Page 1

AFTER A PRETTY ROUGH winter, Illinoisans may be in for a continuation of the active weather pattern going into spring. ..............2

ILLINOIS FARM BUREAU supports legislation to develop stable funding for fertilizer research and education. .................................3

TO BATTLE A PROBLEM that literally is growing, USDA has released a new set of dietary guidelines. .................................................7

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two sections Volume 39, No. 10

Action request

House amendment would end sales tax exemptions BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

An amendment before the House Revenue Committee would end all sales tax exemptions, including those on agricultural inputs, by Dec. 31, 2012. House Amendment 1, which would amend SB 4, would end the sales tax exemptions on farm equipment, feed, seed, and fertilizer. The amendment was not called for a vote last week. “We need to let our state representatives know the importance of the agricultural sales tax incentives. We are encouraging everyone impacted to take action and call 1877-422-8424, ask to be trans-

ferred to their state representative, and ask them to not adopt the amendment,” said Philip Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. “We realize that the state is still attempting to balance the budget, but removing these tax incentives would strengthen the feeling that this state is not a good place to do business, especially in the current economy,” Nelson continued. “Agriculture is the largest industry in the state and a cornerstone of the state’s economy. The message the state needs to send is that we want it to grow in Illinois,” Nelson added. “This is a fight we fought several years ago,” Nelson said.

“Without this exemption, Illinois agriculture will be less competitive because other neighboring states have the exemption for agriculture. “It is clear why IFB opposes this amendment, and we will continue working with the sponsor, the members of the House Revenue Committee, and all the members of the General Assembly on why they shouldn’t adopt this amendment,” Nelson said. The Revenue Committee is scheduled for its next hearing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the State Capitol. House Amendment 1 to SB 4 could be called for a vote then. In other legislative news, IFB opposes HB 1886, spon-

sored by Rep. Robert Rita (DBlue Island), which proposes a special election in each county to elect a single countywide school board. The bill also would dissolve each district’s school board, except the Chicago Board of Education. Each county would form one school district. IFB believes school consolidation must be done on a voluntary basis. IFB also opposes HB 1249, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago), which proposes all foods containing genetically engineered material or produced with genetically engineered material be clearly marked with a label in a conspicuous place.

FutureGen project (finally) is coming home to Illinois BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

Three years after federal officials dealt a devastating blow to Mattoon, Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corp. President Terry Denison hailed news that makes Morgan County a potential “clean energy capital of the world.” Last week, the industry group FutureGen Alliance

named a northeast Morgan County site the “preferred location” for “FutureGen 2.0” carbon dioxide (CO2) storage, visitor center, research, and cleancoal technology training facilities. “This is a great day for Illinois in terms of the future of Illinois coal and Illinois jobs,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, declared. Pending federal approvals, ground will be broken in fall 2012 for an underground CO2 injection site some 25 miles west of Springfield. The project is slated to go online in 2015. The original FutureGen coal power-research project rejected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2008 was sited exclusively near Mattoon. The new site will store CO2 pipelined from a largely idle Ameren power plant at nearby Meredosia, which would be refitted with cutting-edge oxycombustive technology that burns coal more cleanly. FutureGen 2.0 is expected to provide 1,000 “union-scale” construction jobs and 150 to 175 permanent technical,

research, and related jobs, Denison told FarmWeek. Fifty jobs reportedly would be created at the retooled Ameren plant. The project also could create 1,000 new service jobs for businesses supporting FutureGen operations. “They’re telling us we can expect upwards of 300 visitors on an annual basis coming into our community from all over the world to look at this (operation),” Denison added. “We’re probably looking at a new hotel or two, probably more national-brand-type restaurants. This is going to change our community, all for the good. We couldn’t be happier.” The FutureGen Alliance has agreed to locate research and training facilities in Jacksonville rather than at the rural CO2 injection site. Over the next 12 to 18 months, DOE will conduct an environmental study of the site, consulting eight landowners within the site’s 1,000-acre “buffer zone” on underground CO2 storage rights, installation

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

of monitoring wells, possible crop damage, and other issues. The FutureGen Alliance intends to site the CO2 pipeline adjacent to existing area rightof-way.

Like the original Mattoon site, Morgan County’s site lies above the Mt. Simon sandstone formation, which DOE deemed ideal for CO2 storage. The Mattoon site would have required CO2 injection 7,000 to 8,000 feet deep; Morgan County affords sequestration at a 4,000-foot depth, reducing drilling costs.

Other finalist FutureGen 2.0 sites were 75 to 130 miles from Meredosia: At $1.5 million to $2 million per mile in pipeline construction costs, a 32-mile Morgan County line offered key savings. Keeping project and pipeline facilities within the county avoids dealing with multiple agencies, Denison said. Project cost is pegged at $1.3 billion vs. the original FutureGen’s $1.8-billion price tag — a prime factor in DOE dropping plans for Mattoon. Lawmakers cleared $1 billion in federal stimulus funds for the project; remaining costs will be covered largely by alliance members and project partners. Denison credited Durbin’s efforts to keep FutureGen on track and Peoria Republican Rep. Aaron Schock’s support for the Morgan County site. “We contacted Senator Durbin’s office to see if he could twist the president’s arm to come visit us one of these days,” he said.

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


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, March 7, 2011

EMERGING ISSUES

Quick Takes 1099 RULE ON WAY OUT — The U.S. House last week passed legislation to repeal federal “1099” tax requirements imposed through new health care law. The law currently would require farms and other small businesses in 2012 to file with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if they spend $600 with one company on any purchases during a given tax year. “This was an attempt to empower the IRS to get into every business in the country through the health care law,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee member John Shimkus, a Collinsville Republican. “It was burdensome and ridiculous.” The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act passed the House 314-112, and now moves to the Senate. NRCS SEEKS INPUT — Illinois farmers were invited to speak out on farm bill conservation goals last week in Rock Island. Roundtable moderator Veral Bailey, an Iowa producer on a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) blue ribbon policy panel, stressed the need for grassroots input in assembling a federal report for submission to Congress. Bailey noted that unlike the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the NRCS strives to balance ag stewardship with the sector’s long-term viability and domestic food security. “One of the problems you have in politics is when the regulation gets ahead of technology, when the regulation gets ahead of the business climate out here,” he told FarmWeek. “I think what you heard here was a little of the feeling of the mismatch that’s taking place, the fact that we need to go back to the various agencies and say, ‘We have to look at these things holistically.’ “Picking numbers and mandating compliance on things that really aren’t in synch with what’s happening out here really doesn’t make sense for government and surely doesn’t make sense for humanity.” ADM TOPS LIST — Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) was ranked the world’s most admired company in the food production industry for the third consecutive year by Fortune magazine. Fortune’s annual list ranks companies in a number of major industries. Fortune ranked ADM at the top of the food production industry in six of nine categories: people management, social responsibility, management quality, financial soundness, product quality, and global competitiveness. Companies from 32 countries were evaluated by more than 4,100 executives, directors, and securities analysts.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 39 No. 10

March 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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Transition from winter to spring could be ‘wild’ BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Illinois residents who endured a harsh winter, which featured everything from below-normal temperatures to heavy snowfall to sleet and ice, may be in for a continuation of the active weather pattern during the transition into spring. The AccuWeather.com forecast for spring 2011 calls for “more wild weather for the U.S.,” according to Heather Buchman, Accuweather.com meteorologist. Specifically, this spring’s severe weather season could be more active, which means there could be a higher-thanaverage number of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in the eastern part of the country, AccuWeather.com said. An average of 64 tornadoes touch down in Illinois each year, and 63 percent occur between March and May, according to Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey. There were as many as 124 tornadoes statewide in 2006. “Despite a weakening of La Nina (in the Pacific Ocean), it’s still driving weather patterns,” said Brad Rippey, USDA ag meteorologist. The National Weather Service outlook for the rest of the month calls for near-normal temperatures in the state and an increased chance of above-normal precipitation in Eastern and Southern Illinois. Precipitation for the climatological winter (December through February) actually was about normal (6.4 inches) statewide as the majority of precipitation was in the form of snow. On average it takes about 12 inches of snow to create an inch of water. Winter snowfall, however, was above normal with amounts ranging from 15 inches in Southern Illinois to more than 45 inches in Northern Illinois. The big snowfall event for the season occurred Feb. 1-2 when as

Did March come in like a lamb this year? It certainly came in with less of a roar than did February, so for the sake of positive thinking, let’s say it came in more lamb-like than lion-like and hope it departs with even milder weather. Regardless of the weather, the lambing season is upon us. Here, Dan Crider of rural Arrowsmith in McLean County holds two of his 2 1/2-week-old Columbia lambs. Crider and his wife, Anne, raise sheep, Angus cattle, and grow food-grade corn and seed soybeans. Mrs. Crider, a long-time 4-H leader in McLean County, also sells sheep gifts and wool items from her business, Corner Post Farm. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

much as 20-plus inches blanketed parts of the state. Meanwhile, the average temperature for the climatological winter was just 24.9 degrees, 3.3 degrees below normal. The monthly average temperature was 24 degrees in December (5.8 degrees below normal), 21.8 degrees in January (3 degrees below normal), and 29.5 degrees in February (0.7 of a degree below normal). “No surprise there,” Angel said of the below-normal average temperature for the winter. “It was the 17th coldest winter on record.”

Rippey predicted the wet pattern in the northern U.S. may begin to taper off in April and May while much of the southern U.S. was projected to remain dry. Soil conditions in Illinois appear to be in good shape heading into the planting season. Soil moisture in the state last week was rated 58 percent adequate and 40 percent surplus with just 2 percent short. The state’s winter wheat crop last week was rated 46 percent fair, 36 percent good to excellent, and 18 percent poor or very poor.

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 (bstandard@ilfb.org) Advertising Sales Manager

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Hurst and Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 1-800-397-8908 (advertising inquiries only) Gary White - Northern Illinois Doug McDaniel - Southern Illinois Editorial phone number: 309-557-2239 Classified advertising: 309-557-3155 Display advertising: 1-800-676-2353

EPA seeks extension on pesticide permit deadline The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week was awaiting a decision on its request before the Sixth Circuit Court to extend the deadline for pesticide applicators to obtain permits. The current deadline is April 9 for pesticide applications into or over waters of the U.S. EPA asked the deadline be extended to Oct. 31, 2011. While the court is considering EPA’s request, permits for pesticide applications will not be required under the Clean Water Act, according to EPA. EPA is developing a general permit, known as a National Pollution Elimination System (NPDES) permit, in response to the court’s

2009 decision that discharges of pesticides into U.S. waters were pollutants, and applicators must obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act. EPA said the extension was needed to allow sufficient time for it to consult on the impact to the Endangered Species Act and to complete an electronic database to streamline requests for general permits. The extension also would provide time for authorized states, including Illinois, to finish developing their state permits and to provide additional information to stakeholders on pesticide permit requirements. For more information, go online to {http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pesticides}.


Page 3 Monday, March 7, 2011 FarmWeek

EMERGING ISSUES

IFB supports bill for fertilizer research, education BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek Illinois Farm Bureau supports legislation to develop stable funding for fertilizer research and education in support of the state’s agriculture industry. Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) is sponsoring SB 2010 that proposes to make the existing Agriculture Fertilizer Research and Education Council (FREC) into a reliable funding source for agriculture-based research and education related to nutrients. The bill would create a Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) to support research and education to improve fertilizer use efficiency and to increase adoption of best management practices.

“Research and education are important components to answer our questions about nutrients,” said Philip Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. “We want to continue to gather data and have information in place to address environmental challenges.” Currently, FREC funding comes from a fee of 12.5 cents per ton of fertilizer sold by Illinois fertilizer dealers. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) oversees FREC funding. Over the past several years of state financial problems,

FREC money along with funding from more than 200 other special funds has been swept and put into the state’s General Revenue Fund. The governor has been able to freeze FREC funds and not release them for use for the research and education purposes for which they were collected. SB 2010 would create a non-governmental body to oversee the fertilizer research funding and prevent the money from being used by the state for other uses, Nelson pointed out. The new NREC body, overseen by individuals appointed

from the fertilizer and farming community, would be able to collect the tonnage fee and use the funds on priority nutrient research. “We want to make the fund into a reliable source of funding for fertilizer research and education,” Nelson said. Government funding cuts have reduced ag research funding, and other sources of ag-based fertilizer research no longer exist. Farmers especially need to know about the potential impact their nutrient management practices have on their operations. “We have some best management practices and some tools that haven’t been evaluated,” Cliff Snyder with the International Plant Nutrient Institute said at a recent state fertilizer meeting.

EPA focus on rivers’ nutrient concentration raises concerns Mississippi River, tributaries key The Mississippi River and its tributaries soon will be assigned nitrogen and phosphorous concentration levels that may lead to nutrient restrictions in the river basin, a national expert warned. “There is an enormous push at EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to force states to develop numeric (nutrient) criteria,” said Susan Parker-Bodine, an attorney from Washington, D.C. She discussed environ-

Quinn taps Scott for ICC chairman Gov. Pat Quinn last week appointed Doug Scott, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), to become chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Doug Scott Scott has served as IEPA director since 2005. Prior to leading the IEPA, Scott was the mayor of Rockford. From 1995 to 2001, he served in the state House of Representatives. The governor named Lisa Bonnett to serve as interim director of IEPA. Currently, Bonnett is IEPA’s acting deputy director. She had served as the agency’s chief fiscal officer. Quinn named Manny Flores, who had chaired the ICC since January 2010, director of the Division of Banking of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

mental issues at the recent Illinois Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference in Springfield. Parker-Bodine speculated EPA next may target the Mississippi River Basin after its work on water issues in Florida and the Chesapeake Bay. Last October, EPA awarded a $7.2 million contract to California-based Tetra Tech Inc. to establish the concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous that would satisfy designated uses of water in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Parker-Bodine said. That work, based on computer

models, is to be completed by this November. In addition, the agency wants nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations to be established for the Mississippi River and all its tributaries, she added. “A concentration of a pollutant to meet a designated (water) use — that’s the definition of a criteria,” Parker-Bodine said. She explained EPA probably favors a numeric nutrient standard rather than some other measurement of water quality because “it’s a lot easier

to enforce a number ... easier to measure a number than to say if a water body is healthy.” Legislation introduced in the Illinois General Assembly would establish a reliable funding source for agriculturebased fertilizer research and education in the state. (See story above) Tetra Tech is working on more than the Mississippi River for EPA. In January, the company announced it received a fiveyear, $62 million contract from EPA to support the agency’s work “in protecting and restoring the nation’s waters and watersheds.” Tetra Tech didn’t specify which watersheds it would work in, but said it would provide EPA with technical expertise as the agency uses “the watershed approach to

Legislation would remove ‘specter’ of new pesticide application permits The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) hailed measures introduced last week designed to limit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expansion of pesticide permit requirements. U.S. Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), and Joe Baca (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would clarify that Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) has sole authority over application permits. That would “permanently remove the specter of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for pesticide applications,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. A recent federal court decision in the case of National Cotton Council v. EPA set the stage for the agency to potentially regulate ag spray nozzle applications as a possible “nonpoint” pollution source. FIFRA already requires EPA-approved pesticide label restrictions, and farmers are legally bound to use chemicals according to label.

EPA’s NPDES permit scheme tentatively is effective April 9. Stallman warned “Congress must take up this legislation immediately.” “Unless Congress takes action, people who apply legally registered pesticides will have to jump through another regulatory hoop, this one a federal permit under the Clean Water Act,” Stallman said. “At best, this is nothing more than paperwork redundancy. At worst, this permit requirement will be used to delay or prevent essential crop protection. “It invites anti-chemical activists to oppose pesticide use by threatening farmers with lawsuits and enormous federal penalties,” he said. The new House measure is supported by House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and ranking committee member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). Senate Ag Chairman Debbie Stabenow (DMich.) has sought a court delay of EPA’s April deadline, and Stallman encouraged her support for the bill in the Senate.

address challenging water pollution problems, promote the use of innovative technologies, and address the nation’s growing wastewater infrastructure needs.” — Kay Shipman

DATEBOOK March 9 Illinois Agricultural Legislative Day, Springfield. March 9-10 Rural Community Economic Development Conference, Holiday City Centre, Peoria. For information, go online to {www.iira.org}. 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/Expl orACES}. March 12 Tri-state forest stewardship conference, Sinsinawa Mount Center, Sinsinawa, Wis. To register, go online to {www.forestry.iastate.edu}. March 15-16 Illinois Land Values Conference, Parke Hotel and Conference Center, Bloomington. For conference registration information, call 262-253-6902. Hotel reservations can be made by calling the Parke Hotel at 309-662-4300. March 18 Western Illinois University beef evaluation station performance tested bull sale, starting at 7 p.m., WIU Livestock Center, Macomb. For information or a sale catalog, contact the School of Agriculture at 309-298-1080.


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, March 7, 2011

MARKETS

Energy priorities emerging as oil prices soar BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

With oil prices above $100 a barrel amid Middle East turbulence, lawmakers and renewable energy interests agree new fuel infrastructure is needed alongside petroleum pumps. With federal funds in short supply, the question is, whose infrastructure? Last week, the ethanol group Growth Energy intensified a push for support of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) and gasoline “blender pumps” needed to dispense higher biofuels blends. Meanwhile, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee member Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) put forth a plan focused on electric vehicle “deployment” and

incentives for recharging technology. Merkley’s proposal is directed at eliminating all oil imports from outside North America by 2030. Biofuels play a reduced role in Merkley’s bill, which, according to the senator, includes an “investment and RD (research and development) strategy” aimed primarily at encouraging “next-generation” cellulosic biofuels production. “We have one of the first commercial efforts to utilize timber pulp to create advanced biofuels in Oregon,” Merkley told FarmWeek. “But that’s not, by our estimation, going to make too big an impact in the short term.” Energy Secretary Steven Chu told Merkley his department was developing a prospective energy plan evalu-

ating potential costs of various energy technologies. Growth Energy has proposed redirecting a share of current federal ethanol tax credits toward building biofuels infrastructure. As lawmakers begin to sort through potential winners and losers in forthcoming energy debate, House lawmakers have recommended blocking federal funds for implementation of E15 (15 percent ethanol gasoline) rules and blender pump incentives. President Obama’s State of the Union Address acknowledged the contribution of biofuels, but also set a specific target of putting a million electric cars on U.S. highways. At the same time, General Motors (GM) has announced it would double orders for its

U.S., Mexico agree on trucking solution President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderón have announced a tentative resolution to a trucking dispute that has spurred billions in Mexican retaliatory tariffs and concerns about further escalation against U.S. goods. The U.S. and Mexico agreed to allow trucking across their borders through the North American Free Trade Agreement, but Congress in March 2009 cut funding to renew a pilot program that enabled specified Mexican trucking companies to haul freight beyond a 25-mile U.S. commercial zone. Mexico retaliated by placing higher tariffs on an estimated $2.4 billion of U.S. goods. The resolution released by Obama and Calderon allows creation of a “reciprocal, phased-in program” that will authorize crossborder operations by Mexican and U.S. longhaul carriers. Once final agreement is signed, Mexico will immediately reduce retaliatory tariffs by 50 percent. Remaining tariffs will be discontinued after the first Mexican carrier is authorized to operate under the program. Resolution of the issue “will go a long way toward restoring our credibility and our relation-

ship with a vital trade partner,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said. He argued “it is important for our trading partners to know that the United States lives up to its commitments under trade agreements.” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Illinois congressman, was credited with developing the agreement, and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) praised the administration’s work toward ending the dispute. In August, Mexico had placed a 5 percent tariff on U.S. bone-in hams and 20 percent on cooked pork skins. Mexico is the pork industry’s second largest market, consuming $986 million of pork in 2010. U.S. pork exports to Mexico have increased by 780 percent since 1993. NPPC policy specialist Dave Warner told FarmWeek Mexico “updated the list” of retaliatory tariffs to include key pork products after the U.S. failed to meet a promised March 2010 deadline for devising a trucking solution. As the second “anniversary” of the trucking impasse approached, he said he had feared Mexico could bump the ham tariff to 20 percent. “That would really be devastating,” Warner said. — Martin Ross

Chevy Volt electric hybrid vehicle, which can run alternately on plug-in electricity and ethanol fuel. Merkley’s bill proposes incentives for plug-in hybrids as well as full-on electric models. At February’s National Ethanol Conference, GM biofuels specialist Sharon Basel reported her company was

“more committed than ever” to achieving a goal of 50 percent flex-fuel vehicle production by 2012. “We believe biofuels development and E85 (85 percent ethanol fuel) are the best nearterm solutions to reduce our dependence and improve the carbon footprint of driving,” she told FarmWeek.

U.S. ethanol import tariff key to Caribbean economies A crucial biofuels debate between the U.S. and Brazil is heating up, with economically struggling Caribbean nations literally caught in the middle. During a national ethanol conference roundtable, the U.S.’ 54-cent-per-gallon secondary tariff on imported ethanol was the focus of playful but pointed banter between U.S. Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen and Marcos Jank, CEO of the Brazilian sugarcane group UNICA. Today, Jank argued, the U.S. ethanol industry is “the largest in the world” and corn ethanol is “more competitive than sugarcane.” “Do you still need the credit or not? Do you still need the tariff or not?” Jank challenged Dinneen. “I think it’s time to lift your barriers and create a free market.” Dinneen reminded Jank of “the 30 years of subsidies that have helped you build a very successful industry,” including tax breaks, pipeline subsidies, and export “enhancements.” Amid Brazil’s recent cane ethanol shortfall, the U.S. has proven “a good supplier to your country,” Dinneen asserted. The tariff offsets the benefit foreign ethanol producers receive through the 45-cent-per-gallon U.S. blenders credit. Dinneen defended the U.S.’ right to spur domestic production “without having to subsidize the ethanol of another.” The tariff is “not a barrier to entry” for Brazil, said Dinneen. Under the U.S.’ Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), exports amounting to 7 percent of annual U.S. ethanol use can come into the country duty-free through Caribbean countries. The CBI, created to boost developing island economies, is a key conduit for Brazilian ethanol processed at Caribbean plants and shipped to the U.S. Ethanol processing is “the most successful industry created by the CBI,” and tariff elimination would be a regional “death knell,” Caribbean Basin Ethanol Producers Group Director George Fitch warned. “Brazil can now have its own CBI,” said Fitch, who urged UNICA to ease complaints against the U.S. and focus on Caribbean development via biofuels. That could benefit Brazil in current World Trade Organization (WTO) talks emphasizing developing country growth, he said. The U.S. tariff has been in a special WTO-approved “lock box” since the ‘90s, Dinneen noted. Noting a continued $4 billion in estimated annual subsidies for “a very mature” oil industry, he suggested “there is no free market for energy.” Jank agreed U.S. and Brazilian biofuels producers share a “common agenda”: “We need to replace oil, and we’re probably one of the only concrete solutions.” — Martin Ross

USDA changing value-added grant program for farmers Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced changes that take effect March 25 to USDA’s value-added producer grant program. The changes will help beginner growers, independent farmers, farmer cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups, and will support local and regional supply networks. “Improvements to this popular program will create additional economic and job opportunities by helping owners of small and medium-sized family farms sell their products in local and

regional markets,” Merrigan said. The regulations address program changes in the 2008 farm bill. These include: • Provide up to 10 percent funding to beginner farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; • Provide up to 10 percent funding to local and/or regional supply networks that connect farmers with the companies marketing their products; • Give priority to beginner farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, and operators of small and medium-sized family farms; and

• Extend grant eligibility to farmers who market their food products within their state or within a 400-mile radius.

FarmWeekNow.com To l e a r n m o r e a b o u t c h a n g e s t o U S D A’s v a l u e added grant program, go to FarmWeekNow.com

Two Illinois value-added grant recipients from last year provide examples of the types of operations that would qualify. A medium-sized family farm, Kilgus Farmstead Inc., Fairbury, received a working capital grant to produce and

market on-farm, non-homogenized bottled milk. The farm also is using the funding to expand its marketing. “Chicago” magazine recently named Kilgus milk the “Best Milk of 2010.” A beginning farmer operation, Willow Bend Alpaca Farms LLC, near Forreston, is using a grant for working capital to create and market clothing made from alpaca fiber. The farm raises, breeds, and sells alpacas. The operation is marketing clothing through retail outlets in Northern Illinois. Value-added producer grants may be used for feasibility studies or business

plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products, and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage. Information is available from Rural Development online at {www.rurdev.usda.gov/il} or by calling 217403-6200.


Page 5 Monday, March 7, 2011 FarmWeek

FOOD SAFETY

Growers take advantage of food safety training U of I Extension offering workshops BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois growers are taking advantage of training about food safety practices on the farm. “We believe this training is the right thing to do,” said Diane Handley, manager of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association. It protects the farm business as well as the consumer. Everyone wins when you have a safe product.” At its January conference, the Specialty Growers for a second year offered seminars about preparing for Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) audits and inspections, Handley noted.

Farmers who couldn’t attend that training or want more information have two upcoming opportunities. The University of Illinois Extension is offering identical GAPs workshops March 23 in the Countryside Extension Center, Countryside, and April 7 in the Kankakee County Extension office, Bourbonnais. “Training that centers on food safety is always important,” said Cynthia Haskins, manager of business development and compliance for Illinois Farm Bureau. “Many retailers, distributors, and foodservice institutions are requiring third-party, Good Agriculture Practices certification. These types of training events are a good first step.”

The Extension workshops will cover produce food safety, post-harvest produce handling, water quality and testing, soil management, manure management, worker health and hygiene, and auditing farms for GAPs and food safety. A USDA auditor also will share what to expect during an audit. “Recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses involving both fresh and processed food products have heightened

public concern about food safety,” said Ellen Phillips, U of I Extension crop systems educator. The GAPs workshop will equip farmers with information to develop their own written food safety plans, Phillips said. Pre-registration is required through the Extension office hosting the respective workshop, and space is limited. The cost, including lunch, is $30 for the first participant

and $25 for each additional employee or family member. To register for the Countryside workshop, go online to {http://web.extension.illinois. edu/countrysidecenter}. To register for the Bourbonnais workshop, go online to {http://kankakee.extension.ui uc.edu}. For more information on the Countryside workshop, call 708-352-0109. For more information on the Bourbonnais workshop, call 815-933-8337.

FARM BUREAU HELPING CHANGE FACE OF AG

Ethical livestock production topic for Chicago Farmers A panel of livestock producers will explain how they ethically raise their animals and the practices they use to assure a safe, good-quality food supply at the Tuesday, March 15, meeting of The Chicago Farmers. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Northern Illinois University Naperville campus, 1120 E. Diehl Rd., Naperville. Livestock production on today’s farms often is criticized by animal activists and the media, and often those criticisms are based on misunderstandings and misinformation. Attempting to set the record straight will be Nate Janssen, dairy operations manager for Golden Oaks

Dairy, Wauconda; Brent Scholl, a Polo hog far mer and past president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association; and Mike Martz, manager of the cattle operation Larson Far ms, Maple Park. The session will be moderated by Colleen Callahan, past president of The Chicago Far mers and current director for USDA Rural Development in Illinois. The event cost is$25 for members with reser vations, $35 at the door, and $50 for non-members. Reservations may be made by calling 312-388-3276 or by going online to {www. chicagofarmers.org}.

Nurse practitioner scholarships open Applications are now available for nurse practitioner scholarships through the Illinois Farm Bureau Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program. Five scholarships, worth $4,000 each, will be granted this year. The program, now in its 19th year, helps encourage and develop the pool of rural health practitioners to help meet primary health care needs in rural Illinois. Students who receive scholarships agree to practice for two years in an approved rural area in Illinois. To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must be an Illinois resident and a Registered Nurse accepted or enrolled in an accredited Nurse Practitioner Program. Funding is provided by the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program. Applications are available at county Farm Bureaus throughout the state, on IFB’s website on the Internet {www.ilfb.org}, or by contacting Mariah Dale-Anderson, special services manager, Illinois Farm Bureau, PO Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Applications are due May 1. For additional information, contact Dale-Anderson at 309557-2350 or via e-mail at mdale-anderson@ilfb.org.

Christina Nourie, left, Illinois Farm Bureau northeast legislative coordinator, and Bona Heinsohn, Cook County Farm Bureau public policy director, discuss careers related to agriculture policy during the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture career fair. Illinois Agri Women hosted the daylong event Friday for young women in high school and college at Illinois State University, Normal. (Photo by Ken Kashian)


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, March 7, 2011

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Schock seeks federal equipment safety standard BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Peoria Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock is spearheading legislation to improve the onroad visibility — and thus safety — of farm machinery. As Illinois farmers continued to prep equipment for spring planting, Schock’s Agricultural Machinery Illumination Safety Act would direct the secretary of transportation to develop rules aimed at improving daytime and nighttime visibility of equipment operated on public roads. The measure would ensure federally standardized lighting and markings on new machinery that has been “scientifically proven as effective in warning other drivers,” Schock said. Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson voiced support for the bill, noting it would provide for periodic review and improvement of safety standards “without mandating changes to existing equipment.”

“Fifty-five percent of all traffic fatalities occur on rural two-lane roads where agricultural equipment is moved from field to field Rep. Aaron during the Schock dimly lit periods of dawn and dusk,” Schock said. “I believe setting universal standards in this instance will create a safer environment not only for drivers, but for the farmers operating their equipment on our rural roads.” Currently, there are no federal lighting or marking standards, though the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) offers internationally used guidelines. State laws can vary widely, according to Schock and that allows use of “outdated technology” in some states. Under Schock’s bill, mini-

mum farm equipment lighting standards would kick in no later than two years after enactment. The measure would grant U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) authority to improve standards as technology improves. Illinois producers now operate under a two-tiered standard — for equipment manufactured prior to 2003 and for machinery produced after that. Newer equipment must meet ASABE’s (formerly ASAE’s) 279.11 standard for light placement, extremity markings, and marking reflectivity, which has been revised several times since state adoption. IFB transportation specialist Kevin Rund noted state standards were “fixed in time” with adoption of 279.11. But differences between 279.11 and current 279.16 standards are relatively minor, he said. A federal standard shouldn’t prove “too much of a burden” for major equipment manufacturers who comply voluntarily with ASABE stan-

dards, Rund suggested. But he stressed need to “grandfather” existing equipment as DOT updates standards for newly manufactured machinery.

“It’s all right for that standard to continue to advance as well as it doesn’t go back five years and say old equipment has to catch up,” Rund said.

Obama open to reforms

Physician/patient flight continued rural ‘challenge’ When Paul Pedersen began his practice in Bloomington, medical procedures that today are considered commonplace were extremely rare. “We were talking about getting CT scans,” a crucial cancer detection tool that has since come into widespread use. Thirty years later, Dr. Pederson is vice president and chief medical officer at Bloomington’s OSF-St. Joseph Medical Center and has seen medical technology improve by leaps and bounds. He now sees retention of doctors as a key challenge for Illinois communities, given physician fears of patient lawsuits under Illinois’ stern malpractice environment. President Obama recently proposed $250 million in U.S. Justice Department grants to help states rewrite malpractice laws. The administration proposes creating “health courts” with specialized judges rather than juries Dr. Paul Pedersen, vice president determining malpractice and chief medical officer at Bloomawards based on set compen- ington’s OSF-St. Joseph Medical sation schedules. Center, consults with a patient. Pedersen, a 1970s benefi- Pedersen sees the need to improve ciary of Illinois Farm Illinois’ environment for physician Bureau’s Rural Illinois Med- recruitment and retention. (Photo ical Student Assistance Pro- by Ken Kashian) gram (RIMSAP), noted there has been a concentration of physicians going into urban and suburban communities. RIMSAP is designed to put physicians in a rural practice for a set period of time in exchange for assistance in getting into medical school. University of Illinois med school graduate and RIMSAP participant Nicole Kennedy is a family practice intern in Greenwood, S.C., on a track to practice in a rural area probably south of Springfield. She hopes to focus on women’s health, though amid liability concerns, “the situation isn’t the best in Illinois right now for family physicians to do obstetrics.” Pedersen sees “major issues” in general obstetric availability in Central and Southern Illinois resulting from potential liability and the cost of malpractice insurance. The Illinois Supreme Court overturned a 2005 Illinois malpractice law that attempted to cap medical awards. “Women who live in Southern Illinois literally go to Missouri or Kentucky or Indiana for their obstetrical care in many, many instances” because of a shortage of doctors, Pedersen related. “That’s really challenging for us as a state. “(Obama) has said for the first time ‘I’m willing to look at liability reform.’ Wow. It would be interesting to have a national solution. We have states where physicians are leaving because they can’t afford the liability costs in addition to running their offices.” Pedersen emphasized malpractice reform advocates largely propose merely to cap “non-economic” awards based on intangibles such as patient “pain and suffering” rather than concrete financial loss. He agrees patients who suffer as a result of medical errors should be reasonably compensated. But he questions whether a potentially emotional lay jury is equipped to assess individual suffering. “How much is pain and suffering worth?” he posed. “Is it worth $30 million? Probably not.” — Martin Ross


Page 7 Monday, March 7, 2011 FarmWeek

USDA

USDA releases new set of dietary guidelines BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

USDA has released a new set of dietary guidelines aimed at reducing what literally has become a growing problem. Waistlines generally are expanding nationwide. About one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. currently are overweight or obese, according to USDA. “Many Americans are in a caloric imbalance — they consume more (calories) than they expend,” said Robert Prost, deputy director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), who was a featured speaker at the

recent USDA Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va. USDA updated its dietary guidelines so they provide more “simple, direct, and actionable messages,” according to Jackie Haven, director of the Nutrition Marketing and Communication Division within the CNPP. The updated guidelines include 23 specific recommendations for the general public along with recommendations for various target populations, such as pregnant women. The entire list is available online at {www.dietaryguidelines.gov}. Dietary recommendations include avoiding oversized

portions, making half of each serving fruits and vegetables, switching to fat-free or low-fat milk, drinking water instead of sugary drinks, and comparing the sodium level in foods and choosing the products with lower sodium content. The average American currently consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day

compared to the recommended 2,300 milligrams per day. Meanwhile, about 7 percent of an average American’s daily caloric intake is derived from sugar-sweetened beverages. “That certainly is a concern,” Post said about the consumption of “empty” calories. The new dietary guidelines include recommendations about which foods to consume and which ones to avoid. Americans are being told they should increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables, low-fat milk, whole grain, and seafood while avoiding foods that include sodium, fats, added sugars,

and refined grain. “Building healthy eating patterns is what it’s all about,” Post said. “An egg a day is just fine, by the way.” USDA’s next step to pro-

FarmWeekNow.com For more about USDA’s new set of dietary guidelines, go to FarmWeekNow.com.

mote the new dietary guidelines will be to update the food pyramid in coming months. USDA in April 2005 launched the site {www.MyPyramid.gov} which, as of last month, had 18 billion hits.

Livestock producers advised to prepare for GIPSA rules It still is unclear if and when the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration’s (GIPSA) proposed rule changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act will take effect. Some of the rules, which were published in the Federal Register on June 23, could be tweaked or even removed following a backlash of concern voiced by the livestock industry during a comment period that ended Nov. 22. GIPSA received more than 66,000 comments about the rules, according to Todd Langel, an attorney with Faegre and Benson in Des Moines who spoke this month at the Illinois Pork Expo in Peoria. “There are a lot of concerns (about the proposed rule changes),” said Mike Haag, a pork producer from Emington and president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. “A lot of people had a chance to voice their opinion. But right now there’s just a lot of uncertainty.”

USDA previously announced it will conduct an economic analysis of the proposed rules, although it did not establish a timeframe for the release of the analysis. The options after that include redrafting the GIPSA rules, modifying them, or printing them as they’re currently written, according to Langel. “If the rules are implemented as drafted, the rules would take effect within 30 days after they’re printed,” Langel said. “It would be during that time (30-day window) the fireworks (in the form of legal challenges) would take place.” The rules would ban packer-to-packer sales of livestock and could hinder producers’ ability to enter into specialty contracts and earn premiums. One of the key concerns about the proposed GIPSA rules is “if you can’t incentivize good production, the overall level has to come down for the prices paid,” Langel said. “It may drive the industry

Illinois to host training for composters The Midwest Composting School, for the first time since its creation in 1999, will be held on Illinois soil at Illinois State University, Normal. Registration for the May 31 to June 2 school is limited to the first 45 individuals who sign up on a first-come, firstserved basis. University of Illinois Extension will collaborate on this year’s school that offers comprehensive training in compost production and marketing. The information would be beneficial for farmers who compost manure. “This year’s program will include lectures, discussions, a tour of composting facilities in Central Illinois, and handson training that will allow par-

ticipants to monitor and rebuild compost piles,” said Duane Friend, a U of I Extension educator and co-coordinator of the program. The latest information on compost site regulations and rules will be discussed. The school is intended both for individuals who are new to composting and for those who are experienced. The early registration fee is $375 and is available until May 9. After that date, the registration fee is $450. To register, go online to {http://conferences.illinoissta te.edu/midwestcompostingsch ool/}. For more information about the school, contact Friend at friend@illinois.edu, or call him at 217-243-7424.

to move to one type of (marketing) contract and that’s it.” The GIPSA rules also will require documentation of sales. So Langel recommended producers and packers make sure they keep good records of all transactions. “The industry will be

behind the eight ball to prove everything it did (in a marketing contract),” the attorney said. “We’re telling people not to throw anything away.” Contracts signed before any new rules take effect will not be subject to those rules.

However, if contracts are tweaked after the rules are in place, those contracts would be in the scope of the new rules, Langel added. The proposed rules can be viewed online at {www.gipsa.usda.gov}. — Daniel Grant


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, March 7, 2011

RISK MANAGEMENT

Price/yield priorities key coverage decider BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

As the commodity price picture and production prognoses draw more sharply into focus, many Illinois growers face a largely two-pronged choice in crop coverage for 2011. Neither choice will come cheap, at least relatively speaking. But given current market conditions, either “can protect a lot of income this year,” University of Illinois farm management specialist Gary Schnitkey told FarmWeek. March 15 is sales closing date for federal crop insurance. Schnitkey suggests growers seeking primarily to protect bushels consider a Revenue Protection (RP) policy, while

those concerned more with basic price protection and whose production tracks with county averages may fare better with a county-based Group Risk Income Plan (GRIP) policy. “We have much higher base prices or projected prices this year,” Schnitkey said. “It makes our (insurance) guarantees higher, but it also raises the premium. You’re going to pay more for a higher guarantee. “For most farms, if you pick an insurance product with a high coverage level, you can pretty much guarantee yourself a ‘profit’ this year, given where prices are. I think the choice comes down to an RP policy at the 75-85 percent

coverage or a GRIP policy at a 90 percent coverage level.” GRIP with a harvest revenue option (GRIP-HR) will have

ed price of $6 per bushel and a volatility factor of 0.29. However, with a 90 percent coverage level available, prices

‘For most farms, if you pick an insurance product with a high coverage level, you can pretty much guarantee y o u r s e l f a ‘ p r o f i t ’ t h i s y e a r, g i ve n where prices are.’ — Gary Schnitkey U of I farm management specialist

higher premiums this year and will cost significantly more than RP. Premiums for corn policies were estimated using a project-

must fall only 10 percent below the policy base to trigger GRIP payments vs. a 15 percent drop necessary to trigger RP protec-

tion at its highest coverage level. RP “combo coverage” replaces both Crop Revenue Coverage (CRC) and Revenue Assurance (RA) policies this spring. Because of current prices and combo policy structure, RP premiums fell closer to higher former RA costs than premiums for lower-cost CRC policies. RP’s revenue guarantee increases if the harvest price is above the February-based projected price, and producers can reduce premium costs by taking RP with a harvest price exclusion. Schnitkey stressed the exclusion best serves producers who do not plan to market a significant amount of grain prior to harvest. Ensuring “enterprise units” — each comprising all acres of a single crop within a county — offers “a good alternative” for offsetting costs, through higher premium subsidies vs. “basic” unit coverage, Schnitkey pointed out. Again, individual circumstance should guide that decision. “Enterprise is a good alternative for farms that have similar types of land, with none of it close to being high-risk,” Schnitkey explained. U of I’s farmdoc website offers a trio of tools to help growers determine their best insurance option. In addition to a premium calculator, the site includes a payment simulator that calculates the odds of a crop payment under various scenarios and a downloadable “decision tool” that enables producers to tailor risk protections to their operation. With February average price data now in place, the U of I last week updated the premium calculator. For the suite of farmdoc insurance tools, visit {www.farmdoc.illinois.edu/cropi ns/index.asp}.

U of I research center to mark accomplishments The University of Illinois’ Northwestern Agricultural Research Center, Monmouth, will celebrate the efforts of local supporters to expand the center from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at the center. Local groups, such as the Northwest Agricultural Education Foundation, and the university worked to keep the center located in Warren County. Through combined efforts, the research center has increased its acreage from 160 to 320 acres. For more information, contact the center at 309-734-7459 or the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at 217-333-9355.


Page 9 Monday, March 7, 2011 FarmWeek

COMMODITIES 2010 county yield estimates unveiled

Illinois soy yield sets record; corn yields disappoint

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The 2010 growing season was one of extremes, based on the final state and county crop production numbers released last week by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The average soybean yield in the state was a record-high 51.5 bushels per acre while total winter wheat plantings were a record-low 330,000 acres. Meanwhile, the average corn yield in the state last year was a disappointing 157 bushels per acre, down 17 bushels from 2009, as mid-to

late-season heat and dryness took a toll on the crop. “Soybean yields were a pleasant surprise,” said Brad Schwab, director of the NASS Illinois field office. “A lot of farmers weren’t expecting what they ended up with, especially when we had such dismal corn yields.” Soybean production in the state last year totaled 466 million bushels, up 8 percent compared to 2009. The average yield was 1.5 bushels higher than the previous recordhigh of 50 bushels per acre harvested in 2004. The top five counties with the highest soybean yield aver-

ages in the state for 2010 were Piatt (63.3 bushels per acre), Moultrie (62.8), Christian (60.5), Sangamon (60.4), and

FarmWeekNow.com For more 2010 Illinois county yield estimates, go to FarmWeekNow.com.

Macon (60.4). For corn, the state yield average was well below the five-year range. “The last five years (prior to 2010) the average yield was in the ballpark of 170 to 175 bushels per acre,” Schwab said. “So it fell off by at least 10 bushels last year.”

The top five counties with the highest corn yield averages for 2010, all in Northern Illinois, are Carroll (189.8 bushels per acre), Ogle (183.4), Boone (182.5), Stephenson (180.8), and DeKalb (180.4). Overall, corn production in the state totaled 1.95 billion bushels, down 5 percent from 2009. Counties with the lowest corn and soybean yield averages in the state last year were in the drought-affected portions of Southeastern Illinois. Meanwhile, the average wheat yield for the state last year was 56 bushels per acre, identical to 2009. The top five counties with the highest wheat yields also were in the north: Carroll (80.3 bushels per acre), Kankakee (79.8), DeKalb

(77.6), Henry (75.2), and Winnebago (74.7). McLean was the top corn (60.5 million bushels) and soybean (15.8 million bushels) producing county in the state last year while farmers in Washington County (1.39 million bushels) produced the most wheat. NASS now will turn its attention to formulating projections for its highly anticipated March 31 prospective plantings report. In other crop news, the average sorghum yield last year in the state (96 bushels per acre) was up 14 bushels, the average oat yield was unchanged at 65 bushels per acre, and hay production (1.92 million tons) was down 4 percent compared to 2009.

USDA ups its food price projections for 2011 U.S. consumers this year will pay even more for food than previous estimates suggested, according to the latest numbers from USDA. The Ag Department at its recent Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va., upped its food price projections for 2011 from an average increase of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent. The bump in the food price outlook mostly was due to higher oil/energy prices and a rise in commodity prices, according to Ephraim Leibtag, deputy director of research for the Food Economics Division of USDA’s Economic Research Service. “Food and commodity prices more and more are tied to the energy markets,” Leibtag said. And that relationship doesn’t bode well for food prices. The average retail gasoline price the last week of February increased 19.4 cents per gallon while diesel prices have increased 12 consecutive weeks and last week were 74 cents per gallon higher than the same time last year, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported. EIA forecast oil prices this year will average $93 per barrel, which would be $14 per barrel higher than the 2010 average. “When we see oil heading over $100 per barrel, that has a direct impact on (the price of) all kinds of products, particularly ag commodities,” Mike Doherty, Illinois Farm Bureau senior economist and policy analyst, told FarmWeek at the Ag Outlook Forum. Marketing, transportation, packaging, and other food production/distribution costs consume about 85 percent of each food dollar while the farm share is less than 15 percent, Leibtag said. He noted that every $1 increase in the price of wheat translates to just a 5- to 10-cent rise in the price of a loaf of bread. Where higher commodity prices are expected to have the most impact, though, is in the meat case. USDA projected prices this year will increase by 3.5 to 4.5 percent for beef, 4.5 to 5.5 percent for dairy products, and 5.5 to 6.5 percent for pork mostly due to higher feed costs. The stocks-to-use ratios for corn and beans currently are at historic lows. “The good news is whenever ag products increase in price, producers respond by producing more and then the price decreases,” Doherty said. “We had some significant (food) price decreases in late 2008 and 2009 after some high-price years. We expect a similar response this year.” The consumer price index (CPI) for food rose to a decadehigh 5.5 percent in 2008 but declined to just 0.8 of a percent last year. The CPI this year is projected to increase by 3 to 4 percent. — Daniel Grant


FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, March 7, 2011

BRAZIL

Rainfall hampering Brazilian harvest WIU Beef Station sale BY PHIL CORZINE

We are almost into harvest at all three of our Brazilian farms, but nearly daily rains are holding us back. In Araguacu, we have desiccated (applied burn-down) two-thirds of a 66-acre field and are now waiting for Phil Corzine some sun to finish. We had hoped to start harvesting that field by last Saturday. The burn-down will speed up planting for our safrinha, which translates to little crop, but in reality is just a double-crop. The rains start later in Tocantins, so we can’t start planting soybeans until the first week of November, so almost no one there tries to do a second crop. In Mato Grosso, where

to offer 50 tested bulls planting normally is done as early as August, farmers count on double-cropping corn or cotton. However, the La Nina pushed back their planting this year. As a result, it looks like less doublecrop corn will get planted than expected. We are planting sorghum and hoping that the rains continue into late April to give the crop time to develop. Since it is a higher-risk crop, we try to keep our input costs to a minimum. To desiccate and buy seed, insecticide, and fertilizer (3-400) will cost us $78 per acre. If the yields come in at around 1.8 metric tons per hectare, we would net $55 per acre, after covering our machine costs. Prices in Brazil have followed

the Chicago Board of Trade lower over the past few weeks, but we can still get $11.60 per bushel. Corn prices are still very strong in our area, which has few corn farms but lots of cattle. Corn is selling for more than $9 per bushel. There continues to be conflicting reports about Brazil’s overall crop, but I still think that the soybean crop will end up on the high end of expectations, unless these harvest-delaying rains continue. Phil Corzine is general manager of South American Soy, a global production management and investment company. His e-mail address is pcorzine@agpage.com.

IPT bull sale sets new price record The Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale held last month at the Illinois Beef Expo brought the highest overall average price ($2,980 on 77 lots) in the 43-year history of the event. The University of Illinois Extension, University of Illinois department of animal sciences, and consigning breeders sponsored the sale. Also, Vita Ferm, the Illinois Angus Association, and the Illinois Simmental Association provided industry support. The sale has developed into one of the largest performance tested bull sales in the Midwest. During the past 43 years, 4,381 bulls valued at more than $7.2 million have been sold at the sale, according to Dave Seibert, bull sale manager. There were three breeds — Angus, Simmental, and Polled Herefords — represented in this year’s sale. The Angus breed had the largest number of bulls in the sale with 38 head. It also had a record-setting average price in the sale with $3,431, which exceeded the previous breed aver-

age by $643 set back in 2005 and the 2010 average by $730. The largest number of Simmental bulls in recent history was offered in the 2011 sale. The 35 head were a slight increase above the 33 head offered in the 2010 but a big increase above the average of 23 head offered from 2007 to 2009. The 2011 Simmental offering averaged $2,519, which was the second-highest Simmental average price in the history of the sale and $258 above the 2010 average. The Polled Hereford breed had four bulls in the sale and had the second-highest breed average price in the sale at $2,731. The average price was almost identical to that paid in 2009 of $2,717. Producers interested in viewing a breakdown of all the prices may visit the Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale website at {www.IPTBullSale.com}. Also included on this site are the individual bull prices from the 2011 sale and the numbers and averages from the previous 42 sales.

Bi-state horse workshop scheduled April 2 The Illinois/Wisconsin Bi-State Horse Workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Kenosha County Center, Bristol, Wis. The early registration deadline is March 28. The University of Illinois Extension and Wisconsin Cooperative Extension have organized and are sponsoring the program. Conference participants may chose three tracts: a trail riding tract, senior horse tract, and advanced horseman tract. Kevin Kline, U of I professor of animal sciences and Extension horse specialist, will discuss how to avoid poisonous plants and caring for a horse’s nutrition while trail riding. He also will speak about nutrition for the senior horse and performance horse during breakout sessions. “Horses have different nutritional needs according to their use,” Kline said. “I’ll share strategies for feeding performance horses to reduce heat load and encourage aerobic metabolism of fats and oils, and for determining how to time feeding in relation to exercise routines to minimize stress.” Kline also will discuss how to adapt feedstuffs to the physical conditions of older hors-

es. “Older horses have more nutritional challenges because of poor teeth and poor absorption of nutrients,” he said. “I’ll present ways to overcome some of these challenges through your feeding program.” In addition to Kline, other speakers are Dr. Philip Burns of the Elkhorn Vet Clinic, Ken Carpenter of the Wisconsin State Horse Council, Dr. Kevin Nelson of the Bristol Vet Service, and Liv Sandberg with the University of Wisconsin (U of W) Extension. The registration fee includes lunch. The fee is $35 per person or $60 for two people. A special youth fee is $15. After March 28, registration fees increase $10. Space is limited and participants are encouraged to register early. For registration questions, contact the U of I Lake County Extension office in Grayslake at 847-223-8627. For a brochure copy or to register online, go to {http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/lake/}. For general program information, contact Sandberg, U of W Extension equine specialist, at 608-263-4303 or e-mail her at sandberg@ansci.wisc.edu.

Western Illinois University’s beef evaluation station will offer 50 bulls at its 39th annual performance tested bull sale starting at 7 p.m. Friday, March 18, at the WIU Livestock Center, Macomb. The breeds represented will be Angus, Polled Hereford, Charolais, Charolais-Angus hybrids, Red Angus, Simmental, and Simmental-Angus hybrids, according to Ken Nimrick, associate professor in the WIU School of Agriculture. All bulls are Merial SureHealth certified and tested free of Johne’s disease, PI-BVD, and known genetic defects. By the sale date, they will have completed a breeding soundness exam, Nimrick added. “Extensive production information is available to help breeders improve their herds through known genetic information,” Nimrick said. “In addition to average daily gain and feed efficiency, data also will be provided on rib eye area, 12th rib fat, marbling, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, frame score, and birth weight.” The beef industry is focusing on reducing input costs, which can by accomplished with improved efficiency of feed usage, using information provided by the test station, Nimrick said. The WIU test sale is one of the few places where all bulls have individual feed efficiency data, he noted. The testing station is open daily for viewing of the bulls before the sale. Catalogs were to be sent about March 5 to the station’s regular mailing list. For more information or to request a sale catalog, contact the School of Agriculture at 309-298-1080. The catalog and more information on the bulls are available online at {www.wiu.edu/bulltest/}.

Illini Dorset, all-breeds sheep sale April 1-2 The annual Illini all-breeds spring sheep sale, held in conjunction with the Illini Dorset show and sale, will be April 1 and 2 at the Interstate Center in Bloomington. This will be first time the sale has been held in Bloomington. The Illini Dorset show will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, April 1, and the Illini all-breeds show will be at 9 a.m. Saturday. At noon Saturday, the Illini Dorset Sale will begin, with the all-breeds sale following immediately afterward. Both shows will be judged by Brian Mohr of Carlock. Tyler Lobdell of Lena and Gary Saylor of Belle Center, Ohio, will be this year’s auctioneers. The Illinois Dorset Association is sponsoring the entire event. The sale headquarters will at the Holiday Inn Express located next to the Interstate Center. There will be Dorsets, Suffolks, Hampshires, Southdowns, Shropshires, Oxfords, Cheviots, Columbias, Corriedales, natural colored, and club lambs offered at the sale this year. For a sale catalog for either or both sales, contact Banner Sale Management Service, Cuba, Ill., at 309-785-5058, or visit its website at {www.bannersheepmagazine.com}.


Page 11 Monday, March 7, 2011 FarmWeek

EDUCATION

County Farm Bureaus honored for ag literacy The American Farm Bureau (AFB) Foundation last week awarded four Illinois county Farm Bureaus mini-grants for agricultural education efforts. The grants are funded through the WhiteReinhardt Fund for Education program and are awarded for new projects or to extend existing ones. The county Farm Bureaus are: Kendall, McHenry, Monroe, and Rock Island. Kendall County will use the money to fund an ag-related professional display board for use at school and community fairs and similar activities. McHenry County will use the grant to buy 16-foot display signs with flip-up questions and answers about farmers and farming. An accompanying power point presentation will be available for teachers. Monroe County will use the funding to spon-

sor a coloring contest for all first graders in the county during National Agriculture Week. Teachers of participating classes will receive an agriculture book. The county Farm Bureau also will distribute ag literacy materials to fourth grade classes and buy agriculture books to be loaned to teachers. Rock Island County will use the grant to assist with a horticulture outreach program for students. In coordination with the local University of Illinois Extension staff, the county Farm Bureau will buy books and materials to help integrate more agriculture-based lessons into the outreach program. The winners were selected based on the effectiveness of their programs to encourage students to learn more about agriculture.

FFA chapters compete for share of $225,000 from Monsanto FFA chapters in Illinois and six other states are connecting with local farmers in a competition for a share of more than $225,000 provided by Monsanto to the National FFA Foundation. FFA chapters in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Georgia, and Alabama are learning more about local farmers’ operations and sharing information about FFA with those farmers. By May 1, each farmer must register online or call to confirm contact by the participating FFA chapter. The website is {www.FFAChapterChallenge.com} and the National FFA Organization number is 800293-2387. The reporting deadline is May 1; FFA chapter winners will be announced by May 15. The 125 FFA chapters that make the most connections with farmers will receive a $1,500

Auction Calendar Tues., Mar. 8. 6:30 p.m. Quality Farmland McLean County. Nafziger, Estate of Norlan and Phyllis, STANFORD, IL. Halderman Real Estate Services. www.halderman.com Tues., Mar. 8. Ag Eq. Consignment Auction. DECATUR, IL. Taylor and Martin Real Estate/Ag Sales, LLC. www.tmras.com Thurs., Mar. 10. Warren County Farmland. Soy Capital Ag Services. www.soycapitalag.com Thurs., Mar. 10. 10 a.m. Consignment Auction. RAYMOND, IL. Agri-Tech, Inc. Fri., Mar. 11. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. GREENVIEW, IL. Ron Sanert, Gordon Watkins and Eldred Nehmelman, Auctioneers. sanertauctions.com or topauctions247.com/nehmelman Sat., Mar. 12. 9:30 a.m. Consignment Auction. ROSEVILLE, IL. Van Adkisson Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Sat., Mar. 12. 9 a.m. Farm Machinery Auction. MAYFIELD, KY. James R. Cash, Auctioneer. Sat., Mar. 12. 9:30 a.m. Machinery Auction. NASHVILLE, IL. Schaller Auction Service. www.schallerauctionservice.com Sat, Mar. 12. 9 a.m. Estate Auction. Orville Alwardt Estate, ALTAMONT, IL. Gordon Price Auction Service. www.priceauction.com Sat., Mar. 12. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. BALDWIN, IA. Powers Auction Service. www.powersauction.com Mon., Mar. 14. 10 a.m. Coles Co. Real Estate. Irvin Von Lanken Estate, CHARLESTON, IL. Stanfield

certificate of credit from the National FFA. Chapters may use that funding to buy FFA jackets, merchandise, awards, banquet supplies, or other materials. Chapters also may use the money to defray members’ expenses to attend the national FFA convention or the Washington Leadership Conference. Nationwide, the chapter whose members make the most contacts will be awarded an allexpenses-paid trip for six FFA members and an adult adviser to the national FFA convention in Indianapolis. “We’re committed to youth in agriculture at Monsanto because we know agriculture will only be as strong as its next generation,” said John Raines, Monsanto’s vice president of customer advocacy.

Auction Co. www.stanfieldauction.com Tues., Mar. 15. 9:30 a.m. Farm machinery. Kampen Farms, BAILEYVILLE, IL. Gehling Auction Inc. www.gehlingauction.com Tues., Mar. 15. 10:30 a.m. 80 Ac. Warren Co. Reva E. Hinderliter, ALEXIS, IL. Gregory Real Estate & Auction LLC. Wed., Mar. 16. 10 a.m. Farm Auction. George J. and Patricia Fleck Farm, SHERMAN, IL. Mike Maske Auction Service. Thurs., Mar. 17. 9 a. m. Farm Machinery Consignment Auction. CARTHAGE, IL. Sullivan & Son Auction LLC. www.sullivansonauction.com Thurs., Mar. 17. 10:30 a.m. Farmland Auction. Keith A. Richardson, NEW WINDSOR, IL. Gregory Real Estate and Auction LLC. biddersandbuyers.com Fri., Mar. 18. and Sat., Mar. 19. 8:30 a.m. both days. Consignment Auction. ANNAWAN, IL. Hatzer and Nordstrom Eq. Co. www.whatzernordstromauction.c om Sat., Mar. 19. 10 a.m. Farm machinery. Doug and Mary Jo Coartney, ASHMORE, IL. Stanfield Auction Co. www.stanfieldauction.com Sat., Mar. 19. 9 a.m. Large MultiFarmer Auction. OKAWVILLE, IL. Riechmann Bros., LLC. www.riechmannauction.com, www.topauctions24-7.com or www.biddersandbuyers.com Sat., Mar. 19. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. Leland Lions Club. LELAND, IL. www.lelandlionsclub.com

Mon., Mar. 21. 9:30 a.m. Machinery Auction. TAYLORVILLE, IL. Micenheimer Auction Service. www.micenheimer.com Tues., Mar. 22. 9:30 a.m. Consignment Auction. OREGON, IL. Northwest Eq. Tues., Mar. 22. 1 p.m. Land Auction. Murray Wise Associates LLC. murraywiseassociates.com Tues., Mar. 22. 10 a.m. Public Land Auction. Trinity Community Church, FARMER CITY, IL. Haycraft Auction Co. www.haycraftauctions.com Fri., Mar. 25. 10 a.m. Land Auction Bureau Co. Herbert Bialas, ORIN, IL. Espe Auctioneering. www.espeauctions.com Sat., Mar. 26. 10 a .m. Farm machinery. Gramley Grain Farms, LLC, ELBURN, IL. Espe Auctioneering. www.espeauctions.com Sat., Mar. 26. 9 a.m. Land Auction DeWitt Co. Heritage Farms LLC, WAPELLA, IL. Haycraft Auction Co. Inc. www.hbtagservices.com or www.haycraftauctions.com Sat., Mar. 26. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. LAWRENCEVILLE, IL. Groff Eq. Mon., Mar. 28. 2 p.m. Land Auction Hancock Co. The Leo Markin Trust and the Ann Markin Estate, CARTHAGE, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Fri., Apr. 2. 10 a.m. Land Auction Champaign Co. Ruben Bidner, MAHOMET, IL. Gordon Hannagan Auction Co. www.gordyvilleusa.com

GETTING A NORTHERN PERSPECTIVE

The North Carolina Farm Bureau Board of Directors visited Illinois last week to learn more about Illinois agriculture and meet with the Illinois Farm Bureau board. Stops included the Chicago Board of Trade, Union Pacific’s Joliet intermodal facility, DeKalb County Farm Bureau Building, a wind farm, a cattle operation, a John Deere combine factory, and Harold Steele’s farm in Princeton to view his antique farm equipment collection. Here, Norm Larson of Larson Family Partnership, right, is shown explaining corn and soybean production practices on his family farm near Maple Park. (Photo by Chris Magnuson)

FCS offers FFA, 4-H grants Farm Credit Services of Illinois will award community improvement grants of $250 each for up to 60 proposed projects submitted by 4-H clubs and FFA chapters. Eligible clubs and chapters must be based in one of the 60 Central and Southern Illinois counties served by Farm Credit Services of Illinois. The application deadline is March 31. This is the third year Farm Credit has funded community improvement grants for 4-H clubs but the first year FFA chapters also are eligible. FFA and 4-H groups may collaborate with other community organizations to complete a project. Previous grants were awarded for such projects as planting trees along a bike path, creating a flower or community garden at a school, landscaping a new fire station, installing a flag pole at a local park, restoring a children’s park, building a welcome sign for a small community, constructing and maintaining a community bulletin board, and cleaning up an abandoned cemetery. Community residents with improvement project ideas should contact their local 4-H clubs or FFA chapters. Applications must be submitted online by March 31 at {www.fcsillinois.com/HCGrants.html}. Direct questions to info@fcsillinois.com.


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, March 7, 2011

FB IN ACTION

20-head hog donation helps Adams County needy BY SHAWN VALTER

Ryan Rabe, a member of the Adams County Farm Bureau board, and Cargill recently made a 20-head donation of hogs to the county Farm Bureau’s ongoing meat donation program.

The local Farm Bureau pays for processing the donated meat from area farmers, which is distributed back to the 13 area food pantries in the county in two-pound frozen packages of ground meat. In this instance, Rabe decided to have the loins saved separately for use in the senior meal program. Farm Bureau directors will help deliver and serve those loins

when they are cooked at the senior center for the Meals on Wheels service. Since the Adams County Farm Bureau started the donation program last fall, seven area farmers have donated more than 5,200 pounds of process beef and pork to the area’s needy. Brad Cassens, the county Farm Bureau Marketing Committee chairman, said, “We are very pleased with the community support for this program over the past several months, and hopefully it is something that will continue throughout the year.” The county Farm Bureau would like to see other county Farm Bureaus start a similar program so this can become a statewide effort. Shawn Valter is manager of Adams County Farm Bureau. His e-mail address is acbf@adams.net.

Brad Cassens, Adams County Farm Bureau Marketing Committee chairman, left, and Ryan Rabe, a county Farm Bureau board member, load donated pork loins for delivery to the senior center in Quincy to be used for the Meals on Wheels program. (Photo courtesy of Adams County Farm Bureau)

Check-Out Week nets large haul in Cook County Recent Food Check-Out Week activities in Cook County garnered more than 11,000 pounds of food that went to benefit the four Ronald McDonald houses in the area. In one event, Cook County Farm Bureau sponsored a shopping spree at JEWELOSCO in Oak Lawn, and this year for the first time seven Cook County elementary schools participated in a 10day food drive challenge. Totals for the week were the highest ever at 315 pounds of pop tabs, $4,316 donated by members of the Cook County Farm Bureau, farmers, staff, and affiliated companies and public supporters, and a grand total of 11,663 pounds of non-perishable food items.

$1,000 was granted from the Illinois Soybean Association for the shopping spree, and $600 was granted from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board to purchase meat products. In the shopping spree, representatives from the Oak Lawn fire and police departments raced against each other collecting food items that contained soy ingredients. The police won with a total of 257 soy items collected compared to the fire department at 188 soy items. In the event involving the seven schools, 4,801 pounds of food and 248 pounds of soda pop tabs were collected. Nathan Hale Elementary in Chicago collected the most with 1,510 pounds of food and 61 pounds of pop tabs.

Other participating schools were Southwest School in Evergreen Park; Fernway Park Elementary of Orland Park; Grace Christian Academy, Chicago; Dore Elementary in Chicago; Dorn Primary Center in Hickory Hills; and St. Gerald School of Oak Lawn. In its 13th year, Food Check-Out Week draws attention to the fact that Americans spend an average of less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food. The county Farm Bureau has been celebrating Food CheckOut Week since 2001. Information provided by Haley Loy-Siergiej, director of ag literacy and public relations for the Cook County Farm Bureau. Reach her at aitc@cookcfb.org.

Mike Rauch, Cook County Farm Bureau board member and chairman of the county Farm Bureau’s Ag Literacy and Public Relations Team, hands Ronald McDonald a bag of donated food items during a Food Check-Out event sponsored by the county Farm Bureau. (Photo by Haley Loy-Siergiej, Cook County Farm Bureau ag literacy and public relations director)

FOOD CHECK-OUT BOUNTY

VISITING ADOPTED LEGISLATOR

In observance of Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 20-26, the Livingston County Farm Bureau Young Leaders Committee sponsored a two-minute shopping cart race at Dave’s Super Market in Fairbury. Pictured, from left, are Young Leaders Jenna Kilgus, Fairbury; Anna Schmidgall, Forrest; and Brad Follmer, Graymont; Mark Heil, general manager of Prairie Central Co-op; and Matt Jacobs, general manager of Graymont Co-op. Jacobs won the event, collecting 233 non-perishable food items worth $273.38. Heil collected 158 items worth $212.10. The food items were donated to the Fairbury Food Pantry. (Photo by Teresa Grant-Quick, Livingston County Farm Bureau manager)

Members of the Lee County Farm Bureau, including Vice President Ron Schoenholz, right, recently visited the county’s newly adopted legislator, Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Skokie), left, at his office in Skokie. Looking on are Biss’ legislative aide, Alison Leipsiger, standing, and Bona Heinsohn, Cook County Farm Bureau’s public policy director. The group toured the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie and discussed issues of interest to his constituents and agriculture. Biss plans to make a reciprocal visit to a farm in Lee County in the near future. (Photo courtesy Lee County Farm Bureau)


Page 13 Monday, March 7, 2011 FarmWeek

FROM THE COUNTIES

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UREAU — The Women’s Committee will sponsor a teacher appreciation dinner and Ag in the Classroom training lesson at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at the Farm Bureau office. Continuing professional development units will be available. Educators may call the Farm Bureau office at 815-875-6468 for reservations or more information. ASS-MORGAN — Farm Bureau will sponsor a “Rural Crime Awareness and Prevention” seminar at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 21, at the Morgan County Extension building, Jacksonville. Morgan County Sheriff Randy Duvendack and Cass County Sheriff Bob Fair will be the speakers. Call the Farm Bureau office at 245-6833 for more information. LARK — Farm Bureau will sponsor an informational meeting on U.S. Department of Transportation new entrant’s audit at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at the Farm Bureau office. Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau senior director of local government, will be the speaker. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information. OUGLAS — The annual meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at Yoder’s Kitchen, Arthur. Max Armstrong, WGN Radio, will be the speaker. Dinner will be served. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-253-4442 by Tuesday, March 15, for reservations or more information. ULTON — Two policy development and issues meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the following locations and dates: Monday, March 14, Fairview Reformed Church Fellowship Hall, and Tuesday, March 22, at the Bernadotte Café. Dinner will be served. Call the Farm Bureau office at 547-3011 or e-mail fultonfb@att.net four days in advance of the meeting for reservations or more information. • The Ag Literacy Committee will sponsor a fundraiser chicken and noodle dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Farm Bureau office. Proceeds will benefit Ag in the Classroom programs. Cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children 5 to 12 years. There is no charge for children 5 and under. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information. RUNDY — Farm Bureau will sponsor a crop imaging and commodity outlook meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the Mazon American Legion. Speakers are Sid Parks, GROWMARK, and Craig

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Lauderman, GrainCo FS. Dave Dickey, WILL AM 580 director of ag programming, will be the moderator of a panel which includes Mike Zuzola, Global Commodity Analytics; Jacquie Voeks, Stewart Peterson Group, and Jerry Gidel, North American Risk Management Services. A Subway meal will be served. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815942-6400 for reservations or more information. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a spill prevention, control, and countermeasures regulations meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at the Farm Bureau office. There will be speakers from GROWMARK and GrainCo FS. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-942-6400 for reservations or more information. ANCOCK — The Hancock County Ag Day breakfast will be from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the University of Illinois Extension Center, Carthage. Dennis Vercler, Illinois Farm Bureau director of news and communications, will be the speaker. The winner of the 2011 Hancock County Farm Family of the Year Award will be announced at the end of the program. ENRY — A weather and outlook meeting will be at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at the St. Paul Lutheran Church, Orion. A buffet dinner will be served. Mike McClellan, Mobile Weather Team, and Mike Schaver, Gold Star FS grain merchandiser, will be the speakers. Cost is $18, unless the series was paid in advance. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-937-2411 for reservations or more information. NOX — Farm Bureau will sponsor an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Knox Agri Center, Galesburg. Nancy Erickson, Illinois Farm Bureau director of natural and environmental resources, and Randy Tomic, GROWMARK, will be the speakers on oil and fuel storage. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309-342-2036 or e-mail knoxcfb@knoxcfb.org for reservations or more information. ASALLE — The Viewpoint Committee will sponsor a call-a-thon from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Committee members will call on members to surface new ideas, concerns, and needs of its membership. • See the AgriSource, which was inserted in this issue of FarmWeek, for a description of discounts local merchants are offering during National Ag Week, March 13-19. EE — During the month of March, Cul-

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vers in Dixon will double the discount it provides Farm Bureau members from 5 to 10 percent to show appreciation for agriculture.

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ONTGOMERY — The Prime Timers will meet at noon Wednesday, March 16, for a luncheon meeting. A corned beef and cabbage meal will be served. Cost is $8. Mike Plunkett, Montgomery County board chairman and senior editor of The Journal News, will be the speaker. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-532-6171 for reservations or more information.

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OCK ISLAND — Henry and Rock Island County Farm Bureaus will sponsor a market outlook meeting at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Orion. Mike McClellan, Mobile Weather Team, and Mike Schaver, Gold Star FS grain merchandiser, will be the speakers. Dinner will be served. Cost is $18, unless the series was prepaid. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309736-7432 for reservations or more information.

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TARK — The Stark County Farm Bureau Foundation has a scholarship available for a student who will be a freshman or sophomore in college and another for a student who will be a junior or senior in college. A third scholarship will be awarded to the most deserving applicant in either category. Applicants must be a member of Stark County Farm Bureau or a dependent of a member or a Stark County resident pursuing a degree in an agrelated field of study. Deadline to return applications to the Farm Bureau office is by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information. ERMILION — The Young Leaders will sponsor a fun night Saturday, March 19, for members ages 35 and under. Plans include dinner and bowling. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217442-8713 for reservations or more information. AYNE — The annual meeting will be at 6 p.m. Friday at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Fairfield. Jerry Parsons, Bloomington,

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will speak on “Try Vitamin L and Thrive in the Face of Change.” The Young Leader Committee will collect food donations for the Harvest for All campaign to be given to the Wabash Area Development Inc. Call the Farm Bureau office at 618-842-3342 for reservations. Visit the website {www.waynecfb.com} for the complete notice of the annual meeting. • The Young Leader Committee is raffling off an Echo CS-360 chainsaw to raise funds for its collegiate scholarship and safety day. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the Farm Bureau office or from a Young Leader member. The drawing will be during the annual meeting. The chainsaw was donated by McLean Implement Inc., Albion. OODFORD — A legislative coffee will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Farm Bureau auditorium. State legislators have been invited. Learn about state issues and express your opinions about agriculture. Call the Farm Bureau office at 309467-2347 for more information.

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FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, March 7, 2011

PROFITABILITY

Farm income, expenses projected to soar in 2011 BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The sharp rise in commodity prices in recent months is projected to boost 2011 U.S. farm income to the secondhighest, inflation-adjusted level in 35 years. However, the outlook this year isn’t all good news as record-high expenses are expected to challenge farmers, particularly those in the livestock sector, according to USDA. The Ag Department released the latest farm income and expense projections recently at its Ag Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va. “We see the strong performance of the ag sector continuing and favoring cash grain and oilseed products,” said

Timothy Park, a USDA Economic Research Service economist. “Specialty crops and livestock producers are not expected to do as well.” Overall, net farm income this year is projected to reach $94.7 billion, up $15.7 billion (19.8 percent) from the 2010 forecast. If realized, the top five earnings years the past three decades will have occurred since 2004. “The value of crop production is going up rapidly,” Park said. Cash crop receipts this year are projected to increase by $24.1 billion, led by increases of 27 percent for soybeans, 23 percent for corn, and 20 percent for wheat. Cattle and hog prices also raced to historic highs in

recent months, but the outlook for the livestock sector this year is more subdued because of feed prices that are projected to rise by a total of $4.6 billion.

“It’s a different story for livestock,” Park said. “We see more restrained growth.” USDA projected cash receipts in the livestock industry this year will increase

by $4.3 billion (3 percent). Overall, farm expenses this year were projected to rise 6.8 percent, following a 2 percent gain in 2010, and eclipse the $300-billion mark for the first time in history. The increase in farm expenses this year — an estimated $20.2 billion — would be the third-largest jump in inputs since the late 1970s. Cost projections this year are up by 16 percent for fuels and oils, 14 percent for fertilizer, 10 percent for feed, and 5 percent for seed. High input prices also are expected to offset strong retail prices for many specialty crops. Cash receipts are projected to decline 4 percent this year for vegetable and melon growers.

Crop prices allow opportunity to experiment this season BY JEFF BUNTING

The recent warm weather reminded us that spring is near and there is much to do. When was the last time you planted a crop at current market prices? Jeff Bunting As you plan for spring, take a moment to think about ways

to make 2011 profitable. Corn following corn in 2010 was challenged by wet weather and the realization that nitrogen was under extreme environmental pressure. Your FS crop specialists can help make every pound of nitrogen count in 2011 with many products available to minimize nitrogen loss. As we strive for higher yields, we realize that nitrogen needs to be treated as a system.

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 $33.00-58.00 $45.42 $75.00-76.50 $76.06 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 27,630 25,214 *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 $79.98 $80.41 $59.19 $59.50

Change -0.43 -0.32

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price Steers Heifers

This week 112.81 112.74

(Thursday’s price) Prv. week Change 110.83 1.98 110.70 2.04

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 128.60 -0.18

This week 128.42

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 130-170 lbs. for 142173.65 $/cwt.(wtd ave. 161.42); dressed, no sales reported.

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 2-24-11 48.6 19.6 24.1 2-17-11 41.8 31.2 38.9 Last year 41.2 19.7 42.7 Season total 1149.7 861.8 801.5 Previous season total 1113.2 624.6 815.3 USDA projected total 1590 1300 1950 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

The corn plant needs nitrogen throughout the growing season, and by applying at different stages, you can provide nitrogen at the right time for optimal growth and development. We have learned of additional cases of resistant weeds. Even late in the growing season, an occasional waterhemp, lambsquarter, or even a giant ragweed plant is observed in a soybean field. Our current glyphosate strategy continues to be challenged in many areas. We cannot afford to lose glyphosate as a weed control tool. Countless studies have determined yield loss due to early-season weed competition. That is one reason why a soil-applied herbicide needs to be used to maximize soybean yields; however, the major reason is to preserve the sustainability of glyphosate. The occasional plant turns into a few more plants the following year, and in three to five years you have a problem. Your FS crop specialist can help you identify the right product based on your weed spectrum. A new concept in 2011 is the use of fungicides at an early corn growth stage. Fungicides have been applied early in the reproductive stage of the corn crop. However, as we learn more about genetics, conditions that favor disease, and the introduction of new fungicides, an application of fungicides earlier will help protect the crop from diseases which cause standability issues and/or reduced photosynthetic capacity of the corn crop.

It’s important to understand that integrated pest management practices should be followed and that your FS crop specialist can walk you through the conditions that would suggest the use of a fungicide early in the growing season. It’s an exciting time to be in agriculture, and the current

commodity prices allow the opportunity to try something new and look at ways to increase profitability in your operation. Jeff Bunting is GROWMARK’s crop protection marketing manager. His e-mail address is jbunting@growmark.com.

Milk price makes huge jump The Class III price for milk adjusted to 3.5 percent butterfat for the month of February was $17 per hundredweight, $3.52 higher than the previous month. Milk prices finally are responding to tighter supplies. Cull cow prices are their highest levels in history, and the dairy herd is thinning out, lowering production and putting a solid floor under the market. Marketwatchers note that dairy heifer supplies are coming on strong, so prices may be tempered in the months to come. For those dairymen who must buy corn, this will help move the bottom line into the black.


FarmWeek Page 15 Monday, March 7, 2011

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

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

Will more wheat be fed? Since the Feb. USDA supply/demand report came out, there’s been many comparisons to the 1995/1996 marketing year for corn. If you remember, the tight supply of corn caused prices to surge to $5.45 by early July. But prior to wheat breaking dormancy in March, nearby corn futures still hadn’t eclipsed the $4 all-time high. But it wasn’t the tight supply of corn that caused prices to surge in late spring, it was the move in wheat futures from $4.66 in March 1996 to $7.17 by late April that allowed corn prices to move sharply higher. Like this year, poor stands and winterkill problems caused a lot of wheat acres to be abandoned, making the new-crop wheat picture tight. That triggered the surge in wheat prices during the spring. More important, livestock feeders had been counting on a good wheat crop for feed to counter what was an extremely tight feedgrains picture.

Basis charts

When the “failed” wheat acres were allowed to be ripped up and planted to another crop, it changed the wheat outlook dramatically, forcing livestock feeders to scramble to cover feed needs in the corn market. But there are a couple of distinct differences, one real and one potentially so. U.S. wheat supplies at the end of the 1995/1996 crop year were only 376 million bushels, a historically tight level. By contrast, this year’s are currently forecast to be 818 million bushels. World production in the two years leading up to 1996 were relatively poor, tightening world supplies. The crops outside of the U.S. and China were only marginally better in 1996, keeping stocks relatively tight. At this time, those crops look better than they did last year. If they hold up, export demand for our new wheat crop could diminish markedly. It declined sharply in 1996/1997 even with a relatively tight world structure. At an 89 percent ratio of July corn futures to July wheat futures, it starts to be economical to replace corn with wheat in the feed ration. Current cash price relationships in the Southeast and Texas Panhandle are beyond that already. And with the large supply of old-crop wheat, one can easily build the argument we could feed an extra 200 million bushels of wheat between now and new-crop corn harvest. That would ease the tightness in corn and weaken the price. Keep your eyes on wheat. It could well be the dominant price influence in the corn market over the next few weeks, good or bad. 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: Corn prices rebounded behind the jump in wheat prices. Still, prices struggle near the recent highs, keeping them vulnerable to a break into the late-month 40-week low. If May futures slip below $7.05, it could trigger more fund liquidation, potentially bringing a test of $6.67. Given the recent break, the argument to only hold “gambling bushels” got stronger. Use rallies above $7.25 to make necessary sales. Hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contracts for winter/spring delivery are still the best tool. 2011 crop: Even though downside risk has grown, hold sales at 30 percent. There should be another good selling opportunity after the 40-week cycle bottoms, but it may not be as high as the recent peak. Fundamentals: The decline in wheat prices has increased the possibility that more old-crop wheat might be fed, easing the corn fundamental tightness slightly. There’s also talk in export sales that the recent wave of good buying may be about to slow.

Soybean Strategy 2010 crop: South American crop projections only continue to get larger. Rain has slowed harvest in northern Brazil, but the pace is still about average for this date. Crush margins, and processor demand, continue to weaken. Without a weather problem, lower prices are ahead. Wrap up sales on strength. 2011 crop: There’s a lot of uncertainty about new-crop plantings, but the high insurance guarantees will ensure overall plantings, including soybeans, will be large. Use November futures above $13.50 to get sales up to 30 percent. Plan to increase them to 50 percent by early summer. Fundamentals: Rain may be temporarily slowing Brazilian harvest, and a dock strike is impeding product movement out of Argentina, but a large supply from South America is about to hit the world pipeline. And when it does, our exports will decline dramatically. Poor processing

margins and seasonal weakness work against demand from the processing sector.

Wheat Strategy 2010 crop: Wheat has been trading in a sideways trend between key moving averages. Chicago May futures are again probing upside resistance at $8.35-$8.40. If you still have inventory, use rallies into that range to wrap them up. Because of the futures carry, HTA contracts for winter/spring delivery are still the best marketing tool. 2011 crop: Use rallies into the $8.50s on Chicago July

2011 futures for catch-up sales. We still want to wait for the crop to break dormancy before adding to sales. And once this liquidation break is over, there should be another rally for sales. We still prefer HTA contracts. Fundamentals: Weather has been the driving force in the wheat market. Improving conditions in China have undermined the market. But persistence of drought in the Southern Plains and a potential increase in abandonment has stalled the decline. Meanwhile, higher energy prices are threatening to slow economic activity, potentially slowing wheat demand.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, March 7, 2011

PERSPECTIVES

Today’s agriculture — no longer your father’s Oldsmobile “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” Remember that line from an old television commercial? If you do, you likely fall into a ‘certain’ age group. And if you’re in that age category, you know farming practices, production levels, and commodity prices have changed right along with changes in the auto industry. Heck, they don’t even make Oldsmobiles anymore! So what does that say about agriculture? It says nothing stays the same. And sometimes things become obsolete — like an “M” tractor or an A-frame hog house. Or maybe even your way of thinking, your mindset. Let me ask, what is your definition of traditional farming? Is it corn and soyCOLLEEN beans, with some pasCALLAHAN ture and livestock? What if it included a few acres of seasonal vegetables? If vegetables don’t “qualify” in your definition, what if the production included sweet corn? Does that change your opinion (because maybe you and/or your kids sold sweet corn at a roadside stand)?

What do these questions have to do with Rural Development? The answer is: “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.” This new USDA initiative creates opportunity for you. Yes, you, the “traditional” agricultural producer. Did you know: • A Wisconsin farm was selected by the Illinois Tollway Authority to have produce drop-off spots at the oasis sites near Chicago? • That same Wisconsin farm has a produce drop-off at the Aon Center in Chicago, the city’s second tallest building? According to this operation, “Thousands of employees prefer to pick up their (produce) at work. The Aon Center is now one of our best drop-off spots, enabling us to sell fresh produce to an otherwise underserved part of the city. We are now offering in other downtown locations, and will sell to the Aon Center’s Soprafina Café, plus their sister restaurants.” • Much of the $2.3 billion in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program, formerly food stamps) benefits is used to buy food in Illinois produced

outside Illinois? • The Farm to School Program encourages purchases of local farm produce for use in the federal school nutrition program? All of the above are markets waiting to

be filled. Kind of sounds like the “supply and demand” concept, doesn’t it? And how do you typically respond when demand exceeds supply? I’m guessing you produce. “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” is an opportunity. It’s not either, or. It’s not either you grow corn or soybeans or you raise vegetables. You can do both. Is it more labor intensive? Yes. Can you generate more dollars per acre? Yes. Do you have a family member who

would like to return to the farm, but there’s not enough income to support another participant? If the answer is “Yes” to that question, too, then seasonal production of a specialty crop or crops may be a consideration. My final question to you is, as a “traditional” grower, have you lamented over the years that consumers have forgotten or maybe never knew where their food comes from? The USDA initiative, Know Your Farmer, “Know Your Food,” not only is an opportunity for you to enhance your income but to establish a direct relationship with your customer. And Rural Development has funding programs that may assist in making that connection. One of our value-added producer grant recipients now delivers dairy products twice a week to a famous Chicago restaurant. Most people know their doctor, their attorney, their banker. Shouldn’t they know their farmer, too?

Colleen Callahan is the director of USDA Rural Development in Illinois. Her e-mail address is Colleen.Callahan@il.usda.gov.

Farm Bureau is marking Ag Safety Awareness Week March 6-12 As winter departs and spring blooms across the country, Farm Bureaus are making safety a top priority through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program. March 6 through 12 has been designated as Agricultural Safety Awareness CYNDIE Week. “GrowSIREKIS ing the Most Important Crop,” this year’s theme, focuses on making farms and ranches safer for farmers, employees, and their

family members with a special emphasis on children. People of all ages, but particularly children, risk suffering injuries on the farm. With more than 1 million youth living on farms, reaching out to adults with information about how they can reduce risks to the children in their care is critical to preventing farm and ranch incidents and fatalities. More than half the young people living on farms and ranches help with chores — those ages 10 to 15 help the most. Another 307,000 youth who don’t live on farms are hired as

employees each year. “Although some progress has been made, far too many children are still injured each year on farms and ranches,” said Jimmy Maass, safety coordinator for Virginia Farm Bureau. According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, the rate of childhood agricultural injuries has declined by nearly 60 percent over the last decade or so, but many children still die in farm accidents every year in the U.S. and others are injured, often seriously. Youth fatalities on farms

were most often attributed to machinery (including tractors), followed by motor vehicles (including all-terrain vehicles). Falls accounted for 40 percent of non-fatal youth injuries on farms. That’s why during Agricultural Safety Awareness Week and throughout the year, state Farm Bureaus focus on making farms and ranches safer for farmers, their family members, and employees. The annual Ag Safety Awareness Week also recognizes the rich tradition of our nation’s farming and ranching culture producing a food sup-

ply that is among the safest and most abundant food in the world. The Farm Bureau Safety and Health Network is made up of professionals affiliated with state Farm Bureaus who share an interest in decreasing safety and health risks associated with agricultural and rural life. For more information on agricultural safety, go online to {www.agsafetynow.com}. Cyndie Sirekis is director of news services with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Her e-mail address is cyndies@fb.org.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Can’t afford to go backward in farming Editor: In your Feb. 21 publication you had a letter touting the value of organic farming. I think the writer has somehow been misled. Organic farming will not solve our nation’s agricultural problems. Instead, it would create a terrible one. It would create a food shortage approaching 20 percent. How would we decide which 20 percent would not eat? Seventy-five years ago — and earlier — all farmers were organic farmers. There was no choice; we did not have additional crop nutrients in the form of today’s commercial fertilizers. Prior to 1930, the average

corn yields were 30 bushels per acre. Today, 200 is not uncommon. The reason: hybrid seed corn, higher populations, better control of weeds and insects (with chemicals you cannot use in organic farming), and commercial fertilizer to sustain the higher production. Animal manure and green manure are wonderful nutrients, but plants cannot differentiate the source of their nutrients, therefore, they do not care, just so they have enough. It has been said, “Progress is change, but change is not necessarily progress.” Going backward to the way we used to farm is definitely a change, but it is the opposite of progress. An organic farmer must

accept lower yields. But with a higher unit price for what he sells, that’s his prerogative. I have no problem with any farmer who wishes to go that way, but please don’t try to persuade your neighbor to do likewise. It is estimated that by 2050 the world population will be 9 billion people, and to feed them, we will need to double today’s production. That cannot be done by going backward. DON ELLINGSON, Poplar Grove

Reagan recollection much less glowing Editor: I noticed that John Block (in a Feb. 28 column) omitted one of Reagan’s most notorious, insulting statements

made at the Springfield, Ill., airport as his plane touched down in 1985. Being met by protesting farmers who were suffering low grain prices and losing their farms to bankruptcy, he inadvertently snickered into an open mike, “Just look at those poor b......s! We should keep the grain and export the farmers!” Reagan also stated, “I would like to have the farmers’ votes, but I don’t need them.” Since Block was a farmer himself, one would wonder why he didn’t take the comment personally. The truth about Reagan’s presidency is long overlooked and past due. I urge ever yone to read Gene Lyons’ recent ar ticle, “Why does the GOP

celebrate Reag an?” FRANK GLENN, Farmer City

Letter policy Letters are limited to 300 words and must include a name and address. FarmWeek reserves the right to reject any letter and will not publish political endorsements. All letters are subject to editing, and only an original with a written signature and complete address will be accepted. A daytime telephone number is required for verification, but will not be published. Only one letter per writer will be accepted in a 30-day period. Typed letters are preferred. Send letters to: FarmWeek Letters 1701 Towanda Ave. Bloomington, Ill., 61701

FarmWeek March 7 2011  

FarmWeek March 7 2011

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