Page 1

FaRMeRs aRe being urged to speak more for themselves when addressing consumers about the farming industry. ...............................3

Wind FaRMs are not detrimental to residential property values or school district revenues, according to two new studies. .......4

Monday, August 1, 2011

a pRoposed senate ethanol tax compromise appeared in jeopardy last week amid disagreement among lawmakers. .................9

Three sections Volume 39, No. 31

Meteorologist: More heat could cut into crop yields BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

Gail Martell, ag meteorologist with Martell Crop Projections in Whitefish Bay, Wis., believes last month’s heat wave reduced potential corn yield. “I think we’ve already taken a bite out of the corn yields. It went through pollination in very hot, dry weather,” Martell said last week at the Illinois Farm Bureau commodities conference in Normal. “But there still is a chance we could get a good soybean yield if we get some rain.” USDA last week continued a recent trend by lowering crop condition ratings nationwide as the portion of good to excellent crops declined from 66 percent to 62 percent for corn and from 64 percent to 62 percent for beans. Meanwhile, the portion of crops rated poor or very poor last week increased from 11 percent to 14 percent for corn and from 10 to 11 percent for beans. “What’s killing us this summer is the extreme heat,” Martell said of the persistent dome of high pressure that has been parked over a large portion of the Corn Belt

since last month. Unfortunately, the hot, dry pattern that dominated much of last month — except portions of the northwest Corn

FarmWeekNow.com View Gail Martell’s weather charts on how this summer’s weather is hurting corn yields at FarmWeekNow.com.

Belt (including Northern Illinois) and Southern Illinois that received above-average rainfall in recent weeks — could continue, based on Martell’s forecast. She noted the jetstream, which typically runs through the Midwest this time of year, has been in southern Canada while La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean could resurface. “I see the heat dome resurging heading into August,” Martell said last week. “That

would not be helpful for corn if we have a hot July followed by a hot August. “When it’s hot in August,” she continued. “It’s a yieldreducer” due to lower test weights. Martell’s projection of a possible yield loss in central and eastern portions of the Corn Belt could be offset by “a pretty darn good crop in Iowa and Minnesota.” But she still predicted a “below trend-line yield” this year for corn. There is time, however, for the soybean crop to produce a good yield. It just depends on the rainfall pattern this month, she said. Martell reported very hot conditions in August 1995 caused about a 10 percent yield loss in the U.S. corn crop but only a 2 percent reduction of bean yields.

U.S. credibility seen at stake in debt limit debate Drazek told FarmWeek he sees debt ceiling debate and FTA delays together America’s credibility could become a contributing to global doubts about “our serious issue if Congress this week can’t ability to convince our trading partners we reach agreement over an increase in the can actually negotiate deals and have them federal debt ceiling and pending implemented on our side.” free trade agreements (FTAs) “I think there’s a lot of headcontinue to languish, Washington scratching going on about ‘I think there’s a lot of head-scratching what’s happening here,” Drazek trade policy analyst Paul Drazek warned. going on about what’s happening here.’ said Friday. “Ultimately, it could U.S. House Republican leaders start to have an impact on our last week worked to craft a deal to ability to negotiate a Transraise the current $14.3-trillion — Paul Drazek Pacific Partnership (TPP) (Asian Trade policy consultant debt limit that would pass muster trade) deal. with the Senate and the White “The debate on the debt ceilHouse. After Tuesday, the U.S. ing also is reflected in debates on government will begin defaulting on its tance. The White House reportedly intends trade here. They’ve become so partisan and debt without an increase in the limit. so difficult to compromise on that I think to submit FTAs for a vote this fall, once Debt ceiling debate has spurred specula- debt debate is resolved. there’s a lot of questioning going on tion regarding funding for the next farm among other countries. What is it going to Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon bill. At last week’s Illinois Farm Bureau mean if this isn’t worked out and we do noted “everything appeared to be going Commodities Conference, IFB President default?” according to plan” with FTA movement Philip Nelson warned ag programs could The U.S. already has bilateral agreements until July, when U.S. Republicans and take an $11 billion to $50 billion hit under with four of the eight countries involved in Democrats intensified the feud over the proposed spending cuts related to raising TPP discussions, but a new agreement debt limit, spending, and taxes. the limit. could offer U.S. producers new inroads South Korea’s Parliament itself has “This would have a dramatic impact on pressing issues to address this fall, and Kim with Vietnam, Drazek said. If Japan were how we view ag policy going forward,” to re-enter and the Philippines join talks, suggested there will be significant delays if Nelson advised. “you’re talking some potentially big beneoverall FTA debate does not begin until Free trade agreements (FTAs) with fits for U.S. agriculture,” he maintained. September. BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

South Korea, Colombia, and Panama also have been ensnared in debt limit discussions, he noted, reiterating that “we stand behind trade” and vowing continued efforts to educate lawmakers of its impor-

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

Illinois Farm Bureau®on the web: www.ilfb.org


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, August 1, 2011

Quick takes ‘MIND-BOGGLING’ REGS? — U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, an Urbana Republican, last week led a bipartisan group of downstate Illinois colleagues seeking to overturn potential regulations that would require farmers to obtain commercial driver certification. In comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), they argued the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) is under “the mistaken impression that both the farmer and the landowner under a crop share agreement own the crop as it is transported to the grain elevator.” IDOT has interpreted regulations promulgated by FMSCA to mean crop-share tenants could be classified as “for-hire carriers” of landowner grain, triggering costly and time-consuming licensing requirements. Given tenant title to crops in transit, any compensation landlords offer them to transport combined grain is “immaterial,” lawmakers argued. “The consequences of these regulations, if allowed to stand, are mind-boggling,” Johnson said. “They arise from a complete lack of understanding of the agriculture industry.” MORE ILLINOIS SCHOOLS IN PRODUCE PROGRAM — The Illinois State Board of Education reported last week 215 public and private schools will receive $4.7 million to serve students fresh fruits and vegetables during the 2011-2012 school year. Last year, 186 Illinois schools spent $3.3 million as part of USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Under the program, participating schools must allocate between $50 to $75 per student per year with the majority of the money spent on fresh produce. Statewide, about 370 schools applied for a grant. The goal is to expose students to lifelong healthy eating habits. Some schools integrate nutrition education into daily class lessons, while others have started a “Vegetable of the Day” program to encourage students to sample new foods. NATIONAL FFA TO LAUNCH AG CAREER NETWORK — The National FFA has received a nearly $1.9-million donation from Microsoft Corp. for a new online agricultural career network with the first phase available this fall. Microsoft donated software, training, and support to create a new network to help students track educational accomplishments, pursue awards and scholarships, and obtain careers in the ag industry. The idea is for students to start accessing the network in middle school and continue using it through college and into their careers. Students will be able to develop resumes and online portfolios, apply for awards and scholarships, prepare for college, pursue internships, and connect with potential employers. Ag teachers also will be able to manage FFA member information in the network. Data collected through the network will help document the impact and relevance of FFA and agriculture curricula.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 39 No. 31

August 1, 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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farm safety

Memorial raises awareness of pre-harvest grain risks BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

As Illinois producers prepped for a harvest set to begin in mere weeks, a Northern Illinois community commemorated a tragedy that’s helped crystallize farm safety efforts. An anniversary memorial for Alex Pacas last Thursday in Mt. Carroll offered a sobering reminder of the risks inherent in grain handling. The 19-yearold Haasbach LLC elevator employee died in July 2010 while working unsuccessfully to free 14-yearold Wyatt Whitebread from a bin of corn. Their deaths inspired formation of the Illinois-based Grain Handling Safety Coalition, an Illinois Farm Bureau-supported group of industry, university, and government interests dedicated to raising awareness of grain safety issues and fostering community-based safety efforts. Friends of the victims Thursday wore red wrist bands and T-shirts emblazoned “In loving memory of Wyatt and Paco” (Alex’s nickname). Incident survivor Will Piper, who turned 21 this week, noted that without 15-year-old coworker Chris Lawton’s quick action at the scene, a grain auger “would have never been shut off in time to spare my life.” While the harvest push underlines need for heightened farm safety, the pre-harvest period also is rife with risk, warns Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Executive Vice President Jeff Adkisson. Farmers are cleaning out bins in preparation for the coming harvest. “If there’s grain that’s deteriorated, that hasn’t kept that well, this is when you tend to see people go in and make bad decisions, he told FarmWeek. “Whether equipment’s running or grain’s bridged over or hung up on the bin walls, they think, ‘I’ll just knock this down. I’m big enough or strong enough or fast enough to get away if (grain) starts to cave in. It’ll never happen to me.’ The sad truth is, it does happen.” Grain can become bridged when it’s moldy, high in moisture, or in poor condition. That crust that may be self-supporting, but a hollow cavity can form under the “bridge,” and crusted grain

During a Mt. Carroll ceremony commemorating the deaths of Alex Pacas and Wyatt Whitebread at the Haasbach LLC elevator last year, participants launch balloons inscribed with personal thoughts and expressions about the incident and the two youths. Pacas died in July 2010 while attempting to rescue Whitebread from a grain bin. (Photo by Peggy Romba, Illinois Farm Bureau farm safety specialist)

will not support human weight. Adkisson urged farmers who suspect crusting to consult a grain handling specialist before attempting to free the corn. Grain augers should be shut down and power to them turned off before any such attempts are made. To help the coalition develop safety materials and programs, send donations to Dr. Robert Aherin, University of Illinois, 1304 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Urbana, IL 61801. Make checks payable to the University of Illinois Foundation, with the Grain Handling Safety Coalition listed on the memo line.

Irrigators urged to take precautions Monsanto requires extra safety steps BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farmers need to be aware of potential electrical dangers from irrigation systems and take precautions, two safety experts advised last week. Earlier in the week, two Whiteside County teenagers were electrocuted and two other persons were injured while detasseling corn for Monsanto Corp. in an irrigated field. At presstime, local, state, and federal officials were investigating the accident and had not released details. Monsanto suspended detasseling operations for two days in North-Central Illinois; reviewed safety precautions with growers, landowners, and detasseling contractors; and resumed detasseling at mid-week. In addition, Monsanto is requiring the growers to “de-energize” irrigation electrical systems and park pivot irrigation systems outside the detasseling area or in the pivot access lane, according to Tom Helscher, Monsanto director of corporate affairs. “Both of these measures will be required before field crews are permitted to enter the field,” Helscher said. “The crews are trained to

go around pivot irrigation equipment. Safety training will be reviewed with detasselers.” Bob Aherin, University of Illinois ag safety specialist, and Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council/Safe Electricity, offered general safety advice and did not address specifics about the Whiteside County accident. Irrigation systems need to be grounded because they work in high-moisture environments, Aherin said. If a farmer has a power source coming to a motor, it should have a ground wire associated with it, and most do, Aherin said. The circuit and outer housing of the machine should be grounded with a ground wire and feed to a ground rod made of copper, steel, or iron, Aherin continued. The ground rod diameter and depth it extends into the soil varies depending on the metal of which it’s made. “Systems should be checked periodically to make sure they’re grounded,” Aherin said. Hall agreed and recommended farmers have an electrician check the irrigation pump and wiring if they haven’t done so. She noted those electrical systems also may be damaged during lightning storms. Hall and Aherin reminded farmers also to be careful so irrigation equipment doesn’t come into contact with overhead power lines.


Page 3 Monday, August 1, 2011 FarmWeek

EMERGING  ISSUES

Ag industry reaching out to link farmers, consumers BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farmers — the backbone of the agriculture industry — also are becoming its key spokesmen in national and state efforts, county Farm Bureau presidents heard last week. “We (farmers) have to lead with our values” in conversations with consumers, said Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer with the Center for Food Integrity. Arnot discussed the national Farmers Feed Us program. The program, which recently started in Illinois, is encouraging consumers to register for a chance to win free groceries for a year. Individuals who register also may sign up to receive more information about farming. Now in eight states, the program successfully has increased consumers’ trust in farmers, Arnot said. Several Illinois farmers are featured on the {www.farmersfeedus.org/il/} website, and their stories focus on their values and their care about consumers and their livestock and land. “We’re showing the size and scale (of farms) have changed, but the people doing it have not,” Arnot said. The U.S. Farmer and Rancher Alliance is a national

alliance of agriculture and farm organizations that also is addressing questions about farming and food production. On the state level, the Illinois Farm Families (IFF) is a coalition of commodity groups for beef, corn, soybeans, pork, and Illinois Farm Bureau. IFF has launched a series of activities to encourage conversations about farming between farmers and consumers. The underlying message on the national and state levels is consistent and focuses on farmers — and complements rather than dilutes efforts, according to ag groups. Arnot cautioned the efforts to gain consumers’ trust will not be short lived, but instead will be an ongoing “dialogue to help them understand what we’re doing ... This is fundamentally a new way that we are going to engage consumers.” Another change farmers need to make is to be willing to step forward “when there are those undercover videos” and state that animal abuse is not acceptable and does not meet farmers’ expectations, Arnot advised. “We (farmers) have to be involved in that conversation; that’s going to be different, and it will be uncomfortable,” he said.

Aledo farmer Matt DeBlock, center, works with Illinois Farm Bureau’s audio visual department staff, left to right, Mark Pressburger, Helen Dobbyn Reedy, and Mark Williams. DeBlock is featured in television commercials that focus on Illinois farm families and their values. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Illinois farmers focus on family, values in ads Aledo farmer Matt DeBlock tells how his children love growing up on a farm, and how he shares the same hopes and dreams for his family as other parents. Mazon farmer Donna Jeschke discusses the importance of producing safe food for consumers. Their messages soon will be shared in television commercials that may be shown in regional markets in Central and Southern Illinois and the Quad Cities. The commercials were filmed by the Illinois Farm Bureau audio visual department. The focus on farm families and farmers’ values draws on consumer research information

and makes a connection between farmers and non-farmers, according to Steve Simms, IFB promotions and graphic arts director. Last week, county Farm Bureau presidents viewed several new commercials that featured DeBlock and Jeschke and their families and farms. Television viewers may start seeing the new commercials early this month. The commercials also may be viewed online at {www.ilfb.org}, starting in early August. — Kay Shipman

More on consumer perceptions on page 16

Research: Most food buyers focus on taste, cost, nutrition BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

An increasingly segmented food market may seem more confusing as retail products these days are labeled everything from country-of-origin to organic to sugar-free, fat-free, or no-hormones-added. But in the end, factors that influence the majority of food purchases around the world still boil down to three key characteristics: taste, FarmWeekNow.com cost, and nutrition, You can view President Nelson’s speech at the IFB Comaccordmodities Conference at ing to a FarmWeekNow.com. recent study. Elanco, a company that develops and markets products to improve animal health and protein production worldwide and a division of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., commissioned a study of international consumer attitudes. Results of the study, which gleaned feedback from about 97,000 consumers in 26 countries, showed about 95 percent of food buyers make purchases based on taste, cost, and nutrition, according to Grady Bishop, director of the U.S. swine business unit at Elanco. Meanwhile, organic food may be one of the fastest-growing segments in the

food industry, but in the big picture only 4 percent of consumers in the study were labeled “lifestyle buyers” who purchased mostly luxury, gourmet, or organic food. The remaining 1 percent was labeled fringe buyers who actively pursue changing the structure of global food production. “The noise typically comes from the fringe,” Bishop said during last week’s Illinois Farm Bureau commodities conference. “But the fact is there is an overwhelming need for (traditional ag) products.” Bishop believes various food market segments offer value-added opportunities for farmers, but providing safe, abundant, and affordable food should remain a top priority. About 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2 per day and don’t have the flexibility to pay for luxury food items, he reported. “Consumers should be allowed to decide their food budgets,” Bishop said. “What can we (in ag) do? We should continue to try to produce food more efficiently and abundantly.” Farmers also should make an effort to actively engage with consumers to answer questions and clear up any misconceptions about food production, according to Lori Laughlin, IFB director

of issues management. Laughlin made a presentation titled, “Communicating with Consumers,” at the commodities conference. Many of her recommendations were based on consumer research done by Illinois Farm Families, a joint-campaign of the Illinois beef, pork producers, and soybean associations, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, and IFB. “Farmers should understand consumers want to hear from them and farmers have credibility,” Laughlin said. “They (consumers) are just not sure about today’s farming practices. That’s why it’s important to have conversations.” Research showed one-on-one conversations are the best method for farmers to connect with consumers, Laughlin said. She also noted conversations between farmers and consumers should be a dialogue and not a monologue. “I’m excited about the Illinois Farm Families campaign,” said IFB President Philip Nelson. “It’ll better bridge the gap between consumers and producers.” Illinois Farm Families this month will unveil a series of television ads in select markets in the state to promote and improve the image of farmers. Information about the campaign is available on line at {www.watchusgrow.org}.

DATEBOOK Aug. 3 Western Illinois University Allison Organic Farm field day, near Roseville, starting at 9:30 a.m. Advance registration required for morning session and lunch. Call Illinois Organic Growers at 217454-1204. Aug. 4 University of Illinois Dixon Springs Agricultural Research Center field day, 9 a.m. to noon, near Simpson. For more information, call Dixon Springs at 618-695-2441. Aug. 12-21 Illinois State Fair, Springfield. Aug. 16 Agriculture Day and Sale of Champions, Illinois State Fair, Springfield.


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, August 1, 2011

EnErgy

Not painful in the pocket

ISU studies: Wind farms don’t hurt property values or school revenue BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Wind farms are not detrimental to residential property values or school districts’ revenues, according to two new studies by Illinois State University (ISU) researchers. David Loomis, director of ISU’s Center for Renewable Energy, discussed the studies during the recent state wind energy conference in Chicago. Both studies are available online at {http://renewableenergy.illinoisstate.edu/}. The property value study focused on Lee County and its three wind farms, Mendota Hills Wind Farm, DeKalb-Lee Wind Center, and GSG Wind Farm. ISU graduate Jason Carter analyzed 1,300 real estate sales between 1998 and 2010; the Mendota Hills Wind Farm, the first in Illinois, started operating in November 2003.

TURBINES GROWING TALLER Wind turbine height and blade length continue to grow as the wind industry adopts new technology. This illustration compares wind turbine heights from tower bottom to blade tip to an average municipal water tower at lower left, the Illinois state Capitol, and Chicago’s Willis Tower (formerly Sears). The current industry standard is the height of the second turbine (388 feet) but is expected to be the size of the third turbine (492 feet) in a few years. An average water tower is 130 feet in height; the Capitol, 361 feet; and Willis Tower, 1,729 feet. (Graphic by Matt Aldeman, Illinois State University)

“The state’s first wind farm has not impacted the average selling price of homes,” Loomis reported. Overall, wind energy development in Lee County does not appear to have had an effect on sales of residential property near the turbines, Carter wrote in his study. He noted his analyses include property sales that happened before the wind farm development. The results of the 2011 study support the conclusions of two studies, one national and the other a state in scope, that were released in the last year. Likewise, wind farm developments have not had a negative impact on school district revenues, reported Loomis, who wrote the research study with Matt Aldeman, a senior energy analyst at ISU. “County board members often hear from superintendents who testify on behalf of

Property values have not been affected by Lee County’s Mendota Hills Wind Farm, according to a new study by Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy. A researcher analyzed 13 years of real estate transactions in the county. (FarmWeek file photo)

wind farm developers and want the tax revenue. (Development) opponents say general state aid will decrease so districts end up no better than before,” Loomis said. “We tried to detail the (revenue) mechanisms that happen.” The school district revenue study examines the implications of a hypothetical 100-megawatt wind farm project in a district located within a tax-cap county and

one without tax caps. In addition, Loomis and Aldeman calculated the impact on two districts from two separate wind farm projects. They estimated the Ridgeview Consolidated Unit District 19, based in Colfax, will receive $863,000 in annual net benefit over the first three years that the Twin Groves Wind Farm is in full operation.

The Paw Paw Lee Center Consolidated Unit School District 271 received an average net annual benefit of $246,972 for the first three years Mendota Hills was in operation. “As we talked to the superintendents, this is a huge amount of money to rural districts and will enable them to do more than they would be able to do otherwise,” Loomis said.

Wind energy future looks promising — executives The nation’s wind energy sector is expected to continue growing, a panel of wind power executives said at a recent state wind power conference in Chicago. However the wind sector’s expansion in the near future will hinge on extension of the federal investment tax credit for renewable energy projects, the panelists added. The tax credit will expire on Dec. 31, 2012, unless it is renewed. Along with a general positive outlook for wind power, the panelists offered the following opinions on the future of wind energy: Filling future power needs: Wind energy “will play a significant role” as an American energy source because a number of coalfired plants will be retired within the next five years, said Andy Cukurs with Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. “I don’t think we’ll see many nuclear plants come online

in next five to 10 years,” Cukurs added. Technology changing industry: Wind turbine technology, especially turbine blades, continues to improve, said Shawn Kestler of Acciona Energy North America. His company is developing a 3-megawatt turbine with a 394-foot tower. “These improvements are driving down the cost of (wind) energy,” he said. Policy stability needed: Development of wind energy projects continues boomand-bust cycles with the uncertainty of federal policy, which makes it hard to build an industry, said Jim Murphy of Invenergy LLC. “We’re trying to finance projects that will go into service in 2012, and lenders are asking, ‘What if the PTC (production tax credit) is not extended?’” Murphy said. “Lenders are leery of the risk.” — Kay Shipman


Page 5 Monday, August 1, 2011 FarmWeek

policy

Policy process honing in on ‘realistic’ goals BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Amid turbulence over the federal deficit and future ag funding, Darryl Brinkmann acknowledges “the landscape is changing,” forcing producers to aim at shifting farm policy targets. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Resolutions Committee (RC) and Farm Policy Task Force (FPTF)

thus are working to crystallize individual farm program priorities for the next farm bill. While U.S. House and Senate ag committees are expected to set farm bill structure and principles in 2012, congressional budget debate likely will fix new ag spending limits or even direct the demise of individual programs. The RC will gather county Farm Bureau members’ input on

The 2008 farm bill: chapter and verse The current 2008 farm bill was a launching point for several new directions in ag policy. Just as the previous farm bill had acknowledged fuel’s addition to the ag mix of food, feed, and fiber, the 2008 act created a new farm revenue safety net and a standing disaster assistance program and addressed the concerns of specialty producers and issues related to livestock market structure and competition. Here’s an outline of the current farm bill, set to expire in 2012: Title I, Commodities Income support to growers of selected commodities, including wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, oilseeds, peanuts, sugar, and dairy. Crop support is offered largely through direct payments, traditional and new Average Crop Revenue Election countercyclical payments, and marketing loans. Other support mechanisms include government purchases for dairy and marketing quotas and import barriers for sugar. For details on today’s commodity programs and how forthcoming legislation could affect them, see Illinois Farm Bureau’s policy development supplement included with this issue of FarmWeek. Title II, Conservation Environmental stewardship of farmlands and improved management practices through land retirement and working lands programs, among other programs geared to farmland conservation, preservation, and resource protection. Title III, Agricultural Trade and Food Aid U.S. agricultural export and international food assistance programs, and program changes related to various World Trade Organization obligations. Title IV, Nutrition Domestic food and nutrition and commodity distribution programs, such as food stamps and other supplemental nutrition assistance. Title V, Farm Credit Federal direct and guaranteed farm loan programs, and loan eligibility rules and policies. Title VI, Rural Development Business and community programs for planning, feasibility assessments, and coordination activities with other local, state, and federal programs, including rural broadband access. Title VII, Research Agricultural research and extension programs, including biosecurity and response, biotechnology, and organic production. Title VIII, Forestry USDA Forest Service programs, including forestry management, enhancement, and agroforestry programs. Title IX, Energy Bioenergy programs and grants for procurement of biobased products to support development of biorefineries and assist eligible farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in purchasing renewable energy systems, as well as user education programs. Title X, Horticulture and Organic Agriculture A new farm bill title covering fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops and organic agriculture. Title XI, Livestock A new farm bill title covering livestock and poultry production, including provisions that amend existing laws governing livestock and poultry marketing and competition, country-of-origin labeling requirements for retailers, and meat and poultry state inspections, among other provisions. Title XII, Crop Insurance and Disaster Assistance A new farm bill title covering the federal crop insurance and disaster assistance previously included in the miscellaneous title (not including the supplemental disaster assistance provisions in the Trade and Tax title. See below). Title XIII, Commodity Futures A new farm bill title covering reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other changes to current law. Title XIV, Miscellaneous Other types of programs and assistance not covered in other bill titles, including provisions to assist limited-resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and agricultural security, among others. Title XV, Trade and Tax Provisions A new title covering tax-related provisions intended to offset spending initiatives for some programs, including those in the nutrition, conservation, and energy titles. The title also contains other provisions, including the new supplemental disaster assistance and disaster relief trust fund, and other tax-related provisions such as customs user fees.

ag policy and other key federal, state and public issues in an effort to fine-tune policy for December delegate debate (see the policy development supplement inserted into this week’s FarmWeek, as well as the accompanying current farm bill outline). Meanwhile, the FPTF will convene in late August, according to task force Chairman Brinkmann, to ponder “what’s realistic for us to continue to work for.” “By then, some of our questions may be answered,” the Carlyle producer told FarmWeek. “We’re going to try to preserve what we can and work with what we have to work with as best we can. Unfortunately, we have a lot of unknowns.” The FPTF conducted a recent teleconference to survey the farm bill landscape during heated House debate over proposed new direct payment eligibility requirements. That proposal failed, but direct payments remain under the budgetary gun. Beyond the farm bill, this week’s policy supplement addresses farmer image, nutrient management, and food safety. County Farm Bureaus

also will seek feedback on a variety of other issues brewing in Washington or Springfield, including: • Lame duck sessions. Post-election legislative sessions can be effective in resolving contentious issues outside the glare of campaign rhetoric. But “lame duck” debate also offers departing state lawmakers the opportunity to pursue personal, unpopular, or even extreme policy measures without fear of public or party repercussions. “It’s a very complicated issue,” RC State and Local Government Subcommittee Chairman Ted Mottaz admitted. His team is reviewing an Edwards County submission that would limit lame duck sessions to veto override action. • Liability claims. The IFB Conservation and Natural Resources Grassroots Issues Team seeks consideration of measures to expand landowner-

tenant protection against invited individuals as well as trespassers or licensed sportsmen and claims related to a farm “attractive nuisance” that poses obvious risks. “If you have a big lake, you don’t really have to say it’s potentially dangerous,” Mottaz suggested. • Legislative redistricting. Lee County Farm Bureau proposals aim to address perceived flaws in Illinois’ redistricting process before the next remapping occurs, tentatively in 2020. The county suggests using geographical information systems or other computer technologies to draft “realistic” new political boundaries, rather than relying on “political affiliation and prior election results.” Proposed policy encourages work on a constitutional amendment dealing with Illinois redistricting in preparation for the 2020 U.S. census, along with improved education on the issue.


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, August 1, 2011

CROPWATCHERS Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: More heavy rains here last week. Since I wrote my report a week ago, we have had 5 inches, and we feel pretty fortunate that we haven’t had more. Last weekend, July 22-24, there was an average of 3 to 5 inches in this area. Wednesday morning we had another 0.75 of an inch and Wednesday night another 1.25 inches. Almost all of Northwestern Illinois received way more than that — up to 12 inches in Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Ogle counties. There is plenty of flooding in low areas and more down corn because of high winds in some areas. There is lots of fungicide application for corn on hold because it has been too wet. Let’s hope for a more normal week ahead, if there is such a thing. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: After I made my call last Friday (July 22), it started to rain here. By Sunday (July 24), I had received more than 7 inches of rain. Crops were ready for some real water after no rain for three weeks. Then on Wednesday night, storms and fierce lightning hit this northwest area, with Jo Daviess County getting the worst of it. I got 3.4 inches, but some received 16-plus inches over a four- or five-hour period. The beautiful hills ran all that water down to those picture-perfect valleys, ripping out highways, roads, railroads, buildings, and crops. What is referred to as a 100-year storm has now occurred in that same area for three years in a row. Homes were being evacuated in the Savanna area on Thursday night from flooding of the Plum River. On the crop side of things, where flooding did not occur, crops look good. Beans are getting tall and corn has pollinated and silks are turning brown. Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: Plenty of rain for the week — just short of 6 inches total. The problem has been the winds that have come with almost every front that moves through. This year’s corn crop has to feel like a puppy’s new play toy. It has been pushed, pulled, twisted, and chewed up. Harvest will be a real challenge with almost every field in a tangled mess. Soybeans, on the other hand, have thrived on the extra moisture. They are now growing faster than the Japanese beetles can chew their leaves up. August weather will determine soybean yields, but heading into it with a full tank of water is a good feeling.

Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: We awoke to severe thunderstorms Friday morning. We had 2.6 inches of rain in 30 minutes. The power is out in the neighborhood, and I am typing in the dark. This was a muchneeded rain. The crops were under stress from the lack of rain and over 100-degree heat indexes for the last month. Most of the fungicide has been sprayed on the corn, and the soybeans will be next. There are some reports of severe Japanese beetle problems in the area. There does not appear to be any threshold levels on our beans, but we will continue to scout for them. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: The heat still remains, but we received some rain and wind through the week. The rain definitely has taken stress off of the corn, but I don’t know how much damage the dry hot weather did to the corn crop during pollination. Soybeans remain short, but hopefully they will decided to grow some more now with moisture. Most soybeans are at the R3 stage. The corn already has pollinated for the most part and is now trying to fill the ears. Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: We received a surprising 1.5 inches of rain by late Sunday (July 24). Some areas got a little bit more and some got a little bit less. Greatly, greatly needed and appreciated. A little wind came with that in the eastern part of the county. Woke up Thursday morning to another 1 inch of rain and that kind of took the edge off the crop stress for now. The grass is starting to grow again and things are starting to look green. Now we will have to see how much damage was done by the stretch of hot weather. Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: We received 1 inch of rain last week, which was really welcomed. It perked up the corn and soybeans, but it is now dry and hot again. We will need more rain and soon to save these crops. Oh, and by the way, it’s raining as I write this report on Friday. Work is caught up and families are taking vacations. August is here and now we start thinking about fall and going back to school. Markets aren’t committing up or down yet. Need more information. Corn does look good in Iowa and Nebraska.

Joe Zumwalt, Warsaw, Hancock County: Hot, dry weather continues to be the story in Western Illinois. A few showers and storms have moved through the region, but leaving only small amounts of rainfall in the gauges. The corn is really showing the stress of the dry conditions, but the soybeans seem to be enjoying the hot and dry pattern. Crop-dusters continue to apply fungicide to corn and soybeans fields, many producers are busy mowing roadsides and pastures, and irrigation systems are running around the clock. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for a little cooler temperatures and a few inches of rain this week. We don’t need to be setting any more heat records.

Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: On July 24, we received 0.45 to 0.85 of an inch of rain. It was our first rain since July 1. That left our farms with a range of 1 to 1.4 of an inch of rain for the month of July, although, it is raining as I write this report. The range in corn development is from the V-T growth stage to the R-3 or milk stage. Our corn planted on June 3 just began to pollinate. That field has been rolling its leaves for close to three weeks. Fungicide applications continue to be made to cornfields over the past week. We have sprayed slightly more than 40 percent of our corn acres. The heat and dry weather in July has caused severe damage to yield potential in areas of our fields that were not able to develop deeper root systems. Soybean development in the area ranges from the R-2 growth stage up to the R-4 growth stage. Local closing bids for July 28: nearby corn, $7.08; new-crop corn, $6.63; nearby soybeans, $13.68; new-crop soybeans, $13.37.

Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: We have been receiving the normal spotty amounts of summer rains. Rock Island and Henderson counties have received good amounts. The Aledo area in central Mercer County has remained relatively dry. I took a ride in a small homemade aircraft Monday evening (July 25). Crops look good from 1,000 feet. Few drowned-out spots are visible now, as most have recovered from June’s wetness. There is some loss of nitrogen evident in cornfields. Japanese beetles have slowed down some. Soybeans are being treated now with fungicides and insecticides.

Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: We were at 4 minutes on our “5 minutes before it’s too late” countdown when storm clouds rumbled through mid-morning last Sunday (July 24). Most of northern and central Champaign County received 1 to 1.3 inches of rain. Rain trailed off to 0.1 or 0.2 of an inch going south, east, and west. Some corn was blown down by the wind gusts. I was checking ears and finding quite a difference. A fully pollinated ear was 14 rows 37 kernels long for 518 kernels, while another was 14 rows 28 long for 392 kernels — a 22 percent difference. Beans are blooming, podding and growing taller. See you at the Georgetown Fair Aug. 6 –13.

Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: A lot of lightning Thursday night, but zero rain in our gauge this Friday morning. We sure could have used some. We did get about 0.6 of an inch last Sunday (July 24), which brings our July total to 1.1 inches, far less than we got for June. Otherwise, crops are doing as well as they can in the heat, which undoubtedly has already taken its toll on the yield. Some rescue spraying of soybeans is happening, as is considerable aerial activity over cornfields. One plane was so close to our big trees that I thought it was going to top them. The Japanese beetles are still a pest and trying to eat everything from flowers to sweet corn to whole trees, if they could. Have a safe week during this heat wave. Tom Ritter, Blue Mound, Macon County: We’ve had a long dry spell with only 0.1 of an inch of rain in the last three weeks plus. Needless to say, we are hoping for a shower over the weekend just ahead of this report. A lot of corn is curling up to protect itself, especially with the high 90s and warm breezes. Early corn was stunted in the lower-lying areas because of the excessive rainfall in June. It turned green and was looking very good, but now it is starting to look a little more peaked, possibly even out of nitrogen. Nitrogen, I think, will be the big issue as the crop tries to close itself out here during the month of August. Soybeans continue to grow and it seems like they are benefiting from the drier conditions, but I’m sure yields of beans will not be near the high potential we had last year. Overall, I would rate the corn crop in this area as good and soybeans very good. Farmers are busy trying to get some vacation in, as well as getting equipment and storage ready. Most are predicting harvest will be coming, at least in the early-planted corn, around the first of September with possible early premiums at the elevators causing them to go a little bit before that. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: Another hot and mostly dry week across the area, as the stressful conditions keep whittling away at the 2011 crops potential. Rainfall last Sunday (July 24) only netted 0.2 to 0.4 of an inch for most of the county. The weatherman only has a few small chances for rain, but we can only hope that maybe at least one of those will deliver the 1-plus inches this crop could really use. The May-planted corn, which is the vast majority of this crop, is showing stress. It is at the R-3 milk stage and showing signs of some pollination issues and kernel abortion. The April corn is just one stage ahead at the R-4 dough stage, but that has helped it weather the stressful conditions better than the later-planted corn. Soybean fields are hanging in there, as they seem to be sitting at the R-4 full pod stage waiting for some moisture. Double-crop beans are under a lot of stress and need moisture soon to have any potential at all. This week brings us the 158th Coles County Fair. Hopefully, the traditional fair week rain shower will come in this year and do some good for the crops. Either way, see you at the fair! Jimmy Ayers, Rochester, Sangamon County: This past week, we received 1.25 inches of rain at our place. Other areas ranged anywhere from 0.5 of an inch to 4 inches. Crops tolerated the week much better than the previous week. Corn is starting to show signs of maturity. Have some ears fading down a little bit with some browning going on. Beans seem to be growing well. Some farmers have volunteer corn popping up in their beans, but nothing serious. I hope you got some corn and beans sold in here. On country corners, it may not hurt to cut the corn stalk off at least above the ear to allow a little more visibility. Just something to think about if you’ve got one of those situations on your farm.


Page 7 Monday, August 1, 2011 FarmWeek

CROPWATCHERS David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: Rain moved across the area on Sunday afternoon (July 24) which brought a very welcomed drink. But total rainfall has varied tremendously — all the way from 0.3 to close to 3 inches. I received 2.6 inches. Most of the corn in the area has seemed to do a decent job of pollinating. You can find a little pollination trouble in some numbers, but nothing severe. We are concerned with the heat that continues, that the major tipping back of the ears could set in and diminish yields considerably. Been some fungicide applied on corn in the area and the bean fungicide will start soon. As far as the bean crop goes — most beans look good and continue to grow. We are sitting pretty good right now and hoping for some cooler weather. Stay cool and safe. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: Mostly a dry, hot and humid week. Rainfall on Sunday (July 24) varied from 0.1 of an inch to more than 1 inch, with most people receiving about an inch. People are still spraying post chemicals on beans and fungicides on corn. Other activities include mowing ditches and waterways and hauling grain. Could sure use some more rain and cooler weather. There are slight chances for showers over the weekend, but more hot, humid weather is expected for this coming week. Reports received Friday morning. Expanded crop and weather information available at {www.farmweeknow.com}.

Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: The weather has been very hot here in Jackson County. Most of Jackson County got a pretty good shower on July 24. I hate to say it, but it missed my farms down in the low ground and I do need the rain right now. As far as my situation with the flooding goes, we finally opened up the flood gates on Tuesday to start letting the water out and we closed them again Friday morning because the river came back up. We got rid of three or four feet of water, but we still have a lot more to go. The heat is having its effect on corn pollination. The corn is twisting up awfully bad, and there are concerns about how well it’s going to pollinate. The beans seem to handle the dry weather a little better and are hanging in there, but would sure like to have a shower. The wheat beans are above the stubble now and looking pretty decent. Still some spraying going on for some late-planted beans. The rest of the county has been getting quite a bit of rain and is in pretty good shape, so we will leave it at that. Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Another hot week. I dumped 0.8 of an inch of rain from my gauge. Some places got less, but I have heard of amounts of up to 3 inches or more in some places. The crops seem to be holding up well, but the high temperatures are surely taking their toll on the corn. I forgot to mention last week was the Wabash County 4-H and Junior Fair. Many kids and adults work long and hard hours for this event, and I think we should all show our appreciation to them.

Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: Reporting on the weather this week is simple. It’s hot and dry. Early in the week we saw a drop in the daytime temperatures to the low 90s, but as the week progressed, the temperatures returned to highs of 100 degrees. There was no rain for the week. After scouting several of our fields checking for moisture, I found that the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil surface is dry. The crops seem to be holding up, but the signs of heat stress are obvious after two weeks of high temperatures. Corn planted at the end of May and early June has now tasseled and shows the most heat stress during the day. Soybeans range in height from 2 inches to waist-high with the earliest planted starting to set pods. The weather forecast was for rain during the weekend, and a soaking rain would go a long way at this point. Local grain bids: corn, $7.04; soybeans, $13.72; wheat, $6.57. Have a safe week. Randy Anderson, Galatia, Saline County This report comes to you from Saline County via Wisconsin Dells. Yes it was time for a break from the farm and time for the family. It is still hot at home. We got 0.5 of a inch of rain on the July 24. The heat is what is killing us. We saw some nice crops from Alton up to Moline, and Iowa looked like a garden patch. I wish our hills could grow corn like theirs. The one thing that I saw that makes you wonder is what happened to the cattle and hogs in those empty barns and silos — it’s almost like home.

U of I Agronomy Day adding new tours, free crop diagnoses BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farmers will find new tours and crop diagnoses along with the latest information on research and the growing season Aug. 18 at the University of Illinois Agronomy Day on the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, Urbana. “Our tours are really geared toward growers and producers,” said Bob Dunker, superintendent of

the U of I South Farms and Agronomy Day chairman. The event will start at 7 a.m. with free one-hour tours departing every half-hour until noon. Four research tours will feature some of the growing season’s hottest topics, including corn rootworm trends, foliar fungicides, soil fertility issues, and corn tillage. Guided tours of the U of I’s arboretum that covers 60 acres of gardens, trees,

ponds, and lawns will be offered at 8 and 10 a.m. Another new feature will be free on-the-spot diagnoses of plant samples at the U of I Plant Clinic booth, Dunker noted. One free plant sample per customer will be provided on a first-come, firstserved basis; soil samples are not included. Farmers will receive a coupon for 10 percent off the cost of the sample diagnosis that they send to the

GETTING TO THE ROOT OF AG ISSUES

State Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), right, who was adopted by the Lee County Farm Bureau, chats with county Farm Bureau treasurer Allyn Buhrow, left, and member Nolan Henert about the corn crop on Henert’s Ashton farm during a recent visit. He also gained a new perspective and view of Lee County after climbing a grain leg on Henert’s farm, where he and three of his farm hosts then discussed issues 135 feet above ground. Biss, who is interested in renewable energy, also learned about the ethanol industry during a tour of the Illinois River Energy plant, Rochelle. The representative said he is looking forward to a return visit with his two young sons. (Photo by Christina Nourie, IFB northeast legislative coordinator)

clinic. The clinic offers unbiased diagnoses of plant problems, exotic pests, insects, and other production concerns. Several U of I departments and ag organizations will have displays and provide information in the exhibit tent. The displays will include the firstever sale of vegetables grown on the sustainable student farm that is operated by U of I students to supply produce to U of I residence halls. The

sale will start at 9 a.m. Noon issue presentations will be given by U of I and College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences administrators, including Dean Bob Hauser and Crops Sciences Department Head German Bollero. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend Agronomy Day. For more details, go online to {http://agronomyday.cropsci.illinois.edu/}.

Auction Calendar

www.topauctions24-7.com/schmidgall Sat., Aug. 6. 9:30 a.m. Eq. Auction. Cherie Tracy, ALEDO, IL. Stan Gregory Real Estate & Auction LLC. biddersandbuyers.com Tues., Aug. 9. 10 a.m. Closing Out Farm Auction. Bill and Carol McGuire, MAROA, IL. Martin Auction Services, LLC. www.martinauction.com Wed., Aug. 10. 10 a.m. Farm Eq. Auction. Kenneth and Mary Buckles, MT. PULASKI, IL. Mike Maske Auction Service. www.maskeauction.com Thurs., Aug. 11. 1 p.m. McDonough Co. Land Auction. Barbara D. Heap Farm, MACOMB, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Sat., Aug. 13. 9 a.m. Eq. Dispersal Auction. Lyle and Craig Eversole Farm, ASSUMPTION, IL. Jordan Auction Service. www.jordanauctionservice.com Sat., Aug. 13. 10 a.m. Large Estate Auction. In Memory Jared (Jed) Lafferty, CANTON, IL. Rt. 9 Auction. www.laffertyauction.com Sat., Aug. 13. 10 a.m. Machinery Auction. Warren Schultz, MANHATTAN, IL. Richard A. Olson and Assoc. richardaolson.com Thurs., Aug. 18. 9 a.m. CST. Huge Equipment Auction. CHARLESTON, IL. Bauer Auction Service. www.commoditytraders.biz Thurs., Aug. 18. 8:30 a.m. CST. Full Line Liquidation Eq. Auction. Formerly Hinkle Produce, CISSNA PARK, IL. Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co., Inc. www.schraderauction.com Sat., Aug. 20. 9 a.m. Large Multi Farmer Auction. OKAWVILLE, IL. Riechmann Bros., LLC. www.riechmannauction.com, www.topauction24-7.com and www.biddersandbuyers.com

Tues., Aug. 2. 9 a.m. Herscher Area August Consignment Auction. HERSCHER, IL. Tom Witvoet Auction and Appraisal Services. www.tomwitvoetequipment.com Tues., Aug. 2. Unreserved Public Auction. CHICAGO, IL. Ritchie Bros., Auctioneers. rbauction.com Thurs., Aug. 4. 9 a.m. Farm machinery. Scott E. Parrish Estate, HAVANA, I L. Sullivan & Son Auction, LLC. www.sullivansonauction.com Thurs., Aug. 4. 10 a.m. Farm machinery and miscellaneous. Warren Ulfers, FAIRBURY, IL. Immke and Bradley Auction Service. biddersandbuyers.com/immke Fri., Aug. 5. 11 a.m. 255.75 Ac. Morgan Co. David R. Jackson and Reta Jackson, MURRAYVILLE, IL. Worrell-Leka Land Services, LLC, Darrell Moore, Auctioneer. worrell-leka.com or auctionzip.com (i.d.#16215) Fri., Aug. 5. 11 a.m. Farmland and real estate. Helen Montavon Trust, COMPTON, IL. McConville Realty & Auctioneering. Sat., Aug. 6. 10:30 a.m. Farm Eq. Close-Out. John and Phyllis Roat, HAVANA, IL. Ron Sanert and Eldred Nehmelman, Auctioneers. www.sanertauctions.com or auctionzip.com auction ID #2473 Sat., Aug. 6. 10 a.m. Farm machinery and misc. Robert H. Richter, BREESE, IL. Mark Krausz Auction Service. krauszauctions.com Sat., Aug. 6. 9 a.m. Putnam Co. FFA Alumni Auction. GRANVILLE, IL. Bradleys’ and Immke Auction Service. www.bradleyauctionsinc.com Sat., Aug. 6. 9:30 a.m. Public Auction. Willard Winkler Estate, METAMORA, IL. Schmidgall Auction Services, Inc.


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, August 1, 2011

production

Bishop: Technology key to grow food production BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Farmers are capable of feeding the world’s population, even when it spikes to an estimated 9 billion people by 2050. But in order to accomplish this feat, farmers around the world must continue to become more efficient and productive, according to Grady Bishop, director of the U.S. Swine Business Unit at Elanco Animal Health. Bishop was the keynote speaker last week at the Illinois Farm Bureau commodities conference in Normal. “We’re going to have to increase the production of food by 100 percent (by 2050),” Bishop said. “And 70 percent of that increase in production will have to come from something other than more acres.” Bishop claimed about 40 percent of land on the globe currently is used for food production. More land could be put into production, particularly in areas such as Africa and South America, but the additional acres likely wouldn’t be enough to meet increased demands without pro-

duction advancements. “It truly is the challenge of the 21st century to produce that amount of food (to feed 9 Grady Bishop billion people) with the smallest environmental impact possible,” said Bishop, who noted 1 billion people worldwide currently are food insecure. “Hunger is the No. 1 problem in the world (contributing to about 25,000 deaths per day),” he continued. “(Malnutrition) kills more people than war, AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.” The key to tackling the current hunger issue, as well as feeding more people in the future, is technology, according to Bishop. He believes product advancements (golden rice that delivers improved nutrition to consumers, for example,), improvements in production practices, such as no-till and better irrigation systems, and genetic advancements of crops

and livestock will help farmers produce more with less and tackle the hunger issue. “Technology allows us to do things more efficiently,” said Bishop, who noted the portion of income Americans spend on food declined from 24 percent in 1929 to 10 percent in 2010. “The incredible improvement in

food affordability was driven by improved production.” Improvements in production practices have allowed farmers to reduce their carbon footprint by 63 percent (since 1944) to produce a gallon of milk and by 18 percent (since 1977) to produce a pound of beef, Bishop said.

But the ag industry must continue to get even more efficient and resourceful. Bishop described booming demand for food as a challenge and opportunity for farmers. “We’re in a business that’s growing,” he added. “The time to take advantage of this is now.”

Nutrient deficiencies concern growers Hot, dry weather conditions are bringing out the worst in many fields. Fabian Fernandez, University of Illinois Extension specialist in plant nutrition and soil fertility, said potassium deficiencies have become the most noticeable. “While there is very little that can be done at this point to correct nutrient deficiencies, besides a good rainfall, the development of nutrient deficiencies in some fields or parts of fields should be noted to determine if there is something that needs to be done to correct the problem for next year,” Fernandez said. He offered these tips: • Adequate soil fertility levels. If the soil does not have adequate fertility, correct the

problem by applying adequate levels of fertilizer. If severe deficiencies occurred this year due to the dry conditions or if the problem does not go away after some precipitation, Fernandez said it’s a good indication of low fertility in that field. Looking at previous soil test information, previous fertilization rates, and the field’s yield history, along with additional soil testing, is the best way to determine if and how much phosphorus or potassium may be needed. Of course, it’s unlikely that applying phosphorus or potassium now will help this crop, but if the fertility of the field is a problem, correcting the problem before next year should be a pretty high priority this fall after harvest, he said. • Soil water content. Water is critical to supply the crop’s needs and to dissolve nutrients and make them available to the plants. Temporary nutrient deficiencies may be seen when the surface layer of the soil is too dry and the root system is shallow. This year, soil conditions were adequate to help crops

develop an extensive root system, which helped them draw water deeper in the soil during dry conditions. Remember, new roots tend to be the most important for nutrient uptake because they are more active than older roots, but roots do not grow in dry soil and will slow down activity under dry conditions. Because of this, some crops might be showing some nutrient deficiency. • Soil compaction. Compaction may reduce the volume of soil nutrients and water that plants can access. If patterns of a nutrient deficiency develop along old crop rows or wheel traffic, the likely villain is soil compaction, Fernandez said. At this juncture, nothing can be done to correct the problem, but it’s important to break up compaction after harvest if soil conditions are right for tillage. • Diseases and pests. Diseases and pests compete for nutrients, affect plants’ physiological capacity, and diminish root mass and root surface area that are important for nutrient and water uptake.


Page 9 Monday, August 1, 2011 FarmWeek

ethaNol

Analyst: Anti-E15 proposal ignores ‘basic math’ BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

A U.S. House proposal to put the brakes on “E15” is neither sound science nor logical “basic math,” industry observers warned last week. Biofuels interests attacked a measure aimed at blocking U.S. Environmental Protection

accounting for about 75 percent of U.S. fuel use. Buis argued EPA’s approval of E15 was based on “the most exhaustive and rigorous study of any fuel blend in history,” encompassing engine and emissions testing and automotive “drivability.” To energy industry analyst

‘Without EPA per mitting the use of higher ethanol blends, we won’t be able to get to the point where we can meet the RFS2 mandate.’ — John Urbanchuk Energy industry analyst

Agency (EPA) implementation of standards for use of 15 percent ethanol (E15) fuel blends. The amendment is sponsored by Reps. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), an oil state lawmaker who also opposes incentives for multi-blend ethanol “blender pumps,” and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who represents a district near the heart of Michigan’s auto industry. Biofuels group Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis charged their proposal “picks politics over science.” In January, EPA approved E15 use in 2001 and newer vehicles — roughly 67 percent of the nation’s vehicles,

John Urbanchuk, the need to move toward E15 is a matter of “basic math.” The federal renewable fuels standard (RFS2) calls for 36 billion gallons of U.S. biofuels use by 2022, he questions whether a current E10 standard blending limit and anticipated E85 (85 percent ethanol) will allow for that kind of market expansion. “Without EPA permitting the use of higher ethanol blends, we won’t be able to get to the point where we can meet the RFS2 mandate,” Urbanchuk told FarmWeek. “I think E15 is really, really important.” AgriVisor analyst Dale Durchholz nonetheless sees a

“fairly widespread pushback” against E15 adoption from the auto industry. Vehicle manufacturers and some fuel retailers fear they could “bear the brunt” of any theoretical damage resulting from accidental use of E15 in older cars, he said. General Motors (GM) biofuels spokesperson Sharon Basel maintains her company is “more committed than ever” to reaching 50 percent “flexible-fuel” (E85-capable) vehicle production by 2013. She deems E85 “the best near-term solution to reducing our (petroleum) dependence and improving the carbon footprint of driving.” GM nonetheless “remains concerned” about E15, Basel said, arguing U.S. models currently on the road “were not developed or certified to run on that content.” “We think it’s important for the industry and for the future growth and acceptance of ethanol as a fuel that nothing happens in terms of bad customer experience,” she told FarmWeek. “If customers have a bad experience with failure of diagnostics or any systems in those older-model vehicles, that would discolor their opinion toward ethanol fuels. “Going forward, it’s an entirely different thing. We’d obviously design (cars) for the fuels that are in the marketplace.”

Deficit disagreement leaves ethanol deal in serious doubt A pair of analysts agree change is nigh for the ethanol industry. The pace and extent of change remains in question, and federal budget debate will provide those answers. A proposed Senate ethanol tax compromise appeared in jeopardy last week amid disagreement among lawmakers about whether revenue-raising measures should be part of debt-ceiling legislation. Under a deal reached recently by Senate biofuels supporters and ethanol critic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a 45-centper-gallon volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC) would be eliminated immediately, along with an accompanying 54cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. VEETC and the tariff currently are set to expire Dec. 31. The Senate plan would direct $1.3 billion in VEETC “savings” to deficit reduction and $668 million for extension of incentives for small ethanol producers, cellulosic biofuels development, and new retail renewable fuels infrastructure. If the deal is not included in debt limit measures, Renewable Fuels Association spokesman Matt Hartwig suggests “other vehicles may present themselves,” such as a stalled Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. Under what Hartwig called a “worst-case scenario,” VEETC would remain in place until January. That, in energy analyst John Urbanchuk’s view, is a likely prospect. A major ethanol policy shift “driven by the budget situation” is inevitable, said American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) economist Matt Erickson, a speaker at last week’s Illinois Farm Bureau Commodities Conference. “I think that when VEETC FarmWeekNow.com is gone, the (existing ethanol) Listen to Matt Kaye’s report industry is going to see that on the ethanol compromise financial support go by the at FarmWeekNow.com. boards,” Urbanchuk told FarmWeek. “There probably will be opportunity for some form of financial incentive for cellulosic and second-generation ethanol. But the budget situation’s so bleak that it’s going to be hard to hold onto any kind of subsidy or incentive over the next year or two. “And there is continuing opposition to and pressure against the whole area of biofuels throughout Congress. That’s troubling. I think that opposition will go away over time as we move to diversify supplies away from corn ethanol. But that’s going to take some time to happen, and I just hope we’ll be allowed to develop that part of the industry.” The administration continues to tout “second-generation” biomass biofuels, and a special fuel blenders tax credit for cellulosic ethanol use does not expire until 2013 (or 2016 under the Senate compromise plan). Urbanchuk argues the latter is “sort of a moot point,” noting tax credits function for biofuels producers only “if you have income against which to offset the credit.” “I don’t think anybody making second-generation ethanol is making any money right now,” he observed. Further, programs aimed at accelerating cellulosic development face an uncertain future. The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), created to foster biomass production-processing networks, has been a prime target in short-term spending and larger deficit reduction proposals. USDA senior energy adviser Sarah Bittleman stresses the value of “programs like BCAP that provide incentives for farmers to try new things.” Biomass crops could help “turn marginal lands into less marginal lands,” she told FarmWeek. “The farm bill situation is driven by the budget, as well,” AFBF’s Erickson noted, however. “There are 37 farm bill programs that don’t have a (federal budget) baseline after 2012. Eight are energy programs. That’s 22 percent of the programs that do not have a baseline. “The magic money tree in Washington isn’t going to be around any more. If we’re going to continue that energy title, we’re going to have put money from other programs into the energy title.” — Martin Ross


FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, August 1, 2011

ENVIRONMENT

Dust regulation potential ‘rural vs. urban issue’ BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Proposals to impose tighter regulations on farm “dust” constitute “a rural vs. urban issue” rather than a human health or safety issue, according to American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy analyst Rick Krause. Krause expects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to introduce potentially stringent new “coarse particulate” (dust) standards in September or October. AFBF will reiterate “why what they’d be doing is not a good idea,” he said at last week’s Commodities Conference.

EPA already regulates urban “fine particulate matter” (PM) — sulfates, nitrates, and other potentially harmful compounds emitted by power plants, industrial furnaces, and vehicles. EPA is “much more concerned about the fine stuff, the bad stuff,” but rumblings related to a current required air quality review suggest the possibility of fine particulates and dust being “lumped together,” Krause said. That’s despite EPA’s admission of “considerable uncertainty with the science behind coarse PM risks” and conclusions questioning whether new controls offer

‘If there’s no appreciable impact on health...and it’s going to cause problems for rural areas, why do it?’ — Rick Krause American Farm Bureau Federation

any health benefits. Economic impacts could be significant: Krause noted dust is a fact of life in rural areas and warned many areas are chal-

lenged in meeting existing coarse PM standards. “Anytime you drive down a dirt road, anytime you work a tractor in the field, anytime you move livestock, you’re going to raise dust,” he said. “This is what EPA is going to be regulating. This dust is not found in urban areas. If EPA changes dust standards, as it’s leaning toward doing, it would have no impact on urban areas. “It would have huge impacts for rural areas which would not be able to meet the standards EPA will impose. If there’s no appreciable impact on health, as EPA’s acknowledged, and it’s

going to cause problems for rural areas, why do it?” Krause cited a lack of rural monitoring to measure PM levels. EPA is eyeing “an urban standard based on urban science,” he argued, noting most PM health data have been drawn from cities or “dust storms from foreign countries.” While fine PMs are linked to human sources, potential for naturally fluctuating airborne dust levels raises regulatory compliance concerns. Noting a July dust storm in Phoenix associated with a mile-deep, 50-mile-wide cloud cover, Krause pondered “how EPA’s going to regulate this.” Many meteorologists predict greater frequency of violent storm events and droughts related to climate change. That could spur uncontrollable spikes in dust levels and higher risks of air quality “non-attainment” under new standards. “That’s going to cause farmers and ranchers to spend a lot more money to lower their dust levels, somehow,” Krause advised.

Still time to apply for GRITs Farm Bureau members interested in Illinois agriculture policy issues have until Aug. 11 to apply for the Illinois Farm Bureau GrassRoots Issue Teams (GRITs) program. The GRITs program provides members the opportunity to address emerging policy issues as well as identify new educational programs. The eight teams are: conservation and natural resources; crop production and trade; equine; livestock and dairy; renewable resources and energy; risk management and farm programs; rural life; and specialty crops and labor. GRITs members meet twice a year, starting with the first meeting on Jan. 17 in Bloomington. A second meeting will be in March. Interested members should contact their county Farm Bureau or visit the IFB website at {www.ilfb.org} to obtain an application. GRITs members will be announced in October.


Page 11 Monday, August 1, 2011 FarmWeek

FB IN ACTION FOOD DESERT DISCUSSIONS

Clark Stoller, kneeling, of Stoller’s International explains farm equipment to fourth graders from Aurora’s O’Donnell Magnet School. The students won a LaSalle County field trip, sponsored by their state Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia (D-Aurora). Chapa-LaVia is matched with LaSalle County Farm Bureau through Illinois Farm Bureau’s Adopt a Legislator program. (Photo by Christina Nourie, IFB northeast legislative coordinator)

Aurora students learn about ag during their LaSalle County tour The LaSalle County Farm Bureau recently welcomed some fourth graders and their chaperones from the O’Donnell Magnet School, Aurora, for a unique learning experience. The students competed in and won an essay contest sponsored by the county Farm Bureau and its “adopted” legislator, state Rep. Linda Chapa-LaVia (D-Aurora). The students first toured Stoller’s International dealership and learned about farm machinery and the technology farmers use to grow and harvest crops. Clark Stoller served as tour guide and also explained basic agriculture concepts. The group’s next stop was the LaSalle County 4-H Fair where the students toured the livestock barns and exhibits. For many of the students, one highlight was being able to feed a baby calf from a bottle and watching 4-H’ers milk a cow. They also took a hayrack ride around the fairgrounds. This was the first experience with farm animals or learning about the 4-H for several of the children, and many said they would like to join 4-H and learn more about farming. LaSalle County Farm Bureau will explore providing followup lessons and ag educational materials to the students’ school.

State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, right front, (D-Calumet City) discusses the Thornton Township food pantry in his district with visiting McLean County Farm Bureau board members, left to right, Fred Grieder, Mark Hines, Carl Neubauer, and Scott Hoeft. Jones, who was matched this year with the county Farm Bureau through the Adopt a Legislator program, recently arranged a tour of the food pantry where he was a case worker for 17 years. The Farm Bureau leaders also met with the mayor of Ford Heights and attended a Calumet City Council meeting. Hoeft, county Farm Bureau president, told the council about the Adopt a Legislator program and a bus tour the county Farm Bureau is hosting for the representative to this week’s McLean County Fair. (Photo by Christina Nourie, Illinois Farm Bureau northeast legislative coordinator)


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, August 1, 2011

FB IN ACTION AG LESSON IN AFRICAN CLASSROOM

McDonough County Farm Bureau member Brad Hunt of Blandinsville teaches a lesson about agriculture to students in the Community Hope School in Katatura, Namibia, in Africa. Hunt and his wife, Debbie, said the students were excited to receive Ag Mags that were donated by the McDonough County Farm Bureau and toy farm equipment donated by Heritage Equipment, Macomb. The Hunts worked with the students as part of a mission trip. (Photo courtesy Brad and Debbie Hunt)

In support of IAITC

Cyclists set to pedal where Lincoln trod Cyclists will ride through a six-county Central Illinois area Sept. 6-8 for the annual Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) bike ride. The fundraising event is hosted by the IAA Foundation to support ag literacy programs. “The bike ride is a lot of fun and provides an opportunity to meet a lot of great people and raise funds for a great cause,” said Charlie Grotevant, bike ride chairman. This year’s ride will feature routes through Christian,

Logan, Macoupin, Menard, Montgomery, and Sangamon counties with lodging and evening activities in the Springfield area. Riders will stop at about 30 schools along the route and provide students with an interactive lesson about the importance of agriculture and bicycle safety. The ride will encompass some of the same territory Abraham Lincoln covered as a circuit-riding lawyer. Cyclists may participate one, two, or three days and have an option for short (40 miles), medium (65 miles), or long (100 miles) routes. All routes are on paved roads and begin and end daily in Springfield. Registrations are being accepted. Riders who register by Aug. 22 will pay $75. After that date, the registration fee increases to $95. Individuals who raise money for IAITC will receive special benefits. Those who raise $250 to $499 will receive free registration; $500 to $999, free registration and free meals; and $1,000 or more, free registration, meals, and lodging. To register or receive more information, call 309-557-2230 or go online to {www.iaafoundation.org}. “The IAITC program is dedicated to teaching the benefits of modern agriculture to students,” said Susan Moore, IAA Foundation director. “The IAITC program has a very positive impact, but we can do more. Participation in events like the IAITC Bike Ride helps raise more funds to allow the positive message of the importance of agriculture and the impact it has on our daily lives to be shared with even more consumers,” she said.


Page 13 Monday, August 1, 2011 FarmWeek

from the counties

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ROWN — Far m Bureau and Country Financial will sponsor a customer appreciation open house and luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the American Legion Hall, Mt. Sterling. Call the Far m Bureau office at 217-7732634 or the Country Financial office at 217-773-3591 for more infor mation. ASS-MORGAN — The member appreciation dinner and “Meet your Legislators” program scheduled for Thursday at Hamilton’s has been canceled. FFINGHAM — Far m Bureau is taking orders for Crest Haven peaches. Cost is $40 for one bushel; $21 for a halfbushel; and $12 for onefourth bushel. Orders and payment are due Monday, Aug. 8. Delivery will be to the Far m Bureau office after noon on Aug. 11. Call the Far m Bureau office at 217-342-2103 for more infor mation. • The Prime Timers will sponsor a bus trip Monday, Aug. 15, to the Illinois State Fair, Springfield. This is Senior Citizens Day at the fair, so those 60 and older will receive free admission. Far m Bureau will purchase tram tickets for the participants. Cost for transportation is $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Reser vations and payment are due by Wednesday. Call the Far m Bureau office at 217342-2103 for more information. ORD-IROQUOIS — A defensive driving course will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 16-17, at the Far m Bureau office.

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Cost is $17.50 and includes lunch. Call the Far m Bureau office at 800424-0756 for reser vations or more infor mation. ULTON — The Marketing Committee and the Canton Ingersoll Airport will sponsor their annual crop flyover Thursday and Friday. Cost is $30 for members and $40 for non-members. Flights will begin at 8 a.m. Participants will go in groups of three and are encouraged to register as groups. Deadline to register with payment is Tuesday. Call the Far m Bureau office at 547-3011 to register or for more infor mation. • Far m Bureau will sponsor a Far m Bureau night Saturday at the Spoon River Speedway, Liverpool. Complimentary passes are available for Far m Bureau members and their guests at the Far m Bureau office. ALLATIN — The Gallatin and Saline Far m Bureau Foundation annual golf scramble will be Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Saline County Golf and Country Club, Eldorado. Call 252-6992 or 2723531 for reser vations. On-course registration will be at 7:50 a.m. with tee time at 8:32 a.m. A meal will follow the scramble. Call the Far m Bureau office for more infor mation. AMILTON — Hamilton and Jefferson County Far m Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip Wednesday, Aug. 31, to the Far m Progress Show, Decatur. Cost is $30, which includes bus, entrance to the show, and a buffet meal on the way

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Farm Talk meetings slated around state Illinois Far m Bureau President Philip Nelson and IFB Vice President Rich Guebert Jr., accompanied by various IFB staff members, will conduct five regional Far m Talk meetings later this year throughout the state. The dates, times, and locations are: • Tuesday, 5 p.m., Hamilton’s Hall (the Fireside Room), 110 N. East St., Jacksonville. • Wednesday, 5 p.m., Round Barn Banquet Center, 1900 Round Barn Road, Champaign. • Thursday, 11 a.m., Elk’s Lodge No. 779, 1279 Franklin Grove Road, Dixon, and 5:30 p.m., Joliet Junior College, Weitendorf Ag Ed Center, 17840 W. Laraway Road, Joliet. The Dixon meeting location is different than previously was announced. • Thursday, Sept. 1, 5 p.m., DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, Southern Illinois Center Lobby, DuQuoin. Please register to attend by contacting your county Far m Bureau or the IFB president’s office at 1-800-6763217.

home. Reser vations are on a first-come, first-ser ved basis. Members from neighboring counties may sign up and be placed on a waiting list. Call the Far m Bureau Bureau office at 618-643-2347 for reser vations or more infor mation. EFFERSON — Jefferson and Hamilton County Far m Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip Wednesday, Aug. 31, to the Far m Progress Show, Decatur. Cost is $30, which includes bus, entrance to the show, and a buffet meal on the way home. Reser vations are on a first-come, firstser ved basis. Members from neighboring counties may sign up and be placed on a waiting list. Call the Far m Bureau Bureau office at 618-242-4510 for reservations or more infor mation. EE — The Public Relations Committee will sponsor its 17th annual Far m Visit Day from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. Buses will load at Woodhaven Association in Sublette to go to the host

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far m. A reser vation ticket is required to board the bus. Call the Woodhaven Association office at 815849-5200 for tickets. Call the Far m Bureau office at 815-857-3531 for more infor mation. ONROE — An ice cream social for members will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Monroe Country Fairgrounds. “Hometown Har mony” will provide the entertainment. Call the Far m Bureau office for more infor mation. EORIA — The Peoria County 4-H Show is Thursday through Saturday at the Exposition Gardens, Peoria. The livestock auction is Friday. The Young Leaders will sponsor a tractor driving contest Saturday morning. Call the Far m Bureau office for more infor mation. • Orders for Calhoun County peaches are due Friday. Pickup will be Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Far m Bureau office. • The Grassroots Picnic

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will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Far m Bureau park. A pork loin dinner will be ser ved. Call the Far m Bureau office at 686-7070 for reser vations or more infor mation. ALINE — The Saline and Gallatin Far m Bureau Foundation annual golf scramble will be Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Saline County Golf and Countr y Club, Eldorado. Call 252-6992 or 2723531 for reser vations. On-course registration will be a 7:50 a.m. with tee time at 8:32 a.m. A meal will follow the scramble. Call the Far m Bureau office for more infor mation.

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“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 14 Monday, August 1, 2011

profitability

Biodiesel: good for American consumer, economy BY BRIGETTE HARLAN

If you buy fuel and regularly watch energy prices these days, you may feel like you’re riding a roller coaster. You may experience anxiety as prices head upward and relief as they come back down. While watching Brigette Harlan energy prices may not be quite as exciting as actually riding a roller coaster, it can be helpful to better understand the factors that affect the price of fuel. Because of advantageous biodiesel blending economics, most diesel fuel sold in Illinois today is actually a biodiesel blend. Depending upon the price of feedstocks used to make the biodiesel, the relative price of diesel fuel, and the incentives offered by the federal and/or state governments, the savings to make biodiesel blends can be substantial. On biodiesel blends above 10 percent, the State of Illinois offers sales tax abatement effective through 2013. Depending upon local tax rates, there is a minimum 6.25 percent savings to the consumer. Couple that with the federal government’s $1-per-

less than straight diesel fuel. This past June, the National Biodiesel Board released a study, conducted by a consulting firm specializing in environmental and natural resource economics, that focused on the economic benefits that the biodiesel industry has on the country’s economy. The study estimates that in the year 2011 the biodiesel industry will support more than 30,000 jobs resulting in nearly $1.7 billion of family

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

$10,500-plus per acre for prime Aupperle said. “I feel good about farmland being in strong farmland) but he also sees no hands in Central Illinois.” signs of a major collapse. Farmers are able to dominate “We’re just in a volatile the farmtrading land market range,” because of Aupperle ‘I feel good about farm- reasonable said. “I don’t think land being in strong corn and soybean we’re in a hands.’ yields and bubble exceptionthat will collapse. — Dale Aupperle ally high prices for “We President, Heartland Ag Group those crops. don’t have a A corn lot of levercrop that yields 200 bushels age or speculation,” he continper acre and could be sold at ued. “Most transactions that $7 per bushel would earn come across my desk are for cash. That’s unbelievably solid.” $1,400 per acre, he noted. “The income is there,” The farmland expert also notAupperle said. ed that more than half of the Higher prices also are expectcurrent land buyers are farmers. ed to drive up cash rental rates “They’re a good barometer in some areas, although risk has of when it’s time to buy and when it’s time to go to the exit,” increased due to volatility in the

The recent jump in prime farmland prices likely isn’t sustainable. But a 1980s-style crash doesn’t appear to be on the horizon, either, according to Dale Aupperle, president of the Heartland Ag Group in Forsyth. “Farmland (in Central Illinois) has gone up 50 percent in the last 12 months,” Aupperle, a featured speaker at the Illinois Farm Bureau commodities conference, said last week. “That’s the fastest (increase) I’ve seen the last 40 years.” Aupperle said the recent movement in land prices probably has been “too fast” to sustain over time. He predicted the market will remain extremely volatile (with a trading range of $8,500 to

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

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $10.00-$48.79 $35.72 $25.00-$46.00 $35.88 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 30,037 21,405 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $98.80 $92.03 $73.11 $68.10

Change 6.77 5.01

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price Steers Heifers

This week 107.57 108.00

Not only are biodiesel blends economical for users, but they create jobs and provide an economic stimulus to our nation’s economy. For additional information and assistance in determining blending economics for your business, contact your FS energy salesperson. Brigette Harlan is GROWMARK’s renewable fuels product manager. Her e-mail address is bharlan@growmark.com.

Land expert: Prices volatile, but not susceptible to crash

M A R K E T FA C T S

Carcass Live

income. It will also add more than $3 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2015, assuming continued government support at current levels and production increases to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), it is estimated that the biodiesel industry will support nearly 75,000 jobs resulting in more than $4 billion of family income. It will also add $7.3 billion to the GDP.

gallon blending credit on biodiesel gallons blended into diesel fuel and the savings become considerable. Further, if we factor in the current high price of oil and the value captured from a Renewable Identification Number (RIN), the savings become even more significant. In recent months, B11 blends (89 percent diesel fuel, 11 percent biodiesel) sold in Illinois have consistently cost 20 cents or more per gallon

(Thursday’s price) Prev. week Change 108.50 -0.93 108.50 -0.50

CME feeder cattle index — 600-800 Lbs. This is a composite price of feeder cattle transactions in 27 states. (Prices $ per hundredweight) Prev. week Change 135.90 -1.90

This week 134.00

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 110-160 lbs. for 185-212 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 197.85); dressed, no sales reported.

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 7-21-11 5.2 22.4 35.3 7-14-11 3.8 19.4 35.7 Last year 7.3 16.0 42.8 Season total 1440.1 166.7 1591.5 Previous season total 1394.6 126.9 1655.6 USDA projected total 1540 1295 1900 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

crop and input markets. “There is a much bigger pot to divvy out (between farmers and landlords) if these scenarios play out,” Aupperle said. “Rents will follow the income.” The farmland expert also predicted more investors will enter the market. Some investors have called farmland “the world’s new currency,” he said. “We’ve got good demand (for farmland) and a positive commodity outlook,” he said. “That’s why I’m optimistic.” Farmland values have increased by an average of 6.5 percent per year the last four decades, according to Aupperle. Prime farmland at the current rate of increase in 20 years could be worth $28,000 an acre, he added, much to the surprise of the commodities conference crowd.

U.S. ag exports, farm income projected to continue climb How well are U.S. ag exports doing this year? USDA prior to this year forecast U.S. ag exports would reach a record-high $137 billion — by 2019. “We’re going to hit that this year,” Oliver Flake, economist with USDA’s Foreign Ag Service, said last week at the Illinois Farm Bureau commodities conference in Normal. “And there is potential growth still out there.” USDA last month raised its export projection to the record Oliver Flake $137 billion based in part on the fact that China, for the first time, is expected to surpass Canada and Mexico as the largest customer of U.S. ag products. If that volume is realized, the U.S. export projection would be up 26 percent from last year and ag trade (imports and exports) would generate a $44 billion surplus for the U.S. “China came to the conclusion it can’t produce all the soybeans it needs, so (the Chinese) are going to import virtually all of them (beans),” Flake said. Feed demand this year is up 65 percent in Southeast Asia as an expanding middle class has a growing appetite for meat and protein. In fact, the middle class in developing countries worldwide could increase 49 percent by 2020.

Meanwhile, half of U.S. ag exports are tied to demand for meat (soy meal, feed grains, meat, and dairy). “When you look at the trends, they’re very supportive of higher demand for our products,” Flake said. U.S. farmers currently ship about 43 percent of all soybeans, 37 percent of all wheat, and 15 percent of all corn to destinations outside the country. Flake projected the portion of U.S. crops sent to export markets will increase in the future. “Growing trade is important to agriculture,” he said. “This boom certainly helps commodity prices.” USDA recently forecast U.S. farm income this year will reach $94.7 billion. If so, 2011 U.S. farm income would be up 19.8 percent from a year ago and would be the second-highest (after adjusted for inflation) in the past 35 years (trailing only the 1974 income figure). The top factors that are expected to support strong farm returns and promote U.S. ag exports in the future include the rise of the middle class in developing countries, the low value of the dollar, biofuels production around the world, strong energy prices, and potential trade agreements/trade liberalization. “Ag commodity prices are expected to remain strong the next 10 years,” Flake added. — Daniel Grant


Page 15 Monday, August 1, 2011 FarmWeek

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

C AS H ST RAT E GI S T

Crop condition ratings and yields There’s been a lot of talk about the decline in the corn condition ratings the last couple of weeks. But even though the ratings offer a guideline to yield potential, there’s also a lot of uncertainty associated with them. It’s important to remember the condition ratings are a subjective look at the crop, and as a result, can lead to erroneous attitudes about yield potential. As evidence, we only need to point to last year’s relatively high condition rating and below-trend yield. The second consecutive decline in condition ratings last week, to levels below the average for this time of year, stimulated a lot of discussion about lower yields, smaller production, and potentially too tight of a fundamental structure.

A couple of analysts pointed out a correlation between the crop conditions (one used mid-July and one used Aug. 1) and the departure of yield from trend. While there is a correlation between them, the correlation isn’t strong enough to offer an insight as to how far the yield departure from trend might be. One put it best, indicating the low condition ratings suggest trend yield might be the best this year’s crop can achieve. Our trend yield falls in the 160- to 163-bushel range. A yield that high implies next year’s ending stocks could be as high as 1 billion bushels, far from being too tight. The trade currently is thinking yield could be near 156 bushels, a couple of bushels below the number being used in the USDA supply/demand report. But given indications demand could be softening, even that leaves the ending stocks near the current 870 million bushel estimate.

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ü2010 crop: If you still have old crop, price it now. The shift in weather and break in prices appear to be turning the short-term trend down. ü2011 crop: Even though the first critical support at $6.60 on December futures hasn’t been broken, last week’s performance was a strong sign the trend may be turning down. Any turn lower positions prices to decline into the 20-week low due in early/middle August. If you are comfortable with production prospects, boost sales to 60 percent, preferably with a hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contract for winter/spring delivery. vFundamentals: The shift in the weather forecasts at week’s end was the most notable negative feature last week. If those hold up early this coming week, buying interest will remain sidelined, leaving the market vulnerable to further losses. The trade has been working with a yield of 155 to 156 bushels. World wheat availability and prices continue to undermine corn prices.

Soybean Strategy

ü2010 crop: With little carry in futures into 2012 and prices still near the highs, there’s little reason to hold old-crop inventories. ü2011 crop: The persistence of rejection at $14, and potential change in weather decrease the odds of seeing higher prices, maybe well into the new-crop marketing year. If you are comfortable with yield prospects, add a 10 percent sale now. At a minimum, get caught up with the current recommendations. vFundamentals: A shift in weather which forecasts hint may lie ahead keeps the door open for good soybean yields. At the same time, reports of plans for expanded plantings in Brazil continue to surface, potentially adding to competitive supplies next year. Even with planned incentives to increase pork output in China, there’s a chance Chinese demand may start to flatten out. Soft nearterm demand is tilting the

odds in favor of seeing larger old-crop ending stocks, too.

Wheat Strategy

ü2011 crop: If Chicago September futures close below $6.68, add another 10 percent sale. If you need to move wheat out of storage before fall harvest, either get it priced or arrange for commercial storage. The carry in futures more than pays for commercial storage. For sales, we prefer HTA contracts for winter or spring delivery because of the carry. vFundamentals: If anything, the fundamental structure for wheat in the world

continues to get a little more abundant. The International Grains Council (IGC) increased its production forecast to 674 million metric tons (mmt.), up 8 from its prior forecast, and 11 higher than USDA’s forecast. The record is 2009’s 684 mmt. crop. IGC expects the increase to boost feeding to a record 124 mmt., up 7 from last year. Amid this, yields from the North Dakota crop tour for both hard red spring and durum were less than expected, durum in particular. But the aggressive selling by Black Sea countries is the swing factor keeping prices on the defensive.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, August 1, 2011

pERSpEcTIvES

Thank you for correcting broken trucking promise Amid the partisan fights in Washington over budgets and debt ceilings, the Obama administration recently solved a $2-billion problem. On July 6, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement that ends a vexing dispute over CHERYL KOOMPIN trade and guest columnist trucks. It wipes out Mexican tariffs that have hurt potato farmers like me as well as many other Americans during the toughest economic times many of us have ever experienced. We already face enough challenges on America’s farms, from worrying about the weather to figuring out how we’re going to pay for skyrocketing fuel and fertilizer costs. The last thing we need is interference from Washington — but that’s precisely what we received when Congress decided to break a treaty promise to Mexico. The White House deserves congratulations for putting a stop to this nonsense. The controversy never should have erupted in the first place, and it dragged on for too long. I’m glad it’s over, and I’m pleased to give the Obama administration the credit it deserves for negotiating a good settlement. The root of the problem has been the refusal of Congress to abide by a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has achieved its main goal of boosting trade ties with our closest neighbors. Because of the agreement, U.S. exports are up, and our costs as consumers have gone down.

At the behest of specialinterest groups and their allies in Congress, however, one provision of NAFTA failed to become a reality. Long-haul Mexican truckers were supposed to receive access to U.S. highways. This aspect of the treaty made economic sense because it eliminated many of the delays and inefficiencies associated with border crossings, which translate into higher prices for ordinary Americans. It also guaranteed that Mexican truckers would meet U.S. safety standards. Just as this part of the deal was going into effect, “Big Labor” launched an ugly campaign against Mexican truckers, suggesting they drive dangerous jalopies that threaten murder and mayhem on American roads. This was pure propaganda. Mexican trucks that were certified to drive on U.S. highways were as trustworthy as American trucks. Safety data proved it. Unfortunately, the smear job worked. Congress blocked the trucks from entering the United States, even though this meant backing out of an international treaty obligation. So the Mexican government retaliated. It legally slapped stiff tariffs on a wide range of American products, including the frozen potato products that are at the heart of my farming operation in Idaho. They also targeted dozens of other U.S. agricultural goods, such as cherries, pears, and Christmas trees. My farm’s sales to Mexico plummeted. Processing plants in our region laid off workers; a

couple of them shuttered. Who benefited? The Canadians. Their business went up as much as ours went down. I was furious — not at the Mexicans who simply wanted a fair shake — but at our own government for flouting its commitments and essentially inviting this retaliation. Farmers like me became casualties in a trade war we neither started nor wanted. USDA estimates American businesses lost $2 billion. I’m glad this madness is finally over. “We have an agreement that not only will ultimately eliminate punitive tariffs, but it also provides opportunities to increase U.S. exports to Mexico and helps to expand jobs,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The deal also restores our country’s reputation because it finally puts us in compliance with treaty obligations we had ignored for years. If we refuse to keep promises to one of our closest trading partners, other nations will be reluctant to lower tariffs on anything made in America. Let’s hope the Obama administration now builds upon this success and finds new ways to help us export our goods and services. Cheryl Koompin is a partner in Koompin farms that produces commercial and seed potatoes, feed corn, fresh peas, and wheat in Power County, Idaho. She is a guest author for Truth About Trade & Technology, which is online at {www.truthabouttrade.org}.

Farmers must converse about consumer issues Producing a bounty of U.S.grown food to sell and share beyond our borders remains a matter of deep pride to America’s farmers and ranchers. A growing body of evidence suggests, however, that Americans who do not farm or ranch really don’t give a rip that America’s farmers and ranchers are striving to feed the world. In this age of engagement-based communication, it is vital that each preMACE cious minute THORNTON farmers and ranchers have to connect with other American eaters is appealing and meaningful. Frankly, farmers talking about American agriculture’s ability to feed the world no longer fits that category. The first challenge to the wisdom of feed-the-world talk came last year from the Center for Food Integrity. Influential consumers were asked to rank 17 specific issues related to our nation and food. The item ranking last in importance, by far, was the United States having enough food to feed people in developing countries. While that result cracks open a door of skepticism, it does not stand alone. Work by the Illinois Farm Families coalition found that of a list of 10 compelling facts about farmers, facts related to productivity and feeding the world ranked near the bottom in terms of making people feel more positive about farmers. To make matters worse, hard-core food activists like to hold up the feed-the-world message to ridicule today’s agriculture as disconnected.

The time has come for farmers and ranchers to reframe their conversations with consumers. Keep it real. There must be a focus on issues vital to consumers, such as their desire to choose nutritious, safe food produced in a responsible manner. What makes it so hard to swallow is the knowledge that many farmers and ranchers consider it their professional, moral obligation to produce food for all people who need it. Because farmers and ranchers grow up, raise their families, and live where they work, each and every day, perhaps no other profession holds the same kind of enduring and unbreakable bond between professional duty and personal identity as does farming. In that environment, discovering that a belief you treasure rings hollow to those you are dedicated to serving cuts like a two-edged sword. But the bottom line is, when it comes to communicating with consumers, personal feelings cannot be allowed to stand in the way of having an impact. Another reason it is so hard to accept the urgent need to change the conversation is that the U.S. really is helping feed the world. While that fact is worthy of pride, beyond the farm gate it is likely to resonate with less appeal than an empty lunchbox. Consumers hunger for real, compelling dialogue with farmers about how they are working conscientiously to produce high-quality food. Give them what they crave. Mace Thornton is the deputy director of public relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Was visit to dairy really beneficial?

Editor: I read with interest in the June 20 issue of FarmWeek the article, “Ag Legislative Roundtable immerses in dairy issues.” The Roundtable members visited Stone Ridge Dairy, a 3,200-cow dairy, described as the state’s largest dairy operation, to better understand what issues are facing the dairy industry. I noticed that at this “family operation” those who were milking the cows were not mom or dad, son or daughter, but hourly workers with possi-

bly no vested interest in the operation. According to Farm Aid, Illinois has 1,229 dairy farmers today compared to 2,027 in 1996. There definitely are issues facing the dairy sector, and that is why we have lost many family dairies handed down from generation to generation. I wonder if the issues facing Stone Ridge are the same as those of the typical family dairy trying to survive and feed, clothe, and school their families. I think if determining what the dairy issues are were the real objective, a visit to a true

hard-working typical dairy operation would have yielded a better understanding. The visit to Stone Ridge undoubtedly was impressive, and maybe that is all that mattered. Those who had never been on a dairy farm still do not know the workings of a typical family dairy operation or the issues that confront them. NORBERT BRAUER, Altamont

Crop possession change — round 2

Editor: Regarding when a crop changes possession (page

16 of the July 18 Far mWeek) with regard to Roundup Ready beans: My interpretation of the purchase agreement is that title to the beans, produced by seed planted by

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the grower, only passes when the beans are delivered to a grain ter minal and are dedicated to be crushed. J.L. HULL, Clinton be accepted. A daytime telephone number is required for verification, but will not be published. Only one letter per writer will be accepted in a 60-day period. Typed letters are preferred. Send letters to: FarmWeek Letters 1701 Towanda Ave. Bloomington, Ill., 61701

FarmWeek August 1 2011  

FarmWeek August 1 2011

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