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The U of I received a $25 million federal grant last week to research soybean food uses in Africa......................................3

Don’t miss IAA Foundation fundraising activities planned for the upcoming IFB annual meeting..................8

Effingham County Farm Bureau’s Grain for Growth has raised nearly $6,000 for ag literacy efforts...........................12

A service of

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Fertilizer demand good; prices attractive Illinois Farm Bureau mission: Improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life.

Monday, November 4, 2013

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Crop prices trended lower in recent months, but that’s no reason to scale back fertilizer inputs for next season, according to Joe Kilgus, GROWMARK director of plant food sales. The prices of various forms of fertilizer declined in recent months.

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Prices around the state last week averaged $680 per ton for anhydrous ammonia, $510 per ton for diammonium phosphate (DAP) and $475 per ton for potash, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Production Cost Report.

Two sections Volume 41, No. 44

The current averages are well below average prices from August 2012 to June 2013, which was when most fertilizer was purchased for the 2013 crop. Prices during that period averaged $868 per ton for anhydrous, $613 for DAP and $582 for potash, the University of Illinois reported. “There’s a good supply of all crop nutrients,” Kilgus told FarmWeek. “Demand has been good, but it’s not record setting, so it’s keeping prices stable. And the world (fertilizer) market has been somewhat weak recently, which means there’s more supply to be had.” Meanwhile, impressive corn yields reported in many parts of the state this harvest mean a significant portion of nutrients were drawn out of soils and

David Johnson applies anhydrous ammonia on a field near Bellflower (McLean County) early last week before a rain system moved through the state. The late harvest of corn and beans, seasonally warm temperatures and recent rains delayed fall nitrogen applications so far this season. Applications are expected to kick into high gear, weather permitting, between now and Thanksgiving. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

need to be replaced. “Overall, we’re seeing some increase in application rates per acre because of the large crop and large removal” of nutrients during the growing season, Kilgus said. The higher fertilizer rates

shouldn’t put too much pressure on supplies. Kilgus believes corn acres in Illinois could be stable to slightly lower next year. “Corn prices have come down dramatically and nutrient prices have come down, also,”

Kilgus said. “So there’s still good economics to fertilize a crop (next season).” Fieldwork has been slowed so far this fall due to the late harvest of corn and beans and

Bustos recommend simply passing a House version of the Senate’s plan, Gasparini said key Republicans “are just not going to accept what the Senate’s done.” McLean County pork producer and fly-in participant Pat

Freeport-area dairy farmer Doug Scheider, who met with bipartisan Illinois congressmen, recognized political controversy surrounding House border immigration debate, suggesting support for reforms would be more apparent if

has to be out in front for us someday. Farm Bureau is telling members the same thing at the state and federal level. We have to hold these peoples’ feet to the fire.” Gasperini suggested the recent budget face-off “hardened a lot of already hard feelings.” He sees “the angriest people” on the political right and left respectively seeking to punish President Obama and Republican leaders. Even if the Judiciary Committee signs off on remaining immigration pieces in the next few weeks, he notes the panel includes some “fairly hard line” members such as Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. As a result, committee measures may be “very difficult to pass in the House, as is,” much less in the Senate, Gasparini said. Further, Bane questioned how the House’s piecemeal approach might treat “those of us who are caught in the middle” — employers who

Farmers fly in on immigration; prospects uncertain BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Periodicals: Time Valued

Farmers, businessmen, cops and clergy stepped forward last week in support of sweeping labor reforms deemed crucial to U.S. economic growth. Now, Washington lawmakers must step up and out in front, the head of a major ag labor organization

told Far mWeek. Illinois Farm Bureau representatives joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the diverse Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform coalition last Tuesday for a nationwide “fly-in” sweep of congressional offices. The mood on Capitol Hill appeared enthusiastic but frustrated, according to National Council of Ag Employers Council President Frank Gasparini, whose group participated in both U.S. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored meetings and a separate fly-in regarding “H-2B” visa workers employed by processing plants and landscapers (see page 2). House leaders continue to support a series of specific immigration/border security measures to be cobbled eventually into an overall package for conferencing with the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. While lawmakers including East Moline Democrat Cheri

Illinois Farm Bureau Associate National Legislative Director Ryan Whitehouse accompanied Illinois farmers on a sweep of Capitol Hill in support of immigration reform.

Bane admitted 2013 passage of ag labor reforms “is going to be a challenge” given Congress’ tight remaining fall calendar. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., hints at a possible December vote, but Bane told FarmWeek he was “not very optimistic.” The producer was hopeful growing evidence of the economic benefits of immigration reform would “carry more weight” with lawmakers, but related legislative concerns about constituent objections.

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lawmakers “could cast a private ballot.” In view of continued “paralysis in the House,” Gasparini argued lawmakers must be willing to “stick their necks out” if they hope to see reforms yet this session. “The politics in Washington has been so gridlocked that we have House members tell us, ‘We understand what agriculture needs, we’re behind you, but I can’t be out in front on this issue,’” he said. “Well, by golly, somebody

See Fertilizer, page 3

See Immigration, page 2

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


Quick Takes

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, November 4, 2013

PONTIAC FFA TOPS LIST — The Pontiac FFA Chapter last week won the 2013 Model of Excellence award at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. The chapter advisers are Parker Bane and Jesse Faber. Pontiac FFA’ers focused on recruitment and retention by making presentations at seven junior highs and answering questions about the agricultural education program. As a result, 88 new members registered for the introduction to agriculture class next fall. FFA’ers also reached out to grade school and high school students with their program P.A.I.L. (Promoting Agriculture in Literature). They reached 1,069 students, helping them with reading and ag literacy. Lee County Far m Bureau member K atie Pratt addressed the convention during Thursday evening’s general session. Pratt, 1996-1997 Illinois State FFA reporter, volunteers with Agriculture in the Classroom and serves nationally as one of four Faces of Farming & Ranching for the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. YOUNG LEADERS SHAPE THE FUTURE – Getting involved today with Young Leaders, men and women 18 to 35, builds skills and provides you the experience you need to become an industry leader tomorrow. Young Leader programs provide networking opportunities beyond your county and state with the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. Three national winners this year will get their choice of a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado or 2014 GMC Sierra, courtesy of General Motors, and a paid registration to the 2014 YF&R Leadership Conference in Virginia Beach, Va. Nine national finalists receive a Case IH Farmall tractor, courtesy of Case IH, and a $2,500 cash prize and $500 in STIHL merchandise, courtesy of STIHL. For more information on the Young Leader program and how you can get involved, contact your county Farm Bureau.

AG CO-OPS SET RECORD – U.S. farmer, rancher and fishery cooperatives set sales, income and asset records last year, according to the USDA. Buoyed by strong prices for grain, farm supplies and other agricultural commodities, the 100 largest ag coops reported $162 billion in revenue. The record represents an increase of more than 9 percent compared to 2011. Net income for the 100 top cooperatives also set a record, reaching $3.5 billion compared to the previous record of $3.1 billion set in 2011. “Agricultural cooperatives are a driving force in the nation’s thriving farm economy,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Because they are farmer owned and operated businesses, the sales dollars generated are more likely to be spent in rural communities.”

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 41 No. 44 November 4, 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.

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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

GOVERNMENT

Producers and processors competitors under measure? BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Congressional immigration reform must meet labor needs across the ag supply chain rather than pitting producers against processors, National Council of Ag Employers Council President Frank Gasparini maintains. Gasparini acknowledges House Judiciary Chairman Robert Goodlatte’s, R-Va., proposed ag guest worker measure — a planned part of a larger House immigration package — aims to meet both farm labor needs and those of meat and other ag-based processors. However, the proposal would combine fieldworkers now covered under the federal H-2A visa program and processing and landscape workers currently under the H-2B program under a single new “H2C” cap for visas that would be issued annually. “Our estimate is 750,000 to 1 million (annual) processing jobs,” Gasparini told FarmWeek. “Our big concern is that people tend to gravitate toward year-round, controlled environment work,

Immigration

Continued from page 1 need a flexible work force, but who face heightened electronic verification requirements that could significantly reduce the eligible work force. If the House delays action beyond March, the debate will extend into a “really contentious” 2014 election cycle, Gasparini told FarmWeek. “And then, of course, as soon as that’s over, we’re into the 2016 presidential election,” he said. “If we don’t get something now, it’s going to be really hard. But we’re not going to give up.” away from field work, when they have the opportunity. “We’re just very, very concerned that a half-million (H2C) cap could very easily be used up by the processing side. We have continued to think that processing and field work should be separate programs.” The Senate’s comprehensive reform package provides separate caps, although Gasparini noted “the folks on the nonfarm side don’t believe they have a big enough cap.” He sees a resurgence in new construction “in areas where the economy’s doing well — an indication not only of the need for construction-related labor but also a potential harbinger for

nursery/landscaping businesses “hurt bad” by the recession. Electronic verification of foreign-born workers currently is being more rigorously enforced in the ornamental and turf trade than in production agriculture, Gasparini said. That combined with economic recovery could mean a greater push for visaed workers under House proposals, potentially in competition with farmers, he said. “I think that when the economy comes back up, landscapers and suburban/urban agriculture will be hit even more by the inability to hire just domestic workers,” Gasparini advised.

Davis optimistic about conference As House-Senate conferees settled in for the daunting task of crafting a final 2013 farm bill, conferee Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, evoked the expeditious spirit of one of Illinois’ pioneering statesmen. Conferees must reconcile the Senate’s comprehensive ag bill, which would replace direct payments and price supports with a new revenuebased program and proposes $4 billion in food stamp cuts over a 10-year period, and the House’s recently remarried farm bill and nutrition measures, which propose revenue/target price options and $40 billion in long-term nutrition cuts. In addition, the House proposes eliminating 1949 “permanent” ag law, which kicks in after existing farm legislation expires when no new bill is in place. While it does not reflect current market conditions, an Illinois Farm Bureau letter to conferees emphasized 1949 law continues to function as “a driver of farm policy.” In opening comments, Davis urged conferees to work toward quick restoration of policies and program authorizations that expired in 2012 and again on Oct. 1. “In a span of three months, Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act to create the Department of Agriculture, a law establishing the land grant university system and the Homestead Act,” he stated. “If our predecessors could do all that in three months, we ought to be able to take October, November and December and pass this bill.” In its conferee letter, IFB: • Called for a World Trade Organization-compliant commodity program that addresses multiyear drops in prices and offers a choice between revenue and price coverage. IFB seeks to ensure target prices are regularly reviewed and set “well below” USDA-determined average production costs. • Opposed tighter program payment limitations and supported the current definition of a recipient “actively engaged” in farming. Rep. Jeff

Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, last week urged conferees to hold to new payment limit proposals. • Recommended a crop insurance program that provides a supplemental coverage option, and reauthorization and mandatory funding for the 2008 farm bill livestock indemnity program. Davis deemed insurance “a crucial risk management tool” requiring farmer investment and an option “preferable to tens of billions of dollars worth of ad hoc disaster bills.” IFB policy opposes linking conservation compliance to insurance participation, but “any linkage should include mitigation opportunities for farmers found out of compliance,” IFB told lawmakers. • Supported streamlining of conservation programs and a reduction in “nonfragile” Conservation Reserve Program acreage. IFB urged a focus on working land, voluntary cost-share programs and cover crop cost-share opportunities. Davis also touted his regulatory relief proposal, which would trigger an economic impact statement and a review panel including farmer input whenever the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposes new ag regulations. He argued “there are reforms we can make” in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including changes in the “heat-and-eat loophole” linking state utility assistance, food stamp eligibility and “stronger work requirements” for long-term SNAP recipients. “If the opening comments were any indication, I don’t think this is going to be an overly contentious conference committee,” he told FarmWeek Friday. “I think there is a willingness on all sides — Republicans and Democrats in the House, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate — and I sense very much a willingness to work together and find common ground.” — Martin Ross


STEWARDSHIP

Page 3 Monday, November 4, 2013 FarmWeek

U of I ACES awarded $25 million for soy research

David Johnson hooks up anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks at Evergreen FS in Bellflower. (Photo by Cyndi Cook)

Fine-tune nitrogen management in fall, during growing season BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Fall nitrogen applications comprise one part of nutrient stewardship focused on keeping nutrients in fields and available for crops. Ervin Caselton, agronomy manager at Evergreen FS Inc., said nitrogen management has evolved into a percentage applied in the fall along with a nitrification inhibitor.

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Check the latest soil temperatures around Illinois at FarmWeekNow.com.

“We’re fine tuning the amount of nitrogen ... and spreading out nitrogen applications to have it (nitrogen) available when the crop needs it,” Caselton told FarmWeek. In fall, nitrogen should not be applied until soil temperatures are down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the University of Illinois Agronomy Handbook. Maximum daily soil temperatures are available on the Illinois State Water Survey website at {isws.illinois.edu/warm/soiltemp.asp}. Farmers should refer to the 4-inch soil temperatures. Stewardship information also

Fertilizer

Continued from page 1 seasonally warm temperatures. Anhydrous ammonia application should be delayed until soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Kilgus is not concerned at this point, though. Anhydrous applications started last week at some locations.

is available on the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association website at {ifca.com}. A nitrogen stabilizer should be used with all fall applications, according to the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices. Inhibitors have proven to reduce nitrification and protect against leaching. More farmers are managing their fertilizer with a system approach, according to Caselton. This includes fall, pre-plant and side-dress applications that allow farmers to spoon-feed their crops. The system approach “benefits everyone and the environment,” Caselton said. Farmers who distribute nitrogen applications are seeing increased yields, he added. Multiple applications “eliminate the risk of having all the nitrogen (on a field) at one time and risking weather extremes” — either drought and extreme heat or too much rain, he said. The Keep it for the Crop (KIC) program focuses on six priority watersheds of which three are in Evergreen FS service territory, Caselton noted. “We are making an effort to provide (stewardship) information to growers and we’re seeing increased acceptance of practices,” Caselton said.

The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) has received a five-year, $25 million federal grant for soybean food research in Africa, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat announced Friday along with university officials. The U of I will lead a consortium of universities and nongovernmental organizations working to increase the food supply in Africa by improving soybean yields in five African countries. The grant is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and will be led by U of I agricultural economist Peter Goldsmith, who has 13 years of research experience in similar latitudes in South America. “Over the years, it has been my privilege to support the research that has made the University of Illinois a national leader in soybean study,” Durbin said. The senator noted the $25 million grant will allow the U of I and its partners to improve yields and increase the food supply “in a part of the world that badly needs it.” The research will be done in the sub-Saharan countries of Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Ethiopia. Officially named the Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Soybean Value Chain

Research, the consortium will provide replicable research to identify, adapt and deploy soybean germplasm, educate current and future breeders, define best practices for production and seed management, and identify barriers to adoption. “The people living in the poverty band in the lower latitudes of Africa struggle with low-productivity crops, isolation from markets and access to low-cost sources of protein and oil,” Goldsmith said. The agricultural economist pointed out an existing research void of soy production among developing countries. “We’ve already seen soy as an economic engine creating agro-industrial growth in developing countries,” Goldsmith continued. “This research will work to find answers to questions about soy in these protein-deficient countries from selecting the best seeds for that area and climate to establishing markets and environmental sustainability.” One research aspect to receive special focus will be the soy value chain, finding ways to connect growers with processors and markets, according to Goldsmith. The USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection at the U of I will be leveraged to identify new high-yielding soybean varieties adapted to low-latitude environments. Researchers also will work to develop cultivars

“It’s a little later start than we’re accustomed to the last two years,” he said. “But it’s not a concern. We can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.” Ample fertilizer supplies are available so, as usual, weather in the weeks ahead will be the key to the fall application season, Kilgus added.

SOUTH AMERICA IS TAKING OUR PLACE. Scary thought, isn’t it? The good news is we can do something about it every time we choose a soybean variety to put into the ground. If we start getting closer to 35 percent protein and 19 percent oil, our beans would be a lot more attractive to domestic livestock producers and foreign markets— and we’d help stop the loss of export share to Brazil and other foreign competitors. It’s time to talk with your seed dealer or Certified Crop Adviser about protein and oil. Then visit VIPsoybeans.org to validate your seed selection and ilsoy.org for more information.

that resist rust and bacteria pustule, can more efficiently fix nitrogen, can better tolerate the low phosphorus common in tropical soils and can be easily processed for human as well as livestock consumption. Poultry and animal feed is in high demand in developing countries, Goldsmith noted. Soybean’s use as high-quality protein for livestock fits with the legacy of U of I crop and animal scientists who were instrumental in developing corn/soy diets for pigs and poultry, he said. U of I’s Brian Diers and Randy Nelson will lead the breeding portion of the research, while Rita Mumm will lead the breeder training and education component, and Jeremy Guest will lead the research program on environmental impacts of soybeans. Craig Gundersen and Bridget Owen, with the National Soybean Research Laboratory, will lead the human nutrition effort. “This research-for-development design will provide a research foundation that can readily be adopted by the development community to boost soybean production and improve the nutrition and market linkages for small-holder farmers, which in turn will raise incomes, increase food security and improve household nutrition,” said ACES Dean Robert Hauser.


FEEDING THE WORLD

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, November 4, 2013

Economist: Public ‘narrative’ overlooks biotech benefits BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Over the last decade-plus, ag biotechnology has delivered major economic and food security benefits globally, according to University of Missouri Economics and Man-

agement of Agrobiotechnology Center (EMAC) Director Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes. The economist maintains genetic science has written a revolutionary new chapter in world food production. But he argues anti-biotech interests

have largely written the public “narrative� around the technology — a narrative concerned with what it theoretically might do to Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes consumers rather than what it’s already done for them. Kalaitzandonakes sees “probably the most unprecedented flow of innovation the world has ever seen around agriculture and food.� However, he noted that “for an industry and an innovation that’s as pervasive as it is,� biotech users and proponents to date have compiled relatively little data regarding the technology’s broader societal benefits. In terms of corn and soybeans alone, biotechnology has helped assure worldwide consumer surpluses from 1996 through 2009, even in countries with major production deficits, said Kalaitzandonakes, a member of USDA’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture and the Missouri Governor’s Advisory Council for Plant Biotechnology. Ag biotechnology generated roughly $16 billion in U.S. economic activity and supported around 130,000 domestic jobs in 2009 alone, he noted.

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“We’re talking about $120plus billion in economic impact (during the 1996-2009 period),� Kalaitzandonakes said. “Consumers have benefited the most from the technology. Yet we continue to say consumers have not seen benefits from biotechnology, that somehow we need to bring out a (food) quality trait so that consumers can benefit from it. “Despite the tremendous impact, economic and otherwise, that agrifood innovation has had, we have not measured it, we have not documented it, we have not celebrated it. When that happens, others write the narrative around it, and public policy is influenced in ways that sometimes are not justified.�

Washington state consumers are voting this week on a ballot initiative that would require labeling of foods with biotech ingredients. Hawaii’s Kauai County Council last month approved and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. later vetoed an ordinance that would have required farms to disclose pesticides use and the presence of genetically modified crops if they use more than 5 pounds or 15 gallons of pesticides annually and to maintain a 500-foot buffer zone near medical facilities, schools and homes. Opponents maintained the Kauai ordinance was designed to discourage biotech crop development on the island.

Golden rice ‘activists’ protest Greenpeace push

A former Greenpeace leader is now asking the group to ease up in its battle against nutrient-enriched biotech rice “on humanitarian grounds.� Patrick Moore, a co-founder of the international environmental organization, has launched the Allow Golden Rice Now! campaign “in solidarity with all the families who are losing their children to vitamin A deficiency.� He and his family established the nonprofit Allow Golden Rice Society to end efforts to block global access to the genetically engineered crop through “direct public action, media communications and coalition building.� Patrick Moore Greenpeace “has gone pretty quiet on golden rice� since Golden Rice Society members recently demonstrated at Greenpeace Canada headquarters in Toronto and its flagship Rainbow Warrior in Vancouver, Moore told FarmWeek. Greenpeace now is “under much more concerted criticism for (its) immoral stance,� he said. Greenpeace alleges potential “unforeseen� health and environmental consequences related to golden rice, but is “unable to suggest what they might be,� Moore said. He argues “virtually every credible science and health organization says (biotech) foods are safe.� “We know that 250 million preschool children have chronic vitamin A deficiency and that 2 to 3 million people die each year from the deficiency,� Moore said. “Other chronic deficiencies, mainly in the rice-eating cultures, include vitamin E, iron and the amino acid lysine. All these essential nutrients can be engineered into rice.� Moore has been invited to speak to the Forum For Food and Agriculture in Berlin Jan. 15-16, and he plans subsequent protests at Greenpeace’s Hamburg, Amsterdam, Paris and London offices. Golden rice, which synthesizes the vitamin A precursor betacarotene, was developed by Swiss-based plant scientist Ingo Potrykus and German cellular biologist Peter Beyer and first publicized in 2000. In 2005, Syngenta scientists introduced “Golden Rice 2,� which produced nearly 23 times the betacarotene as the original. That year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded Beyer funding to boost dietary availability of vitamins A and E, iron and zinc, and improve protein quality in golden rice. Activist groups nonetheless have continued to fight its production. A group of 400 farmers uprooted an experimental plot in the Philippines in August, according to former anti-biotech activist Mark Lynas, instigated by organized activists. Some 6,000 scientists and others have signed an online petition condemning the act, Moore noted. If nutritional deficiencies were a disease such as malaria or HIV-AIDS, “golden rice would have been adopted as a cure years ago,� he maintains. “Only the politicking and legal finagling of the anti-GM movement has prevented the much quicker and wider adoption of this critically important technology,� Moore charged. — Martin Ross


GOVERNMENT

Page 5 Monday, November 4, 2013 FarmWeek

Congressman sees broad ‘pressure’ on WRRDA conferees BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

House-Senate conferees can help make the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) a stronger vehicle for Midwest flood protection as well as for continued commodity transportation, according to Rep. William Enyart, DBelleville. Enyart hopes conferees will consider a Senate-approved proposal to establish a new St. Louis-area Metro East flood risk management program the congressman sees as key in providing greater overall regional protection. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill

Shuster, R-Penn., did not expect conferees to convene until next week, given this week’s House recess. Staff members of Shuster and Senate Environment/Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., meanwhile were reviewing key HouseSenate differences. WRRDA supporters include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Farm Bureau and major labor unions seeking river construction jobs. “There’s a broad, broad range of support,” Enyart told FarmWeek. “I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure

Enyart: RFS2 important piece of energy picture

Biofuels key for defense/security

Amid renewed attacks on corn ethanol and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), a southern Illinois veteran argues the RFS2’s best defense is a stronger defense. Rep. William Enyart, D-Belleville, is recruiting co-sponsors for his Biofuels Development Act, which would create a $25 million pilot grant program aimed at development of biobased aviation fuels for the U.S. Air Force. Meanwhile, Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., would eliminate the conventional corn-based ethanol portion of the RFS2. Renewable Fuels Association Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen called the Feinstein-Coburn bill “monumentally stupid,” arguing elimination of a 15 billion-gallon-per-year corn ethanol blending requirement “would eliminate the opportunity to further evolve the biofuels industry and commercialize new technologies and feedstocks.” Enyart, who participated last week in a White House briefing on the RFS2, told FarmWeek “I’m going to push to keep those standards where they are.” His own measure would build on biofuels initiatives coordinated by USDA, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy. Enyart retired from the military in 2012 after serving as state adjutant general with the Illinois Army National Guard and Illinois Department of Military Affairs. “The Air Force spends $8.3 billion a year on energy consumption,” he related. “Eighty-six percent of that is spent on aviation. This is a huge, huge bill for the United States. (aviation fuel would be) grown in America, made in America by American workers — it’s putting money back into our economy. “And it’s lessening our dependence on foreign oil producers. We can’t be subject to their whims. We need to ensure our armed forces have a sustainable source of energy that’s grown and produced here in the United States.” Enyart stressed his measure seeks no “new money,” instead tapping unspent Afghanistan infrastructure funds. He partnered with the Edwardsville-based National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center in developing the Illinois Farm Bureau/Illinois Corn Growers Association-backed plan. Beyond the Feinstein-Coburn measure’s impact on advanced biofuels development, Enyart fears RFS2 changes could hinder ag recovery following 2012’s “devastating” drought and subsequent Illinois flooding. He noted corn growers are facing reduced prices “due to a lack of demand.” Dinneen was surprised that Feinstein, who “professes to support second-generation biofuels,” would propose scrapping corn ethanol requirements. He warned advanced biofuel technologies will never develop if investors are given “the unambiguous signal that Congress is not serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil.” — Martin Ross

‘ I’m ver y confident we’re going to get this bill through.’ — U.S. Rep. William Enyart Belleville Democrat

on the conferees to get this thing moved. “This bill is really going to benefit the entire Mississippi River system, as well, of course, as other regions of the country. I’m very confident we’re going to get this bill through.” According to Waterways Council Inc. Vice President Paul Rohde, ultimate federal authority for deciding what projects move forward remains one big issue for conferees to resolve. The House package defers to Congress to approve project reports generated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, while the Senate gives the

Corps greater authority. Enyart is optimistic conferees will include his proposal — championed in the Senate by Springfield Democrat Dick Durbin and Highland Park Republican Mark Kirk, and cosponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville — to improve response to and maintain Upper Mississippi barge traffic in spite of flooding or drought conditions. The Senate approved the measure, which would promote advanced river forecasting tools at river facilities, study Mississippi weather management strategies and grant increased flexibility for

the Corps. However, the House omitted the amendment — according to Enyart, possibly amid concerns about the measure’s cost. “It’s really a very, very lowcost item,” he said. “That’s why I think we’ll have a lot of luck getting it through. It’s the old ‘fix ‘er up before the leak gets worse’ thing.” Meanwhile, the Senate’s Metro East proposal would consolidate Prairie DuPont, East St. Louis and Wood River levee projects into one project authority to allow the Corps greater flexibility in using federal funds to complete floodrelated projects.

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FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, November 4, 2013

CROPWATCHERS Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: Almost all of the beans have now been combined, so now our full attention can be given to finishing the corn harvest. We have had a temporary delay with 0.8 of an inch of rain here on Wednesday night and all day Thursday. It looks like nearly 50 percent of the corn is still in the fields, so we don’t need any more lengthy rain delays. Have a safe week. Pete Tekampe, Grayslake, Lake County: Got 1.3 inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday. Where was that rain in July and August? Beans are mostly done with only the late-planted ones remaining, which are high in moisture. Yields were about average or a little better. Corn is about a quarter done with most moisture in the high teens. Yields are better than average so far. Winter wheat was mostly planted last week, so the rain should help it. Let’s take our time and be safe. Leroy

Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Rain on Wednesday and Thursday amounted to 1.4 inches, making October’s total 3.5 inches. Great harvest weather up to Wednesday. Now nearly 90 percent complete. Lime and fertilizer are being applied with lots of fall tillage. We finished baling cornstalks with as many as six bales per acre, which will be used for livestock bedding. Next, we need to train our dairy cows to this new time change.

Ryan Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: Two inches of rain fell in the area in the last 24 hours (Thursday). Soybean harvest is complete in our area. Yields were very good except where white mold set in and robbed up to 40 percent of production. Corn harvest is 50 percent complete. Corn yields are also good. Tillage work needs to be done. Anhydrous ammonia application is starting. The 2013 growing season has been another unique year and that is why I love farming. I am praying for safe travels and good weather for the remainder of the harvest season. Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: I was afraid it was going to happen. I was talking with the local grain merchandiser, and he said he has bought a lot of corn this past week with a “3” at the beginning of the price. Importers have noticed and are taking advantage of the low prices. Bookings for exports have been strong. Soybean harvest is over. I estimate there is still 20 to 30 percent of the corn left in the field. Our corn is still running between 20 and 23 percent moisture, but yields are starting to pick up as we move into our better soils. It’s the stories of the “haves and the have-nots” when it comes to corn yields this year. The good soils weathered the dry July and August, and yields are average to slightly above. Medium soils, on the other hand, didn’t have as much staying power and are about 10 to 20 percent below their average. Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: Harvest was brought to a halt by 2.2 inches of rain on Wednesday and Thursday. A lot of the crops are harvested already, but near us there is still quite a bit of corn due to high moisture content. The corn we hauled in this week tested anywhere from 17.9 percent up to 24.9 percent. On the other hand, some that we have still in the field tested at 34 percent. We have 400 acres left and I hope there are not many acres of 30 percent corn left. One field had the best yield in the history for that farm, while a field across the road from it had the worst yield in the last 15 years for that farm. The rest of our yields have been somewhere between those two extremes. Almost all the soybeans have been harvested. Those who are done with harvest were busy with tillage after having the lime and fertilizer spread. The local closing bids for Oct. 31 were nearby corn, $4.09; fall 2014 corn, $4.32; nearby soybeans, $12.66; fall 2014 soybeans, $11.30.

Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: We received 2.25 inches of rain last week. It was the first rain with that much moisture since last May. We finished soybeans Oct. 27 and now only have about a week of corn to harvest. There are only a few fields of soybeans in this area left and about 25 percent of the corn left. There has been lots of anhydrous and dry fertilizer applied. Some tillage being done, but most people are concentrating on finishing harvest. Yields are still holding up well. The lighter soil types are a little lower, but that was to be expected. Jacob Streitmatter, Princeville, Peoria County: Rain finally came bringing close to the 3-inch mark. It was well needed, but will stop harvest for a while. The majority of soybeans have been harvested, but corn still remains across the area.

Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: Harvest is history for most, but a few acres are still out there, especially in the high-yielding areas. We saw it doesn’t take much summer rain to produce a crop. Our area received 2 to 3 inches of rain last week, slowing up fall tillage, but it was a welcome shower. The next job will be applying a fall burndown for those who notill. This is a good way to control marestail and other winter annuals. Anhydrous ammonia, will also be applied now that we have moisture in the ground. Friday will be a key report. Some market analysts are telling us that we are storing grain for lower prices. Be prepared for a few years of less profit. See you at the winter farm shows. Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: The skies opened up as if to say “let the recharge begin” dropping 1.5 to more than 3 inches of rain and halting fieldwork. Harvest is 95 percent complete. Some anhydrous has been applied, as has fall-applied weed control. Special thanks to our local volunteer fire departments and their response to our tractor fire. These guys are the best! Corn, $4.14; Jan., $4.27; fall ’14, $4.39; soybeans, $12.57; Jan., $12.51, fall ’14, $11.23; wheat, $6.12; new crop, $6.43. Steve Ayers, Champaign, Champaign County: Let the 2014 recharge begin! This week our topsoil moisture was 17 percent very short, 46 percent short and 37 percent adequate, so those figures will be changing the next few weeks. Harvest-o’-meter has our USDA district at 80 percent corn harvested and 90 percent soybeans harvested. Rain started Tuesday afternoon and continued through Halloween night for a total of 1.9 inches. We have 55 acres of corn to harvest, so will work on it once fields dry. Let’s be careful out there! Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: Hello again from Adams County where the rain finally found an empty gauge. We got 2.5 inches in the last couple of days. It is too late for this year’s crop, but will help the recharge for next year. Corn harvest is winding down around here with some still waiting on Mother Nature and catching up on the bean harvest or doing other fieldwork. Yields continued to be a surprise compared to last year, as are the prices. Be careful as the work continues wherever you are. Tom Ritter, Blue Mound, Macon County: Rains on Thursday put a halt to all activities and probably for the rest of the week. We’ve had anywhere from 1.5 to 2 inches. Harvest is well on its way towards completion with more than 80 percent of the corn and soybeans removed. A lot of people are finishing up. Not very many soybeans left, but the ones that are will be very difficult with short days and increased moisture. However, the moisture was definitely needed and will make some of the tillage a little bit easier. Overall, farmers are very pleased with corn and bean yields. They are definitely not record yields, but a lot of 190- to 220-bushel corn. A lot of 55- to 60-bushel soybeans. Overall, farmers are working and scrambling to get everything wrapped up before the weather breaks.

Carrie Winkelmann, Tallula, Menard County: Up to 2 inches of rain this week has everyone doing odd jobs and maintenance. I guesstimate 25 percent of corn is still waiting to be harvested. The only beans left to go in our area are a few fields of double-crop. With more rain being forecast, you might still be reading my crop reports in December (at least when it comes to tillage and anhydrous application). We did get lime spread this week before the rains. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: Harvest is beginning to come to a conclusion for many in this area. What fields remain will take a day or two to dry out after the first truly significant rainfall in this area in quite a while settled in Wednesday and Thursday. My gauge, close to the middle of Coles County, showed more than 1.5 inches as of Thursday night. As corn harvest comes to an end, several commented that even at this very late point in October, very little of the harvested corn bypassed the corn dryer on its way to the bin. It appeared to me to be a consequence of planting late and the wide use of practices to keep plants as healthy as possible throughout the season by sidedressing and applying fungicide treatments. The good news is that it paid back in bushels. Most double-crop beans are just reaching maturity and look like they will definitely be worth harvesting after all. Jimmy Ayers, New City, Sangamon County: We received a little over 2.5 to 3 inches of rain Thursday and Friday. It was a pretty good rush to try to get done. Quite a number of farmers have finished corn and beans. I would say probably 80 percent are done. Probably 10 to 15 percent of bean fields are left. High moisture corn is 20 to 25 percent. A lot of anhydrous applied. Doug Uphoff, Shelbyville, Shelby County: We started harvesting Sept. 23 and finished Oct. 29. Well almost. We still have double-crop beans left. We received 2.7 inches of rain Thursday, so it will be a while before we cut those. Harvest in the county is probably 90 to 95 percent complete. We haven’t done much fall tillage, although dry fertilizer and lime has all been applied. Some anhydrous application has been going on but we’re waiting for soil moisture. We are all now waiting on the first crop report (Friday) since the government shutdown. I’m sure it will be interesting!! Local processors are offering an incentive for corn, but that ends on Friday, coincidentally. Most are expecting a huge increase in yields. Will early sales and incentives on prices by processors early in harvest show up in the carryout supply? I think the pipeline was pretty dry when harvest started. Have a safe week. David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: Showers moved in Tuesday afternoon and hung around until Thursday night. Rainfall totaled a little more than 2 inches. Most welcomed the moisture because ground conditions were dry. The rains halted harvest and tillage. A lot of farmers in this neck of the woods are finished harvesting, but there are a few who still have a little corn to harvest, or a few double-crop beans to get out. Have a good week. Jeff Guilander, Jerseyville, Jersey County: A late week rain of 2-plus inches gave everyone a little breather. The bulk of the soybeans are out and could be finished in a few good days. Corn harvest is more than halfway completed with some farmers (with good dryers) almost done. Field work is at a minimum leading us into a slow start for 2014, but most aren’t thinking that far ahead yet. Dan Meinhart, Montrose, Jasper County: Harvest was moving along until Wednesday when rains moved into the area. Our rain gauge showed 2.75 inches for Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the early corn and beans are harvested, but most of the lateplanted crops are still in the field. The corn is carrying too much moisture and the beans are not mature enough. Wheat sowing is basically complete. Quite a bit of fall tillage has been done.


Analyst: Crop demand, competition will remain strong Page 7 Monday, November 4, 2013 FarmWeek

CROPWATCHERS Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: We received 1.3 inches of rain over a three-day period, bringing harvest activity to a standstill. There still is some corn, soybeans and milo fields remaining to be harvested. Many of these crops matured late and are holding up well. With several days of dry weather predicted, combines will soon start to roll again. Local grain bids are corn, $4.17; soybeans, $12.82; wheat, $6.63. Have a safe week. Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: Oh boy, oh boy – another 3.5 inches of rain. That’s what we had Wednesday and Thursday. Maybe we better extend combining time past turkey time into opening presents by the Christmas tree time. Still lots and lots of corn and beans in the field. We need a month of dry weather as bad as the Cardinals needed to get their bats off their shoulders and swing. Oh well, we will just say like those other guys, “wait til’ next year.” Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: Heavy rain stopped harvest. Very little corn is left in the field. I need a couple of days to finish corn. The beans that are left are replant and double-crop. My beans will need a week or two of nice weather to be dry enough for harvest. The wheat seems to be off to a good start. Hopefully, this rain won’t cause too much ponding to drown out spots in the field. Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: We had three days suitable for harvest this past week. There are more and more fields looking empty in the area. We are about threefourths finished with corn and about two-thirds finished with our soybean harvest. We got quite a bit of rain Thursday night. I doubt if we will be able to get back in the field before Monday. Please take time and be careful as we are still in this busy season.

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The realization of large corn and soybean crops in the U.S. this fall is expected to shift traders’ focus from previously tight supplies to demand prospects going forward. U S DA n e x t Fr i d ay w i l l release updated crop product i o n e s t i m a t e s. T h e O c t o b e r report was canceled due to the government shutdown. M a n y a n a l y s t s b e l i e ve t h e national corn yield this month will be bumped up from the September average estimate of 155.3 bushels per acre to around 160 bushels. If realized, far mers could have a lot of corn to market in the months ahead. Bean yields also have been a pleasant surprise for many farmers. “Anecdotal reports suggest a relatively small portion of the 2013 crop was forward-priced and that producers are choosing to store a large portion of the newly harvested crop,” said Dar rel Good, University of Illinois economist. “If that characterization is cor rect, there is a lot riding on the direction of cor n prices over the next several months.”

FFA plot harvest a labor of love

Lifelong Mount Auburn farmer Tim Butcher knows the crunch of harvest. Dance around rain showers. Switch from corn to beans depending on moisture content. Exercise patience during the occasional breakdown. Despite the constant challenges, the Christian County farmer never hesitates to pull out of his fields into the Taylorville FFA corn plot. He helped FFA members harvest yields of nearly 200 bushels per acre last week. “I will always have time for FFA because what it did for my family,” Butcher said. “My son, Lane, was welcomed into the FFA with open arms. When he joined FFA, he found his home.” Butcher added that FFA shaped his son and taught him skills that allowed the student to excel. Lane works as an attorney in the Springfield area. For the last several years, Butcher has planted and harvested the FFA plot, donating his equipment, time and labor. DuPont-Pioneer donates the seed and Brandt Consolidated supplies products and services. BY RITA FRAZER

Rita Frazer serves as RFD Radio Network® anchor and broadcast editor.

When it’s time to harvest the Taylorville FFA corn plot, Tim Butcher, second from left in cap, heeds the call. The Mount Auburn farmer has donated equipment, time and labor to the effort for several years. FFA members and volunteers harvested 200 bushels per acre last week. (Photo by Rita Frazer)

R i ch Po t t o r f f, m a n a g e r o f AgSer v, the economic forecast ser vice for Doane Advisory Ser vices, last month predicted world grain demand will remain strong. However, fierce competition and ample crop supplies could keep a lid on crop prices, barring a major weather scare in South America. “Demand growth is strong,” Po t t o r f f s a i d r e c e n t l y a t t h e Doane Ag Outlook Conference i n S t . L o u i s. “ B u t i t a p p e a r s concerns about persistent food shortages may be overblown.” U. S. f a r m e r s a r e n o t o n l y reaping what appears to be the largest corn crop on record, but crop production also is expanding around the world. Crop acres between 2002 and 2012 increased by 41 million acres in Brazil, 23 million in Argentina, 19 million in the Ukraine, 16.6 million in China and 10.6 million in India, Pottorff reported. “In the last decade we’ve seen a substantial increase in c r o p a c r e s,” Po t t o r f f s a i d . “And there’s more we can bring into production if food prices are high enough to make that happen.”

Grain acres, which dropped by about 100 million since 1980 in the for mer Soviet Union, could be brought back into production. And some estimates sug g est there are more than 200 million acres in Brazil suitable for crops. In the U.S., about 10 million acres have been pulled out of the Conservation Reserve Program in the last five years and contracts for about 2 million acres will expire this year. A good portion of those acres have been or could be returned to crop production. “The vast majority of (projected) population growth is in g rain deficit areas, which implies increased world trade,” Pottorff noted. “The U.S. will face strong competition from B r a z i l a n d t h e f o r m e r S ov i e t Union.” Pe r c a p i t a g r a i n c o n s u m p tion increased 10 percent in the last decade, but Pottorff believes that trend could slow as ethanol demand flattens out. “Cur rent prospects do not seem to favor a quick or substantial recovery in corn prices without production problems in South America,” Good added.


IAA FOUNDATION

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, November 4, 2013

IAA Foundation caps successful fundraising year IFB annual meeting activities announced BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) will reap the dividends of successful summer and fall fundraising events hosted by the IAA Foundation. “A great year of fundraising means the IAA Foundation will contribute $140,000 toward the IAITC program year,” said Susan Moore, IAA Foundation director. This spring’s 5K run netted $14,771 for the foundation and included a host of agriculture awareness activities for children and adults. In June, nearly 200 golfers participated in the IAITC Golf Outing at the Wolf Creek Golf

Club and Elks Country Club in Pontiac. The event netted $40,401. In September, cyclists spread the message of agriculture and bike safety to 5,000 students through school stops in Knox, Henry, Mercer and Warren counties. The 18th annual Bike Ride for IAITC netted $39,000 for ag literacy. “This increased donation is attributed to the generosity of our Farm Bureau members, county boards and staff as well as business partners who sponsor our events. We are grateful for their contributions to help fund ag literacy. “The 2013 Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting will kick off the first event to help support the 2014 IAITC year, and we

‘A great year of fundraising means the IAA Fo u n d a t i o n w i l l c o n t r i bu t e $140,000 toward the IAITC program year.’ Moore — Susan IAA Foundation hope to be off to a great start for the new fundraising year,” Moore said. IAITC fundraising activities at the IFB annual meeting will start at 3:15 p.m. Dec. 7, with an ice

cream social sponsored by Prairie Farms Dairy. A live auction will begin at 3:45 p.m. Items up for bid may be viewed online at the IAA Foundation website {iaafoundation.org}. The silent auction will start Dec. 7 and bidding will continue until Dec. 10. Currently, the foundation is accepting donated items for the silent auction either with an online form or by contacting the foundation office at 309-5572230. The trivia contest will be Dec. 8 with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. and the contest starting at 8:15 p.m. This year’s theme is Duck Dynasty. Teams of eight that register before Nov. 26 will qualify for a reduced registration fee. After that date, teams will register at the

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door. Registration is limited to the first 45 teams. Teams will compete for prizes in the county Farm Bureau and the staff-corporate divisions. A prize also will be awarded to the team with the best costumes and table décor. For more information or to register a team, go online to {iaafoundation.org/iaaf/Events /AnnualMeeting.html}.

National Corn Board accepting applications Want to serve on the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Board in 2015? It’s time to consider applying. Applications are due Jan. 10. Nominated candidates will be introduced at the March Corn Congress held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas. Corn Board members will be elected in July and begin serving their terms Oct. 1. Board members represent the organization on all matters, while directing policy and supervising day-to-day operations. Members further act as spokespeople for NCGA. For more information, visit {ncga.com/news-andresources/news-stories}.

Tuesday: • Bryce Anderson, DTN: ag weather • Steve Arnold, Kane County Farm Bureau manager: Meet the Buyers event • Jenna Smith, University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator: what do dates on food really mean? • Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics: livestock update Wednesday: • Mark Schleusener, National Agricultural Statistics Service Illinois Field Office state statistician: harvest update and production forecast • Lindsay McQueen, Jackson/Union County Farm Bureau manager: Meet the Buyers event • Linda Arnold, Monsanto customer advocacy lead: America’s Farmers Grow Communities • Mike McGinnis, Meredith marketing editor: Successful Farming Benchmark Marketing survey Thursday: • Jill Johnson, Illinois Beef Association (IBA) director of communications: May beef month and IBA summer conference • Frank Butterfield, Landmarks Illinois director of Springfield Field Office: Main Street awards Friday: • Mark DePue, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library director of oral history: veterans • Ivan Dozier, Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist: update on state issues


PRODUCTION

Page 9 Monday, November 4, 2013 FarmWeek

Colorado growers weathered fatal outbreak by sharing info

Food Summit keynote BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Colorado cantaloupe growers learned important lessons they share with other farmers after facing the nightmare of consumer deaths linked to the state’s cantaloupe industry from an outbreak on one farm, the president of the Rocky Ford Growers’ Association told FarmWeek. “It (the 2011 outbreak) brought us together to talk about what we’re doing. We find it’s just not fellow farmers in Rocky Ford — we share food safety information with everyone. We took the competition out of it,” explained Michael Hirakata, a fourthgeneration grower in southeast Colorado. Hirakata will share food safety and public education lessons learned when he speaks Nov. 12 at the third annual Local and Regional Food Summit at Heartland Community College, Normal. Recently, the fatal outbreak was back in the news after two Colorado growers pleaded guilty Oct. 22 to federal

criminal charges for introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Unsafe washing procedures and lack of consistent cold-chain management resulted in the deaths of 33 people and hospitalization of 147 people in 28 states. The Colorado growers shared food safety information with any interested farmers and the media. The state agriculture department and the Colorado news media helped share what the growers are doing, Hirakata noted. Retailers support the growers, too, he added. “We took every (news) interview we could. We want to share information and put a face on the product ... It’s a good story to tell. We’re a family ... We don’t feed anything to you that we don’t feed our families,” he said. In addition to food safety information, another speaker from Illinois will share his phenomenal marketing success. Dave Alwan, owner and founder of Echo Valley Meats, Bartonville, will dis-

cuss pitching his product on the reality television show “Shark Tank.” As a third-generation cattleman and meat processor, Alwan described his business as stretching “from conception to consumption.” Recently, he marketed his products on the QVC cable network and sold at the rate of $5,000 per minute. He also markets on Amazon.com. The one-day summit is hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Heartland. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. with the program starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m. Mary Ahearn, a senior economist with USDA’s Economic Research Service, will discuss the latest farm financial statistics. Peter Testa, president of Testa Produce Inc., will share information on local and regional food systems and alternative energy. Doug Kirk with the IFB Young Leader Committee will provide an overview of the Young Leader’s program.

“There are many organizations and individuals working on local food projects and programs throughout our state. This event is an opportunity to hear about many of those unique projects,” said Cynthia Haskins, IFB manager of business development and compliance. The event program topics will include beginning

farmer programs, updates on Illinois associations, information about local and regional food initiatives, and food safety and cold-chain management. The event is free, but space is limited and reservations are required. Online reservations are available at {ilfb.org} under the News and Events section.

AGMasters conference features 16 workshops

Speakers from nine universities will present research-based information on everything from agricultural drainage systems to mycotoxins at the Dec. 2-3 AGMasters Conference at the iHotel and Conference Center in Champaign. Hosted by the University of Illinois Extension, the conference features 16 workshops. Participants will be able to select eight. Topics include management of troublesome weed species, herbicide carryover, sudden death syndrome, Bt and glyphosate resistance, and profitability of crop rotations. Workshops are limited to 45 participants and are designed to provide as much interaction as possible with the instructors. Certified crop adviser (CCA) credits will be available in professional development, crop management, integrated pest management, nutrient management, and soil and water management. Register online by Nov. 16 at {cropsciconferences.com/ AGMasters/}. For more information, contact Sandy Osterbur at saosterb@illinois.edu.

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FOREIGN AG

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, November 4, 2013

Illinois ag lender gets firsthand look at German farms BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Steve Sheaffer, vice president of 1st Farm Credit Services in Polo, last month spent 21 days studying agriculture in Germany. While there are some differences across the Atlantic Ocean, Sheaffer found farmers from the U.S. and Germany have a lot in common. “It was a great experience,� said Sheaffer, who grew up on a farm and still helps his father and brother farm near Dixon and Polo in northern Illinois. “We got to meet farmers, people in agribusiness and people who help make policy.� Many German farmers, much like their American counterparts, are striving to boost production while minimizing inputs. Sheaffer also reported increased production of corn in Germany compared to a previous trip he took to Europe in 2000. Corn silage and sugar beet production are used to fuel a growing biogas industry, he said. But German farmers face increased pressure from some consumers, policymakers and nongovernment organiza-

tions to maintain old farming techniques sometimes at the expense of new technology. A ban on the use of sow gestation stalls was implemented in the EU the first of the year. “A lot of European farmers have the same concerns we (in the U.S.) do,� said Sheaffer, who holds degrees in agribusiness and ag production from Illinois State University. “Animal welfare is a big issue there. A lot of (European) consumers want to see farming the way it was 50 years ago. That’s frustrating to a lot of farmers because they understand the economics.� Sheaffer believes public sentiment in Europe is one of the top drivers of ag policy rather than economics and productivity. A major push in the EU is for smaller farms. Current policy calls for 5 percent of current farmland to be taken out of production. “The interesting part about European consumers is they want a lot of things. They want nonGMOs and they want more green areas,� Sheaffer said. “But it all comes at a high expense.�

Steve Sheaffer, Polo, second from left, poses near the Neuschwanstein castle in lower Bavaria during the McCloy Fellow study tour of Germany. Those on the tour with Sheaffer are, left to right, Brandon Moore, Kelly Young and Trudy Wastweet. (Photo courtesy of Steve Sheaffer)

The 21-day study tour in Germany was through the McCloy Fellowship program. Each year the American Council on Germany invites the American Farm Bureau

Federation and the German Farmers Association to nominate four candidates for study tours to each country. Sheaffer was the lone Illinois resident to take part in

the McCloy program this year. The German fellows visited the U.S. earlier this fall and studied the ag industry in Illinois, New York, Florida and Arizona.

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Page 11 Monday, November 4, 2013 FarmWeek

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FB IN ACTION

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, November 4, 2013

Effingham farmers are donating ‘Grain for Growth’

Effingham County residents may have noticed a beige gravity wagon with lettering on the side traveling down country roads this harvest season. The wagon represents increased ag literacy efforts. To BY JULIE STEPHENS

date, 17 family farms have donated 1,165 bushels of corn and 171 bushels of soybeans worth nearly $5,750 to “Grain for Growth.” The grain donations will help match an Illinois Ag in the Classroom grant given to Effingham County Partners for Ag Literacy (PAL). The Effingham County Farm Bureau Young Farmers Committee first proposed the grain donation idea as a fundraiser for PAL’s Ag in the Classroom programs. Farm Bureau is one of six businesses involved in PAL. After discussing the plan with the Effingham County Farm Bureau Board, Joseph Thoele, a former Farm Bureau

Corn flows from a combine operated by Effingham County Farm Bureau member Joseph Thoele into the Grain for Growth wagon. Farmers can donate grain to help match an Illinois Ag in the Classroom grant given to Effingham County Partners for Ag Literacy. So far, the effort has raised $5,750. (Photo by Julie Stephens)

director, donated a gravity wagon. Young Farmers Committee members then had the wagon sandblasted, painted and fully refurbished. Farm Bureau director Kyle Willenburg took the lead revamping the wagon and volunteered countless hours of labor on the fundraising project. Once wagon remodeling was complete, Rachel Meinhart, ag

literacy coordinator for Effingham County PAL, started pulling it around the county and asking farmers to donate some of their grain. Farmers can contribute as much grain as they desire while in the field or unload grain from their bins. South Central FS donates all the drying fees.

“The farmers in Effingham County have been great at donating grain to PAL, and we are grateful for their donations. The farmers are excited to donate because it is a way to help promote farming in the schools,” said Meinhart. Julie Stephens manages the Effingham County Farm Bureau.

Ceremony, flag display for troops

The Old State Capitol State Historic Site, Springfield, will honor soldiers of the present and past with a special “Remembrance Day” ceremony and display of 3,512 flags to mark the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. The free “Hallowed Ground” flag display will be exhibited Nov. 11-19. Small flags, one for each marked grave at the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa., will be planted on the Old State Capitol grounds. Visitors may tie ribbons to the flags to honor loved ones’ military service. To open the exhibit, the 114th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry (re-activated) will have a flag raising ceremony at 9 a.m. on Nov. 11. A special Remembrance Day ceremony will start at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Old State Capitol. The service will honor those who have given their lives fighting in all wars. The Old State Capitol will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 11-16 and Nov. 19.

Pike County farmer John Thomas explains some of the working parts of a combine to western Illinois field moms Jennifer Reekie, left, and Jessica Moon, both of Quincy, during the recent Western Illinois Farm Families harvest tour near Pittsfield. (Photo by Blake Roderick, Pike and Scott County Farm Bureau manager)

Western Illinois Farm Families host moms on harvest tour

The Western Illinois Farm Families project, organized by the Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Pike, Schuyler and Scott County Farm Bureaus, held a harvest tour for their field moms Oct. 19 on the Thomas family farms south of Pittsfield. Family farmers John and Debbie Thomas and their sons, Jeremy and Jason, and daughters-in-law, Tatjana and Erica, were in the midst of harvesting their 2013 corn and soybean crops. The Thomas families hosted field moms Jennifer Reekie and Jessica Moon, both of Quincy. The Thomas’ also finish 15,000 hogs and have a 100head cow herd and feed out as many each year on their farms

— Eagle Valley Farm and J&J Farms. Debbie serves as a farm mom with the district Farm Families program, and Jeremy is the Pike County Farm Bureau secretary.

In addition to county Farm Bureau sponsors, corporate support is provided by Cargill Meat Solutions, Ursa Farmers Coop, Western Illinois Pork Producers and County Market. The project also works with commodity group partners in presenting information on grain and livestock production in Illinois.


FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 13 Monday, November 4, 2013 FarmWeek

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UREAU — Farm Bureau will sponsor a trip to Nova Scotia Aug. 21-29, 2014. An informational meeting will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Farm Bureau office. Call the Farm Bureau office at 8756468 for more information. • Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a fall equine series from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 in the Ag Arena at Black Hawk College in Kewanee. Nov. 11 speakers will include Ronald Rhoades, Horseman’s Council of Illinois, “Why Trail Ride” and Bob Elwell, Jubilee Saddle Shop, “Fitting a Saddle For Your Horse.” Nov. 18 speakers will include Drew Cotton, Black Hawk East equine instructor, “What the Feed Tag Really Tells You (and What It Does Not),” and Aaron Mosher, Prophetstown, “Draft Horse Basics.” Cost is free for 4-H members, FFA members and Black Hawk East students and $5 for all others. Call the Farm Bureau office to register by Tuesday. • COUNTRY Financial will host estate and transfer planning informational dinner meetings at noon Nov. 19 at Kewanee Dunes in Kewanee, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Cellar Restaurant in Geneseo and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Wise Guys in Princeton. Rick Morgan, attorney and senior financial security consultant, will be the speaker. Call your COUNTRY Financial Representative or the agency office at 309-945-4800 for reservations. OOK — Farm Bureau, COUNTRY Financial and the University of Illinois Extension will co-sponsor a workshop on preparing wills and trusts and transferring nontitled property from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4 at the JC

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Restoration Building in Rolling Meadows. Cost is free for members and $10 for nonmembers. Call the Farm Bureau office at 708-354-3276 for reservations by Nov. 25. • Farm Bureau has relaunched {localfarmproducts.org}. The updated website includes enhanced search ability, additional farm data and a mapping feature for locating farmstands. ERCER — Farm Bureau will co-sponsor a fall equine series from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 in the Ag Arena at Black Hawk College in Kewanee. Nov. 11 speakers will include Ronald Rhoades, Horseman’s Council of Illinois, “Why Trail Ride” and Bob Elwell, Jubilee Saddle Shop, “Fitting a Saddle For Your Horse.” Nov. 18 speakers will include Drew Cotton, Black Hawk East equine instructor, “What the Feed Tag Really Tells You (and What It Does Not),” and Aaron Mosher, Prophetstown, “Draft Horse Basics.” Cost is free for 4-H members, FFA members and Black Hawk East students and $5 for all others. Call the Farm Bureau office to register by Tuesday. EORIA — Farm Bureau will sponsor a bus trip to Williamsburg, Iowa, on Wednesday. The trip will include tours of Jon Kinzenbaw’s antique tractor collection, the Kinze Innovation Center and Kinze Manufacturing plant. Cost is $30 for members. Call the Farm Bureau office at 686-7070 for reservations. • Farm Bureau’s annual meeting will be at 5 p.m. Nov. 16 at Dunlap High School. Cost is $12. Call the Farm Bureau office for reservations by Friday.

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Notice of Annual Meeting Illinois Agricultural Association Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the members of the Illinois Agricultural Association will be held in the Palmer House Hotel, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60603, on Saturday, December 7, Sunday, December 8, Monday, December 9, and Tuesday, December 10, 2013 with the official meeting of voting delegates convening at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 9, for the following purposes: To receive, consider and, if approved, ratify and confirm the reports of the officers and the acts and proceedings of the Board of Directors and officers in furtherance of the matters therein set forth since the last annual meeting of the Association. To elect a President and Vice President, who shall also serve as directors, for a term of two years. To elect nine (9) members of the Board of Directors to serve for a term of two years. To consider and act upon such proposed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation or to the Bylaws of the Illinois Agricultural Association and upon such policy resolutions as may be properly submitted. For the transaction of such other business as may properly come before the meeting. James M. Jacobs Secretary

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ANGAMON — Farm Bureau Women’s Committee members will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Farm Bureau office for their fall luncheon. ERMILION — Farm Bureau is taking holiday food orders. Order forms are available at {vcfb.info} or in the Farm Bureau office. Order deadline is Nov. 22. Call the Farm Bureau at 442-8713 for more information. • Farm Bureau Foundation is seeking items for a silent auction to be held during the annual meeting Dec. 2 at the Beef House Banquet Center in Covington, Ind. Deadline for donations to be delivered to the Farm Bureau office is Nov. 26. HITE — 2014 Plat books are available. Cost is $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Books may be purchased at the Farm Bureau office or by visiting {whitecfb.com}.

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

Milk prices continue to improve

The Class III price for milk adjusted to 3.5 percent butterfat for the month of October was announced at $18.22 per hundredweight. This marks an 8-cent improvement over the previous month’s announcement, and the third straight month of higher prices. The dairy industry had been operating in a vacuum during the government’s shutdown. The buyers and sellers had to work without key information regarding export movements, normally reported sales and other key information that was lacking. Despite the confusion, markets inched higher and are being driven by a red hot export market.


PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 14 Monday, November 4, 2013

Plan ahead for 2014 to maximize crop inputs The 2013 season will go in the books as a very unusual year with the challenges of getting the crop in, a dry summer and a hot August. Who would have thought we would be harvesting the record yields that many are seeing across Illinois given those scenarios. Many of those challenges were out of our control, but as we get ready for winter, there will be many plans set in preparation for the 2014 season. It will be important to understand and implement strategies that maximize inputs. The crop protection business was strong again in 2013, mainly due to implementing weed control systems that manage and/or mitigate weed resistance. The growing number of acres with resistant weeds will continue to challenge our current strategies. Many of the “older” chemistries continue to provide

BY JEFF BUNTING

adequate control, but the global demand of these products puts added pressure on the supply. The challenge we face right now is that many crop protection products have been under a managed supply during the last couple of years. A lot of that can be attributed to the demand of pesticide to control the increasing populations of glyphosate-resistant weeds such as waterhemp and marestail. With that said, it’s imperative to take time and develop weed management strategies and be ready to Jeff Bunting implement many options because of the supply constraints that the crop protection industry is facing. We continue to increase the use of pesticides to control weeds and will continue to maintain

vigilance in keeping weeds under control. Take time over the winter months and visit with your FS Crop Specialist about your crop protection options. With the increase in fungicide applications last year, FS Crop Specialists are starting to identify hybrids and/or varieties that respond to that application. Some of the biotic stress that the corn plant goes through is mitigated by the use of fungicides that provide greater stalk strength resulting in better standability, improved grain quality at harvest and overall yield potential. Fungicide applications will continue to be related to commodity prices, but slowly this application is being adopted and the true value of this input is being realized. Jeff Bunting, Ph.D., is GROWMARK’s crop protection division manager. His email address is jbunting@growmark.com.

Steady rain slows harvest, recharges soil in Illinois; more rain in forecast BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

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-$58.00 $45.75 40 lbs. (cash) $63.00-$77.00 $73.60 Recipts

This Week 71,126 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Last Week 88,607

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $83.60 $88.36 -$4.76 $61.86 $65.39 -$3.52

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

This week $133.00 $132.94

Prev. week $132.00 $132.00

Change $1.00 $0.94

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 $165.11 $165.07 $0.04

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices - Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 110-159 lbs. for 129.39-157 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 140.54)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 10/24/2013 83.6 16.3 26.5 10/17/2013 59.9 20.6 32.3 Last year 63.9 9.7 15.6 Season total 257.9 589.2 174.9 Previous season total 310.2 402.8 143.3 USDA projected total 1370 1100 1225 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

Farmers did a remarkable job catching up on harvest in October. But heavy rains last week brought most fieldwork activity to a halt. And the potential for more moisture and cooler temperatures in the days ahead could make finishing this year’s harvest a touch-and-go situation. “Harvest was brought to a halt by rain (last week),” said Ron Haase, a FarmWeek Cropwatcher from Iroquois County. “A lot of the crops are harvested, but near us there is still quite a bit of corn (in the field) due to having higher moisture content.” Harvest as of the first of last week was 74 percent complete for corn, 6 points above average, and 85 percent complete for beans, 7 points ahead of the average pace. Winter wheat planting was 89 percent complete last week, well ahead of the five-year average pace of 74 percent. The first 29 days of October were quite dry, but a storm system the middle of last week dumped 1 to 3 inches on much of the state, according to Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey. “Now that we’ve gotten rain the past two days the (monthly precipitation) numbers have jumped up,” Angel told FarmWeek on Friday. “We’re right at the long-term average.” The statewide average precipitation for October

totaled 3.18 inches. Precipitation last month included a dusting of snow in the northern half of the state, with as much as 3.5 inches recorded near Mendota. The average temperature for the month, 54.2 degrees, was also in line with the long-term average. “The soil moisture is getting back in the average range for this time of year,” Angel said. “Soil probes at the 2-, 4- and 8-inch levels have responded pretty nicely (to the recent rainfall).” Farmers welcomed the rain, but now could feel more pressure to finish harvest. Cornstalk quality is deteriorating and the potential for yield loss increases every day corn remains standing in the field this late in the season, according to Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension agronomist. “The potential for bad things happening increases considerably as we delay harvest beyond Nov. 1,” Thomison told CattleNetwork.com. “While unfavorable weather might have kept some growers out of their fields, they should harvest as soon as possible.” But finishing harvest could be easier said than done for some farmers. The weather forecast as of Friday called for a chance of more precipitation. “Rain could be back by maybe Wednesday or Thursday,” Angel said. “We’re in a cycle where every five to seven days a system moves through. That’s pretty typical for this time of year.” Sorghum harvest also was ahead of the average pace, prior to the rains last week, as 82 percent was in the bin compared to an average of 62 percent.

Tight supplies continue to set tone in cattle market There were no tricks or treats in the October cattle on feed report released on Halloween. It’s just more of the same moving forward — tight supplies are expected to keep pressure on prices. USDA estimated the number of cattle and calves on feed Oct. 1 totaled 10.14 million head, down 8 percent from a year ago. “We continue to see feedlot supplies tighten,” Derrell Peel, ag economist at Oklahoma State University, told FarmWeek. “It looks like we’re going to continue this trend (of strong cattle prices). Obviously, the market strengthened in the last month or so, although I don’t think we can continue to move up at this pace.” Live cattle prices after the release of the report, which was delayed 13 days due to the government shutdown, dipped 62 cents per hundredweight, but still were 64 cents above the 10-day average at $132.73. The cattle report was sched-

uled to be released Oct. 18, but didn’t come out until Oct. 31. “I don’t think (the delay) made a difference,” Peel said. “The procedures for the report were identical. “This report came in pretty much as anticipated,” he continued. “I don’t see it as a big market mover.” USDA reported placements for September at 2.025 million head, up 1 percent from a year ago. September marketings were pegged at 1.7 million head, up 6 percent from last year. “It’s important to keep in mind that, while placements were up 6 percent from last year (slightly above expectations), there was one extra business day in September this year than last year,” Peel said. USDA pegged the number of heifers and heifer calves at 3.66 million head, down 8 percent from last year. The number of steers and steer calves totaled 6.44 million head, down 7 percent. “(The report) confirmed the heifer on feed number is drop-

ping again,” Peel said. “It suggests we are back in heifer retention mode.” The numbers continue to imply cattle slaughter will decline significantly in the first quarter of 2014, according to CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report. — Daniel Grant


PROFITABILITY

Page 15 Monday, November 4, 2013 FarmWeek

CASH STRATEGIST

Corn Strategy

ü2013 crop: The corn market could have a short-term rebound ahead of Friday’s USDA report, but last week’s break lower kept the trend pointed down. Use a rally to $4.40 on December futures to make needed sales. ü2014 crop: Market action continues to leave prices positioned to drop lower over the next few weeks. Still, we think there will be an opportunity to begin pricing near, if not above, $5 on December 2014 futures in early 2014. vFundamentals: The trade is increasingly thinking the next USDA projection will be close to 14 billion bushels, with ending stocks near 1.9 billion bushels. Nevertheless, we are noting increased demand at these lower levels, both worldwide and domestically. But we also see persistent producer reluctance to sell corn. Their willingness to hold inventories will tend to cap cash price strength for some time unless an unexpected event threatens the current fundamental structure.

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

Big export sales during shutdown

If there’s one thing export sales numbers indicated last week, it’s that many buyers took advantage of the government shutdown to book good quantities while under the radar. The bigger question is how will those big purchases impact sales going forward. Soybean sales to date are even ahead of 2010-11, the year we exported 1.5 billion bushels of soybeans. The USDA last forecast

exports this year at 1.37 billion bushels. South America had good crops that spring and equally good exports. But the market was coming off $9 to $10 prices in the summer of 2010, not the $14 to $15 prices we had this summer. The key going forward is to watch the pace of shipments as well as new sales. So far, shipments are keeping pace with the 2010-11 marketing year. By January 2011, actual soybean exports totaled 816 million bushels. We were at that same level last year, but exports for the year only reached 1.326 billion bushels, less than the USDA last forecast for this year.

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ü2013 crop: Last week’s break was a strong signal the short-term trend is turning down again, positioning soybean prices to drop lower over the next few weeks. Use any bounce over $12.75 on January futures to make catch-up sales. ü2014 crop: The steady slide in corn prices and change in the soybean/corn price ratio is an inducement to shift land into soybeans next spring. Price the first 10 percent if November 2014 futures rebound to $11.90. vFundamentals: The biggest change this last week was weather in South America. Heavy rains brought much needed moisture to Argentina, while showers continued to improve moisture in the center/west area of Brazil. Plantings are nearly half done in the center/west and approaching two-thirds done in the south. Argentina is just starting, but the moisture is insuring a good start for the crop. Demand has been good, but may become less aggressive with improving prospects for a

big South American crop.

Wheat Strategy

ü2013 crop: Indications India is going to be more aggressive exporting wheat undermined prices this last week. Use a rally to $6.80 on Chicago December wheat to make catch-up sales. If wheat is farm stored, consider a winter delivery with a hedge-toarrive contract based on March futures to capture additional storage income. ü2014 crop: New-crop prices are likely to slip further into the end of the year. Use a rally to $6.90 on Chicago July

futures to make catch-up sales. vFundamentals: India lowered its minimum export prices to $260 per metric ton from $300 last week to stimulate export sales. The government needs to move a good portion of its 36 million metric ton (mmt) inventory to make room to store what is shaping up to be another large crop. Brazil expanded the low tariff import quota 600,000 tons to 3.3 mmt to offset the impact of Argentina’s smaller, lower quality crop. New rains should improve the condition of our winter crop.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 16 Monday, November 4, 2013

Room still available at food discussion table

At a community foundation dinner, a gentleman thanked me for working as an advocate for agriculture. “I couldn’t do it,” he shrugged. “Gets my blood pressure going too high. That’s why we need people like you.” My usual response has been, “It’s always an adventure.” But I’m KATIE thinking of changing my PRATT reply to this: “There’s room at the table for everyone, so pull up a chair.” As one of the Faces of Farming & Ranching for the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), I have discovered that pulling up a chair around a table, preferably one set with a meal, lends itself to very honest, frank and respectful conversations. Not everyone leaves agreeing, but I know I have left appreciating another perspective of food production. Our efforts to cultivate a civil discussion around farming and food are making a difference. For example, take the adventures of Illinois Farm Families’ Field Moms at {watchusgrow.org}. The blogs are a must-read because the moms reveal their concerns and questions about the food supply in every post. More often than not, they get an answer and it is usually one they weren’t expecting.

The USFRA’s Food Dialogues series has expanded to include regional events focusing on specific topics. Most recently a panel met in Boston to discuss farm size. USFRA continues to drive social media outreach through Facebook and Twitter, often posting an article and allowing everyone to have their say. This open-ended dialogue doesn’t happen on other pages where I’ve witnessed farmers blocked because their views did not match that of the group. These “blocked” conversations are the most frustrating to me. Most general agriculture groups and organizations make a solid attempt to include a diverse choir of farmers and ranchers because the consensus is that all types of farming and ranching are needed in order to satisfy the demands of the consuming public. Although the farm/food conversation often highlights “farm stories,” I think we’ve focused too much on the beginning link of the food chain. What

sions have “food stories” to tell, all of which are pertinent to the conversation. There is room at the table for all voices in the food chain. Of course, inviting so many individuals to dinner comes with caution. Because engaging in a conversation starts with active listening. From where are these food questions coming? From fear? Concern? Ignorance? Honesty? I fully understand the power of social media, but stand by the most powerful connection we share being one made in person, maybe sharing a meal. In this way, we will gain support for farms and ranches, and knowledge along the way.

Graphic by Sharon Dodd

about all the links between the farm gate and dinner plate? What about food processors, food scientists, nutritionists and grocery store managers? The people involved in these profes-

Katie Pratt grows corn and soybeans on her Lee County family farm. She also serves as one of four Faces of Farming & Ranching for the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) {fooddialogues.com/farmersranchers}. Read more about her on her blog at {illinoisfarmgirl.wordpress.com}, Twitter at @KatiePratt4 or the USFRA website.

Chipotle founder’s claim is misleading on several levels

If I were to write a letter to Steve Ells, founder and chief executive officer of the successful fast-casual burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, it would read something like the following: Dear Mr. Ells, I respect your business prowess; you’re to be commended for your leadership over the years. You’ve successfully transformed a busiNEVIL SPEER ness concept guest columnist into a highly visible, publicly traded corporation (whose market capitalization now hovers at around $13 billion). Consistent, sustained growth is hard-earned, and few companies possess a track record like Chipotle. That achievement is the direct result of your vision. By your own admission, “the idea was simple: demonstrate that

food served fast didn’t have to be a ‘fast-food’ experience.” You’ve never compromised on that concept while sticking by some vital principles; namely, “use high-quality raw ingredients, classic cooking methods and distinctive interior design — features that are more frequently found in the world of fine dining.” Meanwhile, Chipotle has executed the business model with great discipline. Your management team has proved masterful, targeting store locations in key high-traffic areas while also maintaining a longrun commitment to quality and service. That has resonated well with customers and proved fundamental to establishing return visits, which is especially important given the highly competitive nature of the restaurant industry, especially the fast-casual segment. But therein lies the rub: It’s

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 complete address will be accepted.

a highly competitive business. Your competitors are also executing within the same paradigm, or else they’ll go out of business. Food and service aren’t enough; there’s ongoing pressure to differentiate the business model in some form or fashion to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. I’m sure that reality gave rise to the concept of “Food with Integrity.” However, that claim is misleading. Chipotle’s most recent video, “The Scarecrow,” defies any promise of integrity and misrepresents agriculture. Worse yet, you take it to a personal level. That is, the video denigrates food producers in the U.S. —- the overwhelming majority of whom are highly responsible and conscientious. It’s done in the name of retail food sales, and that’s not really surprising. Chipotle openly declares that its “Food

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

with Integrity” pledge has never been an absolute. Rather, you describe it as a “journey,” not a destination. As such, your company can dodge its inability to deliver with qualifiers such as “whenever possible” and “when practical.” In reality, it’s all about convenience and expediency to generate revenue. If Chipotle really wanted to implement “Food with Integrity,” you’d have an established supply chain backed by thirdparty verification. That’s the only real framework that can provide your customers with substantive assurance of an authentic marketing story. That way, guests would have 100 percent confidence, 100 percent of the time, that Chipotle really is different from its competitors. It’s also the only way to back your claim that “there is a better way” for the food system to operate. Implementing such a system would provide food producers with a platform to advocate and communicate their commitment to the supply chain. However, implementation of such a system is disruptive to your current business model. Store growth and subsequent profitability would have

to be curbed from the current pace. It would require Chipotle to be in front of, versus behind, the supply chain to ensure that sales don’t outrun available inventory. Chipotle can’t have it both ways and maintain any real credibility. Slandering conventional production while using it to your company’s advantage when necessary is disingenuous. As a result, your claim of “integrity” doesn’t line up with reality. Chipotle is leaning heavily on deception and expediency. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that Chipotle’s only priority is profit — certainly not farmers, ranchers or customers. Chipotle’s success carries with it the responsibility to do the right thing. Clearing the smokescreen would enable Chipotle to take pride in its success. Until then, though, everything you do is questionable. After all, integrity is not a sometime thing; it’s all or nothing.

Nevil Speer, a Ph.D. at Western Kentucky University, serves on the board of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture. This column was published Oct. 9 and is reprinted with permission of Feedstuffs.

Farmweek november 4 2013  

agriculture, FarmWeek, Farm Bureau, ag

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