Page 1

U.S. EPA officials delayed finalization of the Renewable Fuel Standard until next year. page 2

Union Pacific ranked first on a list of ag shippers based on costs and on-time performance. page 4

U of I ACES’ research focus should remain strong under new President Timothy Killeen. page 10

No FarmWeek next week

There will be no FarmWeek published next week. FarmWeek is published 50 times a year, with no issues on the Mondays following Thanksgiving and Christmas. The next issue you receive will be dated Dec. 8.

IFB farm bill meetings begin across state Monday, November 24, 2014


Jefferson County farmer Jerry Seidel spent Tuesday afternoon learning the basics of the 2014 farm bill. He admits he’s had “tunnel vision” during harvest and now he’s starting from “square one.” He wasn’t alone. Most of the 40 farmers attending the first Illinois Farm Bureau session in Mount Vernon last week indicated they had yet to attend a meeting about the farm bill offerings. About 360 attended a meeting that same night in Centralia.

Three sections Volume 42, No. 47

In all, more than 80 informational meetings will be conducted by IFB across the state during the next few months. Signed into Doug Yoder law in February, the Agricultural Act of 2014 eliminates direct payments and modifies the target price program, replacing the CounterCyclical Payment (CCP) program with Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The bill also changes the

revenue safety nets, replacing Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) with two Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) options — County ARC and Individual Farm ARC. IFB’s Doug Yoder said people who understand how crop insurance works should quickly grasp the new farm bill provisions. Yoder shared the following insight: • Retaining or reallocating base acres: This is a farm-byfarm decision and not mandatory. The total base acres can’t be increased, but acres can be shift-

ed from one crop to another based on the proportion of acreage planted for the 2009-12 crop years. If no change is made, the acreage defaults back to the farm’s current acreage. Should farmers reallocate base acres? Yoder suggests using online tools to determine whether changing base acres would result in higher payments or improved risk management coverage. • Updating payment yields: Each farm can have updated yields, but only those electing PLC can use the updated yields. Calculations are based on 90


• List of December farm bill meetings • Farm Bill Q & A Page 3

percent of average yield between crop years 2008 and 2012. A year can be excluded if no acres were planted. A list of yields will be available online at {}. Yoder said if farmers’ yields will increase, they should be

Christmas season caps busy year on award-winning farm BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

This month marks the start of the busy season for Christmas tree sales. But for Christmas tree growers, it takes a year-round effort to grow and care for trees that eventually wind up on stands lavished in decorations in households across the nation. Daniken Tree Farm near Pocahontas (Bond County) sells about 5,000 to 6,000 trees per year. And for grower David Daniken, raising Christmas trees remains the centerpiece of the family operation that took root nearly a half century ago. “We first started planting trees in 1968, and we first sold them in 1973,” Daniken told FarmWeek. “We started with about 500 that first year. Now we

Periodicals: Time Valued


plant anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 trees per year.” The Daniken family also owns a construction company, operates a landscape nursery business and previously grew as much as 300 acres of field crops. In recent years, they also added a 2-acre pumpkin patch and a corn maze. “The main business is Christmas trees, although the pumpkin patch is growing quickly,” Daniken said. “The core of our business is choose-and-cut trees.” The choose-and-cut option not only provides families with fresh trees, but also an enjoyable experience. Daniken Tree Farm gives customers a wagon ride to the field where they can choose a tree. It’s then shaken, baled and ready to become a Christmas tree, a tradition that dates back to 16th century Germany. Most trees grown for sale on the farm are Scotch pine and white pine. Daniken also sells fresh Noble fir, Nordman fir and Grand fir trees from Oregon. They also sell trees from North Carolina and Michigan. “We sell 15 kinds of trees,” Daniken said. “The tree business is year-round. We have 65-plus acres of trees. It’s very labor intensive.” Daniken Tree Farm employs about 10 to 15 seasonal workers in the spring and summer to plant and shear the trees, and 25 to 30 seasonal workers during the Christmas season. During the last decade, the operation

See Meetings, page 3

Maurice Daniken, left, and his son, David, measure a tree at Daniken Tree Farm near Pocahontas in preparation for the Christmas season. Maurice started the award-winning Christmas tree farm in 1968, which David continues to operate today. The Danikens tend 65-plus acres of trees and plant anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 per year. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

won multiple awards at the Illinois State Fair Christmas Tree competition. This year, one of its Douglas firs was selected state champion, while a white pine won reserve champion. Other blue ribbon winners from the Daniken operation this year include a Scotch pine and a Canaan fir. “We enjoy competing,” Daniken said. As the state champion, Daniken Tree Farm qualifies to enter the National Christmas Tree Association contest next summer in northern Illinois.

The winner of that competition provides the White House Christmas Tree for the president of the United States. “We’re kind of looking forward to that (competition),” Daniken added. “We’ll see if we can win the whole thing.” For more information about Daniken Tree Farm, visit {danikentree} or to find a Christmas tree in other parts of the state, visit {ilchristmastrees. com}.

Quick Takes

FarmWeek • Page 2 • Monday, November 24, 2014

FAA TO OVERSEE UAVs — National Transportation Safety Board members last week reversed an administrative law judge’s ruling, giving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authority to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and model aircraft. The NTSB ruled that the definition of “aircraft,” as written in the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, should include UAVs and model aircraft. FAA officials expect to release proposed regulations governing commercial drones weighing less than 55 pounds before the end of the year.

ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS ALSO ON INSTAGRAM — Be sure to check out photos and videos of the upcoming Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting on Instagram, in addition to Twitter and IFB’s presence on the online photo and video sharing social networking service will kick off during the Chicago meeting Dec. 6-9. In the future, Instagram will feature photos from other IFB events and conferences in addition to agricultural pictures and facts. Instagram can be accessed on your desktop or as an app on your smartphone through Apple or Google Play Store. Be sure to follow IFB at {}, and we’ll follow you!

VISIT FARM BILL TOOLBOX — Information presented during six recent University of Illinois farm bill webinars can be viewed at {farmbilltoolbox.farmdoc.illinois. edu/}. Videos and slides feature information farmers can use to make yield and acreage decisions as well as program selection decisions. Farmers have until Feb. 27 to update payment yields and/or reallocate base acres. A choice between Price Loss Coverage or Agricultural Risk Coverage concludes March 31.

FIRST-OF-KIND CARBON PARTNERSHIP — A USDA grant resulted in formation of the first carbon credit, public-private partnership. Chevrolet, a division of General Motors, recently purchased almost 40,000 carbon dioxide reduction tons generated on working ranch grasslands in the Prairie Pothole region of North Dakota. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Chevrolet’s carbon credits equate to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road. A $161,000 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to Ducks Unlimited in 2011 helped develop methodology to quantify carbon stored in the soil by avoiding grassland conversions, resulting in the generation of carbon credits. Landowners voluntarily place lands under a perpetual easement, but retain rights to work the land, such as raising livestock and growing hay. The carbon credits are made available to entities interested in purchasing carbon offsets. Landowners receive compensation for the carbon credits generated on their lands.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 42 No. 47 November 24, 2014 Dedicated to improving the profitability of farming, and a higher quality of life for Illinois farmers. FarmWeek is produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau. FarmWeek is published each week, except the Mondays following Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Avenue, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61701. Illinois Agricultural Association assumes no responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products or services advertised in FarmWeek. FarmWeek is published by the Illinois Agricultural Association for farm operator members. $3 from the individual membership fee of each of those members goes toward the production of FarmWeek. “Farm, Family, Food” is used under license of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.

Address subscription and advertising questions to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, Illinois, and at an additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Farm Bureau members should send change of addresses to their local county Farm Bureau. © 2014 Illinois Agricultural Association

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

EPA delays decision on RFS


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday it will not finalize a proposed rule mandating how much ethanol and biodiesel must be in the nation’s fuel supply until next year. In its announcement, EPA noted the 2014 proposed volume requirements for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) generated “significant comment and controversy,” especially surrounding how the volumes were calculated. “Due to this delay, and given ongoing consideration of the issues presented by the commenters, EPA is not in a position to finalize the 2014 RFS standards rule before the end of the year,” EPA said in a statement. Many opponents of the proposal — from agricultural groups to politicians — quickly viewed the delay as further proof the rule is flawed. “If nothing else, EPA’s decision to further delay its release of the 2014 RFS volumes reflects the strong opposition of Illinois Farm Bureau members critical of a flawed proposal that would have reduced the amount of renewable fuels blended in the nation’s motor fuel supply for the first time since the RFS was enacted,” said IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. “While this is not the outcome we wanted,

IFB acknowledges that the administration took our members’ concerns into account and recognized the need to go back to the drawing board,” he said. “In the coming year, IFB will continue to advocate for a strong RFS that increases volumes, advances the industry and takes into account the incredible economic, energy security and environmental benefits that biofuels provide.” The proposal was first Richard Guebert Jr. introduced a year ago, and has been under review by the White House Office of Budget and Management for the last several months. EPA proposed the renewable fuel mandate in the RFS be lowered from 14.4 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons. The advanced fuel mandate, including biodiesel and E85 fuel, would drop from 3.75 billion gallons to 2.2 billion gallons. Illinois farmers wrote letters and made phone calls to the White House and EPA opposing the rule. IFB, on behalf of its more than 400,000 members, also submitted a six-page letter to EPA, urging the president and his administration “go back to the drawing board to write a new 2014 RFS rule.”

IFB goal $250,000 for Science Center exhibit BY DEANA STROISCH FarmWeek

Illinois Farm Bureau plans to launch a $250,000 fundraising campaign next month to help pay for a new agricultural exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center. The campaign will officially kickoff during IFB’s Annual Meeting in Chicago Dec. 6-9. County Farm Bureaus will be challenged to contribute to the project by May 1. IFB will match county contributions up to $100,000. The $6 million agricultural exhibit will be built on 1 acre of land and include 50,000 square feet of exhibit space — both indoors and outdoors. It will feature interactive exhibits and activities, a greenhouse and classrooms for public programs. “Within a short drive of the Science Center, you are surrounded by farms,” said Bert Vescolani, president and CEO of the Science Center. “For many people, they may not recognize the importance of these farms to our region, nation and even the world. We felt this was an important story to tell.” Illinois and Missouri Farm Bureaus agreed to help fund the exhibit’s interactive map, which will provide a high definition, aerial view of farms, roads, cities, mountains and rivers of Illinois and Missouri. Rolling information tablets will be available for visitors to interact with the map. “Whenever a visitor rolls

the cart past a disc, it will launch a video of a farm family from that county,” said Sabrina Burkiewicz, IFB’s promotion manager. “Counties that contribute at the $1,000 matching level will have the opportunity to choose the family in that county.” In exchange for their donation, the state Farm Bureaus have the naming rights to the map, which will be called the Illinois and Missouri Farm Bureaus Map. IFB also plans to match Missouri’s total contribution. “It’s going to be the biggest agricultural exhibit probably in the United States,” Burkiewicz said. “Not only that, but the science center team wants to present agriculture from a place of truth and accuracy, and they’re going to do it with this incredibly detailed and comprehensive exhibit that’s going to impact the 1½ million minds that come through the science center each year.” Adams, Franklin, Marshall-Putnam, McDonough, Randolph, Washington, Wayne and White counties have each already pledged at least $1,000 toward the proj-

ect. The IAA Foundation contributed $30,000 to the project. A check will be presented during annual meeting. Pledge cards will be available at the exhibit hall display at the annual meeting. Science Center officials hope the exhibit opens in spring of 2016. Admission to the museum is free.

Annual meeting happenings: Exhibit hall: An interactive display will provide more information about the exhibit. A map also will display locations of pledges. Saturday night general session: IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. plans to announce the project and issue a challenge to counties to pledge financial support. Sunday afternoon: President Guebert and the Science Center president will announce the exhibit’s first large donation. Monday: Micro-talk on project For more information:

Farm bill Q & A: Your questions answered It’s decision time. Farmers can now choose between Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), programs available through the 2014 farm bill. The ARC/PLC enrollment window goes through at least March. Landowners have until Feb. 27 to decide whether to reallocate base acreage or update payment yields. In addition to hosting informational meetings across the state, Illinois Farm Bureau’s Doug Yoder, senior director of affiliate and risk management, will answer FarmWeek reader questions about the decisions farmers face. This week’s question: Q: Can I plant fruits and vegetables on my FSA farms


without penalty? A: The 2014 farm bill allows planting of fruits and vegetables on nonpayment acres without penalty. For example, farms that elect either PLC or ARC at the county level, and receive payments, will receive those payments on 85 percent of base

updated — even if you don’t want PLC. “There’s no reason not to,” he said. “We don’t know the next opportunity to update them.” • County ARC: Revenue program based on a five-year Olympic average of county yields and market year average price. Provides multiyear, shallow revenue loss coverage. The program provides a separate guarantee for each crop. Payments are made on 85 percent of crop’s base acreage. This option used to be a no-brainer, Yoder said. Now that corn prices have dropped during the last five months, he said farmers should also consider PLC. • Individual ARC: Revenue program based on five-year Olympic average of whole farm revenues using farm yields and market year average price. Yoder said the option works best with single farm operations with signifiContinued from page 1

Save the date December farm bill meetings

Page 3 • Monday, November 24, 2014 • FarmWeek

acres. Those farms would have 15 percent of their base acreage that would not receive payments, and are thus eligible to plant fruits and vegetables on those acres. Farms with ARC coverage at the individual level receive payments on 65 percent of base acres and would thus have 35 percent of base acres eligible for fruit and vegetable planting without penalty. If fruit and vegetable plantings exceed nonpayment acres, payment acres are reduced acre for acre. This provision does not alter the base acreage on the farm.

• Dec. 1: 9:30 a.m., VFW, Monmouth. Sponsored by Knox, Warren-Henderson, Mercer and McDonough County Farm Bureaus. • Dec. 1: 5 p.m., Danvers Historical Society, Danvers. Sponsored by DFE Farm Partners. • Dec. 2: 8 a.m., KC Hall, Raymond. Sponsored by COUNTRY Financial. • Dec. 2: 10:30 a.m., Montgomery County Farm Bureau, Hillsboro. Sponsored by Montgomery County Farm Bureau and FSA office. • Dec. 2: 4 p.m., Montgomery County Farm Bureau, Hillsboro. Sponsored by Montgomery County Farm Bureau and FSA office. • Dec. 3: 9 a.m., Eureka Church of the Nazarene, Eureka. Sponsored by COUNTRY. • Dec. 4: 9 a.m., Whiteside County Farm Bureau, Morrison. Sponsored by COUNTRY. • Dec. 5: 7:30 a.m., Knights of Columbus, Lincoln. Sponsored by COUNTRY. • Dec. 8: 8 a.m., Palmer House, IAA Annual Meeting, Chicago. Sponsored by COUNTRY. • Dec. 10: 8 a.m., Edwards County Farm Bureau, Albion. Sponsored by Edwards County Farm Bureau and FSA. • Dec. 10: 1 p.m., Frontier Community College, Fairfield. Sponsored by Wayne County Farm Bureau. • Dec. 10: 7 p.m., White County Farm Bureau, Carmi. Sponsored by White County Farm Bureau and FSA.

If you have a question, please email it to, or mail it to: Farm Bill Questions, Deana Stroisch, 1701 Towanda Ave., Bloomington, Ill. 61701.

cant yield variability. Payments are based on 65 percent of total base acreage — a disadvantage over county-level coverage. Unlike other options, production records must be produced as proof of benchmark revenues and actual revenues. • PLC: Yoder described the program as multiyear disaster price loss coverage. Choosing PLC boils down to one question, Yoder said: “How bearish are you? You have to be really bearish to think PLC is a slam dunk.” PLC payments are triggered when the market year average price is below the reference price. If a safety net option isn’t selected, the choice automatically defaults to PLC. But don’t let that happen, Yoder said, even if you want PLC. If the selection defaults to PLC, farmers will lose potential 2014 payments. Yoder encouraged farmers to use farm bill tools to analyze their options.

Start Planning Now

• Dec. 11: 10 a.m., Gifford State Bank, Gifford. Sponsored by Gifford State Bank. • Dec. 11: 1:30 p.m., Vermilion County Farm Bureau, Danville. Sponsored by Vermilion County Farm Bureau. • Dec. 11: 6:30 p.m., Piatt County Farm Bureau, Monticello. Sponsored by Piatt County Farm Bureau and FSA. • Dec. 12: 9 a.m., Bureau County Farm Bureau, Princeton. Sponsored by Bureau County Farm Bureau and COUNTRY. • Dec. 12: 1:30 p.m., Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau, Gilman. Sponsored by COUNTRY and Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau. • Dec. 15: 9 a.m., St. John’s Lutheran Fellowship Hall, Red Bud. Sponsored by COUNTRY. • Dec. 16: 7:30 a.m., Macon County Farm Bureau, Decatur. Sponsored by COUNTRY. • Dec. 16: Noon, Fayette County Farm Bureau, Vandalia. Sponsored by Fayette County Farm Bureau and COUNTRY. • Dec. 16: 5:30 p.m., Clay County Farm Bureau, Louisville. Sponsored by Clay County Farm Bureau and FSA. • Dec. 17: 10 a.m., Tuscola Community Building, Tuscola. Sponsored by Douglas County Farm Bureau and FSA. • Dec. 17: 6 p.m., Illinois Conservation Foundation, Pecatonica. Sponsored by COUNTRY. • Dec. 18: 10 a.m., 4-H Center, Shelbyville. Sponsored by Shelby County Farm Bureau and COUNTRY.

Attend a meeting at your convenience ...






November 25 November 25 December 1 December 2

Madison County Farm Bureau KC Hall VFW KC Hall

Edwardsville Carrollton Monmouth Raymond

1:00 PM 6:00 PM 9:30 AM 8:00 AM

December 2

Montgomery County Farm Bureau


10:30 AM

December 2

Montgomery County Farm Bureau


4:00 PM

December 3 December 4

Eureka Church of the Nazarene Whiteside County Farm Bureau

Eureka Morrison

9:00 AM 9:00 AM

December 5

Knights of Columbus


7:30 AM

Tom Jett, 618-656-5191 Stephanie Knittel, 217-942-6958 Kate Lansaw, 309-342-2036 Allen Poggenpohl, 217-229-3452 Jim Beeler, 217-563-2382 Dan Puccetti, 217-532-3361 Bob Lentz, 217-532-6171 Dan Puccetti, 217-532-3361 Bob Lentz, 217-532-6171 Mark Scott, 309-467-4938 Paul Cobane, 815-878-9838 Ken Jansma, 815-772-5658 Andy Stukins, 217-792-3778




Additional meetings take place through March. Follow FarmWeek FarmW Week k®, FarmW,, your favorite RFD Radio Networ Network k® radio station, or to learn more.

UP ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction Groups urge Congress

FarmWeek • Page 4 • Monday, November 24, 2014


Union Pacific ranked as the top performing railroad by agricultural shippers, according to the fifth annual Soy Transportation Coalition Railroad Report card. The survey, conducted anonymously, evaluated railroad company’s on-time performance, customer service and costs. Norfolk Southern Railway received second place for rail customer satisfaction and CSX Transportation third. The survey also revealed “substantial frustration” with rail service in this year, according to the coalition. Railroads, overall, received a 14 percent lower score than 2013. The biggest area of decline: on-time service, which dropped 28 percent from the year before. “Average scores for each of the 11 questions were lower than in 2013 — confirming the widespread conclusion among agricultural shippers that rail service has been inadequate,” according to the coalition. “One of the primary rea-

Rail Customer Satisfaction Ratings 1. Union Pacific 2. Norfolk Southern 3. CSX Transportation 4. Canadian National 5. Kansas City Southern 6. BNSF 7. Canadian Pacific

Source: Soy Transportation Coalition

sons why U.S. agriculture historically has been so competitive is due to our more developed transportation system, which includes our freight rail network,” said Patt Knouff, a soybean farmer from Ohio and chairman of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “The decline in rail service has understandably raised concern among agricultural shippers and farmers. Unfortunately, farmers are the ones who ultimately must absorb these additional costs. In a very tight margin industry, the decline in rail service can

be the difference between farmers making a profit and suffering a loss.” Severe weather, high demand and a big harvest all contributed to rail congestion last winter. It’s become a topic of discussion across the country. Last week, it was the focus of a Farm Foundation meeting in Washington, D.C. Eric Jessup of Informa Economics noted that agriculture relies on transportation infrastructure to connect the industry to consumers all over the world. And as farm productivity and technology improves, he said the need for an efficient transportation system increases. He said the railroads are making “huge investments” in their infrastructure in an attempt to address demand. Railroads, he said, “that’s the least of my concern.” His biggest concern: the river system. “If that were to go away, or if it was no longer functional, that would be extremely detrimental to our ag economy and to our producers.”

to pass tax extenders


Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. urged members of Congress last week to pass at least a two-year extension of expired tax provisions by the end of the year. IFB supports continuing Section 179 expensing at the $500,000 level and 50 percent bonus depreciation –— both of which were among dozens of tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. “Not extending these provisions will result in a tax increase for Illinois farming operations,” Guebert wrote. “Acting promptly on tax extenders in the lame duck (session) will provide the predictability necessary for economic growth in the agricultural sector.” Agricultural groups and others across the country put pressure on Congress last week to act. In a letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders, American Farm Bureau Federation joined 40 other agricultural groups requesting Congress pass Section 179 and bonus depreciation in a multi-year tax extenders package. “We are concerned that the failure to renew these expired provisions of the tax code will place additional burdens on farm and ranch families who are asset-rich and cash-poor, and already face an unpredictable tax code that encourages the breakup of multigenerational farm and ranch operations,”

they wrote. Meanwhile, members of The Broad Tax Extenders Coalition held a conference call with reporters to draw attention to the issue. The group includes manufacturers, railroads, small businesses, farmers, charities and educators. Dorothy Coleman, vice president of Tax and Domestic Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, described tax extenders as a “must do for this lame duck session of Congress.” Mike Friemel farms about

Go to to listen to IFB President Richard Guebert Jr.’s comments on Section 179.

15,000 acres in the panhandle of Texas. He said many of his neighbors have delayed purchases because they can’t count on the incentives. “We’re reluctant to invest capital in new equipment, buildings and facilities without knowing how the new assets will be treated for tax purposes,” he said. “We don’t want to tie up cash unnecessarily when it’s needed elsewhere in the business.” He said Section 179 needs to be reinstated as soon as possible. “We need some certainty that they will be in place going forward,” he said. “Congress should act immediately to help get the ag economy and rural communities moving once again.”

No ag labor reform in order

Farm Bureau leaders criticized President Barak Obama’s executive order to spare 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation as failing to address needed agricultural labor reform issues. Obama insisted last week that his order does not mean amnesty for immigrants who have been in the U.S. illegally for more than five years and who have children who are citizens or permanent residents. Immigrants affected by the order will have to pass background checks, pay a fee and obtain work permits. Applications will be available in the spring. “In practical terms, we do not expect the president’s initiative to help America’s farmers deal with the real labor challenges they face,” said Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) president. “Our nation loses millions of dollars in fruit and vegetable production every year because farmers cannot find labor to harvest everything they grow. This order will not change that.” A 2014 AFBF study concluded that if Congress increases immigration enforcement without also increasing farmers’ access to guest workers, the nation will lose $60 billion in agricultural production. Fruit production could plummet 61 percent and vegetable production could decline 31 percent. Stallman noted that farmers and ranchers need a new, flexible visa program, which ensures long-term access to an expanding workforce by allowing foreign-born workers to enter the U.S. and give experienced agricultural workers a way to gain legal status. Adam Nielsen, Illinois Farm Bureau director of national legislation and policy development, agreed. “Many Illinois specialty growers and farmers in seed, pork and dairy production need access to a legal and stable workforce,” Nielsen said. “The only way we can accomplish this is through legislation. Unfortunately, at least in the short term, the president’s action appears to be setting back that effort.”

CAFO rules put new focus on winter livestock waste plans

Page 5 • Monday, November 24, 2014 • FarmWeek


Livestock farmers, don’t let winter catch you or your nutrient management strategy off guard. New state rules for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) include lengthy sections related to livestock waste application on frozen, icy or snow-covered ground. Portions of the updated CAFO rules impact all

livestock farms. During recent informational meetings hosted by Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Ted Funk, agricultural engineer for IPPA, encouraged livestock farmers to plan ahead and avoid winter complications. “Make sure you have enough (livestock waste) storage capacity so you don’t have to apply in the winter,” Funk advised farmers. Farmers should develop a winter application plan that considers field slopes and adequate existing erosion control practices.

Under the regulations, waste may be surface applied on land with a slope measuring 5 percent or less and a yearly average soil loss of 5 or fewer tons per acre based on the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE 2). On slopes greater than 5 percent and with an annual average soil loss greater than 5 tons per acre, the livestock waste must be injected or incorporated within 24 hours. Under the new regulations, one of the biggest challenges will be winter manure applications for large CAFOs due to maximum slope requirements and many application setbacks, Jim

Kaitschuk, IPPA executive director, told farmers. Lauren Lurkins, IFB director of natural and environmental resources, recommended farmers keep records of waste applications as well as nutrient plans. “Keep records to defend yourself if you have to do so,” she said. To learn more about new CAFO rules, farmers may register for an informational webinar offered by IPPA and IFB at 8 a.m. Dec. 11. To register, visit {} under the “CAFO rule meetings” at upper right.

Cover crops showing steady growth, according to survey


Farmers planted more acres of cover crops, and recorded corn and soybean yield increases on those fields, based on responses to a recently released nationwide farmer survey. The Conservation Technology Information Center surveyed farmers during winter 2013-14. The 1,924 respondents included farmers who do and don’t grow cover crops. Continued steady growth in

‘Interest continu e s t o g r o w. Everybody is trying to figure it out.’ — Mike Plumer cover crop specialist

cover crop acres (see accompanying graphic) shows interest and caught the attention of Mike Plumer, agricultural consultant and cover crop specialist with the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (C-BMP). “There’s been 30 percent expansion (in cover crop acres) every year for the last few years,” said Plumer, who was involved with the survey. “The Midwest is where the most interest is shown (in cover crops),” Plumer continued. “Interest continues to grow.

Everybody is trying to figure it out.” Farmer respondents also recorded increased yields in crops preceded by cover crops compared to similar fields without cover crops. Farmers reported an average corn yield increase of 5 bushels per acre and an average soybean yield increase of 2 bushels per acre. Compared to the previous year, those increases were lower, possibly because cover crops played an important role in soil moisture during the 2012 drought, according to Rob Myers, a University of Missouri agronomist, who participated in the survey. Jennifer Tirey, C-BMP executive director, views cover crops as another conservation tool for farmers. C-BMP continues to add staff cover crop specialists to work with farmers, she said. Continued growth in cover crop acres fuels a need for seed. “We’ve had a problem with seed sources keeping up with demand,” Plummer said. For the last year-and-a-half, a lot of cereal rye seed was imported from Canada, while oilseed radish seed was imported from as far away as New Zealand, according to Plumer. Survey respondents reported $25 as the median cost for cover crop seed per acre. However, 63 percent said they had never received cost-share assistance or payments for growing cover crops. “I was surprised that wellestablished (cover crop) folks would not consider not planting cover crops,” Plumer said.

Trends on the restaurant scene

Restaurants nationwide report food trends related to customers’ interests. Cynthia Haskins, Illinois Farm Bureau manager of business development and compliance, reported the following information from a nationwide survey of restaurant chefs during the fourth annual Local and Regional Food Summit in Normal. Top five restaurant trends: 1. Locally sourced meat and seafood 2. Locally grown produce 3. Environmentally sustainable 4. Healthful foods for children 5. Gluten free

Cost-share assistance and other incentives may be key, especially during times of lean profit margins, to entice farmers who are new to cover crops, he added. Tirey encouraged new cover crop growers to “start out simple, take your time and don’t jump in without educating yourself.” For more information on the cover crop survey, visit {} and click on the “2013-14 Cover Crops Survey Analysis.” Watch a video at

Big chill puts freeze on most fall fieldwork in Illinois

FarmWeek • Page 6 • Monday, November 24, 2014


Winter doesn’t technically arrive for nearly a month (Dec. 21), but conditions in recent weeks felt like it made an early appearance. A northerly flow of arctic air from Canada last week plunged temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below normal in much of the state, according to Lyle Barker, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. The statewide temperature the prior week (Nov. 9-16) averaged just 31.1 degrees, 10.4 degrees below normal. “The pattern that brought that to us was a northerly flow from Canada right into the

Midwest,” Barker said. The deep freeze halted most fall fieldwork activity with some scattered exceptions around the state, particularly in southern Illinois. “Harvest is shut down, but there’s not a whole lot left to do,” Justin Scheibe, an Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader from Valmeyer (Monroe County), said late last week. Steve Fricke, a Freeport farmer and president of Stephenson County Farm Bureau, said farmers in his area halted tillage work last week. “Some guys were out chisel plowing (early last week) but they couldn’t go anymore. They couldn’t go through the

Infrastructure issues drag harvest out Most farmers wrapped up harvest in recent weeks, but pockets of corn and soybeans remain in some fields around the state. Two key issues holding harvest up at this point involve weather challenges and infrastructure problems. “A lot of elevators have piled all (the grain) they can pile,” said David White, a farmer from Cisne and president of Wayne County Farm Bureau. “They’ve got to get rail cars (which are in short supply for some grain merchandisers) to move some out. “It (the infrastructure issues) slowed everything down quite a bit,” he continued. “It’s kind of a bad situation.” The glut of grain and lack of rail cars caused some elevators to temporarily shut down, including one facility in southern Illinois that was down for nearly a week, according to White. “There’s still guys cutting double-crop beans,” White said. “And there’s quite of bit of corn left (to harvest).” The recent freeze followed by precipitation slowed or halted fieldwork at many locations. “There’s a lot of corn harvest to go yet,” said Steve Fricke, a farmer from Freeport and president of Stephenson County Farm Bureau. “The cold is not the issue, it’s the snow.” Additional snow or rain could compromise stalk quality, he noted. — Daniel Grant


frost,” he said. “Unless we get some really warm days, most of that work is pretty much done (for the year).” Fricke last week estimated about 10 to 15 percent of corn remains unharvested in his area. Harvest in Illinois the first of last week was 94 percent complete for corn, 95 percent complete for beans and 92 percent complete for sorghum. Wheat growers managed to plant 90 percent of that crop with 64 percent of it emerged as of the first of last week. “We have a little snow and the ground is frozen, but there is

some tillage work and fertilizer application going on,” Scheibe said. “It looks like it will all come to an end this weekend.” The forecast as of Thursday called for temperatures to climb back to the 50s during the weekend. But field conditions might deteriorate. “We have a shot at some significant rainfall (over the weekend),” Scheibe said. The brief warm-up and rainy conditions could be followed by another round of cold air and some chances for snow or rain this week. “The overall pattern (of

below-normal temperatures) probably will persist the next week or two,” Barker said. “It looks like we’ll remain below normal through the month.” Barker cautioned Illinoisans that weather around Thanksgiving this week appears unsettled with a chance of precipitation. Looking ahead, Barker sees no good indicators as to whether this winter will feature above- or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. “Chances are good it won’t be as bad as last year (which ranked among the most severe winters in modern history),” he added.

Duffy: Land values could decline 15 percent

Prices for farmland continue to bounce around as sellers and buyers try to adjust to lower farm income projections. Land values in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago district slipped 2 percent the past two quarters, while the average price of farmland reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis increased 11 percent from the second to third quarter. “What we’re seeing is a softening of the market, but also a great deal of uncertainty,” Michael Duffy, Iowa State University economist, said this month at the National Agricultural Bankers Conference in Omaha, Neb. “Not all types of land saw the boom, or correction. It’s a market that doesn’t know what it’s going to do.” Farmland’s ability to produce and elevated farm income drove Michael Duffy the market in recent years. From 2010 to 2014, land prices in the eastern Corn Belt jumped 70 percent while prices in the Northern Plains more than doubled, Duffy noted. “(Farm) incomes have been the key driver (of the land market), primarily due to grain prices,” he said. However, crop prices in the third quarter averaged just $3.72 per bushel for corn (down 39 percent from last year) and $12.13 for beans (down 15 percent). The outlook for a continuation of more moderate crop prices, if realized, will reduce farmland prices over time, according to Duffy.


“Estimates predict a 10 percent change in (farm) income leads to a 3.2 percent change in land values,” he said. “There’s a very Visit to strong correla- listen to Dan Grant’s interview with Iowa State University’s tion between Michael Duffy on land values. the two.” So, will land values fall off the so-called cliff or encounter a less dramatic correction? Farmland values after the past two “golden eras” in agriculture (in the 1930s and 1980s) plummeted 67 percent, according to the economist. Fortunately, he doesn’t believe a market bubble developed this time, so he looks for a softer landing for prices compared to the Great Depression and the 1980s farm crisis. “I still think land is a good investment,” Duffy said. “In my mind, a major collapse isn’t likely. There could be a 15 percent drop in values over a four to five year period.” The volume of land sales declined in some areas, though, including more cases of no sales at auctions. “Part of what’s happening with no sales at auctions is some people are going in with unreal expectations. They’re just kind of testing the water,” Duffy said. “But over half the land is owned by someone over 65 years old. Eventually, that land will have to move.” Other downside risks in the land market, along with lower farm income, include the possibility of higher interest rates and what Duffy calls “hidden debt” on some farms. — Daniel Grant


The most people, on the ground, in Illinois, covering Illinois agriculture for you. Get to know Mary Kobbeman

RFD Radio Network® Producer & contributor Mary helps manage the madness behind the microphones (iPhones, iPads, etc.). She loves to help cover farm and rural family life, and tries to look for a happy ending when others may overlook one. As a producer, she juggles events, remotes, guests, and more. As a resident of rural Illinois, she ZRUNVZLWKKHUFROOHDJXHVWR¿QGVWRULHVWKDWPDWWHUWRKHU±DQG\RX

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Softer ag equipment sales could spark steep discounts Page 7 • Monday, November 24, 2014 • FarmWeek


Most farmers should reduce capital expenditures in reaction to lower grain prices, according to many economists and farm managers. But for those farmers in need of equipment upgrades, very tempting buying opportunities could arise in the months ahead as dealers attempt to reduce a large buildup of new/used equipment. Demand for new tractors since 2009 revved up 40 percent as farmers thrived in the most recent “golden era� of ag, according to Terrance Wynne,

senior economist for Iron Solutions in Franklin, Tenn. However, the push of new equipment into the market in recent years and subsequent slowdown in sales more recently led to a large buildup of new/used equipment that now lines the lots at many Terrance Wynne dealerships. “There’s significant oversupply creating downward price pressure,� Wynne said this month at the National Agricultural Bankers

Conference in Omaha, Neb. Manufacturers pushed more equipment into the marketplace in recent years. “I think we’re heading back to a bull market,� he said. What type of oversupply built up in the $64 billion ag equipment market in recent years? About 42,000 additional 1- to 7-year-old pieces of equipment entered the market since 2010, according to Wynne. Now, dealers face the daunting task of reducing the buildup of inventory at a time when corn prices are much softer than recent years. “A lot of the larger dealer

Stay in compliance, deal with ruts in highly erodible land BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Snapping a few photos and chatting with your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff may eliminate a sticky situation with ruts in highly erodible land (HEL). “If you’ve got ruts, you have to do something,� said Mark Baran, NRCS district conservationist in LaSalle County. “On HEL, do the minimum you need to do to get them leveled out.� NRCS recognizes that farmers must level ruts in fields before planting; however, farmers also must take steps to remain in compliance with their conservation plan. Baran advised farmers to do the minimum amount of tillage needed to address the problem. “Take care of the ruts where they exist,� he said. “That doesn’t open the door to doing the whole field.�

If scattered ruts exist “from one end of the field to the other,� Baran recommended farmers call the NRCS office and have staff come check out the situation and make suggestions. Farmers should photograph field conditions and use those pictures to document the circumstances, especially important if that tract is later checked for a compliance review. Mark the rut areas on field maps. By sharing concerns and field issues with local NRCS staff now, farmers can help avoid potential sticky questions later. In compliance reviews, NRCS staff rely on documented recent evidence and long-term conservation history. “We don’t want to find anybody out of compliance,� Baran said. “If you have questions, call the (NRCS) field office. It’s a whole lot easier to deal with (the situation) now.�

Farm Progress Show attendees check out ag equipment at last year’s event in Decatur. Softer equipment sales, due to lower crop prices, created a buildup of inventory that dealers now will attempt to re-market. (FarmWeek file photo)

groups are sitting on large used inventories of nearly new equipment,� Wynne said. “They’re making really good deals to move it. They can’t sit on it.� There currently are about 6,000 ag equipment dealerships that operate about 8,000 dealer stores nationwide. And with pressure on current dealer capacity and price positions, many dealers could make re-marketing decisions to entice farmers to update their equipment lines. Equipment at dealerships lost about a half billion dollars in valuation from 2013 to 2014. “I think we’re going to see continued softening (of the market) at least the next year, if not two,� Wynne said. “(Dealers) will be selling down current used inventories. There’s opportunities to get

very good equipment at a cheap price.� Wynne said a corn price of about $4.50 per bushel currently serves as a “waterline� for equipment sales. Once the price drops below that level, which it has for months, farmers typically cut equipment purchases. The loss of the tax incentive (Section 179) also downshifted farmer demand for equipment. The tax benefit from 2010 to 2013 shaved off as much as 25 to 35 percent of the cost of new equipment at the high end of the market. Looking ahead, Wynne expects equipment manufacturers will cut back production at the high end of the market (sales of under-100 horsepower tractors actually increased this year) and the market will return to more normal trade cycles.


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Thanksgiving feast remains affordable, costs less than $50

FarmWeek • Page 8 • Monday, November 24, 2014

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 this week will cost about $4.94 cents per serving, according to the 29th American Farm Bureau Federation Thanksgiving Dinner Price Survey. Overall, 179 volunteer shoppers in 35 states participated in the survey and found the cost to feed 10 hungry Thanksgiving guests will total $49.41. That’s 37 cents, or 1 percent less than the 2013 dinner cost. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers looked for the best prices on the survey items without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals. Survey items included turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of celery and carrots, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk. “Turkey counts as the largest ‘Turkey counts as component. Retail prices the largest com- decreased 11 cents to $1.35 per pound,” said John Anderson p o n e n t . R e t a i l AFBF deputy chief economist. prices decreased “Even though turkey production 11 cents to $1.35 is down and wholesale turkey prices are up, retailers like to feaper pound.’ ture turkey. Lower energy prices also help with retail food prices.” Increases in the average price — John Anderson for sweet potatoes (up 20 cents), AFBF deputy chief economist miscellaneous ingredients (butter, sugar, flour and coffee, up 28 cents), whipping cream (up 15 cents), pumpkin pie mix (up 2 cents), whole milk (up 10 cents), a relish tray of celery and carrots, and green peas (each up 1 cent) comprised the main drivers behind the slight, overall meal cost boost. In addition to turkey, cubed stuffing, fresh cranberries, pie shells and dinner rolls also decreased slightly in price. The bottom line? The average Thanksgiving dinner cost has remained stable since 2011, coming in at around $49. And the slight increase for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index, which reported a 3 percent increase for food consumed at home in September compared to a year ago.

Golden Bridges becomes AFBF award finalist

A Quincy-based senior move management company joins the final four in a quest to become the first Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge winner. American Farm Bureau Federation and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative and the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s StartupHoyas chose Golden Bridges’ Senior Move Management project as one of

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four national finalists. The project features customized moving and relocation services for older Americans. Other finalists include: • Pasturebird LLC of Temecula, Calif., a cost-effective method of producing pastured poultry on a large scale; • Pulaski Grow of Pulaski, Va., an aquaponics facility providing local youth with job training; and • ScoutPro of Lone Tree, Iowa, software to assist farmers with crop maintenance. The challenge provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations being developed in rural regions of the United States. Each finalist received $15,000. In Quincy, the idea started

among three friends: Suzanne Ellerbrock, Susan Scholz and Nancy Waters. Ellerbrock of Palmyra, Mo., serves as the team lead. The women, who met while working at Quincy Healthcare Management, wanted to give back to the community — and do so while working their fulltime jobs. Golden Bridges opened in April 2013. Finalists will pitch their business ideas to a team of judges at the AFBF annual convention in San Diego in January. One finalist will be named Rural Entrepreneur of the Year for an additional $15,000. A People’s Choice Award winner will earn $10,000. AFBF convention attendees will vote for that award winner through a convention app on their phones.

Webinars feature soy management tips

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Soybean growers and agronomists can tune in to three soybean management webinars this winter hosted by the Illinois Soybean Association. The checkoff-funded series highlights best management practices in soybean production, and offers practical tips for improving yields and profitability in the 2015 growing season. The series kicks off from 10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 3 with a session on lessons from a great season by Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Extension agronomist. A January webinar will focus on six secrets of soybean success with Fred Below, University of Illinois professor of plant physiology and crop sciences. The February webinar features Howard Brown, GROWMARK manager of agronomy services, discussing nutrient planning and soybean management. To register for the webinars, visit {}.

Consider serving on National Corn Board

If you’re a corn grower and want to help supervise the affairs and activities of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), consider becoming a member of the 2016 National Corn Board. Corn board members represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as NCGA spokespeople, and enhance the organization’s public standing on all

organizational and policy issues. Applications are due Jan. 9. To obtain an application, visit {}. Nominated candidates will be introduced at the February 2015 Corn Congress meeting held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. Corn Board members will be elected at the July 2015 Corn Congress in Washington, D.C., and new terms begin Oct. 1.


UREAU — Farm Bureau will co-host an equine seminar at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Ag Arena at Black Hawk College-East Campus. Dr. Kim Stevens, Stevens Veterinary Clinic, and Donna Irvin, Black Hawk East, will speak. A live demonstration will take place in the equine arena. • Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a farm bill meeting at 9 a.m. Dec. 12 at Bureau County Metro Center. Doug Yoder, Illinois Farm Bureau senior director of affiliate and risk management; Erika Turner, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Justina Chlum, Bureau County Farm Service Agency (FSA), will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 875-6468 to register. OOK — Farm Bureau will sponsor a Trim the Tree Contest from Wednesday through Dec. 15. Visit { grams} or call the Farm


Bureau office at 708-354-3276 for contest rules and entry information. FFINGHAM — Young Leaders will sponsor farm family accident training at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Farm Bureau office. Chad and Lanie Barbee will provide CPR instruction and explain how to secure the scene until EMS personnel arrive. Call the Farm Bureau office at 342-2103 for reservations by Dec. 4. ANKAKEE — Young Leaders will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Farm Bureau office. U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 932-7471 for more information. ASALLE— Farm Bureau’s annual meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Dec. 4 in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Call the Farm Bureau office at 433-0371 for more information. • Farm Bureau will co-host



farm bill meetings at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Pitstick Pavilion, Ottawa; 1 p.m. Dec. 8 at Knights of Columbus, Streator; and 9 a.m. Dec. 10 at Mendota Civic Center. Call the Farm Bureau office at 4330371 for reservations. EE — Donations of new and unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots will be accepted at COUNTRY Financial located in the Farm Bureau building until Dec. 5. Call 857-3591 for more information. ADISON — Farm Bureau will sponsor a farm bill informational meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Brad Brotenfendt, Madison County FSA; and Doug Yoder, IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 656-5191 for reservations. ERCER — Farm Bureau will sponsor a farm bill update at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 1 at Monmouth VFW. Doug Yoder, IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management; and Jonathan Coppess, University of Illinois, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 582-5116 to register by Wednesday.




Page 9 • Monday, November 24, 2014 • FarmWeek

ONTGOMERY — Prime Timers will host a noon luncheon Dec. 17 at the Farm Bureau office for members 55 and older. The Hillsboro High School Choir will perform. Cost is $9. Call the Farm Bureau office at 532-6171 for reservations by Dec. 12. EORIA — Farm Bureau will sponsor a farm toy show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 2-4 during the Greater Peoria Farm Show at the Peoria Civic Center. Call the Farm Bureau office for more information at 686-7070. T. CLAIR — Farm Bureau and St. Clair FSA will co-host farm bill informational meetings at 10 a.m. Dec. 4 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Call the FSA office at 235-2500, ext. 2 for more information and reservations. ERMILION — Farm Bureau will host its annual meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Beef House Banquet Center. Registration and Foundation silent auction will open at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit Agriculture in the Classroom. Entertainment will be provided by the Wabash



College Glee Club. Cost is $10 for M members and $20 for A members. Call the Farm Bureau office at 442-8713 by Wednesday for reservations. • Farm Bureau will host a farm bill information meeting at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Farm Bureau auditorium. Doug Yoder, IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management, will speak. • 2015 Vermilion County plat books are available at the Farm Bureau office. AYNE — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a farm bill update at 1 p.m. Dec. 10 at Frontier Community College Foundation Hall, Fairfield. Doug Yoder, IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management; and Noelene Tubbs, FSA, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 842-3342 for reservations. HITE — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a farm bill update at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Farm Bureau office. Doug Yoder, IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management; and Matt Madewell, FSA, will speak. Call the Farm Bureau office at 382-8512 for reservations.


You have options. Bureau County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee members, from left, Bev Read, Nelda Marcum, and Beth and Karlie Schultz, helped gather food donations for the Princeton food pantry recently during National Farm City Week. Committee members gathered 22 turkeys, 30 cans of sweet potatoes, 26 cans of cranberry sauce, 20 boxes of instant potatoes, 26 packages of stuffing, 44 cans of green beans, 12 packages of rolls, 30 jars of applesauce, 15 boxes of cake mix and 15 cans of frosting. That’s enough to feed 155 people — the number of people each farmer feeds every year. (Photo by Bureau County Farm Bureau Manager Jill Frueh)

Tuesday: • FarmWeek: “The Early Wordâ€? • Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey • Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau director of natural and environmental resources: proposed nutrient loss reduction strategy • Rita Frazer, RFD Radio Network: reporting live from Illinois Commodities Conference Wednesday: • Tim Schweizer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources: deer and water-

fowl hunting updates • Monica Nyman, St. Louis Dairy Council: snacking to boost nutrition • Bill Bodine, IFB associate director of state legislation: fracking rules update Thursday: • Ivan Dozier, Natural Resources Conservation Service: EQIP sign-up, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative • Dale Norton, National Pork Board: new CEO search, PEDV Friday: • Sara Wyant, Agri-Pulse • Harry Cooney, GROWMARK: energy update • “Horse Talkâ€?



Š2014 GROWMARK, Inc. A14243

FarmWeek • Page 10 • Monday, November 24, 2014

Seek valid information for 2015 growing season planning

In most areas, harvest is completed and some fall tillage has taken place. With the 2014 growing season “in the books,” it is now time to start making decisions for 2015. Most of us base our business decisions on information, facts and observations. Today, information is everywhere. We all have more information at BY LANCE RUPPERT

our fingertips than ever before. We get bombarded with it every day via TV, radio, websites, email, Twitter and texts. Sometimes we even learn things from face-to-face conversations with another person. Do you ever wonder about the validity of the information you receive? Have you started to become skeptical of all information, especially information from


certain sources? Coming off the election season, I think we can all relate to these questions. As you receive plot or performance data, take a minute to ask critical questions of that data so you can make good, factLance Ruppert based decisions for next year’s crop. Fundamentally, hybrid and variety plots are good. They give seed companies and growers a way to evaluate and compare products across a large geography and environments. There is a key word — environment. How was your growing

environment this year? In most areas of Illinois, the growing environment was pretty ideal, but there are always regional and local differences that cause multiple factors to have an effect on crop yield. The point in all of this is be cautious when looking at and making decisions based on plot data. Ask questions about what happened throughout the growing season that affected the plant’s ability to perform (rotation, soil types, size of the plot, tillage/compaction, drought, etc.). When was the plot planted? That will have a direct correlation to pollination/flowering date and the environmental effects on those important times in the plant’s life.

What was the fertility program? Adding additional nitrogen on both corn and soybeans has shown great yield responses this year. Understanding fertility programs can help you understand why some yield results are really high or just average. Always look at results from multiple locations and multiple years of data. Don’t put too much emphasis on data from one plot or from one year. Allow your local FS Crop Specialist to help you gain good information to assist you in making informed decisions to drive success. Lance Ruppert serves as GROWMARK’s agronomy marketing and IMP manager. His email address is

Hauser optimistic about U of I’s ACES despite the challenges BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Western Illinois University (WIU) students Lauren Henebry, front left, and Carly Diss, front right, brave the cold to lead a WTF: Where’s the Food Without the Farmer campaign last week on the Macomb campus. Back row from left, Jamie Bobell, Kole Stadt, Madison Corzatt and Leslie Borries serve pumpkin pie-in-a-bag samples to create a conversation about agriculture with fellow students and help them better understand where their food comes from. Students at Illinois State University and the University of Illinois also participated in the effort led by I Love Farmers, They Feed My Soul, a national, volunteer group of young people. (Photo by Jenny Jackson, WIU Collegiate Farm Bureau president)

M A R K E T FA C T S Feeder pig prices reported to USDA* Total Composite Weighted Average Receipts and Price (Formula and Cash): Weight Range Per Head Weighted Ave. Price 10-12 lbs. (formula) $37.50-$66.00 $47.29 40 lbs. (cash) $76.00-$88.00 $83.24 Receipts

This Week 78,830 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Last Week 78,952

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $84.09 $84.06 $0.03 $62.23 $62.20 $0.02

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

Steers Heifers

This week $169.00 $169.00

Prev. week $169.50 NA

Change -$.50 NA

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 $240.11 $239.83 $0.28

Lamb prices Negotiated, wooled and shorn, 133-169 lbs. for 156.21-174.11 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 164.78); wooled and shorn 171-190 lbs. for 155-164 $/cwt. (wtd. Ave. 162.10)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 11/13/2014 114.4 5.1 15.8 11/6/2014 91.2 11.1 20.8 Last year 87.8 18.1 30.8 Season total 610.3 419.5 306.4 Previous season total 520.5 631.0 254.7 USDA projected total 1700 900 1750 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) weathered recent storms at the University of Illinois, but continues moving into brighter days, ACES Dean Bob Hauser assured Illinois Farm Bureau directors during their November meeting last week. While upbeat about several subjects, the dean of five years noted more challenges and the importance of continued support from Illinois Farm Bureau as well as that from the state’s agriculture industry. “It’s important the next two years that our college be represented by Illinois agriculture,” Hauser said. Hauser’s presentation came on the heels of the U of I Bob Hauser Board of Trustees naming a new U of I president — Timothy Killeen, vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York, a network of 64 statewide colleges, universities and community colleges. Killeen will succeed Robert Easter, who plans to retire in June. Hauser noted Killeen’s strong research back-

ground, and the university remains a research institution. Those research areas include several housed within ACES, including one of the largest plant breeding programs in the nation. In spite of a nationally recognized program and high demand for crop science graduates, a lack of student interest continues to puzzle not only U of I faculty and administrators, but also those at other ag universities, according to Hauser. He encouraged IFB directors to promote potential careers in crop sciences and the large range of opportunities through ACES programs. Overall, ACES student enrollment has continued to grow between 4 and 5 percent for the past several years, which is notable because freshmen enrollment is capped and tuition has increased, Hauser pointed out. He added students find “lots of different paths to get to the U of I” and may attend community colleges or other universities before transferring to ACES. ACES’ physical infrastructure recently got a boost with announcements about a new bioprocessing laboratory, a new feed mill on the South Farms and planned extensive renovation for Turner Hall, the main crop science building. Local support remains strong for U of I Extension, while federal Extension support has stabilized, Hauser said.

Cattle on feed inventory posts first gain since 2012 BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

A half-percent increase in the number of cattle on feed Nov. 1 compared to last year isn’t much in the grand scheme of the industry. But for traders who haven’t seen an increase in the monthly cattle count since August 2012, USDA’s cattle on feed estimate (10.63 million head) released Friday appears a bit bearish, according to Ron Plain, University of Missouri ag economist. Analysts prior to the report expected a slight increase in the number of cattle on feed. “The number of cattle on feed is up a half-percent from a year ago, which isn’t a big increase,” Plain told FarmWeek. “But it’s the first time it’s been above a year ago since August 2012, so psychologically, it’s a bit of a negative.”

The November cattle inventory still remains well below the five-year average (11.27 million head) for the month, authors of the CME Group Daily Livestock Report noted. Meanwhile, October placements in feedlots (2.36 million head) declined 1 percent, while marketings of fed cattle (1.69 million head) dropped 8 percent compared to last year. The number of placements also was above pre-report estimates. “Those placed on feed were higher than expected, but that shouldn’t be a surprise given the big drop in corn prices,” Plain said. The bearish tone to the report shouldn’t have a major impact on the market, though. Fed cattle and futures prices set new records last week. “The fundamentals are still

very positive. There’s just not many cattle out there and demand continues to be strong,” Plain added. “Most likely, we’ll set more record prices of fed cattle once we get into 2015.”

Corn Strategy

South American soybean spotlight

After a slow start to planting in Brazil and Argentina, the pace is starting to accelerate. Early on, it was too dry in the center/west area of Brazil (Mato Grosso), delaying the planting of early soybeans. Conditions in Argentina were just the opposite with wet conditions delaying field preparation and planting. The latest data indicates planting is 62 percent complete in Brazil and 30 percent in Argentina. Both lag normal by a modest, insignificant amount. At this writing, there is a wide range of ideas on the potential sizes of this winter’s crops, Brazil in particular. CONAB (Brazil’s USDA) is looking for a 89 to 91 million metric ton (mmt) crop. USDA is expecting a 94 mmt crop with some private estimates as high as 95 mmt. The late start in planting the early crop has caused some private entities and CONAB to downgrade their expectations slightly. There are fewer production estimates for Argentina, but analysts are generally close to USDA’s 55 mmt forecast. Plantings are expected to increase 2 to 3 percent this

year, weather permitting. Rains have been an impediment so far — heavy enough in some locations to dictate a need for some replanting. Obviously, weather will be a big ingredient going forward, but the steady indications the Pacific Ocean is slipping into an El Nino should not be ignored. The northern producing regions in Brazil, including Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias, are somewhat prone to dryness during an El Nino. They account for about 48 percent of Brazil’s output with Mato Grosso equivalent to a combination of Illinois and Iowa. The southern states, Rio Grande do Sul and Parana, along with Uruguay and parts of Argentina are prone to seeing wetter than normal conditions. For Brazil, these early production forecasts are based on record or near-record yields, and that should not be ignored. Even though rains have been steady in recent weeks, the accumulations have been less than normal in the center/west states, including Mato Grosso. If Brazilian yields falter, expectations for a big build in world stocks will erode, changing price expectations. They won’t become wildly bullish unless weather problems would be extensive, but they could approach $12 again.

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ü2013 crop: The ability to sustain gains continues to underscore the idea prices have turned the bigger trend up. Still, it may take until spring for prices to reach acceptable levels. Storing inventories for the long haul should pay dividends. ü2014 crop: Corn prices may be closing in on a postharvest peak. Use rallies to make needed sales. Get to 50 percent priced if March futures approach $4. Use forward bids or hedge-to-arrive contracts against May futures to take advantage of the carry when pricing corn. We still see higher levels yet, but they may not come until spring/summer. vFundamentals: The market has now entered a period where demand will become more important than supply, although there’s lingering talk about acreage declining in USDA’s January report. Demand remains relatively robust with persistent accumulation of good export sales, along with an improving weekly ethanol grind. Feeding to heavier weights and colder temps are good for feed demand, too.

Page 11 • Monday, November 24, 2014 • FarmWeek Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2014 crop: Demand for soybeans and products remains good. But it does look like the short-term panic in the soybean meal complex has ended as end users are becoming more conservative. Use rallies for catch-up sales. Boost sales to 75 percent if January futures hit $11. ü2015 crop: The first 15 percent of the 2015 crop was priced at $12.07 basis November 2015 futures. vFundamentals: No one can argue that demand for soybeans isn’t remaining robust. Export sales continue to outpace last year’s record, and shipments are exceptionally strong. Soybean meal shipments are also starting to accelerate as product from the new crop becomes more widely available. The cash margin for processing soybeans in Illinois is still close to $4, historically a very high level. We wouldn’t be surprised to see combined November crush and exports exceed 525 million

bushels. South American weather remains generally good with planting accelerating.

Wheat Strategy

ü2014 crop: Recommended sales are 65 percent. Use $6 on the Chicago December contract as a target for additional sales. ü2015 crop: We see little reason to price new crop unless Chicago July is more than $6. vFundamentals: The export trade has been active with Egypt seeking wheat and a large tender from Saudi Arabia. Offers from U.S. traders were again absent on the

Egyptian tender. They tapped France to fill the purchase. Despite quality issues, the French still hold a surplus and continue to put together competitive offers. French wheat prices are such that it has even been deemed economical to import some of their feed wheat into the southeastern U.S. That’s a result of a French feed wheat glut and weakness in the euro. Prices still maintain support from weather worries that are developing for growers abroad. There are also drought concerns for hard red wheat in the U.S. and possible acreage cuts coming down for our soft red crop.

FarmWeek • Page 12 • Monday, November 24, 2014

Accurate ag books Time to increase ag teacher supply make great gifts


Taylorville High School agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Sue Schafer, right, helps students gain technical and leadership skills in subjects ranging from landscape management to public speaking. (Photo by Wendy Jo O’Barr, Journal Communications)

uccessful agriculture programs require quality agriculture teachers. With our population projected to be near 9 million people by 2050, we have to be educating more students about the career opportunities in the agricultural industry. During the past three years, 62 ag teacher school vacancies occurred each year, according to the Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE), a project of the Illinois State Board of Education. During that same threeyear period, there was an average of 17 ag education graduates per STEVE year. In doing the math, that is a LAUNIUS shortfall of 45 graduates per year. Of the total ag education graduates in the past three years, 37 out of 52 graduates, or 71 percent, chose to teach right out of college, which is higher than the past 23-year average of 57 percent. Currently, 20 senior students are in the pipeline at Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, University of Illinois and Western Illinois University, and prepare to graduate in May 2015 certified to teach agricultural education. These statistics are alarming! Currently, 322 Illinois high schools offer agriculture education and employ 380 agriculture teachers. There are about 125 public high schools still without an agriculture program, not to mention the many nonpublic schools. FCAE expects more than 50 ag teacher vacancies for the 2015-16 school year. To maintain current agriculture programs and to begin opening up new agriculture programs, the supply of agriculture teachers has to increase significantly. We need to double the number of new certified ag teachers graduating yearly. A number of factors are working against us in producing a greater supply of agriculture teachers, including a good job market for agribusiness careers outside of education; negative press

regarding teacher pensions; increased educational requirements of coursework and tests to be an ag teacher; and the many hours after school and on weekends sometimes required to have a quality and successful agriculture program. Here are a few solutions to help increase the supply: 1. Designate agricultural education as a teacher shortage area by the Illinois State Board of Education to help make certain agriculture teachers are eligible to have up to 100 percent of their outstanding federal Perkins loans forgiven. 2. Provide more agriculture education scholarship opportunities. We should encourage and/or help fund additional scholarships through the IAA Foundation for students who will major in agriculture education and become agriculture teachers. 3. Recommend county Farm Bureaus designate funding and award scholarships to students who pursue agriculture education degrees and become agriculture teachers. 4. Encourage county Farm Bureaus and Young Leader Committees to continue and/or enhance their promotion of agricultural education as a career to FFA members as part of their county FFA-Farm Bureau acquaintance programs. We cannot wait any longer. In preparing future employees and leaders for our industry, we have to help maintain our existing high school agriculture programs. A high percentage of our agricultural workforce has been trained, and prepared for life and the workforce through a high school agriculture program taught by an energetic and passionate agriculture teacher. Steve Launius of Nashville serves as vice chairman of the Illinois Farm Bureau Action Teams Coordinating Council and served on IFB’s Resolutions Committee. A retired school superintendent and retired agriculture teacher, he serves on the Washington County Farm Bureau board.

What’s on your Christmas shopping list? Consider an accurate agriculture book this year. Although the selection of accurate ag books is lean this year, we’re offering some unique finds. If you’re attending the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, be sure to check out the IAA Country Store KEVIN DAUGHERTY and our selection of new books for sale, including the following three unique ones. A timely science-related book, Nancy Carlson’s “Water,” ISBN13:978-01-926781-10-5, concentrates on water with an agricultural focus. With the issues related to Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), why not look at water from an agricultural perspective! Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) plans to showcase new waterrelated materials Dec. 8 in one of the breakout sessions during annual meeting. A charming hard-cover book, “The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen” by Diana Prichard, ISBN-13-97871939775016, illustrates how you can’t have breakfast without agriculture! Pritchard, who also farms, uses a rich, accurate vocabulary that enhances the book’s quirky illustrations. Rest assured that Patrick O’Shanahan learns a thing or two about how agriculture impacts consumers! We’re also showcasing “Santa Claus is Coming to Illinois” by Steve Smallman, ISBN-13 9781402291036. The story follows Santa as he makes his journey across the state from the Old State Capitol to Route 66 to Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain. IAITC pairs this book with our Specialty Crop Ag Mag to showcase the diversity of Illinois agriculture from Adams to Woodford counties. Other books worth considering include: A new IAITC find, “11

Experiments That Failed” by Jenny Offill, ISBN 12 9780375847622, focuses on science. As students and teachers move toward the new Next Generation Science Standards, this outstanding book makes hands-on science fun. An IAITC favorite author, Michelle Houts has a new release in “The Practical County Drama Queen,” ISBN 13:9781771275262. In a sequel to the “Beef Princess,” the Ryan family continues to fight the good fight and educate consumers about the world of livestock. Another recent IAITC find is author Catherine Gilbert Murdock and her trilogy, “Dairy Queen,” ISBN-13:9780618863358. This book has many parallels with the “Beef Princess” series, but is geared toward older young adult readers. The main character, DJ

Schwenk, finds her voice and her passion outside the dairy barn. Farmers know that dairy farming is hard work, and this book puts the intensive labor to good use. With all the talk about GMOs, Cheryl Bardoe’s book “Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas” is a beautifully illustrated introduction to the history of genetics and plant science. IAITC program doesn’t sell books, except for those offered during the IFB Annual Meeting. However, we’re always looking for new books that accurately portray agriculture. Why not share the gift of reading about agriculture with young readers on your list?

Kevin Daugherty serves as IAITC education director.

Letter to the editor

Round of thanks to CropWatchers

Editor: Thanks again to the CropWatchers for a great year of reporting. For those of us not on the front lines of production, your reports offer a great overview of what is going on

around the state. The bonus is that we get to know you. Hope to see you all back in the spring, and will miss you in the meantime. And best wishes back at you for a restful and restoring winter. JOHN K. RUTLEDGE Wheaton

Farmweek november 24, 2014  

Illinois Farm Bureau, agriculture

Farmweek november 24, 2014  

Illinois Farm Bureau, agriculture