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ILLINOIS FARM BUREAU has assembled an informational “toolbox” to help build congressional support for South Korea, Colombia, and Panama FTAs. ....5

THE 19TH YEAR of Cropwatcher reports begins with this issue, although there is not yet much of a crop to watch. Flooding reports dominate this week. .......6-7

THIS IS HENBIT. While it is brightening the rural landscape in many areas, it is a weed that will need to be killed off when planting finally resumes. .............................10

Monday, May 2, 2011

Two sections Volume 39, No. 18

Many farms underwater along Ohio, Mississippi rivers BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Thousands of acres of Illinois farmland were underwater last week as heavy rains led to flooding along major streams and rivers. The situation was particularly dire in Pulaski and Alexander counties at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in deep Southern Illinois. The Ohio River on Friday

FarmWeekNow.com View our photo gallery and a video of the flooding throughout Southern Illinois at FarmWeekNow.com.

was projected to crest Sunday (May 1) at 60.5 feet, which would be about a foot above the 1937 record at Cairo. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as of presstime Friday was planning to blow out a levee near Birds Point and flood about 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri in an attempt to save Cairo, population of 2,800. “We farm about 2,000 acres and probably 1,500 of it is underwater,” said Kenton Thomas, a farmer near Thebes and president of the PulaskiAlexander Farm Bureau. The floodwater “is probably a foot

deep in our shop.” The floodwater on Thomas’ farm as of Friday was backwater from the Ohio River, according to the county FB president. The situation will get worse, though, if any area levees fail, he said. “We’ve got six inches (of floodwater) in my mom’s house,” Thomas said. “If (the river) gets out, the floodwater probably will be above it (the house).” The flooding as of Friday was most severe near Olive Branch in Alexander County, Mound City in Pulaski County, and in parts of Massac County, according to Tammie Obermark, manager of the PulaskiAlexander Farm Bureau. She noted some farms that escaped damage during the 1993 flood already were flooded last week. Some farmers built makeshift levees around their homes. Unfortunately, heavy rains in recent weeks also were accompanied in some areas by damaging hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. An outbreak of five tornadoes on Good Friday swept through Missouri, with heavy damage in and around St. Louis, and crossed into Illinois where damage to homes and farm

Floodwater inundates the farm, including these grain bins and machinery, owned by Jerry Pecord of Willard, a small town about seven miles south of Olive Branch in Alexander County. Much of the floodwater in Pulaski, Alexander, and Massac counties on Friday was backwater from the Ohio River near where it meets the swollen Mississippi River, according to Kenton Thomas, president of the Pulaski-Alexander Farm Bureau. The situation could get much worse if any levees are breached in the area. The Ohio River on Friday was projected to crest a foot above the record set in 1937. (Photo by Kenton Thomas)

buildings was reported. “All fieldwork ceased after the storm of Good Friday,” said David Hankammer, a FarmWeek Cropwatcher from St. Clair County south of St. Louis near the Mississippi River. “Flooding of the major rivers and streams has become a major concern.” Thomas believes he still can plant most of his crop this season if the rains ever stop. Corn can be planted as late as mid-June and beans can be planted into July and still pro-

duce a good yield that far south, he said. Farther up the Mississippi River, flooding isn’t nearly as severe. Joe Zumwalt, a Cropwatcher from Hancock County, estimated half the corn crop is planted in his area. “We’ve been damp the last couple weeks but not drowned out like a lot of other places around the state,” Zumwalt said. “The (Mississippi) river is on a slow recession here.” Unfortunately, the AccuWeather.com forecast this

week for Rockford, Bloomington, and Carbondale called for chances of showers at each location. The temperature, at least, was projected to warm up into the 60s and 70s. To no one’s surprise, the average of Illinois rainfall in April set a new record, according to the Illinois State Water Survey. The statewide average for April was 7.45 inches, nearly double the average rainfall of 3.83 inches for the month. See Underwater, page 4

Periodicals: Time Valued

State marshaling resources in flood response Madigan, Illinois prevail in lawsuit BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois government last week focused its resources to help areas of flooded Southern Illinois. On Friday, a federal judge approved the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to blow up a Mississippi River levee and allow the flooding of 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland in order to save the city of Cairo. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan supported the

decision after she intervened in the federal case, arguing the Corps needed to take action to protect the residents of Cairo. The state of Missouri had attempted to stop the Corps’ action. The Corps’ Birds PointNew Madrid Floodway Operations plan had been in place since 1986. If deemed necessary by authorities, the controlled demolition would release water onto Missouri farmland to alleviate flooding on both sides of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the tristate area and beyond.

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

The court battle, which included the state of Kentucky, capped a week of action by Gov. Pat Quinn, the Illinois National Guard, and more than a dozen state agencies. On Thursday, the governor activated an additional 200 guardsmen, bringing the total to more than 320 who worked to protect residents and facilities from the flood waters in the southern part of the state. “I’ve committed all available state resources to help protect threatened communities and will continue to provide personnel and other assets until

the threat has passed,” Quinn said during a visit to Marion with Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon. On the legal front, Madigan intervened in the lawsuit by Missouri, which sought to stop the Corps of Engineers from opening the levee. “It is imperative that the Corps be allowed to do everything it can to protect the people who are at risk of losing their homes, or even worse, their lives,” Madigan said. Madigan argued that action to stop the Corps from implementing its plan would threaten See State, page 4

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


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, May 2, 2011

IFB IN ACTION

Quick Takes SUGAR SUIT — U.S. sugar farmers and refiners have filed a suit aimed at preventing corn processors from marketing high-fructose corn syrup as a “natural” product e q u iva l e n t t o c a n e - o r b e e t - b a s e d s u g a r. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Co. and C and H Sugar Co. Inc., charges that the “corn sugar” branding campaign financed by the corn refining industry constitutes f a l s e a d v e r t i s i n g u n d e r f e d e r a l a n d s t a t e l a w. Named as defendants are Archer Daniels Midland Co., Cargill Inc., Corn Products International Inc., Penford Products Co., Roquette America Inc., Tate and Lyle Ingredients Americas Inc., and the industry group Corn Refiners Association (CRA). Sugar producers seek an injunction to end the ad campaign and damages including compensation for “corrective advertising.” However, CRA President Audrae Erickson argues “sugar is sugar,” whether from cane, beets, or corn. More on the controversy and the case will be included in next week’s FarmWeek. TOP MOM — Mother’s Day, May 8, is the deadline for nominations for the 2011 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year contest. Monsanto has partnered with American AgriWomen to select five regional winners based on how each contributes to her family, farm, community, and the ag industry. Regional winners will be announced May 16, when winners’ profiles and nominations will be posted at {www.AmericasFarmers.com}. Each winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto, and the farm mom receiving the most online votes by May 26 will receive an additional $2,500 and the title of 2011 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year. To be eligible, a mom must be at least 18 and work on an active farm or livestock operation meeting requirements set in the contest rules. Complete eligibility requirements and official rules for America’s Farmers Mom of the Year are online at the above address. CICADA CYCLE STARTING — Over the past 13 years, cicada nymphs have been underground, feeding on tree and shrub roots, but according to University of Illinois entomologist James Appleby, they soon will be emerging. From Kankakee south throughout the forests of Illinois, billions of what’s known as the “Great Southern Brood” of the 13-year cicada will begin to sing. Adult cicadas feed by inserting their sharp “beaks” into tender areas of tree branches, generally causing insignificant damage. However, after mating, the female cicada inserts its ovipositor into a tree branch and deposits eggs into the branch, which can cause severe damage in younger trees. Those concerned about preventing injury can cover young plants with cloth netting to prevent access by the females, and growers with a young orchard can consult their local Extension office for the latest cicada control measures.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 39 No. 18

May 2, 2011

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

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

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Randy Poskin, a fifth-generation farmer from Iroquois County, pitches batting practice to his daughter, Elizabeth, 7, while his other daughter, Grace, 8, plays the field. Poskin, an Illinois Farm Bureau district director, in his spare time enjoys family activities and has coached softball for four seasons. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Fifth-generation farmer Poskin wears many hats BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Randy Poskin, a fifth-generation farmer from Ashkum (Iroquois County), like most farmers was anxious to get back into the field after a long winter. The difference in Poskin’s case is one of the fields where he will spend a lot of time this spring and summer actually is a softball diamond as opposed to a corn or soybean field. Poskin, 55, has been coaching girls’ softball for four years — his daughters Grace, 8, and Elizabeth, 7, play on the team. And he will be back on the ball field this spring when he’s not busy with farming or numerous other volunteer activities. “I enjoy it,” Poskin said. “The girls at that age are fun.” Poskin does the scheduling for the softball league as well. He plans to keep coaching at least one more season. In fact, Poskin wears a variety of hats — he’s the immediate past president of the Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau, current president of the Tri Central Co-op Board of Directors, secretary of the Ashkum Lions Club, a lector at Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Ashkum, and he serves as a drainage commissioner — when he’s not on the farm or ball field. He recently compared coaching girls’ softball to his many other volunteer leadership activities. “The challenge is to get a little girl to swing a bat at the same time the ball crosses the plate,” Poskin said. “It’s a lot like getting a group of people to make a decision. Everything has to come together at the right moment.” Poskin also serves on the Farm Bureau Foundation in Iroquois County and previously served on the Iroquois County regional

planning board. “I don’t mind being a leader,” he said. “Some people kind of gravitate toward that.” Poskin began another major leadership position last December when he was elected to a two-year term on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors. He represents District 6, which encompasses Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, and Kankakee counties. “It’s been an eye-opening experience,” Poskin said of his time so far as an IFB district director. “There certainly is no shortage of issues that come before our board.” But Poskin is used to dealing with ag issues. He earned an ag degree from the University of Illinois in 1977. He started farming in 1978 at the end of a boom era in ag and near the beginning of some tough times in the industry (including the Russian grain embargo, low crop prices, and high interest rates). He also weathered two major droughts in the 1980s. “Out of college, I looked at other opportunities,” said Poskin, who opted to return to the farm and continue his family’s tradition. Poskin farms with his brother, Gene. They sold their beef cow operation about 15 years ago and currently grow about 760 acres of corn and soybeans on the family’s Centennial Farm. Poskin’s ancestors moved to the U.S. from Belgium more than a century ago, and family remains a focal point for the District 6 director. “My family is the most important thing,” he said. “And we stay very active in the church.” Poskin’s wife, Mona, is a nurse and works as a unit manager at Riverside Hospital in Kankakee.


Page 3 Monday, May 2, 2011 FarmWeek

FLOOD

Flood waters from the Wabash River consume 77 acres of White County Farm Bureau member Don Duvall’s 80-acre cornfield near Carmi. The field, which Duvall planted the second week of April, is located about five miles from the river — when it is in its banks. (Photo by Don Duvall)

Heavy rainfall persists; planters remain parked

Grain bins of the Rubenacker Farms near Dahlgren jut from the floodwaters of the Saline River in this view southeast of Harrisburg. Cave Hill towers in the background. (Photo courtesy of Harrisburg Daily Register)

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Heavy rains last week kept planters out of most fields and created flooding problems for many farmers, particularly those in Southern Illinois. Rainfall totals for the first 27 days of April ranged from 4 to 5 inches in Northern Illinois, 5 to 7.5 inches in Central Illinois, and 7.5 to 15 inches in most of Southern Illinois. A small pocket of deep Southern Illinois along the border of Alexander, Pulaski, and Union counties received a whopping 15 to 20 inches of rain through April 27, the Illinois State Water Survey reported. Unfortunately, as of Friday morning, there was a chance of more rain yet. The portion of the corn crop planted as of April 25 was just 10 percent, which was 17 percent behind the five-year average pace and well behind a year ago when 67 percent of the crop was in the ground by that date. Nationwide, just 9 percent of the corn crop was planted as of the first of last week compared to the five-year average of 23 percent. “I’d love to be in a different position than we are right now,” said Matt Montgomery, University of Illinois Extension educator in Fulton and Mason counties, who on July 1 will add Peoria and Tazewell counties to his area. “I’m concerned (about the lack of planting progress), and I’m also concerned the way we’ve really struggled with soil temperatures. A portion of this crop is in the ground and we’ve struggled to clear 50 degrees in some places.” The statewide average temperature the third week of April was just 50.1 degrees,

Debris floats in the swollen Kaskaskia River at the Kaskaskia Lock and Dam, which is about four miles north of Chester. The lock and dam is located about one-eighth of a mile from the Mississippi River. (Photo by Norma Hall of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

which was about 5 degrees below normal, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois field office. “If we spend the better part of another week struggling with (cooler-than-average) temperatures, the potential hit to (corn) stands increases,” Montgomery said. “There may be some replants.” Montgomery said there currently is about a two-week window for farmers to plant corn without an increased chance of a yield hit. Potential yield losses in mid-May average about a halfbushel for each day planting is delayed, according to Montgomery. Potential yield losses accelerate in the second half of May, and by early to midJune yield potential could be slashed in half if corn is not planted. Data show losses to delayed

planting accelerate earlier and faster in corn compared to soybeans, according to the U of I. But at current crop prices and production costs, economics favoring a switch to beans won’t happen until early June in Illinois. “If you have already made crop-specific investments such as applying N fertilizer for corn, this will provide more incentive to stay with corn,” said Emerson Nafziger, U of I Extension agronomist. “This is certainly not a decision to rush into at this point.” Research suggests farmers should not switch most corn hybrids out for earlier hybrids unless planting is delayed until late May or early June, Nafziger said. USDA in March projected Illinois farmers will plant 12.8 million acres of corn this year, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Only signs indicate that roads and fields — not a riverbed — are beneath this flooded section of the Wabash River in Edwards County. Edwards County Farm Bureau board member Carson Everett reported his property floods each year, but he hadn’t seen flooding this bad in 30 years. (Photo by Carson Everett, Edwards County)


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, May 2, 2011

THE RIVERS

Despite statewide concerns about river levels and potential flooding, work continued at the Olmsted Lock and Dam on the Ohio River in Pulaski County. The site includes twin 110-footwide-by-1,200-foot locks. Improvements should be complete by 2015-2016. According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project engineer Jeff Winders, workers last week were precasting concrete components for the forthcoming low-water river construction season. “The water’s not affecting them, other than they can’t work in the rain,” Winders told FarmWeek. Cuts resulting from the fiscal 2012 continuing budget resolution did not affect funding for the project. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Carp control efforts eliminating need for lock closings? BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Federal and state officials converged at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium last week to outline continued efforts at containing the aggressive Asian carp. Opposing Midwest states, meanwhile, prepared to air carp concerns in court. John Goss, White House Council on Environmental Quality Asian carp director, emerged from the public meeting at the aquarium “confident we’re making good progress” in preventing the spread of the voracious carp into Lake Michigan. Fears of the invasive fish invading the Great Lakes have spurred regional tensions, with Illinois combating efforts to shut down Chicago locks which are seen by Michigan officials as a carp gateway. This week, a Chicago court will hear arguments in the appeal of a recent federal ruling that kept the locks open. A third electric carp “barrier” recently was installed near

Romeoville above the Lockport Lock. Illinois Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Army Corps of Engineers biologists have been netting fish along Chicago-area waterways over the past month, and will begin testing for carp DNA in area water samples this week. “They’ve found no new Asian carp between the barriers or in Lake Michigan, and there are very few Asian carp in the area just south of Lockport,” Goss said. “We have new information that the established (carp) breeding population is at least three (lock) pools down, with three locks and dams in their path before they’d get to the Lockport barrier. “We firmly believe the electrical barriers are working and that monitoring and sampling above and below the barriers indicates we do not have a population of Asian carp threatening to move into Lake Michigan.”

Fiscal 2011 carp control funding recently was released after a nearly six-month delay in agencies being able to launch DNA testing and con-

ranged from 1 to 2 degrees below average in Northern Illinois and near-average in Central Illinois to 1 to 3 degrees above average in Southern Illinois.

Wide temperature swings occurred in the state. Temperatures ranging from 93 degrees at Kaskaskia on April 11 to 18 degrees at Marengo on April 1.

‘We firmly believe the electrical barriers are working.’ — John Goss Asian carp director, Council on Environmental Quality

duct new research. The president’s fiscal 2012 budget seeks $30 million for control efforts, and Goss hopes to be able to secure an added $100 million in Great Lakes restoration funds over the next two years. The U.S. Geological Survey is developing a toxin that would kill Asian carp without affecting other species. Asian carp pheromones (biological attractants) could be used to lure carp for capture and

Underwater Continued from page 1 This exceeds the old record of 7.13 inches set in 1957, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel. Rainfall amounts ranged from 4 to 6 inches in Northern Illinois and 4 to 10 inches in Central Illinois to 10 to 15 inches in Southern Illinois. The largest rainfall totals were in far Southern Illinois. For example, Anna reported 20.01 inches, the highest total in the state. Brookport reported 15.29 inches, and Cairo reported 15.13 inches. The statewide average temperature for April was 52.6 degrees, 0.5 of a degree above average. However, temperatures

State Continued from page 1 about 3,000 Cairo residents. In addition to taking legal action, the state provided hundreds of thousands of sandbags to local communities and has ordered 1 million more sandbags. Inmates at the Tamms, DuQuoin, and Dixon Springs correctional facilities filled more than 80,000 sandbags, while crews of inmates helped with sandbagging in several towns. State agencies also coordinat-

removal, Goss told FarmWeek. He sees strong support for control efforts among “key legislators with high awareness of

ed delivery of a variety of supplies ranging from life vests for emergency workers to trucks and generators. Quinn praised private companies for donating such supplies as bottled water and work gloves. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is coordinating the state’s flood response, and the state’s Emergency Operations Center will remain in operation until the flood subsides.

the Asian carp threat,” including House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Senate Ag Chairman Deb Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat. Durbin has supported efforts by the Illinois Farm Bureau-supported coalition Unlock Our Jobs to keep navigation channels open. New coalition ally U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) with the aid of other Illinois and Indiana law-

makers fought a Camp amendment aimed at closing locks. Five Great Lakes states led by Michigan have appealed a judge’s recent decision not to close the locks pending resolution of their original carprelated complaint. Unlock Our Jobs spokesman Lisa Burgess told FarmWeek the states’ attorneys general failed to prove lock access poses a “scientific, imminent threat to the Great Lakes.” “There’s a laundry list of reasons why closing the locks or separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River is just such an extreme overreaction,” Burgess argued. “It’s not economically viable. And we really have absolutely no evidence the carp has even breeched the electrical barriers. “We have to take every reasonable precaution to make sure Asian carp don’t get into the Great Lakes. We just think we can achieve that through means other than shutting down waterway shipping and transportation.”

Rural Development provides more details about REAP Rural Development is providing up to $61 million in guaranteed loans and $42 million in grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Money is available to help farmers and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems, improve energy efficiency, and conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems. Recently, flexible-fuel pumps, also known as blender pumps, became eligible for REAP funding. Also, new rules clarify that grants are available for audits of energy improvements and feasibility studies for renewable energy systems. Farmers in non-rural areas are eligible for REAP funding; however, small businesses must still be located in rural areas. “The REAP program is helping address our energy, environmental, and economic goals in rural Illinois,” said Colleen Callahan, Rural Development state director. Last year, REAP helped 143 Illinois applicants reduce their energy usage. For more information about REAP, call Molly Hammond or Mary Warren at 217-403-6202 or go online to {www.rurdev.usda.gov/il}.


Page 5 Monday, May 2, 2011 FarmWeek

GOVERNMENT

Agencies moving ahead with water ‘guidance’ plan BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Amid congressional concerns about steps to broaden federal authority over U.S. waters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are taking proposed new regulatory “guidance” public. Following a flurry of protests over the agencies’ plans to submit their Clean Water Protection Guidance directly to the White House Office of Budget and Management for review, EPA and the Corps have announced they will offer the draft for a 60-day comment period before publishing their final reinterpretation of Clean Water Act authorities. The document is a revised version of a draft recently leaked to the public which sug-

gested the scope of waters under federal authority “will increase significantly.” That raises concerns about potential new nutrient-chemical standards for the Mississippi River basin. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) regulatory specialist Don Parrish related efforts to “beef up” opposition to the guidance plan and gear up for potential lawsuits aimed at staying the regulators’ hands. Approval of the draft guidance plan “will result in permitting delays, litigation, and a slow-down of projects — harming jobs and the economy,” Jerry Costello, a Belleville Democrat and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee member, argued in an April letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and

Assistant Secretary for the Agency of Civil Works JoEllen Darcy, who oversees the Corps. Costello urged agency chiefs to “reconsider this policy change” and, instead, work with Congress to develop “a balanced and reasonable approach to address the concerns raised by those on both sides of the issue.” A pair of U.S. Supreme Court decisions — Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County vs. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and United States vs. Rapanos — clarified Clean Water Act jurisdiction over “significant” U.S. waters. However, the original EPA/Corps draft suggested policymakers have “narrowly” interpreted those rulings. Parrish told FarmWeek the new guidance plan threatens to

Refusal of Russian PNTR net nyet for U.S.? Russia should be brought into the global trade community if only to bring some much-needed discipline to a troubled and trouble-prone market, according to Truth About Trade and Technology Chairman Dean Kleckner. But it’s up to Russia, as well as Congress and the White House, to help the former Soviet nation win admittance into the World Trade Organization (WTO), Kleckner told FarmWeek. It’s been more than 15 years since Russia first applied for WTO accession, and Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair, has indicated he would lead congressional efforts to push for Russia’s membership. That includes U.S. approval of permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. Without PNTR, the U.S. would become “an outsider to (Russia’s) accession” and not benefit from the tariff reductions and trade reforms WTO membership would offer, American Farm Bureau Federation analyst David Salmonsen said. Salmonsen said refusal to grant PNTR “would only hurt ourselves” — Russia is a top U.S. poultry market and an important pork and beef buyer. That said, Russia’s past conduct is itself a WTO hurdle: In recent years, it closed first its pork and then its poultry market to the U.S. “Russia’s the biggest country in the world now that’s not a member of the WTO,” Kleckner told FarmWeek. “It ought to be (a member), but it’s their fault they’re not. It isn’t that we’re keeping them out: They have problems in Russia; they have problems in agreeing on trade-related issues. “They need to sit down with themselves and figure out what they’re going to do to allow the rest of the world — including us — to bring them into the WTO.” A major political obstacle to congressional approval of Russian PNTR is the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, a law adopted in 1974 that denies favorednation status to any country deemed to lack a free market system and that restricts emigration. The law was created to pressure the Soviet Union to allow free movement by dissidents, Jews, and other minorities. Former Russian dissident Edward Lozansky has filed a suit seeking Jackson-Vanik’s repeal. While the law helped improve “the whole process of democratic and human rights developments” across the former Soviet Union, Lozansky said, it now “is not only obsolete but even harms U.S. interests.” Kleckner compares Russia’s situation with similar challenges in bringing China into the WTO roughly a decade ago. While trade relations with China remain tricky, he believes “we’re better off with them in than out,” noting the WTO provides an avenue to challenge Chinese import barriers. Russia and the U.S. reached an agreement to reopen Russian poultry and pork markets, but amid recently announced plans to increase its own meat output, Kleckner warned it could backslide without an enforcement-dispute mechanism such as provided by the WTO. He questioned political and philosophical resistance to Russia’s accession in light of potential U.S. gains. “Are we doing things wrong by using our influence to keep them out until they meet other standards of agreement in the World Trade Organization?” Kleckner posed. — Martin Ross

“put us back to where we were prior to the Supreme Court rulings.” “EPA’s going to take the broadest view (of regulated waters) possible,” Parrish said. “They said they’ve walked this (guidance) back some, but that’s BS — it’s just as broad as it was when it was leaked. “They’re stretching the envelope here, and shifting the burden from the government back to landowners. After the Supreme Court cases, it was the government’s responsibility to prove it had jurisdiction. Now, it’s going to be basically ‘everything’s in’ unless you can prove it’s out.” The new guidance plan opens the door to possible Midwest land use/farm restrictions similar to those EPA has prescribed to control “nonpoint” pollution in the eastern

Chesapeake Bay, Parrish said. AFBF has sued over Chesapeake regulations, and Parrish hopes a potentially growing number of lawsuit participants might offer “some traction in the courts.” While House lawmakers mobilized to make EPA/Corps proposals public, Parrish sees little chance of a more EPAsympathetic Senate intervening against the new interagency guidance. Budget/debt ceiling debate likely will eclipse all but the most significant issues, and in the political scheme, “I don’t expect this issue to rise to that level,” he said. That leaves the courts as a key recourse to reversing proposed new agency direction. And that, said Parrish, is going to be “a long, drawn-out process.”

IFB ‘toolbox’ designed to foster FTA momentum Illinois Farm Bureau has assembled an informational “toolbox” aimed at building congressional support for crucial South Korea, Colombia, and Panama free trade agreements (FTAs). Lawmakers last week offered hope the three agreements would be ratified in July. IFB is intensifying pro-FTA lobbying efforts at the county level, mapping out a variety of strategies to reach U.S. House and Senate members from Illinois and providing extensive information on how FTA approvals and the import tariff reductions they offer U.S. exporters would benefit individual congressional districts in the state. IFB National Legislative Director Adam Nielsen, who is helping coordinate county “toolbox” efforts, noted Congress has several weeks of “scattered” breaks over the next two months, offering ample opportunity for local contact. Producers interested in promoting FTA approval should contact their county Farm Bureau. The central message, according to Nielsen: “Korea’s an opportunity, Panama’s one of our closest allies, and Colombia is needed to stop the bleeding.” Canton soybean producer David Headley, who participated in IFB’s recent Panama-Colombia Market Study Tour, noted U.S. bean exports to Colombia haven fallen nearly 60 percent since 2007. Meanwhile, Colombia has signed a pact with the South American trade

bloc Mercosur, and Argentina now has surpassed the U.S. as the country’s No. 1 soy supplier, though the U.S. actually offers a transportation cost advantage. “Passing this free trade agreement is critical for the soybean industry, in order to get back into Colombia,” Headley told FarmWeek. “Colombia imports 96 percent of its soybeans and soybean meal because it has large poultry processing facilities and cattle, as well. “Oil from our soybeans is of better quality, and what Colombia is looking for. But, unfortunately, because of the tariffs we have without an FTA, Colombia has gone to South American countries to get soybeans, instead of using the United States.” The Colombia FTA has proven particularly controversial — Colombia has agreed to address key labor and social reforms to assure White House support for approval. Last week, Colombian President Juan Manual Santos announced plans to increase resources for protection of union workers by 50 percent for 2012, in accordance with FTA labor provisions. Headley stressed the U.S. “trades openly” with China, despite that country having “one of the worst human rights track records in the world.” U.S. officials have not placed the same demands on China as they have Colombia, he charged. Concerns over the Korea FTA grew as well last week. Korean officials have temporarily delayed their own parliament’s action on the FTA to correct “translation errors” in the agreement, even as they prepare for anticipated approval of a similar agreement with the European Union. — Martin Ross


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, May 2, 2011 * New Cropwatcher this year Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: Greetings from Durand in Winnebago county, about two miles from the Wisconsin state line. My wife, Deb, and I raise corn, soybeans, and wheat. This will be the 128th consecutive year that our family has planted a crop on this family farm. This is the start of my seventh year as a Cropwatcher, and we are getting a very slow start to this crop year. In my first report last year on April 30, we had finished planting corn, and this year we haven’t started. There is hardly any corn planted in this entire area with the exception of a couple of farmers trying their planters out on a few acres. We were able to get all the nitrogen applied by April 15, but it has been too wet for fieldwork ever since. The weather report looks better for this coming week, and I hope I can report on some planting progress in my next report. Here’s hoping for a safe and prosperous year. Pete Tekampe, Grayslake, Lake County: What a difference a year makes. Last year we finished planting corn on April 20. This year, we might start by May 10 if it clears up. We got 2.5 inches of rain last week. It finally cleared up Friday morning and the sun is shining. We can hardly cut the grass because the ground is so saturated. Not much fieldwork has been done this spring. Some fertilizer has been spread, mostly on wheat ground. They were calling for rain Saturday afternoon and Sunday, which will shut us down for another week. Hopefully they were wrong. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Welcome again to Northwest Illinois and the Lucky Clover Dairy Farm. My son, Ronald, and I milk 90 purebred and registered Holstein cows and raise our own replacement animals. Our crops include corn, oats, and lots of alfalfa hay. Spring has been late and wet. The Mississippi River crested here last week and is not receding, but we are not affected by the river flooding. Rain for April has totaled 5.95 inches. Friday morning, the temperature was hovering just above the freezing mark. Oats and alfalfa have been seeded in the area. There is some corn planted and there are specialty crops and potatoes planted on the sandy soils. Fertilizer is on. Now we just need some dry, warm days to get into the fields. *Ryan Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: Hello from Waterman in DeKalb County. I am Ryan Frieders and this is my first official report as a CropWatcher. I have occasionally helped my dad, Ron (one of the original Cropwatchers), with his reports, but with his retirement, I was offered the opportunity and accepted with pride. I farm row crops with my parents in southern DeKalb County. We grow corn and soybeans in a 60/40 rotation. Fieldwork has been a challenge so far this year. During the week of April 11, some spring tillage and anhydrous application was completed. There also are a few scattered fields of corn planted, although I have not seen any emerged. The last two weeks have been cold, wet, overcast, and miserable conditions for healthy seedling development. We need sunshine and warmer temperatures. My Grandpa would still be wearing his winter hat with the earflaps down. Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: All winter I commented that with grain prices as high as they were, all we had to do is concentrate on getting a crop grown and we could make a good profit this year. Well, we haven’t had much of a chance to do that yet. Last year at this time the corn was all planted, and so were the majority of the soybeans. The weather patterns appear to be changing a bit, so I am going to think positive thoughts and pull the planter and tractor to the edge of the field and wait.

CROPWATCHERS Joe Zumwalt, Warsaw, Hancock County: Welcome to spring of 2011. I farm between Quincy and Warsaw along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Early spring was dry for Western Illinois, allowing much tillage work to be done. I would estimate 50 percent of the corn was planted between April 6 and April 14. Half of that is up and enjoying the warmth of the last few days. The other half is slowly emerging. Surprisingly, I really don’t expect much to need to be replanted. While we have been unseasonably cool, we have not been nearly as wet as the rest of the state. I have high hopes of a normal season for the rest of the growing season. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: We have made little planting progress as April ended. Maybe 5 percent of corn was planted before rains started mid-month. That corn has barely sprouted as only 10 growing degrees have been received since then. Most of the seed agronomists wanted producers to hold off planting in front of the cold and rain. We are very fortunate that we have not gotten heavy rains, and if the rain missed us this past weekend, planters will be running hard early in the week. Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: Greetings again from Western Illinois and Warren County. After an extremely dry March and early April, we are wet and cold now. Corn planting started here in the first few days of April and stopped on April 15. We had about 3.5 inches of rain in April, which is not as much as other parts of the state but it has been very cold for April. Friday morning’s temperature was 32 degrees. Some corn has emerged, but most of the corn is still waiting for some more heat units. We are about 45 percent done with our corn planting, but the weather forecast is for more rain this week. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: Welcome to a new crop year. My name is Jacob Streitmatter and I farm in Peoria county. March was a good month and allowed us to get all our anhydrous on. Some corn was planted around the area the week of April 14. Since then it has turned off cold and rainy, and we haven’t been able to get back in the field. Hopefully this week it will dry off and let the planters roll. Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: I farm in Stark and Marshall counties, mostly corn and a few soybeans. It is kind of wet around here. Very little corn has been planted, probably less than 5 percent. Corn that has been planted seems to be growing. Still, the ground temperature is very cold and, obviously, very wet. We probably need a week to get this weather straightened out so we can start planting corn. Everybody is waiting for ground temperatures to warm up to start planting. Have a safe spring. Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: I am a producer from Chatsworth in the southeast portion of Livingston County where my son and I run a corn and bean operation. Welcome to another year of Cropwatchers, but there isn’t much to watch, except for the mud holes getting bigger. The weather is supposed to dry up, but it will take many days for the ground conditions to get fit to prepare a seedbed for planting. Our area has received more than 5 inches of rain in April. Weeds are growing, especially the henbit, but we have machinery and herbicides to handle them. Markets seem to be getting toppy, unless more weather problems develop. Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: Greetings from northeastern McLean County where the last two weeks of April have seen cool temps, more than 5 inches of rainfall, and an anemic 49 growing degree units. Corn planted April 1-10 is up, but what was planted after that has only sprouted. Maybe 2 percent of the corn is in the ground. Before the rains hit, a lot of pre-plant spraying and cultivation was done. There appears to be 5-10 percent more continuous corn than last year. Prices at Prairie Central Co-op: corn, $6.98; fall, $5.95; soybeans, $13.30; fall, $12.93; wheat, $6.92.

Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: What a difference a year makes. Last year we finished planting on May 1, but this year we had nothing planted when May 1 arrived. The best opportunity to enter the field was on or before April 7. Fields in the area were suitable for fieldwork on six out of the eight days. We field cultivated some of our fields during that time to level them off, but decided not to plant. Then we were able to enter the field on April 14 and 15 to level off a couple more fields. The heavier and consistent rain started after that and the fields have been too wet since then. Some corn was planted in the area on April 7 or earlier, although it was less than 1 percent. I saw corn that had emerged in those fields from the seat in my pickup truck. Many fields still have water standing on the surface. In the month of April, we received a range of 3.75 to 6.05 inches of rain on our farms. Over the past week the range of rainfall was 2.2 to 3.3 inches. In my last report for 2010 I asked where the markets would be when I started reporting in 2011. The answer is higher. Local closing bids for April 28 were: nearby corn, $7.06; newcrop corn, $5.99; nearby soybeans, $13.38; new-crop soybeans, $13.03. Steve

Ayers,

Champaign, Champaign County: Greetings from the home of the Fighting Illini, Parkland Cobras, and the “land of 10,000 field ponds,” as 6.2 inches of rain have fallen since April 15. National Agricultural Statistics Service has our east central crop reporting district at 3 percent planted. Now the question will be, how many acres will need replanting. We are strip-tillers and seriously thought about planting in the window before the April 15 rain, but soil conditions were still sticky and ground temp was in the 40s, so our corn is still in the bag. The frost April 21 just reinforced the decision to delay planting. This coming week we should start to dry out but rain is back in the forecast on Thursday. Delayed planting is difficult, but we need to keep this in perspective as we watch the tornado devastation, loss of life, and flooding along our river systems. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this incredible destruction.

Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: Hello to all again from Western Illinois where the sun actually was shining on Friday, but with a cool temp of 40 degrees. This definitely is not good corngrowing weather for what already is in the ground. Several in the area have some planted while others already are finished. Overall, our area is probably in the 10 percent done range. Rainfall for March here totaled 1 inch. April came in at 4.1 inches. So most equipment has been parked for the last couple of weeks. Be safe when the machines start rolling. Carrie Winkelmann, Menard County: Hello from Menard County. This is my second year as a Cropwatcher. I have been living and working on our corn and soybean farm with my husband, Kyle, for five years, as well as working for the SangamonMenard Extension as the agriculture literacy coordinator for the two counties. I grew up on a corn, soybean, and livestock farm in Montgomery County and finished my agriculture education at the University of Illinois, majoring in agriculture science and agriculture education. Many farmers in our area got a jump on their planting and had corn in the ground before all of the rain we received in the last two weeks. We received a total of 4.02 inches in April. We held off on planting, waiting for warmer weather, and do not have any corn in the ground. I would estimate that 15-20 percent of the corn is planted and emerging in our area. I have a good start on my garden and have potatoes, onions, radishes, and peas up and growing. The popcorn I planted hasn’t come up yet, and I might have to replant that. I look forward to reporting this year, as well as reading what my fellow reporters report from across the state. Happy planting!


Page 7 Monday, May 2, 2011 FarmWeek

CROPWATCHERS Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: Well it’s that time of year again and I am glad to be back to share the progress of this year’s corn, soybean, and wheat crop as it unfolds across Coles County. While the fields were in the midst of their winter rest, our family grew shortly before Christmas as Kelly, Maddison, and I were blessed with the arrival of a healthy baby boy named Case William. We came out of a near-perfect fall from the standpoint of field preparation, although some producers held back on anhydrous application because of the very dry soil. Eventually, they found a nice window to apply the nutrient during the very last of March and first of April. Also in the first week of April, some planters started across the fields putting the first 5 percent of the corn crop in the ground while others hesitated due to the forecast of heavy rains and cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, that forecast turned out to be correct. Unrelenting precipitation has saturated fields to the point that planters will be lucky to resume sometime within the next couple weeks. The crop that is in the ground has been slow growing because of the coolness and some has suffered considerable damage from flooding. I hate to admit there are a lot of similarities between this spring and the infamous spring of 2009 so far, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. For now, we have to play the waiting game and hopefully we will end up having a safe and productive season after all. Jimmy Ayers, Rochester, Sangamon County: Crops have started off slow this year. We farm about 1,200 acres in the New City area, five miles south of Rochester. We will be probably two thirds corn this year. At this point, we have about 40 acres planted. My wife and I have two kids in college. We run a few trucks up and down the road for a little extra income. We have had quite a bit of rain around the area and haven’t done much fieldwork since the first week in April. Some farmers started planting corn March 28. Some farmers are done planting corn and some haven’t started. Bean fields are green. It will be nice to get out there and knock down some of the weeds. Winter annuals seem to be thriving and doing well. Markets are riding the roller coaster again this year — extremely high prices. We’re looking forward to a fairly good crop this year. David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: Welcome to the 2011 growing season from soggy southern Fayette County. At this time of the year, we are on a ditto schedule of 2008. There has been a little anhydrous put on in the immediate area with no corn in the ground around here. There is some corn planted in the northern part of the county, and some of it has emerged. However, it has seen a lot of rain, along with some hail. The total rainfall from my station is right at 9 inches since April 18. The Kaskaskia River bottom is seeing flooding again. Farmers in the bottoms have been watching levees closely. Surprisingly, the majority of the wheat looks good to excellent, but thinking the water will catch up to it and it could start deteriorating. We’re hoping for sunshine, warmer, and drier weather. Ted Kuebrich, Jerseyville, Jersey County: Here we go, the start of spring of 2011, and the weather is the big story. There is some corn planted in Jersey County. I planted some corn the first week of April and it is up. Most of the fieldwork is going to be late due to the extremely wet field conditions. We had rain most of April and very little sunshine to help dry the ground out. The cornfield behind my house has water standing. The Illinois River at Hardin is 431.4 feet above sea level. That is 6 feet over flood stage, which is 425. Farm ground along the river not protected by the levee is under water. Prices at Jersey County Grain, Hardin: cash corn, $7.11; fall corn, $5.96; cash beans, $13.44; fall beans, $12.99; June/July wheat, $7.38.

Doug Uphoff, Shelbyville, Shelby County: Just got back from canoe shopping. I already have my rice ordered and conical Asian hat to plant in. I farm between Shelbyville and Findlay. Most of you know when I do my crop reports that I report on my part of the county since the county is so large. I do sometimes call on contacts in other parts of the county so my report is a reflection of the whole county. I am married to Sara (Hardy) Uphoff, a student at Lakeview School of Nursing in Charleston. I have three kids. My daughter, Whitney, and son, Elliott, are students at Southern Illinois UniversityCarbondale. My other son, Isaac, is a senior in high school, who will be attending SIUC in the fall. I feel kind of bad that I am not a student somewhere. Last year at this time we had finished planting corn and were either planting soybeans or finishing up application of preemerge herbicides on our planted corn. This year, things started out well. We applied the rest of our anhydrous the last part of March and first part of April. We planted 130 acres of corn on April 7, of which 10 to 15 acres is under water, and the rain is still coming. Countywide, corn planting is less than 1 percent completed. I’m wondering how much anhydrous we are losing. April rainfall was around 9.3 inches. All joking aside, we are blessed to have a home to live in that is not flooded or destroyed by a tornado. Our hearts go out to those that are going through those struggles. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: For the fourth year in a row we have an extremely wet spring. Some fertilizer has been applied, some burndown spraying has been done, but absolutely no planting. Reports in the area are up to 9 inches of rain last week. Water is standing in any low area as the ground is super-saturated and there is no place for it to go. The rivers and creeks have been out of their banks most of the past week. There won’t be any planting done for another week or 10 days — if there is no more rain, but there was rain in the forecast for the weekend. *Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: I have been involved in a farm partnership with my brother for 35 years. Our farm is located in Stookey Township southwest of Belleville and approximately 20 minutes from St. Louis. We are a grain farm raising corn, soybeans, and sometimes wheat on the rolling hills of the western part of St. Clair County for the St. Louis river terminal market. Residue management is important to us, making no-till planting the preferred method of protecting the soils on the slopes we farm. I’m also a member of the board of directors for St. Clair County Farm Bureau serving as the secretary. The month of April started off cool and wet with few windows of opportunity for fieldwork. Some wheat fields were being sprayed for garlic at the beginning of the month. Anhydrous and crop protectants applications were performed on the well-drained fields in the county. Some tillage and corn planting were done in a few fields in the northern and southwest part of the county on April 15. The third week of April started with rain showers of varying amounts throughout the county with some receiving a few tenths of an inch while others received more than 1 inch. Farmers in the southern part of the county were back in the field on April 20 and 21, but all fieldwork ceased after the storms on Good Friday. The storms included heavy rainfall and tornado warnings for counties in Illinois and Missouri. St. Louis Lambert Airport was shut down after the terminal was hit by a tornado, causing significant damage to the structure. Heavy rain showers continued through April 28 with random reports of accumulated rainfall of 4-plus inches to 10 inches. Flooding of the major rivers and streams has become a great concern in the area. Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: I hope you can put up with my ramblings for another year because it is time to start another year’s journey through Southern Illinois farming. I really hate to complain about my measly 10 inches of rain last week when I know my compadres to the south can top that reading. Absolutely no spring fieldwork has been done around here, and the yellow fuzzy weeds I used to complain about are back in force. The wheat needs dry feet very quickly or it is going to be a flop.

Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Welcome to another season of Cropwatchers. Some years, my first report had very little activity to report. Not this one. The season started well. We got an early start with fieldwork and some corn is planted. Then the weather changed and there has been damaging storms with high winds and tornadoes. Damage has been widespread with many structures ruined and days with no electricity. Almost every river and creek is coming close to record levels. The Wabash River was supposed to crest Sunday (May 1) or today (Monday) just under record height. It will take some time for all the water to recede and allow us to resume normal activities. Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: I’m glad to be back for another year as a Cropwatcher. I farm mostly in river bottom ground in the Gorham Jacob area in the Mississippi River bottom, but I do farm some hill ground in the surrounding area. My wife, Patti, and I have two boys: one who farms on his own, totally separate from my operation, and I am proud of that; and an older son who is in the computer business. We received 16.5 inches of rain in the last eight days. All the low ground is flooded and quite a bit of ground that normally is not flooded is. We are worrying about water reaching the levee on another river, the Big Muddy River, which also would flood my river bottom area. The corn crop doesn’t look very good. We started out pretty well, but the rains brought things to a screeching halt. I got 75 acres planted, then held off because of the rain. I’m glad I did — I may have to replant the 75 acres. There have been quite a few other acres of corn put in the ground and if they don’t have water sitting on them they don’t look too bad. The wheat crop looks fairly decent. Most of the time it is put on high ground in our area and the color is good. We are worried about the diseases now with all this wet weather. We need some sunshine and dry weather to get the season started off right. Hope the rest of you get a chance to start your season off on a good note. Think about us in Southern Illinois and hope the rain stops. Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: Welcome to another year of Cropwatchers. The year so far can be summed up as wet, wet, and more wet. There was a small amount of corn planted April 8 through 10, but since then nothing. I would estimate there is less than 5 percent of the corn acres planted in the county. We do not have any corn planted yet. We’ve had more than a foot of rain since that period of time. We have had unprecedented flooding because of all the rainfall. The rivers (both the Mississippi and the Ohio) are so high that both elevators on the Ohio River are closed. Not only are they not taking grain, they have closed their offices because of the high water. There was a helicopter in the area Friday trying to put some fungicide on some wheat. There has, obviously, been no field activity going on at all. It looks like it will be another interesting planting season. *Randy Anderson, Galatia, Saline County Hello, I’m Randy Anderson from Saline County. I grow corn, soybeans, and wheat. I also operate a small cow/calf herd. I live near Galatia with my wife and two sons. I planted 150 acres of corn on April 7 and 8 and have not been able to return to the fields. Since April 9, we have received more than 15 inches of rain on the farm. Many area farmers have received equal or greater amounts. Currently, I feel that area farmers are at least two to three weeks from being able to do any fieldwork. I planned to have fungicide applied to my wheat on Saturday (April 30) to help prevent diseases. It was being applied by airplane.

Reports received Friday morning. Expanded crop and weather information available at www.ilfb.org


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, May 2, 2011

THE ECONOMY Economist sees no choice, but. . .

Debt limit hike must include fiscal constraints

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Current economic realities demand Congress raise the federal debt ceiling while getting serious about addressing underlying budget/deficit issues, according to economic policy analyst Ross Korves. The White House has set a July congressional deadline for raising a current $14.3 trillion national debt limit, setting the stage for a poten-

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) current budget plan, while “far from perfect,” sets the stage for negotiation of steps to slow growth in overall federal outlays as a condition of raising the debt limit, Korves said. The economist endorses a new Standard & Poor analysis indicating a continued “rapid accumulation of debt in relation to the size of the economy” will downgrade the U.S.’

‘Let’s do it this time, because we don’t have any choice.’ — Ross Korves Economic policy analyst

tially blistering bipartisan battle. “Let’s do it this time, because we don’t have any choice,” Korves told FarmWeek last week. The Chicago-area economist believes fears of the global credit consequences of failing to raise the limit are somewhat “overblown,” but argues the U.S. can’t “simply ignore our obligations.” But Korves believes the time has come for lawmakers to take steps crucial to generating fewer annual budget deficits and thus “lessen the need to continue to raise the debt limit in future years.” He questions Congress’ process of approving a deficit budget and then raising the debt limit as “a natural outcome of the way we run our federal budget policy.”

global credit rating. “That means we pay a higher interest rate on that $14.3 trillion of debt,” Korves said. “The first thing that happens is interest rates go up for the federal government. Then interest rates go up for everybody else in the country, because we’re living in a country at higher risk for default. “And that’s both public default and private default. We continue to see a decline in the value of the dollar, which means everything we import — that nitrogen fertilizer, that petroleum — gets more expensive in dollar terms. “Then we become a little less well-off, and that begins the decline in the standard of living for the people of this country.”

Korves points to the impact of debt and poor fiscal policy in recent global economic crises. Greece took out excessive overseas loans in hopes of restarting its economy after a post-Sept. 11 tourism slump. Portugal lost investor dollars to Slovenia and China amid a push for higher wages and failed fiscal/currency reforms. Ireland’s real estate boom burst in 2008, leading to a collapse in construction and banking sectors and a decline in government revenues. Illinois Farm Bureau economist Mike Doherty noted Argentina’s 2002 debt default led to a roughly three-month economic freefall, but the economy soon stabilized and the country “regained its lost ground within a couple of years.” However, Doherty stressed Argentina’s default occurred during an economic cycle far less “debt-laden” than the current one. The U.S. faces a far more significant risk in opting to “crash and burn and see what rises from the ashes,” he maintained. Remedying the U.S. debt crisis necessitates scrutiny of “everything across the board, particularly entitlements” that dominate federal spending, Korves insisted. Failure to deal with Social Security, Medicare, and other key programs means “you’re not effectively dealing with the budget,” he warned. “All those things have to go on the table,” Korves said.

China economically motivated to address currency concerns Economic forces likely will help remedy Chinese currency issues before U.S. congressional pressure is necessary or even effective, economic policy analyst Ross Korves suggests. While he said he is gravely concerned about mounting U.S. debt, Korves dismisses the notion that the U.S. faces any imminent economic threat from its key foreign lender, China. Senate majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Springfield, and other key Senate Democrats returned from Beijing last week with China’s assurance it would continue to allow its currency to continue to rise against the U.S. dollar. That’s important because China’s past currency policy — focusing on a weak yuan — has resulted in “an unbalanced exchange rate that keeps the cost of Chinese products artificially low and the cost of U.S. exports to China unfairly high,” the senators stated. Group member Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pushed for legislation to pressure China to allow the yuan to rise more rapidly in value. But Korves, a consultant to several ag-related interests, suggests Congress should go easy in its approach to the issue. First of all, Korves argues congressional protests likely would have little impact on a traditionally strong-willed China. The more U.S. officials “holler and rant and rave,” the more reluctant Chinese officials will be to be perceived as “caving in to U.S. demands,” he said. Further, Korves notes, Chinese currency policy has become a domestic problem the Chinese government eventually will have to address. “The Chinese are slowly recognizing that their inflation problem is partly due to the fact that they have kept their currency weaker than otherwise would be justified, and that all the raw materials they import — oil, iron ore — would be less costly for them if their currency were stronger,” Korves told FarmWeek. “That would put less inflationary pressure on their internal economy. “They lent money not knowing what else to do with the money, when in fact they should have been recycling all that money back into their own economy. “For them to be a developing country and to have $2.5 trillion or whatever they’ve loaned the U.S. is strictly ludicrous. “They’ve made just a huge error in their thinking. I wouldn’t worry about China — we have problems of our own.” — Martin Ross

FLOWER SALES FOR FFA

State on pace to end fiscal year $8 billion in the red? Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka last week announced Illinois is on pace to owe $8 billion on June 30, the end of the fiscal year. To p i n k a wa r n e d l o n g - t e r m f i n a n c i a l stability will come only with spending r e - f o r m s. “A f t e r y e a r s o f h a n d - w r i n g i n g a b o u t t h e s t a t e ’s f i n a n c e s a n d d e f i c i t s p e n d i n g , h e r e we a r e l o o k i n g t o e n d y e t a n o t h e r f i s c a l y e a r i n t h e r e d ,” To p i n k a said in a written statement. “T he prescription for our financial recover y is simple: Stop spending more than we bring in.” Topinka re por ted her office has 208,635 unpaid bills, which total $4.52 billion owed to schools, hospitals, social ser vice ag encies, and private businesses throughout Illinois for ser-

vices provided to the state. In addition to its unpaid bills, the state faces roughly $3.8 billion in additional oblig ations, including $1 billion in bills expected to ar rive after the end of the fiscal year, $1.2 billion for state employee health insurance, and $850 million in cor porate tax refunds. In total, the state will have about $8.3 billion in unpaid bills on June 30 — just as it did at the close of Fiscal Year 2010, according to Topinka. She noted the debt estimates may chang e de pending on decisions made in the final weeks of the legislative session. Those decisions include how Gov. Pat Quinn manages unspent appropriations, any supplemental spending, and whether the state chooses to borrow more money.

Byron Lutman, left, a sophomore from Fults, and Marissa Modglin, right, a sophomore from Waterloo, offer Waterloo School Board President Dwight Schaefer advice on selecting plants during the plant sale recently at Waterloo High School. The sale, which benefits the Waterloo FFA Chapter, has been conducted since 1992. This is the second year the sale has been held in a new greenhouse. Ag teacher Mindy McDermott said students in her horticulture production and management class prepared 500 hanging baskets and more than 10,000 other potted plants for the sale. (Photo by Ken Kashian)


Page 9 Monday, May 2, 2011 FarmWeek

THE JAPANESE CRISIS

Tragedies leave Japan more reliant on food imports BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Philip Seng, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), last week confirmed what many economists predicted in the wake of the earthquakes and tsunami that devastated parts of northern Japan March 11. Seng, who recently spent 10 days in Japan, reported the island nation now is even more dependent on imports to meet its domestic food demand. “Japan is over 60 percent dependent on imported products,” Seng said last week during a webinar hosted by the Beef Checkoff Program. “And that number has gone up because of these tragedies.” More than 59,000 acres in the prefectures (states) of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima were flooded and may be polluted with high levels of salt, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) reported. There also is concern about the safety of crops near the damaged

nuclear power plant in Japan. Meanwhile, the area devastated by the disasters accounted for about 16 percent of beef production, Philip Seng 12 percent of pork production, and 15 to 20 percent of fishing and fish processing in Japan. About 3,000 head of cattle, 30,000 hogs, and 600,000 chickens had to be abandoned and are presumed dead, according to Seng, who said he felt tremors nine of the 10 days he spent in Japan last month. “There will be more animals destroyed,” Seng said. “As the tragedy unfolds, there are new chapters every day. “With this (ag) production not flowing (from northern Japan to Tokyo) they have two choices,” he continued. “Increase production, which seems unlikely, or compensate with more imports. We see

Japanese recovery likely to deepen China reliance The Japanese crisis likely will intensify U.S. economic reliance on China, a former World Bank development specialist and USDA/University of Illinois economist suggests. China is the U.S.’ primary foreign “banker,” carrying nearly $1.3 trillion of U.S. government debt and continuing to cover federal budget deficits, notes Robert Thompson, recent U of I Gardner Chair for Agriculture Policy (see page 8). Japan is second, holding close to $1 trilRobert Thompson lion in U.S. “paper.” But “with such a huge need at home,” as a result of recent disasters, Japan is unlikely to invest as significantly in U.S. debt, Thompson told FarmWeek. “China and the U.S. are joined at the hip right now,” argued the former World Bank agriculture/rural development director and senior ag trade policy adviser. “We’re their biggest market, and they are financing our deficit. As our banker, they have a lot to say over the U.S. “In fact, China can set the U.S. dollar exchange rate any day of the week it wishes. If it wants to drive down the dollar, all it has to do is start selling U.S. government instruments into the foreign exchange market. In order to get someone else to hold them, they’re going to have to drive down the price. That would weaken the U.S. dollar.” Fortunately, the Chinese would be hurting themselves by devaluing their vast U.S. debt holdings, he stressed. But while “they can’t allow us to go broke,” he sees potential for China and other global creditors to require higher interest rates to cover U.S. debt. That could stoke renewed U.S. inflation. Thompson argues the U.S. Federal Reserve already faces “a real balancing act” in managing the excess liquidity it has injected into the U.S. economy. “That’s what inflation’s all about — more money chasing the same amount of goods,” the economist explained. “So you have two forces that in all likelihood are going to give us more inflation in the future.” — Martin Ross

imports as the more likely scenario, particularly shortterm.” In fact, that already is the case based on the most recent U.S. export data. U.S. beef exports to Japan this year, through April 14, were up 93 percent compared to the same time last year, according to USMEF. Japan’s purchases of U.S. corn as of April 7 totaled 418.8 million bushels, up 1.5 percent from 412.5 million bushels purchased at the same time a year ago, USGC reported. “We’re seeing more demand building up and we see a surge in (beef and pork) consumption moving forward,” Seng said. “There is a tremendous demand for protein.” Seng predicted Japan as early as June could be compelled by its growing food needs to reopen negotiations with the U.S. to reduce current restrictions on imports of U.S. beef. Japan currently imports U.S. beef that originates only from cattle 20

months of age or younger. Seng believes Japan’s beef import policy could be adjusted to match that of South Korea, which imports beef from U.S. cows that are 30 months of age or younger. South Korea also has boosted its imports of U.S. pork and swine as one-third of its domestic hog herd was

wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease. The situations in Japan and South Korea have forced both countries to remain strong buyers of meat and grain despite higher prices. “Demand is growing in these (Asian) markets faster than their ability to produce it,” Seng added.

Trans-Pacific trade talks must continue without Japan The Japanese tragedy occurred as Kan was working to move reluctant members of A key Asian trade partnership remains vital Japan’s parliament toward accelerated ecoto U.S. market growth, despite the withdrawal nomic growth and ag policy/trade reforms, in of one of the Pacific Rim’s top economic pow- part through TPP involvement, Salmonsen ers. related. Dean Kleckner, chairman of He noted the Japanese govthe group Truth About Trade ernment “wasn’t that strong” and Technology, sees hope for even before disaster struck. the Trans-Pacific Partnership “Who knows if this particular ‘We need to get government will even survive?” (TPP), a multilateral agreement aimed at integrating Asian-Pacif- cracking on this.’ he posed, suggesting popular ic economies while expanding displeasure and the impact of trade opportunities between the tsunami and radioactive conAsia and other significant global — Dean Kleckner tamination likely would push the markets. Truth About Trade nation toward more open trade and Technology Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and heightened food imports and Singapore signed the initial (see accompanying story). agreement in 2005; Australia, TPP expansion offers the Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam, and the opportunity for “an even broader U.S. now are seeking memberPacific region agreement,” possiship. bly incorporating China and othWhile free trade agreement (FTA) debate is er “advanced developing countries” with strong on the front burner, American Farm Bureau U.S. export growth potential, Salmonsen said. Federation analyst David Salmonsen sees the Vietnam currently is “the real question” in TPP as another step in “growing the region,” TPP talks, a Senate Finance Committee aide and, significantly, “something the administrarecently told Illinois Farm Bureau Leaders to tion is doing positive on trade.” Washington. Just as past union-related vioJapanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan suplence has been an issue in U.S.-Colombia FTA ported his country joining the TPP, but approval, he pondered whether the CommuJapan dropped out of talks in the wake of nist nation “would sign up for core labor recent devastating earthquake-tsunami activi- rights” as part of an agreement. ty. “This certainly is a change for that govern“We understand that, but that doesn’t mean ment and (Vietnam’s) attitude,” Salmonsen said. we shouldn’t talk about trade,” Kleckner told “They were so closed for so long. Now, they’re FarmWeek. “And I think that at some point, trying to move their exports and open up to the the Japanese will just work back into it. The world. Japanese want to be involved. But we need to “They’re getting more engaged; they’re trying get cracking on this — at some point, time gets to grow their economy. Getting involved in a away, and you lose.” multilateral institution is a step for them.”

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek


FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, May 2, 2011

IN THE FIELDS

Farmer removes massive stones from field BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Karl Lawfer, a farmer from Kent in Jo Daviess County, took advantage of the nice weather and early harvest last fall to clear a large stone, estimated to weigh between 4 and 5 tons, from a rented field. A pretty big rock, he thought at the time. “It was all the way out of the ground and it was in the way,” he said. “So we finally loaded it up last fall.” That rock currently is on display near Karl and Lori Lawfer’s home, which is about 10 miles from the Wisconsin border near Stockton. “We are just trying to make things easier to farm,” Karl said. “It (the large granite stone) makes a nice conversation piece.” The Lawfers this spring decided to remove another stone, which they believed was smaller, from the field. But this one turned out to be an even bigger project. “Just the top of it was showing,” Lawfer said. “We had no idea how big it was.”

Those pretty flowers in our fields are weeds! BY BARRY NASH

Jacob Lawfer, son of Karl and Lori Lawfer of Kent, poses near a large stone the family recently unearthed in one of their crop fields in Jo Daviess County. The large stone, estimated to weigh between 6 and 7 tons, was rolled by a bulldozer to the edge of the field. (Photo courtesy of the Lawfers)

Once the Lawfers unearthed the rock (pictured here), they had to use a bulldozer to roll it to the edge of the field. The second rock was much bigger than the first — estimated to weigh between 6 and 7 tons. “We rolled (the rock) with a bulldozer and its (the dozer’s) nose was down and its back end was up in the air the whole

way,” Lawfer said. There are numerous limestone rock formations in Jo Daviess County, but heavier granite rocks are less common there, according to Lawfer. “We’re right on the edge” of prehistoric glacier activity, Lawfer said. He believes the large stones unearthed in his field were left behind from a parent rock in Wisconsin.

Here we go again. Another wet spring. Only this time, most of Illinois experienced an early harvest accompanied by a fairly long fall. These conditions, accompanied by a warmer, wet spring, have resulted in the perfect environment for a winterannual weed outbreak. That’s what’s happening this year. Those pretty purple flowers in our Barry Nash fields that everyone is talking about are actually winter annual weeds — more specifically, henbit and purple deadnettle. Winter annual weeds generally germinate in the fall and overwinter in a basic vegetative stage. Depending on soil and air temperatures, they will complete vegetative development Henbit and begin to flower during the months of March and April. By mid-May, most winter annual weeds have matured and produced seed. This is the case with henbit and purple deadnettle. Henbit is common throughout Illinois, while purple deadnettle appears more often in the southern half of the state. Although both species may appear similar from the road, closer observation can easily determine the differences.

While both have a square stem (which is rare among weed species), the upper leaves of henbit actually grasp the stem — absent a petiole. The upper leaves of purple deadnettle have petioles that are attached to the stem. Additionally, the leaves of purple deadnettle are more triangular and are smaller with a deep dark purple color. Henbit, on the other hand, has more of a rounded leaf appearance — and the primary “purple color” comes from the flower as opposed to the leaves. Fortunately, control of henbit, purple deadnettle, and most winter annual weeds is relatively easy to achieve. Tillage is typically the most effective option. However, as ideal planting dates pass, the use of burndown herbicides may be the best option. Now that most winter annual weeds are nearing maturity, a higher rate of a burndown herbicide such as glyphosate or paraquat is Purple deadnettle warranted. Further, the addition of 2,4-D herbicide in the burndown tank mix should enhance control. Be sure to recognize the planting restrictions when using 2,4-D. For more information on burndown recommendations in your area, be sure to contact your local FS crop specialist.

Barry Nash is GROWMARK’s weed science technical manager. His e-mail address is bnash@grow mark.com.

Composting School coming to Illinois The Midwest Composting School, an intensive hands-on workshop, will be held for the first time in Illinois May 31 through June 2 at the Illinois State University (ISU) research farm near Lexington. The early registration deadline is May 9. The workshop will feature nationally recognized speakers and give participants experience in formulating compost recipes and building compost windrows on the ISU farm, according to Paul Walker, ISU agriculture professor. Previous composting schools have been held in

Iowa, Minnesota, or Wisconsin. The early registration cost is $375, which includes meals, refreshments, and materials. The cost is $450 after May 9. Accommodations are extra and being arranged at the Chateau of Bloomington, 309-6622020. Evening sessions will be held at the hotel. Composting school sponsors are ISU, University of Illinois Extension, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture. To register, go online to {www.conferences.illinoisstate. edu/midwestcompostingschool} or call Walker for a registration form at 309-438-3881.


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, May 2, 2011

EDUCATION

IAA Foundation names 2011-2012 scholarship winners The IAA Foundation has awarded 42 college students scholarships for the 2011-2012 school year based on their academic ability, financial need, leadership involvement, and professional career goals. Through contributors and funds set up to honor loved ones and leaders committed to agriculture, a sum of $61,000 will be invested through tuition assistance for the upcoming school year. “The IAA Foundation is pleased to provide financial support to this group of bright students,” said Susan Moore IAA Foundation director. “Thanks to generous donors both through endowments and individual contributions, we are able to help the next generation of leaders in agriculture and those who are passionate about giving back to our rural communities.” Students receiving IAA Foundation general scholarships worth $3,000 and their current or planned majors are: Kristin DeSutter, Woodhull, daughter of Randy and Susie DeSutter, University of

Illinois, agriculture communications. Jason Leigh, Minonk, son of William and Deborah Leigh, U of I, engineering. Jason Barker, Shelbyville, son of Jane Barker and the late Chris Barker, Southern Illinois University (SIU), ag science/tech. Receiving the $1,000 IAA Foundation general scholarship in the name of Fletcher A. Gourley is Kelsey Graber, Heyworth, daughter of John and Julie Graber, SIU, agribusiness economics. Receiving the $1,000 IAA Foundation general scholarship in the name of Leonard Southwell is Amelia Martens, Orion, daughter of Patrick and Annette Martens, U of I, agriculture communications. Receiving the $1,100 IAA Foundation general scholarship in the name of Robert F. Rouse is Haley Bunselmeyer, Decatur, daughter of Robert and Sue Bunselmeyer, U of I, crop sciences. Receiving a $1,000 William J. Kuhfuss Memorial scholarship is Blaine Melody,

Naperville, son of Dawn and Rick Melody, U of I, animal science. Receiving a $1,500 Greg Carney scholarship is Angie Schoenbein, Tremont, daughter of Joseph and Janet Schoenbein, U of I, agriculture education. Receiving a $1,000 Dale E. Butz scholarship is Caroline Bremer, Metropolis, daughter of Jeff and Lisa Bremer, Oklahoma State University, agriculture communications. Students receiving the Robert F. Rouse scholarship worth $1,100 and their current or intended majors are: Theresa Rodriquez, Gurnee, Chamberlain College of Nursing, master’s of nursing. Renee LeBeau, Gurnee, College of Lake County, nursing. Laura Micksch, Wadsworth, daughter of Dale and Debra Micksch, Northern Illinois University (NIU), nursing/Spanish. Austin Ashby, Savanna, son of Fay James and Lisa Ashby, U of I, agribusiness management.

The $1,000 Illinois Award scholarship is awarded to Haley Pfaffe, Ashland, daughter of Jeff and Lana Pfaffe, Western Illinois University (WIU), agriculture communications. The recipient of the Heartland NAMA, Steven Hammerschmidt scholarship is David Taylor, Peotone, son of Andrew Taylor, Governors State University, business management. Those who will receive a $1,000 Dorothy and Wilhelmine Ratermann scholarship are: Katherine Burgener, Taylorville, daughter of Charles and Margaret Burgener, Saint Louis University (SLU), biological sciences. Jill Vogt, Neoga, daughter of Clarence Jr. and Martha Vogt, Eastern Illinois University (EIU), speech pathology. Lian States, Geff, daughter of Melinda States, Washington University in St. Louis, international studies. LeAnn Hall, Moweaqua, daughter of Darrell and Melanie Hall, Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, veterinary medicine. Matthew Durbin, Shelbyville, son of Larry and Ginger Durbin, SLU, pharmacy. Tamar Adcock, Assumption, daughter of Jim and Jan Adcock, Kansas State University, agriculture economics. Kaitlin Weitekamp, Raymond, daughter of Lawrence and Nancy Weitekamp, U of I, crop science. Kyle Warnecke, Glen Carbon, son of Beth and Eugene Warnecke, Texas A & M University, entomology. Ross Recker, Venedy, son of Ronald and Glenda Recker, U of I, crop and soil sciences. Mary Becker, Carlyle, daughter of Steve and Amy Becker, Illinois State University (ISU), education-math. Emily Tanner, Stonefort, daughter of Brian and Tempa Tanner, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, pharmacy. Amy Alsip, Vienna, daughter of Richard and Janet Alsip, SIU, English. Natalie Hillard, Cisne, daughter of James and Vicky Mugrage, SIU, agriculture communications. Hanna Butcher, Louisville, daughter of Kristina and John Schnepper, U of I, agriculture communications. Elizabeth Engele, Nashville, daughter of Jana Tull and Calvin Engele, U of I, finance/accounting. Recipients of the Fletcher A. Gourley, Leonard Southwell, and Roger Capps Memorial scholarships, awarded to

children of employees of Prairie Farms Dairy in the amount of $2,000 each are: Daniel Delaney, Carlinville, son of Joseph and Mary Lou Delaney, EIU, psychology. Robert Olson, Harvel, son of Kevin and Pat Olson, undecided, journalism/Spanish. Laurey Lehman, Versailles, Mo., daughter of Stephen and Tamra Lehman, Hannibal-LaGrange, vocal music education. Marcy Scherer, Champaign, daughter of Robert and Mary Scherer, U of I College of Law, law. Casey Ahlers, Jefferson City, Mo., son of Jeffrey and Jennifer Ahlers, University of Central Missouri, computer science. Stacie Cowman, Claremont, daughter of Larry and Kathy Cowman, Olney Central College, nursing. Recipients of the Fletcher A. Gourley, Leonard Southwell, and Roger Capps Memorial scholarships, awarded to children of patrons of Prairie Farms Dairy in the amount of $2,000 each are: Katrina Nowaczyk, Charleston, daughter of Eric and Lou Ann Kaeb, EIU, psychology/family and marriage counseling. Hillary Charlet, Kewanee, daughter of Kevin and Dawn Charlet, Monmouth or St. Ambrose, communications. Jenny Eichhorn, Altenburg, Mo., daughter of John and Reva Eichhorn, University of Missouri-Kansas City, medicine. Amy Schaufelberger, Greeneville, daughter of Boyd and Sandra Schaufelberger, U of I, agriculture communications. Courtney Lintker, Venedy, daughter of Wayne and Doris Lintker, University of Missouri Columbia, pre-med/biology. Elizabeth Brehm, Durango, Iowa, daughter of Steve and Sharon Brehm, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, animal science. Since 1989, the IAA Foundation has awarded 583 scholarships. Applications for the 20122013 school year will be available on Dec. 1, 2011. Specific details and eligibility requirements may be found online at {www.iaafoundation.org}. The mission of the IAA Foundation, Illinois Farm Bureau’s charitable foundation, is to fund education, research, and charitable activities that benefit Illinois farm families and agriculture. Learn more about the IAA Foundation and the efforts it supports at {www.iaafoundation.org}.


Page 11 Monday, May 2, 2011 FarmWeek

NEW MARKETS

Locally grown foods on the menu for St. Louis buyers BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Consumers’ growing appetite for locally grown food is creating opportunities for Illinois farmers, according to produce buyers for some St. Louis-area companies. Henry Lehmann of Dierbergs Markets, Mike O’Brien of Schnucks Markets Inc., and John Pollaci of Sunfarm Food Service recently met with about 70 farmers at a meetthe-buyer gathering coordinated by Cynthia Haskins, Illinois Farm Bureau manager of business development and compliance. All three buyers told FarmWeek they are looking to expand their farm sources of locally grown food. “We’re adding to our local homegrown arsenal,” said Lehmann, produce procurement director for Dierbergs. Dierbergs is a family-owned business with 23 St. Louis metropolitan-area grocery stores, including two in Illinois. “All of our customers have

Local Food Working Group focuses on opportunities The Local Food Working Group is striving to provide informational resources and to develop links to help with the expansion of the production, distribution, and marketing of local food. The group was convened by Cynthia Haskins, Illinois Farm Bureau manager of business development and compliance. Haskins joined IFB in 2010 and is taking an active role in local food initiatives. Working Group members include: Haskins; Jim Fraley, IFB livestock program director; Colleen Callahan, state director of USDA Rural Development; Christina Rogers, policy adviser for rural affairs with Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon; John Pike, University of Illinois Extension community and economic development educator; Tim Lindsey, director of energy and sustainable business been asking us what we are doing for a local (food) program and who we’re working with,” said Pollaci, Sunfarm’s president, who noted he caters to white-tablecloth restaurants. Sunfarm is a business-to-business distributor of fruits, vegetables, and dairy to restaurants and institutions in

programs with U of I Business Innovation Services; Richard Warner, director of Center for Community Action; Richard Weinzierl, U of I Extension entomologist; Darlene Knipe, U of I Extension marketing and business development specialist; and Rich Knipe, U of I Extension animal system specialist. The Illinois School Nutrition Association and the Illinois Restaurant Association also are represented on the Working Group. Advisory working group members are DeLayne Reeves and Larry Aldag, both with the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s bureau of marketing and promotions. Currently, subgroups are being identified and additional stake holders are being sought. Local food subgroups will convene in the near future.

the St. Louis area. “I think there are a lot of opportunities for Illinois’ small farmers to sell to their supermarkets. It’s a really fun opportunity,” added O’Brien, Schnucks vice president of produce and floral. “We’re all looking for the right growers.” Schnucks oper-

ates 105 grocery stores and 101 in-store pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The three buyers said they appreciated the opportunity to talk with farmers at the Sparta workshop. “It was a great way to meet

Chicago Farmers plan farmland, estate planning annual meeting The Chicago Farmers will discuss estate planning laws and recent changes Monday, May 9, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 S. LaSalle St., Chicago. The regis-

tration deadline is May 6. Attendees will need to show identification to enter the building. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by the noon meal and program.

Milk price drops The Class III price for milk adjusted to 3.5 percent butterfat for the month of April was $16.87 per hundredweight. This is a $2.53 decrease from the previous month. The lower price was expected because milk supplies were rapidly building. The “Spring Flush” is in full swing, and heifer placements have been strong as producers move older cows out of the herd, taking advantage of record-high beef prices.

Angelo Tiesi with the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis will be the guest speaker. The group also will approve the 2011-12 slate of officers and directors. For members, the fee is $25

for advance registration or $30 at the door. The fee is $50 for nonmembers. To register, call 312-3883276 or go online to {www.chicagofarmers.org}.

local growers,” Pollaci commented. He is working on logistics with three growers he met at the meeting and hopes to be able to work with them. Pollaci noted his customers are interested in “more unusual locally grown items.” Lehmann said he also met a couple of new growers with whom he will work this year. He noted he is particularly interested in such locally grown foods as jacket cauliflower and blackberries. Lehmann added he also is interested in extending the season for locally grown foods into the fall. O’Brien said his preference is to find farmers to supply the store in the farmers’ local area. He encouraged growers who are interested in supplying their local Schnucks store to speak with the local store manager. The manager will contact the corporate produce office to ensure appropriate safety standards are followed and to set up a payment system for the farmer, O’Brien explained. As the demand for locally grown food continues to increase, Illinois farmers are learning they, too, are a sought-after commodity. “So far the response from the growers (is), they are all very excited about being in demand,” Pollaci said.


Page 13 Monday, May 2, 2011 FarmWeek

FROM THE COUNTIES

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ROWN — Brown and Schuyler County Farm Bureaus will sponsor a Summer Ag Institute from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 21-22. Teachers may earn 14 continuing professional development units. Cost is $20 for non-Farm Bureau members and $10 for members. Registration deadline is June 3. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-773-2634 to register or for more information. UREAU — Farm Bureau, the Bureau County Pork Producers Association, and the Bureau County Cattlemen’s Association are accepting nominees for the Agricultural Service Award. The purpose of the award is to honor individuals who have given exemplary leadership and service to agriculture and farmers. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-875-6468 for a nomination form or more information. Deadline to return nominations is Friday, June 3. DGAR — A meeting for Farmers’ Market vendors and potential vendors will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday (today) at the Farm Bureau office. The market will be from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 18, through Saturday, Sept. 17. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-465-8511 for more information. ASALLE — Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip June 14 to see the Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field, Chicago. Cost is $85 for members and $95 for nonmembers if paid by May 20. After May 20, the price increases to $90 and $100, respectively. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-433-0371 for tickets or more information. ONTGOMERY — The Prime Timers will meet at noon Wednesday,

May 18, at the Farm Bureau office. A pork cutlet luncheon will be served. Cost is $8. Peggy Kessinger and Russell Young will provide the entertainment. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-532-6171 by Friday, May 13, for reservations or more information. • The Prime Timers will sponsor a bus trip Wednesday, June 1, to see “Cats” at the Little Theatre on the Square, Sullivan. Cost is $52. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217532-6171 by Friday, May 13, for reservations or more information. • The Prime Timers will sponsor a bus trip Friday, June 24, to see “Encores” at Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre, Goodfield. Cost is $59. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217532-6171 by Friday, May 20, for reservations or more information. CHUYLER — The Schuyler Ag Day Committee will sponsor an Ag Day celebration from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Webster School. There will be ag and implement presentations, a petting zoo, and RushvilleIndustry FFA will serve popcorn and a soft drink for 25 cents. • Schuyler and Brown County Farm Bureaus will sponsor a Summer Ag Institute from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 2122. Teachers may earn 14 continuing professional development units. Cost is $20 for non-Farm Bureau members and $10 for members. Deadline to register is June 3. Call the Farm Bureau office at 217-322-4353 to register or for more information.

Auction Calendar

Consignment Auction. Riesterer and Schnell, HORTONVILLE, WI. Powers Auction Service. www.powestauctions.com Sat., Mar. 21. 8 a.m. Consignment Auction. CANTON, IL. Rt. 9 Auction. www.laffertyauction.com Wed., May 25. 10 a.m. 40 Ac. Woodford Co. Estate of John C. Burdon Farm, ROANOKA, IL. John Leezer and Jim Maloof/Realtor, Agents and Brokers. www.illinoisfarms4sale.com Thurs., May 26. 10 a.m. Champaign and Piatt Counties Land Auction. MONTICELLO, IL. Hertz Farm Mgmt., Inc. www.hfmgt.com Tues., May 31. 6:30 p.m. McLean Co. Land Auction. Soy Capital Ag Services. www.soycapitalag.com Fri., June 3. 10 a.m. 110.55 Ac. Champaign Co. Soy Capital Ag Services. www.soycapitalag.com Tues., June 7. 10 a.m. 77.26 Ac. McLean Co. Soy Capital Ag Services. www.soycapitalag.com Sat., June 11. 10 a.m. LaSalle Co. Land Auction. NEWARK, IL. Richard A. Olson, Auctioneer. richardaolson.com.

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Thurs., May 5. 7 p.m. Morgan Co. Land Auction. Heirs of Sebastian B. Kumle, Sr. Trust, ALEXANDER, IL. Middendorf Bros. www.middendorfs.com Sat., May 7. 9 a.m. Herscher Area May Consignment Auction. KANKAKEE, IL. Tom Witvoet Auction and Appraisal Services. www.tomwitvoetequipment.com Sat., May 7. 10 a.m. Real Estate and Personal Property Auction. Thelma McCall Est., SAVANNA, IL. Jim Calhoun, Auctioneer. www.calhounauction.com Sat., May 7. 10 a.m. Construction Eq., Trucks and Trailers and Misc. Hunters Ridge Development Auction, FREEPORT, IL. Powers Auction Service. www.powersauction.com Sat., May 7. 9 a.m. Congerville Lawn and Garden, Farm and Construction Consignment Auction. CONGERVILLE, IL. Kaufman Auction Service. www.calkaufmanauction.com Sat., May 14. Lawn and Garden

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

CHOOSING GOOD FOOD

Food Play actor J.L. Reed, second from right, chats with fellow actor, Joseph Bromfield, about good food choices. Looking on from left to right are Mackenzie Williamson, Michael Alexander, and Jordyn McClellan, students at Egyptian Elementary near Tamms in Pulaski County. The Illinois Soybean Association has sponsored a month-long tour of the educational theater group to 40 Illinois elementary schools. The play focused on the importance of students eating healthy foods and exercising. (Photo by Ken Kashian)


FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, May 2, 2011

PROFITABILITY

Refuge in a bag makes farming much simpler plicity in their lives. How many of you have thought, “I wish things would slow down just a bit so I could catch my breath.” One recently approved technology may help make corn growers’ lives a bit easier. Genuity SmartStax RIB (refuge in a bag) Complete was approved for sale just a few weeks ago and will be planted in fields this spring in limited quantities. RIB Complete is the

BY LANCE RUPPERT

I think we would all agree that life has become more complex and fast-paced in recent years. Technology has made some things convenient and efficient: consider computers, cell phones, and DVRs. Technology also has Lance Ruppert given more people access to more information faster than ever before. We have the ability to answer almost any question within seconds via Internet search engines. We love our cell phones and wonder how we survived without them. Text messaging and e-mail has allowed us to communicate with people in another instant venue. Efficiency is gained, but our rest time is diminished. Getting away from the constant communication and information sources can be exhausting at times, and the proper balance in life can get blurred with work, social, and alone time being interchangeable in seconds. So technology has made our lives more efficient but at the same time more busy and complex. Most people are looking for happiness, balance, and sim-

Outpaces S&P 500, attracts new investors BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Many investors in recent years have put more money into farm-related items ranging from crops and farmland to fertilizer and seed companies.

FarmWeekNow.com You can listen to an interview with Gar y Schnitkey on the farm index by going to FarmWeekNow.com.

And the moves generally have paid off, based on a recent University of Illinois study that compared the performance of companies in the S&P 500 (an index that tracks the market values of 500 publicly traded companies in the U.S.) vs. the performance of

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

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $25.00-50.44 $34.99 $53.50-74.33 $63.75 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 31,649 34,996 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $89.67 $90.50 $66.36 $66.97

Change -0.83 -0.61

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price (Thursday’s price) Steers Heifers

This week 116.38 116.10

Prv. week 118.89 118.85

has been recently re-approved for sale is Genuity RoundUp Ready Alfalfa. It has been four years since the sale of RoundUp Ready Alfalfa was stopped, and having access to use this technology is a good sign for alfalfa growers everywhere. As certain organizations try to limit the use of technology in any form, our diligence needs to be just as swift and strong to proactively protect

our current and future tools to grow crops that help feed and fuel the world. Please work with agriculture industry groups to help preserve our ability to farm without restrictions. Best wishes for a safe and successful growing season. Lance Ruppert is the FS Seed sales and marketing manager. His e-mail address is lrupert@growmark.com.

Agriculture sector continues to perform well

M A R K E T FA C T S

Carcass Live

first simple, complete corn acre answer to planting the most traited acres while complying with refuge requirements. RIB Complete makes growers’ lives simpler with 95 percent SmartStax traited corn and 5 percent refuge blended in the same bag for easy planting — just dump one bag and go, no need for structured refuge within fields or in adjacent fields. Another technology that

Change -2.51 -2.75

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 132.40 0.99

This week 133.39

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 105-195 lbs. for 165210 $/cwt.(wtd. ave. 185.87); dressed, no sales reported.

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 4-21-11 8.3 28.0 33.2 4-07-11 15.6 37.1 38.6 Last year 10.7 10.2 36.7 Season total 1346.7 1091.2 1117.8 Previous season total 1304.1 760.0 1137.5 USDA projected total 1580 1275 1950 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

19 ag companies that were tracked as part of an Ag Index. The market value of companies in the Ag Index (which represented fertilizer, equipment, seed and genetics, crop production, and first processors) from 2007 through the first quarter of 2011 increased 8.6 percent. Companies in the S&P 500, however, experienced a 2.7 percent decline in returns during the same time. “When you compare how these (ag) companies did to all those in the S&P 500, (the ag companies) did better from 2007 on,” said Gary Schnitkey, U of I Extension farm management specialist. A recent check of three companies tracked in the U of I Ag Index found earnings for Monsanto in its most recent second quarter increased 13 percent, John Deere’s worldwide net sales and revenue for the first quarter of this year increased 27 percent, and Archer Daniels Midland in February reported a record operating profit for its second quarter that ended Dec. 31. But while many ag-related companies have outperformed other publicly traded companies in recent years, they’re not recession-proof.

“In 2008, when all companies’ stock fell, their (ag companies) stock fell, too,” Schnitkey said. Ag companies that produced some of the highest returns in recent years included many in the fertilizer and equipment sector. Processors didn’t fare as well. “Companies that supply products to farmers did better than companies that buy products from farmers,” Schnitkey said. The entire report and list of companies that comprised the U of I Ag Index can be viewed online at {www.farmdoc.illinois.edu}. “Crop production has been good, crop acres increased, and farm incomes have been good,”

Schnitkey said. “Those factors contributed to pretty good demand for (farm) products.” Other market sectors, such as farmland, attracted interest as a hedge against inflation. The 2011 Farmland Values and Lease Trends report released this spring by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ISPFMRA) noted Illinois farmland values in 2010 we supported by investment capital seeking alternatives to other financial investments. “There has been heightened interest in the ag sector,” added Schnitkey, who also serves as secretary/treasurer of ISPFMRA. “It has done better than most other sectors.”

NASS conducting cash rent survey The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is collecting data for its 2011 cash rents and leases survey. The NASS Illinois field office on Feb. 22 mailed out nearly 10,000 questionnaires to farmers around the state. NASS on April 4 also began conducting phone surveys. Data collection will end July 1 and the 2011 report will be published on Sept. 9. The information provided by farmers and ranchers will be used to calculate average cash rental rates at the national, state, and county levels for non-irrigated cropland, irrigated cropland, and permanent pasture. “Taking part in the cash rents and lease values survey is one of the best investments producers can make,” said Brad Schwab, director of the NASS Illinois field office. “The results will provide a valuable decision-making tool for farmers, ranchers, and other landowners.” This is the third year NASS has conducted the cash rent surveys. Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices previously had to come

up with average rent prices to help calculate payments for programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program. “That put a lot of pressure on (FSA) board members responsible for doing that,” Schwab said. “Some felt they weren’t qualified to make countywide estimates on the going rate for cash rents, and some didn’t like to reveal what they were paying.” The NASS data, on the other hand, is protected by law and no personal information is revealed in the final survey. Farmers who respond to the survey “can be assured that the confidentiality of all responses is protected by federal law,” Schwab said. “NASS publishes only aggregate-level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified.” Farmers who have questions about the survey or who would like to verify the legitimacy of the phone survey may call the NASS Illinois field office at 800-622-9865. All NASS reports are available online at {www.nass.usda.gov}. — Daniel Grant


FarmWeek Page 15 Monday, May 2, 2011

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

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

Another year, another flood Even though there’s another flood along the Mississippi River, and corn planting is again off to another extremely slow start, there’s not much comparison with the last two major flood episodes. Iowa/Minnesota was “at the heart” of those two floods, with this one centered in the Ohio River Valley and southern Missouri. The heavy rains in that area have lifted the river gauge at Cairo to 55.52 feet, above the 1997 record of 52.52 feet set in March 1997. By comparison, the river gauge at St. Louis is at 34.44 feet, below the 49.5 feet in August 1993. It’s also below the July 2008 peak of 38.65 feet. And the timing could be an important point, too. If rains and flooding are peaking now, there’s still a lot of time to plant a crop, as well as replant

the flooded areas. That was a major issue with the 1993 flood. That year, the Mississippi River didn’t peak in St. Louis until Aug. 1. Because the flood peaked so late, there was no time to replant flooded fields. That wasn’t the case in 2008. The earlier receding of flood waters allowed most fields to get planted. In Iowa that year, plantings of all crops increased 380,000 acres from 2007. Minnesota plantings rose 213,000 acres, while Illinois’ declined only 50,000. Harvested acreage changes were not much different. So even though corn planting has gotten off to an extremely slow start as it did in 2008, if this week’s change in weather represents a shift in pattern, there’s still a lot of time to get fields planted. And even with the flood issues, corn yields still reached trend in 2008. Soil moisture is certainly good enough to allow that this year.

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2010 crop: The collapse in wheat prices pulled corn prices lower. July corn futures took out both the $7.51 and $7.36 supports, but still remain above the critical $7 mark. Use rallies to wrap up sales, other than “gambling bushels.” Hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contracts for summer delivery are the best tool, especially with the flood weighing on interior basis levels. 2011 crop: The close below $6.50 on December futures was the first sign of a potential top. Last week’s break positioned them to test critical support at $6.25. A close below that would be a strong sign the trend has turned. You should have boosted sales to 40 percent. Use rallies for catch-up sales, and monitor the Hotline for new sales. We still prefer HTAs for fall/early winter delivery. Fundamentals: Forecasts for shifting weather in parts of the Corn Belt have undermined buying interest. Changing weather in the Northern and Southern Plains, as well as Europe, may pull wheat down, adding to pressure on corn prices.

Soybean Strategy 2010 crop: Spread unwinding against corn and wheat still is more responsible for soybean strength than fundamentals. Unless weather becomes an issue this summer, old-crop prices have limited upside potential. Use rallies to $13.65 on July to wrap up sales. 2011 crop: Uncertain new-crop fundamentals are still supportive, but softening Chinese demand and rising South American numbers could leave the world with adequate supplies. November futures still appear to be building a double top at $14. Use rallies to get sales to 40 percent, and monitor the Hotline for a recommendation to sell more. We prefer fall/early winter HTA contracts. Fundamentals: Softening demand continues to undermine the soybean mar-

ket. Most of the price support is sentimental strength from other markets. But investors are increasingly being told the risk/reward has gotten too large in commodities to maintain large positions.

Wheat Strategy 2011 crop: It appears Chicago July wheat futures have put a short-term top in place. Prices slipped below several key supports and recently penetrated the 200-day moving average ($7.77). Support at $7.65 is all that stands between the market and a test of $7. Use rallies on Chicago

July futures for catch-up sales. Check the Hotline frequently; we could recommend additional new-crop sales at any time. We anticipate a bounce following this break. We prefer HTA contracts, especially for winter delivery, if you have the capability to store wheat. Fundamentals: This last break in prices can be attributed to improved weather conditions in the Southern Plains and key areas in Western Europe. Production potential in Black Sea areas, the Ukraine in particular, looks better this year, allowing exports to rise again.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, May 2, 2011

PERSPECTIVES

Safety belts critical choice for drivers, passengers combined with the lower use of safety belts is a deadespecially young men. In 2009, 66 percent of men On June 4, 2010, three high school students — ly combination resulting in more ejections in fatal ages 18 to 34 killed in passenger vehicles were not two brothers and a fellow classmate — were driving pickup crashes. home on their last day of school. The Illinois country wearing their safety belts. Safety belts offer the best protection in a rollover Why are pickup truck drivers choosing to buckle road they were driving on became increasingly narand can reduce the risk of dying by up to 80 percent. up less often than occupants of passenger vehicles? row. During May, the Illinois Department of TransThe narrowest part of the road was at the top portation’s division of traffic safety (IDOT/DTS) of the hill where an oncoming car was approachwill join forces with more than 450 local, county, ing. In an effort to miss the car, the teen driver of and state law enforcement officers for the “Click It the pickup truck swerved and hit a pothole, which or Ticket” campaign. caused the driver to lose control and hit a tree. During this campaign, law enforcement officers Two of the teens suswill be on the lookout for unbuckled drivers and tained injuries and had to JENNIFER TONEY passengers and will issue tickets to those choosing MEGAN EAIRHEART be extricated from the not to buckle up. Many agencies will focus their vehicle. However, all three efforts on nighttime enforcement to combat the guest columnists survived the crash increasing number of fatalities occurring during because they were wearing nighttime hours. their safety belts. They lived to tell their story Our goal is simply to prevent injury and death on because they took the extra few seconds needed to Illinois roadways. The loss of one life affects hunbuckle their safety belts. dreds of people — husbands, wives, sons, daughUnfortunately, not all crashes have a happy endters, mothers, fathers, neighbors, friends, co-working. ers, and the list goes on. In 2010, more than 900 people were killed on It is as simple as this. When you get behind the Illinois roadways; many were traveling in rural wheel, choose to buckle up, choose to put your areas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), only 23 percent Two teens await extrication from their pickup truck after hitting a child in a safety seat, choose to put your cell phone of the United States population lived in rural areas tree in rural Illinois in this picture from an actual accident. The away, choose not to speed, and choose not to drink brothers and fellow classmate all survived the crash because they and drive. in 2008, but rural fatalities accounted for 56 perchose to fasten their safety belts. All three teens received Saved By These choices will save you money and also cent of all traffic fatalities that year. the Safety Belt Awards from the Illinois Department of Transporta- could save you the ultimate price — your life. Go Speed, alcohol impairment, and emergency tion’s Division of Traffic Safety. (Photo courtesy Illinois Department online to {www.buckleupillinois.org} to learn how response time all may factor into the increase in of Transportation) you may be involved in the Click It or Ticket camfatalities in rural areas. But the leading factor is paign. Many feel pickup trucks are safer than passenger lower safety belt use in rural areas — particularly vehicles because they are large in size. among pickup truck occupants. Jennifer Toney and Megan Eairheart work with the Illinois However, trucks have a higher center of gravity In 2009, 68 percent of pickup truck occupants Department of Transportation’s division of traffic safety which causes them to roll over more frequently than who were killed in traffic crashes were not buckled occupant protection program. smaller passenger vehicles. The higher rollover rate up. Women are more likely to buckle up than men,

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Offers comments on FarmWeek stories Editor: I offer some much abbreviated comments on three March 14 FarmWeek articles. “Coming up short? What the world needs now. . .” by Martin Ross presents analysis by Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, of the projected and needed world’s grain harvests in 2011. I suggest that everyone read World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (2011) for Mr. Brown’s complete sobering analyses. This is his last paragraph: “The choice is ours — yours and mine. We can stay with business as usual and preside over an economy that continues to destroy its natural support systems until it destroys itself, or we can be the generation that changes direction, moving the world onto a path of sustained progress . . . .” I suggest that one of these “choices” is to replace industrial agriculture with family organic farming. Mr. Ross also authored “Illinois congressmen challenge EPA overreach.” Central Illinois U.S. Rep. Aaron Shock introduced an amendment to stop Environmental Protection Agency funding for re-evaluating the possible health effects of atrazine.

In 2007, the EPA concluded that atrazine does not adversely affect amphibian gonadal development (Science News, Feb. 27, 2010). The peer-reviewed scientific literature published since then refutes that conclusion. These and other published data will be evaluated by EPA in its present re-evaluation. Mr. Shock’s amendment is unscientific and close-minded. Furthermore, organic farmers do not use atrazine, yet they do not find it “very difficult . . . to do their job.” In “Analysis: In high-stakes world of farming, two heads are better than one,” Stephen Wright is quoted: “How does a 600- to 1,000-acre farmer compete and survive?” His answers do not include family organic farmers who do that, and more, some on much fewer than 600 acres. HERMAN E. BROCKMAN, Congerville

Wonders why FB opposed wind farm legislation Editor: As Farm Bureau members and farmers, we have looked to the Farm Bureau to safeguard the interests of its members on various agricultural-related legislative issues. However, we feel Farm Bureau has taken an extremely biased approach in its strong endorsement of wind farm

energy development without taking an equally strong stand advocating responsible setback requirements to protect the health and well-being of its members (both those who have and have not signed lease agreements) and all residents. Whether you are a farmer and/or you insure with Country Financial, your Farm Bureau membership dues are paying lobbyists. Farm Bureau opposed Senate Bill 167 that clarifies that Illinois municipalities can regulate wind farm development within the 1.5 miles of their jurisdiction regardless of whether the municipality has zoning. We fail to understand the Farm Bureau’s opposition to allowing all municipalities the same right. We applaud Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville) for sponsoring SB 167, which passed the Illinois Senate and is now in the Illinois House. Wind farm development in Illinois is a life-changing issue that will have a monumental impact for the next 25 to 50 years. Both policymakers and residents must be receptive to hearing, learning, and understanding the facts on both sides of the issue. It is essential that legislative and regulatory decisions be base on thoroughly studying the facts.

We encourage the Farm Bureau leadership to re-evaluate its current biased approach on the wind issue. To not do so is eroding the trust and credibility placed in the Farm Bureau by members and communities. RONNIE, LINDA BUSH, Mendon Editor’s Note: Illinois Farm Bureau opposed SB 167 on the belief that municipalities should not have the right to restrict the development of wind farms beyond their corporate limits without first having a complete zoning ordinance.

OSHA marks 40 years Editor: In the 40 years since the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began operation, the agency has led the way to historic declines in workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. At the turn of the 20th Century, death in American workplaces was all too common, working conditions were dreadful, and few laws existed to protect workers. Through efforts by individual workers, unions, employers, government agencies, and others, significant progress has been made in improving workplace conditions. Since OSHA began operation in April of 1971, workplace fatalities have been cut by more than 65 percent and occupation-

al injury and illness rates have declined 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled and now totals more than 107 million workers at 7.6 million worksites. In 1970, on average, 38 American workers were killed on the job every day. That rate has now fallen to about 12 workers per day. That’s an outstanding collective achievement. But there clearly is much work to be done. In Northwest Illinois counties, grain handling hazards, falls, and trenching hazards remain serious issues. In 2010, we witnessed a tragic accident at a grain bin facility which resulted in two teenage workers suffocating after being engulfed by grain. In 2010, OSHA investigated 61 worker fatalities throughout Illinois. Over the past four decades, America’s workers across all industries have benefited from common sense government standards and greater awareness of workplace safety practices brought about by OSHA. OSHA has had a positive impact. However, until every worker can return home safely at the end of the day, we must never lose sight of the fact that no job is a good job unless it’s also a safe job. KATHY WEBB, OSHA area director for the Northwest Illinois area


FarmWeek May 2 2011