Page 1

A state lawmaker tells SWAT members about a proposal to mend Illinois’ school funding formula. page 4

Soybeans could gain significant ground this year if the USDA plantings report holds true. page 5

Meat eaters may want to stock their freezers as meat prices will likely continue to increase. page 14

A service of

Illinois Farm Bureau mission: Improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life. Monday, April 7, 2014

ISU farm coping with PEDV; other universities watchful, hope to remain virus free

Two sections Volume 42, No. 14



IFB lobbies for Section 179 Addison Ryan took advantage of a dry, spring day to complete repair work on a waterway last week near Wyoming in Stark County. Heavy rain and snow took a toll on the waterway over winter. He noted it was the first fieldwork done on the farm so far this spring. (Photo by Ken Kashian)


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Illinois Farm Bureau members made more than 1,000 calls to members of Congress last week, urging them to support a Section 179 small business expensing deduction limit of $500,000. The federal lobbying effort came as the Senate Finance Committee released its proposed tax extenders package. The proposal advanced out of committee on a voice vote. The Senate proposal includes the reinstatement of the $500,000 expense limit for farm infrastruc-

ture and equipment, and continuation of 50 percent bonus depreciation on the purchase of new capital assets, including farm machinery, through 2015. IFB supports both of those provisions. Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development, traveled to Washington, D.C., last week. He said members’ calls made a difference. “The response (to the action request) was noted in the offices that I visited,” Nielsen said. “I definitely saw and heard evidence of the activity.” But challenges remain. The House is expected to work on tax extenders, but plans a different approach than the Senate. Nielsen said the House plans to mark up individual bills and propose permanent tax extenders. “Right now, no one can explain how we’re going to marry these two ideas together — individual votes on permanent extenders in the House and the typical way of doing it, which is approving them as a package in the Senate,” said Nielsen. “Sounds like it’s going to take a longer time for this to be resolved. That doesn’t help people who are trying to make decisions for this year.”


Section 179 small business expense deductions are among dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. The deduction limit was set at $250,000 in 2008 and 2009 and at $500,000 from 2010-13. It dropped to $25,000 this year — and will remain at that level unless Congress acts. Several agricultural groups applauded the Senate’s proposal, which also includes a two-year extension of the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive. Wade Cowan, American Soybean Association first vice president, said extending the biodiesel credit until 2015 and reinstating the Section 179 deduction will help farm families “compete and succeed in the face of growing competition.” “The extension of the biodiesel tax credit is huge,” he said in a statement. “The industry has been operating in the absence of the credit since the end of the fiscal year in September, and we’ve seen the biodiesel industry’s production dip and progress stall in the absence of this tax credit in the past, so this proposal is a welcome first step toward putting the industry back on track for the next two years.”

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Illinois State University (ISU) tightened biosecurity measures and suspended tours after an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) on its research farm near Lexington. Research swine remain PEDV-free at the University of Illinois (U of I), Southern Illinois University (SIU) and Western Illinois University (WIU). However, the universities remain alert and have enhanced biosecurity measures on their research farms. PEDV affects pigs of all ages, but proves fatal for nursing baby pigs. The virus poses no threat to humans. Within the last 30 days, ISU hogs showed “the classic (PEDV) symptoms. We have had large mortalities,” said Pete Lammers, ISU animal science professor. PEDV claimed the litters of two farrowing groups of 40 sows and a portion of a third group. Recently, a fourth group farrowed and those pigs seem healthier. “It’s running its course,” Lammers said. “As long as we practice good sanitation, we don’t anticipate having catastrophic losses again.” The PEDV outbreak “was a significant loss of income at the farm,” said Lammers. ISU funds its farm with livestock and crop income. Given the nature of university research farms, the loss — or potential loss — of scientific study signifies a greater loss to research institutions. “The loss in research dollars will be greater than the economic loss,” said Hans Stein, U of I animal science professor. “We have projects with sows that are several years long.” Length of research funding poses another problem, added Gary Apgar, SIU animal science professor. Apgar must complete a nutrition feeding

study in a year and is counting on the farm’s existing pigs. The four universities are focusing on farm biosecurity. Along with suspending public tours, ISU relocated parking areas for staff and students, and implemented clothing and shoe restrictions. Students who have been on other farms must wait 48 hours and international visitors must wait at least 14 days before entering the farm, according to Lammers. The U of I consulted with veterinarians on security measures, Stein said. “We do the best we can,” he added. The university quarantines new hogs for eight weeks in an off-site premise before bringing them to the farm. Public visitors aren’t allowed at the Urbana swine research center, and students are denied access if they have been on other farms in the last week. In Carbondale, SIU uses its swine center for research and teaching. Recently, the university bought 10 pregnant sows that tested PEDV-free, bringing its sow herd up to 27, Apgar said. Researchers moved the new animals directly into the farrowing house. All SIU students must change into farm-supplied boots when entering the swine buildings — and they must cross benches recently moved to block the entrance as a visual reminder, Apgar noted. In Macomb, WIU uses biosecurity measures to protect its 30 sows, including 25 purebred Yorkshires, said Mark Hoge, animal science professor. WIU students practice safety protocols with clothes and boots; some keep boots at the farm. However, youth education programs and contests complicate farm biosecurity. Hoge expected 300 FFA members would attend a contest last week. WIU hosts or supplies See Universities, page 3

Illinois Farm Bureau on the web: ®

Quick Takes


FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, April 7, 2014

GIBSON HOSPITAL CEO RURAL CHAMPION — Robin Rose, chief operating officer of Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services (GAHHS), has been named the 2014 Rural Illinois Champion. She represents the first woman to win the award, designed to honor those working to make a difference in rural Illinois. This is the third year the award has been extended by Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, Governor’s Rural Affairs Council chair. Rose joined GAHHS as chief nursing officer in 2004 and has been instrumental in the recruitment and employment of physicians for GAHHS and the communities it serves. Under her leadership, GAHHS has increased the number of its rural health clinics to nine. Rose has received the Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health Care and the Jackson & Coker Staff Physician Recruiter Award. Gibson City recognized Rose in 2012 with the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award.

MILC CONTINUED — The Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program that protects dairy farmers against income loss has been extended through Sept. 1 or until a new Margin Protection Program for dairy producers (MPP) begins. Contracts for eligible producers enrolled in MILC on or before Sept. 30, 2013, are automatically extended. Dairy operations with approved MILC contracts will continue to receive monthly payments if a payment rate is in effect. Since MILC payments are limited to a maximum amount of milk production each fiscal year, dairy operations may select a production start month other than October 2013 (the start of fiscal year 2014). Producers who want to select a different production start month must visit their local FSA office between April 14 and May 30. For more information on MILC, contact a local FSA county office or visit {}.

CROP LOAN RATES SET – USDA set state and county rates for 2014 marketing assistance loans (MAL) and loan deficiency payments. Loan rates apply to 2014 wheat, barley, oats, corn, grain sorghum, soybeans and other crops. MALs provide producers interim financing at harvest to meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest lows. Loan deficiency payments are a type of nonrecourse loan in which a producer may agree to forgo loan eligibility and receive an output subsidy. To check on your county’s loan rates, visit {fsa.usda. gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=prsu&topic=lor}.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 42 No. 14 April 7, 2014 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 goes toward the production of FarmWeek. “Farm, Family, Food” is used under license of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.

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. © 2014 Illinois Agricultural Association

STAFF Editor Chris Anderson ( Legislative Affairs Editor Kay Shipman ( Agricultural Affairs Editor Deana Stroisch ( Senior Commodities Editor Daniel Grant ( Editorial Assistant Margie Fraley ( Business Production Manager Bob Standard ( Advertising Sales Manager Richard Verdery ( Classified sales coordinator Nan Fannin ( Director of News and Communications Michael L. Orso Advertising Sales Representatives Hurst and Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 1-800-397-8908 (advertising inquiries only) Gary White - Northern Illinois Doug McDaniel - Southern Illinois Editorial phone number: 309-557-2239 Classified advertising: 309-557-3155 Display advertising: 1-800-676-2353

Commodity title options focus of webinar BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau members got a closer look at the 2014 farm bill last week during a live webinar, the first in a series of three. The webinar, hosted by IFB’s Doug Yoder, focused on the farm bill’s commodity title options — marketing loans, Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC). Farm owners will have to make a one-time, irrevocable choice between the programs. The decision will be in effect for the life of the farm bill. “It’s impossible, I believe at this time, for any of us to come up with a concrete decision on which is best for you and your operations,” said Yoder, IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management. Once USDA publishes the rules and regulations later this fall, Yoder said, IFB will host additional webinars and informational meetings across Illinois. The 2014 farm bill, signed into law in February, sets agricultural and nutrition policy for the next five years. The bill is expected to cost $956 billion over 10 years. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) expenses account for nearly 80 percent of the bill’s cost. The bill, formally called the Agricultural Act of 2014, eliminates direct payments and modifies the target price program, replacing the CounterCyclical Payment (CCP) program with PLC. The bill also changes revenue safety nets, replacing Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) with two ARC options — county ARC and individual farm ARC. Yoder warned the provisions can change as USDA makes more information available. Highlights of the webinar included: • PLC, Yoder explained, is a fixed reference target price program. Payments are based on reference prices: $3.70 for corn, $8.40 for soybeans, $5.50 for wheat and $2.40 for

Additional webinars planned

Illinois Farm Bureau will host two more farm bill webinars in the coming weeks. They include: • Crop Insurance Changes and Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), 8 a.m., Wednesday. • Dairy Provisions and Livestock Disaster Provisions, 8 p.m., April 17. To register, go online: {} or {}.

View our initial farm bill webinar and register for the remaining two at

oats. Payments are issued if the higher of the National Average Market Price or the loan rate is below the reference price. Payments are based on 85 percent of a crop’s base acres. This is the only program eligible for Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). • ARC at the county level is a revenue program based on the five-year Olympic average of county yields and National Average Market Price. This option provides for a separate guarantee for each crop. Payments are based on 85 percent of a crop’s base acres. The guarantee is 86 percent of benchmark revenue with the maximum payment limited to 10 percent of the benchmark revenue. This option is not eligible for SCO. • ARC at the individual farm level is a revenue program based on the rolling fiveyear Olympic average of farm yields and National Average

Market Price. It is a whole farm program, so revenues from all crops produced on all FSA farms enrolled in ARC individual coverage will be combined to calculate guarantees and payments. Payments are based on 65 percent of total base acres, with the maximum payment limited to 10 percent of benchmark revenue. This option is not eligible for SCO. • Farm owners also will have a chance to maintain or reallocate base acres. The total base acres cannot be increased, only modified based on the average planted acres on each farm in crop years 2009-2012. • Payment yields also can be updated when using PLC. Farm owners will have a onetime choice to either maintain current payment yields used in the 2008 farm bill for CCP program or to update them using 90 percent of the 20082012 yields. • The 2008 farm bill loan rates stay the same for nonrecourse marketing loans. The loans are available regardless of whether farmers choose PLC or ARC.

Easter egg supplies adequate, prices higher Can’t wait to dye Easter eggs? You’ll find an adequate supply of the protein powerhouses, but you may have to pay higher prices. Retail egg prices currently sell for a historically high $1.98 per dozen. But they remain a relatively low-cost protein source compared to meat and dairy product prices, which have also increased, said John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Federation deputy chief economist. Global demand for eggs has been very strong. In 2013, U.S. egg exports were up 39 percent compared to the prior year. Much of

the jump occurred due to an increase in exports to Mexico. The country boasts strong consumer demand, but also had its domestic egg supply reduced by an avian influenza outbreak that began in early 2012. “U.S. table egg production has increased in each of the past three years and is expected to increase by another 1.5 percent again this year. Demand remains strong, but exports to Mexico will begin to taper off as that country rebuilds its domestic poultry industry,” Anderson concluded.


Page 3 Monday, April 7, 2014 FarmWeek

Borgic: PEDV creates ripple effect in industry

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek The past year for hog farmers probably could be best described by author Charles Dickens as the “best of times and the worst of times.” Record hog prices and lower input costs fueled a rapid return to profitability for many pork producers. But many operations also struggle with the ongoing spread of one of the deadliest viruses to impact the industry in years — porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). Phil Borgic, a pork producer from Nokomis who last month was elected to a threeyear term on the National Pork Producers Council board, discussed the situation last week. “The speed that (PEDV) is transmitted (from animal to animal) has slowed, but we continue to have new cases,” Borgic told FarmWeek. “We really don’t know when it will end. As the weather warms up, hopefully it will slow down.” The number of hogs and pigs in Illinois the past quarter (4.35 million) declined 5 percent compared to the previous year, while the market hog inventory slipped 6 percent, USDA reported in its quarterly hogs and pigs report. The number of pigs saved per litter in Illinois also declined last quarter, from 10.1 to 10. Piglets are extremely vulnerable to PEDV. “We have buildings sitting empty in the Midwest (due to losses from PEDV),” Borgic said. “In July, I won’t have any pigs to sell. It’s like having an empty bin with $8 corn.” Losses aren’t limited to hog farms, though. The deadly virus will impact everyone from commercial feed providers and meat packers to consumers at the grocery store. “It (PEDV) has hit all aspects of our industry,” Borgic said. “It will have a deep ripple effect.” Feed mills don’t have as many tons of grain to grind, so production hours have


declined. Meanwhile, fewer piglets on some farms led to a decrease in vaccination orders from pharmaceutical compaPhil Borgic nies. Fewer piglets also result in a reduction of trucking orders and fewer head to run through packing plants, said Borgic, who expects to lay off two truckers in July. The bright side for pork producers is the fact that tight supplies drove hog prices to record highs. Consumers, on the other hand, could feel the pinch of high pork prices for some time. Hog prices in recent months jumped $60 to $70 per head. Meanwhile, the cost to feed an animal since last year decreased from $130$140 per head to around $80 due to a reduction in crop prices, Borgic added.

(Left) Cortney Fries of Chicago holds a baby pig as fellow Chicago moms Sara McGuire, center, and Samantha Godden-Chmielowicz check photos capturing the experience. Fifteen Illinois Farm Families ® moms toured the Gould farm near Maple Park last week to learn about pork production. The Gould herd remains PEDV-free. (Above) Farmer Chris Gould explains sow gestation to the moms, who asked questions about gestation stalls, antibiotic use and animal health. Pork producers Pam Janssen of Minonk and Kate Hagenbuch of Utica led discussions along with Dr. Noel Garbes from Bethany Animal Hospital. Tom Ulrich from The Countr y Store in Sycamore demonstrated how to cut a pork loin and ways to prepare pork. The moms share their experiences with other consumers via their blogs at {}. (Photos by Cyndi Cook)

Researchers attempt to shine light on swine virus

Researchers face numerous uncertainties as they attempt to understand and stop the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). There have been more than 4,700 cases of PEDV reported in 28 states, said Jim Fraley, Illinois Farm Bureau livestock program director, who last week attended the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) annual conference in Omaha, Neb. But the nonreportable disease makes it difficult for the industry to pin down the actual number of farms and animals affected by the virus since it was confirmed in the U.S. about one year ago. Researchers also aren’t sure how the disease spreads from farm to farm and from animal to animal, although many believe infected manure and handling equipment, such as boots, coveralls and trailers,

are key sources. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently suggested infected feed could be a pathway for the virus after it found porcine plasma, used for piglet feed, infected with PEDV. The National Pork Board (NPB) last year invested more than $1 million in PEDV research, and found feed to be an unlikely source of transmission in initial bench trials, according to Lisa Becton, NPB veterinarian. “Initial research shows it (PEDV) likely is not transmitted through feed,” Fraley said. “But more research is needed.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USDA and swine industry officials are examining multiple feed ingredients and manufacturing processes along with other possible pathways for the

virus, such as contaminated air or dust particles. NPB earmarked an additional $650,000 this year for PEDV research activities, such as continued validation of diagnostic tests, continuation of a surveillance project and assessing the efficacy of disinfection. Other projects focus on the development of a vaccine and sow immunity. “Farmers are noticing in herds (with previous PEDV outbreaks), it’s coming back. So there could be a genetic variant,” said Fraley, who received NIAA’s Meritorious Service Award at last week’s conference. “Sow immunity may not be for very long.” The pork industry’s main strategy to slow the spread of PEDV revolves around tighter biosecurity on farms. But Ron Plain, University of Missouri ag economist,

believes the situation could get worse before it gets better. The number of pigs saved per litter last quarter declined from 10.08 last year to 9.53. It was the largest drop in herd efficiency in 30 years, Plain noted. Lower herd numbers the past six months likely will translate to fewer market hogs this summer. Some of the drop off in numbers could be made up by increased output. “I anticipate (hog) weights will be up,” Plain said. “With fewer pigs out there, it allows us to keep pigs on feed longer. It will offset some of the reduction in the number of hogs being slaughtered.” Hog slaughter last quarter declined about 6 percent from a year ago, but pork production only slipped 2 to 3 percent due to heavier animals. — Daniel Grant

Continued from page 1 hogs and judges for eight youth judging contests during the year, he noted.

Hogs moved from the WIU farm don’t go directly back to the barns, but stay at a secondary site for five to eight days

before re-entering the farm. Hoge weighs education against practical biosecurity for PEDV. “We, as an industry, can

lock everyone out and not educate people or we can educate people,” he said, adding he chooses education.



FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, April 7, 2014

Senator to SWAT: School ‘funding formula broken’ BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

A new proposal to change how Illinois funds education would focus on student needs and reward districts that prepare students for careers, members of Illinois Farm Bureau’s Local and State Government Strength with Advisory Team (SWAT) heard last week. Via teleconference, state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, discussed legislation introduced the night before that encom-

View Kay Shipman’s interview with SWAT leader Mark Tuttle about education funding at

passes recommendations of the legislative Education Funding Advisory Committee. Manar cochaired the committee along with state Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville. “The formula’s broken and that’s why we need to change the law,� Manar told Farm Bureau leaders. “The (state) budget’s going to be the budget ... The law matters.� Manar described the goals of Amendment 1 to SB 16. Under the proposal, about 90 percent of state education funding would be distributed

based on student needs, such as special education, poverty, transportation and English as a second language. The remaining 10 percent would be distributed through prekindergarten programs. Currently, the state distributes 42 percent of state funds based on student need criteria, according to Manar. Districts also would receive funding for preparing students for success after graduation. This would include career education programs, which would include agriculture education, advanced placement courses and duel-credit courses for which students earn high school and college credits, Manar noted. “We have a skill gap in what is needed (from graduates) and what districts are producing,� Manar said. The legislators propose to end the state’s complex funding formula, including block grants to Chicago. Manar explained those block grants addressed a need from the late 1990s that no longer exists. “We’re saying today there are more diverse needs and block grants are not

the way to distribute funds,� he added. The proposed changes would take into account districts governed by the Property Tax Extension Law Limit, commonly known as PTELL, Manar told Farm Bureau leaders. He also seeks to “protect� districts’ transportation dollars from future budget cuts by including transportation funding in the state funding formula. The legislation proposes phasing in the changes over three years because “we are suggesting dramatic changes to the status quo,� Manar said. “IFB is in the process of analyzing this very detailed concept,� said Kevin Semlow, IFB director of state legislation. “IFB policy makes several points in regards to leveling up the expenditure/revenue per student funding and contains several other issues in regards to improving the school aid formula. The process that the Senate Education Funding Advisory Committee was very thorough and this proposal reflects the work of that group.�

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USDA moving on farm bill implementation, Vilsack says USDA is “absolutely on track� to have federal livestock disaster assistance programs available for signup on April 15, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced last week. This spring and summer, he said, the agency will Sec. Tom Vilsack focus on distributing educational materials about the new safety net program available through the 2014 farm bill. “We are significantly ahead of where we were in implementing the 2008 farm bill,� Vilsack told the House Agriculture Committee. Vilsack testified on the state of the rural economy. “The rural economy,

despite agriculture’s record income, still continues to have its challenges with persistent poverty, with stagnant job growth and with population loss for the first time in quite some time,� he said. The farm bill, he said, “provides real hope for a brighter and better future of rural America.� Vilsack said he expects farm income to be above average this year. He attributed the increase in farm revenue, in part, to high levels of agricultural exports. Last year, he said, was a record for agricultural exports. The first quarter of this year, he said, surpassed totals of the first quarter of last year by roughly 8 percent. “So we expect and anticipate again strong export records in beef, poultry and pork, as well as a 40 percent increase in volume in some bulk commodities that are now being traded,� he said.

State legislators continued to grind through bills as action heated up on the floors in their respective chambers last week. Lawmakers face a Friday deadline to pass bills out of the chamber of origin. Fiscal issues and property rights remain high priorities for Illinois Farm Bureau. IFB opposes raising the minimum wage to $10.65 per hour and is working with other opponents, including the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business and Illinois Manufacturers Association. SB 68, sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, was sent to the Senate floor by the Senate Executive Committee. Kevin Semlow, Illinois Farm Bureau director of state legislation, anticipated senators will vote on the bill before Friday’s deadline. Property owners’ rights are reflected in SB 3457, sponsored by Sen. Sue Rezin, RMorris. IFB supports the proposal to limit utility companies’ use of an expedited review process for transmission line projects up to a certain size. Opposed by the utility companies and the Illinois Energy Association, the bill was held in the Senate Energy Committee. SB 3398, sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson, DOlympia Fields, would have state transportation rules

dovetail with changes to federal trucking regulations. Supported by IFB, the bill would extend exemptions available to larger trucks with farm license plates to smaller trucks pulling a trailer with a farm license plate as allowed under federal regulations. IFB is continuing discussions with the Illinois Department of Transportation and other bill opponents. IFB efforts to establish statewide wind energy siting standards and turbine decommissioning face strong opposition from the wind energy industry, numerous county government boards and concerned citizens. SB 3263, sponsored by Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, would require an agricultural impact mitigation with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), a deconstruction plan that includes financial assurance for possible removal of the wind turbines, and a statewide siting approval process for commercial wind energy project overseen by IDOA. IFB continues to address issues with the wind industry, although the bill remained in committee. An attempt to make several changes to the Livestock Management Facilities Act stalled in the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee. IFB opposes HB 5637, sponsored by Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana. — Kay Shipman


IFB issues advancing in Statehouse


Page 5 Monday, April 7, 2014 FarmWeek

USDA predicts record bean plantings, fewer corn acres BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Corn may be king in the Midwest, but soybeans should gain significant ground this year. USDA last week predicted farmers this spring will plant 6 percent more soybeans and 4 percent less corn compared to last year. Nationwide, plantings were pegged at a record 81.49 million acres of beans and 91.69 million acres of corn. If realized, corn plantings this year would be the lowest since 2010, but still the fifth largest on record. The largest declines in corn plantings this spring could occur in North Dakota (900,000 fewer acres), Nebras-

ka (550,000) and South Dakota (400,000). Meanwhile, farmers in Iowa are expected to plant 400,000 more acres of corn, while small changes to the crop mix in Illinois (50,000 more acres of beans and 100,000 fewer acres of corn) were forecast. “The fringe states are where we’d expect people to slip away from corn, especially with the recent strength in the soybean and wheat markets,” Mike Krueger, market analyst with The Money Farm, said during a teleconference hosted by the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. The projections, obviously, depend heavily on weather the next couple months. “Despite all the technology we have, when it comes to

U.S. wheat plantings decline; crop condition deteriorates The condition of the winter wheat crop declined last month due in part to bitter cold temperatures and lack of moisture in some areas. And the crop isn’t out of the woods, yet. A hard freeze in coming weeks could wreak havoc on winter wheat as it breaks dormancy. “As wheat breaks dormancy, if we were to have a hard freeze, it could be more detrimental to the crop than the past winter,” said Dave Hankammer, a FarmWeek CropWatcher from Millstadt (St. Clair County). The portion of the winter wheat crop rated good to excellent since February declined 9 percent in Illinois, 3 percent in Nebraska and 1 percent in Kansas (the largest winter wheat producing state).

‘As wheat breaks dormancy, if we were to have a hard freeze, it could be more detrimental to the crop than the past winter.’ — Dave Hankammer St. Clair County wheat grower

The condition of the wheat crop in Illinois last week was rated 47 percent good to excellent, 44 percent fair and 9 percent poor to very poor. That was a downgrade compared to February when the crop was rated 56 percent good to excellent, 40 percent fair and just 4 percent poor to very poor. “Despite the extreme cold, I think wheat came through (the winter) OK,” Hankammer said. “The snow cover helped protect it somewhat.” Farmers last fall didn’t seed as much wheat as the previous year. Winter wheat seeded in Illinois last fall totaled 740,000 acres, down 15 percent from the previous year, USDA noted in its prospective plantings and acreage report. Nationwide, farmers this year were projected to plant 55.8 million acres of all wheat, down 1 percent from the previous year. Southern Illinois farmers in recent weeks managed to apply nitrogen to much of the wheat in that region. “We had some really nice weather and were able to get our nitrogen applied,” Hankammer said. Randy Anderson, a CropWatcher from Galatia (Saline County) had similar success. “I finished top-dressing all my wheat (the last week of March),” Anderson said. “I’m hoping to get some extra tillering.” Illinois farmers this year hope to duplicate or exceed their wheat yields of 2013 when the crop yielded a record average of 67 bushels per acre statewide. — Daniel Grant

planting, we’re still at the mercy of the weather to a large extent,” John Anderson, deputy chief economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, told the RFD Radio Network®. The first half of this month was predicted to remain cool and wet. “The extended weather outlook may impact the balance between corn and soybean acres going forward,” Krueger said. A window of opportunity could temper concerns of

planting delays in a hurry, though, according to Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor senior market analyst. “Everybody’s worried (farmers) aren’t going to do any early (corn) planting this year,” Durchholz said. “But people tend to forget last year (U.S. farmers) planted about half the corn crop in one week — the second week in May — and we ended up with a crop a lot bigger than people expected it to be.” Farmers last year planted just 1 percent of the corn crop

through the first three weeks of April and still produced a record crop of 13.9 billion bushels. In 2009, farmers planted just 2 percent of the corn crop a week prior to May Day and produced the secondlargest crop on record (13.2 billion bushels). And farmers possibly could plant more acres than USDA predicted last week. Last year, there were about 7.5 million prevent-plant acres. “There is a bit of a tendency for acreage to go up from this report into the June (acreage) report, depending on the weather,” Durchholz said. Krueger agreed the weather will be key now that USDA set its baseline planting estimates. “Now the focus turns to weather and potential yields,” he added. “A 5- to 10-bushelper-acre swing is a lot more significant than a 1 to 2 million swing in the acreage estimates.” Illinois farmers this year are expected to plant 11.9 million acres of corn, down 1 percent from a year ago, and 9.5 million acres of beans, up 1 percent.

FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, April 7, 2014 Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: We don’t have much more to report, other than the snow in the road ditches and along the fence rows has just about melted. We have missed all the rain so far this week, so the ground is actually drying very slowly. The soil temperature is still way too cold to think about planting. In the meantime, everyone is getting their machinery ready. Farmers with with beef cows are tending newborn calves. Maybe it will be warmer next week. Pete Tekampe, Grayslake, Lake County: We received almost .25 of an inch of rain Thursday. We had two days in the 60s, but we still have some piles of snow left. The highs were in the low 40s the rest of the week with the lows in the mid to upper 20s. The only fieldwork consisted of spreading manure in the early mornings before it got muddy. Three days of rain events are forecast for this week with temperature highs in the mid-40s for most of the week. The record winter just will not give up. Be safe thinking about spring. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Rain was forecast last week, but we only had a trace on Thursday with temperatures in the low 40s and upper 30s. Soils are drying off, but with the cool days nobody is very excited about taking their equipment out of their sheds. Rye and wheat fields are greening up, but alfalfa fields are not. It will take some time to assess winter’s effect on crops. Ryan Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: We received 1.5 inches of rain over the last 24 hours (Thursday/Friday). The rain helped melt the last remaining snowdrifts and also settle some of the dirt that had blown around this winter. Temperatures are colder again, so planting and fieldwork are no closer. We have been focusing on hauling grain and continue to work on equipment maintenance. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: Rainfall amounts were lighter than anticipated in the .4 to .75 of an inch range. There has been some fieldwork done or attempted. There is still frost in areas, as NH3 knives are breaking. The forecast looks favorable for getting rolling this week. Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: We received 1.5 inches of rain last week, and it is still very chilly for April. There was some NH3 being applied before the rain, but not very much. No herbicides being applied yet. We did get in our seed corn and hope to start planting in about two weeks if the weather improves. Not much else to report; just waiting on Mother Nature. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: Another week has passed with no activity. A nice rain came on Thursday, which will help take out the remaining frost. Cold and wet looks to be the weather forecast. Hopefully, the sun will shine someday.

Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: It was a wet week with about 1.3 inches of rain by Thursday night. The big talk around here is moving the planter from one shed to the other. It’s been cold. The ground temperature is probably in the low 30s. Depending on who you talk to, there is frost here and there. Some have it in fields being tiled and some don’t. It depends on the cover and how much rain that particular area had. People are trying to get ready for spring and hoping it warms up. Getting real tired of this cold weather. Be safe. Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: It’s April and it’s raining. Still not a lot of warm weather yet. Federal crop start date isn’t here yet and our morning coffee group is talking about planting delays. There isn’t much machinery setting around in yards yet. I took a picture of snow by my wind break, and it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. Planting report says the Corn Belt is going to grow less corn and more soybeans this year. That gave a nice spark to the corn market.

Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: The USDA report followed our intentions of switching some of our acres from corn to soybeans in 2014. We still have not decided on the exact acreage number. We received 1.4 inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday. It looks like we will have more time to go over our equipment, as we will not be getting into the fields for a while with three of the next five days also having a chance for rain. The local closing bids for April 3 were nearby corn, $4.73; new-crop corn, $4.66; nearby soybeans, $14.74; new-crop soybeans, $11.79.

Carrie Winkelmann and future CropWatcher, Grady. Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: Much needed rain fell with amounts ranging from 1 to 2.5 inches. Fieldwork remains at a standstill, and farmers are ready for action. Many herbicide plans include residual herbicides to fend off water hemp and other small-seeded broadleaf weeds. Long-range weather forecasts offer a glimmer of hope for normal temps and precipitation to return by month’s end. Basis remains strong. Corn, $4.80, fall, $4.75; soybeans, $14.78, fall, $11.73; wheat, $6.38. Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: After perusing April’s cool and wet forecast and the storm early Thursday, I had better get busy on my ark in the backyard! Rain Wednesday and Thursday totaled 1.35 inches. Thursday’s early storm came with constant lightning, rolling thunder and monsoonal rain. We missed the storm Thursday night when we were expected to get another inch or so. The western half of Champaign County remains in the abnormally dry area. With soil temperature at 46.6 degrees and saturated soil, planters remain in the machine shed. The community of Gifford in northeastern Champaign County was devastated by a late-season tornado last November. Champaign County Farm Bureau, area Rotary, Lions clubs and Ludwig Bros. Landscaping teamed up to have a tree planting day Saturday. Nearly 150 volunteers planted 235 trees in and around Gifford. What a worthwhile effort! Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: Hello from soggy Adams County where the airport recorded 1.25 inches of rain, which was scheduled to continue the next couple of days. NH3 activity has picked up, and dry fertilizer has been applied. While some fields are dry enough to get across, others are not. I think some corn has been planted in the southwest parts of the county. Have a good day. Tom Ritter, Blue Mound, Macon County: Moisture conditions are starting to improve with three days of rain. As of late Thursday, we had 1.7 inches and it was still raining with a forecast for more Friday. It is one of those years when it is better to be wet than be tempted with the cool soil temperatures. There has been a little field activity, mostly application of anhydrous, but some corn was planted more than 10 days ago near Assumption. At this early date, most farmers seem to be patient and will wait for the right conditions. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: When I said think spring last week, it must have worked because last week we got April showers. Rainfall totals were approaching the 3-inch mark and will probably be past that by the time this prints. The first part of the week saw some fertilizer and ammonia application, along with ditch and tile hole repairs ahead of the rains. It looks like another week of getting equipment ready, and hoping dry soils and warm temperatures meet so we can kick off this growing season. Then again, maybe the more experienced farmers I have been talking to are right, we just need to cool our jets until after Easter Sunday.

Carrie Winkelmann, Tallula, Menard County: Well, I guess the rain is the big thing to report this week. We received a total of 2.16 inches of rain since it started Wednesday morning. As it was raining when I wrote this, I expect that total to increase. Jimmy Ayers, New City, Sangamon County: We worked 70 acres this week. The bottom ground is working better than the top ground, which is still not dry. We received 1.5 inches of rain, while some had 2.5 inches. It’s been gentle enough that it all soaked in and hasn’t run off. Soil temperatures are 42 degrees. A couple of farmers with dry, well-tiled soil planted several hundred acres of corn April 1. And that’s no April Fool’s joke! David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: Fieldwork rolled along pretty well here Monday (March 31) and Tuesday, which consisted mainly of anhydrous ammonia applications, a little bit of spraying, some fertilizer spreading and a little bit of tillage. A farmer at a local co-op made a comment on being too dry for the first of April, and boy did that ever change in a matter of a few hours. I had .6 of an inch of rain on Tuesday night, but as this report was put in on Thursday, my electronic rain gauge is saying 4.4 inches. Not dry anymore. Still early, but we would like for warmer temperatures. On Wednesday afternoon, temperatures were in the 40s, and it sounded like we were receiving a July thunderstorm with the thunder, lightning and some hail. The Kaskaskia River here in Fayette County is predicted to flood several bottom acres. Things have changed. Have a safe week. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: A very small amount of fieldwork was done last week. Heavy rains moved in on Wednesday and Thursday leaving 3 to 4 inches or more. The ground has warmed some, but is still very cold. The creeks and rivers are bank-full and running full blast. It will be another week or so before fieldwork can resume if it doesn’t rain too much more. Farmers will have more time to prepare for planting. Next week looks to be cooler with off and on showers. No early planting this year Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: What a difference one week has made. As of my last report, rain showers started moving through the area leaving about a .5 of an inch of rain. We have now received 4-plus inches of rain due to several severe storms. Daytime temperatures have reached into the 70s, while nighttime temps dropped down to the 40s. Despite the rain, farmers got into the fields for a couple of days before soil conditions became too wet. An increasing number of farmers were applying anhydrous last week preparing for the intended corn crop. Several fields have received an application of manure, as livestock farmers empty their containment facilities and clean their lots. The wheat crop continues to improve with warmer temps. Farmers are scouting their wheat fields to determine weed pressure that may be present. Local grain bids are corn, $4.99; soybeans, $14.73; wheat, $6.79. Have a safe week.

Page 7 Monday, April 7, 2014 FarmWeek Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: Cancel the drought talk. Here we go again. We had .8 of an inch of rain over the past weekend (March 29-30), and we had .4 of an inch Wednesday. Thursday, shortly after noon, we received 2.5 inches in about 45 minutes. Roads are flooded and creeks are out. So much for the very early planting. Sure hope we don’t have to mud stuff in another year, but that’s a long way off. Don’t know how the corn that was planted two weeks ago is going to fare through this. Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Our open window for fieldwork has slammed shut! Rain amounts of up to 5 inches left us with flooded creeks and streams. I don’t think any corn was planted before this rain. Wheat has been struggling. Water standing on it isn’t going to help its progress.

Randy Anderson, Galatia, Saline County: Wet, wet, wet! Had anywhere from 3 to 7 inches in some locations and some strong winds, too. Flooding is a problem. A farmer near Harrisburg reported 9 inches in 24 hours (ThursdayFriday). Went up to Madison County early last week and saw a lot of fields on the way up where anhydrous had been applied and fieldwork had been done, too. Wheat has started to turn around, and it is really greening up. Keep checking on grain in the bin. With temps on the rise, it doesn’t take long to go out of condition.

Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: Not much field activity was accomplished. After rain on March 27 and 28, the fields were too wet for us to even start spraying burndown. In some areas that got a little less rainfall, farmers were trying to get some wheat sprayed. There was a little more anhydrous applied, but I think those areas were widely scattered. At least the temps have been in the 70s, so the grass in yards is starting to green up. Wheat is starting to break dormancy and green up and look good. As I call in this report, it is raining again, so I think it will probably be next week before we get in the field to do anything.

Planting delays could linger this month BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Farmers’ chances of early corn planting in Illinois eroded last week as more cool temperatures and rain kept planters in the shed. Heavy rain drenched much of the state the midd l e o f l a s t we e k a n d s o i l temperatures remained in the 30s and 40s across much o f t h e s t a t e e xc e p t d e e p southern Illinois, where topsoil temperatures finally neared 50 degrees. Last week’s stor ms also brought severe weather that d a m a g e d t r e e s, b u i l d i n g s and vehicles in par ts of southwest Illinois in Madison and St. Clair counties near St. Louis. “We’ve been on the cold and dry side since Novem-

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

ber,” said Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey. “It doesn’t look too promising (for planting). Soil temperatures are still pretty cold except in far southern Illinois.” T he statewide temperature last month averaged just 33.8 deg rees, 7 deg rees b e l ow ave r a g e. I t wa s t h e eighth-coldest March on record and fifth-consecutive month of below-averag e temperatures, according to Angel. Precipitation last month averaged 1.49 inches, which wa s j u s t h a l f t h e ave r a g e amount for March. Heavy snowfall last month and the rest of winter didn’t boost soil moisture a lot, as much of the melted snow ran off

fields due to a deep freeze in the ground. “We came out of winter with almost the same soil moisture that we went into it,” Angel said. Subsoil moisture across

the state last week was rated 36 percent shor t or ver y short, 62 percent adequate and just 2 percent surplus, the National Agricultural Statistics Ser vice Illinois field office reported.

seed that somehow was moved into the state,” Hager said. “The myriad of ways in which Palmer amaranth seeds can be transported, however,

Burndown herbicides or thorough tillage are effective tactics to control emerged Palmer amaranth plants before planting. However,

label recommendations for soil texture and organic matter content) of an effective soil residual herbicide no sooner than seven days prior to planting and no more than three days after planting. Begin scouting fields within 14 to 21 days after crop emerg ence. Foliar-applied herbicides must be applied before Palmer amaranth p l a n t s e xc e e d 4 i n ch e s i n height. Consider including a soil residual herbicide during the application of foliar-applied herbicides. The combination can help control additional Palmer amaranth emergence and allow the crop to gain a competitive advantage over later-emerging weeds. Fields should be scouted seven to 14 days after application of the foliar-applied herbicide to determine herbicide effectiveness, if the soil residual herbicide included with the post application is providing effective control and if additional Palmer amaranth plants have emerged.

Eight out of the last nine months featured below-average precipitation. “Since July 1 (2013), we have a statewide (moisture) deficit of about 7 inches,” Angel said. “It doesn’t put us back in drought, but it reflects the general dryness of the last six to nine months.” The rain forecast last week could help the soil moisture deficit. But it’s not good for planting prospects. “The forecast for the eastern half of the U.S. (this month) is for an increased c h a n c e o f b e l o w - a ve r a g e temperatures,” Angel added. “There are some indications we could be on the dry side (this week), but then we rever t b a ck to wet co n d i tions.”

Get ready to fight Palmer amaranth again this year Given the prolific growth l a s t y e a r o f Pa l m e r a m a ranth, Illinois far mers can expect the persistent weed to pose a threat this g rowing season. “If ignored or otherwise n o t e f f e c t i ve l y m a n a g e d , Palmer amaranth can reduce cor n and soybean yield to n e a r l y z e r o,” s a i d A a r o n Hager, University of Illinois weed sciences researcher. Hager noted simply attempting to control Palmer amaranth often leads to ineffective herbicide applications, substantial crop yield loss and increased weed infestations. Fa r m e r s s h o u l d a i m t o reduce potential for the weed to neg atively impact y i e l d s a n d r e d u c e Pa l m e r amaranth seed production. Three general principles of Palmer amaranth management include: • Prevention is preferable to eradication. “Palmer amaranth is not native to Illinois so any population discovered in the state originated from

‘The myriad of ways in which Palmer amaranth seeds can be transported, however, makes preventing seed introduction extremely challenging.’ — Aaron Hager U of I weed sciences researcher

makes preventing seed introduction extremely challenging.” • Annual herbicide costs can double once Palmer amaranth becomes established. There are no soil- or foliar-applied herbicides that will provide sufficient control of Palmer amaranth throughout the entire growing season. • Control of Palmer amaranth should not be less than 100 percent. What methods can best control Palmer amaranth?

glyphosate will not control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth and growth regulator herbicides (such as 2,4-D or dicamba) are most effect i v e o n Pa l m e r a m a r a n t h plants less than 4 inches tall. If pre-plant scouting (which is especially important prior to planting soybeans) reveals Palmer amaranth plants taller than 4 inches, consider using tillage instead of herbicides to control the plants. Apply a full rate (based on

“If scouting reveals additional Palmer amaranth plants have emerged, make a second application of a foliar-applied herbicide before Palmer amaranth p l a n t s a r e 4 i n c h e s t a l l ,” Hager said. “ P hy s i c a l l y r e m ove a n y remaining Palmer amaranth plants before the plants reach the reproductive growth stage. Plants should be severed at or below the soil surface and carried out of the field. Severed plants can root at the stem if left on the soil surface, and plants can regenerate from stems severed above the soil surface.”

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FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, April 7, 2014

Crop stocks tighter than expected

unless there are major planting problems in the BY DANIEL GRANT U.S. during the next two months. FarmWeek “I’m not saying the market can’t go higher, but Crop prices rallied last week as quarterly stock one overriding thing I look at for corn is even estimates were tighter than expected, particularly though the stock number was below expectafor corn. tions, it’s still significantly (30 percent) larger than Corn futures raced to a seven-month high, above last year,” said Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor senior $5 per bushel, soybean futures were well above $14 market analyst. and wheat futures were near $7 after USDA estimated farmers this USDA last week released its stocks year will plant 91.69 million acres of Check and prospective plantings reports. for a video report with Darrel corn. A trend yield of 163 bushels “Coming into the report, people Good on price prospects. per acre would result in a crop of were looking for an increase of 13.775 billion bushels, just 150 milquarterly corn stocks,” said Mike Krueger, analyst with The Money Farm. “And peo- lion bushels smaller than last year’s record, according ple were hoping for a larger soybean stock number to Darrel Good, University of Illinois ag economist. A crop of that size would result in a small buildup of to alleviate some tightness. We didn’t get that.” corn supplies and fairly steady prices, he noted. The quarterly corn stocks estimate (7.01 billion Soybean prices, on the other hand, could bushels) was up from last year, but about 100 million bushels short of trade expectations. The majority of decrease significantly. Harvest in South America could set a record and U.S. farmers this spring could corn stocks (3.86 billion bushels) are on farms. plant a record 81.49 million acres. “We must raise a big crop (this year) to satisfy A trend yield of 44.5 bushels per acre would growing demand for corn,” said John Roach, of produce a 3.59 billion bushel crop, up 300 milRoach Ag Marketing. “Corn demand should grow lion bushels from last year, Good said. between 2 and 3 percent this year.” “A crop of that size would likely lead to inventoQuarterly soybean stocks were pegged at 992 milries in excess of 300 million bushels by the end of lion bushels, down 1 percent from a year ago. The majority of soybean stocks (610 million bushels) are the 2014-15 marketing year and suggests that the average soybean price next year will be sharply lower in off-farm storage. than the average of $12.95 projected for the current Quarterly wheat stocks (1.05 billion bushels) year,” he said. declined 15 percent from a year ago. Durchholz said there’s still time for U.S. farmers Farmers last week were encouraged to take to produce large crops this year despite the slow advantage of the rallies. start to planting. “It’s a good time to pull the trigger,” on old and “Most (downside price) risk is for beans,” he new-crop corn and soybean sales, Roach said. added. “They’re still high priced relative to corn.” Prices aren’t expected to remain wildly bullish

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Bruce Eidson, Macomb Agriscience Association (MAA) Board chair, announces a $50,000 milestone in pledges toward an agriculture program at Macomb High School. MAA, which includes McDonough County Farm Bureau, has collected pledges since 2012. The group hopes to raise $300,000 during the next three years. (Photo by Sarah Grant, McDonough County Farm Bureau manager and MAA treasurer)

Purebred dairy calf sale April 12

The Illinois Purebred Dairy Cattle Association will sponsor its 66th annual calf sale April 12 at the Champaign County Fairgrounds in Champaign. This sale provides an excellent opportunity for 4-H and FFA dairy members to purchase outstanding dairy project animals. In addition, cattle can be purchased by anyone wanting to begin or add to their dairy herd. The sale cattle have been selected from some of the top dairy herds throughout Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa and feature the latest in dairy cattle genetics.

This sale will offer high quality dairy cattle from five breeds. The breakdown of the sale includes one Ayrshire, one Milking Shorthorn, four Brown Swiss, six Jerseys and 33 Holsteins. Sale catalogs with pedigree information on all sale consignments can be obtained at {dairyagendato} and {illinoishol}, or by calling Gene McCoy, IL PDCA Treasurer, at 217-840-0157. Sale cattle will be ready for inspection at 8 a.m. April 12. The sale will begin at 12:30 p.m.



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FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, April 7, 2014

SWCDs facing challenges IAAA acquired by BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) across Illinois share financial and manpower challenges, but specialize to fit local natural resource needs, five SWCD representatives told Farm Bureau leaders last week. Four county SWCD directors and a county SWCD employee discussed issues with and answered questions from the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Local and State Government Strength with Advisory Team (SWAT). The panel included SWCD chairmen Gerard Fabrizius of Kane-DuPage counties, Steve Stierwalt of Champaign County and Jerry Seidel of Jefferson County; Logan County SWCD director Kent Kleinschmidt; and Rob Clark, Tazewell County resource conservationist. In each office, the SWCD had reduced staff and services, such as education programs and newsletters, due to state budget cuts, the panelists said. Some SWCDs in urban counties tapped additional

SWCD facts

Illinois Farm Bureau’s Local and State Government Strength with Advisory Team invested time last week discussing Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in the state. • SWCDs are organized by county and overseen by a locally elected board to put conservation practices on the land and protect soil and water

funding opportunities, such as charging municipalities for providing urban environmental services. The Champaign County SWCD obtained federal conservation grants and partnered on natural resource projects with the American Farmland Trust, reported Stierwalt. Despite SWCDs’ limited financial and personnel resources, farmers and landowners continue to seek SWCD advice and help with conservation structures and practices — sometimes unknowingly,

resources. Five dual-county offices exist. • State funding for SWCDs comes through the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) budget. • SWCDs share local office space with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) staff in counties where NRCS maintains an office.

Source: IDOA and Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts according to the panelists. “When a farmer comes into the office, he wants a (conservation) practice. He doesn’t care if it is a SWCD or NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) employee,” Clark said. The state’s nutrient reduction strategy may offer opportunities to use SWCDs’ expertise to help farmers comply, a couple of the panelists noted. “We feel it’s our niche, especially with the nutrient reduction strategy. Nobody can do what we do,” Fabrizius said.


The Illinois Agricultural Auditing Association (IAAA) started a new general ledger last week as CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA). Based in Minneapolis, CLA acquired IAAA, retaining more than 20 employees based in Normal and Springfield offices. IAAA shareholders voted in January to sell assets to CLA, a national certified public accounting and consulting firm. “Our objective is to work with existing clients. IAAA was founded in 1924 to provide the highest level of service to grain elevators, farm supply retailers, seed companies and many other agricultural membership organizations,” said Brian Brown, CLA principal, Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and former IAAA general manager. “CLA’s depth of resources, talent and expertise will only enhance the services we provide. We look forward to growing our capabilities and agribusiness practice with CLA.” CLA employs 3,600 people located in 86 offices in 21 states. Employees provide auditing, tax, outsourcing and financial consulting services. Integrated wealth advisory services offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC address clients’ personal financial goals. “CLA is excited about the opportunity to leverage IAAA’s talents for our own clients as well as expand our presence in Illinois to 13 locations with the addition of

IAAA’s Bloomington/Normal and Springfield locations,” said CLA Regional Managing Principal Steve DeBruyn, CPA. “The combination of the two firms represents a perfect fit for CLA. IAAA’s emphasis on client service excellence as well as an industry-focused approach matches CLA’s culture and mission perfectly. The blend of skills across both firms allows us to continue to expand our capabilities and deliver maximum impact for our clients. “With the addition of IAAA, CLA’s agribusiness and cooperatives group will have more than 125 employees serving more than 5,000 farmers, producers, processors and cooperatives across the country,” DeBruyn concluded. Originally formed as the Illinois Agricultural Co-operatives Association in 1924, IAAA was reorganized in 1931. The association remained unique as the only CPA firm in existence formed as a cooperative specializing in agribusiness.

Tuesday: • “FarmWeek: the Early Word” • Freese-Notis Weather • Rep. Marcus Evans Jr., DChicago: Adopt-A-Legislator • Amanda Hinman, Illinois Farm Families field mom: Gould farm tour Wednesday: • Bob Flider, Illinois Department of Agriculture: Illinois Department of Natural Resources FY 2015 budget • Steve Wilson, Illinois State Water Survey: irrigation reporting • “Town and Country Partners,” Diane Letson, Feeding America: the power of food Thursday: • Illinois Corn Growers

Association representative • Illinois Soybean Association representative: Panama trip • Doug Dufford, Illinois Department of Natural Resources: new laws for feral swine • Cynthia Haskins, Illinois Farm Bureau: Start2Farm meeting Friday: • Don Schaefer, Mid-West Truckers Association • Monica Nyman, St. Louis Dairy Council: spring clean your diet • Lisa Misevicz, Food and Drug Administration: food safety at home To find a radio station near you that carries RFD Radio Network®, go to, click on “Radio,” then click on “Affiliates.”


‘CLA’s depth of resources, talent and exper tise will only enhance the services we provide.’

— Brian Brown CLA principal


Page 11 Monday, April 7, 2014 FarmWeek

‘Biogas Roadmap’ may reduce greenhouse gas emissions USDA, EPA and DOE to publish plan for agriculture BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

Three federal agencies will team up with the U.S. dairy industry in June to release a “Biogas Roadmap,” a plan to increase the use of biogas systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture. USDA, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy are working on the plan, which will call for improvements through voluntary steps — not mandates. It’s part of

President Barack Obama’s Climate Change Action Plan. The overall goal: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. “The most important voluntary opportunities are through manure management with anaerobic digestion and biogas utilization,” according to a recent report released by the Obama administration. “Biogas systems are proven and effective technology to process organic waste and generate renewable energy.

They can reduce the risk of potential air and water quality issues while providing additional revenue for the operation. Yet, there are still relatively few digesters in operation on farms across America. “The administration is committed to promoting additional, cost-effective actions to reduce methane emissions through voluntary partnerships and programs,” according to the report. Illinois is home to three

methane digesters used on dairies, according to Jim Fraley, Illinois Farm Bureau’s livestock director. The digesters take cow manure, process it, capture the methane and burn it in a special motor that will generate electricity, he said. “Being a farmer, they don’t waste a thing,” he said. “They take the heat from the process and warm the drinking water for the cows. They like drinking warm water, and the cows don’t have to waste energy warming cold drinking water. The resulting solids from this process make a

wonderful, no-odor product that retains key nutrients and organic matter that make a wonderful soil amendment.” Fraley also noted that dairy farmers have made “tremendous strides” in genetic improvements and production efficiency. “When we look at milk production and cow numbers since World War II, the cow of today is producing 4.5 times more milk than her midcentury counterpart,” Fraley said. “Nationally, we have one-third fewer cows. We continue to do more with less.”

immediately. The building should be completed by Nov.1. The office will replace an existing 50-yearold building in Harrisburg. Current Farm Credit Illinois employees housed in Harrisburg will move to the new Marion regional office. The office will serve farm

families and landowners in Alexander, Gallatin, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union and Williamson counties. The regional team manages a $135 million loan portfolio for 445 farmer stockholders. Farm Credit Illinois is a farmer-owned and directed

agricultural lending cooperative serving 8,690 farm families, agribusinesses and rural landowners in the southern 60 counties of Illinois. The association employs 210 staff based in the Mahomet central office and 14 regional office locations.

New regional office planned for Farm Credit Illinois Office will serve 10 southern counties Farmers in 10 southern Illinois counties will begin visiting a new, regional Farm Credit Illinois office in Marion later this year. Farm Credit board members, management and regional office staff broke ground for

the new office Thursday. The one-story, brick building will provide 9,137 square feet of office space to accommodate up to 20 staff and meeting space for up to 40 people. Construction will begin


FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, April 7, 2014

IDNR, USDA join farmers to rid state of feral hogs New rule limits release, hunting BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Feral hogs damage crops and pastures, and carry diseases. That’s why the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and USDA Wildlife Services program worked with farmers to eliminate the wild animals from Clay, Effingham, Fayette and Marion counties. A small feral hog population remains in Fulton County, and Fulton County Bureau member John Lascelles has seen them and their destruction. “This spring and winter they made a mess, rooting up sod (in a pasture),” Lascelles said. “You don’t know when they’re going to be there.” Lascelles described the hogs’ damage of newly emerged corn by rooting, wiping out rows of plants. Feral swine also cut mature corn and piled the stalks into “nests” in the middle of fields, surprising farmers who found the damage when harvesting. Mark Alessi, IDNR’s assis-

tant chief of wildlife resources, applauded farmers and landowners for working closely with the state and federal agencies to eliminate feral swine in four counties and to significantly reduce Fulton County’s feral hog production. He encouraged farmers and the public to watch and report feral swine in Fulton County. Some feral hogs may have moved into Pike County, he added. Under a new state rule that was approved by the legislative Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, feral swine may only be legally hunted during gun deer seasons. Landowners must apply for a nuisance wildlife permit to shoot a feral hog outside deer season. Hunters are required to report any feral hog they shoot to IDNR. The state has made feral swine hunting in an enclosure, and outfitting and guiding of feral swine hunts illegal. Alessi cautioned hunters m u s t p r o ve t h e y b e l i e ve d an animal was a feral hog or they could face civil

or criminal penalties u n d e r s t a t e l a w. Farmers and landowners may contact an IDNR wildlife biologist to remove feral swine at no cost. “There’s an advantage to removing large groups of pigs at a time,” Alessi said. By trapping groups of hogs, they are prevented from scattering and becoming more difficult to find and remove, he explained. To find your district wildlife biologist, visit {web.extension.}. Click on “find your district wildlife biologist” and type in your county for the biologist’s name and contact information.

Feral swine roam inside a trap. USDA Wildlife Services and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources work with farmers and landowners to eliminate pockets of the destructive animals. (Photo courtesy USDA Wildlife Services)

Court denies industry challenge of COOL The U.S. government continues to impose mandatory country-of-origin labeling on the meat industry. A federal court recently rejected a legal challenge of the mandatory labeling law by various industry groups, including the American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef

Reaching maximum capacity? Let’s talk.

Association (NCBA) and National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). The groups argued that COOL requirements, which went into effect March 2009, violate First Amendment rights. The groups also argued COOL does not directly advance government interest and imposes significant regulatory and financial costs to the industry. “(Packers and processors) have to segregate all the products. It’s a huge disruption to the process,” said Scott George, NCBA president. “The costs are then translated back to the producer.” Canada and Mexico, two of the United States’ top trading partners, challenged the law’s legality under international trade rules established by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO ruled that certain COOL requirements discriminate against foreign livestock. The U.S. in 2013 responded

by requiring additional steps to meet COOL requirements, such as detailing each production step to be added to the label. The final rule also prohibited the use of multi-country labels and eliminated mixed-origin labels. Canada and Mexico objected to the changes and once again challenged the law via the WTO. If the WTO maintains its previous ruling that COOL violates trade agreements, Canada and Mexico will be authorized to slap retaliatory tariffs on numerous U.S. products ranging from beef, pork and poultry to manufactured goods. “We’ll likely be found noncompliant with our trade obligations,” said Randy Spronk, NPPC president. “It would allow retaliation with dozens of tariffs.” A ruling from the WTO is expected in June.

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Page 13 Monday, April 7, 2014 FarmWeek

County FB manager wins national ag award Lindsay McQueen, Jackson and Union County Farm Bureau manager, received the Charles Eastin Award from the Agriculture Council of America on National Ag Day in Washington, D.C. The Eastin Award honors an outstanding individual for being an advocate for accurate communications

between rural and urban audiences. “I was immensely surprised,” McQueen said of the honor. Laughing,

Soyfoods celebration goes global Lindsay McQueen

beverage that comes with packets of ginger and sugar. “WISHH introduces the benefits of soy and then trains developing country companies and organizations that are eager to add U.S. soy protein to their foods,” said Dan Farney, a Morton soybean farmer and ISA director who serves as WISHH treasurer. “The teamwork creates new markets for all, and helps local consumers have healthier diets.” The soy checkoff, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Agency for International Development (USAID) assist WISHH and its partners to meet the need for protein in nutritious foods that are affordable and available for developing country diets.

April means Soyfoods Month in the U.S., but the excitement for new foods containing soy stretches far beyond the nation’s borders. Illinois Soybean Association’s (ISA) support of the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program helped companies and groups in developing countries introduce nutritious and delicious Hispanic and African soyfoods in 2013-14. Examples include three soybased Amelia cream soups launched by Guatemalan food company Alimentos Sociedad Anonima (Alimentos SA) in March. Ugandan food maker SESACO Ltd. has introduced SoySip, a just-add-hot-water

McQueen said she hadn’t thought much about possibly winning the award after learning her secretary nominated her. About a month ago, McQueen was notified she had won. McQueen has served as a Farm Bureau manager in Cumberland, Union and Jackson counties. She soon will become the Cass-Morgan Farm Bureau manager. Throughout childhood and high school, McQueen was involved with 4-H and FFA and continues to volunteer with both groups. During McQueen’s career, she has conducted many meetings to improve the quality and lifestyle of individuals involved in agriculture. She has hosted and continues to arrange seminars addressing topics that benefit her members. She regularly teaches Agriculture in the Classroom lessons to students in her counties and also serves as a guest speaker at universities, high schools and for Farm Bureau and several organizations that promote agriculture.


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and June 17 in the Quad Cities for kindergarten through grade 12 teachers. Call the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531, or email for registration and pricing details. Reservation deadline is May 30. EORIA — Farm Bureau will sponsor an equine roundtable at 6 p.m. April 21 at the Farm Bureau building. Jody Booher, equine law attorney, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 686-7070 for reservations by April 17. • Farm Bureau will host a defensive driving course at 9:30 a.m. April 23-24 at the Farm Bureau office. Doug Sommer, Sommer Safety Sessions, will teach the course. Cost is $15. Call the Farm Bureau office at 686-7070 for reservations by April 16. ILL — The Women’s Committee will sponsor a spring flower and plant sale. Order forms are available at the Farm Bureau office and are due by April 25. Orders may be picked up from 1 to 5 p.m. May 3. Proceeds will benefit the Phone Cards for Troops program. Call the Farm Bureau office at 727-4811 for more information.

OOK — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a horticulture workshop gardening on your balcony/make an herb planter from 9 a.m. to noon April 26 at the Farm Bureau office. Nancy Pollard, U of I Extension, will speak. Cost is $20. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-354-3276 for reservations by April 21. • Farm Bureau will host a Maywood Park behind-thescenes tour from 10 a.m to noon April 22 at the Maywood Racetrack in Melrose Park. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708354-3276 for reservations. UMBERLAND — A Foundation scholarship will be available to a graduating senior planning to pursue a degree in an ag-related field of study. Call the Farm Bureau office at 849-3031 for an application or more information. Application deadline is April 15. ASALLE — Farm Bureau will host an equine meeting at 7 p.m. April 15 to discuss issues impacting the equine industry. Call the Farm Bureau office at 4330371 for more information. EE — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor 2014 Summer Ag Institute II June 16 at the Farm Bureau office

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FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, April 7, 2014

AFBF survey: Meat, dairy and egg prices post big gains BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Meat eaters may want to stock up the freezer soon if they haven’t already. Pork, beef and dairy prices posted big gains in recent months and could climb even higher this summer. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) most recent marketbasket survey found the prices of meat and dairy-related items in recent months climbed anywhere from 6 to 11 percent compared to last year. “The value of the marketbasket (of various food products) was up 3.5 percent from last year,” John Anderson, AFBF deputy chief economist, told FarmWeek. “Most of that increase was driven by meat and dairy-related items.” Retail meat prices in recent months climbed to historic highs. Last year, prices averaged $5.29 per pound for choice beef, $3.61 per pound for pork and $1.96 for chicken. The price increases are due to a combination of smaller supplies and strong demand, Anderson noted. The U.S. cattle herd this year is the smallest since 1951, while hog numbers continue to drop due to losses caused by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. “I’m still expecting recordhigh hog prices this summer,”

said Ron Plain, University of Missouri ag economist. “I think we’re going to see this virus continue to spread.”

‘I expect we’ll continue to see (meat) price increases.’ — John Anderson AFBF deputy chief economist

Anderson also believes meat prices will continue to rise, although not at the recent pace. “I expect we’ll continue to see (meat) price increases,” Anderson said. “We do have historically small supplies and it’s not something you turn around very quickly. These are long production processes when you talk about cattle and hogs.” Plain predicted poultry production will increase this year, although not enough to replace much pork or beef. “There’s growth (in chick placements), but it’s not rampant growth,” he said. Egg prices in the most recent AFBF survey increased 8 percent last year due in large part to export growth. Mexico was a major buyer of U.S. eggs due to issues with Avian influenza that cut production south of the border.

M A R K E T FA C T S Feeder pig prices reported to USDA* Total Composite Weighted Average Receipts and Price (Formula and Cash): Weight Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price 10-12 lbs. (formula) $38.00-$58.56 $47.16 40 lbs. (cash) $137.00-$142.00 $139.14 Recipts

This Week 43,790 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Last Week 64,850

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $125.49 $124.80 $0.69 $92.86 $92.35 $0.51

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

This week $152.12 $148.00

Prev. week $150.83 $152.00

Change $1.29 -$4.00

CME feeder cattle index — 600-800 Lbs. This is a composite price of feeder cattle transactions in 27 states. (Prices $ per hundredweight) Prev. week Change This week $178.09 $178.55 -$0.46

Lamb prices Negotiated, wooled and shorn, 86-166 lbs. for 153-185 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 164.43); 174-188 lbs. for 144.20-160 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 156.50)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 3/27/2014 18.6 18.1 52.3 3/20/2014 20.3 20.3 45.3 Last year 26.2 26.2 19.8 Season total 952.2 952.2 882.0 Previous season total 792.7 792.7 432.4 USDA projected total 1495 1125 1450 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

Anderson predicted export growth, and egg prices, will taper off this year as Mexico rebuilds its domestic poultry and egg industry. Overall, Anderson believes consumers won’t back off food purchases this year even if meat and dairy prices take a bigger bite out of the food budget. “I think demand is pretty strong and will stay strong,” he said. “(Meat) prices aren’t up just because we’ve got historically small production numbers. It’s also because demand has been good in the U.S. and globally.” Most other changes to food prices were modest, about 1 to 2 percent, in the latest AFBF marketbasket survey.

Ready, set, start the growing season!

Can you feel it — the excitement, the anticipation, the nervousness? It’s a feeling similar to a race horse at the derby waiting for the gates to open. Robins are in the yard, and geese are working their way back north. We’re getting teased with some warm Kevin Frye days. And after months of being indoors, the air tastes so fresh and sweet it almost burns the lungs. For some, this time of year brings excitement to get out the golf clubs, the start of baseball season or doing some yard work. But to a farmer, it’s getting out to work up the soil, plant seeds and see the first sprouts of the season. Before getting into the fields, a great way to work off some of that energy is to make sure you are ready to have a safe year. Check out this list I’ve compiled covering some items to accomplish before getting back in the fields. • Make sure your brakes are in good condition and working properly. • Check the condition of your equipments’ hoses, fuel lines, belts and wiring/electronics. • Complete routine equipment maintenance, such as greasing moving parts and checking fluid levels. • Confirm guards are securely in place over PTO units, drive belts and augers. • Inspect personal protective equipment (PPE) and replace as necessary, such as safety glasses, goggles, gloves, hearing protection, dust masks and welding helmets. • Ensure hitches, safety chains and hitch pins are available and sturdy to tow equipment. • Make sure slow moving vehicle (SMV) signs are propBY KEVIN FRYE

erly positioned and replaced if worn or faded. • Verify lights and flashers work properly on tractors/ mobile equipment. • Repair or replace damaged equipment, such as ladders, steps, handrails and platforms. • Make sure electrical boxes and connections are weatherproof with covers, no open conduit spaces or exposed wiring. • Restock or acquire first aid kits for each site, including tractors or trucks. • Fire extinguishers need to be charged, accessible and securely mounted. • Clear debris from traffic routes and walking surfaces.

• Remove grain dust buildup in elevator pits and legs. • Train employees on safety matters, such as equipment operation, proper use of PPE, handling chemicals and road safety. • Clean and organize the shop to start the year with good housekeeping practices (I know, this is the toughest one of all!). Working safely is certainly an ongoing process, but now is a great time to start in the right direction. So glad spring is finally here!

Kevin Frye serves as GROWMARK’s safety services manager. His email address is

Class III milk prices stay steady

The Class III price for milk adjusted to 3.5 percent butterfat for the month of March was announced at $23.33 per hundredweight. Prices remain at all-time highs and have only backed off 2 cents from the previous month’s announcement. Dairy farmers are pleased to have these higher prices, making all of their hard work this winter much more rewarding. Despite the extreme winter, the cows have done exceptionally well and have been putting milk in the tank. Cull cow prices are very high and that has led to some heavier culling in herds. This has kept the nation’s milk production at a very manageable level and supplies remain tight.


Page 15 Monday, April 7, 2014 FarmWeek


Planted acreage landscape in focus

The USDA prospective plantings report laid a muchneeded base for the trade. While private forecasts, some based on producer surveys, have value, none are as extensive as the USDA report, both in the size of the survey and the breadth of crops planted. While none of the planting forecasts were a huge surprise, the corn number did come in a little below expectations. Ironically, the 91.7 million acre planting forecast was close to the 92 million acre level that many analysts had been using since last fall. It was only the rally the last couple of months that had caused some to raise their expectations. But much of the winter price gain came at the end of the data collection period for the USDA report. Interestingly, the plantings of all crops were projected to increase 1 million acres from last year. After the total plantings number was adjusted for double-crop soybean plantings, the number only increased 2.5 million from last year. We have to remember prevent plant acres were 8.3 million last

year, near the upper end of the range of acres in that segment the last few years — 9.6 million. The low side is 1.2 million. The key to the situation is the total of all acreage included — prevent plant and conservation reserve land. The total, including those two categories, is down 4.5 million from last year and 6 million below the most recent high in 2008. That’s using a 2.5 million forecast for prevent plant this year. Given the late start to spring, there’s reason to think prevent plant acres could be higher than our forecast, but unless planting is extremely late, we’d hesitate to think they will exceed 4 million. That still leaves 3 to 4 million acres to be planted to something that was not accounted for in the prospective planting forecasts. It’s important to recognize the June planting report is statistically a more accurate forecast. Since 2000, corn plantings had a tendency to increase about 750,000 acres, while soybeans have declined 500,000 acres. Interestingly, that’s a reverse of the trend in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This year, we wouldn’t be shocked at an increase for both, but for corn in particular. Still, the ultimate mix will depend on weather and the speed of planting.

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Corn Strategy

ü2013 crop: USDA’s planting and stocks reports carried corn prices to new seasonal highs. Amid the surge, it’s important to recognize the changes were only less negative, not positive. Still, there is a chance weather could carry prices slightly higher in the near futures. Use rallies above $5 on May futures to make catch-up sales. Check the Hotline occasionally to see if we add to them. ü2014 crop: Another 10 percent was priced after the report. Use rallies above $5 on December futures to get sales up to the recommended 35 percent. vFundamentals: Not surprisingly, the USDA reports offered enough surprise to lift prices to new seasonal highs. But even though the stocks were a little smaller than anticipated, there’s no fundamental argument to expect a major move up unless weather has an impact on the new crop. Plantings may have been a little smaller than anticipated, but it will take serious yield problems to carry prices even moderately higher. Export demand remains good.

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2013 crop: The trade took the neutral soybean stocks as a measure to expect USDA to lower its ending stocks number. But with South American prices declining, it’s still difficult to build a bullish argument. We do not recommend owning inventory. ü2014 crop: November futures stalled in the first significant band of resistance at $12 to $12.25. Use rallies to get sales to recommended levels. vFundamentals: The steady drum of exports continues to dominate the focus of the trade. But as outlined in our column last week, the trade is finally “waking up” to the impact on cash prices due to the Chinese reselling/shipping delays of Brazilian cargoes. And it has started to undermine demand at the U.S. Gulf with basis falling 20 cents last week. Interior basis is holding better because of processing demand, but needs to hold to make imports into interior crush plants economically viable.

Wheat Strategy

ü2013 crop: A slightly bearish stocks report triggered a sell-off early last week, but good export sales gave futures some strength. Remaining oldcrop bushels were priced at $6.87 on May futures before the report’s release. Use a rebound to $6.75 on May to get sales wrapped up. ü2014 crop: New-crop support dissipated with light rains in the southern Plains. Still, the overall pattern doesn’t yet suggest plentiful help is on the way. Unless that

changes, prices should rebound from last week’s losses. Use a rebound above $6.85 on Chicago July futures to make catchup sales. vFundamentals: With nine weeks left in the crop year, export sales are averaging well above what is needed to meet the USDA estimate of 1.175 billion bushels. Traders are still optimistic about weather’s price implications, but got a little more cautious last week. More precipitation is possible for the southern Plains, but not until the end of the eight- to 14-day forecast range.



FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, April 7, 2014

Engagement: It does matter

Webster’s Dictionary defines “engage” as to involve, to join in battle. While I do not see all of our issues necessarily as a battle, certainly some scenarios we have been involved with over the years could be likened to a battle to save our rights to do what we do in agriculture. Preserving the sales tax exemption for our agricultural inputs and protecting livestock operations from onerous and unnecessary regulations represent a couple! Being successful with these issues, as well as the many other legislative and regulatory issues with which we are involved, hinge on your decision as a member of the Illinois Farm Bureau to engage. If you think your engagement does not make a difference, allow me to share two very recent and real examples of when it made a difference. MARK GEBHARDS A big one. First, our goal of passing a much-needed farm bill after nearly three years of attempts. We asked you to engage — a call to action — to encourage members of Congress to pass that bill and you did. About 719 of you made 1,934 contacts. Many of those were made to Sen. Mark Kirk, who was not necessarily a “yes” vote until we made those calls. I am convinced your contacts made the difference in moving him to vote yes! My second example deals with our efforts to convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) its proposed rule concerning the volumetric reduction of the Renewable Fuel Standard was not in the best interest of agriculture or the econIllinois State University students sign up to join collegiate Farm Bureau on the Normal campus last fall. Farm omy. Bureau offers students an opportunity to get politically involved. (Photo by Kristen Faucon) Your calls to the White House and the administration have resulted in EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stating publicly that EPA may need to rethink its proposed rule. This reconsideration would not happen without your contacts and the comAmerican pride and take advantage of your con- ments so many of you submitted! Young adults constantly are told to do somestitutional right! thing. Go to college, find a job, get good grades Those two examples illustrate why it matters and why we • You know agriculture. — and don’t forget to call home. must continue engaging more members in our outreach and I’m sure you are not surprised to hear fewer Between these tasks and checking our social actions to impact proposed legislation or regulation. people are directly involved in agriculture and media accounts, keeping up with politics comes To focus more of our efforts within IFB to continue building even fewer farm. Likewise, it is not hard to last on our to-do list. We do not care about the upon our outreach and engagement, we recently created a new believe the elected officials who represent and issues, at least not enough to do something about staff position of assistant director of political advocacy and make decisions about agriculture may have little them. grassroots engagement. Heather Combs has assumed those or no experience in this field. Hearing from conWe would much rather watch duties to provide members the latest Peterson Farm Brothers stituents engaged in diverse opportunities to ag parody video or share our out- agriculture, especially support both agricultural those who are young, rage about the latest agriculture and organizational political can have a great smear campaign. But as much as Illinois Farm Bureau continues to enhance opgrowth and involvement. portunities for members of all ages to express impact on their deciwe would love to ignore politics, She will be responsible their views and be politically engaged. sions. we cannot wait to do so until we for developing and imple• Because our are “old,” like our parents. KRISTEN menting programs to help voice needs to be heard. Politics and government are FAUCON gain financial support for the Activator program, increasing An elected official’s constituents are those directly tied to agriculture and our member political support for Friends of Agriculture and prowho elect him or her. We must vote and be everyday lives, including young moting various efforts to grow member engagement in the actively engaged with the issues or we may be people. Here are my top five reasons young peopolitical arena. ignored. One example is student loan interest ple should be politically engaged. We are putting our money where our mouth is by focusing rates. Many of us have or will take out student • So you can complain! our IFB efforts with Heather. She will be a tremendous asset for We are ready to complain about the state of the loans, and Congress determines those interest our county Farm Bureaus as we continue growing and engaging rates. If we are not actively engaged in political government and politics, but what have we done members, and carrying on our success in the legislative arena. to try change it? Voted? Called our senator or rep- issues, those rates may be raised without our However, our success comes full circle. Without our memresentative? The fact is we need to make an effort knowledge until after the fact. If we are bers and their decision to be engaged and involved, we wouldn’t involved, we speak out in support or against for change to occur. Making an effort means gethave won. Remember you and your actions matter! issues that affect us. ting involved. Then if things don’t go your way, Every day, decisions are being made that will you have a right to complain. Mark Gebhards serves as the executive director of the IFB governmental affect us now or in the future. We have the • We are inheriting these problems. affairs and commodities division. Politicians are making decisions today that will opportunity to impact the decisions made in affect us now and in the future. When we look at government as well as issues on the political agenda. fiscal issues and the mounting debt at the state The solution is simple. Take action. Whether and federal levels, we are the ones who will pay. Letters are limited to 300 words and must include a name and you cast a vote, call an elected official or work on You can influence key decisions by getting address. FarmWeek reserves the right to reject any letter and will a campaign, each of us can shape the political involved and ensuring the decisions made will not publish political endorsements. environment. We can encourage friends and not place a burden on us or future generations. All letters are subject to editing, and only an original with a family members to vote or discuss key issues • It is our right. written signature and complete address will be accepted. with them or simply share this article. As citizens older than 18, we have earned the A daytime telephone number is required for verification, but Make cultivating the political arena through right to vote. Generations before us fought to will not be published. action at the top of your agenda. earn this right that we take for granted. Look at Only one letter per writer will be accepted in a 60-day perithe 15th, 19th and 26th amendments and imagod. Typed letters are preferred. Kristen Faucon of Athens, Menard County, serves as a ine what it would have been like to be an Send letters to: state legislative affairs intern for Illinois Farm Bureau. African-American or a woman without a right FarmWeek Letters She is a junior majoring in agriculture communicafor your voice to be heard. What if you were 18 1701 Towanda Ave. tions and minoring in political science at Illinois State and old enough to die for your country, but not Bloomington, Ill., 61701 University. old enough to decide who runs it. Show some

Ag needs everyone to get politically involved

Letter policy

Farmweek april 7 2014  

farming, Illinois Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau, agriculture, ag

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