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Farmers and others filed more than 16,000 comments with the EPA regarding its Renewable Fuel Standard proposal...............................4

More cold and snow. Groundhog predictions aside, meteorologists say that’s the weather word for February.............7

Nutrient management represents the year’s main goal for newly-elected IFCA Chairman Brian Waddell...................................8

A service of

Farm bill passes the House Illinois Farm Bureau mission: Improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Two sections Volume 42, No. 5

Senate vote expected soon BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

®

Finally. After years of debate and delay, the U.S. House of Representatives last week approved a five-year farm bill. The vote was 266-151. Agricultural groups across the country, including Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) and American Farm Bureau Federation, immediately applauded the bill’s passage. The bill, formally called the Agricultural Act of 2014, sets agricultural policy for the next five years. It still requires approval by the Senate and President Barack Obama, and faces a lengthy implementation process. IFB President Rich Guebert Jr. said the proposed farm bill strengthens the federal crop insurance program and maintains resources for cost-share, working land conservation programs. “This legislation is not only fiscally

responsible, but helps Illinois farmers put a much needed five-year plan in place to help manage their risk in an increasingly risky business,” Guebert said. “We applaud our representatives’ hard work in crafting and supporting this Rich Guebert Jr. important legislation and urge our senators to follow suit.” IFB issued a call to action last week encouraging members to contact their elected officials in both chambers in support of the bill. A vote in the Senate is expected this week. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Springfield, supports the measure, but it’s unclear how Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Highland Park, will vote, said Mark Gebhards, IFB executive director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities. The majority of Illinois’ Congressional delegation voted in favor of the bill last week. Opponents of the bill say the cuts to the food stamp program are

too severe, given the economy. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican who served on the farm bill conference committee, said the bill provides “five years of certainty to rural America,” strengthens crop insurance and cuts $23 billion in spending. “I was proud to support this bill because it gives us one of the single largest cuts in mandatory spending that we’ve seen in this Congress and because it is essential that we pass a new, responsible farm bill that cuts spending, protects the agriculture community and reforms federal government,” he said. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, and Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, both members of the House agriculture committee, also supported the bill. “While not perfect, I’m encouraged that Democrats and Republicans finally came together ... to pass a bipartisan farm bill that will protect our region’s economy, critical nutrition programs and create jobs,” Bustos said. Enyart called the bill’s passage a “good day for American agriculture.” “It strengthens America’s standing as

food supplier to the world,” he said. “It’s good for corn, it’s good for soybeans. It’s good for southern Illinois farmers.” 

FARM BILL How the Illinois Congressional delegation voted YES: Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates Bill Enyart, D-Belleville Bill Foster, D-Naperville Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield Robin Kelly, D-Matteson Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton Aaron Schock, R-Peoria Brad Schneider, D-Deerfield John Shimkus, R-Collinsville NO: Danny Davis, D-Chicago Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago Mike Quigley, D-Chicago Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston NOT VOTING: Bobby Rush, D-Chicago

Livestock producers prepare for new antibiotic rules BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

Livestock farmers should consult with veterinarians and prepare for new federal rules that will affect the use of antibiotics on farms.

The new rules, aimed at curtailing the use of certain antibiotics in food animal production nationwide within three years, were unveiled in December by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The University of Illinois last week hosted a webinar featuring swine nutritionists Jim Pettigrew (emeritus) and Hans Stein along with Larry Firkins, Extension swine veterinarian, to address the issue. “We’ve been engaged in a debate for quite a long time about what the use of antibiotics in food animals should be,” Pettigrew said. “I’d argue those opinions no longer matter. “We have a decision on what the new rules will be,” he continued. “Farmers need to spend their energy to understand the new rules and to adapt to the new rules.” The key elements of FDA’s new policies are as follows:

• There will be no use of antibiotics for production practices, such as growth promotion and feed efficiency; • Antibiotics can be used for prevention of a specific disease identified on a farm that could cause problems; and • All uses of antibiotics on farms must be under veterinary supervision and oversight.

Read about biosecurity page 2

“This point (of allowing the use of antibiotics for disease prevention) sets these rules apart from what we’ve seen in other parts of the world,” Pettigrew said. “In Europe, for example, farmers aren’t allowed to use antibiotics unless an animal is sick.” FDA asked drug manufacturers to voluntarily change labels on some antibiotics to eliminate their use for production practices

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

and to shift label requirements from over-the-counter to requiring a veterinary feed directive (VFD). FDA gave the companies three months to formulate plans and respond to the directive. FDA plans to issue a report on the companies’ response in March. “Antibiotics will not be eliminated (from animal ag). That is not the case,” Pettigrew said. “There will be tighter restrictions.” If the new drug labels are put into practice, farmers won’t be able to self-administer antibiotics to their herds or flocks within three years. That action will require a VFD. “Nothing is voluntary about these rules at the farm level,” Pettigrew noted. The new rules could increase costs for producers. There also could be issues for livestock producers in locations that are

underserved by large animal vets or for aquaculture producers due to a lack of vets in that field, Firkins noted. But FDA proceeded with the new rules in response to concerns about drug-resistance in human medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 23,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections. Germs spread in hospitals pose the biggest risk, but FDA felt reducing antibiotics used in animal agriculture was a step in the right direction. “We need to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use them,” said William Flynn, of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Antimicrobial resistance may not be completely preventable, but we need to do what we can to slow it down.” The new rules apply only to food-producing animals, not companion animals.

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


Quick Takes

EMERGING ISSUES

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, February 3, 2014

GRAIN SAFETY AWARENESS BOLSTERED — Illinois grain safety awareness efforts received a boost to the tune of more than $120,000. The Illinois Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC) and University of Illinois Extension received grants, which will be used to promote grain safety awareness and provide prevention training for farmers and their employees, as well as elevator owners, operators and employees. The Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health awarded GHSC and Extension one grant for $15,000. A second grant for $105,300 was awarded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. More information about grain safety initiatives can be found at {grainsafety.org}. Illinois Farm Bureau is a GHSC participant. YOUNG LEADER AWARD APPLICATIONS DUE — Young Leaders should circle Feb. 18 on their calendars and complete online applications for 2014 state achievement and excellence awards. Ed and Kali Livengood of Milledgeville nabbed the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Achievement Award last year, while Daniel Robbe of Elizabeth earned the Excellence in Agriculture Award. Check out what former winners gained from their experience and apply for the awards at {youngleaders.yolasite.com/icompete.php}, or contact your county Farm Bureau. FOOD LINK GRANTS AVAILABLE — County and state Farm Bureaus can apply for seven, $700 competitive grants for Our Food Link projects. Members of the American Farm Bureau (AFBF) Women’s Leadership Committee announced the new Our Food Link program and planning toolkit at the recent AFBF annual convention. The year-round program allows county and state Farm Bureaus to effectively reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture. Grant applications are due April 4. Review of the application and signature of an organization director/director of field services is mandatory for all submitted grant applications. Grant recipients will be announced at the end of April and are expected to submit a full report within one month of their project’s completion. To learn more about the program, visit {fb.org/assets/files/programs/ourfoodlink}. NO DRAMATIC FOOD PRICE INCREASE — Look for average food price increases this year, according to a USDA economist. Ricky Volpe expects food prices to jump 2.7 to 2.8 percent — in line with average annual increases. However, consumers may dig deeper into their pockets for steak and hamburger, Volpe noted. “We still have the number of cattle in the U.S. that is comparable to where we were in the 1950s, and of course we have a much larger population. We’re exporting a lot more so consumers should not expect a huge price increase, but certainly for these very high prices to stay and even inch up a little bit more,” he added.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 42 No. 5 February 3, 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

Biosecurity critical in wake of antibiotic rules

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Livestock farmers should focus even more on biosecurity and disease prevention in response to new federal rules aimed at reducing the use of antibiotics on farms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently is working with drug manufacturers to change labels on certain antibiotics. The new labels would prohibit the use of antibiotics in food animals for production practices (growth promotion), and would change the availability of some drugs from over-the-counter to requiring a veterinarian’s prescription. The new rules apply only to food-producing animals, not companion animals; address the use of antibiotics administered in feed and drinking water, but not injections; and apply only to what

FDA deemed medically important antibiotics. Some antibiotics not covered by the new rules include Ionophores, Carbadox, Bacitracins and Flavomycins. However, if some of those antibiotics are in combination products, use on farms could be restricted. University of Illinois experts last week during a webinar urged farmers to prepare for new rules governing the use of antibiotics and focus even more on biosecurity. FDA seeks to implement the new rules through drug manufacturers within three years. “I strongly suggest producers discuss disease management protocol with their veterinarians,” said Larry Firkins, U of I Extension swine veterinarian. The new FDA rules will not prohibit use of antibiotics

for disease prevention in livestock herds and flocks. But Hans Stein, U of I swine specialist, said the best way to deal with the new rules is to focus on biosecurity. “The most important thing is to pay attention to biosecurity,” Stein said. “The best way to avoid treating a disease is to prevent the animals from getting a disease.” Stein advised farmers to take the following steps. • Use vaccines to prevent animals from getting sick. • Reduce co-mingling of animals within a site as much as possible. • Clean, disinfect and heat barns when switching groups of animals. Also disinfect boots and clothing worn by workers, and clean trailers, all of which can carry disease to animals via manure. • And consider weaning pigs later, possibly in the 21to 28-day range.

national, state and local levels,” said Mark Gebhards, executive director of IFB Governmental Affairs and Commodities. The timing couldn’t be better for members who’ve received recent action requests related to the farm bill and the renewable fuel standard. In addition to covering the basics, Gebhards envisioned the discussion delving into what happens after a contact is made and what is working or not working. Participants will be able to apply those skills that evening during a statewide legislative reception, which starts at 6 p.m. The GALC will offer Farm Bureau members a range of sessions and activities. In addition to two keynote addresses, participants may select from 24 breakout sessions. Those topics include: trucking regulations, livestock regulations, water quality issues, transportation and infrastructure issues,

the farm bill, renewable fuel standards and issues of transmission, easements and utility lines. For a second year, the IFB Young Leader Committee will

Hone legislative skills, focus on impact at GALC

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Farm Bureau leaders will increase their skills working with legislators and discuss ways to strengthen Illinois Farm Bureau’s political efforts during

the IFB Governmental Affairs Legislative Conference (GALC) Feb. 26-27 in the Crowne Plaza, Springfield. On Feb. 26, a special session will focus on FB ACT, the Farm Bureau Agricultural Contact Team. “There will be an open, honest discussion not just about responding to (legislative) action requests, but also about the care needed to build relationships with elected officials on the

FarmWeekNow.com

To view the agenda and register for the upcoming GALC event, go to FarmWeekNow.com.

collect nonperishable food and donations during GALC. The committee’s goal is to fill the bed of a Ford truck with food. The donations will be applied toward their Harvest for All campaign totals. The two-day registration fee is $70. Registration for Wednesday only is $50 and $30 for Thursday only. Accommodations are extra. For more information or to register, contact your local county Farm Bureau or visit {ilfb.org}.

Farm Service Agency news Concealed Carry Act impact on USDA Service Centers — On July 9, 2013, the Firearm Concealed Carry Act became Illinois law and requires an Illinois Concealed Carry License to carry a concealed firearm in the state. USDA customers are reminded that guns are not allowed in USDA Service Centers at any time. Federal law prohibits the possession of firearms or other dangerous weapons in federal facilities and federal court facilities by all persons not specifically authorized by Title 18, United States Code, Section 930.

Violators will be subject to fine and/or imprisonment for up to five years.  Bank account changes — Current policy mandates that Farm Service Agency (FSA) payments be electronically transferred into a bank account. In order for timely payments to be made, farmers need to notify the FSA county office when an account has been changed or if another financial institution buys the bank where payments are sent. Payments can be delayed if the FSA office is not aware of updates to bank accounts and

routing numbers. Lender use of evaluations — Lenders that originate FSA guaranteed loans may now use internal real estate “collateral evaluations” rather than appraisals to support loan requests of $250,000 or less. This policy change will give lenders more flexibility and a faster underwriting process. Lenders must follow their regulator’s “Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines” and apply these same policies to FSA guaranteed loans as nonguaranteed loans. 


FARM BILL

Page 3 Monday, February 3, 2014 FarmWeek

Farm bill ends direct payments, improves insurance 2014, which authorizes agricultural and nutrition proThe proposed farm bill grams for the next five years, eliminates direct payments, would do the following, if beefs up crop insurance and approved by the Senate:  calls for $8 billion in cuts to • Cost $956 billion over the food stamp program over the next 10 years. Nutrition the next decade. programs alone would cost Illinois Farm Bureau also $756 billion, according to the anticipates a long implementa- Congressional Budget Office. tion process, but just how long • Eliminate direct payisn’t clear. The 2008 farm bill ments. The program, admintook at least six months to istered by USDA, provides implement. Once approved, payments to producers based

BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

‘By and large this bill is a very good bill ... It has our No. 1 priority in it, which is a strong crop insurance program.’ — Mark Gebhards IFB executive director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities

Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden will be in charge of implementation. “There is never a perfect bill,” said Mark Gebhards, IFB executive director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities. “But by and large this bill is a very good bill. It’s one that we support as an organization. It has our No. 1 priority in it, which is a strong crop insurance program.” The Agricultural Act of

on historical data and not current production or prices. The payments end with the 2014 crop year. • End other commodity programs, including CounterCyclical Payments, Average Crop Revenue Election program and Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments. • Enhance crop insurance, Illinois Farm Bureau’s No. 1 priority, by adding supplemental coverage. Supplemen-

FarmWeekNow.com

Watch a farm bill video with U of I farm policy expert Jonathan Coppess at FarmWeekNow.com.

tal Coverage Option will give farmers the option of buying additional coverage based on county yield and loss basis to cover part of the deductible. Premium support will be 65 percent. • Require those who have crop insurance to apply conservation methods to their farmland. However, there will be no “means testing” of crop insurance. • Cut funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by a total of $8.6 billion over 10 years. Most of the savings comes from closing the so-called “heat and eat” loophole that allows states to qualify recipients for maximum SNAP benefits by giving them $1 per year in home heating assistance. They now must pay $20. Illinois is not a “heat and eat” state, so the cuts have no effect here. • Consolidate 23 existing conservation programs into 13. Ivan Dozier, state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Serv-

Canada, Mexico expected to slap tariffs on wide range of U.S. meat products BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Time is running out for the U.S. to change its mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) law and avoid possible tariffs from its North American trading partners. The World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold a hearing Feb. 18 in Geneva to determine whether or not COOL violates provisions of trade commitments with Canada and Mexico. The Obama Administration attempted to fix the labeling program at a cost of about $100 million to the livestock industry, according to Scott George, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). But the new rules actually placed more burden on imported meat products as COOL forces more segregation of livestock born in other countries, authors of the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report noted. “(Packers and processors) have to segregate all the

products. It’s a huge disruption to the process,” George said. “The costs are then translated back to the producer.” If the WTO maintains a 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, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). “It would allow retaliation with dozens of tariffs.” Tariffs could devastate U.S. livestock producers at a time when margins recently returned to profitable levels. U.S. beef exports total about $1 billion to Canada and $800 million per year to Mexico. Meanwhile, Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. pork variety meats, accounting for about 36 percent of the market. Canada is the fourth

largest pork export market for the U.S., the Daily Livestock Report noted. The two countries account for about 25 percent of total U.S. chicken exports. NCBA, NPPC and other livestock groups last week expressed disappointment a COOL fix was not included in the farm bill passed by the House. The bill also didn’t include any changes to new regulations proposed by the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration. George fears increased regulations could lead to the closure of some processing facilities and further consolidation of the U.S. packing industry. “NCBA worked on the farm bill over three years,” he said. “After all this, the bill doesn’t address the concerns of our members.” NCBA, NPPC and other livestock groups currently are calling on Congress to “fix its mistakes” and change the COOL law prior to the Feb. 18 WTO hearing, George added.

ice in Champaign, said the program changes would mostly be “in name only.” Many of the changes, he said, will help staff implement the programs more efficiently. He also said there will be no direct changes in staffing levels because of the farm bill. • Impose payment limits for all commodity programs of $125,000 per person or $250,000 per couple. • Alter the dairy program to

include gross margin insurance, but no supply management. Each producer will be assigned a base determined by their highest production level in 2011-13. Indemnities will be paid on production up to the base. • Provide $20 million per year in additional support for food banks. • Make livestock disaster assistance a permanent program with increased benefits.

What they’re saying

Bill Foster

Ray Gaesser

“This bill cuts wasteful agricultural subsidies and keeps our grocery bills low. I was especially pleased that the bill funds the Payments In Lieu of Taxes program, which helps towns in my district carry out vital services such as firefighting, law enforcement and building roads and schools … I am deeply disappointed in the cuts to the SNAP food assistance program.” — Bill Foster, D-Naperville “The House is to be commended for its work, but there’s no time to waste. We’ve been operating without a farm bill since the end of September; that means no certainty when it comes to risk management, export market promotion, programs that assist our industry’s growing biodiesel and bio-based products sectors, and countless others.” — Ray Gaesser of Iowa, American Soybean Association president “The farm bill moves toward risk management by encouraging participation in the Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage programs, in addition to crop insurance.” — John Shimkus, R-Collinsville

John Shimkus

Gary Hudson

“Getting a farm bill through the House has been no easy task. We look forward to the Senate taking swift action on the bill so it can head to the President’s desk. Illinois corn farmers have been telling us that maintaining a strong crop insurance component of the bill is a top priority, and this bill secures that program.” — Gary Hudson of Hindsboro, Illinois Corn Growers Association president

Mike Marron

“While this has been a trying process, we believe conferees have produced a framework that will serve the best interests of Illinois soybean farmers.” — Mike Marron of Fithian, Illinois Soybean Association vice chairman

Frank Lucas

“This is legislation we can all be proud of because it fulfills the expectations the American people have of us. They expect us to work together to find ways to reduce the cost of the federal government.” — Frank Lucas, R-Okla., House Agriculture Committee chairman


RFS fight continues POLICY

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, February 3, 2014

BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

Although the deadline to comment has passed, the fight over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) remains far from over. Agricultural and renewable fuel groups, including the Illinois Farm Bureau, say they will continue to fight attempts to reduce the volume requirements in the RFS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the renewable fuel mandate in the RFS be lowered from 14.4 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons. The advanced fuel mandate, including biodiesel and E85 fuel, would drop from 3.75 billion gallons to 2.2 billion gallons. The deadline to comment on EPA’s proposal was Tuesday. Brent Erickson, executive vice president of Biotechnology Industry Organization, said he heard the EPA received 16,000 comments. “We’ve really seen an out-

pouring across the United States,” Erickson said during a Fuels America conference call. EPA declined to say how many comments it received. “We appreciate this level of engagement and additional information from stakeholders as the agency works in consultation with the Departments of Agriculture and Energy toward the development of a final rule, which we expect to issue by the summer of 2014,” EPA said in a statement for FarmWeek.   Bob Dinneen, president and chief executive officer of the Renewable Fuels Association, said he was happy with the response from farmers. In the end, he said, they will make a difference. “I do expect there to be a change in the final rule,” Dinneen said. “I say that because I’ve seen so many of the comments. I think the comments are compelling. I hope that EPA and the administration see it the same way.” In response to IFB’s call to

action, members made nearly 700 phone calls and comments to the White House and EPA opposing the proposed rule. IFB, on behalf of its more than 400,000 members, also submitted a six-page letter to EPA, urging the president and his administration “go back to the drawing board to write a new 2014 RFS rule.” “Write a rule that doesn’t bow down to Big Oil or close the door to higher blend levels, but one that supports competition by creating incentives or expands renewable fuel distribution,” the letter states. “Please write a rule that sends the right signals to innovators motivated to develop next generation advanced biofuels and motivated to invest in projects that create jobs and who are representative of an evolving, forward-thinking American industry ...” Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development, said IFB will continue working with Illinois stakeholders on the issue.

IFB supports House immigration principles

Illinois Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) leaders said they support the House leadership’s immigration reform principles. The six principles, released last week, will be used to guide the House leadership’s efforts to reform immigration, according to the one-page sheet titled, “Standards for Immigration Reform.” Problems with the country’s immigration system, the preamble notes, “cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand ... The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws and implementing robust enforcement measures.” 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.” The goal of any temporary worker program, the principles note, should be to “address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States.

“Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry, among others,” the principles state. “It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers.” IFB President Rich Guebert Jr. said IFB has been working with agriculture and business groups for the last year to support immigration legislation that addresses the labor needs of farmers. “We strongly agree with the sentiment expressed in the preamble of the House Republicans’ immigration statement that declares ‘our nation’s immigration system is broken and Washington’s failure to fix it is hurting our economy,’” Guebert said. “IFB encourages House leadership to begin moving bills that include ag labor reforms, which would permit hard working, law-abiding employees, who are critical to our industry, to adjust their legal status.” AFBF President Bob Stallman called the principles a “positive step in moving this process forward.” “Our farmers and ranchers need long-term access to a steady and reliable supply of skilled agricultural workers,” he said. — Deana Stroisch

Quinn keeps minimum wage hike in his blueprint BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Gov. Pat Quinn drafted a minimum wage increase as part of his economic blueprint that included a laundry list of accomplishments during his five years in office. Quinn repeatedly focused on jobs, but briefly touched on the state’s fiscal problems during his State of the State address last week. Instead, the governor congratulated lawmakers for passing comprehensive pension reform that “stopped the bleeding.” However, Quinn didn’t mention the lawsuits challenging those pension reforms. The governor again promoted raising the hourly minimum wage from $8.25 to at least $10, a proposal Illinois Farm Bureau opposes. “Raising wages for workers who are doing some of the hardest jobs in our society is not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for our economy,” Quinn said. He added minimum-wage workers spend money at local

businesses and provide an economic “shot in the arm” to Main Street. Quinn also proposed requiring at least two sick days for every worker in Illinois and doubling the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers. Early childhood education comprised much of the governor’s education focus. Quinn pointed out the state has tapped into federal grants to help fund early childhood programs. The governor gave no specific proposals for preschool programs, but stated early learning programs will be a funding priority. Quinn’s budget address is scheduled for Feb. 19. The governor also proposed the state invest in a new biotechnology center, known as BioHub, for startup companies; doubling funding for the Clean Water Initiative revolving loan fund to upgrade water and sewer systems; and establishing a new small business advocate to review how existing policies impact small businesses.


CONSERVATION

Page 5 Monday, February 3, 2014 FarmWeek

Conservation, cover crop seminar draws crowd

Cover crops attracted a roomful of farmers to the first of three Conservation Cropping Seminars last week. Participants also heard the latest on crop nutrient needs and soil health, but cover crops served as the main attraction. Ogle County farmer Cade Bushnell described his cover crop experiments on his Stillman Valley farm. Laughter erupted when Bushnell showed images of his soybean planter hidden by a tall rye cover crop

— an on-farm trial to scavenge nitrogen and leave it for the following year’s corn crop. Bushnell admitted the rye pollen proved to be a problem, and he had to keep stopping to clean the tractor’s radiator when planting. His assessment? “This was my best field of beans even though it wasn’t my best ground, and the deer ate four acres,” he said. “Beans are more forgiving than corn to start cover crops.” Bushnell, a longtime no-till farmer, offered practical advice

for farmers who want to start or are learning about cover crops. “With cover crops, what are you trying to accomplish? There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself,” he advised. Farmers should use the equipment, inputs and help that are available; however, a sprayer purchase might be a high priority. Timely killing of a cover crop before planting is critical, Bushnell stressed. If a farmer depends on a commercial

applicator to kill a cover crop, that service may not be available when needed. “You all know the joke about cereal rye, right?” he asked. “The difference between six-inch rye and three-foot rye is three rains.” State Conservationist Ivan Dozier with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) encouraged farmers to consider cover crops along with other conservation practices to manage nutrients and improve soil health. “Soil health can do so much

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) last week asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to reverse a September 2013 federal court ruling upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) total maximum daily load for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The court will decide whether EPA exceeded its Clean Water Act authority by mandating how nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff should be allocated among farms, construction and development activities as well as homeowners and towns throughout the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed. AFBF filed the brief on

behalf of fellow plaintiffs/appellants, including the National Association of Home Builders, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, The Fertilizer Institute and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. “This case involves whether EPA can assume authority over land use and water quality policy decisions that Congress specifically reserved for state and local levels of government,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Last year, the district court ruled that EPA can dictate how and when states and localities must restrict land uses, even to the point of banning develop-

ment or demanding that specific areas be taken out of agricultural use. “These are uniquely local decisions that should be made by local governments,” continued Stallman. “That is why this power is specifically withheld from EPA in the Clean Water Act.” AFBF argues that the Clean Water Act divides authority

between EPA and the states, leaving states in the driver’s seat to determine how business owners and residents will share the costs and responsibility to achieve clean water goals. “Farmers will continue to do their part to improve water quality regardless of whether we win or lose this appeal,” said Stallman.

BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

AFBF asks court to reverse Chesapeake Bay ruling

IDNR offering interactive webcasts on Conservation Congress topics

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will air a live, interactive webcast from noon to 1 p.m. each Thursday through Feb. 20. IDNR staff will discuss different topics. Dates and topics include: Feb. 6, outdoor recreation; Feb. 13, partnerships to promote education and volunteerism; and Feb. 20, communications and customer service. IDNR designed the webcasts to inform and engage the public on key issues leading up to Conservation Congress 2014 April 11-12 in Springfield. The theme is charting a course to protect and preserve our natural resources. Interested individuals may watch the webcast by visiting {dnr.illinois.gov}. During the discussion, a viewer may ask the panelists a question by emailing the question to CCWebcast@Portal2010.Illinois.gov.

to help with (environmental) issues,” Dozier said. “It will take site-specific information to write out a soil health plan for your farm.” llinois NRCS is developing soil health teams in its local offices. At the federal level, NRCS is forming a soil health division.

Still time to catch Conservation Cropping Two more opportunities exist for farmers to attend Conservation Cropping Seminars this year. They will be Feb. 27 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, Mount Vernon, and March 13 at Heartland Community College, Normal. Each seminar will run from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. The registration fee is $20. To register, visit {ccswcd.com/Conservation%20Cropping%20Se minars/}.

Make FAST STOP your first stop.

Datebook Feb. 4-5 Illinois Pork Expo, Peoria. Visit {ilpork.com} for more information. Feb. 5-6 University of Illinois crop management conference, Champaign. Visit {web.extension.illinois.edu/csrec} for more information. Feb. 6 Lake Springfield Watershed stakeholder meeting, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Northfield Conference Center, Springfield. Feb. 8-9 Western Illinois University Ag Mech Show, Macomb. Visit

{wiufarmexpo.com} for information. Feb. 12-13 University of Illinois crop management conference, Malta. Visit {web.extension.illinois.edu/csrec} for more information. Feb. 18 Illinois Winter Wheat Forum, Mount Vernon. Visit {www.illinoiswheat.org} for more information. Meet the Buyers event, Orland Park Civic Center, Orland Park. Call the Cook County Farm Bureau at 708354-3276 by Feb. 14.

Whether you are looking to fill your tank or your coffee cup, look to your locally owned and operated FFAST AS STOP.® With nearly 300 convenient locations across the AST Midwest, chances are, we’re right on the wayy.

www w.efaststop.com

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©2013 GROWMARK, Inc. A14130


AROUND ILLINOIS

FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, February 3, 2014

Two Central Illinois men Illinois Congressional delegation fighting FEMA sentenced for grain fraud Eight members of Illinois’ Congressional In the House of Representatives, the legisBY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

A farmer and a former elevator manager were sentenced to prison for committing fraud tied to a failed McLean County elevator, according to the Associated Press. In June, Robert Printz, a Fairbury farmer, and Timothy Boerma of Lincoln, a former elevator manager, pleaded guilty to wire fraud involving Towanda Grain Co. Printz was sentenced to 10 years and one month and ordered to pay $7 million. Boerma was sentenced to

six years and ordered to pay $6.7 million. Federal prosecutors claimed the two men worked together to defraud the elevator, Printz’s creditors and others. In May 2010, the Illinois Department of Agriculture suspended the grain dealer and grain warehouse licenses of Towanda Grain Co. after learning of financial irregularities from the failed cooperative’s board of directors. The elevator was purchased and reopened by Bloomington-based Evergreen FS Inc.

delegation introduced legislation intended to prevent small communities from being denied federal disaster aid because of their size. In the Senate, Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, and Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, reintroduced the “Fairness in Federal Disaster Declarations Act.” Durbin and Kirk first introduced the legislation in 2012 after FEMA denied federal assistance to downstate communities, including Harrisburg and Ridgway, after tornadoes hit.

lation was recently introduced by Reps. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline; Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville; John Shimkus, R-Collinsville; Aaron Schock, R-Peoria; Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno; and Bill Enyart, D-Belleville. Because FEMA places so much emphasis on a disaster’s cost “per capita,” officials say communities in large states, like Illinois, must incur a relatively higher level of damage than communities in states with smaller populations. 

Farm Service Agency news

Marketing assistance loans — Short-term financing is available by obtaining low interest commodity loans for eligible harvested production. A nine-month Marketing Assistance Loan provides financing

that allows farmers to store production for later marketing. The crop may be stored on the farm or in a warehouse. Loans are available for farmers who share in the risk of producing the eligible com-

STANDING STRONG WITH FARMERS Since 1925 Join the number one crop-hail insurer in Illinois for an information session near you.

Workshops feature FAST management

Topics will include: 

Updates to the Federal Crop Insurance Program



Updates on the Farm Bill and what to expect moving forward



How to use grain marketing and crop insurance together to manage risk and get the best profit per acre



Best practices for handling claims to make the process as easy as possible

modity and maintain beneficial interest in the crop through the duration of the loan.  Beneficial interest is defined as retaining the ability to make decisions about the commodity, responsibility for loss because of damage to the commodity and title to the commodity. Once beneficial interest in a commodity is lost, it is ineligible for a loan, even if you regain beneficial interest. Grain safety reminders — Remember to use safety precautions when handling grain. Keep children out of grain bins, beds and wagons at all times.  Lock out the control circuit before entering a bin, whether or not grain is flowing. Be especially careful around automatic unloading equipment. Have three people involved when you enter a grain bin. Be sure to have a safety harness and a rope. Don’t count on someone outside the bin to hear shouted instructions because equipment noise may block calls for help.

Farmers can learn about the latest Farm Analysis Solution Tools (FAST) at four upcoming University of Illinois Extension workshops. The one-day, hands-on sessions aim to introduce FAST spreadsheets that can assist farmers with decisions about livestock and farm management, grain marketing, risk management and financial, loan and investment analysis. Sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Workshops will be conducted Feb. 20 at the Jefferson County Extension Office in Mount Vernon, Feb. 26 at the Stephenson County Extension Office in Freeport, Feb. 28 at the Champaign County Extension Office in Champaign and March 5 at the Morgan County Extension Office in Jacksonville. Each workshop costs $85 with payment due one week in advance of the workshop. To register, visit {farmdoc.illinois.edu/fasttools} or call Ryan Batts at 217-333-1817.

Sessions will run from December–March 2014. To register, go to www.countrycrop.com/update.

Policies issued by COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, Bloomington, IL. This entity is an equal-opportunity provider.

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WEATHER

Page 7 Monday, February 3, 2014 FarmWeek

New month same forecast — colder than normal BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The polar vortex apparently trumps Punxsutawney Phil when it comes to winter weather forecasts. The forecast prior to Groundhog Day (Feb. 2) called for the cold and snowy pattern experienced so far this winter to continue in Illinois through February and possibly into March. Whether or not the groundhog saw its shadow Sunday real-

FarmWeekNow.com

Check out our interview with meteorologist Eric Apel on February’s weather outlook, go to FarmWeekNow.com.

ly doesn’t matter. “These (winter) weather patterns tend to persist,” Eric Apel, ag meteorologist with Mobile Weather Team of Washington, said last week at the Mid-Co winter outlook meeting in Bloomington. “I think more cold is on the way.” Temperatures in Illinois last month averaged between 6 and 10-plus degrees below normal, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.

The frigid temperatures were caused in part by polar winds that swept brutally cold air (20 to 40 degrees below zero) from Canada into the Midwest and eastern U.S. “We are going to see temperatures start to moderate,” Apel said last week on a day when the high temperature barely made it to double-digits. “It will still be cold, but not as cold as we are now.” The weather pattern could shift into something that resembles mid-December with cold air from the north clashing with moisture from the Gulf. That combination “can dump large amounts of snow on the Midwest,” said Apel, who predicted snowfall this month will be normal to above normal. Snowfall from Dec. 1 through last week in Peoria totaled 23.5 inches, nearly double the normal amount for that stretch of 13.1 inches. Winter wheat conditions Frigid temperatures the last six weeks elevated concerns about damage to the winter wheat crop. Bryce Stremming, commodity risk consultant with Mid-Co

Commodities, said the biggest area of concern is in hard red wheat country to the southwest where drought also is an issue. “We’ve had less than ideal

weather in the U.S.,” Stremming said. “We have to worry about how it (the winter wheat crop) when it comes out of dormancy.” U.S. farmers last fall planted 3 percent fewer wheat acres. But supplies shouldn’t pressure wheat prices as demand could slip by about 100 million bushels due to

lower feed use and exports. In Illinois, farmers planted 15 percent fewer wheat acres. But significant snowfall possibly protected the crop from extensive winterkill. “There may be a little winterkill of the soft red wheat crop,” Stremming added. “But, at this point, you have to figure it will come out OK.”

Western Illinois University (WIU) will add ag alumni reunion activities to the 43rd Ag Mech Show Feb. 8-9 on the Macomb campus. Hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 8 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 9. Illinois native Katie Pratt, one of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Faces of Farming & Ranching, will give the keynote address at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 8. The expo also will feature a child pedal tractor pull, which starts at noon Feb. 9 as well as exhibits of farm machinery, emerging ag technology, livestock and crop

supplies, ag structures, crafts and a farm toy show. An ag alumni reunion/social will occur from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 8 in the campus Multicultural Center. Other Feb. 8 activities alumni may join include: Bull Test open house, noon to 3 p.m., on the WIU farm; State FFA interview and ag issues contests, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Knoblauch Hall; and Ag Communications Workshop, hosted by the McDonough County Farm Bureau and the Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation, 2 to 4 p.m., Stipes Hall, Room 501. Incorporating the Ag Alum-

ni Reunion Weekend into the Ag Mech Club’s annual Farm Expo weekend, according to Bart Gill, School of Ag assistant professor, occurred as a result of conversations among faculty, staff and alumni. “Hopefully, this event will be the start of many more to follow. Our vision is to have a School of Ag Alumni Society formed in the future,” Gill said. Former ag faculty members also have been invited, so alumni will have a chance to talk with their former professors, he added. For more information, visit {wiufarmexpo.com} or call 309-298-1231.

WIU Ag Mech Show adds ag alumni activities Bryce Stremming

Reaching maximum capacity? Let’s talk. Tuesday: • Bryce Anderson, DTN • Mike Doherty, Illinois Farm Bureau • Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics: livestock update Wednesday: • Tim Schweizer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources • Rita Frazer, RFD Radio Network®, live from Illinois Pork Expo • Kate Deck, Standard Market Grill: Meet the Buyers event

• Karen Blatter, 1st Farm Credit Services: grants and scholarships Thursday: • Rita Frazer, live from Illinois Pork Expo • Frank Butterfield, Landmarks Illinois: grant program Friday: • Sara Wyant, Agri-Pulse • Ivan Dozier, Natural Resources Conservation Service To find a radio station near you that carries RFD Radio Network, go to FarmWeekNow.com, click on “Radio,” then click on “Affiliates.”

Producers that are driven to expand partner with FS. As yields, acres and harvest rates increase, so does your capacity. The experts at FS will update or design a new system and develop your operation’s plan for growth by analyzing bottlenecks, designing layout options and providing solutions that point your operation forward. FS is focused on what’s ahead and will ensure your bins are ready for what’s next.

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©2013 GROWMARK, Inc. A14144


AG INPUTS

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, February 3, 2014

New IFCA chairman ready to defend crop input industry BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Brian Waddell, newly elected chairman of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA), sees goals clearly for the year ahead. “Our priority (at IFCA) is nutrient management,” Waddell told FarmWeek. Regulatory pressure, similar to what has occurred in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, will likely happen in the future for farmers and input suppliers in the Mississippi River watershed. Waddell, therefore, believes it is critical to focus on nutrient management and improve the efficiency of fertilizer use, and document its benefits, before the introduction of any new regulations. “We’ve got to defend our industry,” Waddell said. “I feel the regulatory pressure will continue to come on the nutrient management side. “We’ve got to continue to educate our members and the farm community that the

money we’re investing (in research) is establishing a baseline for the science behind the methods,” he continued. “We have to take the lead or someone else will.” Illinois is part of a nutrient stewardship program that focuses on the 4Rs of nutrient management: the right fertilizer at the right rate at the right time in the right place. More information is available online at {nutrientstewardship.com}. Waddell was elected chairman of the IFCA board last month during the association’s annual meeting in Peoria. He has served on the IFCA board since 2007. Waddell, who grew up in Niantic (Macon County), is a fertilizer manufacturer representative for Marco NPK in Clinton. Prior to that, Waddell worked in the chemical/crop protection industry from 1997-99 and in the fertilizer industry since 1999 with IMC/Mosaic and GROWMARK prior to joining Marco NPK four years ago.

Others elected to IFCA leadership this year include Travis Weaver, vice chairman; Ryan Heldt, finance officer; Eric Gordon, secretary; and Carl Kessler, executive committee member. IFCA will also continue to monitor and address weed resistance. Meanwhile, buyers of fertilizer this year should see some price relief. Anhydrous ammonia prices last week in the state averaged $651 per ton, down about $200 from the previous year. “There’s no question that as crop prices recalibrated, fertilizer prices recalibrated as well,” Waddell said. “Keep an eye on commodity prices and demand” going forward. Fertilizer buyers also should monitor supply movements around the world, which could impact prices. China, for example, recently made a significant purchase of potash. “I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s a world fertilizer market,” Waddell added.

Brian Waddell, fertilizer manufacturer representative for Marco NPK in Clinton, poses in a soil nutrient storage facility. Waddell last month was elected chairman of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Analyst: Volatility could linger in U.S. propane market Another round of bitter temperatures pressured the heating markets again last week. Temperatures across much of the state the first half of last week plummeted to single digits or below zero, thanks to the return of the polar vortex. “As the cold weather continues, the markets (for propane and natural gas) seem to heat up,” Harry Cooney, GROWMARK manager of energy customer risk management, told the RFD Radio Network®. “Stocks are getting tight.” The price for propane Jan. 24 surpassed $5 per gallon in many parts of the country. Meanwhile, the average price of natural gas last week was $1.40 per million British thermal units higher than the same time last year. The main driver of the price spikes is the Harry Cooney combination of a large crop drying season followed by a steady dose of below-average temperatures so far this winter. But, while temperatures were slow to warm back up last week, Cooney believes propane prices possibly peaked around $5. “It seems a lot of the hype (and price run up) peaked (Jan. 24),” Cooney said. “The shock of the market lessened demand. I heard of people turning their furnaces down (closing off rooms) and end users who purchased minimum quantities of propane. “The market did its job,” he continued. “The question is, is that enough (of a price jump to ration demand) for the time being?” Weather conditions this month likely will answer that question. More below-average cold will keep pressure on home heating markets. “Supplies are still tight” Cooney said. “The market will continue to stay very volatile.” More than 30 states issued emergency declarations and the U.S. Department of Transportation eased trucking regulations to support the delivery of propane and other home heating fuels. Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn allowed the waiver of licensing and other regulatory requirements for truck operators to load in Texas, the Midwest Truckers Association reported. Texas is the largest propane producer nationwide. GROWMARK last week sent trucks to Texas, Mississippi, the Carolinas and other locations to haul propane back to Midwest cooperatives, Cooney noted. Elsewhere, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad sent a letter to President Obama to consider restricting propone exports to reduce strain on domestic supplies. But such a move might not be possible as existing contracts with international buyers prevent companies from diverting propane shipments domestically, Steve Ahrens, executive director of the Missouri Propane Gas Association told the Associated Press. — Daniel Grant


FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 9 Monday, February 3, 2014 FarmWeek

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DAMS — Scholarship applications are available for graduating seniors and college students at the Farm Bureau office or by email at acfb@adams.net. ROWN — COUNTRY Financial will sponsor a crop insurance meeting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Renee’s Place in Mount Sterling. For more information call Larry Grady at 773-3591. ASS-MORGAN — Farm Bureau will sponsor a market outlook meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Morgan County Extension Office in Jacksonville. Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 2456833 to register or for more information. • Farm Bureau will sponsor an on-the-road seminar at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Morgan County Extension Office in Jacksonville. Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 245-6833 to register. UMBERLAND — Farm Bureau will sponsor a Guess the Grocery program Monday through Friday at the Greenup, Neoga and Toledo IGA to promote Food Check-out Week. The winner will receive a $25 IGA gift card and designate a local food pantry to receive food items involved in the guessing game. ULTON — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a Save Your Sweetheart grain safety program from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Fulton FS, Lewistown. Call the Farm Bureau office at 547-3011 to register. 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. ENRY — Foundation scholarship applications are available by visiting {henrycofarmbureau.org} or by emailing kbhcfb@theinter.com. Application deadline is March 7. 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. ANE — Farm Bureau scholarships are available to students who are members or dependents of a member and are pursuing a college degree. For applications and details visit

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{kanecfb.com} or the Farm Bureau office. Deadline to apply is Feb. 15. • Farm Bureau will sponsor Lunches to Legislators on Friday. Call the Farm Bureau office at 584-8660 to register. • Farm Bureau will host a Food Check-out Challenge shopping spree at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 17 at the Batavia JewelOsco. Food purchased will be donated to local food pantries. ANKAKEE — Farm Bureau will sponsor an on-the-road truck seminar at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at the University of Illinois Extension office in Bourbonnais. Kevin Rund, IFB, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 932-7471 to register. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a WILL-AM 580 market panel discussion with Dave Dickey at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the U of I Extension office in Bourbonnais. Call the Farm Bureau office at 932-7471 to register. AWRENCE — Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., leaving from Lawrenceville at 6 a.m. and Mount Carmel at 6:30 a.m. Feb. 12. Cost is $20. Call the Farm Bureau office at 943-2610 to register. EE — Young Leaders will attend a Rockford Ice Hogs hockey game Feb. 22. Cost is $13. If you are interested in attending, call the Farm Bureau office at 857-3531 or email leecfb@comcast.net by Feb. 10. IVINGSTON — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a farm safety breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Pontiac Elks Lodge. Call the Farm Bureau office at 842-1103 or email livcfbmgr@yahoo.com for reservations by Thursday. 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. ACOUPIN — Applications are available for Foundation scholarships by calling the Farm Bureau office at 852-2571 or by emailing mcfb@frontiernet.net. Application deadline is March 21. CDONOUGH — Farm Bureau will sponsor a workshop entitled Storytelling 101 from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Stripes Hall conference room at Western Illinois University. Katie Pratt, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Face of Farming & Ranching, will speak about telling your agriculture story. Call the Farm Bureau office at 837-3350 to register.

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• Farm Bureau will sponsor a technology meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Farm Bureau office. Nathan Greuel, John Deere, and local producers will speak on new and emerging technology use on the farm. Call the Farm Bureau office at 837-3350 to register by Friday. CLEAN — Farm Bureau will celebrate its centennial anniversary at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Marriott Hotel in Normal. Orion Samuelson will be the speaker. Cost is $12. Call the Farm Bureau office at 663-6497 to register by Feb. 18. • Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a farm safety breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Pontiac Elks Lodge. Call the Farm Bureau office at 663-6497 for reservations by Thursday. • Young Leaders and Illinois State University Collegiate Farm Bureau will gather for dinner at 5 p.m. at the Ropp Agricultural Building and at 6 p.m. at Redbird Arena to attend the ISU versus Bradley University basketball game. 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

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register by Feb. 12. 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. EORIA — Farm Bureau will host a Farming in 2014 seminar at 10 a.m. Friday in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Topics will include cover crops, weather, water drainage and regulations. Call the Farm Bureau office at 6867070 for reservations by Tuesday. • Young Leaders will meet at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at 1st Farm Credit Services. Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor, will speak. Members age 18 to 35 are invited to attend. ERRY — Farm Bureau will sponsor a charter bus trip to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 13. Cost is $55. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations by Thursday. • 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 by Feb. 13. IATT — Farm Bureau will host an iPad, iPhone and iCloud technology class from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 10

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at the Farm Bureau office at no cost to members. Call the Farm Bureau office at 7622128 to register by Friday. • 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. CHUYLER — COUNTRY Financial will sponsor a crop insurance meeting at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Deb & Di’s in Rushville. Call Larry Grady at 773-3591 for more information. ERMILION — Farm Bureau will host a Luau for Learning trivia night with a Gilligan’s Island theme at 7:30 p.m. March 1 at the Danville Knights of Columbus Hall. Registration is $100 per table of eight. Proceeds will benefit the Agriculture in the Classroom program. ABASH — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a bus trip to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., leaving from Lawrenceville at 6 a.m. and Mount Carmel at 6:30 a.m. Feb. 12. Cost is $20. Call the Farm Bureau office at 2625865 to register. ASHINGTON — Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 13. Cost is $55. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations by Thursday.

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PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, February 3, 2014

Prepare for surprises with energy planning this year Lows in the energy market tend to occur between December and Valentine’s Day due to seasonal patterns that influence supply and demand. We’ve seen a few dips in the market so far and customers have been taking advantage of these opportunities by locking in gallons through forward contracts for delivery during periods of strong demand. Be sure to keep a close watch on the market for more buying opportunities to help make profitability easier in the Adam Crouch future. How are U.S. inventories looking? Crude and gas inventories are similar to 2012 levels and are above their five-year average. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is estimating crude oil production to increase for the sixth consecutive year in 2014, thanks to fracking in tight oil formations in the Bakken (North Dakota),

BY ADAM CROUCH

Eagle Ford and Permian (Texas) basins. Gas inventory has been building due to weak demand brought on by extreme winter weather that has kept drivers off the roads. Distillate inventories appear the weakest compared to crude and gas. Distillates are below 2012 levels and are below their five-year average. Lower-than-normal distillate inventories can be attributed to strong U.S. exports, which have exceeded 2012

levels and are nearly double their five-year average. A “polar vortex” blasted most of the U.S with snow and subzero temperatures increasing the demand for heating oil. In addition, the subzero temperatures caused numerous refinery disruptions resulting in a decrease of refinery output. We still have plenty of winter to get through with the chance of more supply disruptions. The U.S. is continuing to become less dependent on foreign oil. U.S. oil production is surging and continuing to gain strength. The EIA estimate for 2013 shows domestic production increased for a fifth consecutive year, totaling 7.5 million barrels per day. Production for 2014 and 2015 is expected to climb to 8.5 million barrels per day and 9.3 million barrels per day. Liquid fuel demand met by imports is expected to fall from 33 percent in 2013 down to 24 percent in 2015.

Adam Crouch is GROWMARK’s associate energy analyst. His email address is acrouch@growmark.com.

Analyst: Record Brazilian soybean crop dampens price outlook BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Favorable growing conditions in South America, particularly Brazil, likely will have a negative impact on U.S. soybean growers. China soon will switch the focus of its bean import program from the U.S. to South America to take advantage of bumper crops there. Prices subsequently could soften in coming months, according to Hugh Whalen, commodity risk consultant with Mid-Co Commodities. “We will see some export sales canceled or switched to

South America,” Whalen said last week at the Mid-Co winter outlook meeting in Bloomington. “Short term that’s bearish to the market.” USDA recently projected South American soy production Hugh Whalen this year could total about 5.3 billion bushels. If realized, the South American bean crop would be about 2 billion bushels larger than last year’s U.S. crop. Brazilian farmers are on

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-$70.38 $49.50 40 lbs. (cash) $93.00-$105.00 $101.32 Recipts

This Week 66,046 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Last Week 72,335

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change NA $77.95 NA NA $57.68 NA

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

This week $145.74 $144.89

Prev. week $149.60 $150.00

Change -$3.86 -$5.11

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 $171.12 $170.34 $0.78

Lamb prices NA

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 1/23/2014 73.8 14.0 28.7 1/16/2014 56.6 15.6 29.8 Last year 40.9 22.4 21.4 Season total 1115.0 798.2 552.4 Previous season total 950.2 584.4 305.6 USDA projected total 1450 1100 1400 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

track to produce a record crop due to large plantings and favorable growing conditions. Brazil’s expected bean yield, 44.6 bushels per acre, would top any national yield produced in the U.S. The bean crop in Argentina is expected to recover from hot, dry conditions last month and produce a respectable 40.5 bushels per acre. “The weather has been very good in Brazil. A lot of analysts are talking about production increases,” Whalen said. “Argentina had some weather problems, but it improved (last month).” The South American weather outlook for the rest of the

season showed no major concerns, according to Eric Apel, ag meteorologist with Mobile Weather Team in Washington. “There should be more rain in Central Argentina, so I think they’ll continue to see

improvement,” Apel said. “I don’t see any huge issues in Brazil.” If the massive crop is realized down south, U.S. soy exports could give way to South American beans in the next few months. Meanwhile, U.S. farmers could increase soy plantings as well. If soy production grows in the U.S. this year, Whalen predicted prices could dip to $10 per bushel or even lower later this year. Soy stocks are tight in the U.S., with a snug 4.5 percent stocks-to-use ratio, but world supplies are much more plentiful with stocks at 2.6 billion bushels.

Corn exports could grow once ice issue subsides

U.S. corn exports could grow this year as end users respond to lower prices. But one of the main obstacles slowing shipments on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers in recent weeks — ice — will be an issue until a sustained run of above-freezing temperatures liquidates the problem. “Barge freight (rates) have gone up,” Hugh Whalen, Mid-Co Commodities risk consultant, said last week at Mid-Co’s annual winter outlook meeting in Bloomington. “It looks like movements will be difficult through midFebruary on the Illinois River due to heavy icing.” Corn exports still are off to a hot start this year despite the recent challenges with river navigation. USDA projected corn exports for 2013-14 at 1.45 billion bushels, up 719 million bushels from last year. “We’re working export demand back to the U.S.,” said Bob Trimpe, Mid-Co commodity risk consultant. “I think (corn exports) could be larger this year.” Year-to-date commitments at the end of December totaled 1.13 billion bushels Bob Trimpe compared to 503 million bushels in 2012-13. Trimpe predicted more corn will move this spring when the rivers clear up and as farmers

make sales to help pay for spring inputs. “I think the river will be more competitive in April and May,” Trimpe said. “We haven’t had to deal with (an ice issue of this magnitude) for several years. “Producers are hanging onto a lot of corn they need to move,” he continued. “I think we’ll see some of that move before planting.” China in recent months rejected shipments of U.S. corn and distillers’ grains due to issues with biotech crops. Trimpe believes that political issue will resolve itself. “Even though some (corn) exports have been turned away by China, I think there’s room to grow more,” he said. “South Korea has (purchased) a lot of that corn (turned away by China).” U.S. corn sales are expected to grow this year due in part to a record U.S. crop, lower prices and a discounted price compared to feed wheat. Elsewhere, Brazil’s corn exports are expected to decline by nearly 200 million bushels due to decreased production and increased competition from the U.S. Corn in central Brazil last week was priced below $4 per bushel. In Argentina, a currency crisis is prompting producers there to retain commodities rather than exchange them for devalued currency. — Daniel Grant


PROFITABILITY

Page 11 Monday, February 3, 2014 FarmWeek

Corn Strategy

CASH STRATEGIST

‘Wall of soybeans’ is upon us

With the beginning of the South American soybean harvest, the world should soon confront the long awaited increase in supply. And it will be large. If the crops come in as good as currently anticipated, output from the four primary producers should reach 155 million metric tons (mmt). That’s close to 5.7 billion bushels. Given early Brazilian yield reports, and good rains across much of Argentina, it could easily be larger yet. But as much as anything, the trade has been concerned about how fast those supplies will become available. Last year, a slow start to harvest kept Brazilian soybeans from entering the pipeline as soon as anticipated. Their slow start forced China to continue to source soybeans out of the U.S. for a longer period than they had anticipated. As we have implied, China’s aggressive import program suggests they have built inventories to pre-empt any such problem this year. Harvest in Mato Grosso is nearly 11 percent complete, with some locations as far along as 20 percent. Parana, the No. 2 state, is thought to be 2

percent done. But weather forecasts for Brazil over the next seven to 10 days includes little moisture, which should allow harvest to accelerate. One ship left Brazil’s main port, Paranagua, last week destined for China, with three to four more said to be loading. One South American analyst thought 600,000 tons might have been loaded/shipped last week, but that may be a little aggressive. Even if loadings were half that, they’d still match last January’s shipments. But it’s February that will be watched closest. They shipped just under 1 mmt last year, under the prior year’s record of 1.6 mmt. The vessel line-up at Brazilian ports already indicates 3 mmt of capacity is waiting to load soybeans at this time with more ships arriving daily. With the harvest set to accelerate, there’s reason to think February Brazilian exports could exceed the 2.5 mmt some have forecast. We wouldn’t be shocked if it were three to three-and-a-half times larger than last year’s 1 mmt exports. The Argentine situation will be different with producers only selling inventory as they need cash because of expectations of further currency devaluations. Still, it’s thought the threat of an increase in the soybean export tax might cause them to sell one-half of the 7 to 8 mmt of old crop they are still holding.

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ü2013 crop: The corn market continues to go through a corrective process following the short-term shift in trend after the Jan. 10 report. Use rallies to make needed sales for cash flow, but mostly we see higher prices over the next four to six weeks with March futures having potential to move into the high $4.40s. At the least, you should consider locking up the basis on planned winter sales. ü2014 crop: Like oldcrop prices, new-crop prices continue to go through a base-building process that should lead to higher prices later this winter. December has little significant resistance until $4.75 to $5. vFundamentals: The surge in export demand this past week was a good sign world users see current prices offering good value. The last time we had a weekly sale larger than this week’s 72.4 million bushels was August 2010. It was good to see the largest single buyer was Japan, one of our regular customers. This winter’s colder weather will bolster feed demand too.

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2013 crop: Use rallies to price remaining old-crop soybeans. The shift in South American weather is improving crop prospects in Argentina and allowing harvest to move forward in Brazil. The entrance of Brazilian supplies into the world pipeline will soon start to slow our shipments, quickly at that. ü2014 crop: November futures turned down from short-term resistance, but there’s reason to think this particular move down could be coming to an end. Wait for rallies to $11.25 on November futures for catch-up sales. vFundamentals: In the short term, the fundamental focus in the soybean complex is on South America. Chinese activity is another cornerstone, but their moves are tied to the progress of South American harvest and shipping. There is talk a potential increase in the Argentine soybean export tax could trigger Argentine pro-

ducers to sell a large portion of old-crop inventories they are still holding.

Wheat Strategy

ü2013 crop: Last week’s tumble took wheat to 3½-year lows, but extremely oversold condition and strong export sales provide near-term support. Chicago March futures have potential to reach $6 to $6.15, and maybe $6.25 when prices turn up. Target that level for sales. ü2014 crop: Winterkill worries remain in the Midwest, along with drought issues still a problem with the hard red

crop in the Southern Plains. Expected snow in both regions protects crops from cold temperatures. Continue to target a move to $6.35 to $6.50 to initiate new-crop sales. vFundamentals: U.S. export competitiveness and minor weather concerns have eased downside risk. However, strong headwinds persist. International Grain Council projections have world production for the 2013-14 marketing year at a record high and old-crop carryover is likely to come in higher than expected. Plantings point to a robust 2014-15 supply.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, February 3, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Safety solutions need to be offered

D

Editor: I wish Mr. John Block could provide realistic solutions to problems he identifies. For instance, grain bin safety. Of all people, he ought to realize that regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) don’t just wake up one day and decide to impose their regulatory power. OSHA is directed to safety problems that have a cost to our society that insurance companies mitigate with the

o you recall the national attention and concern, generated just before Thanksgiving when the country’s largest turkey producer indicated the possibility of a shortage of large, fresh turkeys? Another celebration and question surfaced. Would another poultry shortage befall the American public? The day of the possible shortage was Super Bowl Sunday. And the possible shortage was chicken wings — not turkeys. Having worked for the U.S. government for a while, I am used to large numbers. But chicken wing numbers impress me. On Super Bowl Sunday, it was estimated more than 1.2 WILLIAM billion chicken wings were BAILEY consumed. Assuming a population of 314 million people, that comes in at almost four wings per person. That is an incredible number of wings and, assuming two wings per chicken, this means a lot of chickens (600 million) have devoted their existence to the Super Bowl. There have been Super Bowl ‘wing shortage alerts’ several times in the past — 2009, 2010 and 2013. Last year, the National Chicken Council put out a press release blaming the potential wing shortage on corn producers selling their corn to the ethanol industry rather than to poultry producers. This decision, according to the council, resulted in higher feeding costs and fewer chickens (and wings).

Editor’s note: Kay Shipman asked farmers attending the Conservation Cropping Seminar in Mendota what cover crops they have grown.

Frankly, past concerns about potential Super Bowl chicken wing shortages have escaped me. I am not a big chicken wing fan. Growing up, fried chicken was always served at Sunday dinner. My dad got the thighs, my mom the breast, my sister the legs and I, as the youngest, was left with wings — and the neck unless my mother was still hungry. Since those Sunday dinners, what I viewed as the lowly chicken wing has evolved and moved up the food chain. Various sauces — cool ranch, momofuku octo vinaigrette or baked bourbon — are now layered on wings in an attempt to further spice them up. While I am still not a wing fan, the idea of peanut butter and jelly wings really does resonate. And there is an international component to this issue. U.S. chicken wings consist of the first two, meaty joints of the wing. The third joint, called the flapper, ends up taking a trip to Asia where it is readily consumed. For me, a key part of the “wing shortage alert,” if there was one, would be if ethanol were linked to any shortage of chicken wings. U.S. corn farmers this season produced the largest crop in history and corn prices have fallen more than 40 percent since the last Super Bowl. Perhaps the National Chicken Council could thank U.S. corn producers for their part in making 1.2 billion chicken wings available for the Super Bowl.

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help of the judicial system. Too many deaths and injuries are occurring in grain handling systems. Many of these onfarm sites are larger than the country grain elevators of John Block’s yesteryear. Doesn’t John Block realize that along with labor organizations that the insurance lobby will defend OSHA’s budget? In the meantime, I will take personal initiative to make my grain facility safer and welcome OSHA on my farm anytime. JOHN L. SEDLACEK St. Jacob

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William Bailey is an agricultural economics professor at Western Illinois University’s School of Agriculture. He is a former chief economist for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition.

“Cereal rye is my favorite. I also got along with annual ryegrass. This year I added red clover. I’ve also tried oats and tillage radishes.”

“We put oats ahead of corn and top-seeded clover into winter wheat. That worked real well. We’re looking to experiment with winter rye or wheat in the spring.”

Joe Fritch Aledo, Mercer County

Rich Vary Walnut, Bureau County

“I tried tillage radishes and oats as a mix, and cereal rye on other fields. I seeded after I combined corn. This past fall, I aerial seeded and that worked better. Alan Madison Princeton, Bureau County

“Two years ago I aerial seeded annual ryegrass and crimson clover into standing corn. I had the co-op airflow annual ryegrass (seed with fertilizer). I also tried winter peas and rape (seed).” Bruce Baumgartner Lena, Stephenson County


Farmweek february 3 2014