Page 1

ILLINOIS IS HARNESSING a private-public partnership to build freight and passenger rail projects and reduce delays and congestion. ..5

FARMLAND SALES HAVE declined as prices for farmland real estate have increased as much as $10,000 an acre. .............................12

D A I R Y FA R M E R S A R E preparing for another challenging year with higher input costs, price drops, and lower demand. ............13

Monday, January 31, 2011

Two sections Volume 39, No. 5

Can U.S. rebuilding jibe with tight fiscal agenda? BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Last week’s State of the Union Address charted a renewed course toward economic recovery and competitiveness, emphasizing links between trade, infrastructure, and jobs and the need for political “civility” in the months ahead. The annual address was marked by an unprecedented mingling of Republican and Democrat lawmakers and President Obama’s willingness to consider such traditional GOP pillars as medical malpractice reform and unequivocal support for pending free trade agreements (see page 3). But the speech raised fundamental questions about how two of the president’s key themes — rebuilding and retooling of the nation and a fiscal commitment “to cut excessive spending wherever we find it” — can co-exist in the current Capitol Hill environment. Obama proposed sweeping efforts to deliver broadband Internet access across the U.S. and bolster domestic road, rail, and air resources to better compete with Chi-

na, Russia, and Europe. He sought advances in “clean energy” and green technology, with funding for regional energy development, a push to “break our dependence on oil with biofuels,” and efforts to put 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015. At the same time, Obama called for a five-year freeze on annual domestic spending and widespread cuts extending to defense and Medicare/Medicaid spending and “spending through tax breaks and loopholes.” He took aim at “the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies,” in the form of longstanding subsidies. Peoria Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, responding to Obama’s address, argued “everything needs to be on the table when you’re trying to reduce the size of our deficit.” That includes not only petroleum subsidies and tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas but also future farm subsidies, Schock said. American Farm Bureau Federation economist John Ander-

son said lawmakers now are focused on the U.S.’ impending “debt crisis.” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat and member of a recent federal “deficit commission,” acknowledged the possibly “painful” measures need to address “the risk of defaulting on our country’s credit reputation.” “The signal is, nobody rides for free in this environment,” Anderson told FarmWeek. “That’s a reflection of how the political climate has changed. I don’t know that there were any surprises here. “I think everyone expected a lot of talk about the budget and cuts to the budget. “In agriculture, we’re expecting to engage in those kinds of conversations as we head into this year. The point about agriculture being a small part of discretionary spending (in turn, about 12 percent of the total budget, according to Obama) is certainly a valid point, but you could almost make that point about all discretionary spending.” While Obama signed recent legislation extending Bush-era tax credits and estate tax relief

measures for two years, he told Congress “we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.”

Durbin argued nearly $1.1 trillion in annual income tax deductions and credits also “goes right out the door.” See Rebuilding page 4

A LOT OF LEARNING AT ALOT

Five of the 27 participants of the 2011 Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) class try out their team leadership, management, and design skills in the “Great Egg Drop” exercise during their leadership styles course at the class session last week in Springfield. The object was to develop a safe haven for an egg to protect it from breaking once it was dropped to the floor from an elevated height. Team members shown here are Carla Mudd, manager of Hancock County Farm Bureau; Brad Schmidgall, Livingston County; Brad Zwilling, Champaign County; Christopher Otten, St. Clair County; and Carol Jerred, Hancock County. Their egg survived the fall. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

La Nina may continue to impact weather Periodicals: Time Valued

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

La Nina, cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, has played a part in adverse weather conditions around the globe. And if the situation continues into the spring and summer, it could have a “big impact” on the growing season, according to Mike McClellan, meteorologist and president of Washington-based Mobile Weather Team Inc. La Nina already has contributed to recent dryness in Argentina and flooding in Australia, according to McClellan, who was a featured speaker last week at the MID-CO Commodities winter outlook meet-

ing in Bloomington. It also has had a large impact on the Arctic Oscillation, which currently is a high pressure area over the North Pole that is driving cold air into North America and Europe. The Arctic Oscillation has been a key driver of a very cold and active winter weather pattern in much of the Midwest, East Coast, and Europe — a pattern that likely will hold for the rest of winter, according to the meteorologist. “All the weather systems keep regenerating,” McClellan said. The current Arctic Oscillation “is a huge weather-maker for the Northern Hemisphere.” McClellan reported that as of last week 71 percent of the

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

U.S. was covered with snow while the temperature in some parts of Russia plunged to as cold as 60 degrees below zero. He predicted the weather pattern in the Midwest will remain active this spring with severe storms and large temperature swings. The situation could create planting delays and early-season crop damage. “We’re in a pretty strong La Nina situation,” McClellan said. “It’s having a huge impact on weather in North and South America.” Computer models predict La Nina will fade away by early June. But McClellan is not convinced that will be the case. “I think La Nina will last through the summer and maybe

into fall,” he said. “If we stay in La Nina into summer, it will impact our weather big time.” Specifically, if La Nina remains intact through the summer, McClellan predicted it could be a drier-than-normal season in Illinois and other parts of the Midwest. It also could intensify current dryness/drought issues in parts of the southern U.S. and the western Plains. McClellan last week placed odds of a drier-than-normal summer at 60 percent, although that projection could change based on how the jetstream sets up this spring. For more weather information, visit the website {www.mobileweather.com/ag}.

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


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, January 31, 2011

SAFETY

Quick Takes 80,000-POUND PROVISION IN JEOPARDY — An appeals court last week ruled the 2009 state capital bill was unconstitutional. If upheld by the state Supreme Court, the ruling would impact a variety of fee increases, increased sales taxes on some products, and a provision authorizing uniform truck weights up to 80,000 pounds. The uniform truck weight provision has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2010. “The administration intends to appeal the Appellate Court’s decision and to seek an immediate stay from the Illinois Supreme Court,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. “We would expect the Supreme Court to rule on the request for a stay in the very near future.” DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR 23 COUNTIES — T he Illinois De par tment of Ag riculture (IDOA) announced federal disaster assistance is available to help Illinois farmers in 23 counties who suffered crop losses from drought. Last week, USDA granted the state’s request to designate 16 Illinois counties as disaster areas. The designation qualifies farmers in those counties and seven contiguous ones for assistance. “This declaration will provide much needed assistance to producers in Southern and Eastern Illinois that experienced significant losses, particularly with forage crops, due to drought late last summer and fall,” said Illinois Agriculture Director Tom Jennings. The 16 primary counties are Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wayne, White and Williamson. The seven contiguous counties are Clay, Jefferson, Marion, Perry, Randolph, Richland, and Wabash. Farmers who believe they may qualify for disaster assistance should contact their local Farm Service Agency office. REGULATOR SCRUTINY — After President Obama last week announced a review of government regulations “to reduce barriers to growth and investment,” Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson suggested the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) be placed at the top of the list. In his State of the Union Address, Obama told Congress that “when we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them.” “By our count, there are more than two dozen separate EPA regulations and proposals that would hurt farmers,” Nelson responded. “EPA is overstepping its authority, and we urge Congress to pursue a vigorous program of oversight of the regulatory agenda of EPA.” But the administration may proceed cautiously: The president stressed, “I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people.” He specifically cited air and water “safety” measures — two key areas of EPA jurisdiction that have generated concerns about regulatory overreach in farming.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 39 No. 5

January 31, 2011

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

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

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Labor Department fines elevators $1.35 million after three deaths The U.S. Department of Labor last week fined two Illinois grain elevators $1.35 million for numerous safety and child labor violations after three workers, including two teenagers, died in separate accidents last year. Haasbach LLC, Mount Carroll, and Hillsdale Elevator Co. in Geneseo and Annawan, were fined a total of $1,352,125, Labor Department officials announced last week. Haasbach was issued 24 citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an investigation into the deaths of Wyatt Whitebread, 14, and Alex Pacas, 19, at the company’s elevator in Mount Carroll. A 20-year-old man also was seriously injured in the July 2010 incident when all three became engulfed in corn more than 30 feet deep. At the time, the workers were “walking down the corn” to

make it flow while augers were running. “The tragic deaths of three people could have been prevented had the grain bin owners and operators followed the occupational safety standards and child labor laws,” Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in a statement. The Labor Department’s wage and hour division also fined Haasbach for violating child labor laws by employing an individual younger than 18 to perform hazardous work. Haasbach was fined a total of $623,125. In a separate case, OSHA issued 22 citations to the Hillsdale Elevator after the death of employee Raymond Nowland, 49, who was engulfed in a grain bin at the company’s Geneseo facility. OSHA also discovered additional violations during a later inspection of the company’s Annawan facility. Consequently, OSHA

State coalition to address safety on farms, commercial facilities BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

A grain handling safety coalition hopes not only to raise awareness of safety issues in the farm community but in the commercial grain industry as well, according to Jeff Adkisson, executive vice president of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois (GFAI). “We need to heighten awareness and make people stop and think before they go into a grain bin and become a victim,” Adkisson told FarmWeek. The Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC) is working to accidents, injuries, and ‘ W e n e e d t o prevent fatalities through safety educaheighten aware- tion, prevention, and outreach n e s s a n d m a ke efforts across the grain industry. Coalition members include people stop and farm groups, including Illinois think before they Farm Bureau, the commercial g o i n t o a g r a i n grain industry, educational instibin and become tutions, state agencies, the Occupation Safety and Health a victim.’ Administration, the National Institute for Occupational Safety — Jeff Adkisson and Health, rescue personnel, Grain and Feed and family members of accident Association of Illinois victims. The importance of GHSC’s announcement was reinforced by U.S. Department of Labor findings last week that led to fines in two separate grain bin accidents that caused the deaths of three Illinois people. GHSC is developing public service announcements and working on educational projects to raise awareness within the farm community. Adkisson pointed out GHSC’s efforts will be multifaceted, working both with farm families and commercial grain operations. For example, GFAI has a safety specialist who provides training to commercial operations. After the three deaths this year, the grain industry worked to increase participation in safety programs.

issued the company $729,000 in fines. A company has 15 business days after receiving OSHA citations and penalties to comply, request a conference with the area OSHA director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. At least 25 U.S. workers were killed in grain entrapments last year, and the numbers of such accidents are increasing, according to Purdue University researchers. In 2010, there were more grain entrapments than in any year since Purdue researchers started collecting entrapment data in 1978. OSHA’s Region V, which includes Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin, initiated a grain safety local emphasis program last August and has conducted 61 inspections and issued 163 violations to grain operators/facilities. The violations cover hazards associated with grain engulfment, machine guarding, lockout/tagout of dangerous equipment to prevent accidental start-up, electricity, falls, employee training, and combustible dust hazards.


Page 3 Monday, January 31, 2011 FarmWeek

GOVERNMENT

Obama backs FTA passage for job stimulus BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

President Obama’s clear signal supporting Latin American free trade agreements (FTA) last week offered bipartisan hope for improved commerce with Panama and Colombia. On the heels of heightened support for a U.S.-South Korean FTA among key labor and manufacturing interests, the president in his State of the Union Address told Congress the Korean and pending Colombian and Panama agreements “keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs.” He sought congressional passage of the Korean FTA “as soon as possible.” Obama pledged administration efforts “to continue our Asia-Pacific and global trade talks.” As part of an emphasis on job growth, especially in manufacturing, he reiterated his

2010 State of the Union commitment to double U.S. exports by 2014, “to help businesses sell more products abroad.” “The more we export, the more jobs we create at home,” Obama stated, noting new agreements with India and China will support 250,000-plus jobs and citing estimates the Korean FTA would support at least 70,000. “I think the president was pretty clear,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, told FarmWeek following Obama’s speech. “He worked hard on the Korean trade agreement and noted that business and labor support it. I think he’s going to push for its passage. “And he didn’t leave Panama and Colombia behind, either. He specifically mentioned that we needed to expand trade agreements there and in the Pacific, also. That, I think, is a

Lock funding possible amid ‘earmark’ stigma? Advocates for improved river transportation face several key challenges, including outmoded and crumbling locks, other budget priorities, and the potential “stigma of ‘earmarks.’” In his State of the Union Address, President Obama proposed a major infrastructure overhaul, promising to “put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges.” “We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians,” Obama told Congress. American Farm Bureau Federation economist John Anderson sees a growing recognition in Washington that failure to invest in domestic infrastructure “could have fairly serious economic consequences down the line.” With Panama and Colombian trade agreements potentially on a fast track to approval, Anderson argues delays in updating Upper Mississippi locks — work Congress approved in 2007 but failed to fund — “really hinders us” in terms of efficient, economic U.S. export flow. However, Obama’s pledge to veto any spending measure that includes “earmarks” (appropriations seen as particularly beneficial to certain congressional districts or regions) could pose challenges to approval of lock funding in 2011. “Exactly how it escapes the budget knife remains to be seen,” Anderson said. “I don’t know that anything escapes the earmark stigma in this environment, but maybe we can find some different way of directing funds. “There are infrastructure projects out there that I think will be viewed pretty favorably. There is concern that maybe we’re compromising our long-run competitiveness if we don’t get on top of some of this infrastructure degradation. “If we don’t take care of our transportation and handling infrastructure, we’re leaving money on the table in other areas. There’s a lot of bang for our buck if we do it.” Union support for the U.S.-South Korean trade agreement has helped nudge previously resistant lawmakers toward passage of the accord. Midwest unions have joined with ag interests to push lock construction, and their emphasis on construction jobs could prove effective in securing funding. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee member Aaron Schock, a Peoria Republican, is a proponent for upgrades to the locks “as well as all our nation’s infrastructure — airports, ports, highways, what-have-you.” However, he questions whether administration zeal for infrastructure improvements will translate into river dollars. “We’ve had a highway bill, an infrastructure bill, that’s been expired for the greater part of three years,” Schock told FarmWeek. “I’m hopeful we can get some movement, but the devil’s in the details.” — Martin Ross

sensible approach. It’s one I’m going to work with him on.” Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater told House Ways and Means Committee members failure to move FTAs “has put America’s manufacturers and farmers at a competitive disadvantage in a fiercely global economy.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman testified FTA debate “is no longer simply about generating potential export gains but about how to prevent the loss of existing export markets.” U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, a Peoria Republican, agreed

approval of the Korean FTA is “a good first step,” but argued Panama and Colombia deals also are “part and parcel” of any export-doubling strategy. Under the Korean agreement, nearly two-thirds of U.S. ag exports to South Korea would become duty-free immediately, including corn, wheat, soybeans for crushing, hides and skins, and high-value/processed products such as pistachios, almonds, bourbon, wine, raisins, grape juice, fresh cherries, frozen french fries, and frozen orange juice concentrate. More than 80 percent of U.S. exports to Colombia would be granted immediate duty-free sta-

tus under the Colombian FTA, including wheat, beans, soy meal, high-quality beef, apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and some processed food products. The U.S. enjoys a roughly 53 percent share of the Panamanian ag import market; Stallman said an FTA would protect those markets from other Latin American suppliers. “Those three agreements are going to be extremely important for the large agricultural community in Central Illinois, as well as for those high-wage union manufacturing jobs in Illinois that depend on new markets and new customers around the world,” Schock said.

Health care debate may become first test of new bipartisan spirit In a show of bipartisan spirit, Springfield Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin and Highland Park Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, past proponents of divergent health care proposals, sat side-by-side for the president’s annual congressional address. On a similar note, President Obama suggested lawmakers consider medical malpractice reform — a key Republican priority absent from last year’s landmark health care law — “to rein in frivolous lawsuits” and reduce health costs. Health debate nonetheless may prove the acid test for bipartisan cooperation as new House members seek to repeal existing law and its original proponents battle to stay the course with new health insurance requirements and reforms. Obama stressed the need to cut health costs, including those for Medicare and Medicaid, calling those costs “the single biggest contributor(s) to our long-term deficit.” He argued insurance reforms in the new law will slow rising health costs and that repealing the law would add $250 billion to the deficit. Rep. Aaron Schock, a Peoria Republican, called the law “one of the most harmful pieces of legislation in terms of taxes, fees, and harming job growth that has been passed in the last two years.” He suggested a Republican “replacement” bill will elicit “not only broad bipartisan support but also, more importantly, the support of the American people.” Schock challenged predictions that the House’s recent repeal of the current law would be dead on arrival in the Senate, noting the Senate’s mere fourseat Democrat majority. “As more and more Americans find out what is in the health care bill ... more and

Obama advises 1099 fix The president last week signaled Congress to correct provisions in new health care law that “placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.” While President Obama was cautiously open to tweaks in the sweeping new law, he told lawmakers “we can start right now” by correcting what he called “a flaw in the legislation” — forthcoming changes in U.S. Internal Revenue Service 1099 reporting rules. Under new health care law, farmers and other business owners must issue a federal Form 1099 to unincorporated service and goods providers to whom they pay more than $600 during a tax year. Starting in 2012, producers also will have to issue 1099s to incorporated businesses and providers, covering virtually every ag “vendor” transaction. Repeal of 1099 measures failed during December food safety debate. In a Jan. 21 letter to lawmakers, Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson hailed introduction of the House Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011, which specifically targets 1099 provisions. “This paperwork mandate would require a tremendous amount of burdensome and counterproductive busywork for a self-employed farmer or any small business owner with limited resources,” Nelson warned. “With virtually every member of Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate of the United States, and even President Obama now questioning the wisdom of this provision, the time has come for its quick repeal,” he said. — Martin Ross more Americans are unhappy with it,” he told FarmWeek. “They realize it’s going to do away with health insurance as they know it, and it’s causing premiums to skyrocket. “The idea repeal is dead or that the Senate invariably isn’t going to take it up is a bit of a defeatist mentality,” said Schock. Durbin supports Obama’s past opposition to proposed caps on malpractice awards, especially with regard to “pain and suffering,” arguing that when plaintiffs receive such awards, “the jury believes they’ve truly been injured.” But, he said he is willing to “hear a little more” about Obama’s new position. Rockford-area doctor Carrie Sharkey Asner notes the effect Illinois’ malpractice environment has had on physician

retention and patient services statewide. Prior to approval of state malpractice reforms in 2005, no neurosurgeons were practicing south of Springfield, said Asner, herself the wife of a neurosurgeon. In the northern counties, fear of major plaintiff awards had spurred some doctors to abandon “higher-risk” specialties such as trauma, filling intensive care beds in other communities, she said. Asner said the situation “got a little better” following reform passage, but with a subsequent Illinois Supreme Court decision ruling against award caps, she warned “it’s not holding.” Federal reform “would be great,” but “I don’t know that that’s going to happen,” Asner told FarmWeek.


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, January 31, 2011

RISK MANAGEMENT

Risky business: new angles in producer protection BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Amid cost volatility, policy uncertainty, and a heightened degree of farmer marketsavviness, a variety of new and innovative protection options continues to emerge across the production spectrum. Integrating farm risk and market management strategies is a key emphasis for new crop and livestock programs and products. That concept is exemplified by Growers Edge, a web-based grain risk/market analysis site. Though not involved in its development or operation, crop insurer Country Mutual Insurance Co. has signed on as the exclusive insurance advertiser on the site in Illinois for the next year. Growers Edge is an inde-

pendent, third-party web service that provides a range of marketing tools, including CashMax, which enables Illinois producers to access cash grain bids within a maximum 200-mile radius; Profit Manager, which uses individual or preloaded farm expense figures to help growers manage margins; and Profit Analyzer, a “What if ?” tool that simulates the impact of various revenue insurance/marketing strategy combinations. In addition, a Market Commentary feature draws from a variety of sources to allow even producers in the field to track opening, mid-day, and closing quotes. Grower’s Edge’s basic services — including mobile texts of updated prices, weather forecasts, market alerts, and commentaries — are available

free to producers who register at the site {www.growersedge.com}. “I am very happy with the tools this can bring to farmers,” Illinois Farm Bureau risk management specialist Doug Yoder said. “Will it be for everybody? Probably not. But it does do a very good job of linking grain marketing tools with crop insurance information and decision-making tools.” The offerings in detail: CashMax: By plugging in their ZIP code, producers can view cash grain bids within a specified range, adjusted for estimated trucking costs. That enables farmers to maximize profit from a shipment based on facility and timing of delivery. An accompanying CashMax map compares a buying facility’s current grain price basis with a one- to five-year average basis. “It’s a very quick and easy way to look for the best cash bid out there every single day,” Yoder added.

Profit Manager: This tool uses individual farm or preloaded National Ag Statistics Services figures to gauge fertilizer, seed, and related expenses. University of Illinois Extension {farmdoc.com} regional plug-ins soon may be available. Growers plug in the value of existing sales and unsold grain to establish a breakeven or profit “goal” that can be tracked on a daily basis. Profit Analyzer. Farmers can review strategies to integrate their marketing goals with prospective crop insurance coverage using this tool. The program allows producers to chart potential outcomes from combining various coverage levels with conservative, moderate, or “aggressive” marketing plans. Through an agreement between Country and Growers Edge’s affiliated company, Crop Pro Inc., Country crop clients who sign up with Growers Edge can have their

policy data automatically loaded into Profit Analyzer when they log on to their Growers Edge account. All information is processed by Country, which will not provide Growers Edge any direct access to policy data. Market Commentary. AgriVisor is one of several lead sources of market observation/analysis for the site, and producers can receive commentary texts at any point during the marketing day. Quote Edge. Farmers can access detailed market prices on a 10-minute delay or, for $30 per month, get real-time quotes. Trading Edge. Producers also can register for a futures and options brokerage account, at $14 per round-trip trade. For more on Growers Edge, visit {www.growersedge.com} on the web or call the toll-free number, 866-6783343.

Swine risk management weighs dual volatility Agroterrorism topic for workshops Livestock operators today move in “a volatile world,” and those who don’t watch the shifting bottom line may struggle to keep their footing. So says Shane Johnson of Minnesota-based Hurley and Associates Agri-Marketing, who helped develop CIMPLE, a hog risk management program that enables operations to track cash contracts, futures options, and the portion of their animal and feed needs not currently covered under their marketing programs. The swine software package was named as a play on an observation by one of the company’s founders that often “‘Simple’ is hard.” Amid high corn prices and recent hog market volatility, producers are “walking a fine line” in managing cost and profit risks, Johnson told FarmWeek. According to the livestock consultant, CIMPLE operates on a simple premise: helping ensure users “a good purchase on the input side and a good sale on the hog side.” “At any point, they can look at their bottom line as the markets are moving and know where they’re at,” Johnson related. “I like to tell our grain guys that grain is easy compared to hogs, because you have more inputs every day. “Corn, soybean meal, (distillers dried grains) are all moving up and down in price, as well as the hog market. It becomes a lot more difficult to keep track of on a real-time basis. “It’s such a volatile world — if you don’t know where your bottom line is, you can’t make good decisions as far as locking those inputs up.” Livestock risk management traditionally has been a sort of stepchild to crop protections. USDA has seen spotty response to Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) and Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) policies aimed at helping mitigate the impact of market volatility. LRP insurance covers price decline risks for feeder or fed cattle and swine, providing an indemnity if a regional or national cash price index falls below an insured coverage price. LGM offers protection against declines in cattle and swine feeding margins: An indemnity is paid if an insured gross margin is greater than the total actual gross margin at the end of the insurance period. While he sees further “room for innovation” in helping manage swine risk, Johnson believes the essentials already are in place for educated operators. Possible avenues for riding out cost/price volatility include futures and options and/or cash contracts from packers, elevators, or feed mills. “What’s out there is very workable, if they’re using it as a true hedging tool,” Johnson said. For information on CIMPLE, visit {www.leanhog.net}. Information on LRP and LGM policies is available at {www.rma.usda.gov}. — Martin Ross

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farmers and livestock producers who participate in free agroterrorism workshops will learn about steps they can take to protect their farms from a variety of emergencies, according to Jim Kunkle with the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) bureau of animal health. IDOA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Springfield division are sponsoring two agroterrorism workshops. Both workshops will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. One will be Feb. 22 at the Carlyle Mariner’s Village, Carlyle. The other will be Feb. 23 at the Pike County Farm Bureau office, Pittsfield. Advance registration is encouraged because seating is limited to 100 partici-

pants Feb. 22 and 50 participants Feb. 23. Potential terrorism threats and existing ones will be covered during the discussion, according to Kunkle. IDOA officials also will discuss the emergency response program for animal disease outbreaks, Kunkle said. Using a table-top model, workshop participants will work through a disease-outbreak scenario, including the types of action that will be taken. In addition to farmers, veterinarians, emergency responders, firefighters, and law enforcement officers are being encouraged to attend. To register online, go to {www.Illinoisworkshop.org}. Questions may be directed via e-mail to Steffan.Nass@ic.fbi.gov.

Rabid bull reported in Central Illinois A Central Illinois bull has tested positive for rabies, according to the state departments of public health and agriculture. The bull was pastured in east Macon County and developed signs of rabies on Jan. 24. The animal’s owner was unaware of any exposure to odd-acting wild animals, but he reported having seen many wild animals on his property. Rabies is a virus that affects the central nervous system. Of all wild animals, rabies is most common in bats. When the skunk rabies virus is circulating, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and other wild animals can become infected. Cats, dogs, and livestock also may get rabies if they are not vaccinated.

Anyone who sees wild or domestic animals with signs of rabies should not approach them but instead report the animals to the local control officer. The first symptom of rabies usually is a change in the animal’s behavior. Animals don’t have to foam at the mouth to have rabies. Other symptoms include difficulty walking, a general appearance of sickness, or a change in the animal’s normal behavior. Animal control should safely capture and euthanize the animal and submit it for rabies testing. The last domestic bovine with rabies in Illinois was reported in 2005. The rabid cow had been pastured in both Bureau and LaSalle counties.

Rebuilding Continued from page 1 “Some of it is just not justifiable,” the senator said. He nonetheless argued “the research and innovation we need for businesses to succeed many times requires government help,” and defended ag and biomedical research and education funding. How that translates to future incentives for ethanol,

biodiesel, and prospective biomass fuel sources will depend on “what gets called clean energy,” Anderson said. Obama highlighted potential solar, nuclear, wind, “clean coal,” and natural gas use to supply 80 percent of electrical needs by 2035, making no specific mention of biomass as a potential power source. The address included only a single

reference to biofuels use. “Will there be preference for the development of emerging technologies, or will existing biofuels continue to receive the forbearance we’ve seen?” Anderson posed. “Even those things that are considered clean energy may have a hard time holding onto support in this environment.”


Page 5 Monday, January 31, 2011 FarmWeek

FB IN ACTION

Illinois private-public rail initiative national model BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois is harnessing a private-public partnership to build freight and passenger rail projects and is reducing delays and congestion in the Chicago area. The success of CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program has the federal government looking to the state as a model, state agriculture leaders learned last week. “We’ve built up a head of steam,” Bill Thompson, an engineer and the CREATE railroad program manager,

told the Vision for Illinois Agriculture, which met in Bloomington. To date, CREATE has finished 11 rail projects and has another 10 projects under construction. Seven pro-

jects are in the final design phase and 15 more are being reviewed for environmental impacts. That leaves only 27 out of 70 projects on the drawing board. Vision members focused on state

and regional transportation and infrastructure as ways to improve the state’s economy. Vision members represent agricultural businesses, research organizations, government, and trade associations. “No loans have been involved in any CREATE (project),” Thompson said. He explained the railroads contributed the initial funding, which was used to obtain city, state, and federal funds, including $133 million in highspeed rail funding. The projects may make a substantial difference. For example, trains around the Chicago “beltway” travel an average speed of 5 to 12 mph with delays up to 122 hours. Once certain projects are complete, the trains could travel 22 mph, and delays would be reduced to 23 hours.

Thompson noted the projects’ benefits range from improving the ability to move freight faster through the Chicago area to creating and retaining jobs to improving air quality by reducing amount of time trains and vehicles must run while sitting idle. One byproduct has been an improved relationship between state and city transportation officials who work together frequently, Thompson added. The U.S. Department of Transportation is adopting CREATE as a model for using federal transportation funds on projects and is borrowing a CREATE staff member to train other states, Thompson said. More information about CREATE is available at {www.createprogram.org}.

Producers named to IFB’s Panama-Colombia Market Study Tour Twelve at-large producers plus two Illinois Farm Bureau directors have been selected as participants in IFB’s 2011 Panama-Colombia Market Study Tour.

The March 8-15 tour “Exploring Panama and Colombia: Infrastructure, Transshipment, and Trade” includes visits to the nations of Panama — the gateway to

Asia for Illinois exports — and Colombia which, along with Panama, is an important strategic economic and trading partner in the region. The trip will feature visits

GrassRoots Issue Teams delve into several issues Illinois Farm Bureau GrassRoots Issue Teams (GRITs) recently forwarded their reports to the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors, which considered the reports at its January meeting. Since December, eight teams of Farm Bureau leaders from across the state have studied current issues and policy. The teams will meet individually in February or March and will present their final reports to the IFB board in April. The following are highlights from recent team meetings: • The Conservation and Natural Resources Team has studied farming on government-owned land and plans further study about laws governing recreational land and water uses. • The Crop Production and Trade Team has discussed biotechnology stewardship, especially the importance of crop refuge compliance. • The Equine Team is working on potential outcomes, distribution, and costs of a state equine census. It is planning additional

study of equine being defined legally as livestock instead of companion animals. • The Livestock and Dairy Team will review potential impacts of new federal food safety laws on the livestock and dairy industries. • The Renewable Resources and Energy Team is exploring several issues, including a national energy policy and energy issues within the farm bill. • The Risk Management and Farm Programs Team is evaluating correspondence that USDA currently provides to recipi-

ents of Farm Service Agency payments. • The Rural Life Team is compiling information about road laws, especially related to road damage. The group also is exploring various options of health awareness initiatives for rural people. • The Specialty Crops and Labor Team is delving into opportunities for young people to job shadow individuals with agricultural careers and opportunities for spokesman training for those who participate in farmers’ markets. For more information about GRITs, contact your county Farm Bureau or go online to {www.ilfb.org}. — Kay Shipman

to U.S. river export terminals and consultations with exporters and shippers, a tour of the Panama Canal, visits with local customers and shippers in Panama and Colombia, and discussions on export market opportunities in those nations. The pending free trade agreements with both countries also will be examined and discussed. The at-large producers named to the trip and their home counties are: Randy

Anderson, Saline; Ken Cripe, Fayette; Gene Feldott, Kane; Jay Hageman, Vermilion; David Headley, Fulton, Ray Krausz, Clinton; David Myer, LaSalle; Kevin Miller, Effingham; Deb Moore, Warren; Mark Reichert, Sangamon; Ron Schoenholz, Lee; and Norbert Soltwedel, Effingham. IFB directors David Meiss from McLean County and Terry Pope from Hancock County also will take part in the tour.


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, January 31, 2011

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Consumers to see more benefits from crop research BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Crop technologies may gain broader acceptance worldwide in the future as new traits could provide everything from nutritional benefits to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Crop industry leaders discussed new products in the pipeline this month at the Farm Profitability 2011 workshop in Champaign. The event was sponsored by the Illinois Corn Growers and

Soybean Associations. “We’re kind of in the next wave of the green revolution in terms of the technology we see coming forward,” said Steve Schnebly, senior research manager of crop genetics research and development at Pioneer HiBred. One focus for researchers is identifying genotypes in corn that exhibit high nutrient use efficiency (NUE). NUE corn hybrids could help farmers increase yields and decrease fer-

USDA clears way for GMO alfalfa USDA announced last week it would fully “deregulate” Roundup Ready alfalfa, addressing anxieties that have arisen even after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling reaffirming federal approval for its production. Last spring, the high court overturned a lower court ruling that effectively had banned production of the herbicide-resistant GMO alfalfa since 2007. The justices stated the Ninth District Court abused its authority when it prohibited planting at the behest of organic producers. The opinion was issued after federal agencies had signed off on its safety and 220,000-plus acres had been planted. The ruling allowed USDA to permit planting pending a final environmental impact statement (EIS) — a statement that concluded the product is safe and does not represent a risk to other nonGMO plants. “Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s decision is based on sound science and two decades of regulatory precedent,” Biotechnology Industry Organization CEO Jim Greenwood responded. “Most importantly, this announcement restores the principle of farmer choice and allows growers to move forward with decisions about spring planting. “This action also supports President Obama’s pledge to support science-based decision-making and to steer away from policies that create barriers to economic growth. “In order to increase jobs, grow the industry and bring new products to market, the U.S. government’s regulatory review of biotech products needs to be more efficient,” Greenwood said.

tilizer use and losses, which would benefit the environment. Nitrogen fertilizer lost from the soil prior to crop absorption can volatize and form nitrous oxide — a greenhouse gas. One industry estimate suggested U.S. farmers in 2008 lost about 460 million bushels of potential corn yield due to nitrogen deficiency. “High input costs probably are not going to go away or become less expensive in the future,” Schnebly said. “Nitrogen-use efficiency (technology) will help maintain yields with 20 to 30 percent less N.” Elsewhere, the development of Agrisure Artesian will allow corn plants to use water more efficiently while Agrisure

Viptera can control 14 aboveand below-ground corn pests. Agrisure Viperta can boost corn yields by more than seven bushels per acre in areas with insect pressure, according to Bruce Battles, agronomy marketing manager for Syngenta Seeds. And boosting yields will benefit more than just farmers who grow the crops. Increasing the output per acre is vital to feed a growing world population on a shrinking land base, according to Thomas Redick, principal of the Global Environmental Ethics Counsel. “Increasing the yield curve is very important to feed the world,” he said. Meanwhile, crops of the future likely will provide more

nutritional benefits. Plenish high oleic soybeans, for example, contain no trans fat and a fraction of saturated fat compared to commodity soy oil, Schnebly said. Monsanto, which invests about $1 billion annually in crop research and development, also has produced soybeans, such as Vistive Gold with reduced saturated fat, that provide nutritional benefits. “If we can bring more products to the marketplace with consumer benefits, hopefully there will be better acceptance and ease the path of resistance for future products,” said Jennifer Ralston, U.S. oilseeds product management lead for Monsanto.

Drought tolerance focus of new hybrids BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Amid concerns over possible long-term climatic shifts, commercial and residential competition for resources, and future global food needs, water more than ever is one of agriculture’s most precious commodities. No surprise, then, that major crop development companies have focused on producing drought-hardy varieties that wring more grain from each drop. One of the newer developments is Pioneer’s Optimum AQUAmax corn, designed to bolster yields in “water-limited environments.” Pioneer senior marketing manager Monica Patterson reported new hybrids have shown an average 5 percent yield advantage over commercially available competing products and other Pioneer hybrids. The non-GMO product, which includes various native corn traits that improve water access and use, was developed to address drought conditions particularly in the western Corn Belt. But although limited 2011 introduction is focused on the western region, varieties will be

available nationwide and eventually adapted to other producing areas. Patterson told FarmWeek new traits also offer yield protection “for those in areas less prone to chronic drought stress,” such as Illinois. “We feel the hybrids will have a place in the central or eastern Corn Belt, as well,” Pioneer senior researcher Jeff Schussler said. “While these environments may not be as severe or chronic as the western Corn Belt, many fields throughout the Midwest will have transient drought stress.“ Because AQUAMax was derived from conventional corn lines, using advanced genetics solely to accelerate manipulation of genes, current hybrids require no biotech regulatory approvals. Pioneer hopes by “mid- to late decade” to add outside traits to hybrids, necessitating U.S. and foreign market approvals, Schussler said. Because drought tolerance is “such a complex trait,” Schussler reported “multiple genes and multiple approaches” are involved in plant improvement. “We don’t believe there’s any single silver bullet,” he said. “Herbicide tolerance, insect control tend to be simpler, single-gene traits. Such is not the case with drought.”


Page 7 Monday, January 31, 2011 FarmWeek

ENVIRONMENT

Illinois website links growers and applicators BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois farmers with specialty or organic crops and pesticide applicators are able to locate pesticide-sensitive fields via Driftwatch, a new website. The goal is to protect pesticide-sensitive crops and prevent pesticide drift from occurring, said Warren Goetsch, head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) bureau of environmental programs. The website is {www-.driftwatch.org}. The voluntary program

FarmWeekNow.com Visit the Illinois Driftwatch website at FarmWeekNow.com.

allows farmers and beekeepers to register and map pesticidesensitive locations and to provide contact information. The site is geared for commercial operations, not small gardens, Goetsch added. In addition to specialty crops and beehives, Driftwatch information may identify the locations of organic crops and livestock, fish farms, green-

Warren Goetsch, left, bureau chief of environmental programs for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, describes a new online registry for pesticide applicators and specialty crop growers to Randy Zorn, a custom applicator with Evergreen FS in Metamora. Dubbed Driftwatch, the program provides geographic information about pesticide-sensitive crops. (Photo by Kay Shipman)

houses, Christmas tree farms, and nursery crops. “You can take a proactive step that let’s your corn-andsoybean-growing neighbors know you have a sensitive crop,” Goetsch advised specialty growers. Likewise, pesticide applicators may check the site for sen-

Workshop to focus on uses for few acres Alternative uses for a few acres will be the focus of a Feb. 12 workshop at John Wood Community College, Quincy. The program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration deadline is Feb. 10. Rules and regulations for direct marketing will be discussed in the general session. Breakout topics will include: hoop houses, brambles, integrated pest management, goats, tractors and equipment, and nut trees. Local farmers will offer three concurrent sessions each hour. The registration cost is $30 per person or $40 for couples. The fee includes lunch and a copy of the proceedings. Any student may attend for $10. The workshop is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, John Woods Community College local foods program, and the Western Illinois Sustainable Ag Society. Register online at {www.extension.uiuc.edu/adams} or call the Extension office at 217-223-8380.

DATEBOOK Feb. 2-3 Illinois Crop Management conference, Northfield Inn & Conference Center, Springfield. 618-692-9434, ext. 13 Feb. 9-10 Illinois Crop Management conference, I-Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign. 217-333-4901. Feb. 9 Wind farm siting, zoning, taxing conference, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Normal. Registration deadline Feb. 1. Register online at {www.RenewableEnergy.ilstu.edu}. Livestock manager certification workshop, 9:30 a.m., Stephenson County Farm Bureau building, Freeport. Dairy-beef emphasis.

sitive crops and beehives or they may register their service areas. Registered applicators will be notified electronically whenever a new sensitive location is registered within their

service area, Goetsch explained. Goetsch envisioned Driftwatch serving as a tool to increase communication between growers and applica-

tors. For example, an applicator with a question about a specialty crop field or beehive location could contact the registered grower or beekeeper directly, he noted. Each registrant is given a password, and only those with that password will be able to change the information. To ensure online information remains current, growers and others will be asked to update their data annually, Goetsch said. In addition to registering online, growers also may buy Driftwatch signs with website information to mark registered locations. Goetsch encouraged growers to check out the website and the map — even if they’re not sure they will register. Farm Bureau members will have an opportunity to learn more about Driftwatch at the Illinois Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference Feb. 23-24 in Springfield. A booth about the program will be in the exhibit hall.


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, January 31, 2011

EDUCATION

Joliet Junior College part of new online swine ed program BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

New online classes not only are educating college students about the swine industry but also are offering a solution to fewer available swine production courses, according to Bill Johnson, an agriculture professor at Joliet Junior College (JJC). Three JJC students were among the 27 students enrolled in the first online sow management class that is part ,ZJVY[LK;V\YZ:PUJL 

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of a new national professional swine manager education program. The plan is to offer seven online courses that prepare students to pass a professional swine manager or swine technician certification exam, said Johnson, who also is coordinator of JJC’s agriculture production and swine management programs. Apparently, the JJC students are the only Illinois students enrolled in the online program, Johnson said. The educational and certification programs were the creation of a national committee whose “members were aware fewer schools are teaching

swine production,” he said. “We decided to put an educational system together that would allow people anywhere to take the classes.” A third of the students enrolled currently are employed in the swine industry, Johnson noted. The students enroll in the college where the class is taught and then transfer the credits to their respective colleges. A South Central Community College professor in North Mankato, Minn., taught last fall’s sow course and is teaching this semester’s employer-employee relations course. In addition to a two-hour

weekly online class, students in the sow course also had to complete laboratory and activity assignments, such as detecting sows in heat and then artificially inseminating them. The JJC students worked with a JJC animal science professor to fulfill those requirements. The national committee will develop the certification exams for professional swine managers and professional swine technicians based on the course materials, Johnson said. While college students are the focus, they aren’t the only ones who would benefit from the courses. “These classes could be valuable for a producer, too,”

Johnson added. An individual may enroll in a single class and is not required to complete the entire course series or to pursue a degree, he explained. For more information, contact Johnson at 815-280-2273 or e-mail at bjohnson@jjc.edu.

Agriculture scholarship digest IAA Foundation Scholarships — The IAA Foundation offers a variety of scholarships. Completed applications and supporting documents must be received at the IAA Foundation office postmarked by Feb. 1. Applications, guidelines, and an activities template are available as Word and PDF documents on the IAA Foundation website {www.iaafoundation.org}. For more information, contact charmsgarman@ilfb.org, or call the foundation office at 309-5572230. Monsanto/National Association of Farm Broadcasters — The Monsanto Co. and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters are offering a $1,500 Commitment of Agriculture scholarship. The application deadline is Feb. 15. Eligible applicants must be high school seniors from a farm family who are planning to enroll full-time in an agrelated program at an accredited school in pursuit of an agricultural career. A recipient will be selected based his or her academic record, leadership skills, and a personal essay. Applications are available online at {www.monsanto.com/ scholarships}. Farm Credit of Illinois — Farm Credit Services (FCS) of Illinois is offering 25 scholarships of $1,000 each to current high school seniors who are college-bound and pursuing agriculture-related curriculum and careers. The application deadline is Feb. 28. Applicants must reside in one of the 60 southern counties in Illinois served by FCS of Illinois. Applications are available at the 20 Farm Credit Services of Illinois branch offices and online at {www.fcsillinois. com/scholarships.html}. In addition, the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) is offering a $1,000 scholarship match to any 2011 “We Understand Agriculture” scholarship recipient who enrolls in ACES this fall.


Page 9 Monday, January 31, 2011 FarmWeek

FROM THE COUNTIES

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UREAU — The Bureau County Farm Bureau Foundation is offering scholarships to area students majoring in agriculture. Applications are available by contacting the Farm Bureau office. Application deadline is Feb. 25. ARROLL — Carroll, Jo Daviess, and Stephenson county Farm Bureaus are sponsoring a Northwest Illinois Wine Trail Saturday, March 19. Tickets can be purchased for $25 until Feb. 15. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 815-244-3001 or {www.carrollcfb.org} for more information. • Stroke Detection Plus will be holding four screenings from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, in the Naaman Diehl auditorium. Appointments can be made by calling 877-732-8258. • The Farm Bureau Foundation will be awarding five $1,000 general ag scholarships and one $1,000 Harold Schmidt Memorial Scholarship. Applications are available on the Farm Bureau website at {www.carrollcfb.org} or at the Farm Bureau office. Application deadline is March 24. OOK — Farm Bureau is celebrating Food Check Out Day Thursday, Feb. 24, by collecting food items, pop tabs, and donations to help support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. Donations are being accepted at Country Financial offices in Cook County and at the Farm Bureau office in Countryside. Call 708-354-3276 for more information. • The Cook County Farm Bureau has Chicago Wolves tickets available at a discounted price for Feb. 19, March 20, and April 9 games. Call the Member Service Center at 708-354-3276 for more information. DGAR — A breakfast Market Outlook Seminar will be held at 7 a.m. Thursday at the Farm Bureau office. Dan Zwicker of ADM will be the guest speaker. Reservations can be made by calling 217-465-8511. • The annual meeting will be held Saturday, Feb. 5. A catered meal will be held at noon followed by a business meeting and entertainment by the Coon Holler Kids. • The third session of the 2011 marketing series will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, at the Farm Bureau Building. Scott Jones, Jones Marketing, will be the guest speaker. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations. ORD-IROQUOIS — A Viewpoint breakfast meeting will be held at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Happy Days Diner, Roberts. Call 1-800-424-0756 for more information. ULTON — The Women’s Committee and Davis Buick GMC and Davis Ford will hold a free car care seminar for women from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Davis Ford in Canton. There in no cost for the seminar, but registration must be made by Friday by calling the Farm Bureau office at 547-3011.

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• The Young Farmer Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Farm Bureau Building. ALLATIN — Feb. 21-25 is the Food Check Out Week promotion and Kroger gift card giveaways on WEBQ 1240, WEBQ 102.3, Z100, and WCIL radio stations. Members are welcome to call in during the designated times to answer questions to try to win gift cards. • The Gallatin and Saline County Hunter Safety Course will be held Feb. 25-26 at Eldorado High School. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 with class at 6 p.m. Registration for the second day will be at 8:30 a.m. with class at 9 a.m. Participants must be present both days to be certified. Call 618-272-3531 by Feb. 17 to register. ANCOCK — “The Beauty of Our Rural Life” is the focus of the Farm Bureau’s photo contest. The four categories are: rural scenery, kids and critters, life on the farm, and generations. Digital photos must be submitted by March 1. Photos can be e-mailed to Carla Mudd at hcfbmanager@frontier.com or mailed to the Farm Bureau office. For more information, contact the office at 217-357-3141. ACKSON — An “On the Road” seminar will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Southern FS, Marion. A meal will be provided. • A Stroke Detection Plus screening will be held from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8 at the Walnut St. Baptist Church, Carbondale. Call 1-877-732-8258 for an appointment. ANKAKEE — The annual meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 22, at the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center in Kankakee. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger will be the guest speaker. Tickets are available at the Farm Bureau office. The cost is $10 each for members and $30 each for non-members. Call 815932-7471 to register and for more information. EE — The Marketing Committee will tour the Clinton, Iowa, ADM facility Tuesday, Feb. 22. Transportation is not provided. Members wishing to attend or wanting more information may contact the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531 or e-mail leecfb@comcast.net. • The application deadline for the Lee County Farm Bureau Foundation “Books by the Bushel” is Feb. 1. Applications are available at the Farm Bureau website {www.leecfb.org}. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 815857-3531 or leecfb@comcast.net for information. • The application deadline for the Lee County Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships is Feb. 1. High school seniors and undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture or an agriculturerelated field are eligible. Applications are available on the Farm Bureau website {www.leecfb.org}.

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IVINGSTON — The Farm Bureau and Prairie Central Co-op will host “Put Safety First on Your Farm” breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 10. John Lee, Illinois Feed and Grain Association safety specialist, will give an overview of the dangers associated with farming. There will be hands-on demonstrations on grain drowning, PTO entrapment, and tractor rollover by members of the Pontiac FFA chapter. Call the Farm Bureau office at 815-8421103 or Prairie Central Co-op at 815-945-7866 or e-mail tvlcfb@frontier.com by Monday, Feb. 7, for reservations. ACON — Students seeking a major in an agrelated field may apply for Farm Bureau scholarships by downloading an application at {www.MaconCFB.org}. ONROE — The MonClair Corn Growers annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. John Phipps will be the guest speaker. RSVP at 939-6800 by Tuesday. • The Viewpoint meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at The Ridge. Breakfast will be served. RSVP at 939-6197. ONTGOMERY — Prime Timer members will hold their monthly luncheon and meeting Wednesday, Feb. 16. Rita Frazer, WSMI radio ag director, will be the speaker. A fried chicken luncheon will be served. Cost is $8. For more information, contact the Farm Bureau office at 217-532-6171. EORIA — A Farm Bureau Family Fun Day will be held Saturday, Feb. 5. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. with bowling at noon. Cost is $5 for adults, and children ages 6-12 are free. Reservations are not required. ERRY — Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor LLC senior market analyst, and Keith Maschhoff, Country Financial agent, will speak at a market outlook meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Little Nashville Restaurant, Nashville. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office by Friday, Feb. 11. • The Perry and Washington Farm Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip to the Louisville Farm Show Thursday, Feb. 17. A $50 fee will cover the trip, snacks, and one meal. Reservations are due by Wednesday, Feb. 9. OCK ISLAND — A Crop Marketing Seminar will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the Milan Community Center. Doug Yoder, Illinois Farm Bureau director of affiliate and risk management, is the featured speaker. Call Steve Sim at 309-764-3116 by Feb. 8 for reservations. • Farm/business estate and transfer planning seminars are being offered by the MerRoc Agency and Rock Island and Mercer county Farm Bureaus at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, and at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Welcome Inn, Milan. The speaker will be Rick Morgan, Country Financial senior

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financial security consultant. Call the MerRoc Agency at 736-0955 to register and to guarantee meal reservations. • Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships are available online at {www.ricofarmbureau.org}. Deadline is 4 p.m. March 31. T. CLAIR — The MonClair Corn Growers annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9. John Phipps will be the guest speaker. RSVP at 939-6800 by Tuesday. • The Viewpoint meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at The Ridge. Breakfast will be served. RSVP at 939-6197. ALINE — Feb. 21-25 is Food Check Out Week promotion and Kroger gift card giveaways on WEBQ 1240, WEBQ 102.3, Z100, and WCIL radio stations. Members are welcome to call in during the designated times to answer questions to try to win a gift card. • The Gallatin and Saline County Hunter Safety Course will be held Feb. 25-26 at Eldorado High School. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 with class at 6 p.m. Registration for the second day will be at 8:30 a.m. with class at 9 a.m. Participants must be present both days to be certified. Call 618-272-3531 by Feb. 17 to register. TARK — The Spoon River Agricultural Museum and the Central Illinois Farm Heritage Tractor Club are sponsoring a day to celebrate American Heritage from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, in the ag arena at Black Hawk College East Campus, Kewanee. For more information, contact Don St. John at 309-3617415. TEPHENSON — A bus tour to the John Deere Tractor Works and Engine Works in Waterloo, Iowa, will be March 24. Details are available at {www.stephensoncfb.org} or by calling 815-232-3186. • A bus trip to Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre to see the matinee performance of “Run For Your Wife” will be Sunday, April 10. Details are available at {www.stephensoncfb.org} or by calling 815-232-3186. • A preview of the Jan. 8-17, 2012, Hawaii trip will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Farm Bureau Building. The trip will coincide with the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Honolulu. NION — An “On the Road“ seminar will be held at 6 p.m. today (Monday) at Shawnee College. A meal will be provided. • A Stroke Detection Plus screening will be held from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, at the Farm Bureau Building, Jonesboro. Call 1-877-732-8258 for an appointment. ERMILION — The Young Leaders Committee will hold a meeting to discuss ag advocacy and social media at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, in the Farm Bureau board room. The meeting is open to all Farm Bureau members. Mary Ellen Fricke, Illinois Farm Bureau pro-

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motion manager, will discuss the Illinois farmer image campaign and telling ag’s story through social media. ARREN-HENDERSON — Farm Bureau is sponsoring a oil and fuel on-farm storage informational meeting at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7. Nancy Erickson, Illinois Farm Bureau director of natural and environmental resources, and Jeff Manthei, Riverland FS energy specialist, will be the guest speakers. Registration can be made by calling 309-734-9401 or e-mail whfb@whfarmbureau.org. • Farm Bureau Foundation is accepting applications for ag scholarships for Farm Bureau members majoring in agriculture or agribusiness. Applications must be typed and into the Farm Bureau office by Feb. 25. • Warren-Henderson, Knox, and McDonough county Farm Bureaus and Country Financial are sponsoring financial security seminars Wednesday, Feb. 9. The seminars will be held at 9 a.m. at the Knox Agri Center, Galesburg; noon at the Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau Building; and at 5:30 p.m. in Macomb. Dick Vivian, Country Financial security consultant, will be the speaker. There is no cost but reservations are encouraged. Call the Farm Bureau at 309-734-9401 or a Country Financial agent for information. ASHINGTON — Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor LLC senior market analyst, and Keith Maschhoff, Country Financial agent, will speak at a market outlook meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Little Nashville Restaurant, Nashville. RSVP to the Farm Bureau office by Friday, Feb. 11. • The Washington and Perry Farm Bureaus will sponsor a bus trip to the Louisville Farm Show Thursday, Feb. 17. A $50 fee will cover the trip, snacks, and one meal. Reservations are due by Wednesday, Feb. 9. AYNE — A long-term care seminar will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Farm Bureau meeting room. Jim Hughes, Country Financial, will be the speaker. A meal will be catered by Big Boy Barbecue. Seating is limited. Call 618-8422185 to register. • Farm Bureau is hosting “Crop Insurance 2011 — The Year of Change“ at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in the Foundation Hall of Frontier Community College, Fairfield. Doug Yoder will be the featured speaker. Call 618842-3342 to register or go to {www.waynecfb.com} for more information. • The Young Leader Committee is raffling an Echo CS-360 chainsaw to raise funds for their collegiate scholarship and safety day. Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at the Farm Bureau office or from a Young Leader Committee member. The drawing will take place during the annual meeting on March 11. Go to {www.waynecfb.com} and click on the chainsaw picture for more information.

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FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, January 31, 2011

LAND PRICES

Farmland sales decline as values continue to rise

high but the supply of available land slipped to historically low levels, according to the Farmers National Co. Tom Hertz of Hertz Farm Management reported the pace of farmland sales in the past 18 months has declined

by about one-third. Hertz was a featured speaker during the Farm Profitability 2011 conference in Champaign sponsored by the Illinois Corn Growers and Soybean Associations. “Land sales have been down dramatically,” he said. “Everybody is holding on as prices go up.” The Loranda Group, an ag real estate firm in Bloomington, reported land prices the past year increased by an average of 5 to 15 percent. But it also witnessed a trend toward fewer sales. “In general, there have been substantially fewer farms available for sale,” the group stated in its “Year in Review.” The strong farmland mar-

The future of Midwest cattle feeding will be discussed at the 2011 Cattle Feeders Day Feb. 16 at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau in Sycamore. The seminar, sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), the Illinois Beef Association (IBA), and the University of Illinois Extension, will highlight new cattle feeding strategies, feedstuff availability in the future, and new research on feedlot feed efficiency. “We want to help cattle producers develop strategies that will allow them to feed cattle competitively in the future,” said Dan Faulkner, U of I Ex-

tension beef specialist and professor in the U of I department of animal sciences. The conference will start at 9:45 a.m. with Mike Baroni, ADM vice president of economic policy, discussing “Cattle Feeding and the New Vision of Agriculture.” Other speakers include Mike Cecava of ADM’s research division with an update on co-products and ag residues; Maralee Johnson of IBA presenting an association update; Dan Loy of Iowa State University discussing feeding strategies for coping with high commodity prices; Galen Ericson of the University of Ne-

braska on corn replacement feed co-products and ag residues; and Faulkner on beef cattle feed efficiency, genetic selection, and feed management. The conference will conclude at 3 p.m. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. Pre-registration is not required, and there is no fee to attend. For more information, contact Faulkner at 217-333-1781, Cecava at 217-451-6817, or Johnson at 217-787-4280. A complimentary lunch will be prepared by the DeKalb-Kane Cattlemen’s Association.

Auction Calendar

Auction. Joseph G. Abraham, Jr. and Cheryl L. Abraham, FARMINGTON, IL. Col. Gail Cowser and Col. John Bliss, Auctioneers. www.illinoisauctioneers.com Wed., Feb. 9. 10 a.m. Livingston Co. Farmland. Lloyd C Borngasser and Harvey S Traub, FAIRBURY, IL. Immke and Bradleys’ Auction Service. www.biddersandbuyers.com/immke Wed., Feb. 9. 10 a.m. Woodford Co. Land Auction. Mary Ellen Scheirer Estate, METAMORA, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Thurs., Feb. 10. 10 a.m. Farm Machinery Auction. Thomas L. Huber, HILLSBORO, IL. Aumann Auctions. www.aumannauctions.com Thurs., Feb. 10. 10 a.m. Land Auction McDonough Co. Beulah Bacon Trust, MACOMB, IL. Van Adkission Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Sat., Feb. 12. 10 a.m. Real Estate Knox Co. Floyd Gustafson Farms, GALESBURG, IL. Van Adkisson Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Tues., Feb. 15. 10 a.m. Sloan Aten Estate, MACOMB, IL. Sullivan & Son Auction. www.sullivansonauction.com Sat., Feb. 19. 11 a.m. Hamilton Co. Farmland Auction. Buehler Heirs, MCLEANSBORO, IL. Barnard Auctions. www.auctionzip.com id#2008 or biddersandbuyers.com/barnard Mon., Feb. 21. 7 p.m. Montgomery Co. Land Auction. Ken & Janet Easterday, RAYMOND, IL. Glenn E. Karrick, Auctioneer. www.auctionzip.com Tues., Feb. 22. 6:30 p.m. Auction. Warren and Ronnie Cole, SULLIVAN, IN. Halderman Real Estate Services. www.halderman.com Tues., Feb. 22. 1 p.m. Farmland

Auction. Kirby Farms, FARMER CITY, IL. Martin Auction Services, LLC.. www.martinauction.com Thurs., Feb. 24. 6 pm.. Cass, Menard & Mason Co. Land Auction. Multiple Sellers, OAKFORD, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers. Thurs., Feb. 24. 7 p.m. Land Auction. Gruen and Sara Vonbehrens, STEWARDSON, IL. Krile Auction Service. www.krileauction.blogspot.com or www.auctionzip.com ID#6524 Fri., Feb. 25. 11 a.m. Land Auction. Arthur Frank Cook Exemption Trust and the Marjorie M. Cook Survivors Trust, EARLVILLE, IL. Espe Auctioneering. www.espeauctions.com Fri., Feb. 25. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. MORRIS, IL. Richard A. Olson and Assoc. www.richardaolson.com Sat., Feb. 26. 11 a.m. Kane Co. Land Auction. Edward and Catherine Zimmer, ELBURN, IL. Espe Auctioneering. www.espeauctions.com Fri., Mar. 4. 10:30 a.m. DeKalb Co. Farmland. Benjamin L Benson Trust No. 1010, Helen E. Benson Trust No. 102, Wayne Benson Co-Trustee and David Benson Co-Trustee, EARLVILLE, IL. Jim Elliott and Craig Elliott, Auctioneers. www.elliottauctions.net. or www.auctionzip.com (id #2927) Sat., Mar. 5. 10 a.m. Land Auction LaSalle Co. Trust #6512, OTTAWA, IL. Richard A. Olson. richardaolson.com Tues., Mar. 8. Ag Eq. Consignment Auction. DECATUR, IL. Taylor and Martin Real Estate/Ag Sales, LLC. www.tmras.com Thurs., Mar. 10. Consignment Auction. RAYMOND, IL. Agri-Tech, Inc. Sat., Mar. 19. 9 a.m. Consignment Auction. Leland Lions Club. www.lelandlionsclub.com

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Farm managers and appraisers have noticed two distinct trends in the farmland market in recent months. First is the well-publicized rise in farmland prices fueled in part by historically high commodity prices and strong interest from investors. “Even while some residential and commercial real estate values have been falling, that has not been the case for farm real estate,” said Mike Boehlje, Purdue University ag economist. “Instead, we’ve seen some high prices for farmland in recent months, even exceeding $10,000 an acre in some extreme cases.” The higher prices, however,

have not spurred a rush of farmland sales but instead may be a reflection of the second trend: a tight supply of farmland on the market. Demand for U.S. farmland in 2010 jumped to a five-year

FarmWeekNow.com View Purdue University’s latest webinar on Midwest land values at FarmWeekNow.com.

ket, which has put pressure on cash rental rates, could lose momentum if crop prices decline, interest rates rise, or there are changes to the farm program. Hertz estimated the average price of farmland could decline by $400 to $500 per acre if the federal government ceased direct payments to farmers and landowners. However, he does not believe the farmland market has entered a bubble, which would make it susceptible to a crash similar to what hap-

pened in the U.S. housing market. “I don’t think we’re in a bubble,” Hertz said. “Farmers have low debt, which means they can be very aggressive (bidding for farmland).” Farmland investors have been attracted to the market due in part to higher prices and returns and because farmland provides a hedge against inflation. Overall, however, 85 percent of buyers last year still were farm operators, according to Farmers National Co.

Illinois Horse Fair to offer workshops Seminar to address cattle feeding strategies with top clinicians

Tues., Feb. 1. 10 a.m. McDonough Co Land Auction. Bruce Irish, Peri Switzer, Carl Anderson and Karen Ford, BLANDINSVILLE, IL. Sullivan Auctioneers, LLC. www.sullivanauctioneers.com Wed., Feb. 2. 11 a.m. Farm Auction. David and Erin Hayden, TRIVOLI, IL. Van Adkisson Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Wed., Feb. 2. 10 a.m. Real Estate. Furry Heirs, CHARLESTON, IL. Stanfield Auction Co. www.stanfieldauction.com Wed., Feb. 2. 10 a.m. Farm machinery. James Ribordy Estate, KINSMAN, IL. Immke and Bradleys’ Auction Service. biddersandbuyers.com/immke Wed., Feb. 2. 10 a.m. Land Auction. Richard Stahl Trust, PRINCEVILLE, IL. Col. John H. Bliss and Col. Gail Cowser, Auctioneers. www.illinoisauctioneers.org Thurs., Feb. 3. 10 a.m. 200 Acres Farmland, Bldg. Sites, Hunting. Marjorie Carrell Estate, TOLEDO, IL. Auctions/Realty By Schackmann, Inc. www.schackmann.com Sat,. Feb. 5. 10 a.m. Farm machinery. David Pearcy Estate, CHARLESTON, IL. Stanfield Auction Co. www.stanfieldauction.com Sat., Feb. 5. 10 a.m. Farm machinery and miscellaneous. Largent Farms, VANDALIA, IL. Langham Auctioneers, Inc. www.auctionzip.com Sat., Feb. 5. 9 a.m. Kendall Co. Fair Assoc. Consignment Auction. YORKVILLE, IL. DeBolt Auction Service. Tues., Feb. 8. 10 a.m. Land Auction Warren Co. AgriBank, FCB, MONMOUTH, IL. Van Adkisson Auction Service, LLC. www.biddersandbuyers.com Wed., Feb. 9. 10 a.m. Peoria Co. Land

Horsemen and horse enthusiasts may participate in a variety of workshops, contests, and activities at the Illinois Horse Fair March 4-6 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield. The allbreed expo annually attracts more than 10,000 horse owners. Workshop presenters will include clinician Craig Cameron, the 2010 Road to the Horse Colt-Starting World Champion; Charles Wilhelm, a West Coast trainer; Tim Boyer, an Illinois trainer; Larry Whitesell, a gaited horses riding clinic host; and Donna Irvin, a barrel racing riding clinic host. The event is produced by the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois and sponsored by Purina Mills, Midway Trailer Sales, and the Illinois Farm Bureau. A new activity will be the Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race on Friday and Saturday nights in the Coliseum. The race requires contestants and their horses to demonstrate both speed and horsemanship. The fair also will feature an exhibit hall with 140 vendors offering a variety of equestrian equipment, clothing, and services. Admission to the fair provides access to Horses-For-Sale areas, breed and sport demonstrations, stallion row and parade, and the all-youth horse judging trials. The fair opens March 4 with a reduced $5 admission charge. March 5 or 6 tickets are $12 for adults and $6 children and seniors. Weekend passes are $20 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. General admission tickets for the Extreme Cowboy Race at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday are separate and $9 for adults and $6 for children and seniors. Advance tickets may be purchased online with a credit card at {www.HorsemensCouncil.org/HorseFair} or by calling the Horsemen’s Council office at 217-529-6503.


Page 13 Monday, January 31, 2011 FarmWeek

DAIRY SUMMIT

Illinois dairy farmers cope with higher input costs BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois Extension dairy educator, last week didn’t mince words about his outlook for the dairy industry this year. “2011 will be another challenging year,” he said at the 2011 Dairy Summit hosted by the Illinois Milk Producers Mike Hutjens Association (IMPA) at the Illinois Farm Bureau Building in Bloomington. The average Class III price for milk in December, at less than $14 per hundredweight, was more than $3 below the October high. Domestic demand for butter and cheese was lighter than expected dur-

ing the year-end holidays. The drop in milk prices came at an unfortunate time for dairy farmers as historically high crop prices in recent months combined with $90plus-per-barrel oil prices have increased input and transportation costs. “All costs (including supplies, fuel, and taxes) are rising, not just feed,” said Kappy Koch, a dairy farmer from Tremont who is vice president of IMPA and a board member of Prairie Kappy Koch Farms Dairy. “We (dairy farmers) need to have a plan where we want to be. We need to look at everything we do, look for ways to save money, and get more efficient.”

Dairy calf management pays long-term dividends The first several hours after birth not only are critical to the survival of dairy calves but also help determine the future capability of each animal. Dairy farmers, therefore, can improve the efficiency and output on their farms by emphasizing calf care management, according to Dave Fischer, retired University of Illinois Extension dairy educator. “Excellent colostrum management and feeding practices are essential for increasing the survival rate from birth to weaning,” Fischer said last week at the 2011 Dairy Summit in Bloomington. The event was hosted by the Illinois Milk Producers Association. The pre-weaning death loss of heifers born alive averages about 7.8 percent in the U.S. Fischer urged Illinois dairy farmers to focus on reducing the mortality rate on their farms to less than 5 percent. Feeding high-quality ‘ Yo u ’ v e g o t t o colostrum — a form of milk b u i l d i m m u n i t y produced in late pregnancy — to i n t h a t c a l f newborn calves as soon as possible is the key starting point to q u i c k l y. T h e y improve survival rates, he said. have no reColostrum contains antibodies that protect newborn calves ser ves to put from disease. It also is lower in into energy.’ fat and higher in protein than ordinary milk. “You’ve got to build immunity — Dave Fischer in that calf quickly,” said Fischer, Retired U of I dairy educator who noted the top two causes of calf fatalities are scours/diarrhea and respiratory problems. “They have no reserves to put into energy.” Once calves make it past the crucial first 24 hours of their lives, Fischer suggested farmers consider an accelerated calf nutrition program. An accelerated program focuses on feeding more milk solids with composition closer to cows’ milk. Water is critical to encourage starter intake and to keep the calves hydrated, according to the dairy educator. Fischer suggested dairy farmers “capitalize on early growth potential” of calves and increase the average daily gain of the young animals. An accelerated nutrition program obviously will increase feed bills, but Fischer said such a program could pay long-term dividends in the form of increased milk production from those cows. — Daniel Grant

Koch suggested dairy farmers buy feed and supplies in volume and negotiate prices, buy input products directly from suppliers to reduce price mark-ups, evaluate their labor situation to see if family members can carry more of the load, and consider culling cows that are marginal milk producers. He also urged dairy farmers to strive for quality premiums. “If you’re not getting $1 (per hundredweight) quality premium, you’re leaving money on the table,” Koch told fellow farmers. Dairy producers also can lower their feed bill by altering rations to include more byproducts. “2009 was the toughest year we ever had, so we started feeding wet gluten,” Koch said. “It lowered our feed costs and production stayed the same or increased.” Hutjens said recent perton prices of $174 for soy hulls, $240 for cottonseed, $150 for corn gluten, and $180 to $195 for distillers grain all were below his calculated breakeven price. Distillers grain in particular currently represents a “very

Don Mackinson, left, board member of the Illinois Milk Producers Association (IMPA), Midwest Dairy Association, and Prairie Farms Dairy and a Livingston County Farm Bureau member from Pontiac, discusses the state of the dairy industry with Marla Behrends, right, of Carlock during the 2011 Dairy Summit hosted by IMPA last week at the Illinois Farm Bureau Building in Bloomington. (Photo by Al Hasty)

good deal” as a feed ingredient, Hutjens said. The portion of byproducts dairy farmers can include in feed rations ranges from 10 percent for soy hulls and cottonseed to as high as 20 percent for distillers grain and 25 per-

cent for corn gluten. But while changes to the ration mix can lower feed bills, Hutjens urged farmers to not cut back too much. “Never give up milk,” he added. “Make good decisions which are the same with $14 milk or $18 milk.”


FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, January 31, 2011

PROFITABILITY

Spring cleaning tips for your fuel storage system BY JOE KIRKPATRICK

Soon it will be time to think about spring fieldwork. Before you hook up to the tillage tools, take some time to think about your fuel storage system and how it Joe Kirkpatrick can impact your operation’s efficiency. I have prepared a checklist of things to consider: Storage tanks — Are tanks set properly, slightly tilted so that the pump is on the elevat-

ed end to allow moisture and sediment to settle in the low end, away from the pump suction tube? Is a properly operating, vented fill cap installed on the tank? A properly working vent cap helps reduce moisture and contamination. Should the inside of the tank be cleaned? If the tank has been in service for more than five years, the bottom of the tank should be sampled to determine if cleaning is needed. Pump — Does your pump work as well as it used to? If it is pumping slower than its

rated performance, most pumps can be overhauled. If that is not an option, highspeed pumps are available to reduce time spent pumping fuel. Meters can be calibrated for better accuracy, too. Hoses — Are hoses long enough to safely fill large machinery? Has the hose been run over and flattened? Flat spots can reduce flow rates and weaken the hose, causing it to burst. Is the hose soft or cracked from age? It should be replaced if there are any concerns. Automatic shut-off nozzle — Have you been using

the same rock for years to hold the nozzle open? Can you afford to risk running the tank over because you got busy with something else? Automatic shut-off nozzles help prevent spills. However, the best practice is to stay close and monitor the level of fuel in the tank. Filter — Is there a filter on your tank? Is it the right kind? If it never plugs, is the filter really catching anything? Storage tank filters should clean the fuel to at least the same micron level as the filters on your equipment. Again, check with your suppli-

er to make sure you have the RIGHT filter, not just one that doesn’t plug up. Filters should be changed twice annually. Fuel — Use only high-quality fuel, such as Dieselex Gold, for maximum power, efficiency, and protection. Your local FS energy specialist is an excellent resource for additional information and recommendations. Joe Kirkpatrick is GROWMARK’s refined and renewable fuels sales manager. His e-mail address is jkirkpatrick@growmark.com.

MID-CO Commodities outlook

Corn, soy acres in demand; prices to remain volatile BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Crop prices seasonally wane in February, but MIDCO Commodities Inc. market analysts don’t look for much regression in the months leading up to planting season this year. There currently is record world demand for corn and soybeans, which means the market must try to buy additional acres of both crops in the U.S. this spring, according MID-CO market analysts Aaron Curtis, Bryce Stremming, and Bob Trimpe, who spoke last week at MID-CO’s

winter outlook meeting in Bloomington. Demand for U.S. wheat also is up (about 458 million bushels compared to last year) due in part to droughtrelated crop losses in Russia. Elsewhere, much of Australia’s crop may be sold as feed wheat due to quality issues that developed after excessive rainfall. “The weather is going to be the key for all crops,” Stremming said. “We’re going to have a lot of volatility in prices.” Recent rainfall provided some relief to parched crop-

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

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $32.23-61.00 $47.73 $73.75-79.00 $76.93 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 31,272 21,683 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $78.33 $74.55 $50.48 $50.48

Carcass Live

Change 3.78 0.00

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price This week $104.00 $104.00

Steers Heifers

(Thursday’s price) Prv. week Change $105.88 -1.88 $104.19 -0.19

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 127.27 -1.62

This week 125.65

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - NA

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 1-13-11 42.1 23.1 25.9 1-6-11 46.6 23.5 23.2 Last year 51.8 17.1 26.0 Season total 933.6 727.2 649.5 Previous season total 901.7 532.4 633.6 USDA projected total 1570 1300 1950 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

producing areas of Argentina, but Mike McClellan, president of Mobile Weather Team Inc. in Washington, predicted the overall dry pattern in Argentina will persist the rest of the growing season due to a strong La Nina. Trimpe believes Argentine corn exports this year could decline by 100 million bushels. U.S. farmers as a result need to plant more corn than last year’s total (88.2 million acres) to keep

up with demand. World corn demand is up 2.8 percent and at a record high while the stocks-to-use ratio is down to its lowest level (5.5 percent) since 1995. “If we plant 91 million to 92 million acres, we’re going to need a 160-plus (average) yield to keep carryout close to one billion bushels,” Trimpe said. Meanwhile, the stocks-touse ratio (4.2 percent) is at a

historic low for soybeans (see graphic). And China, which bought about 950 million bushels of beans from the U.S. last year, likely will remain an active buyer to help feed its 600-million-head swine herd. “Record world demand continues to put pressure on farmers to produce more soybeans moving forward,” Curtis said. “The perception in the futures market is we need to ration demand or attract more acres.” Basis levels for all three crops were projected to hover around normal levels this spring, barring extreme weather conditions in the U.S. “I don’t think we’ll see what we saw in 2008” when wheat futures prices shot up to nearly $2 above the cash market, Stremming said. “But, if we get into a drought this spring and summer, all bets are off.”


FarmWeek Page 15 Monday, January 31, 2011

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

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

S. American bean prospects improve In early January there were subtle hints the dry weather pattern that had dominated Argentina in December was starting to break down. At this writing, weather forecasters are increasingly talking about a shift into a more normal, maybe even better, pattern during the remainder of the growing season. And because it’s the equivalent of July 28 in Argentina, there’s ample time for the crop to recover. The low side of recent estimates was 45 million metric tons (mmt.) (1.7 million bushels), well below USDA’s 50.5 mmt. estimate, and last year’s 54.5 mmt. output. Still, if rains are good through the remainder of their growing season, there’s reason to expect output could rebound to 47-49 mmt., with an outside chance it could get back to 50 mmt. Other than the early-season dryness in the northern areas, and recent dry pockets in the far south, Brazil’s crop gener-

Basis charts

ally has looked good this year. Rainfall has been very good in most areas. Rust incidents are rising with the high humidity levels, but the number doesn’t appear abnormally large. And intermittent dry periods have allowed fungicides to be applied in most cases. USDA still is projecting a 67.5 mmt. (2.5 billion bushels) crop, but a private analyst forecast a 70.3 mmt. crop this past week. That would be a new record. And, quietly, a few analysts talk of seeing output as high as 71-72 mmt. If weather remains good, there’s reason to expect a combined output of 120 mmt. (4.4 billion bushels). And Paraguay and Uruguay crops should add another 10-12 mmt. (350-400 million bushels). There’s still risk output could fall short of those numbers, but, clearly, supplies from that part of the world are going to dominate the market the next few months. Already Chinese customers have occasionally requested delays on some shipments from the U.S. Port stocks are relatively large, although no one is saying they are burdensome. Our export shipping pace the last six weeks has steadily slipped back toward last year, with shipments through Jan. 13 only 25 million bushels ahead of last year. That could end up being significant with USDA projecting this year’s exports to exceed last year’s by 90 million bushels. Sales are still 100 million bushels ahead of last year, but sales can be canceled or carried over into the new-crop marketing year. And if the South American crop is large, that easily could occur. AgriVisor endorses crop insurance by

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2010 crop: Corn strength is coming in part from the surge in wheat prices. While there’s still a chance for a new high, buying seems “thinner.” A close below $6.39 on March would open the door for a test $5.77. You already should have priced all bushels, other than “gambling bushels.” Hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contracts for winter/spring delivery still look like the best marketing tool, but check returns against storage costs. 2011 crop: You should have added another 10 percent new-crop sale last week. Use rallies to make catch-up sales. Good risk management and current gross income levels indicate it’s a mistake not to have some corn priced. Fundamentals: Rain may not boost the size of the Argentine crop, but it should stabilize it. New-crop acreage concerns are a part of the market, but they won’t be significant until spring. Old-crop export sales have improved a little, but feed wheat is a significant competitor.

Soybean Strategy 2010 crop: The weather pattern in Argentina has shifted to something more beneficial for the crop there. That will undermine the interest in chasing soybean prices at these levels. Prices should be firm again during spring planting, but we’d only carry “gambling” inventories until then. 2011 crop: The shift in Argentine weather will remove support for new-crop prices, but acreage concerns will limit downside risk more than in old crop. Nevertheless, income levels are too high, and risks too great to not price another 10 percent. Fundamentals: Weather forecasters increasingly acknowledge the pattern in Argentina has turned to something better, enough to improve crop prospects. Brazil’s crop continues to look good, with some analysts raising their output forecasts. There’s a port strike in Argentina, but such stoppages rarely last long. Our export

shipments are slowly slipping back to last year’s pace.

Wheat Strategy 2010 crop: The wheat market has continued to surge on emotional concern about wheat supplies. If the March contract can penetrate the previous high at $8.64, it would open the door for prices potentially to push to psychological resistance at $9. Complete sales if you still have inventory. Because of the big futures carry, HTA contracts for winter/spring delivery remain the most attractive marketing tool.

2011 crop: Use rallies above $9 on Chicago July 2011 futures to make catch-up sales. We’ve even considered adding to them because of price, but don’t want to price any more until the crop starts to break dormancy. If basis is wide on cash contracts, use a HTA contract. Fundamentals: The recent surge in prices has come from emotional buying tied to political factors in northern Africa and the Middle East. Demand for U.S. wheat has been very good. Weekly export sales have surged, totaling more than 1 million metric tons last week.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, January 31, 2011

PERSPECTIVES

A TIME TO REAP

Above: University of Illinois biomass researcher D.K. Lee, right, describes switchgrass research trials at the U of I’s Energy Biosciences Institute Farm near Urbana. At left: Erik Sacks, a U of I plant breeder, shows a new miscanthus variety tested on the farm. (FarmWeek file photos)

Illinois needs to harvest its future energy investment

A

future energy source in Illinois is being squandered. Illinois has invested millions into the study of grasses to run vehicles and heat buildings. In these days of state budget cuts and a struggling economy, Illinois cannot afford to fritter away a return on its financial investment or a brain drain of talented scientists going out of state to other universities or agribusinesses. KAY “We have this SHIPMAN unique resource. I would like to see the state exploit it,” said Stephen Long, deputy director of the University of Illinois Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI). During a recent bioenergy symposium, Long noted Illinois is home to the nation’s largest research farm for energy grasses in Urbana. More than 110 U of I scientists are studying these crops.

Yes, ‘death tax’ is the proper term Editor: In response to the letter from Joan E. Wiff of Prophetstown in regard to her opinion of “death taxes” as being an incorrect statement — I disagree. When a person has worked to get something — a business or a piece of property — they have paid taxes already, then they pay property tax every year for the privilege of using their property. When it is left after your death — whoever receives it will pay for the privilege of using it or any income it gener-

Long and others in biomass energy want Illinois to capitalize on its investment — and resources. Granted, those resources, including the perennial grasses, took a few years to become established, but now they have strong roots. For example, the bioenergy symposium started with 15 U of I scientists who met one afternoon to talk about biomass research. Now, researchers from across the United States and five countries share research data, debate government policies, and discuss a variety of issues. This national — and even international — attention is focused on the nation’s largest biomass feedstock research farm that covers 320 acres south of the South Farms near Urbana. “In the U.S., it makes us the biggest place for second-generation feedstock,” Long said. The U of I also has become a training ground for researchers who have taken their expertise elsewhere. Two bioenergy graduates joined Iowa State University faculty, and a third now

works for a Missouri agribusiness corporation, Long pointed out. Long envisions more industry involvement and the energy research farm evolving into a research park. “I’d like to see that (farm) become a onestop shop for bioenergy,” he said. Monticello farmer John Caveny has a vision for biomass energy: “I’d like to see grass turn into a cash crop for people who are in it and those who want to get into it. “There’s a lot of work to be done,” he added. Caveny speaks from experience. In addition to growing miscanthus, he also developed a bioenergy company, Blue Flame Biomass LLC, and is involved with Tall Grass Growers, a cooperative developed for “like-minded growers to grow biomass crops.” An early farmer supporter, Caveny spoke at two of the early bioenergy symposiums. While cutting-edge research remains a symposium focus, Pesotum farmer Eric Rund envisions farmers receiving practical advice

for nuts-and-bolts concerns. “It has been my experience that the academics find good solid information from those who are successfully applying their theories to be refreshing,” Rund said. Rund pictures the day when the symposium offers presentations from farmer-growers and biomass processors. And he’d also like more information about machinery for harvesting and planting. “They’re working on it, but these crops don’t match traditional Midwest crops,” Rund said. The grass crops may be an economic alternative in parts of the state that lack the more fertile soil. “These plants could be grown on poor land,” Long added. Having nurtured this potential powerhouse, the state needs to starting reaping dividends from what it has sown. Kay Shipman is the legislative affairs editor for FarmWeek . Her e-mail address is kayship@ilfb.org.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR letter in the Jan. 17 FarmWeek administration’s insurance on

ates. They must pay for the value of the item received, which already was paid for during your lifetime but must be paid for again. So it is a “death tax.” In my opinion that is double taxation. Illinois has decided not to follow federal guidelines and disconnected itself from the federal estate tax so it can go with a $2 million exemption instead of $5 million, which can cause 1/3 of property to be sold off just to pay for the taxes. Is that right? No! It is like “Obama Care,” which is government interference in freedom of choice, forcing the

all and making the public pay for those who can’t afford it and forcing private insurance companies to raise their premiums to accommodate the new requirements. If the plan is so good, why are congressmen eliminating themselves from it? They should be forced to accept what they are forcing on the general public. VIRGINIA DARE, Hindsboro

‘Death tax’ applies following death Editor: I am writing in response to a

from Joan Wiff. A person can give part or all of his or her money/estate to anyone while living. It is called a gift and has gift tax. The money that is given

when a person dies is no longer a gift and is subject to a death tax. This has nothing to do with liberal or conservative agendas. SHARON K. DUNBAR, Princeville

Letter policy Letters are limited to 300 words and must include a name and address. FarmWeek reserves the right to reject any letter and will not publish political endorsements will be published. All letters are subject to editing, and only an original with a written signature and complete address will be ac-

cepted. A daytime telephone number is required for verification, but will not be published. Only one letter per writer will be accepted in a 30-day period. Typewritten letters are preferred. Please send letters to: FarmWeek Letters 1701 Towanda Ave. Bloomington, Ill., 61701

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16 page FarmWeek for Jan. 31, 2011