Page 1

COLBY HUNT, McDonough County Farm Bureau vice president, is a national online celebrity for his brief Twitter reports about farming. ..........2

USDA’S OFFICE OF PEST Management Policy represents agriculture’s interests with the U.S. EPA. ................................................3

THE LONG-TERM FUTURE looks bright for the state livestock industry, according to the Illinois Livestock Development Group. .........7

Monday, February 7, 2011

Two sections Volume 39, No. 6

Momentum builds to rein in EPA authority BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson is expected to address producer concerns about the potential costs of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation this week on Capitol Hill. Nelson tentatively will testify before the House Energy Committee regarding the need to rein in EPA regulation of “stationary” (non-transportation) GHG sources. Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has floated a proposal to prohibit EPA from regulating carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act and reportedly has scheduled a Wednesday hearing to solicit feedback on the issue. Committee member John Shimkus, a Collinsville Republican who chairs the panel’s Energy and the Economy Subcommittee, has pledged increased EPA oversight this session. Meanwhile, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) hailed Sen. John Barrasso’s (RWyo.) introduction of the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act, which aims to restrict EPA’s

greenhouse authority under not only the Clean Air Act but also through other federal statutes such as the Endangered Species Act or Clean Water Act. Any future greenhouse regulations related to human health concerns must focus solely on climate change issues — the basis for a federal court decision that granted EPA greenhouse authority. AFBF President Bob Stallman wrote to Barrasso last week pledging support for the bill. According to EPA estimates, more than 37,000 farming operations (including 90 percent of livestock production) would be affected by the proposal, at an average cost of $23,200 per permit. Overall, that could cost the ag sector more than $866 million. According to Stallman, producers would suffer additional “indirect economic impacts” related to GHG regulatory costs incurred by utilities, refiners, and manufacturers and passed on in the form of higher fuel, fertilizer, and energy costs. IFB Director of National Legislation Adam Nielsen applauded Barrasso’s intent but suggested the Upton bill might garner greater support than Barrasso’s more “expansive” measure, which likely would fall under mul-

tiple committee jurisdictions. Proposals to stay EPA’s hand already have drawn fire from Senate Environment Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Fund and the American

Lung Association (ALA). Nielsen noted challenges to their contention that revocation of EPA authority would endanger public health, given that legislation focuses on carbon rules and not on more

“traditional” pollutants. “Is carbon dioxide really threatening human health?” he challenged, noting CO2 is the chief byproduct of human respiration and a vital component of plant development.

DIGGING OUT

Curtiss Robbins of Bloomington last week was among the numerous Good Samaritans throughout the state who pitched in to help others following a blizzard which dumped several inches of snow on the ground and strong winds whipped up large drifts. He was helping to clear a path for his friend and farmstead owner, Catherine Thomas of rural Bloomington. Thomas’ daughter, Shanell, who has worked with horses since she was 7 years old, has started a business in which she trains horses and teaches children to ride them. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Ag banker: Another farm crisis not out of the question Periodicals: Time Valued

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Historically high commodity prices and escalating farmland values experienced in recent years probably remind many veteran farmers of another golden era in farming — the 1970s. But that era came to a screeching halt as a classic boom-and-bust cycle led to the 1980s farm crisis. So will history repeat itself ? Bob Boesdorfer, senior vice president of commercial and agribusiness banking for First Midwest Bank in Danville, said another farm crisis is not out of the question. But he hopes those in the industry learned enough lessons more than a quarter-century ago to avoid a repeat of that disaster. “In the 1970s, we had good cash flows

For more thoughts, see page 5 and a buildup of land values (similar to current conditions),” Boesdorfer said. “Then (in the early 1980s) interest rates went through the roof (as high as 23 percent), revenues came down as we had three or four poor production years, and the value of farmland went down,” he continued. “It was the perfect storm.” Some farmers who purchased land in the 1970s when prices were soaring by as much as 30 percent annually were overwhelmed with debt in the 1980s. “Are we positioning ourselves to see that again? Maybe,” Boesdorfer cautioned.

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

Many key factors that will shape the future of the ag economy, such as commodity prices and interest rates, obviously are out of farmers’ control. “What you can control is how much debt you carry,” Boesdorfer told Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders. “Those who survived (the 1980s farm crisis) managed their debt and had working capital.” Boesdorfer encouraged Young Leaders to try to keep their debt-to-asset ratio below 40 percent and working capital at at least 30 percent of annual gross income. Young farmers in particular should establish good working capital before they consider major long-term investments such as purchasing farmland, he added.

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


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, February 7, 2011

TELLING AG’S STORY

Quick Takes EIGHTY-SIXING 1099 — The Senate voted last week to repeal a potentially burdensome new Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 requirement included in 2010 health care law. The 1099 provision would require small business owners, including producers, to file a Form 1099 for each vendor from whom they make purchases of $600 or more over the course of a year. President Obama has come out in support of “correcting” the provision. Senate Ag Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who sponsored last week’s repeal amendment, argued repeal would allow business owners to “focus on creating jobs, not filling out paperwork for the IRS.” “If left unchecked, 40 million small businesses would see their IRS 1099 paperwork increase 2,000 percent,” Stabenow warned. Illinois Farm Bureau National Legislative Director Adam Nielsen called Senate Democrat support for repeal “a great first step,” noting a similar measure in the Republican-controlled House has more than 260 cosponsors. BIN SAFETY VIDEO DEBUTS — The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the National Grain and Feed Foundation, the research and education arm of the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), last week unveiled a joint video project to promote awareness about grain bin safety on the farm. The two groups teamed to develop the video in response to an increase in U.S. fatalities and injuries associated with grain bins. “In 2010, we saw a record number of farmers becoming engulfed in grain bins, and we decided it was time to have a proactive role in creating awareness about the serious nature of this issue,” said NCGA President Bart Schott of Kulm, N.D. The new video, shot on location in several states, provides a range of information from prevention tips to background data on grain bin accidents. The project also involved interviews with professionals in the fields of grain bin safety research and rescue. The video is available at NCGA.com and on NCGA’s YouTube channel and is being distributed by NCGA to affiliated farm organizations. The NGFA also has made the video available on its website at {www.ngfa.org}. CHILDHOOD AG INJURIES DECREASING — A scientific survey conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows the rate of childhood injury on farms and ranches has decreased by nearly 60 percent since 1998, thanks to effective research and public awareness efforts. The marked decline is attributed to injuries and deaths of farm children no longer being considered unavoidable accidents but rather predictable and preventable events. The injury rate fell 59 percent, from 16.6 to 6.8 per 1,000 farms, including all children who live on, visit, or are hired to work on farms, from 1998 to 2009. Injury rates calculated only for youngsters who live on farms also showed a significant decline, from 18.8 to 9.9 per 1,000 farms, or 47.3 percent, according to the survey. Agriculture Safety Awareness Week is March 6-12.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 39 No. 6

February 7, 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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STAFF Editor Dave McClelland (dmcclelland@ilfb.org) Legislative Affairs Editor Kay Shipman (kayship@ilfb.org) Agricultural Affairs Editor Martin Ross (mross@ilfb.org) Senior Commodities Editor Daniel Grant (dgrant@ilfb.org) Editorial Assistant Linda Goltz (Lgoltz@ilfb.org) Business Production Manager Bob Standard Advertising Sales Manager

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McDonough County farmer outstanding in social media Online Top 10 for farm news BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Colby Hunt, McDonough County Farm Bureau vice president, is a national online celebrity for his brief messages about farming and farm life on his Blandinsville farm. In fact, he made a nationwide Top 10 list for agricultural Internet features. Hunt was one of three farmers who were selected among the best Internet ag features by the editors of Agriculture.com. He was chosen for his daily Twitter messages, which are limited to 140 characters per “tweet.” “We in Farm Bureau are always talking about ways to reach the non-farm public and Colby Hunt tell them about day-to-day farm life,” Hunt said last week. Hunt was unaware of his national recognition until one of his followers sent him congratulations via Twitter. “I’m glad to know what I’m doing is interesting. I try to keep it as simple as possible,” Hunt said. He said one of his goals is to honestly portray farm life: “We don’t all get up at 6 a.m. and feed chickens and cows ... I’ve also tried to convey more how we practice farm safety. We’re doing a lot with cover crops. Farmers really care about the land.” Hunt’s simFarmWeekNow.com ple, accurate Check out Colby Hunt’s web- reports about site and Twitter feed at farming and farm life were FarmWeekNow.com. what earned him national recognition, John Walter, the executive editor of Agriculture.com, told FarmWeek. Read about Hunt and other winners at {www.agriculture.com/news/technology/bestof-a-list-ten-top-picks-from_6-ar13264}. “Colby’s approach is novel and helpful. He actually shows what he’s doing rather than advocate a position,” Walter said. “What I liked about what Colby did, he showed what daily life is like on a farm.”

A couple of times, Hunt sent breaking news, such as the start of harvest, via Twitter reports from his combine cab. Walter also complimented Hunt’s use of photography to show non-farmers what he’s doing. “He documents what he does,” Walter said. The photos provide vivid pictures of how a farm works, he added. The seed for Hunt’s tweeting was planted during a county Farm Bureau board brainstorming session. Hunt credits Sarah Grant, the McDonough Farm Bureau manager, for urging him to try Twitter. The Hunt family also has a website {www.huntfarm.us} that features news about the farming operation and the local area. “I’ve learned through this (Twitter) thing that the key is to keep information basic and simple,” Hunt said. Walter praised Hunt’s effort and style: “He has a nice touch.”

‘Tweeting’ about farming and everyday farm life McDonough County Farm Bureau Vice President Colby Hunt received national recognition for his online reports about farming and farm life on Twitter. Below are samples of Hunt’s Twitter reports. Feb. 2 Clearing snow for people in town. After a huge snow. Feb. 1 The corn we haul to the Mississippi goes to plant where they make starches, polyols, pyrogen free raw materials and dry sweeteners. Jan. 17 Loading beans in the freezing rain, also we are going to finish vrt fert (variable rate technology fertilizer) spreading today. Dec. 14 Getting the mower repaired and cleaned and put away for the year. Nov. 3 Today = spraying, anhydrous, tiling, hauling asphalt and liquid fert, and mowing road ditches.

Rural economic development focus of March IIRA confab The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University is sponsoring the 22nd annual Rural Community Economic Development Conference March 9-10 at Peoria‘s Holiday Inn City Centre. The two-day event provides an opportunity for individuals to learn new strategies that have been successfully applied in other communities, according

to Christopher Merrett, IIRA director. More than 16 sessions will be offered concurrently, with each session being presented twice to provide attendees with additional oppor tunities to par ticipate. The opening session will feature Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, as well as presentations about building entrepreneurial communities and sustainability in com-

munity development. Breakout topics include entrepreneurship, developing youth leadership, broadband and rural development, and examples of rural Illinois communities that are thriving in today’s economy. For more information, contact Merrett at 800-526-9943, or go to {www.iira.org}. Online registration is available at {www.iira.org/conference/conference.asp}.


Page 3 Monday, February 7, 2011 FarmWeek

EMERGING ISSUES GALC session

Coble: USDA working on farmers’ behalf with environmental rules BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farmers can take heart that Harold Coble and his colleagues in USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP) are involved when pesticide regulations are being developed. “We represent agriculture’s interests in talking with USEPA (Environmental Protection Agency),” Coble, a USDA agronomist and retired North Carolina State University professor, told FarmWeek. On Feb. 24, Coble will discuss his work on environmental issues at the Illinois Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference (GALC). The two-day event will be Feb. 23-24 in the Crowne Plaza, Springfield. The pre-registration deadline is Feb. 14. Coble, who earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois in Urbana, said he will focus on three topics — pesticide registration, the Endangered Species Act, and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. “First of all, the USDA never thought NPDES permits were meant for pesticide use. They were meant for point sources for water

‘We represent agr iculture’s interests in talki n g w i t h U S E PA ( E nv i r o n m e n t a l P r o t e c t i o n Agency).’ — Harold Coble USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy

pollution,” Coble said. However, EPA must move forward to address a U.S. Sixth Circuit of Appeals ruling that requires a permit for pesticide applications on, over, or near water. As a result, EPA has been developing a general NPDES permit. “We (in OPMP) have worked with EPA from the beginning. We are coordinating with EPA to make sure (the permit requirements) are applicable for agriculture,” Coble explained. Coble and his colleagues also are working with EPA to ensure pesticideuse data and related information are “realistic numbers” when pesticide registration decisions are made, he said. “We look at survey data and get the information to EPA about what people actually are applying,” he added.

When EPA proposes pesticide-use restrictions, such as setbacks from water, Coble and his colleagues “look at that from the farmers’ perspective to see if it still makes sense before a final decision is made,” he said. Restrictions related to the Endangered Species Act also may negatively impact farmers. Coble and his colleagues also work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on appropriate mitigation. For example, farmers in the Pacific Northwest “are going through serious mitigation to protect the Pacific salmon,” Coble said. To illustrate, he said one restriction proposed would establish a 2,000-foot setback from water bodies. In addition to Coble and other gen-

State agencies, ag entities to create ag career source for students, others Representatives of agriculture groups, including Illinois Farm Bureau, agribusiness, education, and state agencies early last week started to develop a statewide information source about ag careers. Their goal is to inform students from elementary grades through adult education courses about ag career opportunities and to help the state’s agriculture industry attract a trained and educated workforce. The project, dubbed “P-20 Agricultural Pipeline,” was sparked by an agriculture task force of the Illinois Workforce Investment Board. P-20 pertains to students ranging from preschool through graduate school. “The strategic goal from a state Workforce Investment Board view is that we have a workforce in Illinois that meets the skill sets of our

‘I see benefits for students from wherever they are in their educational careers.’ — Harley Hepner Illinois State Board of Education

employers,” said Mike Baker, manager of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) employment and training planning unit. “This group is key to align data and curricula on various levels,” Baker said of the groups’ representatives. Harley Hepner with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) explained many people may benefit from a P-20 pipeline. “This is an opportunity to take disaggregated information from all parts and try to pull it

together into a tool that will benefit all the groups involved,” Hepner said. “I see benefits for students from wherever they are in their educational careers,” Hepner continued. He said he believes the information will help students understand why certain subjects are important to study and the types of courses and activities related to different ag careers. During the first meeting, small groups discussed a range of issues, including the types of information suitable for elementary, high school, community college, and university students; different techniques to distribute the information; needed demographic information; and parties who would collect and manage the information. The Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) will help coordinate the project and pull the pieces together, said Jay Runner, FCAE state coordinator. Hepner and Baker informed the group agriculture’s pipeline will set the bar for other educators in the state. “Agriculture will be a role model for the other career education areas,” Hepner said. “In agriculture, we can look at this as an opportunity and a challenge,” Runner added. ISBE wants input from those in the agriculture industry about the information employers would like to know about potential future employees, Hepner said. “We’re trying to develop curriculum to educate students” to meet employers’ needs, he added. To supply infor mation for the P-20 Ag ricultural Pipeline, contact Runner or district FCAE prog ram advisers at {www.teachag.net/con-tact/index.html} or call 217-893-0091. — K ay Shipman

eral session speakers, the GALC will offer four concurrent “town hall” meetings on livestock, the environment, legislation and political involvement, and renewable fuels. A statewide legislative reception will be held on the first evening. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss issues with their lawmakers and others involved in the Adopt-a-Legislator program. GALC workshop sessions will focus on a number of issues including rural development, transportation, environment, and legislation. Participants also may visit exhibits related to public policy issues, organizational issues and programs, and IFB tools that are available to Farm Bureau members. The registration fee is $50 to attend the first day, $30 for the second day, or $70 for both days. Hotel accommodations are separate and must be made directly with the Crowne Plaza or the Holiday Inn Express. For more information or to register for the conference, contact your county Farm Bureau or go online to {www.ilfb.org}.

DATEBOOK Feb. 9-10 Illinois Crop Management conference, I-Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign. 217-333-4901. Feb. 9 Livestock manager certification workshop, 9:30 a.m., Stephenson County Farm Bureau Building, Freeport. Dairy-beef emphasis. Feb. 12 Alternative uses for small acreage workshop, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. John Wood Community College, Quincy. Registration deadline Feb. 10. Register online at {www.extension.uiuc.edu/adams} or call 217-223-8380. Feb. 16-17 Illinois Crop Management conference, Kishwaukee College Convention Center, Malta. 815-9782844. Feb.22 Regional agroterrorism workshop, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Carlyle Mariner’s Village, Carlyle. Register online at {www.Illinoisworkshop.org}. Feb. 23 Regional agroterrorism workshop, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Pike County Farm Bureau Building, Pittsfield. Register online at {www.Illinoisworkshop.org}. Feb. 23-24 Illinois Farm Bureau governmental affairs leadership conference, Crowne Plaza, Springfield. March 9 Illinois Agricultural Legislative Day, Springfield. March 10 Livestock manager certification workshop, 8:15 a.m., Sangamon-Menard Extension office, Illinois State Fairgrounds. March 11-12 ExplorACES, University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, Urbana. Go online to {http://aces.illinois.edu/ ExplorACES}.


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, February 7, 2011

GOVERNMENT

FTA seen as possible force for Colombian progress BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

In a world where social unrest and market uncertainty go hand-in-hand, a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (FTA) could help quell South American violence while benefiting North American producers. Last week, Senate Ag Committee ranking Republican Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) argued immediate approval for Colombia, South Korea, and Panama FTAs is “in the security, economic, and diplomatic interests of the United States.” The U.S. “is missing out on billions of dollars in exports and the creation of more than 27,000 new jobs” by delaying passage, Roberts said. The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates the Colombia agreement would boost U.S. ag sales by an annual $910 million a year. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-

Mont.) deemed it “extremely disappointing” that President Obama’s State of the Union Address didn’t include a timeline for its passage, though Vice President Joe Biden stated the administration is “committed to a successful conclusion and ratification” following a subsequent meeting with Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue argues the U.S. has a “moral obligation” to approve the deal, given recent Colombian gains in curbing violence against union members. Lisa Haugaard, executive director with the Washingtonbased Latin America Working Group, told FarmWeek “the possibility of attaining the free trade agreement” has helped encourage the Colombian government to make at least “incremental progress” on human rights issues. Haugaard notes Colombian

President Juan Manuel Santos “has adopted a welcome change of tone on human rights issues” vs. the recently departed Uribe administration. Santos has “initiated dialogue,” chosen a vice president with a labor background, and appointed a “new, qualified” attorney general, she reported. During a recent fact-finding tour in Colombia, chief FTA critic and lead House Ways and Means Committee Democrat Rep. Sander Levin (DMich.) noted “wide agreement that the new Colombian government was expressing a different approach than its predecessor on these critical issues.” Those issues — worker inability to safely organize, and the struggles of low-income farmers to “organize for their rights” amid a still-powerful drug economy — are somewhat related to trade, Haugaard said. U.S. passage of an FTA will not bring about immediate

changes, but further progress could be made if social reforms are seen as “necessary to attain the goals of a trade agreement,” she suggested. Workers rights and protection

of poor farmers — growers for and victims of the drug trade — must continue to be the primary focus for the U.S., but the agreement “clearly will help some sectors,” Haugaard acknowledged.

Trade winds On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union affirmation of the need for expanded exports and bilateral trade agreements, Congress appears to be kicking pro-trade efforts back into first gear. Former U.S. trade representative Sen. Rob Portman (ROhio) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have introduced legislation seeking passage of free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama and reinstatement of presidential trade promotion authority (TPA). The pair deemed TPA, which allows the administration to negotiate agreements with minimal congressional intervention, critical to entering into new agreements. Their Creating American Jobs Through Exports Act has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) plans a Wednesday hearing on the status of Obama’s trade policy agenda. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will testify on FTAs, Chinese trade challenges, Russia’s effort to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, and prospects for WTO Doha Round negotiations.

U.S. ethanol supports defensible but vulnerable? Increased global pressure could accelerate re-evaluation or even restructuring of U.S. ethanol policies. Amid mounting challenges to ethanol incentives, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has introduced bipartisan legislation that would require 50 percent of U.S.-sold vehicles to be flex-fuel in model years 2014-2015. Under the bill, 90 percent of 2016 and later vehicles must run on higher biofuels blends. The measure authorizes grants for new “blender pumps” that dispense multiple ethanol blends and federal loan guarantees for biofuels pipelines. The plan comes on the heels of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) calling ethanol “a joke” on CBS’ Face the Nation. McCain earlier drew fire for arguing a 45-cent-per-gallon ethanol blenders tax credit and a related 54-cent-per-gallon U.S. “secondary” ethanol import tariff couldn’t survive a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge. McCain voiced that view after meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) responded that the ethanol credit’s “market-based approach” and availability for use of imported ethanol are key defenses against a WTO claim. RFA maintains the import tariff — created to “ensure that U.S. taxpayers are not subsidizing foreign ethanol producers” through the blenders credit — is not a subsidy because tariff monies go to the U.S. Treasury. Tariff implementation has followed strict WTO procedures, it states.

U.S. ethanol imports are subject to an initial 2.5 percent “ad valorem” tariff unrelated to the tax credit; Brazil imposes a similar 20 percent duty. The U.S. classifies the added 54-cent duty within “other duties and charges,” and could argue it “shouldn’t be touched” under WTO tariff reductions, International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council Chief Executive Charlotte Hebebrand told FarmWeek. The U.S. nonetheless appears potentially vulnerable. “Subsidies aren’t supposed to discriminate,” Hebebrand said. “The Brazilians probably make the legal argument the tariff is basically there to ensure U.S. subsidies can only go to U.S.-produced biofuels and that they might, therefore, have a case on subsidies as far as the tariff is concerned. “(Tax credit) language doesn’t say it only goes for U.S. ethanol, but in practice that’s the effect because of the tariff. I imagine the Brazilians would complain about that.” Congress’ 2009 reduction of the ethanol credit without simultaneously lowering the secondary tariff likely “didn’t sit well” with the Brazilians, she added. As it applies either to U.S. or imported ethanol, the blenders credit itself appears to comply with WTO “anti-discrimination” provisions. But Hebebrand noted WTO provisions addressing “pass-through” subsidies which can be seen as indirectly benefiting other sectors. And even non-discriminatory supports can be challenged if an

argument’s made they cause “adverse effects” such as import displacement or reduced market competition. Hebebrand also cites confusion over whether ethanol is classified as an agricultural or a non-ag good under the WTO. That makes a key difference in how the credit would be

viewed in a WTO challenge, and “we need to clarify this.” If biofuels “subsidies” were interpreted as ag supports, she said, they likely would be seen as “amber box” supports subject to annual WTO caps, vs. uncapped “green box” support. Diverting all or part of the tax credit into support for expanded

biofuels infrastructure or use, as some have proposed, could influence the WTO view. “I think that would fly,” Hebebrand said. “If you change it from a subsidy per se to infrastructure improvements, I think it would be much easier to put it into the green box.” — Martin Ross

Biomass in energy mix? A million electric cars –- President Obama’s milestone goal for a renewable future — may help power a change in energy direction. But fueling change will require more power. Ernie Shea argues policymakers thus must look to biomass as well as fossil and blue-sky energy solutions. Shea, project coordinator with the group 25X’25, noted “it’s still early in the game” in terms of mapping potential administration-congressional energy policies. The president’s budget plan, anticipated this week, should bring together “some additional pieces of the puzzle,” he told FarmWeek. In his State of the Union Address, Obama stated a goal of generating 80 percent of America’s electricity through clean energy sources by 2035. But he sounded a somewhat ominous note for biomass advocates: “Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas.” 25X’25, a coalition of ag, forestry, and conservation interests, seeks a 25 percent renewable energy target for 2025. Meeting either target will require more than a “silver bullet,” and officials must consider biomass power “as we advance biofuels, as we advance wind and solar,” Shea argued. “We’re concerned the attention around renewables, around all fuels, is shifting toward what we’ve been calling the ‘ultra-cleans’ — wind and solar resources — and increasingly the effort to redefine fossil fuels as ‘clean fuels’ and the competition that’s going to create for biomass,” Shea said. “We’re going to spend time in coming weeks reminding policymakers biomass-based energy solutions are important for economic develop-

ment, for national security, for environmental improvement reasons. They need to be an integral part of the nation’s new energy future.” 25X’25 recently released a University of Tennessee study touting the economic benefits of a “renewable electricity standard” (RES) that taps biofuels and biomass energy. Based on 25X’25’s target, the study suggests an RES could generate $14 billion in added revenues for ag and forestry sectors, $215 billion in overall economic activity, and 700,000-plus jobs. As policymakers eye deficiencies in the U.S. electrical transmission system, 25X’25 envisions “much more distributed generation,” with individual communities playing a greater role in meeting local needs. Congress must “think out of the box” in redesigning the transmission grid and encouraging investment in “distributed, renewable” energy, Shea said. The 2012 farm bill also is a crucial focus: The bulk of current farm bill’s energy programs are funded outside of budget baselines, raising concerns about their continuation. The Biomass Crop Assistance Program helps growers establish energy crops; a Biorefinery Assistance Program funds construction or retrofitting of processing facilities. “There’s going to be tremendous competition for a declining pot of money,” Shea said. “Energy programs are very much a part of our nation’s energy and agricultural future. “They need to be properly funded; they need to be modified when appropriate. But we can’t let our foundational energy programs go by the wayside during this budget-cutting period we’re entering.” — Martin Ross


Page 5 Monday, February 7, 2011 FarmWeek

YOUNG LEADERS

Nelson urges Young Leaders to take active role in ag BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Leadership in agriculture is as important today as ever, Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson told Young Leaders during the YL State Philip Nelson Conference in Springfield. “Today in production agriculture we need leadership more than we ever needed it in the past, given

the issues we are facing,” Nelson said. The amount of risk in the ag industry has escalated in recent years due in part to wild price fluctuations of commodities and inputs. Agriculture practices also could be threatened by various regulations. T he Environmental Protection Ag ency has proposed regulating ever ything from dust to g reenhouse g ases g enerated on far ms and requiring far mers to acquire costly per mits to conduct

some practices. “The thing I’m most concerned with right now is the amount of regulations staring agriculture in the face,” Nelson said. “If we don’t get it right, we could get regulated right out of our industry.” He urged Young Leaders to take an active role in the industry to deal with the pending challenges. Nelson, who recently entered his eighth year as IFB president after ser ving four years as IFB vice president, said the YL program is critical to develop-

ing future leaders. “Leadership development really starts here. It (Young Leaders/Young Farmers) is where I got my start in Farm Bureau,” he said. “Young Leaders is invaluable as you look at the rest of your life and what you may or may not want to do.” Young farmers around the state apparently are finding value in becoming Young Leaders. Member-

ship in Young Leaders in the current membership year is up by about 150 while turn-out at the YL State Conference was up by about 60 attendees compared to last year. “Numbers are up,” said Sean Arians, YL chairman from Normal. “We’re excited about that.” The total number of attendees at the state conference was about 380.

High land prices may limit expansion opportunities for young farmers Farming never has been an easy business to enter, particularly without the help of family or friends in the business. But the challenge for young farmers to break into the business or expand an operation could become even more difficult due to escalating land prices that have reached all-time highs in some areas. “With farming being such a heavy asset, high overhead business, it’s challenging for young farmers to get involved,” Sean Arians, chairman of the IFB Young Leader State Committee, told FarmWeek at the YL State Conference in Springfield. The Bloomington-based Sean Arians Loranda Group recently reported land prices the past year increased from 5 to 15 percent. But farmland sales reportedly decreased around the state last year as prices surged to highs of $8,000-plus per acre in some areas and as much as $10,000-plus per acre at other locations. “It’s really been hard for young farmers to generate the cash for a down payment or to generate revenue to service a debt,” said Bob Boesdorfer, senior vice president of commercial and agribusiness banking for First Midwest Bank in Danville. “But it’s always been hard (for young farmers). Those who own land continue to buy land.” In fact, Boesdorfer doesn’t view young farmers’ inability to buy land as a major setback. He believes farmers early in their careers instead should be focused elsewhere. “I don’t always encourage young farmers

to buy a lot of land. When they’re young, they should establish good working capital,” he said. “Land is such a long-term investment.” Boesdorfer reported debt service that consumes more than 20 percent of gross income makes it difficult for a farmer to make money. And the more successful farmers the lending expert works with have a debt-to-asset ratio below 40 percent. “If it (the debt-to-asset ratio) creeps above 50 percent for very long, you will find profitability difficult,” Boesdorfer told Young Leaders in Springfield. Farmers who are considBob Boesdorfer ering a land purchase or taking another type of ag loan should focus on the five C’s — capacity to repay, capital, collateral, character, and conditions — before they apply for credit, Boesdorfer noted. But while land prices have been a challenge for those looking to expand, young farmers have benefited from the general increase in commodity prices. “If you can make your margins and be profitable, it allows the younger generation” to start investing more in their operations, Arians said. “Four years ago when corn was at $2, there wasn’t much money being made in farming.” A large portion of farms in the state generally have been profitable four of the past five years, Boesdorfer added. — Daniel Grant

The Maschhoffs purchases Nebraska hog operation Carlyle-based pork producer The Maschhoffs LLC announced an agreement Friday to acquire substantially all of NPP LLC’s swine production assets. NPP is the 14th largest pork production company in the U.S. The transaction involves approximately 50,000 sows and associated inventory, along with production facilities in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Officials for The Maschhoffs and NPP called the deal “a natural fit” due to similar operating philosophies and the values of the organizations. The Maschhoffs CEO, Ken Maschhoff,

said the purchase presents an attractive growth opportunity, while NPP Chief Operating Officer Scott Burroughs says stability for employees was an important aspect of the agreement. The two organizations expect the deal to be completed by the end of the first quarter in 2011. Once the transaction is complete, The Maschhoffs will be one of the nation’s largest independent, family-owned swine production operations, with approximately 192,000 sows. NPP, formerly known as Nebraska Pork Partners, operates approximately 80 farms throughout Nebraska, northwest Iowa, and South Dakota.

Bryan and Jillian Moore of Lawrence County consider bidding on a pedal tractor as a future toy for their infant daughter, Molly, during the silent auction at the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders State Conference in Springfield. Attendance at the event this year was up to about 380 participants. (Photo by Daniel Grant)


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, February 7, 2011

WEATHER

Blizzard pounds Midwest; weather pattern may remain active BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Illinois and large portions of the Midwest last week were hit by the largest snowstorm of the new millennium. Snowfall from Feb. 1 to Feb. 2 in the state totaled 18.4 inches in Moline (Rock Island County), 19.3 inches in St. David (Fulton County), 20 inches in Monmouth (Warren County), and 22.5 inches in Beach Park (Lake County). “It’s been awhile since we’ve had one (snowstorm) this big. The last really big one was Jan. 1 and 2, 1999,” said Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey. “A lot of places it (the most recent storm) didn’t set a record, but it was in the top five events.” The storm, which also packed winds in excess of 50 mph and lightning at some locations, shut down much of the state for two to three days, stranded travelers on roads and in airports, and caused numerous power outages. “These big storms definitely have an economic impact on the state,” Angel said. “Not only is there the cost of plowing (and salting) all the roads, but it slowed the transportation system, businesses and schools were closed, and it created a number of health problems (for humans and animals).” Last week’s blizzard was fueled by very low pressure

A windbreak of evergreen trees west of Bloomington did its job during last week’s blizzard, trapping snow before it reached a nearby home. All indications are it may have to do its job a few more times this winter before we see a break in the weather. But spring is just 42 days away. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

out of Texas and Oklahoma that contained large amounts of precipitation from the Gulf of Mexico that clashed with very cold air from the north.

Unfortunately, the weather pattern for February may remain active. The National Weather Service outlook for this month called for an

increased chance of belownormal temperatures and an increased chance of abovenormal precipitation in Illinois. “It could be a continuation

of a very active pattern,” Angel said. The temperature so far this winter has been well below normal. The statewide average temperature in December (24 degrees) was 5.8 degrees below normal and the average temperature in January (21.8 degrees) was 3 degrees below normal. But precipitation actually was “a little on the dry side” prior to the blizzard. The statewide average precipitation last month was 1.23 inches compared to the normal of 1.9 inches. Ninety percent of the state last week had either adequate or surplus soil moisture although there still is some lingering dryness in the southeast. “With the forecast of above-normal precipitation for February, there still is plenty of opportunities to catch up (on soil moisture) before the growing season,” Angel added.

Harsh winter creates challenges; assistance available Livestock producers who lost livestock or forage crops due to the harsh winter may be eligible for assistance from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). FSA administers several programs, including the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, that help producers recover from livestock deaths that are beyond normal mortality rates, losses

of purchased or harvested forage, and additional costs of providing or transporting feed. For livestock death losses to be eligible under LIP, producers must file a notice of loss with their local FSA office within 30 calendar days from when the loss was apparent to the producer. Fact sheets about the programs are available at the website {www.fsa.usda.gov}. “We encourage all who have

suffered a disaster due to the recent cold weather and blizzards to read the fact sheets and visit with their local FSA county office staff so they get a quick start in the recovery process,” said Jonathan Coppess, FSA administrator. Meanwhile, subfreezing temperatures around the country could affect everything from winter wheat to fruit and vegetable production. Frigid temperatures last week invaded Imperial Valley and the Gila Valley of California, the lower Colorado Valley of Arizona, and South Texas, including the lower Rio Grande Valley, AccuWeather reported. The extent of the freeze damage was unknown as of last week, but it could impact fruit and vegetable prices in coming weeks if there was significant crop damage,

according to AccuWeather. Elsewhere, the National Weather Service (NWS) last week projected a high likelihood of significant flooding this spring along the upper Mississippi River. The spring flood outlook released by the NWS office in St. Louis cited high levels of stream flow, soil moisture, and snowpack in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, northern Missouri, and Wisconsin, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Towns along the Mississippi from Minnesota south to St. Louis could experience moderate to major flooding this spring, based on the NWS forecast. The possibility of flooding is less likely on the Mississippi south of St. Louis due to below-average rainfall in parts of Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri.


Page 7 Monday, February 7, 2011 FarmWeek

LIVESTOCK

Anderson: Illinois positioned to grow livestock industry BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

This year could be a challenging one for livestock producers as higher input costs are expected to squeeze margins. But, long-term, the future of the industry still looks

FarmWeekNow.com Visit the Illinois Livestock Development Group’s website at FarmWeekNow.com.

bright in Illinois as the state is in position to expand livestock numbers, according to Nic Anderson, business developer for the Illinois Livestock Development Group.

“We’re going to see consolidation of the livestock industry back to the sources of inputs,” said Anderson, who was a featured speaker at the IFB Young Leaders State Conference in Springfield. “The Midwest looks really good.” Illinois is one of the nation’s top producers of corn, soybeans, and distillers grains, which are key ingredients for livestock rations. Elsewhere, dairies out West continue to be shut down by banks due in part to higher feed and transportation costs, according to Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois Extension dairy specialist. The fertile farm ground in

Carcass, performance traits available at IPT Bull Sale Commercial cow-calf producers and seedstock breeders wanting to improve the performance and carcass traits of their herds may attend the 2011 Illinois Performance Tested (IPT) Bull Sale on Feb. 24. The sale will start at 11 a.m. in the Livestock Center at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield. “This event will mark the 43rd annual sale,” said Dave Seibert, IPT Bull Sale manager. “A total of 4,304 bulls valued at more than $7 million dollars have been sold at the past 42 sales.” The superior performance of the bulls sold through this sale is verified by the superb weaning and yearling weights that include many adjusted weaning weights over 800 pounds, a few in the 900-pound range, and a sale record-high adjusted weaning weight of 1,012, Seibert noted. “Those weights are backed up by a number of weaning weight expected progeny differences (EPDs) that fall in the top 1 percentile of the breed,” he added. “There are similar adjusted yearling weights that are in the 1,300- and 1,400-pound range with a few in the 1,500-pound area for yearling weight. Likewise, the EPDs for yearling weight are equally as impressive,” Seibert said. The bulls offered in the sale excel in many carcass traits, such as marbling and ribeye area. Producers searching for figures that combine all the traits together may evaluate the “Multi-Trait Economic Selection Indexes” offered in each of the breeds. These indexes are expressed in dollar differences between progeny and could be the most valuable figures provided in the sale, he said. The order of sale will be determined by a six-trait power score system that use the EPD traits of birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, maternal milk, marbling, and ribeye area. The power score will be calculated for the bull sale based on the “Percentile Rank” for the six EPDs. Seibert said the scoring system is similar to golf with the lower scores being more genetically desirable. The University of Illinois Extension and the U of I animal sciences department, along with the consigning purebred breeders, are sponsoring the sale. For more information, contact Seibert at 309-3393694. A sale catalog is available as a hard copy or online at {www.IPTBullSale.com}. To receive a sale catalog, write Seibert at 300 North St., Washington, Ill., 61571 or e-mail a request to seibertd@comcast.net.

Illinois also is ideal for manure applications, which can save crop farmers money on fertilizer costs while adding value to livestock

“With the food production system we have in place, we’re barely keeping up with demand,” Anderson said. He believes opportunities

another. We’ve got to work together,” he told Young Leaders. “We need you to represent our industry. We’re only as good as our weakest link.”

‘We’re going to see consolidation of the livestock industry back to the sources of inputs.’ — Nic Anderson Illinois Livestock Development Group

operations, Anderson said. Meanwhile, there is a strong demand base for livestock products in the state. “We produce 25 percent of the milk Illinois consumes,” Anderson told Young Leaders. “So when we expand the dairy industry, we’ll have a tough time reaching the saturation point.” Food demand, despite higher prices this year, is expected to remain on an upward trend due to population growth.

in the livestock industry will attract more young people to farming and allow young farmers to remain and even expand in agriculture. But with challenges to current production practices and confusion about the labeling of various livestock products (natural, organic, free-range, antibiotic-free, etc...) Anderson called on Young Leaders to provide a voice for animal agriculture. “We can’t give up one segment of the industry to save

Farmers currently are raising healthier and more productive animals than at any time in the past, according to Anderson, who grew up on a hog farm in Illinois. The number of pigs saved per litter nationwide the last quarter of 2010 was a record-high 9.89. But any regulations or legislation that take away technological advancements are “going to present challenges” to the livestock industry in the future, he cautioned.


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, February 7, 2011

PRODUCTION

Brazilian soybean crop coming on strong BY PHIL CORZINE

I had hoped to give you a first-hand report from our farms in Brazil, but a snowy and icy Midwest readjusted my schedule. However. reports indicate the crop is coming along very well at all three locations. In Goias, our beans are in the final leg of what looks to be an excellent crop. Rainfall continues to be both adequate and timely, and the harvest should begin in three weeks. We completed two applications of fungicides and

planned for a third, but even with the moisture here, rust hasn’t been found in the region.

We are halfway to harvest, finishing our second application of fungicides and insecticides,

We budgeted 48 bushel per acre here, and we are on track to exceed that. In Araguacu, the rains have normalized after a spotty start, and the crop is developing fast.

and we expect to start cutting these beans around the middle of March. We hope to get 45 bushels per acre here. At our rental farm in central

Tocantins, the rains are coming almost too frequently, and we are having trouble getting our fungicides applied. These applications are especially important as we try to minimize the effect of the disease mela, which the plants were infected with during germination. This farm averaged 55 bushels per acre last year — we are budgeting for 51 per acre this year, but mela may take 5 to 10 percent off of our yield expectations. Soybean prices are great this year, currently running above

$12 per bushel. That’s a huge increase from the $7.30 or so we got last harvest. We are 50 to 60 percent sold an all of our farms, and we are trying to move that percentage even higher with the current prices. At these prices, I continue to believe we may see some very significant increases in planted area for the next crop in Brazil. Phil Corzine is general manager of South American Soy, a global production management and investment company. His e-mail address is pcorzine@agpage.com

Illinois 4-H’ers filming documentaries on issues Illinois 4-H members across the state are investigating local issues through film documentaries under the National 4-H program’s film curriculum. “We know that today’s youth are online and that they are interested in video production,” said Lisa Bouillion Diaz, University of Illinois Extension specialist in technology

and youth development. The U of I Extension and the Illinois 4-H Foundation supplied 4-H clubs in 12 counties with video equipment to film documentaries. The 4H’ers researched their topics, interviewed community and U of I experts, and filmed footage to produce documentaries on several topics, including year-round school, online

social networking, and teacher layoffs. In DuPage County, a 4-H club covered homelessness in the community. “A member suggested investigating the plight of the homeless, which was a topic we had not yet thought of,” said Mike Farnon, the club leader. “The entire group picked up on it and within 10 minutes we not

only decided the topic but also drafted a complete outline for the program.” The club interviewed a U of I professor in social work, a local food pantry director, and a Catholic Charities staff member. The club’s documentary illustrates how community resources, such as shelters and food pantries, can help homeless people obtain food, find a place to sleep, and buy a per-

manent home. The group also explained how young people can help by donating personal hygiene products, clothes, and household goods to shelters. Other 4-H clubs involved in the film project were located in Extension units in CassSchuyler, DuPage, Knox, Macoupin, Marshall-Putnam, Monroe, Peoria, Randolph, Rock Island, and Vermilion counties.

Pork Expo rescheduled Feb. 15-16 Because of last week’s blizzard, the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) has rescheduled the 2011 Illinois Pork Expo for Feb. 15-16 at the Peoria Civic Center. The expo will feature the same schedule that was planned for Feb. 1 and 2 with the IPPA annual meeting starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, and the trade show beginning at noon that day and running until 6 p.m. The IPPA awards banquet will begin at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, will feature the trade show from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with educational seminars also on that day. All hotel room reservations were canceled and will have to be re-made by the individuals attending. Check the IPPA website {www.ilpork.com} or call the IPPA office at 217-529-3100 for more details and further updates.


Page 9 Monday, February 7, 2011 FarmWeek

FOOD SECURITY

Study backs technology as key to feeding planet BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Worldwide, new acres are in short supply. What’s available often is short on nutrients or water. Growing world food demand thus will require scientists to expand and producers worldwide to access the genetics toolbox, according to Greg Gocal, vice president for research with Cibus Global, a major crop trait developer. A new Global Food and Farming Futures study from the British government’s Foresight project anticipates the global population rising to nine billion or more by 2050. Higher incomes will feed demand for a “more varied, high-quality, and resourceintensive diet,” while competition for land, water, and energy will intensify, the report concluded. The report argues new production technologies such as genetic modification or livestock cloning “should not be excluded a priori (in advance)

on ethical or moral grounds.” Rather than using GMO technology, Cibus employs what Gocal calls a “molecular spell-checker” to engineer crucial crop traits. The process adapts a plant’s “native machinery” to counter various envi-

‘A n important aspect for dealing with the food crisis we’re going to see within the next 30 or 40 years is to effectively use all the tools we have.’ — Greg Gocal Cibus

ronmental “assaults,” he said. The technology can be used in a wide variety of applications — canola, potatoes, and rice improvements are in Cibus’ pipeline — and is not limited by the kind of global regulations that have slowed adoption of GMO corn and soybean traits and improvements to other key crops. That

Agroterrorism workshop registration number Farmers and livestock producers are encouraged to register online for free regional agroterrorism workshops Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. The Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Springfield division are sponsoring the workshops. Both workshops will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Feb. 22 workshop will be at the Carlyle Mariner’s Village, Carlyle. The other will be in the Pike County Farm Bureau office, Pittsfield. To register online, go to {www.Illinoisworkshop.org}. Although online registration is preferred, farmers without Internet access may register by calling Special Agent Steffan Nass at 309-414-7001.

Farm Estate and Transfer Planning Seminar Topics discussed will include Federal Estate Tax Changes* and Planning for the Transfer of the Family Farm. Featured Speaker: Jim Hughes, Financial Security Consultant Our speaker is Jim Hughes. Jim Hughes is the Financial Security Consultant for Illinois District 5. Jim received his Bachelors Degree in Accountancy from Southern Illinois University in 1990, and has over 20 years experience in the financial services industry.

Location: The Holiday-Stratford Room, Olney IL Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Time: Complimentary Meal at 12 noon and Seminar at 1:00 PM For reservations please contact your COUNTRY Financial Representative in Olney Ed Beyers at 618-392-6879 or Chuck Schmucker and Eric Keller at 618-395-8484 by February 10. This is a no-cost, no-obligation educational seminar and insurance sales presentation. *COUNTRY® Financial and our representatives cannot give tax or legal advice. Any information we provide reflects our understanding of current tax laws. Tax laws as are subject to change and reinterpretation. As always, we recommend you consult legal and tax counsel of your choice before making any decisions regarding your personal planning needs. Life insurance policies issued by COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, Bloomington, IL. Investment management, retirement, trust and planning services provided by COUNTRY Trust Bank®. Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee Securities products are offered through COUNTRY® Capital Management Company, 1705 Towanda May Lose Value Avenue, P.O. Box 2222, Bloomington, IL 61702-2222, tel (866) 551-0060. Member FINRA/SIPC. 0111-346

helps reduce the cost of improving globally “small” crops that may be crucial to a given region, Gocal said. “I think an important aspect for dealing with the food crisis we’re going to see within the next 30 or 40 years

N-06W

is to effectively use all the tools we have,” he told FarmWeek. “No. 1 going into the future is addressing nutrient availability — getting plants to use the nutrients they have available to them as effectively as possible. That includes nitrogen use efficiency. Cibus has a mechanism to address that. We can also

address water use efficiency. “In terms of transportation, we have mechanisms to get to biofuels. Certainly, that is part of what’s being talked about — not only being able to make enough food to support an increased population, but also getting food to where it needs to be. We need to make biofuels where they need to be, to help move things locally.” Cibus’ efforts currently are focused on herbicide resistance — according to Gocal, a key factor in reducing competition for plant nutrients. Adaptation of crops to be better suited to the environment they grow in will better enable African growers to “take advantage of the technologies that exist in the ‘First World’ countries,” he added. Gocal hailed work by the St. Louis-based Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to significantly increase the level of dietary protein in cassava, a major calorie source for 700 million Africans and Asians.

Boosting nutritional value in that starchy, low-protein staple represents “a tremendous advance in terms of feeding that population,” he said. Modifying the starch content or profile of grain sorghum, meanwhile, could improve use of an already drought-tolerant crop as a biofuels feedstock, Gocal advised. But technology alone won’t solve global food needs, he emphasized. Crop rotation and other management strategies will be essential to the developing world capitalizing on advanced genetics, the researcher said. “You have to have plans in place for maintaining the traits you’re developing,” Gocal stressed. “It doesn’t make any sense at all to develop an herbicide tolerance trait and then not have it be effective into the future. There’s also a need for more education on how to use these tools effectively to solve problems in a global sense.”


FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, February 7, 2011

CONFERENCES

WIU Ag Mech Club Farm Expo Feb. 12-13 The 41st annual Farm Expo at Western Illinois University (WIU) will be Feb. 12-13 in WIU’s Western Hall, Macomb. The largest student-run farm show in the U.S., the Farm Expo is conducted by the Ag Mechanization Club. Show hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 12 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb.13. The two-day event will feature emerging ag technology, tractors and machinery, livestock equipment and supplies, crop supplies, as well as information about ag sales and service, conservation methods, ag structures, and more. Rita Frazer, ag director at WSMI radio, Litchfield, will deliver the keynote

address at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 12. A farm toy and craft show will be held both days in the upper concourse of Western Hall. Many varieties of toy tractors, cars, trucks, scale models, and crafts will be displayed, and vendors from around the Midwest will be present. The event is open free to the public, and free parking will be available in WIU’s Q-Lot on the east side of Western Hall. For more information, call WIU’s School of Agriculture at 309-298-1080 or the Ag Mech Club office at 309298-1231; e-mail farmexpo@wiufarmexpo.com; or go online to {www.wiufarmexpo.com}.

New sustainable farming network to meet March 5 A newly created network for farmers interested in sustainable practices will have its first meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at the Station 220 New American Bistro, 220 E. Front St., Bloomington. Lynn Miller, founder, publisher, and editor of “The Small Farmer’s Journal,” will be the keynote speaker. Miller also has written more than 14 books on topics related to animal power and alternative agriculture. The registration fee is $35 per person, which includes dinner featuring locally grown

food and prepared at the restaurant. To register, go online to {http://webs.extension.uiuc.e du/registration/default.cfm?R egistrationID=5359} or call Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, University of Illinois Extension specialist, at 217-9685512. Information about the Central Illinois Sustainable Farming Network, including how to become a member, is available online at {http://central.illinoisfarmbeginnings.org}. Individual or farm memberships are available; however, the $30 annual fee is being waived this year. Members receive a directory of sustainable farms and producers and free admission to all the hands-on and intensive workshops, said Cavanaugh-Grant.


Page 11 Monday, February 7, 2011 FarmWeek


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, February 7, 2011

EMERGING ISSUES

Tri-state forest stewardship conference set A Tri-state forest stewardship conference will be March 12 at the Sinsinawa Mount Center, Sinsinawa, Wis., which is 12 miles northwest of Galena. The early registration deadline is Feb. 19. The conference will offer training sessions, such as chainsaw safety and maintenance, to a limited number of participants on a firstcome, first-served basis. Topics covered in other sessions include farm transition and estate strategies, forests and your farm, tree farm certification, conducting a timber sale,

and basic tree pruning. The early registration fee is $40 per person and increases to $50 after Feb. 19. The fee includes a breakfast, lunch, refreshments, and a packet of handout materials. All participants must register by March 2. For more information or to register, go online to {www.forestry.iastate.edu}. For a registration form, contact Jay Hayek with the University of Illinois at 217-244-0534 or e-mail him at jhayek@illinois.edu.

Bohbrink named GROWMARK finance vice president, CFO Marshall Bohbrink has been named GROWMARK vice president of finance and risk management and chief financial officer. He will conMarshall Bohbrink tinue to serve

as treasurer. Bohbrink holds bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance from the University of Iowa, and a master’s of business administration from Illinois State University. He has more than 34 years of GROWMARK System experience, including positions in treasury, insurance,

accounting, and order processing. Since 2008, he has served as vice president of risk management and treasurer. GROWMARK is a regional cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services, as well as grain marketing, in 31 states and Ontario, Canada.

Funding available for public rain gardens Schools, non-profit organizations, and others may apply for up to $1,000 to establish a rain garden on public land. The application deadline is Feb. 28. A rain garden is a low area that is planted with native wetland or aquatic plants and designed to hold stormwater runoff or snow melt.

The grants are sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Conservation Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. For more information or to download an application form, go to {www.dnr.state. il.us/education/classrm/gr ants.htm#IRGI}.

AFBF seeking summer intern The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is seeking a college student for a summer internship with the public relations department in its Washington, D.C., office. Preference will be given to students just completing their junior year and majoring in communications, journalism, or a related field. Experience and aptitude in business applications of social media (Web 2.0), and strong writing skills are required. The application deadline is March 1. The intern will be assigned to projects overseen by the intern coordinator, and will deal with topics important to agriculture and rural communities.

Applicants should specify their areas of interest and how their background provides them the knowledge and abilities for this internship. Applicants must forward the following information by mail or e-mail: cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation, and up to three samples of writing, graphic design, or broadcasting. Send materials to: Cyndie Sirekis, director of News Services, 600 Maryland Ave., SW, Suite 1000W, Washington, DC 20024. Her e-mail address is: cyndies@fb.org, telephone number is 202-406-3649, and fax number is 202-406-3602. Questions should be directed to Sirekis.

Auction Calendar

Mon., Feb. 21. 10 a.m. Farm Machinery. Lehmann Brothers, CARLINVILLE, IL. Glenn E. Karrick and Rick Stewart, Auctioneers. www.auctionzip.com #19476 Mon., Feb. 21. 7 p.m. Montgomery Co. Land Auction. Ken & Janet Easterday, RAYMOND, IL. Glenn E. Karrick, Auctioneer. www.auctionzip.com Tues., Feb. 22. 6:30 p.m. Auction. Warren and Ronnie Cole, SULLIVAN, IN. Halderman Real Estate Services. www.halderman.com Tues., Feb. 22. 1 p.m. Farmland Auction. Kirby Farms, FARMER CITY, IL. Martin Auction Services, LLC.. www.martinauction.com Wed., Feb. 23. 9 a.m. Farm machinery. Harley Davis Estate, CANTON, IL. Route 9 Auction Inc. www.laffertyauction.com Wed., Feb. 23. 11 a.m. Farm Auction. David and Erin Hayden, FARMINGTON, IL. Van Adkisson Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Thurs., Feb. 24. Vermilion Co. Farmland. Soy Capital Ag Services. soycapitalag.com Thurs., Feb. 24. 6 pm.. Cass, Menard & Mason Co. Land Auction. Multiple Sellers, OAKFORD, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers. Thurs., Feb. 24. 7 p.m. Land Auction. Gruen and Sara Vonbehrens, STEWARDSON, IL. Krile Auction Service. www.krileauction.blogspot.com or www.auctionzip.com ID#6524 Fri., Feb. 25. 11 a.m. Land Auction. Arthur Frank Cook Exemption Trust and the Marjorie M. Cook Survivors Trust, EARLVILLE, IL. Espe Auctioneering. www.espeauctions.com Fri., Feb. 25. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. MORRIS, IL. Richard A. Olson and Assoc. www.richardaolson.com Sat., Feb. 26. 11 a.m. Kane Co. Land Auction. Edward and Catherine Zimmer, ELBURN, IL. Espe Auctioneering. www.espeauctions.com Fri., Mar. 4. 10:30 a.m. DeKalb Co. Farmland. Benjamin L Benson Trust No. 1010, Helen E. Benson Trust No. 102, Wayne Benson Co-Trustee and David Benson Co-Trustee, EARLVILLE, IL. Jim Elliott and Craig Elliott, Auctioneers. www.elliottauctions.net. or www.auctionzip.com (id #2927) Fri., Mar. 4. 9 a.m. and Sat., Mar. 5. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. RANTOUL, IL. Gordon Hannagan Auction Co. www.gordyvilleusa.com

Tues., Feb. 8. 10 a.m. Land Auction Warren Co. AgriBank, FCB, MONMOUTH, IL. Van Adkisson Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Wed., Feb. 9. 10 a.m. Peoria Co. Land Auction. Joseph G. Abraham, Jr. and Cheryl L. Abraham, FARMINGTON, IL. Col. Gail Cowser and Col. John Bliss, Auctioneers. www.illinoisauctioneers.com Wed., Feb. 9. 10 a.m. Livingston Co. Farmland. Lloyd C Borngasser and Harvey S Traub, FAIRBURY, IL. Immke and Bradleys’ Auction Service. www.biddersandbuyers.com/immke Wed., Feb. 9. 10 a.m. Woodford Co. Land Auction. Mary Ellen Scheirer Estate, METAMORA, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Thurs., Feb. 10. 10 a.m. Farm Machinery Auction. Thomas L. Huber, HILLSBORO, IL. Aumann Auctions. www.aumannauctions.com Thurs., Feb. 10. 10 a.m. Land Auction McDonough Co. Beulah Bacon Trust, MACOMB, IL. Van Adkission Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Sat. Feb. 12. 9:30 a.m. Consignment Auction. GREENFIELD, IL. Jerry Joyce, Larry Derricks and Mark Pennell, Auctioneers. www.joyceautions.com Sat., Feb. 12. 10 a.m. Real Estate Knox Co. Floyd Gustafson Farms, GALESBURG, IL. Van Adkisson Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Tues., Feb. 15. McLean Co. Farmland. Soy Capital Ag Services. www.soycapitalag.com Tues., Feb. 15. 10 a.m. Sloan Aten Estate, MACOMB, IL. Sullivan & Son Auction. www.sullivansonauction.com Fri., Feb. 18. 10 a.m. Estate Auction. James Ribordy Estate, KINSMAN, IL. Immke and Bradleys’ Auction Service. biddersandbuyers.com/immke Sat., Feb. 19. 11 a.m. Hamilton Co. Farmland Auction. Buehler Heirs, MCLEANSBORO, IL. Barnard Auctions. www.auctionzip.com id#2008 or biddersandbuyers.com/barnard Mon., Feb. 21. 10 a.m. Farm machinery. Dean and Dale Peters, GRANT PARK, IL. Kevin Kleinert and Bill Decker, Auctioneers. www.deckercompany.net


Page 13 Monday, February 7, 2011 FarmWeek

FROM THE COUNTIES

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ARROLL — Carroll, Jo Daviess, and Stephenson county Farm Bureaus are sponsoring a Northwest Illinois Wine Trail Saturday, March 19. Tickets can be purchased for $25 until Feb. 15. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 815-244-3001 or {www.carrollcfb.org} for more information. • Stroke Detection Plus will be holding four screenings from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, in the Naaman Diehl auditorium. Appointments can be made by calling 877-732-8258. • The Farm Bureau Foundation will be awarding five $1,000 general ag scholarships and one $1,000 Harold Schmidt Memorial Scholarship. Applications are available on the Farm Bureau website at {www.carrollcfb.org} or at the Farm Bureau office. Application deadline is March 24. HAMPAIGN — The winter meeting series continues at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau director of national legislation and policy development, will discuss issues surrounding the 2012 farm bill. OOK — Farm Bureau is celebrating Food CheckOut Day Thursday, Feb. 24, by collecting food items, pop tabs, and donations to help support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. Donations are being accepted at Country Financial offices in Cook County and at the Farm Bureau office in Countryside. Call 708-354-3276 for more information. • The Cook County Farm Bureau has Chicago Wolves tickets available at a discounted price for Feb. 19, March 20, and April 9 games. Call the Member Service Center at 708-354-3276 for more information. DGAR — The third session of the 2011 marketing series will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 10, at the Farm Bureau Building. Scott Jones, Jones Marketing, will be the guest speaker. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations. • The fourth and final session of the marketing series will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 10. Representatives from Bunge Milling, Lincoln Land Agri-Energy, Englum Grain, and AgriVisor will speak. Lunch will be served following the meeting. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 217-465-8511. ORD-IROQUOIS — A Viewpoint breakfast meeting will be held at 7 a.m. Tuesday at Happy Days Diner, Roberts. Call 1-800-424-0756 for more information. ALLATIN — Feb. 21-25 is the Food Check-Out Week promotion and Kroger gift card giveaways on WEBQ 1240, WEBQ 102.3, Z100, and WCIL radio stations. Members are welcome to call in during the designated times to answer questions to try to win gift cards. • The Gallatin and Saline County Hunter Safety Course will be held Feb. 25-26 at Eldorado High School. Registration begins

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at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 with class at 6 p.m. Registration for the second day will be at 8:30 a.m. with class at 9 a.m. Participants must be present both days to be certified. Call 618-272-3531 by Feb. 17 to register. ENRY — GoldStar FS is sponsoring a series of spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) meetings Feb. 16-17 at three sites. Randy Tomic of GROWMARK will assist you in completing your SPCC plan. Members can attend one of the three meetings: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at Cross Creek Golf Course, RSVP at 800255-3835; 1:30 p.m., Feb. 16, at the Henry County Farm Bureau, RSVP at 309-937-3369; and 9:30 a.m., Feb. 17, at the American Legion Post in Reynolds, RSVP at 309-372-4279. Reservation deadline is Friday. • Cathy Ekstrand, senior market adviser with Stewart-Peterson, will present “Learn to Market Like Your Paycheck Depends On It” from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at Black Hawk College – east campus, Galva. The session is free of charge. Reserve your seat by contacting the Farm Bureau 309-937-2411. • The Henry County Farm Bureau Foundation is offering four $1,000 scholarships. In addition, Farm Bureau will be administering five $2,000 Wilbert and Carol Keppy Foundation scholarships. Any student who qualifies under the guidelines may submit an application for either or both scholarships. Applications will be judged separately. Applications must be received by the Farm Bureau office or postmarked by Feb. 28. Applications may be obtained from Henry County High School guidance counselors, ag instructors, or the Farm Bureau office. Applications also can be obtained on the Farm Bureau website {www.henrycofarmbureau.org} or by e-mailing kbhcfb@theinter.com. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 309937-2411 for more information. ACKSON — A Stroke Detection Plus screening will be held from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Walnut St. Baptist Church, Carbondale. Call 1-877732-8258 for an appointment. ANKAKEE — The annual meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center, Kankakee. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Manteno Republican, will be the guest speaker. Dinner will be served. Tickets are available at the Farm Bureau office for $10 for members and $30 for non-members. Call 815-932-7471 for reservations or more information. • An informational seminar on spill prevention control and countermeasures regulations will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Kankakee Community College. Register by contacting the Farm Bureau office at 815-932-7471. NOX - Farm Bureau, Country Financial, and Warren-Henderson and McDonough county Farm Bureaus will

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hold a “What’s Your Idea of Financial Security” seminar at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Knox Agri Center. The seminar also will be held at noon at the Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau and at 5:30 p.m. at the McDonough County Farm Bureau. Call the Farm Bureau office at 342-2036 to register. EE — The Marketing Committee will tour the Clinton, Iowa, ADM facility Tuesday, Feb. 22. Transportation is not provided. Members wishing to attend or wanting more information may contact the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531 or email leecfb@comcast.net. • The Young Leader Committee will tour Allied Lock at 1 p.m. Friday, March 4. Any members ages 18-35 may attend. Call the Farm Bureau at 857-3531 or email leecfb@comcast.net to register. ONROE — The annual meeting will held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at St. Mary’s Parish center, Valmeyer. Dinner will be served. Tickets are $9 each and must be purchased by Feb. 16. ONTGOMERY — Prime Timer members will hold their monthly luncheon and meeting Wednesday, Feb. 16. Rita Frazer, WSMI radio ag director, will be the speaker. A fried chicken luncheon will be served. Cost is $8. For more information, contact the Farm Bureau office at 217-532-6171. ERRY — Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor LLC senior market analyst, will speak at a market outlook meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the Farm Bureau office, Pinckneyville. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office at 618-3579355 by Friday. • The Perry and Washington Farm Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip to the Louisville Farm Show Thursday, Feb. 17. A $50 fee will cover the trip, snacks, and one meal. Reservations are due by Wednesday. • Farm Bureau is sponsoring a “25-cent breakfast” at the Lion’s Den, Pinckneyville, from 7-10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, as part of Food Check-Out Week. Tickets are available at the Farm Bureau office or at the Lion’s Den that day. • Foundation scholarship applications are available. Applications may be picked up at the Farm Bureau office or they are available by e-mailing perryfarmbureau@frontier.com or from high school guidance counselors or FFA advisers. I K E — Two Rivers Farm Bureau Foundation is offering the Rod Webel Memorial Scholarship to qualified high school seniors. The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a student pursuing an education at a technical school, community college, college, or university. There is no course of study restriction, but a major in agriculture will be given preference. Applications are available at {www.pikecfb.org/documents}, from high school guidance counselors or the Farm Bureau office.

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Applications are due March 31. • The annual meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Farm Bureau auditorium, Pittsfield. Refreshments will be served. OCK ISLAND — A crop marketing seminar will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the Milan Community Center. Doug Yoder, Illinois Farm Bureau director of affiliate and risk management, is the featured speaker. Call Steve Sim at 309-764-3116 by Feb. 8 for reservations. • Farm/business estate and transfer planning seminars are being offered by the MerRoc Agency and Rock Island and Mercer county Farm Bureaus at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, and at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Welcome Inn, Milan. The speaker will be Rick Morgan, Country Financial senior financial security consultant. Call the MerRoc agency at 736-0955 to register and to guarantee meal reservations. • GoldStar FS is sponsoring a series of spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) meetings Feb. 16-17 at three sites. Randy Tomic of GROWMARK will assist you in completing your SPCC plan. Members can attend one of the three meetings: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at Cross Creek Golf Course; 1:30 p.m., Feb. 16, at the Henry County Farm Bureau; and 9:30 a.m., Feb. 17, at the American Legion Post in Reynolds. Reservation deadline is Friday. Call the Farm Bureau at 309-736-7432 for more details. ALINE — Feb. 21-25 is Food Check-Out Week promotion and Kroger gift card giveaways on WEBQ 1240, WEBQ 102.3, Z100, and WCIL radio stations. Members are welcome to call in during the designated times to answer questions to try to win a gift card. • The Gallatin and Saline County Hunter Safety Course will be held Feb. 25-26 at Eldorado High School. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 with class at 6 p.m. Registration for the second day will be at 8:30 a.m. with class at 9 a.m. Participants must be present both days to be certified. Call 618-272-3531 by Feb. 17 to register. COTT — Applications for Farm Bureau scholarships are now available. Two $1,000 scholarship will be awarded — one to a Bluffs High School senior and one to a Winchester High School senior. The scholarships will be awarded to students pursuing an education at a technical school, community college, college, or university. There is no course of study restriction, but a major in agriculture will be given preference. Applications are available at {www.scottcfb.org/documents}, from high school guidance counselors, or from the Farm Bureau office. Applications are due March 31. TARK — The Spoon River Agricultural Museum and the Central Illinois Farm Heritage Tractor Club are sponsoring a day to celebrate American Heritage from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, in the ag arena at Black

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Hawk College east campus, Kewanee. For more information, contact Don St. John at 309-361-7415. TEPHENSON — An Internet basics computer class will be held from 7-9:30 p.m. March 2 and a basic Word and Excel class will be held from 79:30 p.m. March 8 at the Farm Bureau. Classes are free to Farm Bureau members and for a nominal fee for non-members. Call 815-232-3186 to register. NION — A Stroke Detection Plus screening will be held from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Farm Bureau Building, Jonesboro. Call 1-877732-8258 for an appointment. ERMILION — The Young Leaders Committee will hold a meeting to discuss ag advocacy and social media at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, in the Farm Bureau board room. The meeting is open to all Farm Bureau members. Mary Ellen Fricke, Illinois Farm Bureau promotion manager, will discuss the Illinois farmer image campaign and telling ag’s story through social media. ARREN-HENDERSON — Warren-Henderson, Knox, and McDonough county Farm Bureaus and Country Financial are sponsoring financial security seminars Wednesday. The seminars will be held at 9 a.m. at the Knox Agri Center, Galesburg; noon at the WarrenHenderson Farm Bureau building; and at 5:30 at the McDonough County Farm Bureau. Dick Vivian, Country Financial security consultant, will be the speaker. There is no cost, but reservations are encouraged. Call the Farm Bureau at 309-734-9401 or a Country Financial agent for information. ASHINGTON — Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor LLC senior market analyst, and Keith Maschhoff, Country Financial agent, will speak at a market outlook meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Little Nashville Restaurant, Nashville. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office by Friday, Feb. 11. • The Washington and Perry Farm Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip to the Louisville Farm Show Thursday, Feb. 17. A $50 fee will cover the trip, snacks, and one meal. Reservations are due by Wednesday. • Farm Bureau is offering $5 off purchases of $50 or more at Kroger’s in Nashville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 24 as part of Food Check-Out Week. The $5 off a $50 purchase represents the 10 percent of disposable personal income Americans spend on food. • Farm Bureau is hosting a legislative breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 5 at the Little Nashville Restaurant. RSVP is required. Contact the Farm bureau office by Friday, Feb. 25. • Agriculture Future of American and Foundation general and upperclassman scholarship applications are now available. Applications can be picked up at the Farm Bureau office, requested by e-mail at {washcfb@washingtoncfb.org}, or from high school guidance counselors or FFA advisers.

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FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, February 7, 2011

PROFITABILITY

Will fertilizer find its own path in 2011? BY JOE DILLIER

There are many things happening in commodity markets in general, most of them bullish: talk of more than $100-per-barrel oil, new-crop corn futures above $5.80 (at this writing), new-crop beans above $13, and July Chicago Board of Trade wheat is approaching $9. For the past two years we’ve been referring to the superspike of 2007-2008 as a oncein-a-lifetime type event, but

never say never in commodity markets. Fertilizer prices have been jumping, too. Nitrogen prices are 50 to 80 percent above last summer’s lows, phosphate prices are up 40 percent, and potash is about a third higher. In June, it looked as though fertilizer markets were set to move lower, but as the Russian drought lit a fire under the wheat market and corn prices jumped as U.S. yield prospects withered, fertilizer markets quickly followed suit. Fall application was huge in the U.S., for P and K particularly, as farmers apparently

made up for reduced applications the past few years to rebuild fertility levels. The question for the new year is, “Will fertilizer prices simply continue to follow grain prices?” Production profitability for corn and other crops is a big/huge/gargantuan determinant of fertilizer prices, and that will continue, no doubt. But there also are things happening that may cause the two markets to diverge at some point: new nitrogen production is due to come on-stream in China, Qatar, and Algeria this year. Alternatively, the events in Egypt

could yet tighten nitrogen markets, as Egypt is a major exporter of urea and of UAN solution. In phosphate, a large new production facility is to come on stream in Saudi Arabia in the second half of 2011. In potash, a large divergence between world prices and higher North American values, owning mostly to the extremely tight supply/demand balance in the North American market since last fall, may cap the potential for further increases for a time. One thing is certain: Volatility will continue to reign in both markets — grains and

fertilizers. The best strategy is still to tie grain sales to fertilizer purchases. If grain markets fall substantially, fertilizer prices probably cannot be sustained where they are, and so you don’t want to have lots of fertilizer purchased and not have grain sold against it in some way. Also, if grain moves up, fertilizer markets are volatile enough that even a small upward move in demand can propel fertilizer prices substantially higher too. Joe Dillier is GROWMARK’s director of plant food. His e-mail address is jdillier@growmark.com.

Producers can reduce premium ‘sticker shock’ BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Higher crop prices mean higher crop value, and that likely means higher crop insurance premiums this spring. But while USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has reduced available policy choices for 2011, Illinois Farm Bureau risk management specialist Doug Yoder notes there are options to reduce premium “sticker shock” while ensuring solid crop protection. University of Illinois Extension ag economists anticipate higher premiums for farm-level

Revenue Protection (RP) in 2011, largely because of projected higher prices and market/price “volatilities.” RP replaces previous crop revenue coverage (CRC) and revenue assurance (RA) policies. A third driver in higher premiums is the shift from CRC and RA to a new “combo” premium rating mechanism, Yoder said. During periods of higher prices, CRC generally offered “significantly cheaper” premiums for Illinois growers, but the combo rating mechanism reportedly leans closer to RA.

M A R K E T FA C T S Feeder pig prices reported to USDA* Weight 10 lbs. 40 lbs. 50 lbs. Receipts

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $33.00-59.10 $45.38 $65.00-76.57 $74.26 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 19,790 31,272 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $81.72 $78.33 $50.48 $50.48

Change 3.39 0.00

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price Steers Heifers

This week $105.87 $105.78

(Thursday’s price) Prv. week Change $104.00 1.87 $104.00 1.78

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 125.65 -0.27

This week 125.38

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, live, wooled and shorn 125-180 lbs. for 138165.73 $/cwt.(wtd ave. 154.66); dressed, no sales reported.

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 1-27-11 29.7 21.3 18.7 1-20-11 43.1 24.6 26.5 Last year 46.3 18.8 39.7 Season total 964.4 750.5 669.0 Previous season total 948.0 551.2 673.3 USDA projected total 1570 1300 1950 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

“If this were a low-price year, that probably wouldn’t be noticeable, but since it is a highprice year, that could mean a noticeable premium increase,” Yoder said. “Last year, 56 percent of all the corn acres insured in Illinois were insured with CRC, with 4 percent insured with RA. Soybeans were 49 percent CRC, 9 percent RA. “Typically, it’s that price of the premium farmers would use as a decision-making factor. It wasn’t even close last year. And last year’s (commodity) prices weren’t as high as this year’s.” The RMA will set 2011 premium levels following release of February average crop prices. March 15 is sales closing date for corn and soybean policies. Growers can offset some cost through higher premium subsidies for “enterprise unit” — all acres of a single crop within a county — vs. “basic” unit coverage. Savings nonetheless vary from county to county. In McLean County, for instance, enterprise unit premiums are 36 percent of basic unit costs. In Sangamon County, enterprise coverage costs 53 percent of basic unit premiums. “Enterprise units won’t be for every single farmer in Illinois, but I would encourage every single farmer in Illinois to at least have their agents quote them premiums for enterprise units,” Yoder said. RP’s revenue guarantee increases if harvest price is above the February-based projected price. But premiums for an alternative product, Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion, are roughly 60 percent of standard RP premiums. Producers who plan more significant pre-harvest crop marketing should consider buying full RP protection, Yoder suggested. Those who intend to

store the bulk of their crop may save by taking RP with exclusion — if they deem the base price good enough to merit premium savings. This could be the last season for savings to growers who plant qualifying corn hybrids under the pilot Biotechnology Endorsement (BE), Yoder advised. To be eligible for BE premium discounts, growers must buy

an individual yield or revenue policy at a buy-up coverage level and plant at least 75 percent of corn acres on an insured unit to hybrids that contain qualified “triple-stack” traits. Funding for the pilot expires this year and RMA must evaluate its performance before continuing the program. For a list of 2011 BE-eligible hybrids, see {www3.rma.usda.gov/apps/be hybrids}

Milk price drops 35 cents The Class III price for milk adjusted to 3.5 percent butterfat for the month of January was $ 13.48 per hundredweight. That is 35 cents lower than the previous month. After suffering through the worst blizzard in decades, Illinois dairymen got a second jolt last week when the milk price posted a disappointing number. Milk futures, however, continue to post some excellent gains, and producers are hoping the Class III numbers can become a leader again and move to higher levels. This past weekend is typically the largest single day for consumption of cheese, due to the “Big Game.”


FarmWeek Page 15 Monday, February 7, 2011

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

C A S H S T R AT E G I S T

Are markets near psychological peak? Who would have thought Tunisia would have played such a big role in world politics and commodity markets? But it was Tunisia’s revolution that triggered the wave of protests in Africa and the Middle East the last couple of weeks; protests that had Egypt as the focal point. And in the world of grain commodities, Egypt is very important, being the largest, or one of the largest, wheat importers each year. And while nothing has happened to indicate this market is done going up, the psychology vested into them last week because of political events suggested an end might be near. While we have problems with our wheat crop in the Southern Plains, elsewhere around the world the crop is in relatively good shape. Both Russian and Ukrainian government and private forecasters see potential for very good crops this year. It’s dry in the North China Plains, but people have been mobilized to help resolve the dryness. A year ago, the area had similar winter drought issues, but near-record wheat yields still resulted. There is much concern about our wheat crop with the dryness and poor conditions in the Southern Plains. In 1976, winter wheat in the Great Plains suffered similar dry conditions, with significant talk about winter-kill and abnormal-

Basis charts

ly large wind erosion. The harvest acreage in Kansas dropped to 88 percent of plantings, off from 94 percent the prior year. But the final yield was higher, with production declining only 10 million bushels year to year. If world output improves, reducing the demand on the U.S., our stocks could build next year, even with a smaller output from the Southern Plains. And the 818-millionbushel ending stocks already are relatively burdensome. Buying that occurred recently from these unstable political countries admittedly has been to build stocks “just in case” something would happen. For the most part, it doesn’t appear to be buying for consumption. In essence, we have just moved inventories from one location to another. Long term, that’s not price friendly. With soybeans, the shift in Argentine weather has changed attitudes from one of concern to one of how big these crops ultimately will be. The Argentine strike gave a short-term lift to our exports, but that will pass with the government ordering dockworkers back to work. Meanwhile, our export shipments have steadily slipped back toward last year. On the latest data, shipments are only 13 million bushels ahead of last year, while USDA is projecting a 90-million-bushel increase. If the trend continues, there’s risk subsequent USDA supply/demand reports could reduce export forecasts. Meanwhile, corn and soybeans are starting the month well above the high spring insurance guarantees producers were offered in 2008, 60 cents higher for corn and 35 cents higher for soybeans. Those high insurance guarantees in 2007 and 2008 were responsible for increasing plantings of the eight major crops by 9 million acres from the 2006 levels. Clearly, the incentive will be there. The only thing we don’t know is whether weather will permit it. But even with troublesome planting conditions in 2008, producers “put the crop in the ground.” AgriVisor endorses crop insurance by

AgriVisor LLC 1701 N. Towanda Avenue PO Box 2500 Bloomington IL 61702-2901 309-557-3147 AgriVisor LLC is not liable for any damages which anyone may sustain by reason of inaccuracy or inadequacy of information provided herein, any error of judgment involving any projections, recommendations, or advice or any other act of omission.

Policies issued by COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, Bloomington, Illinois AgriVisor Hotline Number

309-557-2274

Cents per bu.

2010 crop: The corn market continues to maintain its uptrend as it holds key support with every break. However, if prices slip below $6.62, it would open the door for a test of $6.54, as it heads into the six-to seven-week low due at the end of February. If you followed previous advice, you only have “gambling bushels remaining.” If you have other inventory, use rallies to make sales. Hedgeto-arrive (HTA) contracts for winter/spring delivery are the best marketing tool, but check returns against storage costs. 2011 crop: You should have added a 10 percent newcrop sale last week. Use rallies to make catch-up sales, especially with December close to important resistance. Fundamentals: Like it or not, corn is a follower of wheat and soybeans. The fundamentals for corn are good, but unless exports pickup and plantings aren’t large enough, it’s difficult to justify higher prices. The trade is expecting USDA to project comfortable supplies next year at its annual Outlook Forum on Feb. 25 and 26.

Soybean Strategy 2010 crop: The big thing the soybean market has against it is a large South American crop that looks consistently better. Without a turn for the worse soon, soybeans are going to have difficulty maintaining current prices. We’d only carry “gambling” inventories into spring. 2011 crop: The change to better potential for the South American crops not only is negative for old crop but for new crop, too. It potentially extends the South American export campaign well into fall. Income levels are too high and risks too great to not price another 10 percent. Fundamentals: Everyone seems to have finally fallen in line in looking for good Argentine and Brazilian soybean crops. The Argentine dock strike was the latest short-term positive, but even that has been called off. Out soybean export shipments are now only 13 million bushels higher than last year, and

USDA is looking for them to be 90 million larger. There’s risk we have already seen the tightest supply/demand estimate.

Wheat Strategy 2010 crop: Chicago March futures traded above its previous high at $8.64, but wasn’t able to close over it. If it can overcome this, it would open the door for a potential push to the psychological resistance at $9. Complete sales if you still have inventory. This market feels exhausted. Because of the big futures carry, HTA contracts for winter/spring delivery

remain the best marketing tool. 2011 crop: Use rallies above $9.10 on Chicago July 2011 futures to make catch-up sales. We’ve considered adding to them, but don’t want to price more until the crop breaks dormancy or the trend turns down. If basis is wide on cash contracts, use a HTA contract. Fundamentals: The market remains uneasy about the political unrest in Egypt. It is the world’s largest wheat importer. The U.S. Plains didn’t pick up a widespread blanket of snow, leaving the crop vulnerable to winter-kill in some locations if bitterly cold temperatures return.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, February 7, 2011

PERSPECTIVES

NEVER TOO EARLY Plan ahead to participate in federal farm programs Although most of Illinois is blanketed by snow and has experienced subzero temperatures, those of us involved in the agriculture know before long, spring will be upon us. Spring means planting, and planting means planning. Farmers know all too well the multitude of business decisions they must make long before the first seed is planted — seed selection, fertilizer application, ground preparation, fuel contracts, and other input decisions. The list goes on and on. When planning for spring planting, don’t overlook important decisions that must be made regarding federal farm program participation. Addressing these issues early will save time, ensure timely payments SCHERRIE and, most importantly, ensure proGIAMANCO gram eligibility. The following information is a checklist of important Farm Service Agency (FSA) “housekeeping” items that producers should consider sooner rather than later: • Producers should verify, with FSA, that their operations are the same as last year or notify us of any changes. Operational changes of which FSA should be notified include picking up new ground or losing ground and adding or removing individuals from the operation. This information is required for FSA farm records and used by FSA to determine payment eligibility. • Make sure all names and addresses of individuals associated with a farm or farms are current. Ensuring FSA has the correct contact information on file is important because FSA needs to be able to reach producers in a timely manner should additional decisions need to be made regarding an operation and to provide correspondence about new programs as they are announced as well as program changes or updates. • Notify FSA if ground has recently been brought into production or converted for any reason because wetland and highly erodible land (HEL) compliance provisions could be impacted by these activities. Noncompliance with wetland and HEL provisions may result in forfeiture of federal farm program benefits. Similarly, producers should visit with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to confirm compliance with conservation plans, such as cropping rotations and planting practices, as failure to adhere to these plans also can adversely impact program benefits.

• Make direct and countercyclical program (DCP) and/or average crop revenue election (ACRE) program selections on farms for 2011. If a farm already is enrolled in the revenue-based ACRE program, then that election stands for the duration of the current farm bill. However, if other farms are not currently enrolled in ACRE or if new farms have been acquired, DCP/ACRE decisions need to be made for those operations. • Acreage reports for small grains, such as winter wheat, and subsequently all spring-seeded crops, must be reported by the final crop reporting date. Producers must file their reports accurately and timely for all crops and land uses, including prevented and failed acreage, to ensure they receive the maximum FSA program benefits possible. Prevented acreage must be reported within 15 calendar days after the final planting date and failed acreage must be reported before the crop is disposed of or destroyed. • Crop insurance coverage decisions must be made by the crop-specific purchase closing date to ensure eligibility for most FSA disaster program benefits. (In Illinois, Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) closing dates for corn and soybeans is March 15 and Sept. 30 for wheat). To be determined eligible for the various crop and livestock disaster assistance programs including the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment (SURE), NAP and related Risk Management Purchase Requirements (RMPR) must be met. And, although legislative authority for disaster programs expires in September 2011, insurance issues must be addressed to assure coverage for disasters that may occur in calendar year 2011. • For Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract acres, producers must make sure everyone who has an interest in the contract reports his or her own share. Don’t procrastinate. Address the items outlined above before you head to the fields. The to-do list may seem overwhelming, but Illinois FSA’s staff is ready and willing to make the process run smoothly. For more information, contact your local county office or USDA Service Center or go online to {www.fsa.usda.gov}. Scherrie Giamanco is Illinois state executive director of USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA). Brenda Carlson, FSA regional public affairs specialist, assisted with this column.

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If insects were zodiac symbols, the possibilities are endless For thousands of years, people have celebrated the onset of a new year, probably even before calendars were invented. But calendars make sure we all celebrate and begin a new year on the same day. At least that is the case if you are using the same calendar. The Gregorian calendar starts the New Year on Jan. 1. In the traditional Chinese calendar, the exact time of the New Year is determined by the lunar calendar. So depending on the year, the first day of the traditional Chinese New Year falls in late January or early February. Unlike the linear Gregorian calendar, the cyclical Chinese calendar features an animal for each year in the 12year cycle. The animals of the Chinese calendar include nine mammals: a rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, horse, ram, monkey, dog, and pig. One reptile, a snake, and one bird, TOM a rooster, are included. The 12th aniTURPIN mal is a dragon. It is a little surprising that an insect or two, the most common animals on earth, did not make the list. The years of the Chinese calendar are named for the animal symbol. Thus, 2009 was the year of the ox; 2010 the year of the tiger; and 2011 is the year of the rabbit. The animals of the Chinese calendar function much as the moon signs of the zodiac do to predict attributes of the people born during that time. For instance, people born in the year of the ox are said to be hardworking. I don’t put much stock in the predictions of the horoscope. I am a Gemini — people described by the words energetic, clever, and witty. That I like. On the other hand, we are also superficial, restless, and devious. Not so flattering. What if ancient people had seen fit to include insects as calendar symbols? What would the insects have symbolized relative to human personalities? Here are my nominations for insects and words that could describe the behavior of those creatures. January: the butterfly — beautiful, fragile, flirtatious February: the ant — hard working, dedicated, driven March: the dung beetle — strong, mechanical, comical April: the moth — reclusive, obsessive, bland May: the honey bee — social, ambitious, sharing June: the dragonfly — flitting, adventuresome, predatory July: the mosquito — whining, biting, bloodthirsty August: the housefly — aggressive, persistent, alert September: the praying mantid — voracious, deceptive, cunning October: the bed bug — opportunistic, stealthy, persistent November: the cockroach — sneaky, creative, independent December: the Katydid — musical, shy, clever See if my new “Signs of the Insecta” are a useful predictor of your demeanor and personality. Let’s see for me, being of June birth, I would be a dragonfly — flitting, adventuresome, and predatory. I’m not so sure I like all of that. So let me try that ancient Chinese animal thing. Based on my year of birth, I would fall under the year of the ram. I could be described as gentle and caring. Now that’s more like it! All of this proves once again that trying to predict human behaviors and personalities by the moon and stars — or insects — is an inexact endeavor. But it is always fun to speculate about the possibilities. Tom Turpin is a professor of entomology at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. His e-mail address is turpin@purdue.edu.

FarmWeek February 7 2011  

FarmWeek February 7 2011

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