewable fuels standard rules will bring significantly higher supplies of glycerin into the market, according to REG, which operates the former Blackhawk biodiesel plant at Danville. “REG is well positioned to provide glycerin for livestock feed not only in Iowa and Illinois, where pork production and biodiesel and glycerin production intersect, but across the country as well,” Elsenbast told FarmWeek. Glycerin uses include petroleum substitutes, emulsifiers in foods, and lotions, and industrial demand for the product sometimes makes it too costly to use in livestock diets, U of I animal scientist Michael Ellis said. But Ellis believes biofuels growth could make it as economically accessible to producers as it is biologically accessible to swine. In 2009, U.S. biodiesel sales were estimated at 475 million gallons, or roughly 427 million pounds of crude glycerin. More than 700 million pounds of glycerin production is anticipated in 2011. Challenges remain to boosting on-farm glycerin use. Crude glycerin is a viscous liquid, and inclusion rates above 5 percent sometimes can result in feed flowability issues, noted coresearcher Aaron Gaines, production resources vice president with Carlyle-based pork producer The Maschhoffs. “We’re always supporting any new uses for glycerin, because that’s going to help the farmer’s bottom line,” said Mark Albertson, Illinois Soybean Association director of strategic market development.

mately 17.5 billion gallons. Buis argued that with engine and emissions systems testing on 2001-2010 cars showing no issues with using E15, EPA approval should be extended to even older vehicles to make continued progress in reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. “EPA continues to move in the right direction with respect to increasing ethanol blends, but challenges still remain,” Renew-

able Fuels Association (RFA) President Bob Dinneen said. “The RFA continues to urge Listen to Bob Dinneen’s comments about the EPA decision to approve E15 for older cars, at

EPA to extend the waiver for E15 use to all cars and pickups.” Given that not every vehicle

on the road has been approved, labeling issues and “misfueling” concerns by fuel retailers still must be addressed. The RFA has suggested changes to EPA’s proposed label for E15 pumps, and worked with gas marketers to get legislation introduced in Congress to address misfueling concerns. The RFA will look for opportunities to reintroduce the legislation in the 112th Congress.

New biobased product label should highlight new uses bigger market than biodiesel Mark Albertson, Illinois From soy-stuffed mattress— not in terms of gallons, Soybean Association (ISA) es and car seats to household but in terms of actual doldirector of strategic market formulations and industrial lars. That’s really exciting — adhesives, a new USDA Certi- development, sees the label we’ve never been this far raising the profile of many fied Biobased Product Label before.” existing and emerging soymay put a whole new — and Soy foam mattresses have based products. In fact, ISA potentially profitable — face been a large seller for on new commodity uses. more than two dozen USDA’s BioPreferred retailers, he noted, sugprogram has been develgesting sales of such oping a voluntary biobased products will reach new product certification and heights under the label. Details on the final biobased label. label and rules for its use High-oleic soybean oil, were published last week which offers extended shelf in the Federal Register. life for cooking oils, also The program is This is an example of the label USDA could prove a key compodesigned to help manufachas devised to promote products with nent in industrial products turers and marketers prorenewable, biobased content. The label such as lubricants or inks, mote commercial and conprovides the percent of biobased conAlbertson said. sumer use of biobased tent in a product (here, 57 percent). Green “building” is a products. The label will major driver in new maridentify products and kets: Albertson argued use of currently is interviewing for a packaging made from renewsoy-based adhesives would new staff member who will able resources that meet have helped the federal govspecialize in biobased prodUSDA standards — according ernment avoid the ill effects ucts. to Ag Deputy Secretary Kathassociated with formaldehyde “Most of the revenue from leen Merrigan, so consumers used in plywood to build “toxa barrel of oil actually comes will “know what their dollars ic trailers” used by some Hurfrom that 20 percent that’s are buying.” ricane Katrina victims. used for high-value chemicals Merrigan hopes to see “More and more companies — the same kind of chemicals products bearing the new label that go into Vaseline, lip balm, are looking to soy for getting on shelves as early as this back to nature, to help make and hand lotion,” Albertson spring. USDA has set a 25 their customers healthier and told FarmWeek. percent biobased content improve their quality of life,” “If we’re able to use soy“floor” for certification, bean oil instead of petroleum Albertson said. — Martin though labeling can indicate Ross oil for that, this could be a higher content levels.

USDA to invest funds in biorefinery projects Funding for ethanol infrastructure and biofuels announced last week by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will create more jobs, reduce foreign oil dependence, and promote “the rapid commercialization of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels,” according to biofuels advocacy group Growth Energy. Vilsack announced funding for new biorefinery projects under the 2008 farm bill’s Biorefinery Assistance Program. USDA is providing funding in 33 states to support production and use of “advanced biofuels” such as cellulosic ethanol. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates

the U.S. is home to more than one billion tons of biomass that could be converted into as much as 100 billion gallons of ethanol. At the recent American Farm Bureau annual meeting in Georgia, Vilsack called cellulosic biofuels/biodiesel development a key move in “the diversification of agriculture.” “Our country’s next energy policy goal should be to open the transportation fuels market, as we outline in our Fueling Freedom plan, which would encourage demand for cellulosic ethanol and spur even more investment from the private sector,” Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said.

FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, January 24, 2011


U.S.-Korean FTA approval Colombia agreement a matter of ‘when,’ not ‘if ’? not as simple a sell BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

With lawmakers, the White House, and even key labor interests moving into alignment, Washington trade consultant Paul Drazek sees approval of a U.S.-South Korean free trade agreement (FTA) as a matter of “when” rather than “if.” The anti-trade rhetoric that flavored 2010 congressional campaigns has “died down quite a bit,” Drazek told FarmWeek. And with a “supplemental” U.S.-Korean auto agreement in place, addressing a key FTA sticking point, he sees U.S. labor interests becoming far more amenable to the accord and the administration likely to push harder for its approval. Some “Tea Party” candidates tried last fall to link free trade to outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing, though current FTAs would remove tariff barriers to U.S. imports. Drazek questions whether

some of Congress’ new freshmen are “focused on trade,” but he sees a generally favorable mood toward the Korean FTA with the shift in House party control. “Most people here inside the Beltway think it’s just a question of when (lawmakers) … get the implementing legislation finished,” he said. “They have to do a mock ‘markup’ of the bill so it’s all ready to go for debate with no amendments. It probably will be introduced sooner rather than later, and there will be a big push to get it through. “The leadership in the House is very strongly in favor of moving (FTAs) forward. I’m counting on them being able to prevail. The term ‘Tea Party’ stems from the group that protested a tax on tea imports. It makes you wonder if they’d be true to their origins if they started to talk against trade agreements.” The United Auto Workers

(UAW) now supports the FTA, though the International Brotherhood of Teamsters does not. That’s a net positive: Unions normally are “tightly bound together in opposition to trade agreements,” and UAW support should help calm “anti-agreement rhetoric,” Drazek said. While it may sound exploitive, new foot-andmouth outbreaks and resultant culling of swine and cattle in South Korea not only offers “an opportunity for us” in terms of beef and pork sales but also underlines why free market flow benefits the Korean economy and “food security,” Drazek said. Availability of imports free of costly duties helps foreign marketers and consumers weather internal supply glitches with minimal price inflation, he suggested. “The Koreans probably aren’t going to want their people to go without meat protein,” Drazek added.

While the momentum behind a South Korean free trade agreement (FTA) likely will help carry a similar U.S.-Panama agreement through Congress, a long-awaited Colombian FTA may prove a harder sell. That’s according to Paul ‘Colombia has Drazek, trade consultant with Washington-based DTB come such a Associates. While Drazek is long way from optimistic the Panama FTA w h e r e i t wa s i n may be next on the congressional approval list, “I’m not all aspects — its ready to say that about e c o n o m y, t h e Colombia yet.” treatment of Colombia’s recent history union officials, its of violent labor strife continues to feed FTA resistance relationship with among U.S. unions, and its us, drugs, etc.’ reputation as a major world drug supplier is a detriment as well. However, last week, U.S. — Paul Drazek drug czar Gil Kerlikowske Trade consultant during a visit to Columbia hailed Columbian progress in reducing cocaine trade. Kerlikowske argued “Colombia’s progress in improving security, reducing the influence of drug cartels, improving the economic situation for its people, and stabilizing the country is nothing short of astonishing.“ “I think it’s pretty clear to everybody that Colombia has come such a long way from where it was in all aspects — its economy, the treatment of union officials, its relationship with us, drugs, etc.,” Drazek told FarmWeek. “It’s a long list. They deserve this agreement. And I think even many of the opponents would admit to this. “Many of them have been to Colombia; they’ve seen this. But the pressure from the unions on them is so intense, as is the (trade) protectionist side in this country. There are some organizations whose reason for being is to oppose trade agreements. There’s no way to placate them.” U.S. Sen. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), a staunch opponent of the Colombian FTA, visited the country this month to gauge whether social conditions had improved since his last tour 21 months ago. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), meanwhile, warned “it would be a terrible signal to send to the world if we did not conclude this agreement with the country that’s been one of the closest allies and supporters in the war on drugs.“ U.S. negotiators signed the Colombian agreement in November 2006, setting the stage for elimination of import tariffs on many U.S. goods. Amid congressional delays in ratifying it, Canada reportedly is seeing benefits from its own Colombian FTA — during the first 10 months of 2010, Colombian trade with Canada grew by 30.9 percent. Further, a Canadian agreement with Panama is advancing in Canada’s national legislature, with approval anticipated within the next six months. — Martin Ross

GROWMARK, Bunge form new partnership Bloomington-based GROWMARK and Bunge North America last week announced the creation of B-G Fertilizer LLC to acquire a liquid and dry fertilizer storage terminal currently owned by CF Industries. B-G Fertilizer will use the facility, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, to supply crop nutrients to retail fertilizer dealers. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. “The Bunge-GROWMARK partnership supports our corporate objective of pursuing beneficial acquisitions and business alliances,” said Rod Wells, agronomy sales and operations director at GROWMARK. The partnership will allow both companies to tap existing expertise within the organizations while also leveraging Bunge’s grain and oilseed network in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Page 7 Monday, January 24, 2011 FarmWeek


Gianessi: Pesticides critical to food production boost BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The fact that U.S. population figures and the number of acres in agricultural production are heading in opposite directions seems to leave one clear solution for feeding more people in the future. The ag industry must continue to find ways to produce more crops/food per acre, according to Leonard Gianessi, director of the Crop Protection Research Institute. “We’ve got to increase yields,” said Gianessi, a featured speaker last week at the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association convention in Peoria. “We can’t increase the number of

“Where’s the food going to planted acres in the U.S.” come from” to feed a much The U.S. population has grown from just 5 million peo- larger population? Corn yields for 100 years ple in 1800 and 76 million in leading up to 1935 averaged 1900 to current estimates of about 20 more bushels per than 300 acre until million people. ‘We’ve got to increase the introduction of And yields.’ hybrids, Census — Leonard Gianessi fertilizer, Bureau Crop Protection Research Institute and pestiestimates cides, suggest according to Gianessi. the U.S. population in the next Since 1950 and the dawn of 80 years could reach between “modern agriculture,” crop 600 million to as many as one production has increased by a billion people. “We’re talking about at least factor of five, even though the number of acres declined, he doubling the population,” said. Gianessi told FarmWeek.

“How did we do that? With hybridization, fertilizer, and pesticides,” Gianessi said. U.S. farmers currently treat about 90 percent of fruit and vegetable acres and 95 percent of row-crop acres with insecticides and fungicides to prevent losses to insects and plant pathogens. Gianessi recently traveled to Africa, where advanced hybrids and pesticides are not used on a widescale basis, and he witnessed a considerable difference in output. “They’re losing threefourths of their (potential) yield” in Africa, he said. “They need this technology.”

New technology not only increases crop yields, it also saves the soil and reduces fossil fuel use, he said. Use of pesticides has helped farmers reduce the number of trips through the field during the growing season from as many as 10 to just one or two. Farmers as a result have been able to boost the number of no-till acres nationwide to about 88 million acres. Meanwhile, the amount of total energy used in the U.S. by the ag industry has declined from 5 percent in the 1970s to just 1 percent currently, according to Gianessi.

Illinois’ top export customer agrees to buy more soybeans A Chinese delegation comprised of government officials and ag industry leaders last week in a signing ceremony held in Chicago agreed to purchase more U.S. soybeans. The agreement should be particularly beneficial to Illinois, which last year ranked

second nationwide in soybean production at 466 million bushels. “Not only is China the largest (export) market for Illinois soybeans, but it is also still a growth market,” said Ron Moore, chairman of the Illinois Soybean Associa-

Ethics training offered for State Fair exhibitors FFA members and 4-H‘ers who plan to show livestock at the Illinois State Fair must complete a mandatory quality assurance and ethics certification sponsored by University of Illinois Extension. The online certification must be completed by early summer by young people who will exhibit beef, dairy, goats, horses, poultry, sheep, or swine. The website {} will open Feb. 1 and be taken off line after June 15. Horse exhibitors must complete the program no later than June 9. Exhibitors with the other species must complete the program by June 15. Participants are required to take the training only once. Those who have completed it previously are on an approved list and will not need to be re-certified unless required to do so by their local 4-H or FFA shows. Participants register on the site and receive an identification number. If training is not completed in one sitting, the participant will need to use his or her identification number to re-enter and complete the training. Each exhibitor must complete training on all six sections: introduction, benefits, purpose, care, medicine, and the affidavit. After each section, the exhibitor must correctly answer a short quiz. After the first six sections are completed, an exhibitor also must be trained on a seventh section specific to his or her animal species. After training is complete, the exhibitor’s information will be added to a database. Before leaving the website, each exhibitor needs to print a completion certificate that includes his or her name, date of completion, and the species of certification. Local U of I Extension offices will be able to download a list of area exhibitors who have completed the certification. Any questions about the 4-H/FFA certification program should be directed to Dan Jennings, U of I Extension animal systems educator, at 815-218-4358, or Deb Stocker, Extension specialist, U of I Extension state 4-H office, at 217-333-0910.

tion (ISA) and soybean grower from Warren County. China purchased 825 million bushels of soybeans, or about one of every four rows produced in the U.S., in the most recent marketing year. Others on hand for the

signing ceremony in addition to Moore included Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and Illinois farmers Bill Wykes (ISA secretary), Pat Dumoulin (ISA director), Sharon Covert (secretary of the United Soybean Board), and David Hartke (USB

board member). The visit by the Chinese delegation to Chicago was arranged in part by the U.S. Soybean Export Council. Though not connected, the event coincided with a visit to Chicago by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, January 24, 2011


Cattle report bearish; market may have reached its peak BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The cattle market, which recently featured steer prices as high as $108 per hundredweight, may be due for a downward adjustment. USDA on Friday released a somewhat bearish January cattle on feed report that showed a larger inventory nationwide compared to a year ago. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. as of Jan. 1 totaled 11.5 million head, up 5 percent from a year ago. Marketings of fed cattle (1.83 million) in December Listen to AgriVisor’s comments about USDA’s cattle on feed report at

also were up 5 percent from the previous year and were the second-highest fed cattle marketings for December since 1996. But the estimate that could weigh the most on the cattle market is placements in feedlots, which USDA pegged at 1.8 million head, up 16 percent from last year. “The placement number is the one that jumps out (from

Friday’s report),� said Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor market analyst. “It was at the upper end of (trade) expectations. It could cast a bear shadow on the back end of the cattle market.� But numerous outside factors including corn prices, the value of the dollar, and the direction of speculative investments also are expected to play a role in cattle prices. Durchholz believes $6-plus corn, which guides the direction of distant livestock futures, and speculative investments in recent months helped support cattle prices.

Beef sire selection, management seminar Feb. 1 A beef sire selection and management seminar will be held Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the Monroe County Extension office (county annex building) in Waterloo. The seminar will begin at 3:45 p.m. It is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, Vita Ferm, Illinois Angus Association, Illinois Simmental Association, and local cattlemen’s associations. Speakers at the event will be a local practitioner along with industry and university representatives. Topics to be covered include

breeding soundness evaluation, using Angus genetics, understanding and incorporating physical traits into sire selection, and management of the herd bull with emphasis on yearling bulls. Pre-registration for the seminar, which includes a meal and handouts, is $10 and must be completed by Thursday. To register, call Pam Jacobs, Monroe County Extension director, at 618-939-3434. Otherwise, participants may register for the event late or at the door at a cost of $15.

“It’s a game that perpetuates itself until the corn market falls apart,� he said. “Even though corn prices and feed inputs are rising, livestock people may be proactive enough managing risk that they’re covered in the distance,� he continued. If that’s the case, “They probably will continue to place animals in the pen.� The question of whether the cattle market will be pulled down by the larger inventory of animals in the U.S. likely will be answered by demand. Wholesale beef prices have jumped in recent months, which could lead to a pushback from retailers. “The question is how many people will buy high-priced beef,� Durchholz said. “It’s tough to talk a bull game in cattle right now.� On the plus side of the demand picture, the value of the dollar dropped last week,

which could boost U.S. meat exports. The U.S. Meat Export Federation recently projected the value of U.S. beef exports for 2010 could total $3.95 billion, which would eclipse the alltime record for value ($3.86 billion) set in 2003.

Tractor Safety School slated in DeKalb County DeKalb County Farm Bureau will sponsor a Tractor Safety School for farm youth ages 14 years and older in February and March. The purpose of the school is to train youth who work or plan to work on farms and run tractors and machinery how to properly and safely operate farm equipment. The school is scheduled for Feb. 18-19 and March 4-5 at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Center for Agriculture. Friday night classes will run from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday classes are scheduled from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Class participants are required to attend all four sessions in order to be certified. Current law states youth 16 years and older who are employed in agriculture do not need to be certified. Those 14-15 years are required to be certified if they are employed in agriculture. The law does not apply to youth working on their family’s farm. Sixteen hours of classroom instruction, plus a written skills and driving test, are needed for certification as part of the National Safe Tractor & Machinery Operation Program sanctioned by the USDA. Three state-certified Tractor School instructors will provide instruction. Class sessions will include hands-on demonstrations. The driving portion will take place on the Farm Bureau parking lot. Student manuals will be provided, plus handouts, meals and refreshments. Cost for youth is $40 for DeKalb County residents and $80 for out-of-county residents, payable at the time of registration. To register for the school, contact the Farm Bureau office at 815-756-6361. The deadline to register is Feb. 4.

IWA to host Wheat Forum Feb. 15


The Illinois Wheat Association (IWA) will host its annual Winter Wheat Forum Feb. 15 at Krieger’s/Holiday Inn Convention Center in Mt. Vernon. Registration for the event and commercial exhibits will open at 8 a.m. The educational program will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. The event will conclude with the IWA annual meeting from 2:50 to 3:30 p.m.

Topics to be discussed during the educational program are achieving high levels of disease control, weed management in Illinois notill wheat production, a wheat market outlook, a weather outlook, and wheat stand evaluation — keep it or kill it. For more information, visit the IWA website {} or call Diane Handley, IWA manager, at 309-557-3662.

Page 9 Monday, January 24, 2011 FarmWeek



UREAU — The Young Leaders Committee is sponsoring a farm labor pool listing for Bureau County residents. The committee is compiling a list of people looking for ag-related work. The list will be available at the Farm Bureau office. Anyone wanting to be included on the list can obtain a form at the Farm Bureau office or e-mail The deadline for signup is Feb. 25. • The Bureau County Farm Bureau Foundation is offering scholarships to area students majoring in agriculture. Applications are available by contacting the Farm Bureau office. Application deadline is Feb. 25. HAMPAIGN — The winter meeting series continues at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Mike Doherty, Illinois Farm Bureau senior economist and policy analyst, will discuss tax credit extension and its effect on the future of ethanol and biodiesel and what the high price of corn will do to margins. For more information, contact the Farm Bureau office at 352-2535. UMBERLAND — The annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenup Municipal Building. Meal will be catered by Saathoff ’s, and Wes Wheeler will provide the entertainment. Contact the Farm Bureau at 849-3031 for reservations. EWITT — Prime Timers will sponsor a trip to Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria Wednesday. A carpool will leave from the Farm Bureau office at 10 a.m. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 217-935-2126 for reservations. DGAR — Larry Acker of 3-F Forecasts will give his annual weather forecast and market predictions at 10 a.m. Thursday. Call 217-4658511 for reservations. • A breakfast Market Outlook Seminar will be held at 7 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Farm Bureau office. Dan Zwicker of ADM will be the guest speaker. Reservations should be made by Friday by calling 217-465-8511. • The annual meeting will be held Saturday, Feb. 5. A catered meal will be held at noon followed by a business meeting and entertainment by the Coon Holler Kids. Reservations must be made by Friday by calling 217-465-8511. ANCOCK — “The Beauty of Our Rural Life” is the focus of the Farm Bureau’s photo contest. The four categories are: Rural scenery, kids and critters, life on the farm, and generations. Digital photos must be submitted by March 1. Photos can be e-mailed to Carla Mudd at hcf-




H or mailed to the Farm Bureau office. For more information, contact the office at 217-3573141. ACKSON — An “On the Road” seminar will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb.1, at Southern FS, Marion. Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau senior director of local government, will be the guest speaker. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office at 684-3129. • The annual all-committee meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, at 17th St. Bar and Grill annex. All members serving on committees are invited. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office. ANKAKEE — The annual meeting will be at Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center in Kankakee. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Congressman Adam Kinzinger will be the guest speaker. Tickets are available at the Farm Bureau office. The cost is $10 each for members and $30 each for nonmembers. Call 815-932-7471 to register and for more information. E E — The Marketing Committee will tour the Clinton, Iowa, ADM facility Tuesday, Feb. 22. Transportation is not provided. Members wishing to attend or wanting more information may contact the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531 or e-mail • The application deadline for the Lee County Farm Bureau Foundation “Books by the Bushel” is Feb. 1. Applications are available at the Farm Bureau website {}. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 815-857-3531 or for information. • The application deadline for the Lee County Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships is Feb. 1. High school seniors and undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture or an agriculturerelated field are eligible. Applications are available on the Farm Bureau website {}. • The Membership Committee is sponsoring a membership appreciation dinner at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Amboy Community Building. A complimentary dinner will be served along with a presentation on the 2011 growing season. RSVP by Monday, Jan. 24, to the Farm Bureau office at 8573531 or IVINGSTON — The Farm Bureau and Prairie Central Co-op will host “Put Safety First on Your Farm” breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Thursday,





Feb. 10 at the Pontiac Elks Country Club. John Lee, Illinois Feed and Grain Association safety specialist, will give an overview of the dangers associated with farming. There will be hands-on demonstrations on grain engulgment, PTO entrapment, and tractor rollover by members of the Pontiac FFA chapter. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-8421103 or Prairie Central Co-op at 815-945-7866 or e-mail by Monday, Feb. 7, for reservations. ACON — Students seeking a major in an ag-related field may apply for Farm Bureau scholarships by downloading an application at {}. ONROE — The Mon-Clair Corn Growers annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. John Phipps will be the guest speaker. RSVP at 9396800 by Tuesday, Feb. 1. • The Viewpoint meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at The Ridge. Breakfast will be served. RSVP at 9396197. EORIA — A crop insurance meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Doug Yoder, Illinois Farm Bureau risk management specialist, will discuss 2011 crop insurance changes and options available to farmers. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations. • Tickets are available for the Bradley and Illinois State University basketball game Wednesday at the Peoria Civic Center. Tickets are $4 each. • A Farm Bureau Family Fun Day will be held Saturday, Feb. 5. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. with bowling at noon. Cost is $5 for adults, and children ages 6-12 are free. Reservations are not required. ERRY — Perry and Washington Farm Bureaus will host an “On the Road” seminar at noon Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the Little Nashville Restaurant, Nashville, The seminar will focus on trucking laws important to farmers. Contact the Washington Farm Bureau office for reservations at 327-3081 by Wednesday. • Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor LLC senior market analyst, and Keith Maschhoff, Country Financial agent, will speak at a market outlook meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Little Nashville Restaurant, Nashville. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office by Friday, Feb. 11. • The Perry and Washington Farm Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip to the Louisville Farm Show Thursday, Feb. 17. A $50 fee will cover the trip, snacks, and one meal. Reservations are due by Wednesday, Feb. 9.





T .CLAIR — The MonClair Corn Growers annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. John Phipps will be the guest speaker. RSVP at 939-6800 by Tuesday, Feb. 1. • The Viewpoint meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at The Ridge. Breakfast will be served. RSVP at 9396197. TEPHENSON — An informational meeting on compliance with the new Environmental Protection Agency spill prevention, control, and countermeasure rules will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Farm Bureau office. Randy Tomic, GROWMARK, will be among the speakers. • A bus tour to the John Deere Tractor Works and Engine Works in Waterloo, Iowa, will be March 24. Details are available at {} or by calling 815-232-3186. • A bus trip to Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre to see the matinee performance of “Run For Your Wife” will be Sunday, April 10. Details are available at {} or by calling 815-232-3186. • A final preview of the July 25-Aug. 7 Alaska trip will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Farm Bureau building. Call 815-2323186 for details. • A preview of the Jan. 8-17, 2012, Hawaii trip will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Farm Bureau building. The trip will coincide with the AFBF annual meeting in Honolulu. NION — An “On the Road” seminar will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, at Shawnee College. Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau senior director of local government, will be the guest speaker. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office at 833-2125.




ASHINGTON — Washington and Perry Farm Bureaus will host an “On the Road” seminar at noon Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the Little Nashville Restaurant, Nashville. The seminar will focus on trucking laws important to farmers. Contact the Farm Bureau office for reservations at 327-3081 by Wednesday. • Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor LLC senior market analyst, and Keith Maschhoff, Country Financial agent, will speak at a market outlook meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Little Nashville Restaurant, Nashville. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office by Friday, Feb. 11. • The Washington and Perry Farm Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip to the Louisville Farm Show Thursday, Feb. 17. A $50 fee will cover the trip, snacks, and one meal. Reservations are due by Wednesday, Feb. 9. AYNE — Farm Bureau will sponsor an ag contracts seminar at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Farm Bureau office. Laura Harmon, Illinois Farm Bureau senior counsel, will be the featured speaker. Pre-registration is requested by calling 618-842342. For more information, go to {}. OODFORD — A marketing meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Kent Stutzman from Advance Trading will discuss available marketing tools. Terry Bline from Roanoke Farmers will offer local perspective, and Joe Kapraun with GROWMARK will discuss foreign markets and their importance to agriculture. Call 4672347 for more information.



“From the counties” items are submitted by county Farm Bureau managers. If you have an event or activity open to all members, contact your county Farm Bureau manager.

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, January 24, 2011


Use ‘dog days of winter’ for crop planning BY LANCE RUPPERT

I have heard many people refer to the dog days of summer — how the long, hot days of July and August cause anticipation of the relief of September and the coming fall. Why don’t people have a catchy phrase for the “dog days of winter?” — that Lance Ruppert period after the holidays where the cold and lack of sunshine leave very little to be excited about besides college basketball and the Super Bowl. Most people dislike it even more than summer. Brutally cold weather has negative effects on people, machinery, and livestock. The inherent risks of winter outweigh the summer with slick roads and sidewalks, more flu viruses and respiratory illnesses, and the danger of being exposed to extreme cold temperatures. So as we enter the “dog days of winter,” let’s remember that we are less than 90 days from planting. Final decisions will be made on this year’s cropping plan that will affect your bottom line as we enter the dog days of winter next year. Commodity prices continue to strengthen, giving growers

the opportunity to enhance profits by choosing to invest in agronomic management practices that have proven and consistent returns. One of — if not the most important decision you will make — is what seed (hybrid or variety) you plant in which field. That single decision sets the potential yield ceiling for the year. After you choose the genet-


The ag sector appears to be in position for a profitable year based on strong commodity prices. But those in the industry also must prepare for price swings in a global market and regulatory challenges that could affect agriculture beyond 2011, according to Rodney Phelps, who recently was selected chairman of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA). Phelps delivered the chairman’s address last week at the IFCA annual meeting in Peoria. He discussed opportunities and challenges he sees for the ag industry prior to the meeting in an interview with FarmWeek. “I feel we’re in a dynamic marketplace, not only for commodities but also on the input

Feeder pig prices reported to USDA* Weight 10 lbs. 40 lbs. 50 lbs. Receipts

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $33.00-58.00 $47.47 $71.86 $71.86 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 21,683 32,118 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $74.55 $71.68 $50.48 $50.48

Change 2.87 0.00

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price This week $105.88 $104.19

Steers Heifers

also is a true foundational piece for a successful crop. Don’t cut corners on weed control. With more weeds in more areas being resistant to glyphosate and other chemistries, the importance of controlling weeds is increasingly important. Investing to control the more “silent” yield robbers such as insects, both above and below ground, and disease can

yield big returns in many cases. Best-in-class information is important when making and finalizing important business decisions. Look to your local FS and its team to provide information and solutions. Lance Ruppert is the FS Seed sales and marketing manager. His e-mail address is

IFCA chairman: 2011 could be a ‘dynamic’ year


Carcass Live

ics and plant it in the soil, all you can do is protect yield as Mother Nature tries to reduce it with pests and stress. So what are some fundamental basics to help yourself be as successful as possible and get the biggest return for your dollar spent? Making sound decisions on hybrid and variety choices and placement are key. Having a good fertility plan

(Thursday’s price) Prv. week Change $107.78 -1.90 $107.87 -3.68

CME feeder cattle index — 600-800 Lbs. This is a composite price of feeder cattle transactions in 27 states. (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change 127.27 125.34 1.93

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - NA

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 1-13-11 43.2 21.6 20.5 1-6-11 38.7 25.6 21.1 Last year 51.1 10.8 32.9 Season total 886.8 700.7 620.0 Previous season total 850.0 515.3 607.6 USDA projected total 1570 1300 1950 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

side,” Phelps said. “I think there are opportunities for our members and customers to be profitable in 2011.” Phelps, who is a territory sales manager for Monsanto in Galesburg, believes Illinois farmers this year will plant more corn, which will require more fertilizer. Rodney Phelps “I think we’ll definitely see more corn acres in Illinois,” he said. “I feel

some of the wheat crop, if it’s not too healthy (this spring), some farmers may tear it up and go to corn.” Illinois farmers from 2009 to 2010 increased corn plantings from 12 million acres to 12.6 million acres. Fertilizer prices have trended higher in recent months, but Phelps believes there is an adequate supply to meet strong demand. “We had a huge fall season (for anhydrous ammonia applications), probably a record-setter for a lot of retailers,” he said. “So this spring the workload should be manageable.”

Phelps also encouraged IFCA members to look beyond the 2011 growing season at other issues that could affect the industry long-term. In particular, he noted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeks to mandate nutrient management plans by 2014. “We as an industry need to be an integral part of that plan,” he said. Phelps encouraged IFCA members and others in the ag industry to stay in touch with local officials and lawmakers so agriculture has a voice prior to the implementation of legislation or regulations.

Farmers can earn a premium with specialty corn, soy contracts Farmers may not be thinking much about trying to earn a premium for their crops this year with futures prices still well above $6 for corn and $14 for soybeans. But specialty contract opportunities still exist and are available for the 2011 growing season, according to Beth Bennett, merchandiser for Clarkson Grain Co. of Cerro Gordo. Clarkson Grain at the recent Farm Profitability 2011 workshop in Champaign, sponsored by the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), promoted contract opportunities for identity-preserved (IP/non-GMO) soybeans and corn as well as white corn. “There will be strong demand for non-GMO crops as long as there are export markets that won’t take genetically modified crops,” Bennett told FarmWeek. Demand for IP soybeans in Illinois last year actually exceeded the supply, according to Clarkson Grain. Some of the top markets include Japan, South Korea, and the European Union. “We offer premiums based on those needs,” Bennett said. The target range for IP soybean premiums is $1.35 to $1.50 per bushel above the CME Group price, she noted. Clarkson Grain has selected hybrids for its specialty contracts that reportedly are competitive with county yield averages, which can ease concerns about yield drag, she said. And when the competitive yields are combined with a premium, the specialty contracts can produce more profit per acre than conventional varieties, according to Clarkson Grain. “Our (buyer) clients realize they have to pay a premium,” Bennett said. “But with commodity grain prices as good as they are now, it’s hard to convince some farmers they can make more money growing an IP crop.”

Farmers who have questions or are interested in growing an IP crop may call Clarkson Grain in Cerro Gordo at 800-252-1638 or in Beardstown at 800-453-3973. There also is a website {www.soybean} coordinated in part by ISA to help farmers around the state locate premium soybean contract opportunities. — Daniel Grant

Beth Bennett, merchandiser for Clarkson Grain Co. of Cerro Gordo, displays samples of identity-preserved soybeans and specialty corn during the Farm Profitability 2011 workshop in Champaign. (Photo by Daniel Grant)

FarmWeek Page 11 Monday, January 24, 2011



Cents per bu.

 2010 crop: New found strength in the wheat market offset the negative technical implications that arose in corn last week. Technically, March corn is in a range with little identifiable resistance until $7. You should already have priced all bushels, other than “gambling bushels.” Hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contracts for winter/spring delivery still look like the best marketing tool, but check returns against storage costs. 2011 crop: Add another 10 percent new-crop sale now. Even though there’s a possibility December futures could approach $6 before it peaks, the pattern suggests this contract may be close to being complete. That, and high gross income per acre, indicate it’s a mistake not to have corn priced.  Fundamentals: News that China was buying feed wheat from Australia offered another sign China may not buy any corn out of the U.S. this year. It confirmed that feed wheat is going to be a fierce competitor to corn in this year’s world trade. The trade continues to be concerned that our plantings may not rise enough as well.

Soybean Strategy

Corn, wheat exports lagging Soybean exports continue to be the best performer this year, but even they are show-

Basis charts

ing signs of slowing. If the weather patter n shifts in Argentina, there will be less pressure to source soybeans out of the U.S. as the year moves forward. But it’s the pace of sales, and especially shipments, of corn and wheat that are of most concern. Sales of both have lagged, although wheat has enjoyed a burst in recent weeks. But at this time of year, the pace of shipments becomes important for wheat with only four months left in the marketing year. Corn sales have lagged, as have shipments, but corn still has seven months left for the pace to pick up. But given the competition from feed wheat as noted this past week, that may be more difficult than perceived. AgriVisor endorses crop insurance by

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2010 crop: The change in Argentine weather has temporarily dampened the enthusiasm to own soybeans. If that pattern changes, buyers may disappear temporarily, allowing prices to break hard. There’s still a chance prices will be good in the spring, but we’d only keep “gambling” inventories to carry to then.  2011 crop: A shift in Argentine weather will remove some upside support for newcrop prices, but the need for big acres will limit downside risk more than in old crop. Still, there are too many long-term risks not to have some priced.  Fundamentals: Some weather forecasters are starting to think the weather pattern in Argentina may be shifting to something better, but it cannot yet be confirmed. But if it does, production potential could rebound from the 45 million to 47 million metric ton levels now being considered. Brazil’s crop continues to look good. China

booked as much as 11 million metric ton of soybeans last week, but it was thought to be all new crop.

Wheat Strategy 2010 crop: The short-term trend in wheat has again turned higher. Chicago Marchfutures are again testing important resistance at $8.25. Complete sales if you still have inventory. Because of the big carry in futures, HTA contracts for winter/spring delivery still are the most attractive marketing tool. 2011 crop: Use rallies above $8.60 on Chicago July 2011 futures to make catch-up sales.

We’ve even considered adding to them because of price, but don’t want to get too aggressive until the crop starts to break dormancy. If basis is wide on cash contracts, use a HTA contract.  Fundamentals: The recent surge in wheat values was attributed to fresh export business tied to political unrest in unstable countries and strong weekly sales. The USDA reported sales at 1,147,800 metric tons, well above trade expectations. Other fundamental factors remain unchanged, as Australia contends with quality issues and the U.S. Plains remain dry.

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, January 24, 2011


Rural mental health needs remain despite budget crisis Most folks living in rural Illinois would probably agree the state’s budget crisis is taking its toll, and many rural communities are beginning to see just how many jobs and services are being negatively impacted. It is pretty scary to observe the state’s fiscal crisis as it reaches into communities. It spreads like the ripples created when a stone is thrown into a small pond. I think it is easy for average people, busy with life, not to notice how ROGER much their community is changing. HANNAN If your family is fortunate enough not to need mental health crisis care or counseling, you may not be aware of what has happened to these services. For example, the Farm Resource Center (FRC) began providing outreach mental health crisis intervention services for residents of rural Illinois in February 1986. On July 1, 2009, the governor approved the deletion of all state funding for this service as the state wrestled with the budget crisis — even though more than 4,000 individuals were served during the previous 12 months. You may be tempted to shrug your shoulders and

think to yourself, “So what?” Each day an average of two people who are in crisis call FRC’s number, which is no longer a crisis line. Some callers imply that without help they may not have a good reason to go on. We don’t solicit these calls, but some people are so desperate, it makes you want to cry. FRC tries to identify resources that may be of help to the caller, but it is becoming virtually impossible. Recently, a call came from a West-Central Illinois farmer seeking mental health services for himself, but he wanted a service outside his home area. He was willing pay for the services and ended up having to go out of state. The community mental health agencies have been cut back so much that they have gotten very restrictive in accepting consumers. You must live within their catchments area, have a Medicaid card, adequate insurance, or cash. When mental health services are limited or unavailable, other community systems are impacted. Many times when folks are hurting and can’t get the services they need, they will go to the emergency room of the local hospital. If it is mental health services they need and

they go to the emergency room, the cost for their care sky rockets. Most rural hospitals are not equipped or staffed to handle mental health crises. Many consumers in a mental health crisis will fall into the care and custody of the local law enforcement agency, which piles additional cost to the operation of the jail and police department. But the most significant problem created is the lack of timely and adequate care of the consumer. In my 40-plus years in the mental health area, there has never been a time when rural mental health has received an equitable share of the state’s mental health resources. So when budget cutbacks happen, a disproportional burden is placed on the human service infrastructure in rural counties. The evidence is clear, what happens to rural mental health services should be of concern for every rural individual because it does impact other important community functions. Roger Hannan is the creator and executive director of Farm Resource Center, a director on the National Association for Rural Mental Health Board, and part owner of a Pulaski County farm. His e-mail address is

Foreign ownership of farmland too much of a good thing? An interesting situation is evolving in New Zealand. It seems a lot of money is coming into New Zealand, where I lived for more than a decade, from China. Normally, this is a positive event for any country — new investment equals jobs, tax revenues, and opportunities for the locals that domestic investors are not able to proBILL vide. BAILEY The idea of foreign investment in New Zealand has been accepted for some time. That is until Chinese investors wished to purchase something different — farmland. The interest in New Zealand farmland by offshore money has resulted in a shift in how people there view offshore investment. The issue came to a head when a Chinese company wished to purchase almost 20,000 acres of prime farmland. It also wanted to buy a milk processing facility and all of the dairy cattle that were on the land. The total price tag for the investment was $1.5 billion U.S. dollars. With the average New Zealand dairy farm about 420 acres, this investment was significant. Further, the company signaled it would produce, package, and export

milk powder to China, through its own Chinese channels. The investment was much more than land and cows, with the net benefit to New Zealand not at all clear. The New Zealand government responded quickly, and rules will soon go into effect that will permit farmland to be purchased by offshore investors but under new procedures. These new rules include a test to determine if New Zealand’s economic interests are sufficiently protected and promoted by any proposed farm purchases. In the U.S., foreign ownership of land is increasing. Today, 1.7 percent of all privately held agricultural land is foreign owned. This is about 22.2 million acres and is a 7 percent increase from 2008 levels. The leading foreign owner is Canada, with significant interests in forest land. In Illinois, of the 30 million acres in private hands, 174,000 acres are owned by foreigners. The state with the greatest foreign ownership is Maine, were 15 percent of its agriculture land is foreign owned. Digging a little deeper, using USDA figures, German interests control about 45,000 acres of agriculture land in Illinois with, oddly enough, Portugal being the second-leading foreign investor. While German-owned land is scattered around the state, 85 percent of

the Portuguese-owned land is in McLean County, the county with the greatest foreign investment. At the other end of the scale is Schuyler County, with 7 acres foreign owned, followed by Bureau County with 10 acres. McDonough County has 890 foreign-owned acres, with the majority of that ownership in the United Kingdom. In some countries that are aggressively purchasing land offshore, such as China and Mexico, land ownership there is not permitted unless the buyer

is a citizen. Other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, welcome the inflow of new capital — from any place — into rural areas. In general, foreign investment can be a good thing. However, as New Zealand learned, there also can be too much of a good thing. Bill Bailey is director of the School of Agriculture at Western Illinois University, Macomb. His e-mail address is

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‘I knew I’d find you here.’

FarmWeek January 24 2011  

FarmWeek January 24 2011

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