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If you’re not registered to vote, there’s still time. Illinois residents who register by Feb. 18 can vote in the March 18 primary...........3

Lower crop prices and higher input costs fail to dampen IFB Young Leader enthusiasm for the future of agriculture........................7

Need a special gift for your Valentine? Instead of flowers and candy, consider giving items produced in Illinois...............................8

A service of

Five-year farm bill a done deal Illinois Farm Bureau mission: Improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life.

Monday, February 10, 2014

BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

It’s done. President Barack Obama signed the five-year farm bill into law at Michigan State University Friday — just days after the U.S. Senate approved the measure. “This farm bill was a very challenging piece of business. It is a bill that positions us for the future,” said President Obama. “This bill is not just about helping farmers. It’s about jobs, infrastructure, research and conservation.”     Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert Jr. applauded the news. “I’m glad, happy it’s over,” he said. “For Illinois farmers, it’s really a good package and a good bill that went forward.” Guebert complimented legislators, who he said kept farmers’ interests in mind when crafting the bill. He also thanked IFB members who made phone calls urging Congress to pass it. The $956 billion bill, formally called the Agricultural Act of 2014, ends direct pay-

®

Two sections Volume 42, No. 6

ments to farmers this crop year, beefs up crop insurance in 2015 and includes $8.6 billion in cuts to the food stamp program over the next decade. The bill also does the following: • Imposes payment limits for all commodity programs of $125,000 per person or $250,000 per couple. • Alters the dairy program to include gross margin insurance but no supply management. Guebert said enhancing crop insurance and improving livestock disaster assistance were IFB’s top priorities. See more details on page 4. He also said he was happy to see the bill keeps permanent law in place. “That is the only hammer, per se, that agriculture had, that we have an opportunity to write another farm bill after this one’s passed,” he said. The House passed the farm bill by a vote of 266-151. The Senate approved the farm bill last week by a vote of 68-32. Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, and Mark Kirk,

R-Highland Park, supported the bill.          Following the Senate vote, Kirk described the farm bill as “crucial to the thousands of farms in Illinois.” “This compromise legislation cuts $23 billion in real

wireless technology offers opportunities to boost farm productivity and sustainability. But the wealth of new information presents a privacy risk for farmers. Illinois Farm Bureau on numerous occasions expressed concerns over current and future use of precision farming data collected by farmers. The Climate Corporation, a weather insurance underwriter purchased by Monsanto last October for $930 million, last week addressed the situation when it unveiled landmark data access and privacy commitments to farmers. “Our goal is to immediately and transparently address farmer concerns about data access and privacy while driving forward the conversation about industry standards that support farmers’

needs,” David Friedberg, CEO of The Climate Corporation, said during a teleconference. The company committed to the following guiding principles to address farmers’ concerns about big data. • Farmers own the data they create. The Climate Corporation will implement safeguards to protect farmers’ information from outside parties and will not sell customer-provided data to third parties. • The Climate Corporation will provide basic data services for farmers free of charge. • Farmer’s data can be shared easily across systems. The Climate Corporation will enable farmers to share their data across other platforms at no cost. “Fundamentally we believe we can deliver new value to

entitlement reform and is an example of working together to reduce the deficit and the abuse of federal resources,” Kirk said. Durbin said the farm bill provides stability for farmers, while also increasing invest-

ADDING TO THE PILES

ment in rural development, energy and agricultural research. “Illinois’ economy starts on the farm, and this farm bill will give our farmers the certainty they need to plan for another crop year,” he said.

Mark Hines put a new tractor through its paces moving snow last week on his McLean County farm. A 6-inch snowfall stacked up as strong winds blew the flakes into large drifts. See more about weather on page 10. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Climate Corp. moves to protect farmer information/privacy amid ‘green data revolution’ BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

A plethora of new data streams on farms generated by

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

farmers and the people they serve,” Friedberg said. “And increase productivity and sustainability of agriculture around the world.” The Climate Corporation also formed an Open Agriculture Data Alliance of providers and farmers to act as an independent body to ensure common data formats, and security and privacy standards. Since Monsanto purchased The Climate Corporation, it introduced Climate Basic, a free mobile service that provides weather, soil and crop data at the field level, and online scouting and tracking tools that help farmers make more informed decisions about their farming operations. The Climate Corporation this month will unveil Climate Pro, a subscription service that fea-

tures a number of advisers to help increase profitability through customized field recommendations to maximize yield and minimize costs. “We believe this work will bring about a green data revolution,” Friedberg said. “This green data revolution will be realized through better decisions enabled by new data, communications and computing tools.” Real-time data captured at the farm level will help farmers make decisions, such as the optimal time to plant and harvest, calculate nutrients needed throughout the season to maximize yield without overinvesting and determine when and what type of applications to make to get ahead of pest and disease pressure, Friedberg noted. Visit {monsanto.com} or {climate.com}.

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


Quick Takes

TRADITION

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, February 10, 2014

QUINN DELAYING BUDGET PLAN — Gov. Pat Quinn will deliver his budget proposal in late March instead of mid-February after receiving approval from the Illinois House and Senate last week. By law, state legislators must vote whether to allow postponement of the budget message. A late March speech means the budget proposal would arrive after the March 18 primary election. Quinn has delayed previous budget messages. The first came in 2009 after he’d been in office only a few weeks. He also pushed back delivery of his 2010 and 2013 budgets.

GRAIN DEATH SETTLEMENT — An Illinois jury last week awarded $16 million to families of two teenagers who died in a 2010 Carroll County grain bin accident. The jury found Haasbach LLC owner Consolidated Grain and Barge responsible for the deaths. The families of 19-year-old Alex Pacas and 14-yearold Wyatt Whitebread will each receive $8 million. The teens worked at Haasbach, which is no longer in business. Pacas and Whitebread were inside a grain bin to help corn flow while machinery was running. The two became trapped in corn more than 30 feet deep. Haasbach paid $200,000 in federal fines for more than two dozen violations. It also paid more than $68,000 for violating child labor laws. Catherine Rylatt, Pacas’ aunt, helped found the Grain Handling Safety Coalition following her nephew’s death. Illinois Farm Bureau is a coalition member.

AG LEADERSHIP APPLICATION DEADLINE — Applications for the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2016 will be accepted until March 1. Classes for the two-year program begin in August. Class members will attend 14 sessions conducted primarily at Illinois locations. Seminars feature speakers in the fields of agriculture, government and education. A one-week seminar in Washington, D.C., will occur in March 2015, and an International Study Seminar will be conducted in February-March 2016. Men and women 25 to 49 years of age working full time in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations are encouraged to apply. Applications are available at {AgLeadership.org}. The IALP is sponsored by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation. For more information, contact leaders@agleadership.org or call 309837-7711.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 42 No. 6 February 10, 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 (canderson@ilfb.org) Legislative Affairs Editor Kay Shipman (kayship@ilfb.org) Agricultural Affairs Editor Deana Stroisch (dstroisch@ilfb.org) Senior Commodities Editor Daniel Grant (dgrant@ilfb.org) Editorial Assistant Margie Fraley (mfraley@ilfb.org) Business Production Manager Bob Standard (bstandard@ilfb.org) Advertising Sales Manager Richard Verdery (rverdery@ilfb.org) Classified sales coordinator Nan Fannin (nfannin@ilfb.org) Director of News and Communications Michael L. Orso Advertising Sales Representatives Hurst and Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061 1-800-397-8908 (advertising inquiries only) Gary White - Northern Illinois Doug McDaniel - Southern Illinois Editorial phone number: 309-557-2239 Classified advertising: 309-557-3155 Display advertising: 1-800-676-2353

Guebert tending IFB ‘fertile ground’ Rich Guebert Jr. always knew he wanted to farm. When he asked his father if he could, Richard Guebert Sr., the elder dairy farmer from southwest Illinois, told his son, “OK,” but with one condition. “He said, ‘You have to go to college and you have to get a degree. Then you can come back to the farm,’” said Guebert. Guebert fulfilled that promise — and then some. Not only did the late, senior Guebert steer his eldest of six children toward a degree in ag education with a minor in animal science from Southern Illinois University, but also encouraged him to get involved in Farm Bureau. “My dad was on the county board and encouraged me to be part of the Young Leaders,” said Guebert. “It was good social time to get together once a month and talk about the challenges we had on the farm, or how old-fashioned our dads were. That’s basically how I got started.” Nearly three decades later, Guebert took the helm of the Illinois Farm Bureau in December. On the job now for nearly two months, Guebert has seen more airplane cabins and meeting rooms than his southern Illinois farm. But time spent on his farm located in the fertile river bottoms at the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers in Randolph County serves as a fitting metaphor for addressing the needs of his fellow Illinois farmers. “It can be really challenging,” said Guebert. “But that’s what you get with very fertile ground.” Guebert’s “fertile ground” for IFB in the short term consisted of helping push a multi-year,

BY MIKE ORSO

Rich Guebert Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau president, right, talks with Champaign County Farm Bureau President Lin Warfel at a district county president meeting in Pontiac. Guebert traveled the state to inform county Farm Bureau leadership about legislative priorities and provide program updates. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

federal farm bill across the finish line. He also helped hold back the still-pending Environmental Protection Agency proposal to curb minimum production levels of ethanol and biodiesel. Longer term, he sees keeping state and federal regulations in check as issues for greater Farm Bureau member engagement and involvement. “We need more participation by our members,” said Guebert. “We all need to be involved to let our members of Congress and state legislators know why we support Illinois Farm Bureau policy.” Guebert has firsthand knowledge of just how close regulations can creep. When home helping feed his son’s calves on a 10-degree morning, the state’s Livestock Management Facilities Act comes to mind. After closing a shed door, he points out how some of the equipment within, coupled with soil testing and grid-mapping technology, allows more precise nutrient application for his corn, soybeans and wheat to protect

groundwater. “We try to find a formula that places the least amount of nutrients to obtain the yield goal that we want to reach,” said Guebert, who served as a director on both boards of the Lower Kaskaskia Stakeholders Inc. and Kaskaskia Watershed Association. “The science has just traveled at warp speed. I think there is a lot more room for technology in this area.” Guebert farms with his son, Kyle, and talks passionately about opportunities in Illinois agriculture. He noted the availability of 50,000 jobs in the sector each year and a shortage of crop scientists in particular. “We have four great universities in Illinois that offer agriculture programs,” he said. “Whatever field they choose — marketing, manufacturing, technologies or coming back home to farm — there are plenty of opportunities for our next generation to grow Illinois agriculture and Farm Bureau to take both to the next level.”

7.24 percent. Second-place winners earning $250 are Chris Gould, Kane County, 75.53 bushels, 1.27 percent increase; Michael Deutsch, Kane County, 60.37 bushels, 2.13 percent; John Breedlove, Mason County, 65.44 bushels, 7.96 percent; Richard Adams, Kankakee County, 59.2 bushels, 2.29 percent; and Don Ikins, Iroquois County, 64.67 bushels, 3.84 percent. Nine other growers harvested yields last fall exceeding 70 bushels per acre. They include: • Terry Miller, Iroquois County, 80.3 bushels per acre, • Michael Sauber, Kane County, 80 bushels per acre, • Chris Gould, Kane County, 76.8 bushels per acre, • Dan Arkels, LaSalle County, 76.6 bushels per acre, • Jim Myers, Livingston County, 74.7 bushels per acre, • Victor Monk, Iroquois

County, 72 bushels per acre, • Chuck Diehl, DeKalb County, 70.7 bushels per acre, • Gary Baumhardt, McLean County, 70.6 bushels per acre, and • Tom Lutz, LaSalle County, 70.6 bushels per acre. Winners will be recognized March 6 in conjunction with the 2014 Soybean Summit at the Peoria Civic Center, which takes place March 7. The Yield Challenge, funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff, builds Illinois’ position as a global leader in soybean production. The competition challenges soybean growers to set up side-by-side plots — one using traditional methods and the other using new, innovative techniques. Information regarding the 2014 Yield Challenge is available at {soyyieldchallenge.com}.

Soy yield winners top 70 bushels Eleven Illinois soybean growers involved in the 2013 Yield Challenge sponsored by the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) harvested award-winning yields. Eighty-two growers completed the challenge. The top two growers in each crop reporting district won cash prizes for achieving the highest percentage yield increase. First-place winners earning $500 include Jeff Keifer, DeKalb County, 64.86 bushels per acre, 4 percent increase over 2012; Chuck Diehl, DeKalb County, 67.82 bushels, 2.89 percent; John Adams, Kankakee County, 44.18 bushels, 1.68 percent; Ken Smiciklas, McLean County, 57.41 bushels, 11.22 percent; Everett Meister, Adams County, 51.33 bushels, 6.43 percent; and Jeff Zick, Iroquois County, 59.91 bushels,


STATE

Page 3 Monday, February 10, 2014 FarmWeek

Illinois’ fiscal condition remains critical

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois no longer remains on life support, but has entered intensive care and faces years of treatment and therapy. Dan Long, executive director of the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecast-

ing and Accountability, recently delivered a somber diagnosis of the state’s fiscal health to Illinois Farm Bureau’s Strength with Advisory Teams (SWAT). Long reinforced that assessment last week before a joint Illinois House Committee. “The state is facing difficult (economic) challenges,” Long said. He offered several indicators of financial health and forecasts, similar to data state lawmakers had received days earlier.

Overall, Illinois has regained some ground, especially in employment numbers. But the state remains at a disadvantage compared to fellow Midwestern states and the nation — and the gap is widening. (See accompanying chart) Illinois began the 2009 recession without recovering jobs lost during the 2001 recession, Long noted. “Illinois never did recoup those losses before the last recession set in,” he said. “Thus, the gap to reach a new high in employment in the current recovery (period) is even more difficult for Illinois than for the nation as a whole.” As for the budget, state revenues have increased. As the state heads into the second half of the fiscal year, revenues should be viewed in a positive light, according to Long. Between fiscal years 2012 and 2014, revenues increased from $30 billion to $36 billion, while appropriations decreased from $25.8 billion

to $25.1 billion. He pointed out the temporary income tax increase is scheduled to start phasing out at the end of 2014. However, the state spent what should have been an employee pension payment and borrowed $7.1 billion over two years, adding to its existing debt, Long explained. The pension debt is projected to cost $1 billion a year — even through 2019. “When you borrow that

much money (for the pension payment), you put yourself in a hole,” Long said. The state’s overall debt is projected to be $4 billion at the end of the current fiscal year, he noted. “We’re struggling. We’re still carrying over a large amount of unpaid bills, and the tax revenue is supposed to decline (at the end of the year) and the Illinois State Board of Education wants $1 billion more in spending,” Long said.

On top of its fiscal problems, the state also is fighting an image problem that negates an economic rebound. “There’s the perception that Illinois is not a good state to do business in,” Long said. He provided several organizations’ state rankings, including economic competitiveness, business tax climate and small business policy index. Illinois scored poorly and frequently ranked among the bottom half of all states. One index ranked Illinois 48th for economic competitiveness. Long tempered the value that businesses place on various ranking indices, but not the cumulative impact. “Regardless of the validity of these rankings, these results create a perception that Illinois is a below-average business climate state,” Long said. “This is a stigma that Illinois has to overcome to attract and retain new businesses. “It’s not all bleak,” he said. “But there’s a lot of work to be done.”

to serve little purpose other than to provide potential fishing expedition opportunities to those seeking to harm farmers by filing lawsuits,” ag groups commented. In other sections of the proposed rules, the ag groups recommended PCB tweak its wording to clarify flexibility for farmers that had been sought by IEPA. This flexibility includes, for example, the ability to implement measures best suited for the farmers’ particular situation of land manure applications during the winter. The ag groups also commented in support of the

Livestock Management Facilities Act (LMFA) as the regulatory tool for siting livestock farms. The ag coalition believes the Illinois General Assembly clearly intended the LMFA “to be the sole regulatory tool for the siting and location of new farms.” PCB will deliberate the received comments in the next step of the process and then may issue a second notice of the proposed rules. The coalition of IFB and livestock groups will continue to be involved in the rulemaking process. — Kay Shipman

IFB and ag coalition seek parallel state and federal CAFO rules

Illinois rules for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) required to have National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits should mirror federal CAFO permit regulations, Illinois Farm Bureau and other agriculture coalition members commented to the Illinois Pollution Control Board (PCB). Recently, PCB’s first-notice comment period on the rules proposed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) ended. In Illinois, IEPA has authority over CAFO NPDES permits. The agency

Illinois Farm Bureau worked with livestock groups to ensure proposed livestock permit rules are practical.

proposed NPDES permit rules for certain CAFOs in Illinois. In detailed written comments, ag groups wrote “Illinois rules should be consistent with federal rules, and, therefore, not include requirements beyond those set forth in the federal rules.” The ag groups objected to PCB’s proposed reporting rule for unpermitted CAFOs.

“IEPA does not need this information,” the ag groups stated. And “such a rule is not required federally or authorized by existing state law.” PCB proposed unpermitted CAFOs would be required to report such detailed information as global positioning satellite coordinates for the livestock facility and types and sizes of animals. That requirement “appears

Eligible teens facing upcoming voter registration deadline Feb. 18 deadline for primary voters

For the first time, Illinois 17-yearolds may vote in a primary election before their 18th birthday — provided they register by Feb. 18, the deadline for standard voter registration. Since Jan. 1, 17-year-olds whose birthdays occur by Nov. 4 may register and vote in the March 18 primary election, Ken Menzel, deputy general counsel with the Illinois State Board of Election, told FarmWeek. “Previously, they had to be 18 on or before election day.”

Every unregistered voter shares the Feb. 18 deadline for standard voter registration. To check if you are registered, either contact the local election authority or visit {elections.il.gov} and click on the voter’s tab at the top center of the page. Click on the “Am I registered to vote” bar and enter your first and last names and zip code.

The information will include the voter’s polling place and a space to learn the districts in which the voter will be voting. Unregistered voters must register by Feb. 18 to complete standard registration. A voter registration form may be downloaded from {elections.il.gov} and must be completed and post-

marked by Feb. 18. Voter registration may be completed at a local election authority office. Voters also may contact those authorities with questions about their legislative districts. Voters unable to register by Feb. 18 may register from Feb. 19 through March 15 during grace-period registration at a local election authority office, Menzel noted. An individual who registers during the grace period cannot vote on March 18 because he or she would not be listed on the precinct’s roll of voters, he explained. — Kay Shipman


FEDERAL

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, February 10, 2014

Next farm bill challenge: Implementation BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

President Barack Obama signed off on a new five-year farm bill Friday, ending two years of political debate and delays. But the challenges aren’t over, said Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert Jr. Next up — implementation. “We need to get the rules written as quickly as possible,” said Guebert, who added that the rules need to be clear and succinct. USDA is in charge of Rich Guebert Jr. implementing the 949-page bill.  Once the rules are written, Guebert said they will be distributed to each state’s Farm Service Agency, which in turn, will distribute them to counties. Farmers will then have to learn all about them. And the clock is ticking. Before the start of the 2014

crop year, farmers will have to make a one-time irrevocable choice between Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), said Adam Nielsen, IFB director of national legislation and policy development. “That choice will have implications for another part of the program that will be rolled out next year, which is part of crop insurance — the Supplemental Coverage Option,” Nielsen said. The farm bill also enhances crop insurance by allowing farmers to buy additional coverage in 2015 — called Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) — that is based on county yield and loss basis to cover part of the deductible. Premium support will be at 65 percent. Those who have crop insurance must apply conservation methods to their farmland, but there will be no “means testing” of crop insurance. The $956 billion bill, formally called the Agricultural

Act of 2014, ends direct payments to farmers and includes $8.6 billion in cuts to the food stamp program over the next decade. “There’s going to be a lot of unknowns, unfortunately, as there is any time a new farm bill comes out,” Nielsen said. “But more so with this one because of the timing, the staggering of the implementation for the commodity programs and crop insurance.” At the request of IFB, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, signed a letter encouraging USDA to speed up implementation of the livestock disaster assistance program, which was made permanent and retroactive to 2012 under the farm bill. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak told reporters last week that his department has been trying to figure out how to implement the farm bill — even before Congress passed it. “I think it’s fair to say that we’ll be concentrating on

There’s a difference between field experts and experts in the field. At FS, we’re experts in the field. Our crop specialists are driven to maximize every acre and bring the latest agronomic technologies and innovations to your farm. Whether recommending the appropriate opriate hybrid or varietyy,, nutrient management m for optimum growth, or advice on disease and pest management, our crop specialists are always focused on pointing your operations forward. So, the only thing you’ll be asking FS is, what’’s next?

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getting the disaster assistance programs up and going as quickly as we possibly can,” he said.

Once the rules are written, IFB will have “extensive education and training,” including publishing fact sheets and conducting training workshops in person and online, said Doug Yoder, IFB’s senior director of Marketing and Affiliate Management.

More than 70 agriculture groups, including Illinois Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), renewed their lobbying efforts this month in support of immigration reform. The groups joined with Partnership for a New American Economy to launch a campaign called #IFarmImmigration. “It’s going to call attention to different industries over the course of the next several months,” said Adam Nielsen, IFB director of national legislation and policy development. “Agriculture is being highlighted in February, so there will be on-farm events occurring across the country for members of Congress targeted by the Partnership.” It’s unclear whether any events will be held in Illinois. “Immigration reform is critical for the agricultural industry,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This campaign will highlight how many farmers rely on an immigrant labor force and without reform, growers will begin to plant less labor intensive crops or go off shore. Simply put, either we

import our labor or we import our food.” Immigrant workers make up approximately 80 percent of hired labor on American farms, according to AFBF. The campaign kickoff comes just weeks after the House leadership released its immigration reform standards, a list of principles intended to guide efforts to reform immigration. The principles emphasize the importance of border security and enforcement, and include a “zero-tolerance policy” for those who cross the border illegally or “overstay their visas in the future.” Both IFB and AFBF support the principles. Meanwhile, IFB helped sponsor an Immigration Bottom Line 2014 Roundtable discussion in Chicago last week.  The panel included former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Cardinal Francis George, Illinois Business Immigration Coalition Co-chairs John Rowe and Dave Bender and Restaurant Association Executive Board Member Billy Lawless. — Deana Stroisch

Many questions about managing western corn rootworms in light of the ongoing concerns over resistance to some Bt proteins will be addressed during a Feb. 20 webinar. The program will run from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Participants will need a computer with Internet access and speakers. Please connect to the webinar site five minutes before the start time. Copy and paste this URL into

your browser {https://connect.unl.edu/r9ra3734mey/}. At that URL, you will find a login page. Enter as a “guest” with your name, business, or institution and click “Enter Room.” The audio portion will come through your computer speakers. Any time before the meeting, you may confirm your ability to connect at {extension.iastate.edu/testconnect/}.

FarmWeekNow.com

A detailed summary of what’s in the new farm bill is available at FarmWeekNow.com.

IFB joins the national immigration campaign

Corn rootworm management webinar Feb. 20

Tuesday: • Freese-Notis Weather • Dennis Borens, Berkot’s Super Foods: Feb. 18 Meet the Buyers • Mike Doherty, Illinois Farm Bureau: economic update Wednesday: • Karen Fraase, Illinois Department of Agriculture: March 6 Agriculture Legislative Day

• Dick Faltz, Fox Valley Winery: Illinois wine industry • Lauren Lurkins, IFB: CAFOs and Gulf hypoxia Thursday: • Tim Maiers, Illinois Pork Producers Association • Bruce Rauner, gubernatorial candidate Friday: • Monica Nyman, St. Louis Dairy Council • Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington: gubernatorial candidate


LIVESTOCK

Page 5 Monday, February 10, 2014 FarmWeek

Multi-generational farmer elected president of IPPA

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek Todd Dail of Whiteside County, was elected president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) during the group’s annual meeting last week at the Illinois Pork Expo in Peoria. Dail is a multi-generational hog farmer who runs a 1,000 head, farrow-to-finish operation near Erie. “(IPPA) has provided me a lot of opportunities to see what’s in the industry,” Dail told the RFD Radio Network®. “I can’t wait to work this year with a great staff (and members). Illinois has a lot of great pork producers.” Dail is optimistic about the economic outlook for hog producers this year as feed prices moderated since last fall and hog prices are strong. A number of factors, including lower hogs weights heading into spring and high cattle and beef prices caused by a historically small cattle herd, support the outlook

‘I think there’s huge opportunities in the future. We have good marketability of our brand.’ — Todd Dail President Illinois Pork Producers Association

“We use all our resources,” he said. “I for higher hog and pork prices through this summer, authors of the CME Group’s think there’s huge opportunities in the future. We have good marketability of our Daily Livestock Report noted. brand.” “It looks like (hog farmers) will be Key challenges for profitable if you have the FarmWeekNow.com hog producers this year pigs and haven’t been hit by (porcine epidemic diarrhea Check out our interview with new are PEDV, animal welvirus) PEDV,” Dail said. IPPA President Todd Dail at fare issues and potential regulations, accordHog farmers also can FarmWeekNow.com. ing to the new IPPA improve their situations by president. being resourceful. Dail has Major hog-producing companies 850 acres of corn, so he uses hog manure Smithfield and Tyson Foods, along with a to reduce fertilizer costs and corn to feed number of major food retailers, in recent his herd.

years unveiled plans to phase out the use of gestation stalls on U.S. swine operations. “We (U.S. hog farmers) haven’t been forced to do anything yet,” Dail said. “But this issue isn’t going away.” Dail grew up on his family’s farm in Whiteside County and served six years in the Navy. The Navy had a program that allowed him to attend the University of Illinois, where he earned a degree in ag economics. He returned to the farm after college, but also worked as an accountant and in the banking industry. “My dad wanted to retire and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Dail said. “I’m back at the farm (full time). “It was valuable experience in banking to see how other business owners position themselves for the future,” he added.

Rita Frazer, RFD Radio Network editor, contributed to this story.

Pork producers seek COOL resolution to protect their trade

Trade remains vital to the U.S. pork industry. More than one quarter (27 percent) of all pork produced in the U.S. is exported each year, Neil Dierks, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), said last week at the Illinois Pork Expo in Peoria. NPPC, the Illinois Pork Producers Association and other livestock groups therefore urged Congress to change its mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) law to avoid possible tariffs imposed on U.S. pork by Canada and Mexico. Congress passed on its chance to include COOL changes in the farm bill. But the opportunity to address the labeling law is still on the table. “Hopefully, we’ll see a resolution to country of origin labeling,” Dierks told the RFD Radio Network®. “We weren’t successful getting (changes) in the farm bill. It’s squarely on Congress (to address the issue).” If Congress updates COOL so it complies with World

Trade Organization (WTO) trade commitments, time is of the essence. The WTO, which previously ruled COOL violates trade agreements, will hold a hearing on the matter Feb. 18. A second WTO ruling in favor of Canada and Mexico will allow the two countries to slap retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products, including pork, beef and poultry. “I’m afraid we’re going to get duties,” Dierks said. “If we get duties, there will be pain.” Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. pork variety meats. Canada is the fourth largest pork export market for the U.S. Elsewhere, new generation trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea are starting to pay dividends for the U.S. pork industry. “We’re big advocates of trade,” Dierks said. “We see some markets growing rapidly now that there’s no duties on our products.” Pork trade benefits U.S. consumers as well as producers because it generates more pork in the food chain. Many export

markets consume pork variety meats, which leaves more popular cuts, such as pork chops, available in the U.S., Dierks noted.

Another positive story developing in the pork market are reports that Russia plans to start buying U.S. pork by late February. Russia relies on

imports to cover about onethird of its domestic pork needs, according to the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report. — Daniel Grant

It’s all in the hay.

Tell us your Farm Bureau story

A couple weeks back, we introduced you to Bill Pauling. He serves as the new DuPage County Farm Bureau president. He represents the third generation of Paulings to hold the post. His dad, Robert, was president from 1986-87. His grandfather, Leo, served from 1927-29. Do you know of similar stories? FarmWeek is looking for others who have held multi-generational leadership positions at county Farm Bureaus across Illinois. Please share your tale by emailing Chris Anderson at CAnderson@ilfb.org or mail to 1701 Towanda Ave., Bloomington, IL 61701.

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ENVIRONMENT

FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, February 10, 2014

BARGING THROUGH ICEBERGS

Ice continues to hamper barge traffic on the Illinois River. A tug struggles to pull a loaded barge just below the Marseilles Lock on the Illinois River last week. Ice buildup at the lock makes it difficult to close lock gates. (Photo courtesy of American Commercial Lines)

Mississippi River rock removal at 40 percent

Nearly 40 percent of rock removal work in the upper Mississippi River is complete near Thebes, according to the Big River Coalition. Contractors hope to finish the work before April rains interfere. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had contracted

removal of rock pinnacles to widen the channel area. Winter weather resulted in significant ice buildup on the Illinois River and curtailed navigation. The coalition is monitoring that situation. Near Thebes, the Coast Guard is assisting the contrac-

tor with boat traffic at the river work site. Channel closures started Feb. 3, and the contractor estimated nine days would be needed to finish work in the area as long equipment breakdowns, ice flows or heavy snows don’t impede process.

You Y ou ha have ve options. opti ons.

NREC projects address critical water, crop issues in Illinois

The Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) focuses on scientific research and educational programs farmers need to maximize yields through the efficient nutrients uses while protecting the environment. NREC receives money from a 75-cent assessment per ton of fertilizer sold. “By supporting NREC, Illinois farmers are truly stepping up to be the problem solvers when it comes to minimizing environmental impact, optimizing yields and maximizing nutrient utilization,â€? said Illinois Farm Bureau Director Dale Hadden, a NREC member. “These efforts are critical as Illinois agriculture engages with state and federal agencies to demonstrate we can reduce nutrient losses in ways that make economic and practical sense to Dale Hadden farmers,â€? Hadden said. Research projects recently funded will: • Determine how nitrogen management systems used by farmers may reduce losses of nitrogen through tile drainage and increase crop yields. • Update crop removal numbers for phosphorus and potassium to ensure sound agronomic recommendations. • Evaluate agronomic and environmental benefits of cover crops and measure cover crop influence on nitrogen loss reductions in tile-drained fields. • Support the “Keep it for the Cropâ€? initiative and research farm outreach program. “Through NREC, Illinois farmers and the fertilizer industry are strategically positioned to find solutions that balance the need for crop production gains to feed a growing population with water quality goals,â€? said Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider. For more information, visit {illinoisnrec.org/}.

Milk prices set all-time January high

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The Class III price for milk adjusted to 3.5 percent butterfat for the month of January was announced at $21.15 per hundredweight. This marks a whopping $2.20 jump from the previous month’s announcement. The January price is the fourth-highest on record for a Class III announcement, and the highest since the summer of 2011. Market watchers are quick to point out that these higher prices may not last, and refer to lower futures prices for key dairy products as the culprit.


YOUNG LEADERS

Page 7 Monday, February 10, 2014 FarmWeek

Young Leaders enthusiastic about future despite downturn in prices

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The recent downturn in crop prices hasn’t dampened young people’s enthusiasm for entering the ag industry or expanding their operations. Interest in agriculture proved evident last week at the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader State Conference in Normal. A record 450 young people pre-registered for the event and an impressive 370 made it to Normal despite a winter storm that made travel treacherous across much of the state. “I’m very excited about that,” Jared Jared Finegan Finegan, State YL Committee chairman from Ashkum, said about turnout for the

state conference. “It’s amazing young farm folks braved it (through a snow and ice storm) and got together to network.” Finegan acknowledged that lower crop prices and high land and input costs will make it difficult for some Brad Zwilling farmers to expand. But the outlook for the industry is still positive enough to attract more young talent, he noted. “Sure, we’re having a hiccup,” Finegan said. “But, as a whole, interest in agriculture by young people has been huge. I see that continuing.” Brad Zwilling, whose family won the 2012 YL State Excellence in Ag Award, also

Young Leaders see value of farmer-owned data

New technology, and data generated by technology, could help farmers increase output with fewer inputs. Many Young Leaders last week at the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader State Conference in Normal therefore seemed cautiously optimistic about the potential applications of so-called “big data” as they look for ways to improve their operations. “I see value (in capturing and processing data) if it has the potential to decrease input costs or increase yields,” Gary Tretter II, a YL State Committee member from Jackson County, told FarmWeek. Doug Yoder, IFB senior director of marketing and affiliate management, discussed “Big Data, Big Opportunities and Big Cautions” with Young Leaders at the annual event. “Data management is very beneficial to farmers, no doubt. We’ve had things like precision planting a long time,” Yoder said. “But (data use) has become a new issue because of the speed it’s going and the focus by agribusinesses.” Businesses ranging from equipment manufacturers to seed companies are ramping up data collection and Doug Yoder processing technology. The information is used to improve products and farming methods to increase value. In some cases, companies charge a subscription for the information designed to improve farm management. “I feel a lot of people collected data over the years,” said Heather Pierson, a Young Leader from Kane County. “But we as farmers never have been able to fully analyze and use the data properly. “I see concerns (about big data) but I also see great potential value,” she noted. IFB members in recent years asked the organization to put more emphasis on big data to provide some guidance on the issue, Yoder said. The top concerns about data gathering and use include privacy and safety concerns about the data and the value attached to data. “This has a lot of good potential,” Yoder said. “But we live in a world where top companies can get hacked. We don’t want to be naive about that.” IFB members responded by passing policy that states farm data should remain the property of farmers. The policy further states agribusinesses should provide full disclosure of intended use of farm data and farmers who share data should be entitled to fair compensation. IFB policy also calls for the development of industry-wide protocols for data use. IFB delegates carried the policy to the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in January. AFBF members approved the new national policy aimed at protecting data gathered on farms. Yoder urged Young Leaders and other IFB members to provide feedback about big data to develop future policy and guidance. — Daniel Grant

believes the outlook for agriculture is bright. “We’ve had some good prices and I think the outlook is still good,” said Zwilling, who is a farm business analyst for Illinois Farm Business Farm Management in Fisher. “But I’d caution (farmers) to do more planning and budgeting.” Some young farmers probably have more debt and fewer assets than their older counterparts. But young farmers could benefit from a higher rate of adoption of technology, according to Zwilling. Young farmers also could have more opportunities to expand in the future as veteran farmers retire, according to Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois Extension farm management specialist. “Good (crop) prices in recent years kept quite a few older individuals farming,” Schnitkey said. “We might see some land opening up (in the near future as more of those farmers cash out).” Schnitkey urged farmers young and old to focus on cash flow planning this year and re-evaluate cash rental rates. “I’d suggest (farmers) look at their projected returns,” said Schnitkey, who noted most young farmers rent more of their ground than veteran producers. “If you’re paying

Rick and Jody Flesner, Adams County Young Leaders, watch their son, Paxton, “test drive” a mini tractor at the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader State Conference in Normal. Young Leaders auctioned the tractor and other items at the conference, raising more than $7,000. A penny war — a first for the conference — raised $322, which was won by District 1 Young Leaders and will be donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Young Leaders also collected food donations for the Harvest for All program. (Photo by Daniel Grant)

relatively high cash rents, you might be more vulnerable (to economic stress).” Rod Stoll, vice president of public relations for Farm Credit Illinois, said land prices in the state remain strong. “Land prices continue to be very strong,” he said. “Our data doesn’t show a drop yet, just maybe a leveling off.” Stoll believes many farmers took a conservative financial approach in recent years that will benefit them this year. The debt-to-asset ratio on U.S.

farms dropped to a historically low 10.3 percent at the end of 2013 compared to 10.7 percent the previous year, USDA reported. Most farmers as a result should have ample access to credit this year. “We try to keep a long-term perspective,” Stoll said. “Investing in the next generation is very important.” Farm Credit Illinois, which serves 60 southern Illinois counties, has about $3 billion in farm and agribusiness loans.

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ILLINOIS PRODUCTS

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, February 10, 2014

IDOA promoting Illinois products as Valentines

dubbed “We Love Illinois Products.” Between Feb. 10-14, one individual will be selected daily at random to receive a prize

from a participating Illinois company. To be eligible for the product drawing, individuals need to take the Buy Illinois Pledge at {buyillinoischallenge.com}. Consumers who join the challenge agree to spend $10 of their existing weekly grocery budget on Illinois products. Once individuals take the pledge, they are entered to win any future promotion. Previously entered individuals may receive an email before a subsequent promotion starts. Individuals must be at least

21 and provide proof of age to receive a prize of alcoholic beverages. Companies participating in the Valentine’s promotion include: Honey Wafer Baking Co., Crestwood; Lawrence Foods, Elk Grove Village; Julie’s Corner Store, Lacon; Lynfred Winery, Roselle; Grandma Toste’s, Naperville; Anthony’s Own, Chicago; Lambs Farm, Libertyville; Surf Sweets, Wheeling; Anderson’s Candy Shop, Richmond; and Wild Blossom Meadery, Chicago.

What’s next on your farm? New technology, improved nutrient management and long-term business planning may head the list — today. Rapid changes in the farming landscape likely require repeated recalculations of farm plans. That’s why GROWMARK Inc. employees recently drew a new customer service road map aimed at supplying farmers with the latest industry knowledge and products. The FS: Bringing You What’s Next brand campaign

launched last week. According to Krista Wolf, GROWMARK brand strategy and marketing communications manager, the campaign shows customers the FS brand remains dynamic and constantly evolves as customer needs change. “This new theme positions FS for the future, while reinforcing the brand’s core attributes — trusted advisor, professional, dependable and local,” Wolf said. Next-generation digital tools being used by FS compa-

nies include a new iPad-based application for crop specialists to assist customers in building sustainable cropping business plans. Trained energy specialists point producers to FS branded fuels and lubricants containing state-of-the-art chemistry designed to keep tomorrow’s high-tech equipment running smoothly and efficiently for years to come. Visit the new FS website at {fssystem.com} to learn more about FS products and services.

Hearts, flowers and Illinois products. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is launching a Valentine’s Day promotion of Illinois products,

FarmWeekNow.com

Check out the IDOA Valentine’s Day specials online at FarmWeekNow.com.

A CHANCE OF RAIN

New campaign positions FS companies for ‘what’s next’

“Let’s talk” isn’t just an invitation.

What happens when a cloud becomes saturated with water? Illinois Ag in the Classroom Ag Literacy Coordinators, from left, Karen Beckner and Carrie Winkelmann of Sangamon County joined Dawn Weinberg of Hancock County to find the answer. The trio attended a training session last week in Bloomington where they learned about activities they can use to educate students and teachers about agriculture science topics. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

County Farm Bureaus receive mini-grants

Six county Farm Bureaus earned ag literacy mini-grants of up to $500 each through the American Farm Bureau Foundation. Winners include: • Clark County, “Who Grew My Soup?” hands-on agricultural activity for kindergarten through sixth grade students. • Cook County, “There’s AG on My Plate,” healthy eating and where food comes from presentation for elementary students. • Crawford County, ag literacy books for kindergarten through sixth grade students and teachers. • Hancock County, resource kits on plants and horticulture for early childhood, elementary and home school teachers. • Kendall County, EarthBox gardening systems and plant science curriculum guides for elementary students. • McLean County, “Scrambled States of Agriculture,” regional agriculture kits for fourth graders. Winners were chosen based on effectiveness of demonstrating a strong connection between agriculture and education; how effectively the programs encouraged students to learn more about agriculture and the food and fiber industry; and procedures and timelines expected for accomplishing project goals. The Foundation will announce a second mini-grant application process this spring.

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FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 9 Monday, February 10, 2014 FarmWeek

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UREAU — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor grain handling safety training for grain elevator employees, farmers, farm employees and commercial operators from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Black Hawk Community Education Center. Call the Farm Bureau office at 875-6468 to register by Feb. 18. • The Women’s Committee will host a teacher appreciation dinner and Ag in the Classroom training from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Farm Bureau office. Bureau County educators interested in attending should call the Farm Bureau office by Feb. 19. • Farm Bureau will co-sponsor an Affordable Care Act information meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 18 at the former Steelworker’s Hall in Hennepin. Call the Farm Bureau office at 8756468 to register. • Young Leaders will participate in the District 4 Young Leader curling event from 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Waltham Curling Club in Triumph. Cost is $20. Members age 18 to 35 are invited to participate. Call the Farm Bureau office at 875-6468 to register by Feb. 19. HRISTIAN — Foundation scholarship applications are available at {christiancofb.com} or at the Farm Bureau office. Deadline to apply is March 14. OOK — Meet the Buyers event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Orland Park Civic Center. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-354-3276 to register by Friday. RAWFORD — Farm Bureau’s annual meeting will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Robinson Community Center. The Statesmen Singers will perform. A silent auction will benefit Ag in the Classroom. Call the Farm Bureau office at 544-3792 to register by Friday. REENE — Foundation scholarship applications are available at the Farm Bureau office, high school agriculture departments and guidance counselor offices. Deadline to apply is March 28. Call the Farm Bureau office at 942-6958 for more information. ERSEY — Foundation scholarship applications are available at the Farm Bureau office, high school agriculture departments and guidance counselor offices. Deadline to apply is March 28. Call the Farm Bureau office at 498-9576 for more information. NOX — Foundation scholarship and 2014 summer internship program applications are available by emailing knoxcfb@knox-cfb.org or by calling the Farm Bureau office at 342-2036. Application deadline is Tuesday. EE — Young Leaders will meet at 7 p.m. Feb.

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18 in the Farm Bureau office. Gary Fisher, United Soils, will speak. • Deadline to pay membership dues is March 1. Call the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531 if you did not receive a dues notice. • COUNTRY Financial will sponsor a financial concepts seminar from 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 18 at the Farm Bureau building. Call COUNTRY Financial at 857-3591 to register. ACON — Scholarships are available to current members majoring in an agriculture-related field of study. For applications, visit {maconcfb.org} or call the Farm Bureau office at 877-2436. ADISON — Farm Bureau’s annual meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Edwardsville American Legion Hall. Call the Farm Bureau office at 656-5191 for reservations. ERCER — Mercer and Rock Island Farm Bureau will form a Young Leaders group for members age 18 to 35. Kickoff will be at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Liberty Station Steakhouse in Aledo. Call the Farm Bureau office at 582-5116 or email mcfbmanager@gmail.com for reservations or more information by Thursday. CLEAN — Farm Bureau will celebrate its centennial anniversary at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Marriott Hotel in Normal. Orion Samuelson will speak. Cost is $12. Call the Farm Bureau office at 663-6497 to register by Feb. 18. • Young Leaders and the Illinois State University Collegiate Farm Bureau will gather for dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Ropp Agricultural Building and attend the ISU versus Bradley University basketball game at 6 p.m. in Redbird Arena. Cost is $5. Call the Farm Bureau office at 663-6497 for tickets. ONROE — Farm Bureau will sponsor an ag day program at 8 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Monroe County Annex. Topics will include agronomy and farm lease update, farm economic outlook and USDA conservation programs. Call the Farm Bureau office at 939-6197 to register by Wednesday. • Farm Bureau will sponsor Viewpoint meetings at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Bully’s in Columbia and 8 a.m. Feb. 24 at the Corner Pub in Valmeyer. Call the Farm Bureau office at 939-6197 to register by Feb. 17. ONTGOMERY — Prime Timers will sponsor a luncheon at noon Feb. 19 at the Farm Bureau building. Thomas Marten will speak about the Illinois Farm Bureau 2013 Young Leader Ag Industry Tour to Brazil. Cost is $9. Call the Farm Bureau office at 532-6171 to register. • Prime Timers will sponsor a

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bus trip March 15 to Castelli’s Moonlight Restaurant and Alton Little Theatre for a comedy performance. Cost is $65. Call the Farm Bureau office at 532-6171 for more information. ERRY — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor an agronomy night at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Pinckneyville. Call the Farm Bureau office to register or for more information. • Farm Bureau will host an Equine Committee kickoff meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations or more information by Feb. 17. • Farm Bureau will host a 25cent breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. Feb. 22 at the DuQuoin Elementary School. Call the Farm Bureau office for tickets or more information. Walk-ins are welcome. IATT — Farm Bureau will host an iPad, iPhone and iCloud technology class from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Farm Bureau office at no cost to members. Call the Farm Bureau office at 762-2128 to register. • Farm Bureau will host tire recycling from 8 to 11 a.m. Feb. 28 in the Farm Bureau parking lot. Call the Farm Bureau office at 762-2128 or email piattfb@piattfs.com for pricing and more information. IKE — Farm Bureau’s annual meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Farm Bureau office. Visit {pikecfb.org} for the official meeting notice.

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ICHLAND — Farm Bureau annual meeting will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at The Holiday in Olney. Call the Farm Bureau office at 393-4116 for reservations by Feb. 20. OCK ISLAND — Farm Bureau will cosponsor a market outlook meeting at 6:15 p.m. March 4 at the Lavender Crest Winery, Colona. Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University, and Mike Schaver, Gold Star FS, will speak. Cost is $20 if registered by Feb. 25. Cost is $30 after the deadline. Call the Farm Bureau office at 736-7432 to register. • Rock Island and Mercer County Farm Bureau will form a Young Leaders group for members age 18 to 35. Kickoff will be at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Liberty Station Steakhouse in Aledo. Call the Mercer County Farm Bureau office at 309-582-5116 or email mcfbmanager@gmail.com for reservations or more information by Thursday. T. CLAIR — Young Farmers Committee will sponsor a blood drive from 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Farm Bureau building. Call the Farm Bureau office at 233-6800 for more information. TEPHENSON — Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip to John Deere Harvester Works, John Deere Pavilion, Kinzie Manufacturing and optional shopping at Coral Ridge Mall in Iowa City, Iowa, on March 25. Call the Farm Bureau office at 232-3186 or visit

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{stephensoncfb.org} for more information. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip to Conklin’s Barn II Dinner Theatre on April 6 to see “Another Round of Beer for Breakfast.” Cost is $60 for members and $65 for nonmembers. Call the Farm Bureau office at 232-3186 to register. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a Door County Adventure on July 28-31. Call the Farm Bureau office at 232-3186 or visit {stephensoncfb.org} for details. Limited seats are available. • Farm Bureau will sponsor Tri-State Travel/Farm Bureau Nova Scotia trips on August 1019 and 21-29. Call the Farm Bureau office at 232-3186 for more information. Limited seats are available. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip to Indiana Amish country June 9-11. Call the Farm Bureau office at 232-3186 or visit {stephensoncfb.org} for more details. Limited seats are available. ASHINGTON — Farm Bureau and the Nashville Kroger store will offer a food buy-down from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 20 to celebrate the affordability of food during Food Check-Out Week. Customers will receive $5 off a $50 food purchase. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information.

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

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Get Ready to Unleash the Potential of Your Soybeans. 100 Bushels. Your New Goal. Soybeans have a remarkable yield potential, and if managed for high yield, 100 bushels per acre is possible and within reach in Illinois. The ISA Yield Challenge puts innovative techniques and approaches to the test, pushing soybeans to unleash their full yield potential. Be the grower with the highest percentage yield increase in your district and you’ll take home $500. Come in second and you’ll take home $250. The grower who reaches the highest number of bushels above the 100 bushel per acre mark takes home $5,000! So set a new goal for your yields and make this YOUR year! Take the 2014 Yield Challenge today.

For more details and to register, please visit www.soyyieldchallenge.com or email yieldchallenge@ilsoy.org. Registration Fee: Only $25 per participant! We encourage companies to sponsor and work with growers to test new technologies and farming practices!


PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, February 10, 2014

Seed selection plays key role in crop season success

Hard to believe that in 45 days we could be planting corn as cold as it has been and with the near future forecasts predicting more cold weather. It just warms the heart to know planting season is just around the corner. That brings Matt Hynes us to the subject at hand, the seed business or purchasing seed for the 2014 growing season. Think back to a year ago. Things have changed immensely. Seed supply is not an issue; commodity prices have fallen; weed resistance and rootworm issues continue to grow; and technology continues to advance at an exponential rate. All these factors affect your overall seed purchases. So why is the seed decision so important? Seed is the foundation of your entire agronomic plan. It drives all other decisions that need to be made. Let’s look at each and how they play into your seed purchasing decision. Last year, most farmers didn’t know if they would get what they ordered in terms of seed corn. Most seed corn was ordered early last year because of supply issues. This year experts are saying there BY MATT HYNES

are anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of purchases yet to be made. Commodity prices and economic decisions are leading factors in this situation. Then there’s the age-old question of corn or soybeans — which is more profitable in the long run? Two other issues factoring into this decision are weed resistance and corn rootworm issues. Should I rotate to soybeans so I have a better chance of controlling corn rootworms, but then be concerned with the

The inventory of all cattle in the U.S. last year declined for the eighth straight year. All cattle and calves in the U.S. as of Jan. 1 totaled 87.7 million head, down 2 percent from a year ago, USDA reported last month. The current inventory is the smallest since 1951. Meanwhile, the 2013 calf crop totaled just 33.9 million head, down 1 percent from the previous year. The calf crop last year was the smallest on record since 1949. “Certainly eight years of continued liquidation of the beef cow herd was not a surprise (in light of drought issues and high feed prices in recent years),” said Rich Nelson, director of research at Allendale Inc. “What was a bit of a

Total Composite Weighted Average Receipts and Price (Formula and Cash): Weight Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price 10-12 lbs. (formula) $37.50-$60.95 $48.05 40 lbs. (cash) $97.00-$106.00 $103.07 Last Week 66,046

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $80.39 NA NA $59.49 NA NA

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

This week $140.47 $140.71

Prev. week $145.74 $144.89

Your FS crop specialist is trained and up to date on the latest genetics, traits, crop protection products, soil fertility, stewardship and other factors involved in making these allimportant decisions. Rely on them. As some of the besttrained seedsmen in the industry, they know how to build a plan to bring the selected seed to its highest genetic potential. Matt Hynes is GROWMARK’s seed sales and marketing manager. His email address is mhynes@growmark.com.

ing,” Nelson said. “It’s just so small we’ll have to deal with the same problems of tight supplies for some time.” States where cattle herds expanded include Illinois (where cattle and calves increased 1 percent), Ohio (up 2 percent), Missouri (up 4 percent) and Indiana (up 7 percent). States with a decline in the

total number of cattle and calves included drought-ravaged California (down 1 percent), Nebraska (down 2 percent) and Texas (down 4 percent). “I think the herd will continue to move north and east” due in part to increased feed availability and lower feed prices in Midwestern and other states compared to those in the west and southwest, Nelson noted. The recent run up in cattle prices to $140-plus per hundredweight could represent the top of the market this year. Nelson believes the top end of the run up was unwarranted. It was driven by issues with cold weather and concerns about lean beef supplies. Downside price objectives are $136 in April and $126 in June. “The market could trade lower into summer and then restart the bullish talk,” Nelson added.

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Feeder pig prices reported to USDA*

This Week 85,540 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

does it have the traits I need? Once that decision is made the next decision is what crop protection products to use. Do I need a residual? Will in-crop products work? What is the timing of application? Do I need a soil insecticide? What are the options for rescue treatments if needed? Your seed selection will drive all other input decisions. The decisions are becoming more complex and economically important. Something as simple as a seed decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Is this the year expansion returns to U.S. cattle industry?

M A R K E T FA C T S

Recipts

cost of effectively controlling resistant weeds? If I stay with corn, what are the options for better corn rootworm control? These are all great questions that need to be answered, but aren’t easy to make given all the options and products available. Let’s look at hybrid or variety decisions. You should always look at genetics first because genetics will determine potential yield. Next, does this product fit how I farm, my soil types, the tillage I use, my agronomic plan and

Change -$5.27 -$4.18

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 $169.63 $171.12 -$1.49

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, wooled and shorn, 130-170 lbs. for 130177 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 159.69); 170-180 lbs. for 150-167 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 161.30)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 1/30/2014 45.4 11.7 21.6 1/23/2014 74.0 14.6 29.0 Last year 55.9 15.3 6.3 Season total 1160.6 810.5 574.4 Previous season total 1006.2 599.7 311.9 USDA projected total 1495 1125 1450 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

surprise (in USDA’s inventory report) was how little expansion is taking place.” Beef replacement heifers as of Jan. 1 totaled 5.5 million head, up nearly 2 percent. But the situation could change this year as producers could take advantage of lower feed prices to rebuild the herd. “We’re still in the liquidation phase, but expansion is start-

‘Throwback’ winter hasn’t completely recharged soil

How unusual is the bitter cold and extremely snowy winter so far? Leisure suits, platform shoes and discos were popular the last time Illinois residents endured winter conditions of this magnitude for such a sustained period. “It’s a different story this winter (compared to mild winters of recent years),” Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, told FarmWeek. “It’s a throwback to the 1970s with lots of snowfall and lots of days below zero.” Two different winter storm systems last week dumped Jim Angel close to a foot or more of snow on much of the northern two-thirds of the state. Mendota received a whopping 20.2 inches of snow so far this month, Angel reported. In January much of the state received between 10 and 20 inches of snow, with lesser totals in deep southern Illinois. The northwest corner of the state received as much as 25 to 30 inches. “If winter ended now, a lot of places would have average snowfall for the year,” Angel said last week. “The fact that it’s Feb. 6 shows a lot of places are above average for this time of year. And we’ve still got a way to go.” Snowfall totals in some areas of the state, as of last week, were 200 percent above aver-

age. Illinois typically receives about one foot of snow in the southern third, two feet in central Illinois and three feet in the northern third of the state every winter. The temperature, meanwhile, remained brutally cold last week. The statewide average temperature the first five days of the month was a bone-chilling 9 degrees below the long-term average. Meanwhile, the temperature averaged just 18.2 degrees in January (8.1 degrees below the 1981-2010 average), which was the 8th coldest January on record, and 25.5 degrees in December (4.4 degrees below normal). Unfortunately, Angel doesn’t see any major break from the cold snap any time soon. “It looks like the cold weather likely will continue through February and into March as well,” Angel said. “We could get off to a slow start this spring. It will take a lot of sunshine and warmer temperatures to thaw out the soil.” All the snow did not fully recharge the soils, however. Statewide precipitation in January averaged just 1.76 inches, which was slightly below the long-term average. “Winter time snowfall is not a good way to catch up on soil moisture,” said Angel, who noted snowfall contains a fraction of moisture compared to rain. Strong winds also blew a lot of snow from farm fields into ditches and roadbanks. Subsoil moisture in the state last week ranked 62 percent adequate, 30 percent short and 8 percent very short. — Daniel Grant


PROFITABILITY

Page 11 Monday, February 10, 2014 FarmWeek

CASH STRATEGIST

Corn export demand improving

Since the release of the Jan. 10 USDA report, there has been a notable increase in corn export activity. The sales pace remains so far ahead of the level based on the current USDA forecast that some analysts believe USDA could raise the export forecast as much as 100 million bushels in the February report. Sales were only 24.7 million bushels a week after the January reports. Sales the next two weeks were 70 and 64.5 million. Even more encouraging, nearly half of the sales reported the last two weeks have been to Japan, one of our traditional customers. The take away from the export activity the last three weeks is that buyers appear to believe downside price risk has become limited at least for now. Given corn’s price relative to wheat and the picture unfolding in South America, there’s reason to think export prospects should be good into summer. Problems in Argentina have been well advertised. Price relationships and a poor start to planting are thought to have

cut acreage 12 to 14 percent. Subsequent weather problems have hurt yields with the latest indications pointing to a 23 million metric ton (mmt) crop, down 12 percent from last year. That could cut their exports as much as 20 percent. But the biggest change may be in Brazil. They have been a big competitor the last two years, especially during summer and fall, because of the increased output in their second corn crop that mostly comes from the center/west states. We already know the soybean/corn price ratio cut their first-crop plantings 5 percent. Their government is still forecasting second-crop corn plantings will be as large as last year. But officials in Mato Grosso see economics cutting the second-crop area 12 percent. Considering the drier conditions to start the year in some areas, a less robust yield could cut the second-crop output 8 to 10 mmt, 17 to 22 percent less than they produced last year. Exports, specifically in the summer/fall period, could be cut a similar amount. That’s 300 to 400 million bushels of business that could be shunted elsewhere, specifically to the U.S. Even more important, that’s potential business for summer and fall, activity that has been especially hard hit the last two years.

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Corn Strategy

ü2013 crop: Corn prices have moved to our initial sell target. While we think there’s potential for prices to eventually move higher, we think it important to reward the market with a sale. Boost your sales to 60 percent now. Given the modest carry, you can use a hedg e-to-ar rive contract based on July futures to capture some storage returns on the sale as well. ü2014 crop: We still see better opportunities ahead to begin new-crop pricing. Target a move into the $4.75 to $5 range on December futures to initiate sales. vF u n d a m e n t a l s : A l l aspects of the demand sector should be a part of strengthening prices through the winter. Cold weather and relatively cheap corn prices should bolster feed demand. The Environmental Protection Agency is said to be reconsidering its proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol mandate. Export demand for ethanol is helping bolster the weekly grind. This year’s lower prices are boosting corn demand in world trade. We’ve had two consecutive weeks of good sales.

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2013 crop: Use this move up to price any old-crop soybeans you may still own. Weather improvement in Argentina and harvest progress in Brazil suggest $13 prices will not last long. ü2014 crop: Use rallies to $11.25 on November futures for catch-up sales. Even though we see prices dropping lower this year, we believe there will be more opportunities this winter/spring to add to sales at current or better levels. vFundamentals: The focus remains on South America, although this week’s USDA supply/demand report will temporarily capture attention. Weather has improved prospects in Argentina with the trade comfortable with a low/middle 50 million metric ton crop. Scattered dry pockets over the last month may have diminished Brazilian potential, but their crop will still easily be record large. Harvest is moving forward at a fast pace with exports set to surge in Feb-

ruary. That will rapidly start to undermine the U.S. shipping pace.

Wheat Strategy

ü2013 crop: The board’s decline year-to-date has turned the $6 support into an area of resistance. Target $5.90 on Chicago March futures to make catch-up sales on old-crop wheat. Be mindful of resistance at $6.60 on the nearby Kansas City contract for the same. ü2014 crop: Kansas wheat conditions deteriorated in January, dropping 23 points since the December report to 35 percent rated good to excellent. Other

Southern Plains crops have been similarly hurt by extreme cold/dryness. Winter wheat in Illinois has fared better and is rated 56 percent good to excellent. vFundamentals: Chicago futures rebounded last week as crop conditions suffered and Japan returned as a buyer of U.S. wheat. Canadian stocks are comfortable, but winter weather and rail problems have hampered logistics, hence the interest in U.S. origin by Japan. Weather will remain a worry for new-crop supplies as Ukraine could lose more wheat to winterkill if subzero temperatures persist.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, February 10, 2014

A grassroots organization puts its best policy forward

Help keep electric rates affordable Illinois’ not-for-profit electric cooperatives work very hard to provide members with electricity that is safe, reliable and affordable. Co-ops support an all-of-theabove energy strategy — one that incorporates coal, natuN. DUANE ral gas, nuclear NOLAND and renewable energy to generate power. While that strategy was endorsed by President Obama in his January 2012 State of the Union address, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was subsequently directed to issue proposed rules that will virtually eliminate coal from this equation for new power plants, resulting in an allbut-one policy. Expected proposed rules on existing power plants, if adopted, will likely result in substantially higher power costs for our homes and businesses. The background is as follows. On Jan. 8, EPA formally published proposed rules that would set stringent limits on carbon emissions from new power plants and opened a 60day comment period for feedback. While electric cooperatives understand the environmental concern, these rules would rely on the use of carbon capture and storage technology, a technology that is both expensive and unproven at a power plant scale. This essentially eliminates

coal as a potential fuel source. Additionally, the rules on new power plants will trigger a legal requirement under the Clean Air Act to set new standards for existing plants as well, a measure that will have an adverse economic impact on cooperatives and their memberowners. Electric co-ops are dedicated to a cleaner environment as part of their commitment to the communities they serve. Our member generation and transmission cooperatives currently produce power from a wide variety of sources including solar, landfill gas-to-energy, anaerobic digesters, hydro, wind and natural gas power projects. That said, the vast majority of our co-op power production remains coal-fired, traditionally the most cost effective and reliable source. New EPA regulations eliminating coal from the mix will mean higher energy costs. We’ve seen this all-but-one policy before in our country’s recent history. Concerned about natural gas supplies, Congress passed the Fuel Use Act in 1978, which prohibited burning natural gas to generate electricity. As a result, co-ops invested heavily in coal-based generating plants in the late 1970s and early 1980s to meet growing demand for baseload power. Nine years later Congress repealed that law. Cooperatives nationwide

N. Duane Noland, a former state senator, is the president and chief executive officer of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives and a member of Shelby Electric Cooperative.

Each week it appears another taxing district in our county is dealing with an operating deficit or deferred maintenance in capital investments. Up until recently, voters in Rock Island County were facing five potential tax DEANNE questions on BLOOMBERG the March ballot: a rate increase for the deficit-stricken county nursing home (since dropped); a 1 percent school district occupation

tax; a $72-million referendum for a new county courthouse and county administration building (since dropped); and a ¼-cent public safety sales tax for school buildings. Additionally, one school district is considering a $15-million referendum for buildings. The public debt load is increasing. How will we pay for it all? Can we afford it with our current taxing structure? Everyone has become almost complacent with the decaying public infrastructure in the state of Illinois. Every year, the lack of decision-making makes it worse, not only

for the future but also for any poor soul who is even considering running for public office to try and make a difference. The value of Farm Bureau’s policies is more important than ever. With the mounting public burden facing local taxing districts and deferred maintenance at county office buildings and courthouses, how does Farm Bureau become a change agent in the communities around the state? How do we engage not only our voting members but also our associate members who find frustration in the lack of leadership taking

have investigated the carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) as a way to reduce carbon emissions. However, as it stands today, it is not economically feasible. A 2012 Congressional Budget Office report estimated CCS would increase the cost of producing electricity from coal-based plants by 75 percent. In a cooperative, there are no stockholders to share the burden of cost increases. While we greatly respect EPA’s objectives, any cost increases our not-for-profit coops incur must be passed on directly to the member-owners. EPA is required to take public comments. I urge you to join me and let the EPA know that you support a reasonable all-of-the-above energy policy to keep electricity affordable. Visit {tellepa.com} to share your comments. This grassroots effort is critical in keeping electricity reliable and affordable in the future for all of us. It only takes one minute to make your voice heard and to make a difference.

Well time really does fly when you are having fun! It is so hard for me to believe this is the start of my final year on the State Young Leader committee. I am so grateful I will be spending my final year as chairman. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity for so many great experiences over the last several years with Farm Bureau. Last year as the vice chair, I served as the Young Leader member on the Policy Resolutions Committee. I JARED FINEGAN would like to share my eyeopening experience on that committee. After being able to serve on Resolutions Committee, I can say with confidence that Farm Bureau is one of the greatest grassroots organizations. The Resolutions Committee is led by the vice president of Illinois Farm Bureau and the members of the committee consist of county presidents from each of the 18 districts. The vice chair of the Young Leader State Committee, a member of the Action Team and three directors from the IFB board also sit on the Resolutions Committee. The role of this committee is to review policy and determine any changes it needs to bring before the voting delegation. Committee members also review submitted policy changes or additions that county Farm Bureaus want to bring to the delegate floor at IFB annual meeting. It is important that the committee reviews each and every submittal to decide if it should be brought to the vot-

ing delegates and that it is not already in the policy book or already a law. The committee also is able to combine more than one submittal when more than one exists on the same policy to try and please both parties’ points. The committee uses many resources to complete this task. IFB has an amazing team of staff that provides support and are experts in the fields they represent. I would encourage counties to take advantage of this resource when needed! The committee also provides reasons to affected counties if committee members see no need to bring an issue to the voting floor. After serving on the committee, I have new respect for the process. It really is a great system for a statewide organization to receive equal representation. I also was able to be an alternate voting delegate for IFB at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention this year. It was nice to see the policy process at the national level. It is great to see farmers from all across the nation reaching a united front to bring forth to the lawmakers in Washington, D.C. I have never been more sure of how important it is that we do our part at local and county levels because that is where it all begins. I am grateful that the forefathers of the Farm Bureau had the foresight to start such an amazing organization!

place in all levels of government? Our volunteers have sat through ad hoc study committees and are frustrated with the lack of critical thinking and quantitative analysis in those meetings. It’s easy to see why people would not want to try and run for public office considering the “old guard” keeps doing business as usual. Our county Farm Bureau pushed the county to seriously reconsider the selfish need for a $72-million courthouse and county office building redo when the schools are in such need of funds.

This won’t get any better with us sitting back and watching. It will take critical thinkers helping solve critically important problems. Whether attending county board meetings or engaging community leaders in the discussions, common sense Farm Bureau members are needed now more than ever. Wouldn’t it be better to be part of the discussion rather than waiting for someone else to drive the change?

Jared Finegan of Iroquois County chairs the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Committee. To read this and other Young Leaders’ blogs visit {http://ilfbyl.wordpress.com/}.

The reality of plentiful taxing districts in Illinois is abundant

DeAnne Bloomberg serves as Rock Island County Farm Bureau manager.

Farmweek february 10 2014  

agriculture, farming, Illinois Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau, FarmWeek

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