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A NEW ILLINOIS BUSINESS Immigration Coalition is promoting the need for comprehensive U.S. immigration reform and is attracting support. ...................... 3

Forecast: Moisture recharge, planting delays will continue Monday, April 8, 2013

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

Planting delays likely will be common this spring, based on a forecast issued last week. Mike McClellan, meteorologist and owner and president of Mobile Weather Team in Washington, predicted soggy conditions this week as much of the Midwest could receive at least 1-2 inches of rain through Wednesday. “It (the forecast) looks very wet across the whole Midwest (this) week,” McClellan told FarmWeek. Illinois last month received an average of 2.85 inches of precipitation, the Illinois State Water Survey reported. The moisture recharged the topsoil but the wet conditions, along with unseasonably cool temperatures, have forced many farmers to leave their planters in the shed. The statewide temperature for March was just 34.1 degrees, which was 7 degrees below normal and the 11th coldest March on record.

“The soil temperature still is just ice cold,” McClellan said. “(Last) week’s (warmer temperatures and sunshine) helped quite a bit, but we’ll be right back to clouds (this week). Without sunshine, it’s hard to warm the soil up.” Topsoil temperature readings around the state as of Friday were just 34.3 degrees in Northern Illinois, 39.6 degrees in the west, 41.4 degrees in the east, and 43 degrees in Southern Illinois. There were scattered reports of fieldwork on Friday, mostly fertilizer applications and a handful of See Delays, page 2

I L L I N O I S F FA A N D 4 - H members can support breast cancer research by raising and selling pink pumpkins for the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation. ........4

ILLINOIS STUDENTS are learning about beef cattle by readi n g a r e va m p e d B e e f A g M a g from Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom. ....................................9

Two sections Volume 41, No. 14

HORSELOGGER PASSES THROUGH

Lee Crafton, who prefers to go by the name “The Horselogger,” fed and harnessed his Suffolk Punch draft horses in Farmer City (DeWitt County) last week as he prepared to continue an eastbound trip that began earlier this year in East Glacier, Mont. He is traveling to a location near Pittsburgh, Pa., where he may — or may not — have a logging job. He said his anticipated arrival time would be “when he got there.” Crafton, who began his vagabond-like travels around the U.S. after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, picks up work along the way, and he accepts (but does not solicit) donations for himself and his horses. He has no other form of income. He said he averages about 13 miles per day. More about the horselogger can be found at {leehorselogger.com/}. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

IFB seeks passage of Shimkus antibiotic fee bill BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

With the ag antibiotics controversy headed for the U.S. House, Rep. John Shimkus hopes with the aid of farm groups to counter media speculation and consumer concerns with a simple truth: Healthy animals provide healthy food. Last Friday, the Collinsville Republican joined Carlyle cattleman and Illinois Farm Bureau Board member Darryl Brinkmann in announcing his intention to introduce the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). The Senate Health Committee recently approved the reauthorization (the measure expires this year). However, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) are seeking inclusion of their Delivering Antimicrobial Transparency in Animals Act, which would require greater reporting of the amount and use of antimicrobial drugs in livestock. The pair argues the measure would help public health offi-

cials and scientists “better understand and interpret trends and variations in antimicrobial resistance” and identify strategies for controlling drug resistance in humans. National Pork Producers Council spokesman Dave

supply of meat and milk for consumers.” “We’re just trying to make the case that healthy animals in livestock production are better than sick animals,” Shimkus told FarmWeek. “The real reason for antibiotic use is to make

Madison County Farm Bureau played host Friday to Rep. John Shimkus and others concerned about antibiotic fee legislation debate.

Warner warned the WaxmanSlaughter proposal is “costly and probably next-to-impossible” to comply with and would delay ADUFA passage crucial to veterinarians, farmers, pet owners, and consumers. The measure would provide “another opportunity for the opponents of modern livestock production to misuse data to advance their agenda,” he said. Brinkmann Friday said antibiotics are “a vital tool in managing herd health” — in turn, “the foundation of a safe

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

sure the animal is healthy. “Waxman and Slaughter will try to limit or eliminate the use of antibiotics in livestock because of this debate over the ‘transference’ of resistant microorganisms because of antibiotic use. Our argument is that we want to keep animals healthy as a food consumption issue.” In a New York Times letter last week, Charles Hofacre, University of Georgia professor of veterinary medicine and national Center for Food Safety member, argued there is no proven link to antibiotic treat-

ment failure in humans due to livestock use. The U.S. Ranchers and Farmers Alliance adviser stressed the need to “keep this dialogue focused on the facts, and lose the hyperbole and fear-mongering.” Animal health companies and the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed to fees for review of new product applications or re-review of existing drugs, under the original 2003 ADUFA. Recognizing FDA funding challenges during “these tough times,” drug developers have accepted an additional fee increase, NPPC’s Warner said. That’s helped assure “a timeliness in (FDA) response” and more rapid commercial availability, Shimkus said. What isn’t acceptable, according to Warner, are proposals to expand on antibiotic data sales reporting provisions included in 2008 ADUFA reauthorization. Opponents of livestock-poultry antibiotics See Antibiotic, page 2

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


Quick Takes

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, April 8, 2013

PUMPING UP FUNDS — USDA is accepting applications for federal Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funds to help gasoline retailers install “blender pumps” designed to give consumers flexibility and choice in the ethanol blends they use. Blender pumps can dispense a range of blends for standard or flex-fuel vehicles. This is the third year blender pumps have been authorized as part of the REAP program — in 2011, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA had plans to install 10,000 pumps over the next five years. “We can continue to break the stranglehold oil has over our nation’s economy and energy future by giving consumers more options at the pump,” said American Coalition for Ethanol Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty. “The USDA’s announcement together with the efforts of the BYO (blend your own) ethanol campaign will go a long way toward making that happen.” DONATION EGG-ACTLY RIGHT — U.S. egg farmers last month donated nearly 9 million fresh eggs to organizations that feed the hungry, according to the United Egg Producers. One large egg contains six grams of protein and 13 essential nutrients. Eggs are a good source of protein, one of the most-needed items by food assistance organizations, according to the organization. This is the sixth consecutive spring that the United Egg Producers organized a nationwide effort to make donations to food assistance groups.

FARMER VETS — The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) has filed articles of incorporation and will seat its first official board of directors. The board is comprised of leaders from national farm organizations, academia, the military, and the farmer veteran community. A group dedicated to veteran assistance, FVC was started in 2009 by organic farming pioneer Michael O’Gorman and has grown into a network of veterans pursuing careers in agriculture in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 41 No. 14

April 8, 2013

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.

Address subscription and advertising questions to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, Illinois, and at an additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Farm Bureau members should send change of addresses to their local county Farm Bureau. © 2013 Illinois Agricultural Association

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 Margie Fraley (mfraley@ilfb.org) Business Production Manager Bob Standard (bstandard@ilfb.org) Advertising Sales Manager Richard Verdery (rverdery@ilfb.org) Classified sales coordinator Nan Fannin (nfannin@ilfb.org) Director of News and Communications Michael L. Orso Advertising Sales Representatives Hurst and Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 1-800-397-8908 (advertising inquiries only) Gary White - Northern Illinois Doug McDaniel - Southern Illinois Editorial phone number: 309-557-2239 Classified advertising: 309-557-3155 Display advertising: 1-800-676-2353

GOVERNMENT

Gulf hypoxia task force to reassess plan progress BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

A national gulf hypoxia task force this month will reassess efforts to keep crop nutrients on fields and out of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Every five years, the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force reviews its original goal to reduce the size of the hypoxia zone, documents steps taken since the last assessment, and reviews new technologies, said Warren Goetsch, head of the Warren Goetsch Illinois Department of Agriculture’s environmental programs. Goetsch and Illinois Agri-

Delay

Continued from page 1 planters in action, but field activity was expected to cease over the weekend with rain on its way. And the cool, wet pattern could continue well into next month, according to McClellan. High pressure systems off both U.S. coasts are forcing air up over snowpacked Canada before moving south into the Midwest. The cold air is clashing with war mer, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, a La Nina (lower than normal temperatures in the Pacific Ocean) pattern is transitioning to a neutral position. “Usually in this scenario it means a slow transition from winter to spring,” McClellan said. “I look for an active weather pattern through April and well into May.” McClellan also predicted an increased chance of

Antibiotic

Rae Payne, Illinois Farm Bureau senior director of business and regulatory affairs, will represent IFB at the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force spring meeting in Louisville, Ky.

culture Director Bob Flider and an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency official will represent the state at the meeting. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Rae Payne also will attend. One “major focus has been to facilitate state nutrient reduction strategies,” Goetsch told FarmWeek. He noted Illinois recently launched its nutrient assessment effort headed by University of Illinois scientist Mark David. The work is expected to be finished by fall. The federal government also is developing its nutrientreduction strategy that may involve use of federal pro-

grams, Goetsch said. In addition to state and federal governments, task force members want to involve researchers at landgrant universities, which would include the U of I. During the meetings each spring and fall, state representatives share information about programs, initiatives, and other strategies to reduce nutrients. Illinois officials may discuss the new Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) funded by a per-ton assessment on fertilizer. NREC is funding fertilizer research and education projects throughout Illinois.

severe weather outbreaks, including tornadoes, this spring due in part to the temperature extremes in the

north and south. For more infor mation, visit the website {mobileweather.com}.

Continued from page 1 use have used sales data to misrepresent actual farm use, he told FarmWeek. Antibiotics often are mixed into feed products sold to many farms, and some products are marketed for multiple species at varying doses. Neither companies nor FDA can track drugs kept in farm inventory for future use, Warner said. “FDA has said you can’t take sales data and say ‘This is how much is being used,’”

he said. “They’re not the same. “(Under Waxman-Slaughter), the animal health companies would be required to provide data on (actual) use, which means they’d have to go back to the far mer. The company does not directly sell products so that they have a record direct from the far mer. “The biggest thing is, this does not do a thing to add to the knowledge base about antibiotic resistance.”


GOVERNMENT

Page 3 Monday, April 8, 2013 FarmWeek

Immigration talks encouraging, but work remains

IFB team hitting the Hill BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Freeport dairyman Doug Scheider prefers to hire workers with livestock experience. At the very least, he seeks employees who are up for the rigors of dairy production. In either case, that frequently means looking beyond Stephenson County. In part, that’s why Scheider joined Illinois Farm Bureau’s immigration “strike team” — a collection of dairy, livestock, and specialty crop producers set to campaign for ag labor reforms on Capitol Hill later this month. Amid bipartisan support for immigration reform fueled by what he deemed “the dynamics of the (2012)

election,” Scheider sees potential “to get something meaningful done.” Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stated he was “encouraged” by progress toward comprehensive reform proposals. But he called reports of an imminent agreement by his “Gang of Eight” — a bipartisan team that includes Springfield Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin — “premature.” Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce have agreed to support a federal visa program that would allow up to 200,000 non-ag workers to enter the U.S. per year. A program for ag workers has yet to be ironed out, and American Farm Bureau Federa-

Illinois business coalition seeks wide-ranging solutions

As former CEO of Illinois-based Corn Products International (CPI), Samuel Scott III recognized the importance of a strong global workforce and diverse corporate talent. Thus, as co-chair of the new Illinois Business Immigration Coalition (IBIC), Scott means business in promoting the need for comprehensive U.S. immigration reform. IBIC includes business leaders from throughout the state, trade groups, and university, faith-based, and others interested in immigration. The coalition is attracting new members “almost by the day,” with a goal of recruiting 1,000 small businesses and 300 corporate CEOs, Scott told FarmWeek. He previously served on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Task Force on Immigration, a roughly 50-member group representing business, farm, union, municipal, and bipartisan political interests in 12 states. Like that task force, the coalition is committed to improving labor capabilities “all the way across the board,” meeting professional and technical as well as farm and service industry needs, Scott said. The task force noted the ability to change perceptions regarding immigration once groups or individuals grasp “the facts behind it rather than the emotion,” he said. “The fact that we’re losing competitiveness because we don’t have the right people in this country to do the things we need done is starting to resonate,” Scott said. “A number of years back, the United States didn’t have any competition in bringing people in, so everyone wanted to come here. Now we do. Other countries are bringing people in at the high- and low-skill labor levels, and they can get in a lot easier than they can get into the United States now.” Scott said he is buoyed by bipartisan support for reforms, though some downstate and Chicago House members remain hesitant. But he stressed “either of the two (political) extremes can set this thing back.” IBIC thus is encouraging dialogue between diverse political interests, as evidenced when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman joined to launch the coalition last week. During Scott’s tenure, CPI (now Ingredion) hired foreign labor largely to work in technical areas and trained others in the U.S. to return to CPI’s global operations. However, Scott noted existing immigration policies interfere even with long-term corporate training and recruitment of talented immigrant students from U.S. schools. “It hurts to be the head of an organization and see really solid people coming out of the university, see talent coming out, and you can’t keep them,” he lamented. — Martin Ross

tion policy analyst Kristi Boswell warned immigration reform “comes down to either we’re importing our labor or we’re Doug Scheider importing our food.” Scheider said he employs as many as seven or eight foreign-born workers to share in milking, feeding, and calf-care duties. But the dairy ‘season’ is 365 days a year, and existing temporary worker provisions don’t meet dairy sector needs, the Illinois Milk Producers Association president told FarmWeek. And while he strives to hire local employees and

despite a county unemployment rate “hovering around 12 percent,” Scheider cites a major hitch: Local townspeo-

ple “have to be willing to work on a dairy farm.” “I could almost count on one hand the number of local people who’ve come here and inquired about job opportunities,” he said. “Swine’s challenged with some of the same issues. “Plus, some immigrants come from rural areas and come in with experience deal-

the needs livestock have, that they need to be cared for properly and humanely or, obviously, they don’t do well.” Current temporary worker programs prevent a full tapping of that on-farm expertise. Often, by the time a producer can train seasonal workers in specific duties, “it’s time for them to go home,” Scheider said.

A new U.S. Department of Energy report offers ammunition for corn growers addressing fresh challenges to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) and potential new opportunities to boost ethanol’s role in the U.S. fuel mix. Last week, the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) submitted biofuels comments to a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel jointly with Illinois Farm Bureau. Responses to forthcoming federal guidance on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) vehicle standards and proposed vehicle sulfur emissions standards which could boost “green” fuel demand are being mulled. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently upheld existing RFS2 goals amid oil company and livestock industry attacks, but critics continue to challenge the mandate. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) countered the petroleum sector’s recent attempt to link RFS renewable identification number (RIN) biofuels credits to higher winter gas prices. RFA-commissioned analysis indicates RINs — traded among fuel blenders when ethanol supplies are tight — contribute a mere four-tenths of a cent to pump costs. RIN prices would drop further if petroleum marketers would “embrace” E15 (15 percent ethanol) use, ICGA Business and Technology Director David Loos maintained. National Corn Growers Association CEO Rick Tolman

argued the oil industry has had five years to adapt to RFS2 but has chosen instead to “drag their feet every step of the way.” “We have an oil industry suddenly realizing its market is contracting and that biofuels is a competitor,” Tolman told FarmWeek. “Biofuels already have taken 10 percent of the market, and if the Renewable Fuels Standard continues to roll out, it’ll take 20 percent. They don’t want that to happen.” Corn and ethanol interests, meanwhile, await EPA announcement of 2013 RFS2 biofuels use requirements. The Energy and Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee has solicited input regarding the “blend wall” — finite demand for ethanol supplies based on current gasoline blend levels — and vehicle compatibility with E15 and other blends. Loos cited concerns the inquiry could be a precursor to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) “going after the RFS2” in May or June. He nonetheless was encouraged by the Illinois presence on the committee, which includes Collinsville Republican John Shimkus, Manteno Republican Adam Kinzinger, Evanston Democrat Jan Schakowsky, and Chicago Democrat Bobby Rush. Shimkus helped guide discussion of CAFE credits for “flex-fuel” vehicles, Loos noted. Further, a new study from DOE’s Oak Ridge National

Laboratory anticipates key economic benefits if RFS2 goals are achieved by 2022 (see accompanying details). — Martin Ross

ing with livestock. If they grew up in a family herding goats, they’ve been around livestock. They know about

Illinois Farm Bureau’s immigration “strike team” will address the need for major ag labor reforms during an April 23-24 sweep of Capitol Hill.

Farm groups girding up for renewed RFS challenges DOE RFS2 NUMBERS According to a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study, here’s how Americans could expect to benefit from full rollout of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2):

0.8 of a percent The anticipated increase in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022 related to RFS2-based biofuels growth alone. 0.8 of a percent of current GDP is $121 billion.

7 percent The DOE-projected reduction in average motor fuel prices that could result from 36 billion gallons of annual renewable fuels use by 2022. Keeping on pace with RFS2 targets could reduce fuel prices by 3 percent by 2015, DOE stated.

Less than 1 percent If RFS2 goals are achieved, the projected increase in prices for food commodities and coarse grains through 2030 attributed to biofuels use. DOE’s study concluded livestock, poultry, and dairy prices would “remain stable or even decrease in some years,” while heightened biofuels use would result in “a slight (net) reduction in global land use for agriculture.”


RURAL HEALTH

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, April 8, 2013

RIMSAP helps vet realize dream of healing BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Veteran David Ferge returned from his tour in Iraq with vivid images of the ravages of war and a powerful desire to heal. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program (RIMSAP) is helping the University of Illinois-Urbana med school freshman pursue his dream of helping underserved communities and, potentially, other vets. Last fall, Ferge received a low-interest loan and a med school recommendation through the program. Illinois students with financial or academic challenges can download a 2013 RIMSAP application at {www.rimsap.com}.

FarmWeekNow.com

Listen to David Ferge’s interview about how RIMSAP is helping fellow med students at FarmWeekNow.com.

Ferge, 31, appreciates RIMSAP’s focus on “non-traditional” students “who are not necessarily star-struck by Chicago.” He came to Illinois by way of a family farm near Waverly, Iowa, and a stint in military intelligence. After serving in Iraq from 2002 to 2008, Ferge landed in Bloomington (his parents had moved to Illinois) and earned a degree from Illinois State

David Ferge

University in Normal, where he met his wife, Krista. Ferge had long contemplated a career in medicine but witnessing combat cemented

his decision. “You see enough things out there — bandaged little girls, suicide bombers,” he told FarmWeek. “It made me think, ‘You know, there’s maybe something more I’d like to do in life.’ But when I came back, it was a lot rougher getting back into the whole educational process. “I had great grades, but my MCAT (Medical College Admission Test score) was not stellar. I might have been all right, but I liked everything RIMSAP stood for — the concept of working in a rural environment. I was married; that’s what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go.” RIMSAP applications must be received by Nov. 1 of the year prior to medical school entry. Recipients agree to serve in an approved rural area following residency. Rural candidates from smaller high schools compete for med school slots with urban students with greater resources or even from med-

ical families, noted Freeport dairyman Doug Scheider, who serves on the U of I’s Rural Medical Education Program’s Recruitment and Retention Committee. “These kids can sometimes drop through the cracks,” warned Scheider, who sees programs such as RIMSAP or U of I’s tailored Rural Medical Education (RMED) program helping level the playing field.

Ferge cited the added challenges married students face in competing with candidates “who can devote every minute of every day” to gaining admission. Ferge has not yet fixed on a post-residency career path, though he has shadowed Lexington (McLean County) primary care physician Samuel Steffen. He is drawn to family medi-

cine but “intrigued” by the notion of psychiatric practice and the possibility of working one-on-one with veterans. He stressed RIMSAP applicants must determine “just how serious they are” about the responsibilities of a medical education and community practice. “You need to understand that it’s important to people to be in that kind of environment,” Ferge said.

Kinzinger measure taps vet skills

When Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack ticks off the contributions of rural Americans to the national welfare, he routinely emphasizes the “disproportionate” number of veterans who’ve hailed from rural areas. U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Manteno Republican and Air Force veteran still active in the Rep. Adam Air National Guard, wants to Kinzinger help enlist those small-town vets in a new, crucial branch of service — rural emergency care. Kinzinger and co-sponsor Rep. Lois Capps (DCalif.) are awaiting Senate approval of their Veteran Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Support Act of 2013, which cleared the House last month. The measure would help states streamline EMT certification requirements for veterans with military emergency medical technician training. David Ferge, a 31-year-old University of Illinois med student who served in Iraq from 2002 to 2008 (see accompanying story), argues vets bring real-world experience and an unusual “level of maturity” regard-

ing trauma and pressure to emergency care. “If you served in combat or as a medic, you’ve had life experiences,” Ferge told FarmWeek. “You can train and prepare a person to be a doctor or emergency medical technician, but you don’t know how they’re really going to respond to that stressor until it actually happens. “You know that (military medics) have gone through that, that they’ve handled that stress.” Kinzinger’s legislation reflects state efforts to assist returning vets, according to Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Ryan Yantis. A recent executive order by Gov. Pat Quinn emphasized measures to “ensure our veterans’ unique skills and military training count when it comes to finding a career in Illinois.” The order directs state agencies to streamline the process for vets applying for job licenses and allow qualified returnees to skip extra training some licenses require. Roughly 35,000 new veterans are expected to return to Illinois over the next four years, the executive order noted. Kinzinger’s legislation is far more specific in its intent, and Yantis deemed federal and state efforts “complementary rather than competitive.” — Martin Ross

FFA, 4-H members sought to raise pink pumpkins, cancer research funds BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

FFA and 4-H members with green thumbs can support breast cancer research by growing and selling pink pumpkins for the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation, based in Rocky Ford, Colo. Seedway, a GROWMARK Inc. subsidiary based in Hall, N.Y., will donate up to 5,000 pink pumpkin seeds to each FFA chapter and 4-H club that will grow and sell the

pumpkins and donate half of the the profits to the foundation, said Don Wertman, Seedway chief operating officer. Wertman estimated 5,000 seeds will be sufficient to plant about 2 acres. The Porcelain Doll pumpkin was bred by an Arizona seed company specifically to aid in the fight against breast cancer. In addition to the seeds each chapter and club will receive information on how to

grow the pumpkins and marketing support. This will be the second year pink pumpkins will be sold to raise money for the foundation. During last year’s drought, pink pumpkin sales raised $30,000. Infor mation about the foundation is online at {pinkpumpkinpatch.org}. For FFA and 4-H groups interested in obtaining seed, contact Seedway at 800-9527333.

Quinn, delegation work to grow ag exports to Mexico

Gov. Pat Quinn last week promoted Illinois ag exports to key Mexican leaders and decisionmakers during a trade mission to the state’s third-largest agricultural customer. Illinois Soybean Association Chairman Bill Wykes of Yorkville and Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider were delegation members. The group returned Saturday. “Every year, almost 40 percent of our commodities - the corn and soybeans we grow and the pork and beef we raise - is sold overseas,” Quinn said. “With sales of $8.2 billion, Illinois currently is the third-largest agricultural exporter in the United States, and Mexico is one of our most loyal agricultural trading partners.”

The Illinois group met with top Mexican agriculture officials to reaffirm the state’s existing trade relationship and discuss potential increased purchases. Since 2010, Mexico has bought $1.9 billion in agricultural products from Illinois, including $780 million in 2012 alone. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) maintains a trade office in Mexico City where buyers are identified and brought to Illinois for tours of grain, pork, and dairy farms and other businesses. IDOA also sponsors pavilions in Mexican trade shows and takes Illinois firms there to do business. The trade office works with the Illinois Export Advisory Council.

Seedway is distributing the pink Porcelain Doll pumpkin seed to FFA chapters and 4-H clubs to raise money for breast cancer research.

DATEBOOK

April 10 Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider will speak at 7 p.m. at the Illinois State University Bone Student Center’s Prairie Room, Normal. For more information call professor Shalamar Armstrong at 309-438-8097 or email him at sdarmst@ilstu.edu. May 11 5K Grow & Go, Illinois Farm Bureau, Bloomington. Call 309557-2230 or go to {iaafoundation.org} for more information. June 8 Illinois Junior Preview Sheep Show, Woodford County Fairgrounds, Eureka. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. with shows at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more information, email royerfarm@aol.com, call Bill Royer at 309-472-3231, email croelf@mtco.com, or call Cheryl at 815-795-5030.


NUTRIENTS

Page 5 Monday, April 8, 2013 FarmWeek

nutrient stewardship Fertilizer industry geared up Farmer saves $ablewith rates of fertilizer are others’ farms,” Stambaugh said. National 4R applied. He even checks Madison also uses conservafor large corn crop in 2013 award winner chlorophyll levels in leaves to tion tillage and uses no-till or BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Farmers should be able to source enough nitrogen fertilizer this spring to cover what is projected to be the largest corn crop in the U.S. in 77 years. USDA late last month projected U.S. farmers this season will plant 97.28 million acres of corn. If so, U.S. corn acres would be the highest since 1936 (102 million acres). “Most (fertilizer) products are in good shape from a supply standpoint,” Joe Dillier, GROWMARK director of plant food, told FarmWeek. “I don’t think we’ll stress the system for potash or phosphate and we have a good supply of ammonia available.” Joe Dillier Illinois is one of largest users of anhydrous ammonia in the U.S. Farmers in the state also are using more urea. “We’re using more urea for post (planting) applications as more and more farmers use split (fertilizer) applications,” Dillier said. “I could see more urea demand,” he continued. “It’s a good value.” The average price of urea in Illinois, as of March 28, was $529 per ton compared to $886 per ton for anhydrous ammonia, according to the Illinois Production Cost Report issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. There was a lot of concern in the fertilizer industry the past six months about sourcing various products due to shipping issues caused by low water FarmWeekNow.com levels on the Mississippi River. Li s t e n t o J o e D i l l i e r ’s c o m “The river issue became a ments about fertilizer availnon-issue,” Dillier said. “The a b i l i t y d u r i n g p l a n t i n g a t Corps of Engineers was very FarmWeekNow.com. responsive (at the urging of ag advocacy groups, including Illinois Farm Bureau). Plus we got some rains.” The weather still could affect fertilizer distribution this spring, though. If planting delays continue to linger, Dillier believes many farmers could switch from ammonia to urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) solution as their fertilizer of choice. “The main concern at this point is if planting delays continue and become extreme and if nitrogen demand switches to UAN solution,” he said. “There’s a potential we could run tight (on UAN) availability.” Dillier recommended farmers discuss fertilizer supplies and orders with retailers soon to secure supplies. “I wouldn’t be the last guy to show up at the retailer (this spring),” he said. Prices for fertilizer this spring likely will remain volatile, Dillier added.

Tuesday: • Ag weather with Harvey Freese of Freese-Notis • Jenn Hoelzle, deputy director, Illinois Office of Tourism • Illinois Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Streator) • John Hawkins, Illinois Farm Bureau farm information web editor

nois Soybean Association • Mariah Dale-Anderson, special services manager for the IFB Member Services and Public Relations Division • David Miller, president of iBio Institute • Cynthia Haskins, manager of business development and compliance for IFB

Wednesday: • Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Bob Flider • Tamara Nelsen, IFB senior director of commodities • Katie Pratt, Faces of Farming and Ranching winner • Jill Johnson, director of communications, Illinois Beef Association

Friday: • Sara Wyant, Agri-Pulse publisher • Rita Frazer, live broadcast from the Effingham County Farm Bureau

Thursday: • Ron Moore, director of Illi-

To find a radio station near you that carries the RFD Radio Network, go to FarmWeeknow.com, click on “Radio,” then click on “Affiliates.”

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Nutrient stewardship helps reduce costs and increase yields for Bureau County Farm Bureau member Alan Madison of Walnut. “Typically, we save $10 to $20 an acre” because of nutrient stewardship, Madison told FarmWeek. Recently, Madison received a national award for his efforts in managing nutrients. Illinois is home to two of four farmers honored nationwide for nutrient stewardship. In addition to Madison, the Scates families of Shawneetown also won a 4R advocate award from The Fertilizer Institute. The 4R program involves using the right fertilizer source at the right rate and right time with the right placement. Madison uses several tools to determine the best fertilizer rates for different field areas. Based on soil test results, vari-

decide if a third application of nitrogen is needed. This growing season, Madison said he will add tissue testing at the V5 stage to determine if any macro or micro nutrients are needed. Malcolm Stambaugh, Madison’s crop adviser with Ag View FS, nominated the farmer for the national award and pointed to Madison’s willingness to try cutting-edge practices. “It will help what we can do on his farm and will help

strip tillage on two thirds of his acres to reduce runoff and erosion. A year ago he started growing tillage radishes and ryegrass as cover crops to reduce nutrient leeching. He attributed his increased yields to nutrient management practices in combination with new technology and improved seed. “As an industry, we need to better tell our story to show consumers and other producers how it works,” Madison said.

Attention to details Alan Madison of Walnut won a national award for his nutrient stewardship practices. A few of his practices are listed below: • Regular soil tests: Each field is tested every four years on a 2.5-acre grid. • Chlorophyll readings: Madison uses a meter to detect leaf chlorophyll levels and decides if any additional nitrogen is needed just before tasseling. • Multiple nitrogen applications: Nitrogen is applied at planting and by side dressing, and — if warranted – before tasseling. — Kay Shipman


LIVESTOCK

FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, April 8, 2013

Cold temperatures delay grazing season, forage development BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

It appears livestock producers will have to extend their feed supplies a little longer this spring. Unseasonably cold temperatures in March and early this month slowed the development of pastures and forages around much of the state. “There’s no evidence of spring here, yet,” Alan Adams, a cattle producer from Sandwich and vice president of the Illinois Beef Association (IBA), told FarmWeek last week. “There’s no green showing in the pastures.” Adams said he believes most livestock producers will be able to extend existing feed supplies, which were limited by last year’s drought, or source enough ingredients this spring to maintain their operations. He predicted the grazing season will start at least two weeks later than usual. “May 1 is the earliest we’ll get cattle out to pasture. Usually it’s closer to April 15 to

Alan Adams, a cattle producer and vice president of the Illinois Beef Association, displays a dry, hard piece of soil on his farm in Sandwich. Colder-than-normal conditions forced Adams and other livestock producers to continue stretching feed supplies. The grazing/forage season is expected to be delayed at least two weeks this season due to the challenging conditions. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

20,” Adams said. “We have enough stored feed, but we’ve gone through a huge amount.” Livestock producers also are eagerly awaiting the development of forages to reduce feed input prices. “(Alfalfa development)

is going to get slowed down a little bit with the colder temperatures,” Dave Lidy, dairy specialist with Total Livestock Ser vices, told the RFD Radio Network. “Hopefully, there will be some alfalfa ready

to be cut the first few weeks of May.” Adams, however, is concerned about possible winter damage to some of his alfalfa crop. Alfalfa after the fourth cutting on his farm last year added just 3 to 4 inches of regrowth due to the drought. “When you take a cutting Sept. 1, you’d like to think there’s more than enough time for regrowth,” Adams said. “But it never came back from the fourth cutting. I’m a little concerned about winter damage.” The unseasonably cold temperatures the past six weeks and late-season snowfall and heavy rains also made for a difficult calving season on many farms, Adams noted.

“I’ve traveled all over the state (attending IBA meetings) and it’s been like a broken record,” Adams said. “It was one of the most difficult calving seasons anyone can remember. “It probably was one of the worst Marches I can remember,” continued Adams, who has farmed 40 years. “We lost a couple calves.” Livestock producers in the near future should see lower feed prices due to a recent break in crop prices caused by higher-than-expected ending stocks of corn, soybeans, and wheat. “It (the break in crop prices) is going to give muchneeded relief for feed prices,” Lidy added.

IFB slates EU animal care tour

This summer, Illinois Farm Bureau will give livestock farmers a first-hand opportunity to study how various animal care issues evolved in the European Union (EU) and how they impacted EU farmers. The tour also will help our farmers glean lessons from the European experience while also providing message training on animal care issues. The goal of the tour is to trace the development of EU animal care issues and to develop strategies for managing those issues here. The issues to be covered include sow housing, layer housing, antibiotics, tail docking, castration, etc. The 10-day “Animal Care Study Tour” will travel through the United Kingdom, France, Holland, Germany, and Denmark. Study tour participants will meet with farmers, farm organizations, veterinarians, consumers, retailers, and legislators to discuss the development, progress, and implications of changing EU animal care standards on farmers and consumers. Farmer participants for the study tour were selected in an application process that sought to identify livestock leaders who not only demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the animal care issues facing their industry but also a willingness to “give back.” Additionally, IFB worked to ensure that a cross section of Illinois livestock farmers (hogs, beef cattle, dairy, eggs, sheep, and equine) applied for the tour. The farmers chosen, their area of expertise, and their counties include: Pat Bane (hogs), McLean; Kate Hagenbuch (hogs), LaSalle; Pamela Janssen (beef cattle and hogs), Woodford; Al Lyman (beef cattle), Henry; Deb Moore (beef cattle), Warren; Carrie Pollard (dairy cattle and hogs); Stacy Schutz (beef cattle, hogs, and equine); Mitzi Sharer (hogs); Brian Spannagle (beef cattle and hogs), Sangamon; and Abe Trone (dairy, beef cattle, equine). Brad Temple (sheep and beef cattle) will be the IFB director for the study tour. Karen Lyman (beef cattle) from Henry County will serve as an alternate for the tour. Upon return, participants will be expected to do presentations and give media interviews regarding their tour experience.

BY TAMARA NELSEN

Tamara Nelsen is senior director of commodities for Illinois Farm Bureau.


Page 7 Monday, April 8, 2013 FarmWeek

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POTPOURRI

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, April 8, 2013

Rural Development seeking applicants for energy funding BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Milk price lowest since summer

The Class III price for milk adjusted to 3.5 percent butterfat for the month of March was $16.93. This marks the lowest milk prices since last summer. Cows are milking very well, and the moderate temperatures are perfect for a cow’s comfort zone. As a result of the “flush” of milk this time of year, prices are coming under pressure.

Far mers and rural businesses may apply to USDA Rural Development for grants and loans for energ y efficiency and renewable energ y projects. The first application deadline is April 30. The Rural Energ y for America Program, known as REAP, has been popular in Illinois and has funded several grain dryer upgrades, among other projects. Rural Development in Illinois is accepting applications for: • Renewable energ y system and energ y improvement grants and combined grant and guaranteed loans until 4:30 p.m. April 30; • Renewable energ y proj-

ect feasibility study grants until 4:30 p.m. April 30; and • Renewable energ y system and energ y efficiency improvement guaranteed

loans only until July 15. For more infor mation on applying for funding, contact Rural Development’s Mary Warren at 217-4036218.

Nominees sought for farm mom of year

Monsanto Co. is accepting nominations for farm mom of the year through April 23. A winner will be selected for each of five regions by a panel of judges from Monsanto and American Agri-Women. The regional winners will compete for the national title to be determined by online voting. Each regional winner will receive $5,000 and the national winner will receive an additional $5,000. To nominate someone, go online to {AmericasFarmers.com}. The nomination must include a brief essay explaining how the nominee contributes to her family, farm, community, and agriculture. Information is available online at {AmericasFarmers.com} or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to America’s Farmers Mom of the Year, Attn: Nancy Hallahan, 914 Spruce St., St. Louis, Mo., 63102.

Garlic mustard tough to control

Garlic mustard is considered an invasive weed. Some states have declared it noxious, although Illinois hasn’t yet taken that step, according to John Fulton, University of Illinois Extension county director for Logan, Menard, Sangamon counties. The problem with garlic mustard is its ability to spread quickly and choke out desirable undergrowth in timber areas. At this time of year, garlic mustard is still in the rosette stage, but second-year plants will soon begin to extend their flower stems, Fulton said. Garlic mustard is a cool-season, biennial herb with stalked, triangular to heart-shaped leaves that give off an odor of garlic when crushed. First-year plants appear as a rosette of green leaves close to the ground. Flowering plants of garlic mustard grow 2 to 3.5 feet in height and produce button-like clusters of small white flowers with four petals. Control of garlic mustard is somewhat difficult because seeds can remain viable for at least five years. Small populations may be pulled up; however, garlic mustard can regrow from root material. Glyphosate (Roundup) is the most often recommended herbicide, but it also kills broadleaves and grasses. Very large populations have been controlled with fire, but that completely destroys the timber understory.

Flider to speak at ISU

Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Illinois State University (ISU) Bone Student Center’s Prairie Room, Normal. The event is free and open to the public. Flider is being hosted by the ISU Agriculture Department and the Agriculture Science Club. He will answer questions after his presentation. For more information, contact professor Shalamar Armstrong at 309-438-8097 or email him at sdarmst@ilstu.edu.


FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 9 Monday, April 8, 2013 FarmWeek

Ag Mag teaches kids, adults about beef BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Bright colors, lots of photos, and brief facts signal how the “Illinois Beef Ag Mag” attempts to reach young readers. Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) offers the agricultural magazine and many other teaching tools related to livestock. The revamped Beef Ag Mag was supported with funding from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB), the Illinois Beef Association (IBA), the IAA Foundation, and IAITC. Commodity groups are using checkoff dollars to support IAITC and ag literacy efforts. The beef magazine offers readers a crash course on cattle basics, including different breeds, cattle diets, different products made from cattle, cattle-related careers, and a visual explanation of the pasture-totable process. Donna Jeschke, a former ICMB director from Mazon, knows from personal experience the value of using Ag Mags. Jeschke has distributed the magazines to young non-farm visitors and even to international farmers who have toured her farm. “A large percentage of what we raise as corn farmers is fed to livestock,” Jeschke said. “It’s important for young or old to understand we are very protective of our livestock; we want them to be healthy, happy animals, but we raise them to produce protein for people.” IBA President Jeff Beasley of Creal Springs agreed with the need to provide educational materials to help students, their

teachers, and their parents better understand the beef industry. “Agriculture, in general, needs to have a bigger and better presence in schools,” Beasley said. “Teachers can be influential. It’s important that we stay connected to them and get information into their hands.” However, teachers and youngsters probably aren’t the only ones learning new information from Beef Ag Mags. Parents routinely check their children’s backpacks and may read and discuss Beef Ag Mag information with their students, Beasley noted. It is important for commodity group members to be aware of their support for Ag Mags and other educational materials — and to consider using them, according to Beasley. “We are thankful to have the support of commodity groups and the farmers they represent,” said Susan Moore, director of the IAA Foundation, which raises funding to support IAITC. “Through this contribution, Illinois farmers can

IAITC covers livestock in educational materials

Educators and others wanting to learn about individual livestock species and livestock in general will find materials available from Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC). IAITC offers several “Ag Mags,” agricultural magazines related to livestock. In addition to beef, separate magazine subjects are dairy, pork, and general livestock, which covers horses, poultry, beef, pork, and dairy. New testing preparation materials specifically geared for Terra Nova achievement tests also use livestock as the subject matter. For example, a student would read a paragraph about livestock and then answer questions that would gauge his reading comprehension. Terra Nova test preparation materials are available on the following subjects: beef, pork, dairy, sheep, and poultry. For more infor mation, go online to {agintheclassroom.org}. — Kay Shipman

see their dollars directly at work in the classroom where the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program continues its successful track record of making the important connection between food and the farmers who grow it.” More information about Ag Mags and other IAITC materials is online at {www.agintheclassroom.org}.

B

UREAU — The Young Leaders Committee farm pool listing is complete. The list of residents interested in full or part-time agricultural-related labor is available at the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information. • Far m Bureau will sponsor a Summer Agricultural Institute Monday through Wednesday, June 17 to 21. Cost is $80 for members and $100 for non-members. Call the Far m Bureau office at 875-6468 for an application. Application deadline is May 3. EORIA — Far m Bureau will sponsor a defensive driving course from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Far m Bureau building. Cost is $10 for members. Call the Far m Bureau office at 686-7070 for reser vations. ERRY — Far m Bureau will host a seminar on hydraulic fracturing at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Pinckneyville. Call 357-

P P

9355 to register. • Far m Bureau will sponsor a defensive driving course from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, and Thursday, April 18, at the Far m Bureau office. Cost is $12 for members and $14 for non-members. Call the Far m Bureau office by April 12 to register. ASHINGTON — The Women’s Committee will sponsor a cardiopulmonary resuscitation and First Aid course at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the Far m Bureau office. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Call the Far m Bureau office to register or for more infor mation. Registration deadline is April 12.

W

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


PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, April 8, 2013

Farmers, applicators must respect anhydrous ammonia all could have been prevented with a basic understanding and respect for the product. NH3 is a cost-effective and efficient means of providing nitrogen for a crop, but it must be applied with caution. NH3 can aggressively attack skin and eyes, potentially causing third-degree burns and blindness. It can cause significant respiratory problems when sufficient quantities are inhaled. The first safety rule when

Several times each year farmers and applicators are rushed to emergency rooms after being exposed to anhydrous ammonia (NH3). The problems vary from inhalation to skin Kevin Frye contact, but BY KEVIN FRYE

USDA

Farm Service Agency

As a result of reduced staffing levels in Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices, the Illinois FSA state office has reduced the operating hours to one day per week in the following locations: Alexander/Pulaski, Boone, Calhoun, Rock Island, Scott, Williamson, and Winnebago counties. The office in Wabash County will be open on Thursdays only. FarmWeek submitted the following question to the state FSA office concerning the reduced hours in some counties. Scherrie Giamanco, Illinois FSA executive director, provided the answer. FW: Will the dollars related to conservation funding (in a reduced-hour county) be reduced for conservation funding because that county will be absorbed into another county? What about the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and other programs? FSA: The reduction in operating hours is applicable only to FSA and does not affect any other agency that may be co-located in the USDA Service Center. Conservation funding for FSA programs will not be reduced, simply because the Illinois state FSA office reduced the hours of operation of an FSA county office. EQIP is an NRCS-funded program, and we also would assume that EQIP funding would not be reduced in this situation; however, that is an NRCS determination.

M A R K E T FA C T S Feeder pig prices reported to USDA* Weight 10-12 lbs. 40 lbs.

Range Per Head $25.80-$48.00 $59.98-$60.24

Weighted Ave. Price $38.48 $60.15

This Week Last Week 72,399 129,409 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Receipts

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $76.09 $73.60 $2.49 $56.31 $54.46 $1.84

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

This week $128.50 $127.88

Prev. week $128.09 $128.09

Change $0.41 -$0.21

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 This week $140.27 $136.12 $4.15

Lamb prices Slaughter prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 80-163 lbs. for 104.07-135 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 115.78); wooled and shorn 171-207 lbs. for 112-120 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 115.21)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 3/28/2013 16.3 25.7 19.1 3/21/2013 18.5 20.8 17.2 Last year 29.6 16.0 31.5 Season total 1210.0 792.5 431.5 Previous season total 1013.8 828.0 954.0 USDA projected total 1345 1025 825 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

using NH3 is to always wear goggles and cotton-lined rubber gloves. To minimize inhaling NH3 in the event of a release, remain upwind when working on equipment so the product will blow away from the breathing area. Goggles are more than just safety glasses as they provide a seal around the eyes to protect from the NH3 vapor. The best goggles are indirectly vented so they are less likely to fog. The cotton-lined rubber gloves need to be specifically approved for handling NH3 and “cuffed” at the ends so the NH3 in liquid form does not run down the arms. Always assume “the gun is loaded,” meaning assume hoses, coolers, and other equipment contain NH3. Many injuries have occurred from NH3 pressure rebuilding and unexpectedly releasing from

previously purged equipment. In the event of skin or eye exposure, water is the best remedy. Make sure a five-gallon container on the side of the nurse tank remains full of clean water to provide initial treatment. Even having a water bottle accessible could be of great help to get from one water source to another. Ideally, submerge the affected area immediately under water for at least 20 minutes. Medical facilities can at times misunderstand how to properly treat NH3 burns, and personnel there tend to immediately apply burn creams. If applied before the affected area is decontaminated, burn creams can actually seal in the NH3 and allow the skin to continue to “cook.” Appropriate burn creams

can be applied only once the affected area is proven to be decontaminated, typically through a pH test. If clothing has been frozen to the skin, the affected area should be diluted with water until the clothing thaws and can be safely removed. If removed while still frozen, the clothing may peel away skin. It is best to dispose of any affected clothing. Never put clothing back on as it will reexpose the NH3 to the skin. Most important, never take shortcuts with these and other safety procedures. Take it seriously at all times, and make sure others do as well. The consequences of exposure are devastating otherwise.

Kevin Frye is GROWMARK’s safety services manager. His email address is kfrye@growmark.com.

Return of $7 corn unlikely near-term

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The recent break in the crop markets possibly signaled the beginning of the end of historically high prices near-term. The corn and soybean markets traded limitdown in the days following the release of a bearish USDA stocks report on March 28. And, while traders may have overreacted to larger-than-expected supplies of corn, beans, and wheat, it likely will be difficult for those markets to recover all the losses anytime soon. “The ending (corn) stocks number (5.39 billion bushels, about 370 million more bushels than traders expected) doesn’t justify $7 corn,” said Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor senior market analyst. “We’re going to have to live with this for some time (USDA’s next quarterly stocks estimate will be released June 28),” he continued. “It would take a yield as bad as last year to build another bullish supply and demand outlook.” The soybean ending stocks estimate, 999 million bushels, was about 50 million bushels larger than the average trade guess. Darrel Good, University of Illinois Extension economist, agreed the crop markets likely will remain under downward pressure near-term. “(The large crop stocks estimates) are a reminder we probably have enough inventory to get through the year,” Good said. “With ample stocks and weak export demand (for corn), there’s nothing to push (old-crop) prices higher.”

The soybean market also is vulnerable to downward pressure as larger-than-expected stocks could be amplified by a record South American soybean harvest. Elsewhere, Chinese soybean demand currently is not on pace to meet USDA’s estimate for the year. “(Competition from South America) is a huge drag on old-crop beans,” Durchholz said. Meanwhile, speculative interest in the crop markets, which helped drive prices higher prior to March 28, could fade and remove a layer of price support. “With the break (in crop prices) after the (March 28) report, a lot of these (speculative) positions quickly went into losing positions and triggered liquidation,” Durchholz said. The extent to which crop prices plunged the past 10 days possibly was an overreaction, though. “Now that we’ve liquidated long positions, it paves the way for a short-term recovery,” Durchholz said. Traders also may get anxious about the lack of planting progress, which could support small rallies in the weeks ahead. “If it looks like the bulk of planting will be pushed into May, the market likely will start to react to that,” Good said. That type of scenario likely would be bullish for corn and bearish for bean prices, as farmers could switch from corn to more beans if planting is delayed into May, Durchholz added.

Central Illinois farmers may apply for irrigation upgrades Farmers in Cass, Logan, Mason, Menard, and Tazewell counties may apply through May 17 for a federal agricultural water program, according to Ivan Dozier, state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) is a federally funded program that can provide financial and technical assistance to help farmers conserve ground and surface water and improve water quality. NRCS administers the program, which is available for eligible

applicants in approved project areas. In Illinois, NRCS selected the Mason County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to administer the AWEP project for irrigated crop growers in the five counties. Funding is available for farmers who need irrigation system upgrades. The Illinois AWEP project includes help with improvements for center-pivot systems, including installing new nozzles and end gun systems to improve uniform distribution and potentially replacing the motor to convert the sys-

tem to a lower pressure that would save energy. The project also encourages farmers to follow an irrigation water management plan. While NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance continuously, the Illinois application cutoff for AWEP is May 17. Applications submitted by deadline will be ranked and will compete for funding against other ranked applications within the AWEP project area. To apply, eligible farmers should contact their local NRCS field office in one of the five counties.


PROFITABILITY

Page 11 Monday, April 8, 2013 FarmWeek

CASH STRATEGIST

Large plantings coming

Typically, the USDA prospective plantings report is the focus of attention in late-March reports. But this year, it was totally overshadowed by the intense focus on the larger-than-expected quarterly stocks numbers. Generally, the planting numbers forecast by USDA are not significantly different from expectations. The 77.13 million prospective soybean plantings were the only number much different than anticipated, and even they were not that much different than the 78.5 million acres expected. Even though it was less than expected, it was still as large as last year. The 77.13 million forecast is the second largest initial soybean planting projection. It also would be the fourth largest on record, but still only half a million below 2009’s 77.45 million planted acres. The 97.28 million projected corn acres were at expectations and just above last year’s record 97.16 million acres planted to corn. Those numbers far eclipse anything seen in recent years. But if the slightly large plantings are realized, they would be the largest since 1936.

Even using a 2- to 2.5-million acre increase for hay plantings this year, we are left with a 1.7-million-acre reduction in total acreage, plantings, and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. A total of 2.5 million acres came out of CRP this year. Those acres might not get planted, depending on conditions and timing, especially considering much of that land is in the drier western areas. Last year’s prevented plant insurance claims were unusually small at 1.2 million acres. That was below the 1.6-million and 1.7-million-acre claims in 2007 and 2008, respectively. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, those claims rose to 4.2, 6.9, and 9.6 million acres, respectively, because of various planting problems. If planting conditions are relatively good, this year’s claims again could be small. But unless extreme problems occur, we’d doubt they would climb above 3 million. That still leaves us with big acres to be seeded. Probably the biggest uncertainty is the final mix of plantings. In that regard, we continue to hear talk of disenchantment with corn-on-corn yields the last two years, among other things. Given that, 1 million to 1.5 million acres could yet get shifted from corn to soybeans.

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Corn Strategy

ü2012 crop: Target a move back to $6.70 on May futures to boost sales to 90 percent. It may pay to price any inventory you still have other than “gambling stocks” you want to carry into late summer. ü2013 crop: Arguably, newcrop prices may be able to rebound easier than old-crop prices the next three months. We think December futures might be able to get to $5.70 again. Use a rebound to $5.55 to make catch-up sales. Plan to use the next rebound to add to sales. vFundamentals: It will take a friendly June 28 corn stocks number to restore potential for significantly higher prices for old-crop corn. But by that time, the trade will be looking at the new-crop situation. Barring extreme planting delays, or a significant drought, it’s difficult to build a bullish situation for the new crop. Even if the stocks number were to be friendly, if the new crop looks promising, the trade will not be inclined to chase old-crop prices higher.

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2012 crop: This past week’s break in nearby soybean futures to their lowest level since last June ended any prospect for a significant rally. Use a rally into the $13.70$13.90 range on May futures for catch-up sales. We wouldn’t be opposed to selling inventories on a rebound, other than summer “gambling” inventories. ü2013 crop: Use a rally to $12.45 on November futures for catch-up sales. We may even recommend another small sale if that occurs. Check the Hotline frequently. vFundamentals: The steady increase in the pace of soybean loadings at Brazilian ports is starting to take a toll on U.S. soybean demand and prices. Preliminary data indicate nearly 3.6 million metric tons (a metric ton of beans is equal to 36.7 bushels) were loaded in March. And we have heard a couple of cargoes already have sailed from Argentina. The discovery of a new strain of bird flu in China is causing some analysts to question their soybean import

needs. This year’s pace already is well off expectations.

Wheat Strategy

ü2012 crop: Wheat may have established a near-term low on Chicago May futures at $6.59. Make catch-up sales if Chicago’s May contract trades near $7.09. We will be patient and see how far prices might rebound before recommending wrapping up oldcrop sales. Check the Hotline daily, as we may decide to pull the trigger anytime. ü2013 crop: Wait for the Chicago July contract to trade above $7.10 before making catch-up sales.

vFundamentals: The recent bounce could be linked to the weekly crop progress report indicating only 34 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop was in good to excellent condition. This is the worst start for the winter wheat crop since 2002. But it’s the hard red winter crop that’s in poor condition, with the soft red condition generally a little better than normal. Portions of the Southern Plains were forecast to pick up good rains last week, but the rain failed to materialize, heightening concern about the crop. Weekly export sales didn’t help, coming in below expectations.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, April 8, 2013

Through

their

Marketplace Act supports our main street businesses

Main Street store owners in Illinois tell me how unfair it is to watch their online competitors offer lower prices on the exact same products because they do not have to collect sales taxes. Customers often come into their stores, try out the latest products, and then return home to purchase the product online and avoid taxes. Local businesses call it “showrooming” and it isn’t just a problem DICK in Illinois. DURBIN It’s happening in cities, towns, and farming communities all around the country. These are communities that can’t afford to lose. Those of us from downstate Illinois know what happens to Illinois Farm Family field moms ask questions of Sycamore hog our towns when these Main farmer Steve Ward, left, during a recent tour of his Old Elm Street businesses close. Farms facilities. (Photo by Ken Kashian) I commend the American Farm Bureau Federation and Illinois Farm Bureau for supporting the bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act that I introduced with Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Lamar of 1,200. Steve even let us know that if he Editor’s note: Field moms with Illinois Farm Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Heidi worked from sun up to sun down during plantFamilies (IFF) toured the Sycamore hog farm of Steve Heitkamp (D-N.D.). Ward and his father, John, in late February. IFF is the ing season, he would be able to get through 100 There are some critics who acres of land. Catch me now as I faint from coalition of commodity groups for beef, corn, soybeans, will say our bill is a tax increase. pork, and the Illinois Farm Bureau. Below are excerpts exhaustion. Not true. Our bill does not create Elizabeth Rago, North Aurora: I was from the Chicago-area moms’ blogs that may be read one new penny in taxes, it simply blown away by the cleanliness of the stalls and online at {watchusgrow.org}. allows states to require merchants the farm in general. I think pigs get a bad rap as who sell products online to colbeing messy, but the Ward Farm was immacuSamantha Schultz, Indian Head Park: lect taxes on sales to consumers One of the biggest questions in the days follow- lately maintained and well cared for. I was very in that state — just as Main Street impressed ... I was glad to hear that antibiotics ing the tour centered around why the pigs were businesses do every day. raised inside. One of the primary reasons is that are only used on pigs that are exhibiting a strugSome will say that online gle or illness. I was equally impressed with the keeping the pigs indoors gives better control retailers don’t use the local servrespect both the Ward Family and Illini Farms over the environment for the comfort of the ices that a tax would pay for so pigs — shelter during bad-weather days and cli- (the contract owner of the hogs) had for the they should not be required to animals. mate-controlled temperatures for the other collect the sales taxes. Becky Martinez, Glen Ellyn: What surtimes of the year ... . How is the gift I ordered prised — and relieved — me After seeing the pigs that online last year supposed to be most of all were the farmers were cared for by the Wards, I delivered to my home in Springthemselves. I was spending a lot could tell that they were propfield, Ill., without using local of time worrying about the poor roads or bridges paid for by local erly cared for and received taxes? little piggies in terrible condiwhat they needed. tions, but I never stopped to Renee Keats, Highland think that there are people out Park: I was impressed with the there devoting their life’s work to number of safety protocols raising these animals ... . The pigs established to maintain the I saw were clean, comfortable, alert, and active health of the animals ... . Prior to visiting the ... . It was clear that while a product, they were buildings where the pigs are housed, we were Editor: treated with care and respect ... . asked to cover our shoes with protective I would like to make a belated Farming is a 24-7, 365-day job. That is the “booties” and our clothing with disposable supportive response to Frank nature of raising living beings and crops. (Edi“jump suits.” The farm owners want to ensure Goudy’s letter in the Feb. 25 that there was little opportunity for our group tor’s note: For the past seven years, Martinez and her issue of FarmWeek on the subto inadvertently transfer viruses or disease to family were vegetarians and only recently made the deciject of immigration and amnesty. their animals. In fact, Steve told us that the sion to again eat meat.) The costs of illegal immigra“swine flu” was a misconception. Swine (or Susan Herold, Rolling Meadows: I was tion are absolutely staggering. In pigs) didn’t transfer the flu to humans; it was impressed by the entire process from birth to our Corn Belt farm states, the the other way around — humans can give it to harvest. It was clear to me that the farmers truly hospitalization costs for illegal the pigs. care for the animals. It is logical that there is aliens runs about $75 million to Kimberly Findlay, Chicago: I am saddened nothing that would benefit them if they would $85 million a year ($84 million that the cost of food for the hogs outweighs the mistreat the animals in their care. in Ohio in 2012). In the states price that farmers get for their product, and if it Christina Lee, LaGrange Park: The chilbordering Mexico, the costs are weren’t for the futures market right now, the dren who are born and raised on the farm willmuch higher. Who do you think hog farmers would be losing money. ingly take on the responsibility at an early age to pays for this? Natasha Nicholes, Chicago: We’re talking help their parents with much of the work on Many of these illegals also 1,200 acres of land to take care of on a daily the farm. The hog manure never goes to waste wind up in our already-overbasis. I think that I would faint with just one but instead is plowed into the cornfields. Farm- crowded prisons for long periods acre of land, and these families are taking care ers recycle almost everything. of time, costing our states (all of

eyes:

Field moms share farm tour views

The truth is that brick-andmortar and online retailers sell similar products and use the same roads and bridges to deliver their products that every other business — including farmers — uses to move their products. Twenty-two governors — 15 Republicans and seven Democrats — support leveling the playing field for businesses by addressing sales tax fairness. Collecting the taxes that are owed on a purchase at the pointof-sale rather than relying on consumers to pay that tax voluntarily as much as a year later would mean $23 billion for states. With that funding, many states and localities have said they would avoid increasing other types of taxes like property taxes or they would invest in vital programs for residents and critical infrastructure: the very same infrastructure that farmers, brickand-mortar retailers, and online retailers all use to deliver products and services to their customers. Recently, the U.S. Senate showed overwhelming bipartisan support for our effort to level the playing field for small businesses. Seventy-five senators voted in favor of an amendment I introduced with Senators Enzi, Alexander, and Heitkamp to the Senate Budget Resolution. While this was an important show of support, it was symbolic. In order for this bill to become law, we need another vote. We need your help. Contact your representatives in Washington, D.C., and let them know why the Marketplace Fairness Act is important to Main Street businesses and your community. Small business men and women who keep our towns alive are counting on you. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, is the Senate’s assistant majority leader (majority whip).

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Illegal immigrant costs ‘staggering’

them) and the federal government hundreds of millions more. Other costs for these aliens are simply too numerous to mention here. I am appalled that the Farm Bureau supports amnesty for illegals just so a few mega dairies and vegetable farms can have a cheap labor supply. THOMAS MCQUITTY, London, Ohio Editor’s note: The Agriculture Workforce Coalition, of which Illinois Farm Bureau is a member, supports an adjustment in the status for experienced but unauthorized workers who currently reside in the U.S. Workers would be obligated to work for a number of days annually in agriculture for many years. Only upon completion of this future work obligation could workers apply for permanent legal status and move into other industries.


April 8 2013