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THE STATE is implementing a c o n t r ove r s i a l n e w c e m e t e r y oversight law, although rules have not been written to set related fees. ...............................................5

ILLINOIS FARM BUREAU President Philip Nelson urges the administration and Congress to act on long-delayed free trade agreements. .............................................13

HUNTERS IN ILLINOIS shot a preliminary total of 98,700 deer during the seven-day firearm season in November and December. ..............................................16

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two sections Volume 38, No. 49

Compromise would up estate exemption, boost biofuels BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

The U.S. Senate Friday appeared poised to approve a bipartisan compromise that provides short-term tax relief for Illinois farm heirs, continued momentum for the ethanol industry, and a chance for the biodiesel industry to regain its footing. But concerns remain whether the House will sign off on the plan, which includes a two-year, $5-million individual-$10-million-per-couple estate tax exemption with a 35 percent tax rate. Also included is a year’s extension of 45cent-per-gallon ethanol and

$1-per-gallon biodiesel fuel blenders tax credits. The Senate is expected early this week to approve the Obama-endorsed plan, which also includes a year’s extension of federal unemployment benefits. The House then must OK the bill and submit any changes for a final Senate vote, but House Democrats angered by the president’s agreement to tax cuts at all income levels have pledged their opposition. Jan. 1 marks expiration of Bush-era tax cuts, the potential return of the estate tax with a low $1 million individual exemption and expiration of

the corn ethanol credit. The biodiesel credit expired last January; the tax compromise restores it on a retroactive basis, enabling fuel suppliers to seek credits for 2010 as well as 2011 purchases. Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson applauded the estate tax deal, which he said “rightfully recognizes the need to allow farm families to transfer their assets from one generation to the next.” Alicia Clancy, whose Renewable Energy Group (REG) runs a Danville biodiesel plant, was hopeful reinstatement of the $1 biodiesel credit would “offer stability, offer pre-

dictability for at least the next 12 1/2 to 13 months.” “When there’s uncertainty around what your product’s going to cost, it’s difficult for petroleum distributors to make large purchasing decisions,” Clancy told FarmWeek. “We believe that upon reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit, paired with the (federal) renewable fuels standard (RFS2), Renewable Energy Group would be very bullish on the 2011 market space. “The RFS2 creates a volume floor, and the biodiesel blenders tax credit helps to make the product competitive so that petroleum industry

leaders are able to (use biodiesel) within their business model.” REG is pleased with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new RFS2 requirement for 800 million gallons of biodiesel use in 2011, she said. In addition, biodiesel is the only currently available major “advanced biofuel,” and EPA advanced biofuels targets offer “an additional market opportunity” in tandem with tax incentives, Clancy said. Judd Hulting, spokesman with Annawan ethanol proSee Compromise, page 4

Delegates maintain support for voluntary animal ID BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

Illinois Farm Bureau will continue to support voluntary animal identification and premise registration programs following lengthy debate and delegate action at the IFB annual meeting last week in St. Louis. County Farm Bureau delegates spoke passionately for and against a proposal supporting legislation to require all livestock premises to register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)

for traceback purposes during a disease outbreak. A majority voted to delete the legislative proposal. However, delegates passed policy supporting a voluntary animal identification and tracing program that allows USDA and states to access necessary data during animal health emergencies or natural disasters, requires confidentiality

for livestock and equine owners, provides federal funding for a standardized system, is cost effective and not an economic burden to producers, and enhances confidence about U.S. products in export and domestic markets. Several Farm Bureau delegates raised concerns that mandatory registration would be a burden on 4-H and FFA

members, especially those with one or two animals. Other delegates urged support to require livestock premise registration to allow potential tracing for animal disease. Roy Plote, a DeKalb County Farm Bureau delegate, pointed out the difference between a voluntary animal identification system and a mandatory

BIDDING ADVICE

Former Illinois Farm Bureau President Harold Steele, left, and Fred Eertmoed, a Tazewell County Farm Bureau member, chat about items donated for the silent auction at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis. The IAA Foundation uses money from the silent auction to promote ag literacy. (Photo by Al Hasty)

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

premise registration system: “The premise ID would be a mandatory registration of a location. The animal ID — the chip in the ear — would be voluntary. They are two different things.” “It’s important to make an effort to register your premises. It takes five minutes and costs nothing. The part that costs (animal ID) was made voluntary,” added Pat Bane, a McLean County Farm Bureau delegate. “I’m not in favor of mandatory premise ID,” said Randolph County Farm Bureau President Jack McCormick. “We should give producers a choice.” In the end, delegates voted to support voluntary premise registration. In related animal policy, delegates voted to support legislation that would prohibit the filing of a nuisance lawsuit until after a newly constructed livestock operation has been populated and is operating, and to seek legislation that would classify equine as livestock. Delegates voted to encourage the Illinois Council for Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR) to impleSee Animal ID, page 3

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


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, December 13, 2010

ANNUAL MEETING

Three new directors elected to IFB board

Young Leaders during the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in St. Louis hosted penny wars that raised $7,224. The record amount was given to the winners of this year’s penny wars, District 11, who will disperse the funds to local food pantries. District 11 collected $1,485, which was just enough to edge out District 15’s donation of $1,357. Penny wars are held each year at annual meeting. A collection jar for each IFB district is placed on a table at the exhibit hall so meeting attendees can make donations at any time during the event. The penny wars contest was just part of Young Leaders’ overall effort to help end hunger in Illinois. Young Leaders so far this year through the Harvest for All program donated 411,499 pounds of food, $115,765, and 1,959 volunteer hours to local food pantries. *** Ag literacy efforts received an early Christmas gift from attendees of the IFB annual meeting last week. Several activities helped the IAA Foundation raise money to support the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) program. Early estimates indicate this year’s fundraising will total more than $40,000 during the three-day event. The first events, a live auction and an ice cream social, raised $12,795 and nearly $1,000, respectively. A silent auction of 150 items of donated goods and services raised more than $14,000. A trivia contest generated more than $11,500 for IAITC. Teams from Winnebago County Farm Bureau and the IFB governmental affairs and commodities division won the competition in their respective categories. “The IAA Foundation is grateful for all the generous support that was shown this year,” said Susan Moore, foundation director. “Members of our Farm Bureau family truly understand the importance of supporting the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program and showed it this year through extraordinary giving.” *** The IFB annual meeting of 2010 is finished, but the images of speakers, delegate debate, the trivia contest, and the auctions won’t soon fade. To view additional images from the meeting in St. Louis, visit IFB photographer Ken Kashian’s online photo gallery. Go to {www.ilfb.org} and click on the Ken Kashian photo gallery icon on the left side.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 38 No. 49 December 13, 2010 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. © 2010 Illinois Agricultural Association

Three men from the central part of the state were elected to two-year terms on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors at last week’s annual meeting in St. Louis. They are: Randy J. Poskin of Ashkum in Iroquois County, David L. Serven of St. Augustine in Knox County, and Brad Temple of Serena in LaSalle County. They replace, respectively, retiring directors Kent Schleich of Fairview in Fulton County, Bill Olthoff of Bourbonnais in Kankakee County, and Jim Schielein of Dixon in Lee County. Each had served their allotted 10 years on the board. Poskin, 55, will represent District 6, which encompasses Livingston, Kankakee, Ford, and Iroquois counties. He served as president of the Ford-Iroquois County Farm Bureau from 2001 until this year. He is president of the Tri-Central Co-op Board of Directors and is a memRandy Poskin ber of the Ashkum Lions Club, in which he is a past district governor and earned a Melvin Jones Fellowship. A graduate of Kankakee County College in 1975, Poskin earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1977. Poskin and his wife, Mona, have two children and attend Assumption Blessed Virgin

Mary Catholic Church in Ashkum. Serven, 43, will represent District 8, which encompasses Knox, Warren, Peoria, Henderson, and Fulton counties. He farms 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans and produces custom feed for dairy heifers. A past president of Knox County Farm Bureau and a board member since 1996, Serven was the IFB state Young Leader Achievement winner in 2003, has completed the IFB Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) program, and David Serven earned an FFA American Farmer Degree. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural production from Illinois State University. He also is a graduate of the Illinois Ag Leadership Program and went to China in 2001 as part of IFB’s first Market Study Tour. Serven currently serves on the Knox County Board, the Riverland FS board, the Tompkins State Bank board, and the Abingdon and Bushnell-Prairie City school districts. He and his wife, Barb, have three children, Perry, 5; Anna, 3; and Timothy, 1. Temple, 46, will represent District 4, which includes Bureau, Lee, and LaSalle counties. He is past president of the

LaSalle County Farm Bureau, a member of the IFB Livestock and Dairy Grassroots Issue Team, and completed the IFB ALOT program in 1996. He went to China in 2009 as part of the IFB Market Study Tour. A graduate of Joliet Junior College in 1986 with a degree in agricultural proBrad Temple duction and management, Temple was a DuPont Young Leader Award winner in 1996 and an IFB Discussion Meet winner that same year. He serves on the administrative board of the Serena United Methodist Church and he and his wife, Kara, have two children. Re-elected to two-year terms on the board were evendistrict directors Chuck Cawley of Rochelle in Ogle County, Dale Hadden of Jacksonville in Morgan County, Chris Hausman of Pesotum in Champaign County, Steve Hosselton of Louisville in Clay County, Darryl Brinkmann of Carlyle in Clinton County, and Jim Anderson of Thompsonville in Williamson County. Advisory members serving on the board are Sean Arians of Woodford County, the state Young Leader Committee chairman, and Richard Hentschel of Lemont, president of the Illinois Extension Agricultural Association.

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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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Ten-month-old Nathan Zwilling enjoys the ice cream spooned up by his mom, Paula Zwilling, Fisher, a Champaign County Farm Bureau member, during the ice cream social at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis. Proceeds for the ice cream, donated by Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., raised money to support Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom. (Photo by Ken Kashian)


Page 3 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

ANNUAL MEETING

Nelson: Ag at crossroads; farmers must act FB delegates seek BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

“I believe a tsunami (in the form of regulatory challenges) is headed toward agriculture like we’ve never seen before,” he said. Nelson also called on Congress to either repeal the “death tax” or increase the exemption levels. If Congress fails to act on current compromise tax extension proposals, the estate tax on Jan. 1 would revert back to an exemption lev-

The agriculture industry is at a “crossroads” as many people outside of ag, such as activists and regulators, are trying to influence how farmers conduct their business, Philip Nelson, president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, said during his keynote address at the IFB annual meeting in St. Louis. Nelson, delivering his speech extemporaneously, urged IFB members to tell their side of the story to consumers, lawmakers, and others in a grassroots movement to educate the general public about food production and improve the image of America’s farmers. “Consumers really do appreciate what farmers do,” Nelson said. “But they don’t know much about agriculture” based on research done with the Farmer Image Campaign conducted by IFB and the state’s major commodity organizations. Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson Some of the recent research el of $1 million per person and a 55 percent tax found there’s a growing perception that most of rate. the food in the U.S. is produced by corporately “It’s time for Congress to address this to proowned, industrial-scale agriculture. “This is one of the misconceptions we need to tect farms and small businesses in this country,” said Nelson. address,” Nelson said. “We know family farmers He also called on Congress to move forward are not going by the wayside. In fact, 94 percent with a trade agenda to reach President Obama’s of farms in Illinois are family run.” IFB and the American Farm Bureau Federation goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next five in response joined the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers years. Agriculture has been a bright spot of the Alliance, which has a goal of raising $20 million economy as it continues to generate a surplus to $30 million that will be used to educate condespite other economic woes of the U.S. (a fedsumers about food production. eral deficit of about $17 trillion and a 9.8 perNelson also encouraged IFB members, which cent unemployment rate) he noted. this year totaled a record-high 426,043, to get At the state level, Nelson believes it is crucial involved in the Farmers Opening Our Doors to address the fiscal challenge of a $12.5-billion (FOOD) movement, consumer events, use social deficit and improve a business climate that has media, and train school children to help close the caused the loss of 500,000 manufacturing jobs information gap and improve the image of farm- in the past decade. ers. “We are at a defining moment in the State of He noted the Illinois Ag in the Classroom pro- Illinois,” he said. “We must address this fiscal gram already has touched the lives of more than challenge.” 400,000 children in Illinois. Nelson believes IFB members can be part of Another challenge to production agriculture is the solutions in the state and nationwide. But the threat of increased regulations. Nelson fears they must be proactive, he said. the possibility of everything from dust permits “With the challenges, we see opportunities. I to the elimination of the popular herbicide believe we have a bright future,” Nelson concluded. “But we need all of you (IFB members) atrazine could hinder farmers’ ability to produce working together to accomplish that.” food.

IFB, ag groups to comment on state pesticide permit KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations have raised concerns about an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (IEPA) proposed permit for pesticide applications. On Nov. 11, IEPA issued the draft permit and set a Dec. 13 deadline for comments. Last week, IFB and other ag groups requested an extension of the comment period. IEPA was considering the request, but no decision was announced officially by FarmWeek presstime Friday. As proposed, a general state National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

permit would cover pesticide applications for mosquito and other insect pest control, weed and algae control, aquatic nuisance animal control, forested area pest control, and other pesticide uses, according to IEPA. The general NPDES permit relates to the Clean Water Act and pollutant discharges into waters of the U.S. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also is developing a general NPDES permit for use in the three states over which it has authority; however, Illinois is not one of those. “There are lots of problems with (EPA’s) general NPDES permit,” Douglas Nelson, executive vice president and

general counsel with CropLife America, told FarmWeek at the recent AGMasters Conference. EPA made its latest changes to its draft permit on Nov. 22, Nelson said, adding, “This is a work in progress.” The general Illinois permit was based on the original EPA draft permit, according to Nelson. “It is important to keep track of the Illinois general permit so it would mirror the USEPA general permit changes,” Nelson said. Information about the Illinois draft general NPDES permit is online at {www.epa. state.il.us/publicnotices/npdes notices.html#pesticide-general-permit}.

to rein in U.S. EPA BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau farmer delegates last week sought to stem what IFB President Philip Nelson called “the regulatory front coming at us,” powered largely by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In a strongly worded resolution at last week’s IFB annual meeting in St. Louis, delegates called on Congress to conduct “oversight” hearings on EPA’s “regulatory overreach,” pass legislation to strip the agency of greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory authority, trim EPA’s annual budget, and, according to Nelson, generally “rein this agency in.” New policy seeks to have EPA collaborate with USDA on conservation and air/water regulations impacting agriculture. On the heels of IFB’s actions, incoming U.S. House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) promised oversight hearings, citing EPA’s “fondness for overreaching regulations that defy congressional intent and threaten production agriculture.” “We believe (EPA’s) going far outside the intent of the law and the intent of Congress,” Nelson said. Last week, ag groups challenged data being used by EPA to set nutrient “pollution” limits in the eastern Chesapeake Bay watershed. Farm Bureau and others asked EPA to delay setting “pollution loads” for regional farms until it can address differences between EPA and USDA land use/acreage estimates and assumptions about conservation practices. GROWMARK regulatory specialist Chuck Spencer sees Chesapeake regulations as “a model that would be copied and replicated across the country if (EPA officials) had their way.” Add developments such as President Obama’s recent executive order creating a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, and “you can see the wagons starting to circle around the Mississippi River Basin,” Spencer told FarmWeek. EPA-proposed pesticide permitting and nutrient management plans and continued threats to future atrazine use

raise further concerns about production in that river basin. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments by major electric power companies challenging a New York court’s ruling that they can be sued to curb carbon dioxide emissions. The lower court ruling enabled states led by Connecticut, New York, and California to proceed with CO2 “nuisance” claims targeting power plants outside their borders until EPA greenhouse regulations kick in. An additional case now at the appeals court level pits Mississippi residents against refiners, charging industry GHG emissions contributed to the severity of Hurricane Katrina. The utility/refiner cases could open the door to lawsuits against farmers or arm area groups seeking to block large livestock operations. American Farm Bureau Federation analyst Rick Krause said he fears the prospect of “letting the judges decide greenhouse gas policy” to be enforced by EPA. Further, DeWitt County IFB delegate Tom Hieronymus noted potential new EPA air standards that could regulate “the dust coming off our combines.” An EPA regulatory assessment is expected this month, with draft rules possible by February. Those rules could tighten controls related to livestock, crops, or even rural roads. Arizona has developed its own “best management practices,” including proposals to limit traffic on unpaved roads to 15 mph. Krause sees EPA rules potentially limiting allowable hours of fieldwork. Likely EPA oversight by a new Republican House could spur a regulatory slowdown or reversal, he told FarmWeek. Also buoying hopes was the recent unexpected write-in reelection of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaskan Republican who has worked to block EPA greenhouse authority. “I believe we’re going to see a pushback,” IFB’s Nelson suggested. “I think we need to strike while the iron is hot, when the new Congress is seated, to try to get some discipline in place with this particular agency.”

Animal ID Continued from page 1 ment the concepts of the David A. Wirsing Food Animal Institute Act to review and disseminate unbiased information about all aspects of the state’s food animal industry. However, state funding was eliminated for C-FAR in the current budget, and the

organization is reorganizing. Delegates also favored development of a poster notifying employees that use of audio, photographic, and video devices of any kind is prohibited in the workplace. They also voted to support efforts to conduct an Illinois equine census.


FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, December 13, 2010

ANNUAL MEETING

Delegates keep ag policy options open BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau voting delegates balanced the political realities of ag policy debate with the need for negotiating flexibility, shaping a proposed farm bill priority list into a more generalized policy agenda. In January, IFB will ask Farm Bureau members nationwide to support a tradecompliant 2012 farm bill that offers revenue protection and preserves existing commodity programs. Amid lengthy discussion over the merits of producer direct payments vs. risk management-”safety net” programs, members gave equal weight to continuation of direct payments at 2008 levels, increased coverage levels for the average crop revenue election (ACRE) program, and higher federal crop insurance subsidies. The original farm policy proposal identified direct payments as the organization’s first priority, followed in order by ACRE improvements and increased insurance subsidies. But Pulaski County grower Ken Taake argued “in our area, direct payments don’t help us much,” and unsuccessfully urged moving the insurance “security net” to the top of the list, with direct payments trailing ACRE.

Jefferson County’s Rick Corners questioned the need for direct payments in the current grain price environment, and suggested crop insurance is more responsive to “real revenue losses.” At the same time, while ACRE has offered significant payouts to Illinois corn producers, farmers from Northern Illinois’ DeKalb County to Southern Illinois’ Washington County noted lackluster enrollment to date in the relatively new revenue protection program. However, IFB President Philip Nelson said 2011 congressional budget reconciliation debate likely will be a “dictating force” in 2012 farm spending. With dollars limited, Ogle County’s Brian Duncan told delegates “We need to speak nationally with one voice,” arguing direct payments are “the ballgame” for influential southern U.S. farmers. As Farm Bureau policy debate looms at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in January, Nelson said individual states are “all over the board” on direct payments. Iowa Farm Bureau supports relying less on government payments and more on the market, as well as providing more for insurance and “rev-

enue assurance.” Oklahoma producers urge retention of direct payments. Direct payments currently fall within the World Trade Organization’s “green box” category of uncapped, nontrade-distorting ag supports and carry stringent conservation compliance requirements, Duncan said. Without direct payments, “We could see a lot of the progress we’ve made in conservation go backward,” he warned. And while Effingham County’s Norbert Soltwedel maintained some within the non-farm public view direct payments as “welfare” distributed “without regard for income or the need for the payment,” Duncan noted annual direct payments are capped while insurance payments are not. Incoming U.S. House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) “probably leans toward keeping direct payments, but we don’t know,” Nelson said. Duncan warned Farm Bureau “might not get anything in return” for surrendering direct payments, given Congress’ evolving “political dynamic.” “I don’t think you can give up something to begin the negotiations,” Duncan maintained.

IFB on ag policy In addition to its central priorities for 2012 farm programs (see accompanying story), Illinois Farm Bureau delegates also: • Supported permanent funding of the supplemental revenue assistance standing disaster program (SURE) with “a more timely and responsive payment schedule.” SURE, created in the 2008 farm bill, was not included in the federal ag budget baseline, and funding tentatively expires next year. • Sought a continued commodity loan program. New IFB policy recommends raising loan rates for current program commodities above 2008 farm bill levels, with repayments credited back to the federal Commodity Credit Corp. “to maintain budget neutrality.” • Recommended offering the opportunity for farmers to “buy up” added individual revenue protection. • Urged consideration of payments or programs to reward “socially or environmentally beneficial” producer activities. • Supported allowing farms that have not been participating in farm programs and currently ineligible for program benefits to establish a program base and enroll in future programs. • Supported development of new federal dairy policy emphasizing risk management tools that protect against major swings in feed or milk prices, as long as it includes no quotabased marketing concepts or state or regional dairy pricing compacts. IFB Farm Policy Task Force (FPTF) Chairman Darryl Brinkmann of Carlyle anticipates “significant” cross-regional discussion of dairy policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) January delegate debate in Atlanta, Ga. FPTF recommendations were largely in response to the National Milk Producers Federation’s Foundation for the Future plan, which features a proposed producer margin protection program. “For more than a decade, we have dissented from AFBF dairy policy due to its dairy compact language, which sets up trade barriers for regions within our own country,” Brinkmann told members. “That’s something our members have opposed for a long time.” — Martin Ross

Budget direction ‘180 degrees’ from global push Federal deficit concerns present “a very tight budget constraint” for ag lawmakers crafting a new farm bill, economist Robert Thompson told FarmWeek at last week’s Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting. Within that environment, agriculture can’t afford continued overlaps in loan deficiency and countercyclical Robert Thompson payment programs, crop insurance subsidies, and ag disaster assistance, Thompson said. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s newly released report targets cuts in direct payments, the already budget-battered Conservation Security Program, and the export Market Assistance Program as prospective ag contributions to deficit reduction. At the same time, World

Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations continue to move falteringly along. Thompson said efforts to move from commodity-specific subsidies to more noncommodity-linked direct payments have dominated ag trade talks over the last 25 years. “Most of the discussion of how we’re going to save money in commodity programs is oriented around moving money out of direct payments and into specific commodity supports,” the former IFB-endowed University of Illinois Gardner Chair for Agricultural Policy noted. “That’s going to be a fundamental conflict. And it conflicts 180 degrees with what the United States has been advocating for the last 25 years in the WTO.” WTO pressure “is definitely not going to let up,” largely because several key nations already have decoupled farm payments, Thompson said. He noted the European Union (EU) pooled previ-

ously commodity-specific supports to deliver lump payments to all farmers “regardless of what they grow on the land,” in exchange for conservation compliance. The EU is continuing to decouple supports: Remaining dairy quotas and subsidies for so-called “sensitive” commodities are in the crosshairs. European officials soon may put a cork in a longstanding wine price support program. Meanwhile, U.S. dairy interests have floated a new concept: “margin protection,” which would help producers deal with high energy, feed, or other input costs. Thompson cited concerns that the concept amounts to “guaranteeing profitability.” “We have some pretty sophisticated price insurance concepts with puts and calls, and in Chicago, we have the world’s center for marketing with those price risk-management tools,” he said. “The question a lot of people raise

is, ‘When farmers could be buying price insurance, why should the public provide it to them free?’ “We have a very capitalintensive sector that’s mainly debt-financed. Whether it comes from a drop in price or a drop in yields, catastrophic drops in revenue

put a farm at risk. “If I were trying to make the case for farm programs, I would have some kind of revenue insurance concept and argue that it’s in the public’s interest to have less risk of (farm) financial failure,” Thompson said. — Martin Ross

Compromise Continued from page 1 ducer Patriot Renewable Fuels, argued ethanol credit extension would provide retailers the “assurance” necessary to invest in “blender pumps” that offer multiple fuel choices. Illinois Corn Growers Association President Jim Reed said he was “thrilled to death” by credit prospects, arguing extension would give the industry time “to talk about how we move the infrastructure to support ethanol forward from a year from now on.” “If there is going to be a loss of the (credit) in the future, then we probably need to start looking at what we can do for more blender pumps, a larger flex-fuel vehicle fleet in the United States, and other things to improve accessibility to ethanol,” Reed maintained. But while the Monticello grower sees $5 million as a reasonable estate tax threshold, he was disappointed lawmakers have proposed a mere “two-year Band-Aid” which prevents farm families from putting permanent estate plans in place. He hopes the compromise plan will provide “a beginning point for discussion of a more permanent solution.”


Page 5 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

ANNUAL MEETING

FB delegates tackle weighty state, local issues BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

County Farm Bureau delegates at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis didn’t shy away from difficult issues ranging from the state’s financial troubles to farmers’ access to local roads. “Illinois government is in terrible shape,” said Champaign County Farm Bureau delegate Lin Warfel. “We need to quit doing the status quo and do something strong.” Warfel spoke in support of requiring a state forensic audit. A forensic audit is one that uses accounting methods to track and collect evidence, usually for investigation and prosecution of criminal acts, such as embezzlement or fraud, according to a business dictionary.

Brian Duncan, Ogle County, noted IFB policy supporting a “stringent audit” would not prevent the state from conducting a more in-depth examination. “A forensic audit can be very expensive,” Duncan added. “Where would the State of Illinois get the money to pay for an expensive audit?” Delegates passed a proposal to support legislation calling for a more stringent audit of all state expenditures, but did not support an attempt to require a forensic audit. THE POTENTIAL LOSS of road access by existing farm operations led county Farm Bureau delegates to support new state and local government policy. Delegates voted to support requiring all local road authorities who seek to make any change to an existing road that will result in establishment of a lower weight limit to develop a plan for ingress and egress to existing livestock and other agricultural facilities that have an established access to that roadway. The plan must be functional, economically feasible, and reasonable with agreement by

‘Illinois government is in terrible shape.’ — Lin Warfel Champaign County Farm Bureau delegate

both parties. Several delegates questioned whether the policy could allow one individual to stop a road improvement project that would benefit others. “I don’t want to stop local authority,” said Bob Pharis, a Logan County Farm Bureau delegate. Ogle County’s Brian Duncan explained the problem stems from urban people who move to farming areas and then push to have adequate gravel roads paved similar to those in town. Livestock farmers make large investments in their operations, Duncan continued. “We (farmers and road commissioners) need to plan to work together, and it needs to be more than a handshake agreement.” AN EFFORT to reduce government costs was the motivation behind new economic policy. Delegates voted to support privatization of governmental services that could provide savings to the taxpayer and render government services more economical. DeWitt County Farm Bureau delegate Terry Ferguson suggested the state government could save money in his county by using local mechanics to service state vehicles used at nearby state parks and local contractors to build a project rather than depend on mechanics and construction crews from many miles away, as currently is required. “It’s time to change the way we do business in Illinois,” Ferguson said. In other government policy, delegates voted to: • Support amending the Cemetery Oversight Act so provisions of the law are not overly burdensome for cemeteries. A new state law regulates large and small cemeteries and sets up new licensing and insurance requirements and

fees; however, the rules that would establish the fees have not been adopted. (See storybelow).

• Work with electric and natural gas suppliers in Illinois to evaluate potential load requirements for agricultural

operations and develop a long-range plan to upgrade existing infrastructure to handle future demand loads. • Support maintaining the Illinois Department of Agriculture as a stand-alone entity. • Support development of a centralized information resource to keep members informed on key issues of public concern so they can respond to those concerns in their day-to-day contacts.

Controversial cemetery law implemented The state is implementing a new cemetery oversight law, although rules have not been written to set related fees, according to an official with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The lack of rules “has not hindered our ability to do oversight, deal with consumers’ questions, have a hotline . . . That all is moving forward without the rules. The rules set the fees,” Susan Holder, IDFPR spokesman told FarmWeek. The law set up new licensing and insurance requirements. It also stipulates which cemeteries are entirely or partially exempt from the regulations. But any cemetery with a care fund, no matter the size, must comply with all the rules, according to the Illinois Cemetery and Funeral Home Association (ICFHA). Last week, county Farm Bureau delegates voted in favor of new policy to support an amendment to ensure the law’s provisions are not overly burdensome. As a requirement of the new law, cemetery officials are entering burials into a state online database, Holder said. The ICFHA is concerned that some cemetery governing boards will be unable to comply with requirements of the law, said Vickie Hand

of the association. The new provisions include licensing of cemetery authorities and managers, establishment of an oversight database, mandatory reports, and required maintenance and records. The legislative Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) considered but did not adopt draft rules. JCAR members wanted the legislature to consider concerns related to the new law, but that didn’t happen during the veto session, Holder said. She was not sure if the General Assembly will take up the matter during the scheduled January veto session and did not know when the fees will be set. Holder advised small cemetery governing boards “to comply with the law.” “If they have questions, they can call the hotline 888-756-8331,” she added. The agency’s website with information about the law and answers to common questions is {www.idfpr.com/cemetery/cemeteryoversight.a sp}. ICFHA has obtained a legal opinion from Harvey Lapin, its attorney, and is collecting information at {www.icfha.org}. The ICFHA also is advising cemetery boards to consult their own attorneys. — Kay Shipman

TOP BID FOR IAA FOUNDATION

Jamie Adams, left, Stillman Valley, an Ogle County Farm Bureau member, accepts congratulations from Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson for submitting the winning bid for a John Deere precision farming and mapping tool donated by Deere Co. and Sloan Implement. Held during the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis, the live auction raised money for ag literacy and the IAA Foundation. (Photo by Ken Kashian)


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, December 13, 2010

ANNUAL MEETING

IFB supports new broad-based ‘image’ effort BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau delegates last week supported efforts to reach out to new interests in search of an improved agricultural image, despite some member concerns about who might reach back. Following extended debate, delegates approved new policy backing creation of a “standalone” not-for-profit ag “image organization” that would unite farmers, consumers, and businesses under a “common cause.” The image improvement group would Paul Rasmussen address “negative advertising and promotional efforts that are impacting our industry,” the policy states. IFB Resolution Committee Ag Production/National Issue Subcommittee Chairman Paul Rasmussen suggested the new

group might target broadbased individuals “who are maybe one generation, two generations away from the farm.” “We have those people scattered throughout our society, whether they’re in science, academics, business, or are just general consumers,” Rasmussen said. Non-farm interests could help educate consumers “who don’t trust ag organizations all that well” to impart accurate or impartial information, he said. Initially, “if we are the ones who initiate the idea, then we would be the ones who pick out the ones who serve,” Rasmussen suggested. Those interests then would provide initial funding for the organization, he said. Some delegates, such as Carroll County’s Leroy Getz, were concerned a new, wideranging group “could easily get out of hand,” possibly opening the door to participation by activist groups that oppose modern ag practices.

“What’s to say these consumers are not going to be anti-agriculture?” he posed. The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) already “uses a broad network and a variety of ways of funding itself ” and its attacks on the livestock industry, Rasmussen said. As a result, HSUS “accumulates millions and millions and millions of dollars.” He said he believes ag and allied interests “could follow a similar template.” If even a mere 5 percent of the state’s population contributed $20 per year through membership in the group, that could generate $300 million “to fight the attack ads that drive us crazy in agriculture,” Rasmussen said. Sangamon County’s Larry Beaty, who supported the proposed new group, argued HSUS has “created a terrible look for agriculture.” LaSalle County’s Monty Whipple stressed the need “to stand up and be counted,” even if that means farmers must “kick in some mon-

ey for what we want.” “There are always risks when you start an organization like this,” Bureau County’s Rob Sharkey said. “But I think the potential success of this

would outweigh the risks. “We do have to acknowledge we’re losing this battle. (Anti-ag activists) have more money, and they have the support of the media.”

National ag groups joining against ‘negative messaging’ As Illinois Farm Bureau envisions a broad-based effort to improve ag image (see accompanying story), American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman sees the nation’s producer groups joining forces to “inoculate consumers.” Stallman noted a variety of individual groups has attempted to counter “negative messaging” about modern agriculture. Corn growers recently plastered Washington subways, airports, and radio waves with ads linking real producer faces to modern Bob Stallman agriculture, and California dairymen are hitting prime time TV with personal testimonials about their sector’s diverse, grassroots base. But Stallman argued those campaigns have not proven “of sufficient scope or duration to really move the needle in terms of consumer perception.” Therefore, nearly two dozen groups have pooled resources to form the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. The alliance includes representatives of every major U.S. commodity and regional interests ranging from southern peanut growers to the Western Growers Association. Stallman, who chairs the alliance’s Executive Committee, said the group will embark on a three- to five-year consumer education campaign emphasizing production benefits and countering “activist-based messages.” “This is the first time all of production agriculture got together under one roof, in one room, and decided to cooperate on a major effort,” Stallman said in an RFD Radio-FarmWeek interview. “Those of us in production agriculture are frankly dismayed and, to some extent, worried about the critics of modern production agriculture who are out there, who have the books and the magazine articles and the newspaper editorials. They’re really sort of trashing the way we produce food, fiber, and fuel in this country.” In an effort to develop winning strategies, alliance leaders have surveyed previous and existing awareness campaigns “to look at what’s successful” and gather data. The group now must “scale up” with national messages that can be broadcast over an extended period. The alliance hopes to begin public efforts during the first quarter of 2011. Stallman noted continued consumer confusion over such issues as the perception “ ‘family farm’ vs. ‘corporate farm,’ ” despite the fact that 94 percent of U.S. operations are familyoperated “regardless of their legal structure.” While the alliance will not be involved in policy advocacy, he pointed out congressional debate over ag policy, energy, and related issues and state referenda affecting producers often are “driven by a lot of misperception.” Alliance efforts thus may be able to help farmers foster “a better environment with voters,” Stallman said. — Martin Ross

FB delegates debate, but don’t alter labor policy BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

County Farm Bureau delegates debated state unemployment insurance regulations but chose not to change Illinois Farm Bureau labor policy at the IFB annual meeting last week in St. Louis. Mike Campbell, a Madison County Farm Bureau delegate, spoke against a proposal to amend state unemployment insurance law to increase the number of days from 30 to 90 before a worker could file an unemployment claim. Campbell urged delegates to vote against the proposal because its impact wasn’t clear: “If anything is certain with this issue, it’s that we’re uncertain (about this policy).” After lengthy debate about the impact to agricultural employers, delegates voted to delete the policy proposal.


Page 7 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

GOVERNMENT

FCA chair: Reforms not needed for system BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Federal Farm Credit Administration (FCA) Chairman Leland Strom recognizes Farm Credit’s exemption from new federal banking regulations “comes with a huge obligation.” But it’s one Strom feels the system has shouldered solidly over the past quarter-century and that Farm Credit and FCA can continue to manage without expanded regulation.

Many in the commercial banking industry believe “governmentsponsored enterprises” (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Leland Strom and Farm Credit should have shared in new lender requirements approved this year.

Congress is expected next session to take up GSE reform focusing on Fannie and Freddie, and Strom told FarmWeek FCA is working to ensure Congress and the U.S. Treasury heed “the potential of unintended consequences” for Farm Credit and its borrowers. Those consequences have global dimensions. When Farm Credit funds farm loans, it sells debt obligations to investors worldwide.

EPA Region 5 reports 2010 enforcements U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 last week reported its enforcement work in fiscal year 2010 as part of a national EPA announcement. Region 5, based in Chicago, covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Last year, EPA Region 5 took action that required regulatory violators to pay more

than $12 million in civil penalties and spend an estimated $4.3 billion on pollution control and cleanup. The violations cover a broad range of environmental regulations. Another $1.8 million will be spent on environmental projects to benefit communities and $1 billion was committed to clean up Superfund sites. Details about the enforcement actions concluded in

New member elected to IAAA board James Sheaffer of Dixon in Lee County last week was elected an at-large director of the Illinois Agricultural Auditing Association (IAAA). The election was conducted during the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in St. Louis and involved the first contested election in the history of IFB’s oldest affiliate. Sheaffer defeated John Breedlove of Manito to assume the seat held by Stanley Grebner of Washburn since 2007. Grebner chose not to seek re-election. Gary Luth of Allerton in Douglas County was re-elected president, a position he has held since 2004. Ron Fehr of Baldwin (Randolph County) was re-elected vice president, and Robert Phelps of Rockton (Winnebago County) was re-elected as secretary and the GROWMARK Inc. representative on the board. Jim Lynch of McLean was re-elected to the board, and Terry Pope of Burnside in Hancock County was re-elected as the IFB representative on the board. IAAA provides auditing services to agribusinesses throughout the Midwest. Lenders and regulators use its services, and its personnel are recognized as experts in audit and taxation of agricultural cooperatives and non-for-profit organizations. It is the only certified public accountant firm that specializes in agribusiness.

RIGHT ON, TEAM

Fulton County Farm Bureau’s trivia team, decked out in their best 1960s attire, cheer for a correct answer. Left to right are the county Farm Bureau president, Randy Farr, Tony Kelsy, and Terri Kelsy. Fulton County’s team won for costumes that best represented this year’s theme — Flashback. Winnebago County Farm Bureau’s team won the Farm Bureau leader division of the trivia contest. Money generated by the competition supports ag literacy programs. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

2010 at more than 4,500 facilities is available on an interactive map on the EPA website. The map shows facilities and sites where civil and criminal enforcement actions were taken for alleged violations of U.S. environmental laws regulating air, water, and land pollution. EPA’s enforcement report and the accompanying mapping tool are intended to improve public access to data. To see the map, go online to {www.epa.gov/compliance/re sources/reports/endofyear/eo y2010/index.html}.

The 2,400-page financial reform bill was designed to address “problems that had stemmed from the large banks and the ‘shadow banking’ industry and the systemic risk across the financial sector and the banking world,” Strom said. While the federal government had to take control of “the big (housing) players in the GSE market,” he emphasized the Farm Credit system “was not the cause of the problem.” “Agriculture’s been strong,” Strom said. “We look at the 1980s period as when agriculture had its crisis. As a true arms-length regulator, we have the tools necessary and have taken the corrective actions that we’ve needed to take. “We think we’re doing a prudent and proper job of managing the supervision, the safety and soundness regulation of the Farm Credit system. We realize the system’s exemption and our exemption as an agency come with a huge obligation: to get it right from this point going forward.” American Bankers Association (ABA) Chairman Stephen Wilson argued, “We truly did not

address financial reform when we left the GSEs out of it.” And he believes Farm Credit should be on the table when Congress “makes the tweaks” in 2011. ABA Executive Vice President Floyd Stoner is concerned Farm Credit may seek expanded rural lending authority and “push further into banking territory” through the 2012 farm bill. In addition, “turf ” issues continue to haunt Farm Credit: House and Senate ag committees oversee the ag lender, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac jurisdiction falls to House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees, and Stoner believes GSEs should be brought under a single regulator. Wilson nonetheless told FarmWeek any changes in GSE regulation “must be thoughtful, must be slow, and must not be so disruptive as to have a negative effect on our economy at a time when our economy is so fragile.” “You don’t want to have the unintended consequence of closing down a lot of farms,” he advised.


FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, December 13, 2010

ANNUAL MEETING

Young Leaders: Today’s farmers must bridge gap with consumers BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Farmers no longer can be content with just being producers when it comes to their role in the food production system. They also must be marketers, educators, and good listeners to help bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, according to Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders. The question of whether American consumers adequately appreciate the importance of U.S.-produced food and if consumers consider agriculture important to security in the future was discussed by Young Leaders Caleb May (Edwards County), Katie Pratt (Lee County), Martha Smith (Champaign County), and Grant Strom (Knox County) during the finals of the Young Leaders Discussion Meet at the IFB annual meeting in St. Louis. “We have a lot of uninformed consumers who do not understand the food and fiber system,” said Strom, the Discussion Meet winner, who noted one in eight people each night goes to bed hungry around the world. “It’s our job to bridge the gap.” Pratt noted the average American spends just 10 percent of his or her income on food each year. And, with renewed interest in where food comes from, she believes farmers have a golden opportunity to educate and connect with consumers.

“The ‘foodie’ movement is our teachable moment,” said Pratt, who was the runner-up in the contest. “It allows us to educate consumers that we have a safe food supply produced here.” Smith agreed consumers may not realize food is relatively cheap in the U.S. compared to other countries because the majority of consumers have no connection to production ag. The number of farms in the U.S. peaked at 6.8 million in 1935 when the population totaled 127 million people. But the number of farms since then declined to 2.1 million, according to the 2007 ag census, while the U.S. population from 2009 to 2010 increased by 2.6 million to a current total of 308 million people. “There are not a lot of consumers who think food is cheap right now because they don’t know any better,” Smith said. May suggested IFB take a leadership role in addressing the growing disconnect between farmers and consumers and to clear up misconceptions about the industry. “The U.S. is very secure when it comes to food but maybe not everybody appreciates U.S.produced food,” May said. “That’s where Farm Bureau needs to take a leadership role to educate consumers.” Food security could become more of an issue in the future as the world population is projected to peak in 2050 (at 9.1 billion people), Strom added.

MEMBERSHIP & FELLOWSHIP

Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Ed Mullins, right, serves a scoop of ice cream donated by Prairie Farms to Andy Pratt, a Lee County Farm Bureau member, during the ice cream social at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis. Donations for the frosty treats help support Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom.

Sean Arians, front left, of Woodford County was selected chairman of the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee at last week’s annual meeting in St. Louis. He will be assisted in 2011 by, front right, Darrin Storm (Shelby County), vice chairman; back row, left to right, Bryan Stevens (Hancock County), secretary; Alan Bailey (Sangamon County), chairman of the Education and Recruitment Subcommittee; Todd VerHeecke (Henry County), chairman of the Governmental Affairs and Commodities Subcommittee; and Monica Stevens (Knox County), chairman of the Achievement Subcommittee.

Schuyler County Farm Bureau member Sandy Prather, far right, tutors her youthful assistants on how to call out bids during the live auction at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis. From left are 4-H youth representatives Sara Martin and Liz Harfst, Illinois FFA Treasurer Jeffrey Barnes, Illinois FFA Reporter Morgan Ott, Illinois FFA President John Edgar, and Illinois FFA Vice President Jake Ekstrand. Looking on is auctioneer and state Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville), who cried the sale. Auction proceeds support the IAA Foundation. (Photos by Ken Kashian)


Page 9 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

Thompson, Kuenstler receive IFB Distinguished Service Awards Dr. Robert Thompson of Washington, D.C., and Fred Kuenstler of Olney last week each was named a recipient of the 2010 Illinois Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award. The award — the highest honor given by IFB — was presented during the organization’s annual meeting in St. Louis. Thompson recently retired as the Gardner Endowed Chair in Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois. He was the first person to serve as Gardner Chair, which was established in 2003 and is comprised of a program of teaching; Extension education; and research on U.S. agricultural policy, competitiveness, and trade. Thompson previously was self-employed as a lecturer and consultant with expertise in world agriculture. He served as a senior adviser on ag trade policy, as director of Rural Development, and as a senior adviser for the World Bank; as president and CEO of Winrock International Institute for Agricultural

Development in Morrilton, Ark.; as a professor and as dean of agriculture for Purdue University; as assistant secretary for economics for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and as senior staff economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Reagan administration. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D in agricultural economics from Purdue University. His name appears in Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in America, and he has served on boards of directors for seven corporations, including Land O’Lakes and Rabobank. He and his wife, Karin, live in Washington. Kuenstler has served as president of Prairie Farms Dairy, the largest dairy cooperative in the Midwest, since 1999. He was elected to the Prairie Farms Board of Directors in 1968 and previously served as treasurer. Under Kuenstler’s leadership, the Prairie Farms cooper-

ative topped $1 billion in annual sales. He has been active in the industry, serving three terms as a director of Prairie State Select Sires, 18 years on the Dairy Herd Improvement Association board, and 16 years on the Dairy Lab Services board. Kuenstler has been a member of the Richland County Farm Bureau since 1958. He has been in the dairy business since 1965 and currently milks 130 cows and has a 700-acre farming operation. Kuenstler also has been active in his community, serving as a trustee at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and as a member of the St. Joseph’s School Board in Olney. Kuenstler and his wife, Shirley, have a son, John, and a daughter, Kerry. The Distinguished Service Award honors the memory and service of Charles Shuman, a Moultrie County farm leader who served as president of both IFB and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Above, Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson presents Robert Thompson with his Distinguished Service Award while Thompson’s wife, Karin, looks on. Below, Nelson gives the Distinguished Service Award to Fred Kuenstler, who was accompanied by his wife, Shirley. (Photos by Ken Kashian.)

Three win Illinois Farm Bureau Eagle Award for Excellence Husband and wife specialty growers and a longtime Illinois Farm Bureau employee were named recipients of the Illinois Farm Bureau Eagle Award for Excellence last week at the IFB annual meeting in St. Louis. Glenn and Carol Meyer, rural Steeleville, own and operate G&C Meyer Farm, a vegetable, fruit, and greenhouse operation in rural Steeleville in Randolph County. Glenn Meyer joined Farm Bureau more than 50 years ago. He has served on the Randolph County Farm Bureau Board of Directors since 1958, holding numerous leadership positions, including five years as president. He represented District 16 on the IFB board from 1992 to 2004, during which time he also sat on the IAA Foundation Board of Trustees, the Country Trust Bank board, and served as the interlocking member of the board for the Illinois Specialty Growers Association. He has served on boards for the Illinois Soybean Association; the Randolph County Pork Producers; the Farmers Home Administration; the Soil and Water Conservation District, and church and school boards.

Carol and Glenn Meyer

Carol Meyer has served on the State Women’s Committee, was a voting delegate at the

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting, was a delegate at the IFB annual meeting, participated in Ag in the Classroom and in a Market Study Tour to Argentina and Brazil in 2002, and is a graduate of Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT). For more than 10 years, Carol served various roles on the Land of Lincoln Soybean Association. Currently, she serves on the ag advisory committee for U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Belleville) and is vice president of the

county Farm Bureau Foundation. Jerry Quick, Pontiac, has been employed by Illinois Farm Bureau since 1969. He will retire as IFB’s senior legal counsel in January. Quick co-authored the Illinois Grain Code, which created legal and financial protection for producers in case of a grain elevator failure. During his tenure with IFB, Quick has worked with state agencies including the Illinois Department of Agriculture and with numerous affiliated com-

modity organizations. The IFB Eagle Award for Excellence provides the organization an opportunity to recognize an indiJerry Quick vidual or organization for excellence on issues or programs important to Farm Bureau and agriculture on a statewide and/or national basis.

Pike County FB president honored for legislative work Pike County Farm Bureau President Terry Rush, Pittsfield, last week was awarded a laptop computer for his legislative work on behalf of Illinois Farm Bureau. Rush received his award at IFB’s annual meeting in St. Louis. Rush was selected from among 150 eligible Farm Bureau members who responded to FB action requests and reported their legislative contacts as part of FB ACT (Farm Bureau Agricultural Contact Team). Previously, the FB ACT honor was presented during the

IFB Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference. “If we (farmers) don’t tell our story, nobody else is going to,” Rush said. “It is critical to get our legislators to understand (agricultural issues).” Terry Rush Rush contacted state lawmakers about the need to pass legislation allowing farmers to use all-ter-

rain vehicles on rural roads. He talked with U.S. senators about the need to address the estate tax. “We (in agriculture) have to step up and be a voice for the industry, and Farm Bureau gives us a platform to represent ourselves to legislators through county, state, and national organizations that are respected,” Rush said. Through IFB’s Adopted Legislator Program, Rush has used contacts with his county Farm Bureau’s “adopted” legislator to help explain modern

agriculture and discuss ag issues. By touring farms and rural areas, urban lawmakers gain a new perspective, Rush noted. “Until they get their feet on the ground and get out in the mix of agriculture, they don’t understand,” Rush said. In Rush’s view, working with legislators is an important part of being a Farm Bureau member and his civic responsibility. “My favorite phrase is — you have absolutely no right to complain if you’re not involved,” Rush concluded.


FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, December 13, 2010

Hillsboro couple named YL Excellence Award winners Brian and Dacia Brown of Hillsboro in Montgomery County received the 2010 Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Ag Excellence Award last week in St. Louis. The Ag Excellence Award recognizes county Farm Bureau Young Leader Committee members who may not be fulltime farmers for their efforts in agriculture and leadership achievement. “(Winning the Excellence Award) has been a goal of ours for five years,” Dacia said. “We worked on our leadership expeBrian and Dacia Brown riences so we could compete for it.” Brian is a district sales manager for Bo-Jac Seed Co. Dacia is a teacher at a rural elementary school that encompasses seven towns in their area. She instills her family’s agricultural background and beliefs into her regular curriculum. “We try to be advocates for agriculture as much as we can with the opportunities we have,” Dacia said. Brian has helped his father expand the family’s farming operation — which includes corn, soybeans, and custom-baling — the past 10 years. He hopes to eventually farm on a full-time basis. “It’ll happen,” he said. The Browns have two children, Nathan, 5, and Kaden, 2. They will receive $1,000 from IFB; a digital camera courtesy of the IAA Credit Union; and expense-paid trips to the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Atlanta, the GROWMARK annual meeting in Chicago courtesy of GROWMARK, and the 2011 Young Leader State Conference in Springfield. Tim McDermott of Waterloo in Monroe County was the runner-up in the competition.

DeBlock receives YL Achievement Award Matt DeBlock of Aledo in Mercer County was named the recipient of the 2010 Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Achievement Award last week at the IFB annual meeting in St. Louis. The award recognizes efforts in farming and ag leadership achievement. DeBlock and his wife, Kim, have two children, Kaitlynn and Macy. He will represent IFB Jan. 9-12 at the American Farm Bureau Federation (ABFB) annual meeting in Atlanta. “It was quite gratifying (to win the award),” DeBlock said. “The four of us (Achievement Award finalists) show a lot of promise about the future we have in agriculture.” DeBlock, a fourth-generation farmer, manages his family’s farming corporation, and he also runs his own operation. The farms produce row crops and beef from a cow/calf operation. The DeBlocks also run a commodity brokerage business and recently started a commercial trucking business that focuses on hauling farm supplies (grain, feed, and fertilizer) for customers. “I believe our operation will continue to grow, mostly on the row crops side,” DeBlock said. “I think the future is bright for young people in the industry,” he continued. “I think there will be a lot of opportunities for younger farmers if they’re (those farmers) willing to accept them and if they’re financially sound and capable.”

He also believes it’s important for young farmers to be active in leadership roles to help shape the future of the industry. “It’s really important as a young Kim and Matt DeBlock individual to become involved in an industry that really needs a voice,” he said. DeBlock will receive 150 hour’s use of any two-wheel-drive Case IH tractor; $1,000 cash from IFB; a one-year membership in the Illinois Corn Growers Association; and expense-paid trips to the AFBF annual meeting in Atlanta, the GROWMARK annual meeting in Chicago, and the Young Leader State Conference in Springfield. Matt and Jenna Kilgus of Fairbury in Livingston County were the runners-up in the competition.

Strom wins YL Discussion Meet

Bob Willison

Eldon Gould

Sandy Gould

Chris Gould

IAITC honors top education volunteers Agricultural literacy leaders and volunteers with the Clay and Kane County Farm Bureaus were named Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) volunteers for 2010 at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis. The honorees were Bob Willison of Louisville in Clay County, and Kane County residents Eldon and Sandy Gould of Maple Park and their son, Chris, of Elburn. Willison, known affectionately as “Farmer Bob” by his adopted classes, has been involved with the IAITC’s Adopt a Classroom Program since 1990. Each year he has written 20 to 30 letters to Chicago students and wants to be matched with a new classroom. Willison, a retired farmer, writes students about his rural childhood and farm life, as well as modern farm production. He has reached more than 500 students ranging from first graders to junior high students. At the end of the school year, Willison and his grandson visit his current Chicago class. He also helps with local IAITC projects. Eldon, Sandy, and Chris Gould have been involved in IAITC since 1999. To help educate teachers about farming, the Goulds have hosted nearly 250 teachers on their farm for Summer Agricultural Institute tours. The family also participates in the Kane County Ag Days program and has reached more than 24,000 students and 1,200 teachers with presentations. Sandy Gould is a volunteer reader to third grade students as part of the local IAITC Sprouts program. Chris has taught lessons about hogs and farming to elementary students and recently discussed issues with a high school honors environment class. The family has helped with the Kane County scholarship fundraiser and the local touch-a-tractor educational program and serves on the Kane County Foundation Board.

Grant Strom, Dahinda, will represent Illinois Farm Bureau in the Young Leader Discussion Meet finals at the 2011 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting Jan. 9-12 in Atlanta. Strom, a member of the Knox County Farm Bureau who grows corn and soybeans on his family’s farm, won the 2010 State Discussion Meet at last week’s annual meeting in St. Louis. Last year he was the runner-up in the state finals. Strom and his wife, Kristen, live in Dahinda. Kristen is an English teacher at Dunlap High School. The couple has a 4-month-old son, Gavin. The Discussion Meet is an exchange of ideas and information in which contestants must analyze problems and develop solutions in a cooperative manner. Strom and three other finalists discussed whether American consumers adequately appreciate the importance of U.S.-produced food and if American consumers consider U.S. agriculture important to security in the future. “We have a lot of uninformed consumers who do not understand the food and fiber system,”

Strom said. “It’s our job (as farmers and Farm Bureau members) to bridge the gap.” As winner of the Discussion Meet, he will receive $1,000 from IFB; a 100-hour lease on a Massey-Ferguson MF8650 four-wheel-drive tractor courtesy of Agco; and expense-paid trips to the AFBF annual meeting, the 2011 GROWMARK annual meeting courtesy of GROWMARK, and the 2011 Young Leader State Conference in Springfield. The runner-up in the Discussion Meet was Katie Pratt of Lee Grant Strom County. The two other finalists were Caleb May, Edwards County, and Martha Smith, Champaign County. IFB promotes and sponsors the Discussion Meet with the goals of developing young peoples’ leadership and communication skills on behalf of agriculture and of working together and to reach consensus on how to deal with current issues in agriculture.

Schaefer named top certified crop adviser Dan Schaefer, a crop adviser from Tolono in Champaign County, was named the 2010 Illinois Certified Crop Adviser award winner at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting last week in St. Louis. Schaefer provides advice to farmers in Champaign and Douglas counties, and during the past 25 years, he has helped farmers make management decisions on about 60,000 acres. Schaefer has earned a reputation of doing an exceptional job in focusing on solutions to crop problems and has been involved with on-farm research and field demonstrations. Each year, he conducts several field trials to seek better management practices or evaluate the economic and environmental benefits of new technology and products. His recent work with nitrogen may help farmers maximize their yield, optimize nitrogen

use, and minimize their environmental impact. Schaefer has worked closely with the local Soil and Water Conservation District on a watershed project and also with University of Illinois crop science researchers on field-length trials. The Certified Crop Adviser Award is designed to increase awareness that farmers and their service people strive to do Dan Schaefer their best in making economically and environmentally sound cropping decisions. As the state crop adviser award winner, Schaefer’s name has been submitted for the international award by the Illinois Certified Crop Adviser Board and IFB.


Page 11 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

County Farm Bureaus recognized for outstanding program awards Thirty-two county Farm Bureau programs achieved the designation of “Most Outstanding Program” last week at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting. Some of the winning programs already have been featured in FarmWeek or are the subject of upcoming features. The following report provides a brief synopsis of one award-winning program in each of the eight categories. The spokesperson, while integral to the projects reviewed here, is representative of what in many cases were numerous volunteers responsible for the program’s success.

AG LITERACY “Project-Based Learning Experience Program” Kenton Thomas, Pulaski-Alexander counties Farm Bureau leaders teamed up with instructors and students at Shawnee College, which recently revived its agriculture program. Some students interned with the county Farm Bureaus while others worked on projects directed at improving and expanding the Illinois Ag in the Classroom (IAITC) Program as well as involvement in IFB Young Leaders. “We worked to develop a program to help college students be more involved in the happenings of Farm Bureau,” said Kenton Thomas, president of Kenton Thomas Pulaski-Alexander Farm Bureau. “There is a lot of interest in ag education and the Young Leaders program.” Students in the program worked with educators to collect data and student/teacher assessments to gauge the strengths, weaknesses, and overall effectiveness of the IAITC program. A recruitment program also was developed to draw more participants into the Young Leaders program. “It’s an opportunity to educate (students) about ag and it helps them build their resumes,” Thomas said.

COMMODITIES & MARKETING “Soy Spaghetti Spectacular” Edna Newcomb, Washington County The Washington County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee helped promote the benefits of soy last spring by hosting a soy spaghetti spectacular. Some soy pasta reportedly provides 70 to 90 percent more protein with 20 percent fewer carbohydrates than regular pasta. “It’s healthy and it helps soybean (growers),” said Newcomb, longtime chairman of the Women’s Committee. The event, which attracted about 200 people, was designed to promote soy foods and to help open markets for soy Edna Newcomb products. “A lot of people said they had never heard of it (soy pasta) before,” Newcomb said. “We’d like to make it more widely available.” Organizers of the soy spectacular purchased enough pasta for the meal and to provide each participant with a box of soy pasta to take home. The meal also included hamburger in the spaghetti to promote the connection between soy meal, a key feed ingredient, and the livestock industry.

HEALTH & SAFETY “EMS Farm Safety Training Series” Brent Baker, Grundy County Farming not only is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., but it also presents situations that sometimes are unfamiliar for emergency responders. The Grundy County Farm Bureau in response partnered with the local FS and Soil and Water Conservation District to train firemen, emergency responders, and emergency room personnel about farm safety. “Everybody agreed it was a good idea,” Baker said. “Most of our firemen and EMTs have been around (ag) but, just like anything else, the disconnect from farming is getting further every Brent Baker day.” The three organizations hosted four safety training sessions. Two of the sessions focused on anhydrous

ammonia, one covered farm equipment, and the other provided training for grain bin rescues. “There are only a few other occupations that are more hazardous than farming,” Baker said. The programs reached about 80 emergency responders and firemen who now are better prepared to handle farm-related emergencies.

LEGISLATIVE/POLITICAL PROCESS “Congressional Staff Agriculture Tour” Darren Walter, LaSalle County Members of the LaSalle County Farm Bureau, who met with their former congresswoman during agriculture advisory meetings, discovered her staff had a very limited agricultural background. The county’s Legislative Committee, therefore, hosted an agriculture tour of LaSalle County for congressional staffers. “Getting our message out and educating the general public and lawmakers are priorities of our county (FB),” Walter said. “Many lawmakers are two or three generations removed from the farm.” The tour included stops on a corn Darren Walter and soybean farm, a diversified livestock farm, a seed corn field and production facility, and a local elevator. Farm Bureau members during the tour were able to teach the staffers about the basics of farming and discuss issues that are important to agriculture. “We as Farm Bureau need to be a resource for lawmakers to call on when they need to be educated about a particular matter (that may affect the direction of ag legislation),” Walter said. “That’s absolutely critical.”

LOCAL AFFAIRS “Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan Petitions, Illinois General Assembly, and County Resolutions” Jim Koeller, Pike County Farm Bureau members who live near the Mississippi and other river systems have seen the type of devastation that can be caused by a major flood. In the past 20 years, the floods of 1993 and 2008, in particular, hit those areas hard. So the Farm Bureaus in Pike, Hancock, and other counties made a big push to move forward with the Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan in an attempt to reduce the effects of any future floods. “After the 1993 flood, it was our Jim Koeller opinion that we needed a (comprehensive flood) plan,” Koeller said. Farm Bureau members collected nearly 10,000 signatures of people who support the plan, which calls for improvements to the current levee system along the Mississippi. The Illinois Senate and House each passed a resolution to support it. “It was a multi-pronged approach by the county Farm Bureaus that really made it happen,” Koeller said. “We gained a great deal of support to get the plan moved along.” The next step is to convince members of Congress to authorize the plan, Koeller added.

COMMUNICATION & PROMOTION “Food Check Out Week Promotion” Hugh David Scates, Gallatin County Consumers in Gallatin and other counties in Southern Illinois likely gained a greater appreciation for Food Check Out Day due to a promotional project spearheaded by the Gallatin County Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau members in that area launched a weeklong media campaign to highlight Food Check Out Day,

which is recognized each February as the point at which the average American has earned enough income to cover his or her food expenses for the year. The average American spends an average of 10 percent of income on food compared to much higher rates in other countries. “We probably reached more than 70,000 people through radio, print, and Hugh David Scates TV,” Scates said. “They learned things like how food is priced, what percent of the food dollar actually gets to farmers, and how much wheat is used to make each loaf of bread.” Radio stations each day hosted trivia contests and Farm Bureau provided prizes — gift cards that could be used at local grocery stores — for the winners. “The biggest thing is it helped the general public understand what Food Check Out Week is,” Scates said. The media campaign reached consumers in an estimated 22 counties.

MEMBER RELATIONS “Online Product Sales” Aaron Phipps, Edgar County The Edgar County Farm Bureau greatly expanded its audience to promote product sales, services, and other Farm Bureau benefits through the use of its web page and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The idea took shape when Edgar County Farm Bureau remodeled its facility and leaders wanted to advertise extra space for rent. Edgar County FB manager Sarah Reedy posted a video of the facility online. “We wanted to expand our online presence,” said Phipps, a county FB Aaron Phipps board member. “It was a real step forward for us.��� Reedy also helped start a Facebook page for the county FB. Edgar County also started selling products such as bean pod candles, custom barbecue spice, and plat books online. The items can be viewed at the website {http://edgarcountyfarmbureau.org}. “We needed to find more ways to get more revenue, so we could provide more value to members,” Phipps said. “I think it’s something we’d like to expand.” Product sales for Edgar County FB reportedly have doubled and members are raving about the new service.

POLICY DEVELOPMENT “What Do Our Members Want” Kirk Liefer, Randolph County Concern in 2009 about 4-H members’ ability to show animals at county fairs spawned a highly successful survey project conducted by the Randolph County Farm Bureau. The county Farm Bureau surveyed all of its “M” members about premises registration and the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) USDA attempted to implement. “The surveys came back and most opposed mandatory premises registration and animal ID,” Liefer said. “It gave our (county) board a clear direcKirk Liefer tion where to go with that.” The Randolph County FB developed four resolutions on the topic and two were adopted at the state level. IFB currently supports a voluntary animal ID and premise registration systems. “We decided to come up with resolutions that supported what our members wanted,” Liefer said. “The idea was as grassroots as it gets.” USDA last year abandoned NAIS and currently is trying to develop a program that’s more producer friendly. Dan Grant compiled information for this report.


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, December 13, 2010


Page 13 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

TRADE

FTA compromise positive, but leaders must ‘step up’ BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson said he is pleased U.S.-South Korean trade negotiations are moving forward, but he urges the administration and Congress to pick up the pace in formalizing long-delayed free trade agreements (FTA). U.S. and South Korean negotiators reached an accord late Dec. 3 that focuses on revisions in automobile provisions — a key stumbling block that held up progress toward a congressional FTA vote during President Obama’s unsuccessful November trip to Seoul. Nelson lamented changes in prospective U.S. pork market access that had the National Pork Producers Council declaring it “took one for the proverbial team.” Pork producers nonetheless will retain “better access than our competitors,” Nelson said. Meanwhile, Farm Bureau urged negotiators to continue seeking improved Korean

market access for U.S. beef. The U.S.’ newest accommodation with Korea is “at least favorable” toward securing an FTA, said Nelson, who serves as chairman of the American Farm Bureau Federation Trade Advisory Committee. However, he stressed “virtually nothing has happened” with Korea, Panama, or Colombia FTAs over the past two years. Given global concerns about the administration’s “appetite” in pursuing a successful World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement, he suggested some movement in bilateral negotiations was likely, to send a positive WTO signal. “From our standpoint, (the Korean FTA represents) about $1.6 billion to agriculture stepping forward,” Nelson said. “I think, from agriculture’s viewpoint, this is going to be positive in trying to get it in place. “But having said that, this is just one of these (agreements). Both Colombia and Panama are important to agriculture, as well. We’d like to see this

IFB on trade Illinois Farm Bureau producer-delegates last week sought to tighten the relationship between aid and future trade while supporting a heightened push for global growth and sustainability. According to trade policy approved at last week’s IFB annual meeting in St. Louis, “The United States should use its agricultural production capacity to enhance food security and economic development.” Delegates stressed the need to promote the U.S. not only as “a reliable supplier of agricultural products and expertise but also as a leader in fostering economic development globally.” The organization seeks an increased federal commitment to food and agricultural assistance programs, foreign aid in the form of basic and value-added ag products rather than cash “whenever feasible,” and prioritization of aid for emergency food relief. The federal government should encourage aid recipient nations to use U.S. ag goods and services, the revised trade policy states. At the same time, the current World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round is seen largely as a “development round” aimed at improving developing country economies and bringing the world’s lower-income nations more fully into the trading community. As part of that push, WTO negotiators have emphasized the need to foster food production and self-reliance particularly south of the equator. IFB policy, therefore, encourages using the federal Public Law (P.L.) 480 “Food for Peace” program — which finances sales of U.S. commodities to developing countries — to focus aid on the “least-developed” countries, serving “local” markets and making use of “local staples.” The World Initiative for Soy in Human Health and other groups have supplied soy protein to bolster nutrition in localized African dishes and in indigenous breads distributed as part of Middle East and West Asian relief efforts. African efforts in particular have been credited with generating new small businesses and thus improving village incomes. In order to promote sustainable production growth, the delegates also urged an expanded role for P.L. 480 in improving food safety and local and regional trade capabilities in recipient countries. Conscious of the competitive potential of global development, Illinois farmers nonetheless opposed foreign aid being used by recipients to stimulate production or export of commodities that are in surplus in the U.S. IFB reaffirmed the need for WTO trade round completion to lower import tariff and non-tariff barriers and resumption of normal trade relations with Cuba.

administration step up and Congress step up. We still don’t have this passed in Congress.” The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates reduction of Korean import tariffs and tariff-rate quotas on

duties and 30 months before European Union duties were to disappear. U.S. producers agreed to move back that date to Jan. 1, 2016. Pork exports to Korea are down about 17 percent over the past year, but

soy meal. For the first time, U.S. food-grade bean producers would have access to a market currently limited by the Korean State Trading Enterprise. Tariffs on refined soy oil would be scrapped over five

‘ We’d like to see this administration step up and Congress step up. We still don’t have this passed in Congress.’ — Philip Nelson President, Illinois Farm Bureau

goods alone under the FTA would generate $10 billion in annual exports to Korea and contribute $12 billion annually to U.S. gross domestic product. U.S. ag groups outlined a number of sector-specific benefits the Korean FTA would offer: • Pork. The original FTA slated a zero tariff rate on most pork products moving into South Korea effective Jan. 1, 2014 — synchronous with elimination of Chilean pork

U.S. pork sales reportedly could reach nearly 600,000 metric tons by the end of a 10-year FTA phase-in. • Corn. Feed corn would receive immediate duty-free treatment. The FTA provides immediate duty-free access for corn-based distillers dried grains (DDGs) — Korea currently can levy a 6.6 percent tariff on imported DDGs. • Soybeans. The FTA offers immediate duty-free access to U.S. beans for crushing and

years, with tariffs on crude oil eliminated over 10 years. A more gradual phase down in U.S./Korean auto tariffs under the revised FTA is seen as key to congressional support. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was “hopeful that with a more balanced Congress, we will see renewed support for this and the other trade agreements that have been languishing for the past two years.”


FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, December 13, 2010

PRODUCTION

U.S. soybean exports projection hits new high to lower domestic use. Domestic wheat use was lowered as millers continue to USDA on Friday boosted generate more flour out of soybean exports to another each bushel of wheat in new high, based in part on response to historically high strong demand from China. wheat prices, according to Soy exports for the year USDA. were raised 20 million bushels U.S. corn to a recordexports were high projection left unchanged of 1.59 billion ‘We already had an extremely tight from a month bushels. s o y b e a n s i t u a t i o n . N o w i t ’s e v e n ago at 1.95 bil“Even with lion bushels the large tighter.’ and ending amount of stocks were beans (the Chinese) already — Helen Pound nudged 5 million bushels Penson GHCO market analyst bought, they higher to 832 still have excelmillion bushels. lent crush marU.S. corn ending stocks still gins,” Helen Pound, market roller coaster temperatures in are down to the lowest level analyst with Penson GHCO, some key wheat-growing since 1995/96. said during a teleconference areas). Anything that suggests Soybean supplies also hosted by the Minneapolis production issues is going to remain tight: USDA on Friday Grain Exchange. “I don’t see be bullish to the market.” trimmed ending stocks by 20 them backing off.” USDA on Friday left its million bushels to 165 million Meanwhile, USDA in its price projections for the marDecember crop report left keting year unchanged at $4.80 bushels. Carryout vs. usage is down to 5 percent for soynational yield estimates to $5.60 per bushel for corn beans and 6 percent for corn, unchanged from a month ago and $10.70 to $12.20 for soyaccording to Pound. at 154.3 bushels per acre for beans. “We already had an corn and 43.9 bushels per acre The wheat price projection extremely tight soybean situafor soybeans. The final crop was narrowed to a range of production numbers for 2010 $5.30 to $5.70 as ending stocks tion,” the analyst said. “Now it’s even tighter.” will be released next month. are up 10 million bushels due

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

USDA in January also will release its winter wheat planting projections. “Everybody expects quite a bit more acres were planted,” Pound said. “But the crop is not really starting out well (due to moisture issues and

The situation will continue to keep pressure on crop prices and enhances the need for good crops next year. “The battle for acres (in 2011) will be one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen in awhile,” Pound said. “We need more wheat, corn, and beans. How do you shake that out? “A lot depends on the price of crude, what happens with the biofuels tax incen-

FarmWeekNow.com You can view the full text of the latest USDA supply-demand report at FarmWeekNow.com.

tives, and what happens with the dollar,” she continued. “For the moment, it looks like beans are underpriced and corn is the winner. But that could change at any time.”

Korves: U.S. corn production must grow to meet demand End-users may not like $5 corn, but on the plus side, the higher prices in recent years certainly have added incentives to increase production. And higher corn yields will be necessary in the future as demand is expected to remain on an uptrend, according to Ross Korves, economic policy analyst with Pro Exporter. Korves discussed the opportunities and challenges of corn production last week during a breakout session at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in St. Louis. “When corn was $2 (per bushel), soybeans were $5, and wheat was $3, there wasn’t much incentive to increase output,” Korves said. But increased demand, particularly from the ethanol industry and export market, pushed corn prices to higher levels. Korves predicted U.S. corn exports through 2030 will increase by an average of 100 million bushels per year. The demand gains are expected to be a direct reflection of world population numbers that are expected to grow from 6.8 billion people to 9.1 billion people by 2050. “We’re going to hit a population peak,” Korves said. “Between now and then we have to increase food production between 70 and 100 percent.” U.S. corn acres are projected to reach 90.5 million acres in 2011, then level off. So farmers will have to find a way to produce more yield per acre, without adverse environmental impacts, to feed the world’s growing appetite, Korves said. “Unless the yield for corn goes up in the U.S., corn production is not going to grow,” he said. Fortunately, Korves believes the U.S. corn industry is up to the challenge. Pro Exporter projections suggest U.S. corn yields will grow annually by 2.5 bushels per acre, compared to USDA’s estimate of 1.9 bushels per acre. The boost in yields will be achieved by improved genetics and agronomic practices, according to the economist. Korves projected farmers will be able to plant more plants per acre due to genetic improvements. He said current research is testing 44,000 corn plants per acre compared to an average this year of about 31,000 plants per acre. Meanwhile, drought tolerance in corn plants could allow farmers to double production while using the same amount of water, he said. And improved nitrogen use efficiency could be critical to higher yields, as well. About 15 to 20 percent of nitrogen currently applied is lost before corn plants are able to use it, according to Korves. — Daniel Grant

Illinois products website one-stop shop for holidays The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) maintains a website to promote products made by Illinois food companies. Currently, about 200 companies are listed on the site, including some that offer special gift items and gift baskets. Their products range from gourmet coffee and chocolate to fine wine and cheese. “Illinois food products make creative gift ideas and are a great way to demonstrate support for Illinois agriculture,” said Agriculture Director Tom Jennings. The website also includes items such as soy candles, beauty, health and wellness products, and decorative items. “The best part is that you can shop from the comfort of your home and have the products delivered wherever you choose,” Jennings added. To visit the website, go to {www.agr.state.il.us} and click on a rectangular box on the right side of the page entitled, “Purchase Illinois Products Gift Items Online.”


Page 15 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

MARKETING

New marketing program diversifies risk management BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

A new marketing program that combines the expertise of three well-known and established advisory services will allow farmers to diversify the way they manage price risk. AgriVisor, Doane Advisory Services, and Pro Farmer recently partnered to offer the new Crossover Insight program. Farmers who enroll in the program designate a certain portion of their grain production to be marketed by each of the specialists. The analysts will establish a final futures and basis price and market the grain between Jan. 5 and Sept. 15, 2011.

Farmers can check out details of the program or track the performance of each analyst online at {www.graininsight.com}. “The Crossover Insight program allows producers to leverage the expertise of these three organizations to help market a portion of their crop production,” said Rob Huston, AgriVisor manager. Huston recommended farmers who take advantage of the program designate anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of their bushels to help manage price risk at participating elevators. Margin risk has increased greatly for farmers since 2006 as crop and input prices have

Producers encouraged to register for livestock certification workshops The University of Illinois Extension will offer several Livestock Manager Certification workshops, and producers are encouraged to pre-register to ensure a spot at the session that fits their schedule. Advance registration also is encouraged to allow participants to receive a manual in advance, which is important for those planning to take a written Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) test after the workshop. The state Livestock Management Facilities Act (LMFA) requires producers with operations designed for more than 300 animal units to have manure management certification and to renew the certificate every three years. Producers with more than 300 animal units must attend an approved training session or pass a written IDOA test. Producers with more than 1,000 animal units must attend an approved training session and pass a test. The U of I also offers a series of five online quizzes at no charge. Passing all five quizzes will meet the state requirement of attending a certified livestock manager workshop; however, it will not meet the state requirement for an IDOA exam that is required for all producers with more than 1,000 animal units. Workshops that begin at 8:15 a.m. will end at 12:30 p.m. The IDOA exam will be administered afterward. The 9:30 a.m. workshops will end at 2 p.m., followed by the IDOA exam. Participants who arrive 20 min-

utes late cannot be certified for attending the workshop. The January workshops, dates, and locations are: Jan. 11, 8:15 a.m., Effingham County Extension office, Effingham; Jan. 12, 9:30 a.m., beef-dairy emphasis, Clinton County Extension office, Breese; Jan. 19, 8:15 a.m., Knox County Extension office, Galesburg; and Jan. 20, 8:15 a.m., AdamsBrown Extension office, Quincy. The February workshops, dates, and locations are: Feb. 9, 9:30 a.m., beef-dairy emphasis, Stephenson County Farm Bureau Building, Freeport; and Feb. 10, 8:15 a.m., DeKalb County Farm Bureau Building, Sycamore. The March workshop will be March 10, 8:15 a.m., SangamonMenard Extension office, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield. To register for a workshop or buy a training manual or CD with a credit card, call 800-3456087. Participants do not need a new manual if they have a 2003 or newer one. Advance workshop registration is $30 per person and $20 for each additional registrant from the same farm if registered at the same time. The walk-in registration fee is $92. Manual and CD prices, including shipping, are $62.50 for a manual, $32.50 for a CD, and $87.50 for a manual and CD. For more information, contact Randy Fonner, U of I Extension coordinator, at 217333-2611 or e-mail clmt@illinois.edu, or go online to {www.livestocktraining.com}.

fluctuated in historically high ranges. “The margin risk per acre is extremely volatile,” Huston said. “That’s why it’s so much more important for farmers to diversify the way they manage price risk.”

AgriVisor partnered with Doane and Pro Farmer because all three are nonbiased — none of them buys grain from producers but instead are geared toward getting the best price for farmers — and all three have a

long history in the business and a proven track record, Huston said. A series of informational meetings about the new Crossover Insight program recently was held in Illinois and Iowa.

Illinois Farm Bureau delegates check their notes during policy discussions at the organization’s annual meeting last week in St. Louis.


FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, December 13, 2010

NATURAL RESOURCES

Illinois hunters claim 98,700 deer Hunters in Illinois shot a preliminary total of 98,700 deer during the seven-day firearm season from Nov. 19-21 and Dec. 2-5, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). “Harvest results for this year’s firearm deer seasons were remarkably similar to last year,” said Paul Shelton, IDNR forest wildlife program manager. “Fifty-one counties saw increases in harvest, while 49 counties declined. Management efforts aimed at controlling deer herds while maintaining recreational opportunities are paying off.” The preliminary second season (Dec. 2-5) total was 30,663, down compared to last year’s second season total of 33,293. However, the preliminary first season (Nov. 19-21) total was higher at 68,037 compared to last year’s 66,126. Preliminary reports show Pike County once again topped the individual county deer totals

as hunters shot 3,130 deer in the county. Other top county totals were Fulton, 2,495; Adams, 2,468; Jo Daviess, 2,285; and Randolph, 2,192. Deer hunters still have opportunities to go hunting in Illinois in the coming weeks. The archery deer season continues through Jan. 16. The seven-day split late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer season and special chronic wasting disease (CWD) deer season are Dec. 30–Jan. 2 and Jan. 14-16. Permits for both late-winter and a special CWD seasons will be available over the counter through IDNR direct license and permit agents starting Tuesday. As in years past, unfilled 2010 firearm, muzzleloader, youth, and landowner firearm permits will be valid for the late-winter season provided they were issued for an open county, but only antlerless-only deer may be shot. For more information, go online to {www.dnr.illinois.gov}.

State repairs damaged levees at Sanganois Wildlife Area The state has completed a $2.95-million repair of flooddamaged levees at the 10,000acre Sanganois Fish and Wildlife Area near Chandlerville. The levee system protects Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) property as well as private agricultural and hunting property from flooding. “This project protects the quality and productivity of these wetlands from filling in with sand and sediment, maintaining its ecological quality and opportunities for outdoor recreation of all kinds,” said Marc Miller, IDNR director.

This program is overflowing with the resources you need to grow your business and your profits. January 5 Pre-Conference Workshops 1) 2) 3) 4)

Pumpkin Production and Pest Management High Tunnels, 2011: Tomatoes and more Good Agriculture Practices: Making a Farm Plan and Becoming GAP - Certified Expanding Farmers Market Opportunities

January 6 - 7 Conference Tracks ©Fruit ©Vegetables ©Herbs ©Agritourism/Marketing ©Organic Production ©Business Management ©Irrigation

Program Highlights ©Retail Readiness ©Labor issues ©Yˆ…†Insurance ©Legal issues ©Post Harvest Handling of Produce ©Public Relations & Advertising ©Producer Certification Programs

For more information: 309-557-2107 or handley@ilfb.org Go to www.specialtygrowers.org for full agenda

The project repaired 2002 flood damage to the Barkhausen Refuge Levee, Coon Slough River Ridge, and White’s Levee as well as added overflow spillways to each. The $2.95-million project, which began in late 2008, will decrease the likelihood of this type of failure will be repeated. The construction funds were obtained from IDNR, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the state for about 75 percent of eligible costs through its Flood Reimbursement Program. The project was overseen by the Capital Development Board. The project contractor was Laverdiere Construction Inc. of Macomb, and the designer was CWI/HDR of Springfield. The Sanganois Fish and Wildlife Area, administered by IDNR, is located at the confluence of the Sangamon and Illinois rivers. Portions of the area are located in Cass, Mason, and Schuyler counties. Flooding in the spring of 2002 created a 200-by-20-foot breach in the Barkhausen Levee. The flooding also created a breach in the Coon Slough River Ridge, which allowed the Sangamon River, even during minor flooding, to flow unchecked through Sanganois, draining the site, washing out roads, and depositing high levels of silt into the refuge.


Page 17 Monday, December 13, 2010 FarmWeek

FROM THE COUNTIES

Have a dirty job? Video tape it Farm families perform a lot of dirty, tough jobs in the process of providing food and fiber for their fellow Americans. But, the big question is — Can they compete with show host Mike Rowe, who will be the keynote speaker at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 2011 annual meeting Jan. 9-11 in Atlanta? Farm Bureau members from across the nation are invited to shoot and share their best home videos posted to YouTube showing just how challenging, arduous, and grungy farm and ranch work can be. And, if their real-life farm and ranch jobs are tough enough and compelling in video format, they will have a chance to see their video on the big screen in front of 5,000 or so other farmers and ranchers attending the annual meeting. It’s all part of AFBF’s “Farm/Ranch Families Work” video contest. The deadline for the contest is Dec. 29. Once members have their hard-work videos posted to YouTube, all they need to do is send a link before the deadline date to the contest e-mail address: FBWORKS@fb.org. The video contest is a good match with the subject of hard work, which is often the favorite topic of keynote speaker Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs program. A full listing of the contest rules can be found at: {http://fb.org/index.php?fuseaction=2011annual.contest}.

Website offers info/ideas for food basket donations Karen Chapman-Novakofski, a University of Illinois nutritionist, recently launched a website with information and ideas for nutritious and useful food basket donations. Chapman-Novakofski developed a website with information about packing food baskets after receiving requests from organizations wanting to include healthier options for food drives. “It can be difficult for people to think of meals made from non-perishable foods,” she said. “Trying to think of achieving food guidelines with all non-perishable goods can be very challenging ... It was more difficult to plan a day’s worth of meals than we had originally thought.” For instance, dairy products that are non-perishable are limited, so choosing calcium-fortified grains can be a healthy option. Non-perishable meat and protein foods also are limited. Trying to find ways to make canned vegetables more appealing also was a goal. The site, “Making the Most of Your Food Basket Donations” {http://urbanext.illinois.edu/foodbaskets/} has sample menus, shopping lists, and recipes for foods made from nonperishable food items. Although the site was developed primarily for groups seeking information for food drives or food baskets, ChapmanNovakofski said the information also would work for care packages for soldiers. “Just recently, someone asked me for healthy ideas for a backpack program they wanted to develop to send food home for a family of four with a school-aged child. We used a lot of the same information and expanded it a bit.” Chapman-Novakofski had help from two undergraduate dietetic students, Maegan Walrath and Maria Thomas.

Ag scholarship digest Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) crop sciences scholarships — ISA is offering crop science scholarships at Illinois State University (ISU), Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Western Illinois University (WIU) for the 2011-12 school year. Application deadlines are: Jan. 7 for all ISU students, Jan. 15 for U of I incoming freshmen, Jan. 31 for all SIU students, and Feb. 1 for U of I transfer students. Details are pending for the WIU scholarship. Scholarship amounts, availability, and application requirements vary by university. Scholarships are open to incoming freshmen for 2011-12 and transfer students. For more information, go line to {www.ilsoy.org} or contact the respective university or high school guidance counselors.

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H A M PA I G N — The Farm Bureau winter meeting series continues with “The State of the State — Financials” meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Farm Bureau auditorium. Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau director of state legislation, will be the speaker. Call the Farm Bureau office at 3525235 or visit the website {www.ccfarmbureau.com} for more information. • Farm Bureau and Country Financial will sponsor a free informational dinner buffet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday or a breakfast buffet at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Farm Bureau auditorium. Rick Morgan, Country Financial senior financial security consultant, will discuss estate planning, retirement planning, and long-term care issues. Call the Farm Bureau office at 352-5234 for reservations, or visit the website at {www.ccfarmbureau.com} for more information.

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ULTON — The Women’s Committee will sponsor a “Design on a Pine” event at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Farm Bureau office. Julia Pryor, University of Illinois Extension horticulture coordinator and Master Gardener, will demonstrate ways to decorate your home. There is no charge for members. Cost is $3 for non-members. Call the Farm Bureau office at 547-3011 for reservations or more information. E E — A stroke detection plus screening will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Farm Bureau office. Farm Bureau members may receive all four screenings for $90. Call 877-732-8258 for an appointment. • Farm Bureau is selling Beanpod candles. Stop by the office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to purchase the candles. • The Marketing Committee will sponsor a bus trip Thursday, Jan. 27, to Chicago. Included will be tours of the Chicago Board

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of Trade, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Willis (formerly Sear’s) Tower Sky Deck, and the Cook County Sheriff Department’s greenhouse project. Cost is $55 and includes lunch and admission. Send a check and registration by Monday, Jan. 10, to the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531 for more information. A C O N — Farm Bureau and Evergreen FS will sponsor a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, at the Farm Bureau office. On-farm fuel and oil storage regulations will be discussed. Don Herring, Evergreen FS, will be the speaker. Call the Farm Bureau office at 877-2436 for more information.

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


FarmWeek Page 18 Monday, December 13, 2010

PROFITABILITY

Farmers have opportunity to make every bushel count BY LANCE RUPPERT

We have all been affected by the economic downturn and the government’s attempts to help stimulate the economy to recovery in the last two years. The global economy is a vast maze of cause and potential effect that can make the most intelligent economist’s head spin. One thing we do know is Lance Ruppert that the current and future prospects for pleasing commodity prices is a reality. With ending stocks decreasing steadily each year and high demand from foreign nations with large populations of hungry people to feed, the impact the American farmer will have on the U.S. and world economies will be substantial. In the end, the American farmer plays a unique part in shaping this country’s and the world’s future. That is not something to take lightly. You have the unique opportunity to make every bushel count. The potential return for your farming enterprise is tremendous. With September 2011 corn and soybeans trading around $5.50 and $12.50 per bushel, respectively, the return on investment calculations on many agronomic practices are much different than in past years

when commodity prices were lower. Your incentive to grow more on every acre and make every bushel count is very high. As you work with your local FS crop specialists on your 2011 cropping plan this prepay season, here are a few key things to consider in the discussion: Selecting the best hybrids and varieties with value-added traits is a huge first step in your 2011 success. Protecting that

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Issues with the wheat contract, in which the basis bottomed out nearly $2 below the futures price in July 2008, improved this summer. But the jury is still out as to whether a change in the wheat contract at the CME Group, which implemented a variable storage rate (VSR) beginning with the July contract, was responsible for cash prices nearly converging with futures prices or if the move toward convergence was due to market dynamics. Demand for U.S. wheat soared earlier this year, and cash prices improved when Russia announced an export ban on wheat due to major crop losses from a widespread drought.

Feeder pig prices reported to USDA*

Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price $34.79-$51.00 $43.54 $60.66 $60.66 n/a n/a This Week Last Week 22,970 24,377 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) (Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week $65.63 $65.21 $48.49 $48.26

Change 0.32 0.24

USDA five-state area slaughter cattle price Steers Heifers

The ability to grow additional bushels has the potential to help you reap huge financial rewards in 2011 and into the future. Best wishes for a happy holiday season and prosperous 2011. Lance Ruppert is GROWMARK’s crop protection marketing manager. His e-mail address is lruppert@growmark.com.

Farmers concerned about multi-market system

Weight 10 lbs. 40 lbs. 50 lbs. Receipts

This week $100.86 $100.98

Fungicide applications can gain you huge returns in both corn and soybeans. Significant yield gains have been measured and documented for many years, but don’t neglect to consider the benefits of better standability and harvest efficiency. How might micronutrients help in unlocking yield potential? Challenge your crop specialist to discuss new innovations to maximize every acre.

Could basis levels fall apart again?

M A R K E T FA C T S

Carcass Live

seed investment with seed treatments will allow you to have a higher percentage of emerged plants vs. planting population, lower replants, and more potential in every acre you plant. Managing and hopefully eliminating early weed competition with pre-emergent residual products give you a better yield foundation and allow you a broader window for post herbicide applications.

(Thursday’s price) Prv. week Change $103.82 -2.96 $103.59 -2.61

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 117.46 0.63

This week 118.09

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 125-175 lbs. for 130159.96 $/cwt., dressed, no sales reported.

Export inspections (Million bushels)

Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 12-02-10 33.5 19.2 25.2 11-25-10 64.3 22.3 29.4 Last year 61.6 13.6 28.6 Season total 623.8 572.1 439.0 Previous season total 553.0 443.5 438.7 USDA projected total 1570 1250 1950 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

Members of the Illinois Farm Bureau Profitability Advisory Team discussed the issue last week during the IFB annual meeting in St. Louis. “We can’t say it (the move to variable storage rates) solved the problem (with a lack of convergence), but it certainly was a step in the right direction,” said Doug Yoder, IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management. It will take months or even years to study the market and determine the impact of VSR, Yoder noted. In the meantime, the CME Group indicated it has no plans to implement VSR for its corn or soybean contracts.

And the fact that no changes have been made to the corn and bean contracts is a concern for farmers and elevator managers, according to Darren Walter, a member of the LaSalle County FB Basis Committee. Basis levels for soybeans in recent years have dipped as much as 80 cents below future prices while the basis for corn has dropped more than 50 cents below the point of convergence. “We’re currently approaching price volatility levels we were at two years ago when many country elevators were strained and some collapsed due to a lack of credit,” Walter said. “Since then, nothing has been done to solve the problem.”

So how does a lack of convergence affect farmers and elevator managers? It makes hedging grain ineffective and the instability in the market makes it more difficult for elevators to obtain credit, according to Walter. Part of the problem is that grain is priced in cash markets, futures contracts, and when contracts are settled via shipping certificates, Walter said. “Most farmers are not delivering to point source terminals (used to settle contracts on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers),” Walter said. “We rely on local elevators for the majority of our storage.” Walter believes the current grain delivery system is a closed-door club to most farmers. “If we’re able to hedge and know there’s coverage, then everybody would be happy,” he added. The Profitability Advisory Team added new members and replaced outgoing leadership at its recent meeting. Dale Hadden, District 10 director from Jacksonville, took over as chairman for retiring board member Kent Schleich of Fairview.

Workshop on energy savings, renewable energy planned An Energy Innovation Workshop in January will offer participants ideas for saving money and energy. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 21 in St. Anslem’s Hall, Kampsville. The early registration deadline is Jan. 14. Information also will be provided about solar, wind, and biomass energy systems. Speakers will include Matt Aldeman with the Center for Renewable Energy, Jolene Willis with Illinois Wind, and Gary Letterly with University of Illinois Extension. Representatives of the Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative and Ameren Illinois will discuss ways to reduce power bills and offer renewable energy ideas, while individuals with state and

federal programs will provide information on grants and tax incentives. The early registration fee is $5 and includes lunch and materials. After Jan. 14, the fee increases to $10. A minimum of 30 registrants will be needed by Jan. 14 or the workshop will be canceled. Workshop sponsors include: Calhoun County Farm Bureau, Calhoun County Soil and Water Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service, U of I Extension, and the McCully Heritage Project. To register or obtain more information, contact the Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development agency, Box 87, Pittsfield, Ill., 62363. The telephone number is 217-285-4114.


FarmWeek Page 19 Monday, December 13, 2010

PROFITABILITY Corn Strategy

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

Cents per bu.

2010 crop: It appears the market is attempting to establish a near-term high, then it could drift into the six- to seven-week low due in early January. Confirmation of lower prices would be a close below $5.55 in the March contract. Use current levels to price remaining bushels you have to sell. It still looks like hedgeto-arrive (HTA) contracts for winter/spring delivery may be the best marketing tool, but check returns against storage costs. 2011 crop: The gross income per acre offered by current new-crop prices remain very attractive. Use rallies to $5.25 on December futures to make catch-up sales. Fundamentals: Once again USDA managed to surprise the trade. The December supply/demand report pegged 2010-2011 U.S. corn ending stocks at 832 million bushels vs. trade expectations for 806 million. It appears the recent surge in U.S. corn prices did an adequate job of rationing demand.

Soybean Strategy

Export sales a key focus Export activity remains a key focus in the daily trade. Wheat sales have been sluggish but have recently gained momentum. The combination of a strong weekly

Basis charts

export sales number and confirmation of a sale of U.S. wheat to Iraq both were encouraging. Longer-term, the U.S. could benefit from the declining wheat quality in Australia due to excessive moisture. Soybean sales have been good, as demand out of China remains aggressive. China’s October/December 2010 soybean imports may reach 14.2 metric million ton (521 million bushels). It appears the Chinese are attempting to build stocks in an effort to protect them from the possibility of a short crop in South America. However, if weather conditions improve in Argentina, we could see a sharp decline in demand at any time. Corn exports have been fairly steady, and if the trend continues throughout the marketing year, we should see sales come in near the current USDA forecast. AgriVisor endorses crop insurance by

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2010 crop: January soybeans pushed through minor resistance but have done nothing to offset the negative implications of the Nov. 12 key reversal. January futures stalled once they exceeded $13. Use rallies for making catch-up sales. 2011 crop: There could be another opportunity to price new-crop beans in January, but we may use strength at that time to add another sale. Use rallies above $12 on November 2011 futures to make catch-up sales. Fundamentals: The shift in Chinese policies over the past weeks dropped crush margins to low levels. Some plants have stopped operations because of poor product demand. While there hasn’t been any soybean cancellations, some buyers are asking to have shipments delayed. A generally dry pattern continues in Argentina, but there’s still time for conditions to change and allow them to

produce a good crop.

Wheat Strategy 2010 crop: Wheat prices surged higher and managed to penetrate the significant resistance at $7.75 on the Chicago March contract. The next level of resistance comes at the previous high of $8.11. Use current strength to wrap up sales if you still have inventories. Because of the big futures carry, HTA contracts for winter/spring delivery still appear the best tool. 2011 crop: Use rallies to $8.15 on Chicago July 2011

futures for catch-up sales. If basis is wide on cash contracts, use a HTA contract. Fundamentals: The USDA report was unable to feed the bullish momentum, as 2010/2011 U.S. ending stocks were increased to 858 million bushels. However, it appears as if the trade’s key focus remains on the excessive rain in eastern Australia, which is going to reduce the quantity of good milling wheat in the world. The current forecast is not offering any relief, as additional showers expected over the next seven to 10 days.


FarmWeek Page 20 Monday, December 13, 2010

PERSPECTIVES

It’s law and order on the border Dudley Williams can see Mexico from his ranch on the common and conflicted international border in southern New Mexico. He also has seen first-hand the problems caused by smuggling and other illegal activities that ERICK NESS are part of the daily landscape guest columnist for ranchers and farmers all along the 1,969-mile border that stretches from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego, Calif. When word got out that federal legislation (S.1689) had been drafted to create federal wilderness areas along this border, Williams and other ranchers were rightly concerned. Law enforcement agencies, especially the U.S. Border Patrol, could be hamstrung when it comes to enforcing law and order along the border, due to strict wilderness-area rules. Strict limits on vehicle use in designated wilderness areas is one example. As rancher Williams pointed out, “You can’t even ride a bicycle in a federal wilderness area.”

After hearing about the proposed expansion of wilderness areas in their border region, ranchers in New Mexico organized and have worked diligently to inform the non-ranching public about all sides of the debate. Their organization started out with a handful of families and grew to a coalition of more than 800 businesses and organizations opposed to this move. The New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau joined the effort and produced a documentary on the issue. Pressure from the ranching group led to some changes that reflect their concerns about public safety and national security, including allowing low-level surveillance flights and some law enforcement buffer zones. However, due to their experiences with other failed federal promises, these ranchers remain concerned. The group has come up with alternate land designations that would protect the lands in question but keep them out from under what they consider the stringent strings attached formally to federal wilder-

ness designations. In support of their position, the ranchers point to the ongoing security concerns created by lawlessness in other locked-up federal land areas on the Arizona border, including the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the Organ Pipe National Monument. The rancher-farmer group also is concerned about talk that there may be a last-minute move in the current lameduck session of Congress to pass an omnibus public lands bill, which could include the quarter of a million acres of proposed wilderness in New Mexico, on and near the U.S.-Mexico border. Janice Kephart, an internationally recognized border security expert, recently

issued a report for the Center for Immigration Studies in which she concludes that designation of new border wilderness areas would “provide the Border Patrol with little ability and little incentive to do its job under law, let alone state, local, and other federal law enforcement.” Kephart said actual conservation of public lands would be better served by “protecting our public safety and national security with adequate law enforcement and infrastructure.” The ranchers who live and work in this rugged outlaw country are inclined to agree with that assessment. Erik Ness is a new columnist for American Farm Bureau Federation. He is a media consultant and a retired staff member of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.

Could the Japanese support a new tariff lift? It feels like old times on the other side of the world. After the ill-fated G20 meeting in Seoul, where President Obama botched an opportunity to secure an attractive freeTIM BURRACK trade deal, guest columnist Kati Suominen of the German Marshall Fund warned of an “economic Cold War.” Then North Korea revived memories of the real Cold War when it launched an unprovoked artillery attack on a South Korean island, killing four and raising tensions throughout the region. But not all of the news from Asia was bad. Some of it was downright encouraging — especially the reports that said Japan may try to step away

from agricultural protectionism and strengthen its trade ties with the Pacific nations, including the United States. Now that’s an example of change we can believe in. Japan is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, with a prosperity built on the twin foundations of a skilled workforce and the ability to sell its products to the rest of the world. Yet the island nation’s economy isn’t growing like it should, and now even its conservative leadership has come to support trade liberalization. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has indicated that he would like to lead Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral zerotariff trade alliance. Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore already belong to the TPP. The United States,

Supports forensic audit of state government

need a cultural change. One has to ask how we can get out of this mess. Forensic audits establish a truth point, something we do not now have. Cleaning house is very much in order for a starting point. The two past governors are but the tip of the iceberg of Illinois state corruption. A quick survey of those public officials who have been a part of the broken culture is sobering. Yes, a forensic audit is very expensive! But how expensive is our culture of orruption? We need to turn a corner. I believe a steady process of

Australia, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam are negotiating to join. The addition of Japan would do nothing but add to the TPP’s growing clout. Obama has said he would like to see the current round of TPP talks conclude by November 2011, when he hosts a meeting of Pacific nations in Hawaii. It remains to be seen how far Kan can go. Yet the potential for improvement is enormous — for both the Japanese and the Americans. Japan already relies on the rest of the world for what it eats: About 60 percent of the calories its citizens consume come from imports. Despite this, the country has thrown up high barriers to food. Beef faces a special duty of 38 percent. That’s high, but butter pays a tariff of 482 per-

cent. Worst of all is rice, with an import tax of 778 percent. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the absence of free trade in food forces Japanese consumers to spend twice what they should to feed themselves. Ordinary Japanese families have the most to gain from free trade. Smart entrepreneurs would benefit, too. As Clayton Yeutter and Warren Maruyama point out in a recent article for the Wall Street Journal, Japan won’t compete in the production bulk food commodities, but surely it can dominate niche markets that involve specialty foods such as sushi. Who better to satisfy the global demand for Japanese cuisine than the Japanese? American farmers have much to gain as well. We

already sell many agricultural products to Japan: almost $12 billion last year. We export more corn to Japan than to all of our foreign customers in the Western hemisphere combined. This is an old relationship that dates to the early days of the Cold War.. In the 21st century, we can do even better. If Japan joins the TPP and these multi-country talks realize their full potential, we’ll have our chance. Many tariffs would vanish immediately and even the most sensitive ones involving dairy products and rice possibly would disappear over time. Tim Burrack raises corn and soybeans on a northeast Iowa family farm. He volunteers as a board member of Truth About Trade and Technology, whose website is {www.truthabouttrade.org}.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Editor: Forensic audits are very expensive. Certified public accountant specialists dig deep looking intensely for things being done illegally. Numbers talk. Our state’s fiscal condition is on life support. Funds established for specific purposes are being raided, scraped for desperate cash flow problems. There is no way for those funds to be paid back, other than endof-year borrowing from somewhere else. Sen. Paul Simon’s last book was “Our Culture of Pandering.“ We

forensic auditing of our government would soon help us turn the corner. As public officials realize the coming scrutiny, they would change for the better. The world’s longest journey begins with a first step. I suggest a forensic audit. Public employees who are hanging on, doing good, conscientious work would be cleared by the audit, freeing them from the ugly cloud now hanging over them. Those courageous people need a pat on the back, and the knowledge that we appreciate them. LIN WARFEL, Tolono

Editor’s note: A forensic audit is an application of accounting methods to the tracking and collection of

forensic evidence, usually for investigation and prosecution of criminal acts such as embezzlement or fraud.

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FarmWeek December 13 2010