Issuu on Google+

A fifth-generation road builder serves as the latest rural infrastructure improvement proponent........................3

The Farmer Veteran Coalition helps military veterans return to their agricultural roots............................................5

Illinois beef numbers continue to grow, thanks to ample grain supplies and lower feed costs..............................................8

A service of

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

®

USDA boosts crop estimates, lowers price projections Monday, November 11, 2013

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

A boost in yield projections more than offset a cut in harvested acres as USDA Friday raised its national crop production estimates for this season by 146 million bushels for corn and 109 million bushel for beans. USDA, in its first crop production estimates since September due to the government shutdown last month, pegged U.S. corn production at a record 13.989 billion bushels, up 30 percent from last year. The average corn yield was raised 5.1 bushels from the September estimate to 160.4 bushels per acre.

FarmWeekNow.com

Check out details of USDA’s November crop report at FarmWeekNow.com.

Periodicals: Time Valued

U.S. soybean production was projected to total 3.258 billion bushels, up 7 percent from last year. The average soybean yield was raised 1.8 bushels from the September estimate to 43 bushels per acre. In Illinois, average yields were pegged at a stout 180 bushels per acre for corn, up 75 bushels from a year ago, and 49 bushels per acre for beans, up 6 bushels from last year. “A 1.9 million acre reduction in harvested (corn) area was more than offset by a 5.1

Three sections Volume 41, No. 45

bushel per acre increase in the forecast yield,” USDA noted in its world ag supply and demand report. The harvested area for soybeans was reduced by 700,000 acres. USDA, as a result of the jump in crop production, raised its ending stocks estimates and lowered its average price estimates. Ending stocks for 2013-14 were projected to total 1.887 billion bushels for corn, up 32 million bushels, and 170 million bushels for beans, up 20 million bushels. The season average farm price was estimated to range from $4.10 to $4.90 per bushel for corn, down 30 cents, and $11.15 to $13.15 for beans, down 35 cents. Wheat supplies for 2013-14 were raised 26 million bushels due to higher production. Ending stocks of wheat were raised 4 million bushels, and the season average farm price was narrowed 20 cents to a range of $6.70 to $7.30 per bushel. Gary Hudson, a farmer from Hindsboro and vice president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, was “pleasantly surprised” with his crop yields this season, but remains concerned prices could hover below breakeven levels. The University of Illinois recently projected a breakeven price for corn in the mid-$4 range compared to $1.67 per bushel five years ago. “We’re pretty close to $4 (per bushel) in our neighborhood,” Hudson told the RFD Radio Network®. “And I’m not sure $4 is the bottom of this market.” Many analysts believe USDA ultimately will raise the corn production estimate above 14 billion bushels. “We’re going to have about 2 billion bushels of extra corn this year,” said Hudson, who believes demand could take a hit if the Environmental Protection Agency lowers its ethanol mandate as speculated from 13.8 billion gallons this year to just 13 billion gallons in 2014.

“There is no logic in cutting the ethanol mandate at this time,” Hudson said. “Last year, we had the worst crop in years

and we still made 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol. This year we have more (corn).” The use of crop insurance

FIRE IN THE FIELD

and other risk management strategies subsequently will become increasingly important for farmers, Hudson added.

Nelson: Science won the day in Washington labeling vote

This was the scene Oct. 31, after a tractor owned by Chenoa farmer Brian Schaumburg caught fire. The blaze was attributed to corn residue that had accumulated in a rear axle. Read more about insights gained from the accident on page 7. (Photo by Tim Lindenbaum)

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Agriculture, consumers and, most of all, science won in last week’s key Washington state vote on biotech labeling, according to Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson. Washington voters rejected a ballot initiative calling for labeling of foods with genetically modified organisms (GMO). Following weeks of campaigning by organic and anti-biotech interests and ag industry representatives including the national Grocery Manufacturers Association, 54.8 percent of voters opposed labelPhilip Nelson ing and 45.2 percent favored it. Had the initiative been approved, Washington would have been the first state with a law requiring labeling — a move that would have affected regional producers and, potentially, interstate commerce. While he recognizes the labeling debate did not end in

FarmWeek on the web: FarmWeekNow.com

Washington, Nelson hailed victory. “We were pleased with the outcome,” he told FarmWeek. “We believe you should not have to label ‘GMO products,’ given the fact that they’ve been approved scientifically, they’ve gone through the scrutiny before they’ve come into the marketplace, and we believe they’re safe. “I don’t know that this debate is over. There’s still sensitivity out there among the antiGMO crowd. But when you start looking at this state-by-state, this is a national, international issue, and this vote came out basically where the science community is with the approvals that have been put in place, verifying that these products are safe.” Thirty-five of Washington’s 39 counties weighed in against the labeling initiative. King County (Seattle’s home) was one of the counties with the heaviest pro-labeling vote, along with Whatcom County, which abuts the Vancouver, Canada, metro area; neighboring San Juan County and Jefferson County, which includes the affluent community of Port Ludlow.

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


Quick Takes

EDUCATION

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, November 11, 2013

USDA ISSUES FRAUD ALERT — Farmers should be aware of a fraudulent letter circulating to producers and/or contractors. USDA officials said the signature line in the letter reads “Frank Rutenberg,” and the sender claims to be a USDA employee seeking information about the recipient.  These letters are fraudulent, the sender is fictitious and recipients should not respond. Farmers who receive one of these fraudulent letters should notify their local Farm Service Agency or a USDA Service Center representative.

COUNTY COMMITTEE ELECTIONS UNDER WAY — Farmers should be receiving Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee Election ballots. They’re due back at local FSA offices Dec. 2. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs, conservation programs, incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities, emergency programs and eligibility. To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote. Eligible voters who do not receive ballots can obtain one from their local USDA Service Center. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1.

CONFEREE CONTROVERSY — Before they’ve even had a chance to get down to serious negotiations, farm bill conferees are already the target of public controversy. The Humane Society Legislative Fund, the advocacy arm of the Humane Society of the United States, is spending $100,000 to advertise against a farm bill amendment that would limit state regulation of ag production and 11 conferees who support it, including House Ag Committee member Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican. Further, the recent lapse in a temporary federal stimulus increase in food stamp benefits has focused media attention on conference efforts to reconcile the Senate’s proposed $4 billion, 10-year cut in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding and the House’s $40 billion proposed cut. Davis believes conferees can achieve significant food stamp savings, while ensuring efforts to “get the benefits to those who need them the most.” As for the timing of the stimulus SNAP hike expiration, he remains philosophical. “It’s a good way for me to remind folks that (federal) economic policy didn’t work, or we wouldn’t have near as many Americans still on food stamps,” Davis told FarmWeek. “That shouldn’t happen if our economy’s actually producing jobs.”

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 41 No. 45 November 11, 2013 Dedicated to improving the profitability of farming, and a higher quality of life for Illinois farmers. FarmWeek is produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau. FarmWeek is published each week, except the Mondays following Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Avenue, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61701. Illinois Agricultural Association assumes no responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products or services advertised in FarmWeek. FarmWeek is published by the Illinois Agricultural Association for farm operator members. $3 from the individual membership fee of each of those members 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. © 2013 Illinois Agricultural Association

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

Illinois siblings share national FFA spotlight BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

The 2013 National FFA Convention became “a convention of a lifetime” for Tyler and Amy Loschen, TriPoint FFA Chapter members and siblings. Tyler, a senior at the University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign, was named the National FFA 2013 American Star Farmer. Amy, a freshman at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, won the National FFA swine production entrepreneurship proficiency award. They shared those achievements with their FFA adviser and agriculture teacher, who happens to be their mother. “This truly was a convention of a lifetime for our family,” Tri-Point ag teacher and FFA adviser Diana Loschen told FarmWeek. The national FFA convention was Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 in Louisville, Ky. Those achievements also were memorable for the Illinois FFA Association. Tyler brought Illinois FFA its first consecutive American Star Farmer Award. Last year, Clayton Carley of Milford, a member of the Cissna Park FFA Chapter, was named American Star Farmer. No state has claimed consecutive American Star Farmers in recent memory, according to James Craft, Illinois FFA executive secretary. Craft didn’t remember Illinois ever producing consecutive American Star Farmers. Considering Diana’s dual roles as FFA adviser and parent of two national award finalists, she joked “the stress level that has been building up for the last three months dropped.” Tyler’s previous national FFA awards — he won national proficiency awards his junior and senior years of high school — contributed to Amy’s efforts. “When I saw him, it really pushed me to try to be successful,” his sister said. Having family experience with national FFA awards also was helpful. Amy said her mom and brother assisted with her award application. Amy credited her father, Gary, a banker and former high school ag teacher, for ensuring she understood all the financial aspects of her farrow-to-finish operation, which is a partnership with Tyler, and a show pig production operation. Tyler credited his “great

American Star Farmer Tyler Loschen of Kempton, a member of the TriPoint FFA Chapter, shares the national FFA spotlight with his younger sister, Amy, national winner of the FFA swine production entrepreneurship proficiency award. The brother-sister duo enjoyed a special national FFA convention in Louisville, Ky., with their mom, Diana, who is their high school agriculture teacher and FFA adviser. (Photo courtesy Diana Loschen)

Illinois FFA’ers shine at the national FFA Illinois FFA chapters and members did “extremely well” at the recent National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky, said James Craft, Illinois FFA executive secretary. Kira Eidson, a member of the Payson-Seymour FFA Chapter, won the national FFA creed speaking contest. Trevor Edelman, a member of the Prairie Central FFA Chapter of Fairbury, won the national FFA agriculture mechanic career development award. The Pontiac FFA Chapter won the Model of Excellence award. support system” of his family, his school administration and his landlords who saw Tyler win the Star Farmer award, for helping him to achieve his goal. Despite not growing up on a farm, Tyler said he always had a passion to be a farmer. As a greenhand, he was inspired to work for the highest FFA awards when the 2006 American Star Farmer and Illinois FFA’er, Andrew Bowman, spoke to Tyler’s class. “Twenty acres and a small livestock operation, I never thought my project would take me anywhere, but it gave me the drive to pursue” that goal, Tyler said. After graduating in May, Tyler will join the Mycogen seeds sales staff of Dow AgroSciences. He plans to continue his Simmental cowherd, swine partnership

with his sister and farming, possibly expanding his acreage some day. Their advice for FFA members with high goals? “I strongly encourage them to keep their record books in a timely fashion,” Amy said, adding FFA advisers should push their students to keep records. “Lots of people don’t realize how successful their projects” can become unless they keep records, she said. Amy plans to study agriculture education and become an ag teacher. Tyler advised young FFA members “to find something that interests you and see where it can take you. “There are so many different (FFA) avenues you can take that will take you to places you never thought possible,” the newest American Star Farmer concluded.


TRANSPORTATION

Page 3 Monday, November 11, 2013 FarmWeek

DeKalb bridge ‘first link’ in ailing infrastructure

Dan McNichol knows infrastructure. The writer and “fifth-generation road builder” has chronicled Boston’s massive “Big Dig” highway construction project, served at the behest of the White House and has been cited for his coverage of Minnesota’s calamitous I35W bridge collapse in 2007. Now, McNichol’s getting to know rural infrastructure a little better, cruising the highways, byways and the communities sustained by them, in a 1949 Hudson. In the author’s words, the vintage car is “as old and rusty and energy-defunct” as much of America’s infrastructure. He’s partnered with CASE Construction Equipment in a “Dire States” tour aimed at promoting investment in rebuilding and rehabbing U.S. infrastructure. Last week, he joined the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) in a DeKalb-area visit McNichol characterized as “an invitation to get a close look at agricultural infrastructure.” He and ISA Transportation Committee Chairman Paul Rasmussen inspected DeKalb County’s Keslinger Bridge, a 130-foot township bridge that collapsed in 2009 purportedly as a result of heavy-duty traffic related to area pipeline construction. ISA and Informa Economics have determined that on average, each dollar invested in upgrading Illinois local bridges would return $10. Keslinger Bridge, which crosses the Kishwaukee River, offers a reportedly whopping $37.27 economic return for each dollar invested, in part due to “the agricultural strength of DeKalb County,” ISA transportation consultant Scott Sigman related. When the I-35W bridge collapsed in August 2007, “it knocked out rail, it knocked out barge traffic, it knocked out local roads,” and essentially created “mayhem” for Minneapolis until

it was rebuilt a year later, he said. “If (a bridge failure) doesn’t impact people immediately, it will impact them later, down the supply chain,” McNichol told FarmWeek over coffee in DeKalb. “This bridge down the road is one of the first links in farmers’ supply chain. They can’t even get their goods to market without doing a 16.7mile runaround.” “I-35W was a much more spectacular example of infrastructure — it affects the barge, maybe, that’s carrying the soy down to port.” Bridges, benefits and barriers The 28-foot-wide, 131-footlong span that had served as the Afton Township DeKalb bridge just south of DeKalb, directly serves an estimated 640 acres of farmland and prior to failure handled “a significant amount of local commerce traffic, much of which is assumed to have been influenced by agriculture,” according to ISA-Informa. Informa estimates the bridge, when functional, provides $1.088 million in annual benefits. Even before its failure, the bridge was classified as “structurally deficient,” and after bearing up under Enbridge Energy pipeline/construction traffic, it collapsed after a pickup truck crossed it. The bridge was built in 1976. “It’s relatively new,” Rassmussen noted. DeKalb County has sued Enbridge for $150,000 in reported damages, but as the parties work toward a resolution and ISA and others attempt to drum up broader support for addressing bridge deficiencies, farmer/truckers must absorb the added cost of increased travel. The bridge outage has underlined other basic issues in rural infrastructure, ag transportation and access. Roadway weight limits and overweight permits vary across township, county and state lines, generating added challenges and paperwork for soybean marketers, Rasmussen said. “We have to take the quickest

routes that accommodate our machinery sizes and weights,” he pointed out. “Research has found that increasing current vehicle weight limits to 97,000 pounds would allow for movement of 20 percent more product and could save the industry up to $84 million in costs every year. It would also decrease the need for more truck drivers. Currently, nationwide, we have a 100,000-driver shortage.” Sigman reported the group is eyeing another dozen deficient bridges around Illinois, beyond the first 12 highlighted as part of its “Let’s Find a Way” campaign. Beyond “the processing and materials-handling infrastructure this bridge supports,” the consultant emphasizes the Keslinger

Bridge has been a key conduit for emergency services, school buses and other local industries. ISA and other interested stakeholders are working with

Bipartisan lawmakers argue new truck “hours of service” rules could actually increase risks on the nation’s highways and seek to put the brakes on their implementation. Reps. Richard Hanna, RN.Y., Tom Rice, R-S.C., and Mike Michaud, D-Maine, have introduced a measure to delay newly imposed regulations on the number of consecutive hours commercial truck drivers can spend on the road. The American Transportation Research Institute maintains regulations enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety

Administration (FMCSA) on July 1 will impose an annual $376 million cost on the trucking industry. Trucking companies have argued new rules will cause more congestion during peak morning travel and result in truck drivers being more aggressive during hours spent on the road. Hanna, Rice and Michaud’s “TRUE Safety Act” would delay regulations until an independent evaluation has been completed. “The trucking industry is really concerned about this,” Soy Transportation Coalition

Executive Director Mike Steenhoek told FarmWeek. “You hear a number of truckers talking about this being a significant expense and voicing concerns smaller operators could go out of business. It’s a big deal to trucking companies, but this request for having the rules delayed is going to be tough.” That said, Steenhoek suggests the measure could help “stimulate some thinking” about commercial trucking regs as Congress considers the next surface transportation bill prospectively next year. He sees transportation debate “really start to

accelerate” early next year. Under the House proposal, truckers would revert to regulations in place prior to the July 1 imposition of 34-hour “restart” rules. Under new rules, truckers may not drive after 60 to 70 hours on duty over seven to eight consecutive days. A driver may restart a seven to eight consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Further, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to assess the methodology the FMCSA utilized when establishing the new

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Above: Illinois Soybean Association Transportation chairman and Genoa farmer Paul Rasmussen, left, eyes DeKalb County’s fallen Keslinger Bridge, joined by road construction expert and journalist Dan McNichol. McNichol, award-winning author of The Roads that Built America, is traveling U.S. highways in partnership with CASE Construction Equipment as part of the campaign Dire States: The Drive to Revive America’s Ailing Infrastructure. Below: McNichol with his 1949 Hudson on the historic Lincoln Highway outside downtown DeKalb’s Lincoln Inn Restaurant. (Photos by Martin Ross)

the DeKalb County engineer and other area officials “so that they can prioritize this bridge” with potential state and/or federal funding sources, he told FarmWeek. Grow local, ship global McNichol noted transportation infrastructure was near the “top of the food chain” in U.S. public importance in the postWorld War II era, but “we’re now dropping quickly in ranks.” Amid South American infrastructure upgrades, he fears U.S. growers could lose key market share to Brazil and others “doing a better job of delivering soy products to the world.” The current disconnect in support of U.S. infrastructure investment is a matter not only of political polarity and gridlock but also of “simply educating” taxpayers and consumers who may not recognize the consequences of “something like not fixing this bridge,” he said. “There’s so much complexity between federal interests, local interests, state interests,” McNichol said. “Freight rail doesn’t want anything to do with passenger rail. Passenger rail wants the rights of way used by freight. How does it all work? “One section of infrastructure depends heavily on the other, even though the people who own those pieces of infrastructure don’t see the connections sometimes.”

Lawmakers want truck rules put in neutral pending study

34-hour restart rule. New FMCSA regulations would not go into effect until six months after GAO submits its assessment to Congress. Hanna deemed it “wrongheaded for the federal government to impose an arbitrary and capricious regulation that impacts almost every sector of the American economy without first finishing a study on its effectiveness.” “There are legitimate concerns that this new rule makes our roads less safe and hurts small business,” he said. — Martin Ross


TRANSPORTATION

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, November 11, 2013

House freight report seeks improvements in funding BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

While a new House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee report offers little more than a nod to ag rail shippers, it sets the stage for efforts to upgrade the U.S. rail system and rural shipping efficiencies. So says Consumers United for Rail Equity (CURE) Executive Director Bob Szabo. In its report “Improving the Nation’s Freight Transportation System,” the transportation committee’s Special Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation urged Congress to authorize a comprehensive national freight transportation policy under the Department of Transportation (DOT). In preparation for 2014 surface transportation bill debate, the panel recommends DOT, in cooperation with the Army and Coast Guard, designate a new

national, multimodal freight network. The report advocates expanded incentives for private investment and “robust” public investment in multimodal freight infrastructure.

carriers, arguing that overall, House Transportation “is not a shipper-friendly committee,” on either side of the aisle. The report’s recommendations would neither significantly

A proposed new grant process would encourage “sustainable” funding for projects that would have a regional or national impact on the overall performance of the multimodal network. Szabo believes increased public funding of rail facilities would help foster a more “pro-competitive” rail system that benefits ag shippers as well as major railroads. Szabo noted the panel focused largely on major rail

help nor negatively impact ag shippers specifically, he said. “It does acknowledge testimony by agricultural folks who have a particularly difficult time with rail transportation because they lack competitive options,” Szabo nonetheless told FarmWeek. “It did at least make a passing reference to the fact that there is a problem out there.” Rail shippers recognize the value of a current industry focus

CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO

New FS InVISION™ seed corn is a game changer, changer, engineered with genetic muscle to outperform expectations. Make no mistake: We’re We’re here to un-cede the top seed. See your local FS member company when you’re ready to get serious. www.fsinvision.com

©2012 GROWMARK, Inc. S13265

on funding large intermodal facilities that serve combined rail/truck/vessel needs, he said. But they remain concerned that those facilities today “are moving containers into the country, not out of the country,” in part because of a concentration of resources at ports or urban terminals where it’s easier to assemble high-capacity “unit trains” rather than at grain or other U.S. ag origination points. Further, Szabo notes containers currently are exempt from federal Surface Transportation Board oversight, limiting options for smaller shippers and those who must use regional “short line” railroads to connect to Class 1 lines. Szabo cites an Indiana pop-

corn producer forced to truck export corn to a Class I carrier’s rail loading site in one-third empty containers to meet highway weight restrictions. That purportedly put the producer at a sharp freight cost disadvantage to South American competitors using state-owned lines. “What we need is a way to have the same kind of transportation efficiency on stuff going out of the country,” Szabo maintained. “But it’s harder to put (an outgoing) unit train together because almost no region in our country can fill up a unit train — 100 cars with two containers each, 200 containers full of something — all by itself.”

Midwest flavor lacking in Senate WRRDA conferees?

To soybean transportation specialist Mike Steenhoek, the lack of Midwestern senators on a conference committee devoted to charting the future of Mississippi River commerce is somewhat disconcerting. But Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, was optimistic the House would inject a stronger Heartland influence into negotiations toward a final Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). Joining Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and ranking member David Vitter, RLa., on the committee are Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Republicans James Inhofe of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming. “You’re always going to see the chair and the ranking member included,” Steenhoek told FarmWeek. “Vitter clearly gets the prominence of the Mississippi River and southern Louisiana to the broader economy, including agriculture. “Given his chairmanship of the Senate Finance Committee, having Sen. Baucus at the table is certainly essential, particularly if any (project-related) revenue-generating measures emerge. But I’d like to see more Midwestern and Plains states members who really rely heavily on the inland waterways system.” The House was expected to name conferees this week. Steenhoek expects a stronger Midwest presence under House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Penn. He called Transportation Water Resources Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, “about as strong an agricultural advocate as you’d find.” The Transportation Committee also includes Illinois Ag Committee members Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, who sponsored major WRRDA provisions. Steenhoek said the two legislators have been “really attentive to this issue.” Baucus’ participation ultimately could prove valuable if the Senate Finance or House Ways and Means Committees take up industry-backed proposals to boost barge fuel taxes as a waterways project funding mechanism. While Steenhoek rates the prospect of a final WRRDA vote by the end of the year “very high,” he sees no “strong or even modest momentum” for tax committee consideration of a barge “fee” hike this session. “You have all these other issues sucking the oxygen out of the room, including the broader budget issues and funding for the government,” he noted. “You have one side that wants to reduce spending and reduce taxes, and the other side that’s trying to prevail on Congress for that not to happen. That’s the playing field, and if you’re trying to institute a new source of revenue for the inland waterways system, that’s not very fertile ground.” — Martin Ross


EMERGING ISSUES

Page 5 Monday, November 11, 2013 FarmWeek

Coalition sows seeds linking farmers and veterans BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Marine Corps veteran Ryan Erisman wants to return to his farm roots and help fellow veterans realize their agricultural dreams, too. “This is a second calling,� Erisman said of veterans’ goals to raise crops and livestock, and to again provide needed service. A Christian County native, Erisman serves as the Midwest

FarmWeekNow.com

Visit the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s website by going to FarmWeekNow.com.

representative for the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Founded in 2008, the nationwide organization works to help veterans transition into agricultural careers. The coalition works in fertile ground. Since the 2001 ter-

rorist attacks, about 2.8 million veterans have served in the military. Recently, unemployment rates for all veterans improved and are comparable to unemployment rates for nonveterans, based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, similar to their nonveteran counterparts, the youngest veterans, ages 18 to 24, have the highest unemployment rates. The Farmer Veteran Coalition seeks different options for interested veterans. This includes matching veterans with farmer and landowner mentors not only geographically, but also linking those with similar personalities, Erisman noted. Currently, Erisman has a “handful� of veterans who are interested in finding a mentor or mentors. He hopes to create a database of veterans and

Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson, left, and Ryan Erisman, Midwest Farmer Veteran Coalition representative, recently discussed the program and opportunities in Illinois.

potential farmer mentors. The coalition also works with partner organizations to provide veterans such opportunities as conferences, farm tours, and educational workshops and retreats. Erisman works with veterans and farmers who have

diverse backgrounds and interests. “We don’t support one type of agriculture over another,� he noted. An Iraq veteran, Erisman understands other veterans’ dreams to work the land. He was raised on an organic grain and livestock farm near

Pana. After 10 years in the Marines and two deployments in Iraq, Erisman and his wife, Sarah, settled in Seattle, but they longed to raise a family on a farm and returned to Wisconsin where she was raised and Erisman attended college. After a couple of seasons farming rented land on a “hobby scale,� Erisman’s goal is to start a larger operation of agroforestry integrated with livestock near Madison, Wis. “We’re still trying to find land that is affordable,� Erisman added. As Erisman nurtures his own farm dreams, he would like to work with farmers and others in agriculture interested in supporting the agriculture careers of other veterans, he said. For information, visit the coalition’s website at {farmvetco.org} or call Erisman at 608618-9786.

Northwestern survey opportunity Illinois among six states with veteran jobs program for amputee farmers to be heard Illinois was among six states selected for a An Illinois Policy Academy team will set up a Farmers with arm or leg amputations can provide information that may lead to improved prosthetic technology and education for farmers. “This is an opportunity for farmers to have a say and be heard ... to have a voice in what their problem areas are,� Craig Heckathorne, a research engineer at Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center, told FarmWeek. Northwestern’s Rehabilitation Engineering Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics, Chicago, is conducting a nationwide online survey of farmers and ranchers with arm or leg amputations. The goal is to compile information about the types of prosthetics farmers use and how well they function for farm and ranch work. “We can, on the research side, come up with technical devices to help,� Heckathorne said of insights that may be gained from survey respondents. On the education side, farmers’ specific work needs could be considered in prostheses selection. As an example, Heckathorne noted leg components are selected based on a person’s weight. However, if the individual is a farmer who carries 100-pound bags of feed, that needs to be factored into the equation, Heckathorne explained. “There are things now that could help,� he added. The researchers are interested in the components farmers use, how they are used and farmers’ particular concerns,

such as lacking the ability to squat. The researchers plan to conclude the survey in early spring. They are collaborating with the National AgrAbility Project. The online survey takes about 15 minutes to complete, depending on the amount of information provided. Those who take the survey online will be anonymous unless they provide contact information. Sep-

special program to help veterans attain certification for in-demand civilian careers. The Veterans Licensing and Certification Demonstration Policy Academy, formed by the National Governors Association (NGA), will help Illinois create pathways for veterans to obtain state-level credentials for certain law enforcement and health care careers. Gov. Pat Quinn, a NGA member, lobbied for Illinois to be selected as a program state. Other selected states include Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin.

36:Y\U:\YN_MO\]+]]YMSK^SYX<OQSYXKV7OO^SXQ] dÄ&#x17E;Ä&#x161;&ƾŜŏÇ Ĺ?ĹŻĹŻÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x161;Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;ĨÄ&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;Ć&#x161;ĆľĆ&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x161;Ć?Ć&#x2030;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;ĹŹÄ&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ä&#x201A;Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;Ä?Ĺ&#x161;ŽĨĆ&#x161;Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E; ĹľÄ&#x17E;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x;ĹśĹ?Ć?Ä&#x201A;ĹśÄ&#x161;Ç Ĺ?ĹŻĹŻÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ĺ?Ĺ?Ç&#x20AC;Ĺ?ĹśĹ?Ä&#x201A;ŜƾĆ&#x2030;Ä&#x161;Ä&#x201A;Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;ŽŜÄ&#x17E;ĹśÇ&#x20AC;Ĺ?Ć&#x152;ŽŜžÄ&#x17E;ĹśĆ&#x161;Ä&#x201A;ĹŻ Ĺ?Ć?Ć?ĆľÄ&#x17E;Ć?Ĺ?ĹľĆ&#x2030;Ä&#x201A;Ä?Ć&#x;ĹśĹ?Ć&#x2030;Ĺ˝Ć&#x152;ĹŹĆ&#x2030;Ć&#x152;Ĺ˝Ä&#x161;ĆľÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ć?Í&#x2DC;&ZĹľÄ&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;ĹŻÇ Ĺ?ĹŻĹŻÄ&#x201A;ĹŻĆ?Ĺ˝ Ä?Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x2030;Ć&#x152;Ĺ˝Ç&#x20AC;Ĺ?Ä&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x161;Í&#x2DC;

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;This is an opportunity for farmers to have a say and be heard.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Craig Heckathorne Northwestern University

arate surveys are offered for arm amputations and leg amputations. The arm survey is available at {surveymonkey.com/s/Upper_ Limb_NUPOC_v2a}. The leg survey is at {surveymonkey.com/s/Lower_Limb_ NUPOC_v2a}. Individuals may request a printed copy of the survey by contacting Heckathorne at 312-503-5723 or checkathorne@northwestern.edu. For information about the project, visit {nupoc.northwestern.edu/nupoc-research/ other/px_agworkers}. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Kay Shipman

veteran bridge program for military medics to earn licensed practical nurse (LPN) and emergency medical technician (EMT) licenses and for military police to join civilian police forces. The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs will spearhead the veteran licensure effort in the state. Illinois and the other states will receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA staff and faculty experts, as well as consultants from the private sector, research organizations and academia.

ĹŻĹŻĆ&#x2030;Ĺ˝Ć&#x152;ĹŹĆ&#x2030;Ć&#x152;Ĺ˝Ä&#x161;ĆľÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ć?Ä&#x201A;ĹśÄ&#x161;ĹľÄ&#x17E;ĹľÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ć?ŽĨĆ&#x161;Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;/>Ć&#x2030;Ĺ˝Ć&#x152;ĹŹĹ?ĹśÄ&#x161;ĆľĆ?Ć&#x161;Ć&#x152;Ç&#x2021; Ä&#x201A;Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ĺ?ĹśÇ&#x20AC;Ĺ?Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x161;Ć&#x161;Ĺ˝Ä&#x201A;ĆŠÄ&#x17E;ĹśÄ&#x161;Ä&#x201A;ĹśÇ&#x2021;Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ĺ?Ĺ?ŽŜÄ&#x201A;ĹŻĹľÄ&#x17E;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x;ĹśĹ?Í&#x2DC; 7HG)XQN

<OQSYXKV7OO^SXQ.K^O]6YMK^SYX] 

Âť EĹ˝Ç&#x20AC;Í&#x2DC;Ď­ĎŽÍ´<ĹśĹ?Ĺ?Ĺ&#x161;Ć&#x161;Ć?ŽĨŽůƾžÄ?ĆľĆ?͞ϭϹϏϭtÍ&#x2DC;&Ä&#x201A;Ç&#x2021;Ä&#x17E;ĆŠÄ&#x17E;Ç&#x20AC;Ä&#x17E;Í&#x2DC;Íż ĸŜĹ?Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x201A;Ĺľ Âť EĹ˝Ç&#x20AC;Í&#x2DC;Ď­ĎŻÍ´Ä?ĹŹÄ&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ć&#x161;Í&#x203A;Ć?͞ϾϹϭ^Í&#x2DC;'Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x17E;ŜžŽƾŜĆ&#x161;ZÄ&#x161;Í&#x2DC;ͿʹÄ&#x17E;ĹŻĹŻÄ&#x17E;Ç&#x20AC;Ĺ?ĹŻĹŻÄ&#x17E;



Âť EĹ˝Ç&#x20AC;Í&#x2DC;Ď­Ď´Í´dĹ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x201A;Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;ĆľůŽŽžĹ?ĹśĹ?Ć&#x161;ŽŜ,Ĺ˝Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;ĹŻÎ&#x2DC;ŽŜĨÄ&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;ĹśÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x17E;ĹśĆ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152; ͞ϭϲϏϭ:ƾžÄ&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ć&#x152;Í&#x2DC;ÍżůŽŽžĹ?ĹśĹ?Ć&#x161;ŽŜ

Âť EĹ˝Ç&#x20AC;Í&#x2DC;ϭϾʹ^Ć&#x2030;ŽŽŜZĹ?Ç&#x20AC;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;ŽůůÄ&#x17E;Ĺ?Ä&#x17E;ŽžžƾŜĹ?Ć&#x161;Ç&#x2021;KĆľĆ&#x161;Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;Ä?Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;ĹśĆ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;  ͞ώϹϏϏÍ&#x2DC;:Ä&#x201A;Ä?ĹŹĆ?ŽŜ^Ć&#x161;Í&#x2DC;ÍżDÄ&#x201A;Ä?ŽžÄ? Âť EĹ˝Ç&#x20AC;Í&#x2DC;ĎŽĎŹÍ´'Ä&#x201A;ĹŻÄ&#x17E;ĹśÄ&#x201A;^Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;ĹŹĹ&#x161;ŽƾĆ?Ä&#x17E;͞ϭϭϏϭEÍ&#x2DC;'Ä&#x201A;ĹŻÄ&#x17E;ĹśÄ&#x201A;Ç&#x20AC;Ä&#x17E;Í&#x2DC;ͿʹĹ?Ç&#x2020;ŽŜ +VVWOO^SXQ]aSVVLOQSXK^ $ZWKXN MYXMV_NOLc"$ZW Î&#x17D;Ä&#x161;Ç&#x20AC;Ä&#x201A;ĹśÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ĺ?Ĺ?Ć?Ć&#x161;Ć&#x152;Ä&#x201A;Ć&#x;ŽŜĹ?Ć?Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x2039;ĆľĹ?Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x161;Í&#x2DC;ŽŜĆ&#x161;Ä&#x201A;Ä?Ć&#x161;Ć&#x161;Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;/WW ŽĸÄ?Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x161;Ĺ˝Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ĺ?Ĺ?Ć?Ć&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;͞ώϭϳͿϹώϾͲϯϭϏϏĹ˝Ć&#x152;Ĺ?Ĺ˝Ć&#x161;Ĺ˝ Ç Ç Ç Í&#x2DC;Ĺ?ĹŻĆ&#x2030;Ĺ˝Ć&#x152;ĹŹÍ&#x2DC;Ä?ŽžÍ&#x2DC;Î&#x17D;

&ƾŜÄ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x161;Ĺ?ĹśĆ&#x2030;Ä&#x201A;Ć&#x152;Ć&#x161;Ä?Ç&#x2021;Ć&#x161;Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;/ĹŻĹŻĹ?ŜŽĹ?Ć? ^Ĺ˝Ç&#x2021;Ä?Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x201A;ĹśÄ?Ĺ&#x161;Ä&#x17E;Ä?ŏŽč


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, November 11, 2013

CROPWATCHERS Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: The on-again, off-again corn harvest continued until Tuesday afternoon when we had another 12-hour soaking rain. It only amounted to 0.6 of an inch, but that’s all it took to stop harvest once again. It dried out enough to start combining Friday, and we will go until the next rain delay. It looks like there is still 30 to 40 percent of the corn left in the field. Moisture is from the high teens to the low 20s and yields are still better than we expected. Have a safe week. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Eight-tenths of an inch of rain this week stopped corn harvest for some producers. Many farmers have finished, but some will still be working long hours before they get done. There have been limited anhydrous ammonia applications. Wheat and rye seedings look good. Ryan Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: November brought cold weather and more rain to our area. Hopefully, we will get back in the fields soon. Moisture for corn still remains around 21 percent. Natural drying in the field seems to have stopped.

Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: I may have jumped the gun when I estimated only 20 to 30 percent of the corn was left to harvest at the end of the week. Surprisingly, basis level at the river terminals has been firming up as we move into the tail end of harvest. I imagine Friday’s crop report will move markets dramatically in one direction or another. Bears seem to have the upper hand for now. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: A two-inch rain the previous week (Nov. 1) then 0.4 of an inch last week has slowed harvest completion. I hope to finish in a couple days. There is at least one corn pile around; the first in several years. Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: Rain last week delayed harvest again. We only received about 0.5 of an inch over two days, but it was enough to halt any fieldwork. We should be finished by my next report and onto cleaning the cattle pits. There are just a few fields left to harvest in this area. Overall, yields in this area were better than expected, but not a record. Please work safely during the last few weeks of fall work. Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: Another crop year has passed, and it’s time to make important decisions about next year. We had two rain events that slowed fall work, as the topsoil is a little muddy. Demand will be coming back with these lower prices. Looks like the revenue portion of federal crop insurance will pay some. Have a safe winter. Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: There were three suitable days for fieldwork last week before rain halted progress. Anhydrous applications, fall herbicide and tillage will need many more good days in order to wrap up. Elevators are offering incentives to farmers with on-farm storage to bring their grain to town. The crop report will offer price direction until the next one rolls along. The reality of the health insurance debacle is the talk of the day. Corn, $4.10; Jan., $4.19; new, $4.37; soybeans, Nov/Jan., $12.51; new, $11.10; wheat, $5.99; new, $6.29. Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: Rain of 0.03 of an inch fell Tuesday and 0.3 on Wednesday before cooling off to 28 degrees. Harvest-o’-meter has our USDA crop reporting district at 90 percent corn and 96 percent soybeans harvested, so we are down to the short rows. Farmers are cleaning and maintaining harvest equipment while waiting for fields to dry. Let’s be careful out there!

Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: Harvest was going well until rain on Nov. 6. We received 0.3 of an inch. We resumed harvesting corn Thursday, but a breakdown stopped us Friday morning. Most of the crops are out and many fields have been tilled. We harvested some corn this week that tested 29 percent moisture. It had been at 34 percent the week before. Most of the corn has tested between 19 percent and 23 percent moisture. We have 225 acres of corn still in the field. Overall, our yield is close to average. The local closing bids for Nov. 7 were nearby corn, $4.04; fall 2014 corn, $4.23; nearby soybeans, $12.64; fall 2014 soybeans, $11.20. Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: Hello again from Adams County where the cornfields are just about all history, as well as the beans. I think everyone was surprised at the yields with no more rain than some fields received. Some fieldwork has been done, but no anhydrous yet. Rainfall came in at about 0.8 of an inch for the week. Still time to be careful as the calendar winds down for another year. Carrie Winkelmann, Tallula, Menard County: I am crossing my fingers as I write this and hoping that I am not going to jinx us, but by the time you read this we should be done with harvest. By next week, I think almost everyone will be finished. Now time to think about fall spraying and anhydrous, although many in the area have already started. Tom Ritter, Blue Mound, Macon County: Lost most of two days last week to inclimate weather. We received anywhere from a couple of tenths to 0.5 of an inch. It tended to delay harvest and fieldwork. At this point, corn is more than 90 percent complete and soybeans are definitely more than 95 percent complete. What’s left has been slow going. Overall, corn continues to stand relatively well. Farmers are still very pleased with corn and bean yields, especially corn yields. A lot of 180 to 220 bushel corn. Soybeans have been running around 60 bushels for the season. We need every bushel to counteract the low prices we’re facing at the moment. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: After the fields dried last weekend, combines and tractors worked into the night and continued on into the beginning of the week when around a 0.5 of an inch of precipitation paused fieldwork for a few more days. Much of the northern part of the county is harvested, but several cornfields await harvest in the southern half. Tillage, fall spraying and dry fertilizer applications are progressing well, but anhydrous application was just getting started. Double-crop beans are having trouble dropping down to a harvestable moisture. Maybe next week. Jimmy Ayers, New City, Sangamon County: We received 0.5 of an inch of rain. There was quite a bit of chiseling done and a lot of anhydrous put on. Very few beans were cut. About 10 percent of the beans and 10 to 20 percent of the corn is left. Yields on laterplanted June corn are better than people would expect. A lot of people wonder where the market is going to go and whether storing the crop or selling it is the right thing to do. We should have finished Friday and cleaned things up for the 2013 crop year. Hope everyone is having a safe and great harvest. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: It was 29 degrees Friday morning, and Jack Frost was everywhere. Showers moved through the area Tuesday and Wednesday bringing harvest to a halt. The late-planted corn and soybeans are still carrying a lot of moisture. We are hoping for drier, warmer weather so we can complete harvest.

Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: Little progress has been made on harvest since the first weekend of November. Additional rain showers moved through the area leaving 0.7 of an inch of rain for the week. Soil conditions are wet, but not muddy unless you happen to be in a field that recently had been tilled before the rain. Local grain bids are corn, $4.05; soybeans, $12.70; wheat, $6.51. Have a safe week. Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: We only had about 0.5 inch of rain on Wednesday, but I think the ground is finally saturated because standing water is not disappearing as quickly. Still lots and lots of crops in the fields with a lot of growers down to double-crop beans. They are still not mature with moisture levels running more than 20 percent. We went to a wedding last weekend, and I couldn’t believe the amount of crops still in the field in southeastern Illinois, southern Indiana and western Kentucky. Harvest is a long way from complete in this neck of the woods. Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Most early crops have been harvested. Most crops left in the field are replant acres or double-crop beans. The wheat seems to be off to a good start. No excessive rains and warm temperatures have made for good emergence. Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: Most of the corn and soybeans are gone. Some milo needs to be harvested. Overall, I would say everyone is fairly satisfied with yields. We are winding down in Jackson County and should be done shortly. I hope everyone has a safe harvest. Randy Anderson, Galatia, Saline County: The landscape has really changed in the last two weeks. Harvest is anywhere from 85 percent to done. Double-crop beans and some corn is all I have left. Wheat is looking good. Not as much planted this year as last year in the county. Be careful out there. Plenty of deer accidents have been happening around the countryside. Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: We’ve had a busy week shelling corn. We received about 0.5 of an inch. The ground is saturated. We are down to less than 100 acres of corn and still have roughly 300 acres of soybeans. I think most people would be finished with harvest if we could have one week of good, open weather. Please remember to take time and be careful as we are in this busy fall season. Reports received Friday morning. Expanded crop and weather information available at FarmWeekNow.com. Association of Farm Broadcasting convention • Illinois Soybean Association Tuesday: representatives • RFD Radio Network® team: • Bob Stallman, American live from the Local and Farm Bureau president: Regional Food Summit recapping a year in agriculture • Harvey Freese, Freese-Notis • Illinois Beck’s Hybrids repreWeather: ag weather sentatives • Michael Hirakata, Rocky Ford • Norman Sissons, Monsanto Growers Association chairman U.S. oilseeds product • Dave Alwan, Echo Valley management lead: new Meats owner website {soybeans.com} • Peter Testa, Testa Produce Friday: president • RFD Radio Network team: Wednesday: live from the National • Tim Schweizer, Illinois Association of Farm Department of Natural Broadcasting Convention Resources public relations liai• Colleen Callahan, USDA son: upcoming firearm deer Rural Development Illinois season director • Kevin Black, GROWMARK • Cindy Cunningham, National insect and plant disease techPork Board assistant vice nical manager: field outlook president communications: • Sharon Covert, United why pork is so hot Soybean Board customer • Martin Barbre, National Corn focus action team chair: Growers Association Corn autumn vegetable soup review Board president • Ken Klippen, Egg Farmers of America consultant: King To find a radio station near you amendment that carries RFD Radio Network, Thursday: go to FarmWeekNow.com, click • RFD Radio Network team: on “Radio,” then click on live from the National “Affiliates.”


RISK MANAGEMENT

Page 7 Monday, November 11, 2013 FarmWeek

Harvest prices issued; crop insurance claims rolling in With the last major piece of the crop insurance revenue equation in place, producers and insurers are doing the onfarm math and, in some cases, factoring the impact of late planting and “replants.” As of last week, COUNTRY Financial had fielded more than 2,000 production loss claims — less than half the claims submitted as of that point in 2012. Claims accelerated following USDA Risk Management Agency announcement of 2013 harvest revenue prices. The November corn price

was $4.39 per bushel, while soybeans posted a $12.87 harvest price. Revenue Protection (RP) and county-based Group Risk Income Plan (GRIP)-Harvest Revenue policies base the price component of individual or county revenue losses on the higher of spring or har vest averages. This year’s spring average corn price was $5.65, while the spring soybean average was $12.87. Harvest yields and farm “deductibles” — the percentage of loss not covered — will determine whether individual RP losses trigger. For example, a grower who purchased 80 percent unit coverage has a 20

percent deductible and would submit a claim if yields were down 21 percent from actual production history. COUNTRY Crop Claims Supervisor Steve Worthington reported adjusters were already out on far ms “measuring bins.” COUNTRY last week supplied agents and crop specialists updated loss calculator software for individual and county-based coverages with spring base and harvest prices loaded. Producers are asked to provide COUNTRY representatives with approximate yields on a unit-by-unit basis, but aren’t expected to calculate

losses “to the penny,” Worthington stressed. “That’s our job,” he told FarmWeek. “If farmers suspect they may have a loss, they should report their claim as soon as possible so we can get an adjuster out there to gather information and work on the claim. “This is a more normal year, for certain — I don’t expect we’ll have near the claim issues we had last year, though there will be spots where people will have claims. The further south you go, the more we may see that. Late planting of soybeans may have created some issues — it’s the same with some of

the replanted corn that didn’t do as well.” W hile the har vest price announcement paves the way for fall RP loss payments, final county yields for GRIP and production-based Group Risk Plan policies will not be known until March or April. Producers should consider, with the help of their accountant or financial counselor, whether to defer RP loss payments until the 2014 tax year, Worthington noted. To qualify for payment deferral, farmers must have a tax-documented history of deferring 50 percent or more of crop sales to the following year.

It happens in seconds, and a farmer has a few more seconds to respond. Within minutes, a tractor fire can wipe out hundreds of thousands in capital and personal investment. It happened to Chenoa-area farmer Brian Schaumburg, mid-afternoon Oct. 28, as he was tilling cornstalks. Fortunately, Schaumburg was able to escape injury. He had taken the time in advance to insure not only machinery but also the big-ticket technology and gear along for that fateful ride. The McLean County farmer notes cab contents routinely include precision/global positioning system (GPS) monitors, cellphones, two-way radios and tools. “Total tractor damage was around $300,000,” Schaumburg told FarmWeek. “But these cab contents and incidentals cost a few thousand dollars. “I lost prescription glasses and sunglasses. That’s $500 there. There was a cellphone, an FM radio — a couple hundred there, even though my cellphone insurance covered that. There was an electric grease gun — that’s $200$300.” Schaumburg noted an “excellent response” from Chenoa, Lexington and Gridley fire departments, though verifying his rural address with a Bloomington-based 911 dispatcher proved a challenge. As a result, he recommends farmers consult local emergency services or insurers on necessary 911 information prior to seasonal fieldwork. Schaumburg also was pleased with his insurer’s speedy claims response — he cited “horror stories” among underinsured farmers and stressed the need to research specific protections under property/liability policies. Pro-

ducers may overlook the need to ensure activation for GPS/ag management systems (AMS) is covered, he warned. As long as it’s connected in the tractor/combine cab, GPS/AMS equipment normally is considered part of a tractor damage claim, according to Darryl Tinges, a Fairbury COUNTRY Financial agent who assists in his brother’s farming operation. If portable equipment is moved into a home or machine shed where damage is sustained, that may raise coverage issues, he said. GPS reactivation should be specified in the farm service provider’s agreement, Tinges said. Tinges encourages clients to continually update equipment and farm personal property inventories to ensure coverages are up to date. He notes a considerable “influx of new machinery” on clients’ farms over the last three years alone. “I had a combine fire a couple of years ago,” the agent told FarmWeek. “The owner’s claim was settled within three days, just simply because he was very conscientious about contacting me whenever there was any change in machinery.” Schaumburg plans in the future to keep a fire extinguisher in his tractor/combine cab in addition to outside cabmounted gear. He urges producers to keep a blanket or canvas tarp on board to smother a flash fire and, potentially, contain damage. Tinges includes a leaf blower on the equipment safety list to remove accumulated field “trash” that can ignite. Schaumburg’s fire reportedly was caused by corn shucks that had collected in the rear axle area. At the same time, Schaumburg now sees the need to

keep his cellphone in his pocket rather than potentially out of reach in the cab. Luckily, a friend working in the field with him offered his phone to call 911 as Schaumburg’s device — along with valuable data — burned in the cab. “This stuff doesn’t happen when you expect it,” Schaum-

burg emphasized. “I’ve got my phone sitting on my dash because I just got done talking to my broker. The first thing I think of when a fire breaks out is not, ‘Grab my phone.’” Operators also may not think of grabbing (or may not be able to grab) the memory card from their GPS unit,

potentially resulting in loss of crucial electronic data. That suggests backing up data on the home or office computer on a daily or everyother-day basis — a practice more common in the ’90s when cards held significantly less data, Schaumburg said. — Martin Ross

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Tractor fire offers valuable lessons in protection


LIVESTOCK

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, November 11, 2013

Moo-ving on up; Illinois beef herd bucks national trend BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The cows are coming home to Illinois. The Prairie State is at the center of a resurgence in beef cow production as U.S. feedlots migrate from the southwest back to the Midwest. U.S. beef cow numbers this year dwindled to the lowest level since 1952 due in part to tight feed supplies and high feed costs. But, in Illinois, the beef cattle industry exhibited positive growth in recent years and appears to be in position to become an even stronger force in the future. “We have a thriving industry right now,” Reid Blossom, executive vice president of the Illinois Beef Association, told FarmWeek. “There’s a lot of demand for Reid Blossom feeder cattle. Supplies are low.” Prices of feeder calves, ready to go to feed, have brought anywhere from $1.65

to $1.85-plus per pound at recent auctions in the state, Blossom reported. “From everything we see, it suggests we could sustain the types of returns we’re seeing now for another three years,” Blossom said. “It’s likely we’ll see another few years of growth (of the cattle industry in Illinois). We’re excited about it.” Illinois cattle producers added 114,592 head of beef finishing spaces since 2006. The situation has been just the opposite in parts of the Southwest where some herds were liquidated in recent years due to a lack of feed and high feed prices caused by drought.

“Some of the big cattle feeders (with 30,000 to 40,000 head) are going out of business (in the south),” Blossom said. “Yet, we have smaller production systems in Illinois that are really profitable.” Some cattle feeders in Illinois have made as much as $200 per head in recent months.

The main key to success for the Illinois cattle industry is the ample availability and lowerpriced feed compared to other parts of the country, according to Blossom. Transportation costs also are a factor. “The fact that cattle feeding operations (in Illinois) have access to ample grain, by-products and co-products really helps the margins,” Blossom said. Expansion of the beef industry in Illinois also improved efficiency as new structures increased cow comfort and performance. “We see people making investments in new feeding facilities,” Blossom said. “They optimize cattle comfort and thereby performance, which translates right into efficiency.” Expansion of the livestock

industry also has been an attractive option for farmers looking to expand their operation, add another revenue stream or help create opportunities for young people to join farms whom otherwise have been blocked by record land prices and cash rental rates, Blossom added. Interest in growing the livestock industry also has been spurred by the Illinois Livestock Development Group (ILDG), comprised of the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Milk Producers’ Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Soybean Association. ILDG members pool resources to develop long-term, producer-driven strategies aimed at restoring profitability to the state’s livestock industry.

future and take effect 90 days after that, are not expected to weaken U.S. safeguards against BSE, also known as mad cow disease, but could boost trade. “This rule brings our country in line with internationally accepted standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health,” said Bob McCan, president-elect of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “This will solidify the U.S. commitment to basing trade relationships on internationally recognized, science-based standards.” The new rules could jump start U.S. beef exports to markets such as the European Union. Some markets have remained closed to U.S. beef or

have limitations since BSE was discovered in a cow in Washington State in 2003. “We think (the new BSE rule) will be good for market access,” McCan said. “We hope it will convince other countries to remove any related BSE restrictions they have on trade for U.S. cattle and cattle products.” The U.S. in May received an upgraded BSE status from controlled risk to negligible risk. Beef exports in recent years finally returned to levels achieved prior to the finding of BSE in the U.S. a decade ago. “We’ve come a long way,” McCan said. “We’ve been working on the final (BSE) rule since (2003).” — Daniel Grant

A new innovative partnership of agriculture, city government and environmentalists will work to reduce nitrate levels in Lake Springfield. Those involved are the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP), Springfield’s City Water, Power and Light (CWLP) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation-Conservation Partners. Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of CBMP. CBMP will coordinate the efforts of farmers, ag retailers, CWLP, the Sangamon County Soil and Water Conservation District and Lincoln Land Community College. Local ag retailers will encourage farmers to use a systems approach to nitrogen management, including a soil test program known as N-Watch. Dan Schaefer, CBMP director of nutrient stewardship, noted Illinois on-farm research shows managing nitrogen with split applications can minimize envi-

ronmental impact, optimize yields and maximize nutrient use. CWLP will help cost-share the expense of N-Watch soil tests that will improve the understanding of the nitrogen cycle in individual fields within the watershed. To assess weather impact on nitrate movement, the SWCD is overseeing a series of rain and weather gauges in the watershed. Lincoln Land students are taking in-stream water samples of lake tributaries and testing for nitrate. The students will share those results with CWLP. CBMP and the county SWCD are promoting planting of more cover crops within the watershed as a best management practice that can improve water and soil quality. The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation-Conservation Partners is providing matching funds. For more information, visit {illinoiscbmp.org}.

Final BSE rule could boost U.S. beef exports

The U.S. earlier this month finalized new import rules for cattle and beef that comply with international standards to prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The new revisions, which will be published in the near

Looking for a Convenient Supply of DEF?

New partnership to focus on Lake Springfield nitrates

When it comes to the success of your operation, you can rely on your local FS energy specialists. If your new equipment uses diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), your local FS Co-op and participating FAST STOP® locations have just what you need – convenient supply. From packaged or bulk DEF to even the dispensing equipment, FS has the products and the knowledgeable experts to help you go further. FS – The people and the products to take you further. Go further with FS.

TM

Go further. ©2012 GROWMARK, Inc. A13242

Scan the QR code to visit us on the web or go to www.GofurtherwithFS.com


FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 9 Monday, November 11, 2013 FarmWeek

B

UREAU — Farm Bureau will co-host a college open house day for agriculture from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Marshall-Putnam Farm Bureau building in Henry. All sophomore, junior and senior high school students from Bureau, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties who are interested in pursuing a career in an agricultural field are invited to attend. Contact the Farm Bureau office at 875-6468 for more information. ANCOCK — The annual meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Farm Bureau office. EORIA — Citrus and nut orders may be placed at {peoriacountyfarmbureau.org}. Deadline to place orders is Nov. 22. Orders may be picked up at the Farm Bureau auditorium on Dec. 18. • Farm Bureau will sponsor a farm toy show Dec. 3-5 at the Peoria Civic Center during the Greater Peoria Farm Show. For more information visit {peoriafarmtoyshow.com}. ERMILION — The annual meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Beef

H P

Chris Magnuson, left, Illinois Farm Bureau executive director of operations/news and communications, points out some historical artifacts on display at the IFB home office in Bloomington, while Jiayun Tu, right, University of Illinois, and a delegation of Chinese ag bankers look on during a tour. The delegation of 25 Chinese ag bankers is studying ag finance and risk management in Illinois through the U of I’s China Executive Leadership Program. (Photo by Daniel Grant)

Chinese ag bankers study farm industry BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Risk management has become increasingly important for farmers from the U.S. and around the world. That was evident as a delegation of Chinese ag bankers toured the farm industry in Illinois and made stops at the Illinois Farm Bureau, 1st Farm Credit Services and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The tours were part of the University of Illinois’ China Executive Leadership Program. The program, now in its 20th year, currently is delivering ag and financial management training to 25 senior officials from the Agricultural Development Bank of China who are studying agriculture in Illinois through Friday. “They (the Chinese ag bankers) are focusing mainly on rural development and trying to build up the ag industry (in China),” said Matthew Gadbury, program coordinator at the U of I. “They’re seeing how we do things and what they can learn here to improve” the ag sector in China.

Farming in China generally is on a much smaller scale and much more labor intensive than in the U.S. The Chinese also face a quandary of how to feed a growing population at a time when farmland is declining due to urban development. “They (the Chinese) have about the same space as we do in the continental U.S., but they have more than three times as many people and not as much usable farmland (due to mountainous terrain),” Gadbury said. The fact that China’s population, currently close to 1.4 billion people, is growing and human diets are improving there likely will maintain its place as one of the world’s top importers of ag products. “They (the Chinese) are really not a major competitor (of ag products produced in Illinois),” Gadbury said. China could increase crop production with more widespread acceptance and use of biotechnology. The U of I program provided education about biotechnology to the delegation of Chi-

McLean County SWCD plans cover crop tour

The McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will host a cover crop tour from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 20. The tour registration deadline is Nov. 18. Participants will tour several Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) cover crop demonstration sites along Interstate 55 near the Shirley and Chenoa exits. Transportation and a meal will be provided. Roger Windhorn, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil scientist, will discuss the benefits of cover crops. The tour is sponsored by the county SWCD, NRCS, IDOA, American Farmland Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the Lumpkin Family Foundation. To register, contact the county SWCD at 309-452-0830, extension 3.

nese ag bankers. “Honestly, we’re not going to feed the world without it (biotechnology),” Gadbury added.

V

House Banquet Center in Covington, Ind. Cost is $10 for M members and $20 for A members. Philip Nelson, Illinois Farm Bureau president, will be the speaker. Tickets are available at the Farm Bureau office until Nov. 26. AYNE — Farm Bureau will sponsor Stroke Detection Plus health screenings on Nov. 19 at the Farm Bureau office. Members will receive a discount. Call 877-732-8258 to schedule an appointment. INNEBAGOBOONE — Young Leader members will sponsor an Angel Tree Project, located in the Belvidere PNC Bank lobby, beginning Nov. 25. The angel tree will be open Dec. 6 during Belvidere’s Hometown Christmas. Unwrapped gifts may be delivered to the Farm Bureau office or the PNC Bank lobby by Dec. 13. For more information call the Farm Bureau office at 962-0653.

W W

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


PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, November 11, 2013

Upgrade coolant to boost heavy-duty engine performance

Heavy-duty engines demand cooling system protection that goes beyond that offered by conventional coolants formulated for automobiles and light-duty trucks. Higher mileage, heavier loads and extended service intervals Tom Drew are the reality. Historically, more than 40 percent of a diesel engine’s downtime can be attributed to cooling system problems, so it is important the coolant selected is formulated specifically for the unique requirements of heavy-duty engines. Common causes of coolant system downtime in heavy-duty engines include cavitation, or pitting, of wet sleeve cylinder liners, corrosion of system components and poor heat transfer due to scale buildup. If the coolant in use has excessive inhibitor levels, phosphate and silicate dropout can occur, leading to premature water pump failure, radiator blockage and/or heater core problems. There are two, heavy-duty coolants that work overtime to help minimize threats to equipment breakdown, leaving time for other projects. They both feature heavy-duty coolant technologies recommended by original equipment manufacturers: BY TOM DREW

• An organic acid technology (OAT) extended life coolant. • A fully formulated technology, supplemental coolant additive (SCA) pre-charged coolant. These coolants are recommended for use in cooling systems for all types of heavyduty diesel, gasoline and natural gas engines: FS Extended Life Coolant/Antifreeze features patented OAT that delivers total cooling system protection

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Another round of rain events last week improved topsoil moisture conditions across much of the state. But the cool, wet weather meant a number of farmers must wait to put the finishing touches on this year’s corn and soybean harvest. Harvest in the state as of the first of last week was 83 percent complete for corn and 92 percent complete for beans. The harvest pace for both crops was 7 percent ahead of the five-year average, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois field office. “We got done (with harvest) Tuesday (Nov. 5) morning,” Terry Sturgell, a farmer from Paris and president of the Edgar County Farm Bureau,

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-$64.62 $47.09 40 lbs. (cash) $62.50-$84.00 $77.03 This Week 96,565 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Last Week 71,126

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $80.83 $83.60 -$2.77 $59.81 $61.86 -$2.05

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

This week $131.00 $131.00

Prev. week $133.00 $132.94

levels, so there is no need for additional SCAs at initial fill or when topping off. With the advantage of low total dissolved solids, low silicate and incorporating nitrite, it provides superior wet sleeve liner cavitation protection. It also includes a phosphatefree formula that reduces the risk of scale, and state of the art corrosion inhibitors, eliminating the need for expensive deionized water. The inhibitor system is designed to last for 250,000 miles when properly maintained.

Tom Drew is GROWMARK’s energy wholesale account manager. His email address is tdrew@growmark.com

told FarmWeek. “We would’ve got done Monday, but we got a truck stuck on Sunday.” There are still fields of corn and soybeans left to be harvested in eastern Illinois, Sturgell reported. In southwest Illinois, John Brink, of Richview (Washington County) estimated 10 percent of corn remained in fields in his area. The end of daylight savings time the first weekend of the month and the transition of seasons won’t help the situation. “There are a lot of doublecrop beans (planted in early July) still in the field,” Brink said. “Now we’re fighting shorter days and cool, wet conditions. The drying opportunities are diminishing.” And the forecast beyond the weekend didn’t look promising to speed up the drying process. High temperatures were predicted to be close to 60 degrees during the weekend before falling this week to highs in the 30s and 40s with lows in the 20s, according to AccuWeather.com. There also is a chance this week of scattered rain or snow. “I have several neighbors

who have crops in the fields,” Sturgell said. “I hope they can get them out before the weather gets really bad.” The recent rain was a blessing for the winter wheat crop and topsoil moisture. Topsoil moisture ratings in Illinois last week improved to 30 percent short or very short, 67 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture the last week of October was rated 60 percent short or very short. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of the wheat crop (27 percent) emerged a week ago

to push total emergence statewide to 75 percent, 11 percent ahead of the average pace. “Most of the wheat got planted in the optimum window (the second half of October),” said Brink, whose county (Washington) grows about 10 percent of all wheat produced in Illinois. “It all emerged real well. I’d say the wheat crop looks really good for this time of year.” Illinois wheat growers after a late start in some areas planted 95 percent of the crop as of the first of last week, well ahead of the average pace of 84 percent.

For proven performance in heavy-duty service, you have a quality choice — FS Extended Life Coolant, the latest in organic acid technology, or FS Fully Formulated Coolant. Both are engineered to deliver the performance needed to meet today’s demanding expectations for longer engine and cooling system life.

Rain delays harvest, aids winter wheat and topsoil

M A R K E T FA C T S

Recipts

for 1 million miles of on-road use (eight years or 20,000 hours of off-road use) without the use of SCAs. It is phosphate, silicate, nitrate and borate-free. This globally formulated coolant uses proprietary organic corrosion inhibitors to provide outstanding long-term wet sleeve liner cavitation and corrosion protection of all cooling system metals. FS Fully Formulated Coolant/Antifreeze is a heavyduty, pre-charged coolant that ensures proper diesel additive

Change -$2.00 -$1.94

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 $167.14 $165.11 $2.03

Lamb prices NA

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 10/31/2013 80.6 7.1 31.3 10/24/2013 83.7 16.6 27.0 Last year 61.0 14.0 15.4 Season total 338.5 596.6 206.7 Previous season total 371.2 416.9 158.7 USDA projected total 1370 1100 1225 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

No break in farmland/cash rent prices, yet The drop in crop prices in recent months apparently hasn’t affected the farmland market … yet. Two recent farmland auctions netted some eye-popping returns in the state. A 960-acre farm in Douglas County recently sold for $14,583 per acre. Elsewhere, the sale of 1,021 acres in Schuyler County this month netted $7.84 million. Notable sales at that auction included a 35-acre tract that sold for $20,500 per acre and three tracts, totaling about 137 acres, that sold for $14,000 per acre. “We aren’t seeing any farmland price declines, yet,” said Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois Extension farm management specialist. “Farmland is still, from a long-run standpoint, an attractive investment.” Schnitkey projected crop prices will remain relatively flat or lower for an extended period. But the farmland market and cash rental rates could remain high near term as there often is a lag time between price moves for crops compared to the farmland market. That type of scenario will tighten farmers’ margins. Schnitkey believes farmers most likely

to feel the pinch are those who cash rent the majority of their acres and who pay aboveaverage rental rates for their ground. Schnitkey conducted farm financial simulations, posted at {farmdocdaily.illinois.edu}, that projected farmers who cash rent more than 90 percent of their acres and pay $25 or more per acre for cash rent than the county average will face the greatest economic challenge in the future. “Those (farmers) who cash rent most of their land and pay high cash rents don’t have many options to mitigate their land costs,” Schnitkey said. “Per acre returns will decline, decreasing the ability to pay high cash rents from returns,” he continued. “This situation may require some farms to adjust.” Schnitkey and other well-noted economists will discuss the situation in greater detail Wednesday at a farmland market conference in Champaign. Joe Glauber, USDA chief economist, will be a keynote speaker at the event, which will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S. Neil St., Champaign, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Details about the farmland conference are available online at {agengage.com/farmlandmarkets2013/}. — Daniel Grant


PROFITABILITY

Page 11 Monday, November 11, 2013 FarmWeek

BIG crops are no surprise

USDA didn’t surprise anyone with its much anticipated November crop estimates. The cancellation of the October report left the industry in somewhat of a vacuum, but the constant barrage of high yields had already girded the industry for large crop numbers. In the end, the surprise may have been that production and ending stocks numbers weren’t larger yet. Leading up to the report, there had been talk of the possibility the corn ending stocks might be more than 2 billion bushels with the soybean stocks estimate possibly eclipsing 200 million bushels. As you know, neither proved true setting the stage for a rebound. But, it’s important to understand there’s nothing fundamentally bullish for any of the grains at this time. To be sure, there will be volatility in the weeks/months ahead, but unless something radically changes, these markets are going to face negative supply issues. The November USDA corn estimate was a whisker under the 14-billion-bushel mark. And the final estimate, if history holds up, may end up slightly over that level. USDA did cut corn acreage near 2 million with the planted number cut 100,000 more than that and the harvest number the same level under that. The 160.4-bushel yield was the third time the U.S. corn crop has had a yield over 160 bushels, and was only eclipsed by 2009’s 164.7bushel yield. The ending stocks though

were little changed at 1.887 billion bushels. That’s big by any measure compared to what we have dealt with the last few years. Coupled with the fact that farmers are holding an unusually large percentage of the crop unpriced, and a huge crop at that, it will make it difficult for corn to sustain rallies through winter into spring. Even the soybean forecast was a moderately negative surprise with the 3.258-billionbushel crop estimate 40 million bushels larger than expected. Like corn, the acreage was revised down, but only 700,000 acres for both planted and harvested. The yield was near 1 bushel larger than anticipated. An increase in pod weight and in pod numbers both contributed to the higher yield forecast. And like corn, there is a slight tendency for yields to increase on the final estimate. USDA increased demand 103 million bushels, using up most of the increase in supply. Thirty million is designated to the crush with 80 million designated for the export sector. A reduction in the residual accounted for the unexplained shift. Even so, the ending stocks number was revised up 20 million to 170 million bushels, moving the number up, not down. In the end, it leaves world buyers seeing considerably more comfortable supplies than they have had the last two years. Notably, the soybean production numbers for the last three years are 239, 267 and 283 million metric tons. Unless something radically changes with the potential of South American crops, that’s going to leave buyers less willing to chase rallies. That may be especially true short term with the huge soybean export sales the U.S. already has on the books.

AgriVisor endorses crop insurance by

AgriVisor LLC 1701 N. Towanda Avenue PO Box 2500 Bloomington IL 61702-2901 309-557-3147 AgriVisor LLC is not liable for any damages which anyone may sustain by reason of inaccuracy or inadequacy of information provided herein, any error of judgment involving any projections, recommendations, or advice or any other act of omission.

Policies issued by COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, Bloomington, Illinois AgriVisor Hotline Number

309-557-2274

Corn Strategy

ü2013 crop: The rebound in corn prices after Friday’s USDA report is a sign the bear market may be exhausted for now. But plan to use a rally over $4.40 on March futures to make needed sales. When we do recommend sales again, it should pay to look at those forward bids to take advantage of the carry in corn futures. ü2014 crop: Putting the uncertainty of the current crop behind should relieve some of the downside pressure on new-crop prices. Even then, you may have to wait well into 2014 before beginning pricing. A move back near $5.00 is not yet out of the question. vFundamentals: Corn prices, along with the other grains, managed to find strength in the wake of the USDA report even though there was nothing fundamentally bullish in the data. The strength noted after the report simply suggests the decline in prices, at least for now, had exhausted itself. With supply uncertainty now resolved, demand will take “center stage.”

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2013 crop: Like corn, soybean prices rallied after the report even though there wasn’t anything fundamentally bullish. Use a rally to $13 on January futures to get sales to 70 percent. ü2014 crop: With the price ratio between soybeans and corn dictating an acreage shift, it will be important to get some production priced early this year. Continue to target a move to $11.90 on November 2014 futures to make a 10 percent sale. vFundamentals: While demand will take center stage with the size of our crop now pretty well determined, supply uncertainty will remain a part of the picture because of South America. Their planting has gotten off to a good start with some areas of Brazil nearly done. Argentine planting is only 10 percent complete, but that’s normal. More important, recent weather has been very good, enhancing the perception they should have big crops this year. ûFail-safe: If January

futures drop under $12.75, boost sales to 70 percent.

Wheat Strategy

ü2013 crop: Wheat has little positive going for it from a fundamental perspective. But a winter without a weather scare would be a bit unusual. But, that may not come until sometime after the first of the year. Use a rally to $6.85 on Chicago May wheat to make catch-up sales, using the forward delivery price to take advantage of the carry. If basis seems wide, use a hedge-to-arrive contract. ü2014 crop: Although there may be short-term risk

of seeing slightly lower prices, we aren’t interested in chasing the market lower at this time. vFundamentals: The new USDA supply/demand forecasts didn’t contain the mildly friendly structure the trade expected to see. Still, it’s important to note the persistent decline in the corn price is tilting the balance away from using as much wheat for feed. Still, supply features could give the market a boost with minor issues with the Australian crop, and the possibility for winter weather to undermine potential of crops in the Black Sea area.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, November 11, 2013

Food e-vangelists important audience

A

for farmers, agriculture recent study by Ketchum, a leading global communications firm, points to the emergence of an increasingly influential group of consumers — food e-vangelists. For agvocates — those involved with advocating on behalf of agriculture — food e-vangelists may be the most important group to engage with on agricultural and food policy issues. Ketchum’s third “Food 2020” survey was conducted among 1,800 respondents in early 2013, in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Italy, Germany and Argentina. In every country studied, food e-vangelists were identified as a vocal set of people who are speaking out on food issues. They drive dialogue on hot food topics and are influential. Historically, agriculture has focused its messages and policy efforts on a top-down approach, relying on influence from government, scientists, policymakers and traditional media.  ROBERT GIBLIN The Food 2020 study concludes that guest columnist power is shifting away from the traditional top-down influence to bottom-up with food e-vangelists as the leading group influencing policy, product choices and food purchases. Food e-vangelists tend to be young, female mothers who are financially secure. However, they are not defined by demographics, but psychographics. They are action-oriented and regularly take it upon themselves to learn about issues and influence others by sharing their findings, both on and offline. Two-thirds conduct online research to inform their opinions when they see a news story about a banned food item; 40 percent share opinions about eating and food purchasing habits with friends and family; and 38 percent frequently recommend or critique a food brand. They are not experts, but others listen and respond because they see food e-vangelists as “people like me” who share information by word-of-mouth, either in person or through social media.   Food e-vangelists are driven by values, ranking values-based food attributes as more important than price. The study concludes that earning their trust is based on a formula: Health + Transparency + Cause. More than half (54 percent) want ingredient information, including source, processing, production techniques and names of farms or suppliers on labels. They also want food to meet their “healthy” criteria, find transparency throughout the food chain and make food more accessible to families in need. They also say that food companies are not meeting their expectations of transparency. They dismiss “messaged” informa-

tion, preferring to be engaged with as partners. They say there is less information than they want in grocery stores about how food is grown and raised. Retailers are the front line for consumer interaction and are thought of as credible, unbiased neutral third parties in the buying/selling process. They use blogs and social media to share opinions about food issues. They expect companies to engage with them using social media for direct and open communication. They have high expectations that global food companies will work with them interactively on product improvements and new products, communicate transparently about sourcing and manufacturing processes, and answer questions. As power over food and ag riculture shifts to the food e-vangelists, they will exert influence not only with friends, families and others in their close circles, but also the retailers, restaurant chains and food manufacturers who drive ag ricultural policy through procurement and marketing directives. Ag riculture must work closely with retailers to provide infor mation and tools to help them engage on food production issues, but in ter ms that relate to ever yday consumers.  Because of their desire to learn, willingness to act on their positions, ability to influence others and values-based decision making, food e-vangelists are a g olden audience for far mers, far m families and agvocates to engage with directly. While many agvocates are making g reat strides in social media with their own blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and other for ms of outreach, it will be important to reach out to the food e-vangelists, identify them, listen to their concerns and perspectives; build tr ust and relationships based on shared values; and share ag riculture infor mation and concerns with them in person and through their social media outlets.                For ag riculture, it will require a shift from being just agvocates to becoming ag and food e-vangelists. Robert Giblin is an occasional contributor to the American Farm Bureau Federation Focus on Agriculture series. He writes, speaks and consults about agricultural and food industry issues, policies and trends.

Daily events and stock movement drives markets

News of a delayed tapering of the Quantitative Easing (QE) program was cheered by investors. Stock and bond prices both moved higher and rates came down, reacting to the continued easy money policy of the Federal Reserve. Recall in June Chairman Ben Bernanke spooked the markets when he hinted that the program would soon begin to wind down. He never gave an exact DEREK date, but the VOGLER inference was the changes would begin sometime in the fall. Once the euphoria from the latest delay faded, market volatility began to increase as Fed governors hit the airwaves and reminded investors that the tapering decision was still imminent. But they hedged by saying it was totally dependent on economic data. In other words, if they didn’t see sustained strength in employment numbers or other signs that the economy was on firm footing, they would likely choose not to change the current pace of monetary injections. Conversations then began swirling about the actual reason for the delay. Is the economy worse than everyone expected? Was the decision made to give wiggle room to the new incoming Fed chair, who we now know is Janet Yellen? Or was this a preventative measure made in reaction to upcoming government talks that took center stage? The Fed knew a reduction in stimulus measures at the same time Washington was struggling with a government shutdown and debt ceiling breach would not be well received. With the QE decision postponed, investors had

Letter policy

Letters are limited to 300 words and must include a name and address. FarmWeek reserves the right to reject any letter and will not publish political endorsements. All letters are subject to editing, and only an original with a written signature and

more time to ponder the ongoing U.S. government shutdown. Not to diminish the issues faced by those directly impacted by the shutdown, but this is a relatively common occurrence. In fact, the government has endured 17 prior partial shutdowns in the last 37 years. Some would argue that this time was different because it was based on such a fractured partisan debate. However, most of the shutdowns in the past had similarly passionate, ideological views driving the shutdown. The second issue debated in Washington was about increasing the U.S. debt ceiling from the current $17 trillion level. After the compromise was reached, the market could focus on more fundamental issues, such as economic growth and corporate earnings. Until concerns surfaced about the shutdown and the debt ceiling, the stock market had remained incredibly resilient. In fact, the Standard & Poor‘s 500 Index recorded an all-time closing high on Sept. 17. On a day-to-day basis, stocks continue to react to each piece of economic and political news, but taking a longer term view suggests these daily events are just “noise” in a market that has gradually been advancing since the bottom of the recession of 2008-09. Benjamin Graham, considered the father of value investing, once described the stock market in the short term as a voting machine and in the long term as a weighing machine. Today’s markets provide a great illustration of that in reaction to daily events as compared to overall stock movements.

Derek Vogler is vice president of investments at COUNTRY Financial.

complete address will be accepted. A daytime telephone number is required for verification, but will not be published. Only one letter per writer will be accepted in a 60-day period. Typed letters are preferred. Send letters to: FarmWeek Letters 1701 Towanda Ave. Bloomington, Ill., 61701


Farmweek november 11 2013