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A r ecent Far m Bur eau study showed high grain prices did not entice far mers to plant fencerow to fencerow..............3

S e ve n we s t - c e n t r a l c o u n ties teamed to launch an effort m i m i c k i n g t h e I l l i n o i s Fa r m Familes Program.....................5

USDA repor ted a 2 percent increase in the June-August pig c r o p, n o t i n g m i n i m a l h e r d impact from PEDV................10

A service of

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

Can Congress marry farm, nutrition bills?

Farm bill expires Monday, September 30, 2013

BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

It may not be a match made in heaven. But with the 2008 farm bill expiring Tuesday (for the second time) and the budget showdown heating up, Farm Bureau hopes for a timely remarriage of House farm bill and nutrition proposals. Illinois Farm Bureau National Legislative Director Adam Nielsen Thursday deemed a 2013 House-Senate farm bill conference “one step closer.” The House Rules Committee cleared the way for a vote to rejoin the House July farm bill proposal and a recent food/nutrition measure jettisoned from the farm bill amid furor over food stamp cuts. The provision was part of a so-called “martial law” rule enabling Republican leadership to move quickly on debt limit/funding bills prior to the Oct. 1 end of the 2013 fiscal year and a threatened government shutdown. Last January’s extension of the 2008 farm bill also expires

Tuesday, leaving a range of commodity, research, conservation, trade and rural programs in question. The fate of a new bill depends on conferees being willing to at least negotiate a compromise between a Senate-proposed $4 billion in long-term Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding and the House’s nearly $40 billion, 10-year cut. Rather than remarrying ag and nutrition measures, the Rules Committee provision would “basically handcuff them together,” American Farm Bureau Federation policy director Dale Moore told FarmWeek Friday. “It says, ‘these two bills constitute our farm bill,’ ” Moore said. “The House goes into conference with the Senate with legislation that covers all of the same issues covered in the Senate bill. “The Senate already has effectively done its procedural boilerplate in appointing its conferees before the August break. Depending on where

Periodicals: Time Valued

See Farm bill, page 2

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Two sections Volume 41, No. 39

FIELD MOM FARM EXCURSION

DeKalb County farmer Mike Martz, center, displays wasp larvae he uses to control flies on his beef farm near Maple Park. On Sept. 21, Mike and Lynn Martz hosted their second group of field moms with Illinois Farm Families (IFF). IFF is a coalition of commodity groups for beef, corn, pork, soybeans and the Illinois Farm Bureau. This was the field moms’ fourth farm tour. (Photo by Ken Kashian)

Aflatoxin on list of fall insurance issues

it was last year. But we have heard of at least Late summer heat and dryness have added one confirmed incident in a southern Illinois aflatoxin and grain quality to the checklist of field.” concerns particularly for southern Illinois Under federal guidelines, COUNTRY corn growers this fall. If mycotoxins such as aflatoxin or vomitox- Financial can accept test results only from an approved facility. Tests perin are or appear to be present in FarmWeekNow.com formed by a buyer generally are a field, samples must be taken We have a list of RMA-ap- unacceptable. A producer can by a party approved by their insurer prior to grain being har- proved aflatoxin testing fa- contact his or her agent about c i l i t i e s a v a i l a b l e a t approved facilities and/or testvested and placed in storage. ing procedures. “If you think you might have FarmWeekNow.com. Quality losses are covered it, get it checked beforehand,” Illinois Farm Bureau Risk Management Special- under Yield Protection or Revenue Protection policies, but not under “area protection” ist Doug Yoder told FarmWeek. “You have to have an adjustor come out to your field and get coverages, such as corn Group Risk Income Protection offered for the final season this it verified prior to harvest. “I was personally hoping that with the late- year. For further issues regarding crop insurance ness of this year’s ‘drought,’ it wouldn’t and the 2013 harvest, see the COUNTRY increase the likelihood of aflatoxin, and I don’t think it’s going to be nearly the problem checklist on page 2. — Martin Ross

Impacted landowners need to stay informed on Ameren line BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

Landowners in several central Illinois counties are advised to stay informed on Ameren Illinois Co.’s proposed Illinois Rivers project, advised Laura Harmon, Illinois Farm Bureau senior counsel. In mid-September, several groups filed petitions for a rehearing of the case before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). The ICC has 20 days to rule on those petitions, Harmon noted. On Aug. 20, ICC approved most, but not all of the route segments sought by Ameren.

reason to begin negotiations as this case may be reheard by the ICC and it may go up on appeal,” Harmon said. She advised landowners in those areas to be represented by an attorney who has negotiated transmission line easements. In addition if ICC grants rehearing for a segment of the line and your property may be impacted by a proposed route, then you may want to retain counsel to represent you in the ICC case if you haven’t already done so, Harmon added. Landowners who don’t have an attorney may contact their county Farm Bureau manager for a referral, she said.

The Illinois Rivers project is a 380-mile transmission line proposal that would cross Illinois from west to east roughly from Adams through Clark counties. According to Harmon, Ameren and landowners between Quincy and Meredosia, Meredosia and Pawnee, Pawnee and Pana, Pana and Mt. Zion, Mt. Zion to Macon County, and Piatt, Douglas and Edgar counties filed petitions for rehearing. The ICC may rehear the case for some or all of these segments along the route. “If you are impacted by the route and are approached by an Ameren representative to negotiate an easement, there’s no

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


Quick Takes

FarmWeek Page 2 Monday, September 30, 2013

CHINA ACCEPTS WTO CHICKEN RULING — China has accepted the World Trade Organization’s findings and will not appeal the panel’s decision regarding its anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases against imports of U.S. chicken products. According to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, China must now bring itself into compliance with its WTO obligations. Froman said the “decision represents a significant victory for American farmers and chicken producers and proves that the United States will not stand by while our trade partners unfairly hurt U.S. exports and U.S. jobs.” USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) President Jim Sumner called the announcement “welcome news for the U.S. poultry industry. We’re also hopeful that China will remove anti-dumping duties on U.S. chicken imports quickly.” A D M E Y E S N E W H E A D Q U A RT E R S — A rc h e r Daniels Midland Co. last week announced it is looking at locations outside Decatur for its new world headquarters. The corn and soybean processing giant has been based in Decatur for 44 years. But it is seeking a new location for its headquarters that provides better access to its global customers. ADM, which has about 30,000 employees around the world, would have about 100 employees at its new global headquarters and could add another 100 jobs there within a few years. The company said it will maintain its workforce of about 4,400 employees in Decatur. Chicago is one of the candidates for the new headquarters. Another ag processor based in Decatur, Tate & Lyle, moved its headquarters out of Decatur to the Chicago area, but left its manufacturing jobs in Decatur in 2010. SMITHFIELD SHAREHOLDERS OK SALE — Smithfield Foods announced last week its shareholders approved selling the company to Shuanghui International, a major meat processor in China. More than 96 percent of shareholders at Smithfield, which is the largest U.S. pork producer, voted in favor of the transaction. Foreign ownership of such a large U.S. food company raised concerns among some legislators. But the Federal Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States earlier this month found no reason to stop the acquisition.

STATE FUNDING STORMWATER PROJECTS — Illinois is investing more than $5 million to reduce nonpoint source pollution and flooding in 13 communities across the state. Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced the recipients of Green Infrastructure Grants. Any stormwater project that preserves or restores natural hydrology is known as green infrastructure. This can include using soil and vegetation to preserve and restore natural landscapes. Other green infrastructure projects include permeable pavement, rain gardens and barrels, downspouts and bioswales. Sterling will receive the largest single grant of $1.33 million for riverfront revitalization that will retain stormwater. Other recipients include the City of Springfield for a stormwater capture and reuse project and the South Suburban College of South Holland for rain gardens.

(ISSN0197-6680) Vol. 41 No. 39 September 30, 2013 Dedicated to improving the profitability of farming, and a higher quality of life for Illinois farmers. FarmWeek is produced by the Illinois Farm Bureau. FarmWeek is published each week, except the Mondays following Thanksgiving and Christmas, by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Avenue, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61701. Illinois Agricultural Association assumes no responsibility for statements by advertisers or for products or services advertised in FarmWeek. FarmWeek is published by the Illinois Agricultural Association for farm operator members. $3 from the individual membership fee of each of those members goes toward the production of FarmWeek. “Farm, Family, Food” is used under license of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.

Address subscription and advertising questions to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, Illinois, and at an additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to FarmWeek, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702-2901. Farm Bureau members should send change of addresses to their local county Farm Bureau. © 2013 Illinois Agricultural Association

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

RISK MANAGEMENT

Handling the harvest: an insurance checklist COUNTRY Financial offers the following guidelines for ensuring key crop insurance protections this fall: Before turning in a loss: • Review your summary of coverage for accuracy • Verify that information certified by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) matches data submitted on your insurance acreage report and matches how the crop’s sold in every respect • Document ownership of the crop (names), acreage (the nearest tenth), location (for optional units) and share (percentage of the crop you own) After submitting a notice of loss • Set aside time to discuss your harvest plans with an adjuster, if submitting your notice before harvest • Understand your unit structure (It is the producer’s responsibility to keep production records separate by insured basic, optional or enterprise units. Loss payments are calculated using all acreage of the crop in the county, but production must be submitted by its original unit structure.) • Document commercial storage or sales, harvested production fed to livestock and farmstored production • Any acreage that will not be harvested must be appraised — note crop use for silage (COUNTRY must appraise or set up representative strips before silage is cut) or for grazing • Understand grain quality issues • Do you qualify for a Simplified Claim Process? • Do you wish to defer your loss payment until 2014 for tax purposes? • Do you have any concerns to discuss with the crop adjuster?

Acceptable harvested production records • Commercial storage or sales • Settlement sheets (if sold) or load summary sheets (if stored). Make sure sheets show all required information (names, share, gross production, moisture, foreign material, etc.) • Identify production by unit or location • Include individual scale tickets • Submit records for 100 percent of the production and all shares • Discuss all of the above with the adjuster Records of production fed directly from the field • A quality set of daily feeding records • Measure grain bin prior to feeding, if possible, and work with the adjuster to protect potential loss payments Farm-stored production records • Farm-stored production must be measured by a COUNTRY or other insurance company adjuster or FSA • It is the producer’s responsibility to notify the insurer, so a crop claims adjuster can make required measurements prior to adding production from a second or third unit to the stored production from the first unit in the same structure • Alternative methods for separating production in a storage structure are available, but require preauthorization from COUNTRY • Contact the adjuster for information about weighing and farm storage, bin marking, load record and combine monitor procedures Watch for potential lower harvest prices • With potential for lower announced harvest prices, revenue policies may trigger a loss • How to calculate a loss — actual yield times harvest price equals final revenue • If final revenue is below guaranteed revenue, there is a potential loss

Vision for Illinois Ag hosting food, ag summit

Open Prairie Management. The role of Chicago and the state in global The lunch keynote address on Chicago’s conagriculture and food industries will be explored Oct. 21 during the Illinois Food and Agriculture nection to food and agriculture will be delivered by the city’s Deputy Mayor Steve Koch. Summit at the University of Illinois, Chicago. U of I Board of Trustee Chairman Chris The Vision for Illinois Agriculture (VIA) is Kennedy will talk about cooperahosting the forum that will focus on FarmWeekNow.com tion among government, busithe economic impact of the agriculture and food industries. Chica- Vi s i t t h e Vi s i o n f o r I l l i n o i s ness and academia for a statewide go is a fitting location given its dual A g r i c u l t u r e w e b s i t e a t food and agriculture plan. FarmWeekNow.com. Following Kennedy’s presentaroles in agri-industry and comtion, a panel of VIA members — merce as well as its connection to David Miller of iBIO, Rod Weinzierl of Illinois the world for Midwestern ag and food industries. The critical role food and agriculture plays in Corn Growers and Steve Hill of Kraft Foods the state and nation will be discussed by Univer- — will discuss the next actions to move the VIA goals forward. Illinois Agriculture Director sity of Illinois President Bob Easter. Bob Flider will give the closing remarks. The factors needed to help the food and Summit attendees will be solicited for input agriculture sectors reach their full potential will on next steps in developing a statewide plan for be explored during a panel discussion with food and agriculture. For more information or Marc Schulman, president of Eli’s Cheesecake to register, go to {illinoisagriculturevision.org}. Co., and Jim Schultz, chief executive officer of

Farm bill

Continued from page 1 the needle falls in terms of starting the process formally on the farm bill, we’re continuing to play procedural games. Our hope is that we’ve about run out the desire to keep doing that.” Moore said existing Senate conferees include lawmakers “we know we can work with,” such as Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Pat Roberts, RKan.; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; and John Hoeven, R-N.D. IFB has recommended naming House Ag Committee member Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, to the conference. A Davis aide told FarmWeek Thursday the congressman was awaiting official word regarding selections possibly within a few days.

“In any event our goal is to marry up the food and nutrition side with the ag side,” the aide related. While Moore suspects “someone’s got an envelope in their pocket with the names on it,” he also related concerns that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., could push to add nonAg Committee members “just to ‘help’” with negotiations. Meanwhile, IFB Associate Director of National Legislation Ryan Whitehouse stressed Tuesday’s farm bill expiration would have little immediate impact on producers, as farm program implementation continues into next summer. “We’re not panicking right now,” Whitehouse emphasized.


PRODUCTION

Page 3 Monday, September 30, 2013 FarmWeek

Rabobank: Lower crop prices could slow land market the central U.S. could decline bushels per acre for corn, up ble this year, but I think it Farmland values last year 15 to 20 percent in the next 60 bushels from last year, and will be less than we’re used increased as much as 20 perFarmland values this year three years. 46 bushels per acre for beans, to.” cent or more in some areas. are expected to hold steady for But those The other key risk to land up 7 bushels the most part. values, along with lower comfrom last year. types of gains But lower crop prices like- have been rare “I think there modity prices, is higher interest ‘Decreasing commodity pr ices will will be bushels ly will put the brakes on the rates. The Rabobank report, this year as rapid acceleration of land crop prices keep (land) values from accelerating this year,” Aup- titled “Land Values Peaking values witnessed in recent perle said. “That Out – But Not Down,” pretumbled. as rapidly as they have been.’ years, according to a dicted interest rates could will dampen the USDA earRabobank report released increase by 2014 or 2015. effect of the lier this month this month. “We are entering an era projected a — Sterling Liddell farmland market “In the short term, strong season-averwhere planning how you’re crashing down.” Rabobank senior analyst farmer balance sheets and going to pay for your land is However, if age corn price high rental rates will support of $4.80 per bushel, down crop prices stay at current lev- likely to become as important The drop in crop prices current levels (of farmland as planning for marketing your isn’t expected to cause a major els or decrease, the Rabobank $2.10 from last year’s record values),” said Sterling Lidreport predicted land values in crop,” Liddell added. downturn in land values, as average. dell, Rabobank senior ana“Net farm income is going bigger crops this year comlyst. “However, decreasing pared to last year could offset to drive land values,” said commodity prices will keep some of the effect of lower Dale Aupperle, president of the values from accelerating commodity prices. the Heartland Ag Group in as rapidly as they have USDA this month projected Forsyth. “I don’t think it The record corn crop anticipated this fall could limit upside been.” yield averages in Illinois of 165 price potential. (farm income) will be horriInvestors and fund managers, as a result, could shy away from corn and move more money into other asset classes, according to Tim Andriesen, managing director of ag commodities and alternative investments at CME Group. “A little money is moving out of (ag) commodities into other assets,” Andriesen said at the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange Many farmers have been in business long Meanwhile, Conservation Reserve Program hosted by the Midwest Shippers Association and U.S. Soybean enough to know the cyclical nature of their (CRP) acres posted a slight decline (CRP acres Export Council. profession quite well. in Illinois remained constant at around 1 mil(See Cash Strategest, Page 11, for more details of the trend.) The average age of the U.S. farmer, as of lion acres), while farmers in about 80 counties USDA earlier this month estimated U.S. farmers this fall will harlast year, was 57, according to USDA. in Illinois and Iowa increased acres of grassy vest a record 13.8 billion bushel corn crop. The season average corn So it was no surprise that, based on a recent habitat. price subsequently was trimmed by a dime to a range of $4.40 to Farm Bureau study, most farmers took a rela“We are bringing land back in production $5.20 per bushel compared to last year’s record average price of $6.90. tively cautious approach to historically-high when the markets call for it,” Miller said. “But Soybean production, on the other hand, this month was cut by corn, soybean and wheat prices (the study) shows farmers 106 million bushels due to late season heat and dryness. USDA as FarmWeekNow.com last year and opted not to plow responded wisely and in envia result raised its season average price estimate for beans by $1.15 up their farms and plant Additional details on the land ronmentally sensitive ways.” per bushel to a range of $11.50 to $13.50 per bushel. fencerow to fencerow. The study also did not find a use survey can be found at “It appears we’ll have a very good corn crop, but the outlook FarmWeekNow.com. Farmers also continued to direct connection between farm for beans is very tight,” Andriesen said. “Consequently, we’re implement environmental pracprograms and land use. seeing fairly high prices for beans and lower prices for corn.” tices that improve everything from “Crop insurance is not a signifiThe tight supply and upside potential in the bean market is water quality and habitat to soil conservation, cant driver of land use change,” Miller said. drawing investor interest, according to Andriesen. according to a landuse study commissioned by “The study did show farmers are taking advanA similar situation in the livestock markets (tight supplies and the state Farm Bureaus in Illinois, Indiana, tage of cost-share programs and putting conserhigh prices) also is generating excitement among investors. Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and vation practices on the ground. That’s a story “We have plenty of participants in the markets,” he said. South Dakota. not being told.” “They’re looking for the best return. “The most important revelation of the Dave White, former chief of the Natural “Most (traders) still trade supply and demand so they have study is that multiple factors affect land use Resources Conservation Service, said NRCS more interest when they see potential market snags.” change,” Dave Miller, director of research and invests about $6 billion annually in long-term The ag futures markets prior to the late 1990s mostly were used commodity services at the Iowa Farm Bureau, land protections and easements. by commercial customers. But ag commodities became an asset told FarmWeek. “The analysis shows that just as it has for class and in the last 15 years attracted great interest from fund man“While there were some counties (in the centuries, land use continues to evolve and is agers as a hedge against inflation and a way to diversify portfolios. seven-state study area) that had a loss of grass- not just the result of farm policy or farm risk “Participants in the markets today have grown and diversiland habitat, there was a significant amount of management tools,” said Philip Nelson, Illinois fied,” Andriesen said. counties in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and through- Farm Bureau president. Ag investments have added support to commodity prices, but out the study area where there actually was an The study was conducted by Decision Innoare not the main driver of price spikes, he noted. increase in the amount of grassy habitat in the vation Solutions of Urbandale, Iowa. — “Contrary to what some people believe, (fund activity) is driven face of $7 corn,” Miller continued. “That indi- Daniel Grant by fundamental analysis,” Andriesen added. “It brings liquidity to cates farmers are doing the the market place. More people take on the risk.” — Daniel Grant right thing and putting in riparian buffers, grass waterways, terraces and other practions pertaining to specific A legal guide for Illinois tices.” foods. The guide is being farmers who sell directly to Some environmental translated into Spanish and consumers, restaurants and groups in recent years others is available from the Illi- expected to be released later expressed concern that this year. nois Stewardship Alliance. record-high corn prices would In addition to farmers, the “Guide to Illinois Laws drive farmers out of environGoverning Direct Farm Marinformation may be useful for mental programs in droves. keting” is intended as an intro- economic developers who But, since 2007, only 3 perduction to the legal framework assist farmers and entreprecent of the total land area in for new and current farmers neurs. the seven-state study shifted Hard copies may be who are involved with direct away from grassy habitat. marketing of vegetables, fruits, obtained from the Illinois Farmers in the seven states meats and other products. Stewardship Alliance by callthe previous five years Specific to Illinois, the guide ing 217-528-1563 or emailincreased crop acreage by 3.6 references topics, such as taxing isa@ilstewards.org. A million for corn and 2.2 milPDF is available online at ing, zoning, liability insurance, lion for beans. cottage food laws and regula{ilstewards.org}. BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Farm Bureau study: Land use decisions based on more than just $7 corn

Investors not as keen on corn; interest in livestock grows

New guide available for direct marketers


SAFETY

FarmWeek Page 4 Monday, September 30, 2013

Lifelines and ‘lockouts’ key in reducing bin hazards BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

Farmers are under enough pressure without generating more through risky behavior in the bin, Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) Ag Program Director Dave Newcomb advises. IFSI representatives joined in a recent hands-on test of various grain entrapment/rescue scenarios. Newcomb is working with other members of the Illinois-based Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC) to promote installation and use of an anchored “lifeline” harness and pulley system. By mid-year, Illinois grain entrapments already had surpassed reported statewide numbers for all of 2012, with three rescues and one death. Newcomb anticipates additional incidents before year’s end, given the frequency of reports of producers being trapped in out-of-condition grain while bin augers are still running.

In recent experiments at Bloomington’s Asmark Agricenter and Evergreen FS’ Yuton Elevator safety facility, Newcomb measured the force necessary to extract an individual from stored grain using various methods. While some farmers have reported using such means as a simple knotted rope suspended over the grain’s surface, the group found that “victims” merely up to their ankles in moving grain (including Newcomb) could not pull themselves free using that rudimentary “safeguard.” Roughly 300 pounds of force are required to extract a victim up to his knees in still corn; 600 pounds are needed to free someone submerged up to their waist. A safety mannequin buried 32 inches under the surface lost its reinforced leg as would-be rescuers ramped up efforts. Moving grain amplifies the force needed to extract a worker. An operating auger

thus poses a double or even triple threat — the victim will flow in the direction of the grain, potentially into the auger mechanism. “We’re just not paying attention to the details, shutting the switch off,” he told FarmWeek. “Even using a harness, lockout/tagout is the first step — shut everything off and secure it before anybody goes into the bin.” The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected soon to approve a GHSC-produced video outlining use of a lifeline system for nationwide distribution. GHSC has received a $15,000 grant to develop a curriculum to accompany the lifeline awareness DVD. In addition, OSHA has extended training grant funding for the coalition, providing an additional $105,300 for new training, a planned grain safety symposium, a separate bin entry video and web-based information.

Gift of equipment Animals in trouble? Help’s on the way offers gift of life

Wanted: Portable power. Potential life-saving benefits; must be willing to travel. The Champaign-based Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) is seeking donation of equipment including a gas-powered generator that can be used to power trailer-mounted demonstration equipment. IFSI travels Illinois offering ag safety training for local emergency responders. Used implements and machinery help institute trainers simulate real world, real time conditions emergency medical technicians or fire departments might face in the field. Addition of a portable, roughly 7,500-watt power source to operate saws, floodlights and other gear would enable trainers to be “more independent” at remote sites, IFSI Ag Program Director Dave Newcomb told FarmWeek. “We’re still looking for a used tractor that operates with hydraulics and a (power take off unit),” Newcomb added. “One of my projects this year is to update some of my onsite training ‘props,’ so I’m looking for things like stalk choppers, auger-driven pieces. “But I’m looking for operational equipment. We talk about how to get an arm out of a piece of machinery. We want to show how the machinery operates to get your arm in there.” IFSI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and equipment donations in many cases are tax-deferrable through the University of Illinois Foundation. Producers who document the value of contributed equipment for IFSI can declare donation as a tax-deductible gift, depending on circumstances. To make a donation, call Newcomb at 217-778-6652 or contact IFSI at {fsi.illinois.edu}. — Martin Ross

Ed opportunities available for vets

Illinois veterans can tap into improved educational opportunities. Recently signed law extends National Guard tuition waivers and allows students using their GI Bill of Rights benefits to be billed for tuition as in-state students. Anyone with at least 10 years of service in the Illinois National Guard will be eligible for six years of tuition waivers instead of the previous maximum of four years. The waiver will take effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Illinois National Guard members should contact their college financial aid office to determine what portion of their total tuition and fees will be covered by the grant. Illinois also allows students using their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to be billed as in-state students for tuition purposes. The benefit applies only to state-supported institutions of higher education in Illinois.

As harvest progresses, the dangers of grain handling are top-of-the-list for ag safety specialists. But animal agriculture poses its own array of unique risks, and new livestock safety guidelines are on the way. The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) hopes to offer its new large animal training curriculum to statewide emergency responders by early 2014. The curriculum will outline procedures and precautions for livestock rescue as well as guidelines for handling roadway incidents. “We have the curriculum pretty much done,” IFSI’s new Assistant Director of Firefighting Jim Keiken told FarmWeek. “We’ve got some tweaks to do — we’re getting all of the resources together to be able to deliver that package.” The training coordinator came to IFSI in June from Wisconsin where he’d worked with Extension farm safety-rescue programs and the Marshfield Clinic — a center the former Madison, Wis., assistant fire chief calls “a hotbed of research and education” in ag health, safety and medicine. According to data published by the Marshfield Clinic, youth living on livestock operations in 2009 had a higher rate of injury (8.1 injuries per 1,000 youth) compared to their crop counterparts (6.6 injuries per 1,000 youth). Large animals can be dangerous in a handling, rescue or highway scenario, as responders discovered in May 2011 after a semitrailer load of cattle

overturned on an overpass at Interstates 80 and 294 near Chicago and an angry, injured bull escaped its trailer. Livestock are unpredictable because: • They have strong territorial instincts. • They can be spooked by changes in lighting or shadows. Beef, dairy cattle and swine are color blind and have poor depth

perception. This causes them to be sensitive to contrasts in light, movement and noise. • They can behave unpredictably when separated from other animals. Cattle and horses can see everything around them except directly behind their hindquarters, making an approach from the rear a risky proposition. — Martin Ross

DAY ON THE FARM

Dale, left, and Carl Bormet instruct budding vegetable farmers how to plant a simulated crop with colored sticks at John Kiefner’s farm near Manhattan. The Will County Farm Bureau member hosted 150 guests recently during an open house that included combine and hay baling displays, donkeys, chickens, goats and hayrack rides. (Photo courtesy of John Kiefner)


CONSUMERS

Page 5 Monday, September 30, 2013 FarmWeek

West-central FBs growing informed area field moms BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek

More nonfarm moms are learning about modern farming and their food through a new effort by seven west-central county Farm Bureaus. The counties of Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Pike, Schuyler and Scott launched a District 9 Illinois Farm Families (IFF) program modeled after the original statewide IFF program. This latest effort joins other county Farm Bureaus that are adapting outreach efforts for young nonfarm mothers in their areas. “All of us know you don’t have to be from Chicago to have someone next door who doesn’t understand agriculture,” said Linda Olson, Illinois Farm Bureau manager of consumer communications. Recently, the District 9 counties hosted a tour at the Middle Creek Sow Farm in Hancock County for their first field moms, all from Quincy, said Sarah Fernandez, the program coordinator. Having questions about food and farming answered is important to mothers no matter the size of their community, Fernandez emphasized. Similar to the original IFF, the District 9 IFF recruited six nonfarm mothers between the ‘This is an opporages of 25 and 40 with children tunity to show younger than 13. The women not only were curious about (field moms) you how their food is produced but are just like them also “were open minded to ... and make oneimmerse themselves” in the on-one connecexperience, Fernandez said. The District 9 field moms tions.’ communicate through social media, including Facebook, and are expected to blog about — Sarah Fernandez their experiences. Those blogs District 9 IFF coordinator will be shared in the future on the {watchusgrow.org} website, according to Fernandez. As part of the farm tour, the field moms learned about swine health and care from the Carthage Veterinary Service and the Illinois Pork Producers. The District 9 program is a cooperative effort among Farm Bureau and commodity groups, mirroring the state-level IFF program, Olson noted. IFF is a coalition of commodity groups for beef, corn, pork and soybeans and IFB. Judging from their comments, the District 9 field moms appreciated their experience –- even if they had to shower before entering the biosecure facility. One field mom wrote, “I learned more in the one hour here today than in four years of college.” In a post-visit survey, all the field moms responded they had no concerns about the source of their food, Fernandez reported. A mid-October harvest tour in Pike County is being planned. Fernandez said she worked with the host farmers to prepare them to answer questions from and have conversations with the field moms. “This is an opportunity to show them (field moms) you are just like them ... and make one-on-one connections,” Fernandez reminded the farmers. Next year’s District 9 IFF efforts will be determined by an advisory board comprised of the county Farm Bureau presidents and managers representing each of the seven counties. Fernandez said she would like to offer a tour of a livestock farm, a farm planting tour and a farm harvesting tour. She also wants to recruit new field moms for 2014. The need for informed consumers continues to grow and local outreach efforts are valuable, according to IFB’s Olson. “I’m so appreciative of the counties that have taken up the gauntlet and run with it,” Olson said. “I’m appreciative of all they’re doing.”

IDOA awards specialty crop grants Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider announced last week the state will receive nearly $540,000 through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The money will be divided among 12 projects to increase availability of fresh, locally grown produce and to strengthen the Illinois specialty crop industry. Recipients and the projects are: • The Illinois Specialty Growers Association to increase training, especially on food safety requirements, for specialty crop growers. • The IAA Foundation to help students connect farmers and the food they eat by creating and distributing a new Pumpkin Ag Mag. • Increase local specialty crop sales via the state “Illinois Where Fresh Is” marketing campaign. • WBBM-TV, a subsidiary of CBS Inc., to provide a multimedia campaign on the importance and availability of locally grown specialty crops. • The Illinois Stewardship Alliance to obtain chefs’ commitments to make at least 10 percent of their food purchases from local specialty growers. A pilot project will be developed to allow restaurants to buy local food online. • The Land Connection to develop a mar-

keting plan that uses social media for specialty crop growers and to provide monthly social media starter kits during the growing season. • The Ag in Progress Partnership to create an educational program that teaches FFA members about honeybees’ importance to specialty crops. • The Experimental Station to teach lowincome, urban residents how to grow and prepare Illinois specialty crops through educational programs at the 61st Street Farmers’ Market, Chicago. • Gary Comer Youth Center, Chicago, to teach urban children about specialty crops’ nutritional values and rooftop farming. • The University of Illinois to identify optimum varieties and planting dates for vertical production of hydroponic strawberries in high tunnels. • The Horseradish Growers of Illinois to improve the size, color and taste of horseradish through the use of germplasm from Eastern Europe. • Southern Illinois University, the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association and Shawnee Hills Wine-Grape Association to improve vineyard floor management through new cultural and biological under-vine management tools and new soil management methods


FarmWeek Page 6 Monday, September 30, 2013

CROPWATCHERS Bernie Walsh, Durand, Winnebago County: We have had an excellent week of harvest weather to get started bringing in this year’s crop. The early beans are plenty dry, testing 11 to 12 percent moisture and yielding in the mid- to upper-50s for field averages. I think some of the longer season varieties will yield better than that. Some corn is also being harvested, but only on the lighter soils and earlier planted fields. The moisture on all the rest of the corn is still near 30 percent. Have a safe week. Leroy Getz, Savanna, Carroll County: Beautiful fall weather, and harvest is moving into full speed. Corn yields are better than first thought, and most are above the 200-bushel-peracre mark. Moisture levels have dropped to the low 20s to the upper teens. Some beans have been harvested, but I don’t have any yield data to report. Ryan Frieders, Waterman, DeKalb County: This being the first official week of fall, it is fitting that harvest is starting in our area. There are soybeans being combined at 13 percent. We are going to start soon. Corn is also being harvested. The moisture range on corn is 26 to 29 percent. I am looking forward to the smell from the grain dryer. With the later start this year, I encourage everyone to remain calm and stay safe this harvest. Larry Hummel, Dixon, Lee County: The results for yield checks are starting to roll in. The heavy soils that had enough water-holding capacity to sustain the plants through the dry August weather will be well above average. Lighter soils, on the other hand, will be below to substantially below average. Stalk quality will also be an issue on these soils. Yields I’ve heard so far: beans, 42 to 60 bushels per acre; corn, 128 to 195 bushels per acre. Ken Reinhardt, Seaton, Mercer County: Beautiful harvest weather with little harvest. The early planted, early maturity corn has been harvested and the rest is too high in moisture yet. I have been cutting 2.6 maturity soybeans that were planted in mid-May. Average to better yields so far in them. Ron Moore, Roseville, Warren County: It was a great week for corn to dry down. We had been trying different fields and finally found one with moisture in the low 20s. Yields and moisture are highly variable depending on location in the field. It will be hard to evaluate hybrids again this year because of that variability. It looks like soybeans will be ready sometime next week in this area. Please remember to take some time to enjoy this harvest season and work safely. Tim Green, Wyoming, Stark County: A very pleasant week. Some harvesting is getting done around here. Corn yields have been probably a little better than anticipated at planting — around May 1. Corn seems to be down in the mid-20s. A few beans in the area have been cut. The yields have been anywhere from the low 40s to the upper 60s. Probably about an average crop. Be safe. Ron Haase, Gilman, Iroquois County: Harvest began in corn this week as some took advantage of the half-priced drying charges in play at the beginning of the week. Others were testing out the machinery to make sure it all is working well. Due to the higher moisture content on corn, the focus remains on the harvesting of soybeans. We plan to start harvesting some corn today (Friday). We still have many acres that have not reached black layer yet. The local closing bids for September 26 were: nearby corn, $4.35; Jan. corn, $4.50; nearby soybeans, $13.00; Jan. soybeans, $13.05.

Mark Kerber, Chatsworth, Livingston County: Corn and soybean harvest has started in our corner of the county. Some areas that received rain in July are trying to find something dry enough to harvest. Most of the early soybeans have been cut. Now waiting on the next group to ripen completely. Be careful out there. I’ve already heard of a full wagonload of grain upsetting at a culvert. Markets have trended lower. Has corn hit its fall low for the year?

Doug Uphoff, Shelbyville, Shelby County: Started harvest last week. Yields are better than expected. Moisture levels are from 21 to 24 percent. Some mid-group 3 beans have been cut and yields are pretty good considering rainfall totals we had in August. Guess the spring floods carried us through. Prices: fall corn, $3.36; Jan. corn, $4.38; fall 2014 corn, $4.52; July 2014 wheat, $6.43; fall beans, $12.97; Jan. beans, $13.17.

Brian Schaumburg, Chenoa, McLean County: Yields continue to impress, putting smiles on previously skeptical faces. Now they can complain about markets. Corn is still running 180 to 210 bushels per acre, but moisture levels on corn planted just a week later still hits 30 percent at times. Stalk quality is problematic. A few soybeans have been cut, but many will switch over next week. Corn, $4.41; Jan. corn, $4.56; fall 2014 corn, $4.64; soybeans, $13.04; Jan. soybeans, $13.07; fall 2014 soybeans, $11.44; wheat, $6.22, fall 2014 wheat, $6.46.

David Schaal, St. Peter, Fayette County: We had a shower move through late Tuesday night that left 0.3 to 0.4 of an inch of rain. Harvest began last week. Some cut beans and others picked corn. Farmers are saying yields are a little better than they anticipated. We have been checking white cor n, and yields are good. Everyone stay safe.

Steve

Ayers,

Champaign, Champaign County: Combines are rolling, primarily in corn, so harvest-o-meter is at 6 percent harvested, with 56 percent mature. Yields vary from a low of 150 to 220 with moisture average about 23. I heard of corn coming out as low at 17.9 percent, planted May 8. We are just getting started with soybeans. Early yields are impressive in the 55- to 60-bushel-peracre range. We grow full season beans so will start corn first. It’s interesting to watch the developments in Dysfunction Junction, meaning Washington D.C., concerning debt limit, Obamacare, farm bill, etc. Weather looks great for harvest. Let’s be careful out there!

Wilfred Dittmer, Quincy, Adams County: A few more combines are running this week in corn. Moisture levels are quite variable in different fields. Soybeans are getting closer with some large seed, despite the summer’s drought around here. Our gauge still stands at 0.7 of an inch of rain for the month and zero for the week. Sounds like corn yields are pretty good on the early planted fields, considering the season, but stalk strength appears weak. Hay balers are still running. Have a safe week, wherever you are and remember the phrase “Arrive Alive.” Accidents do happen. Carrie Winkelmann, Tallula, Menard County: Corn harvest is under way and the yields have been promising. No rain for the last two weeks, but everything seems to be drying down slowly. I have been reminded of the uneven planting stand when scouting fields for harvest readiness. Beans are turning, and we might switch to them before we do any more corn. Todd Easton, Charleston, Coles County: Random corn fields across the countryside are dry enough to pick, and when the combine operators finish with those select fields they move on to their next best looking field to find it too wet to pick for now. Some of the May-planted corn yields have been right up there with the April-planted corn yields. A few soybean fields have ripened enough to cut. Very surprisingly, yields have turned out to be astonishingly good for producers expecting well below-average results. Jimmy Ayers, New City, Sangamon County: This past week was dry. There was quite a bit of activity. Yields seem to be higher than most expected. We haven’t done anything ourselves. Our moisture ranges were 26 to 30 percent. Several guys started harvesting soybeans. It was 13 to 14 percent one day and down to 10 to 11 percent the next. The guys are just anxious to get up and running. Be careful and try to get plenty of rest so your patience is good.

Jeff Guilander, Jerseyville, Jersey County: The first week of October and the air is full of the sound of dryers. Corn has dried a couple of points since last week, leaving it mostly in the mid-20s. Stalk strength remains good, so we probably have more time than patience. Yields continue to hold up well with most believing the earlier corn will have a slight advantage over the later or fuller season, but I am not hearing many complaints either way. Almost all the soybeans are turning. A few are being cut, but not enough to get a good feel for potential. Looks like we could be in for a long fall. Dave Hankammer, Millstadt, St. Clair County: Harvest pace is slowly picking up this week as combines seem to be following the planting patterns established by the spring rainfall. Several cornfields have been har vested in the local area along with some soybean fields. Some repor ted cor n yields have been in the 180-bushel-peracre range at 23 to 25 percent moisture. Some fields had downed corn due to wind and weakened stalks caused by the dry summer weather. A few fields of soybeans have been harvested this week with yields reaching into the upper 40 bushels per acre. With most of the week being dry and the temps in the mid-80s, some farmers have made another cutting of alfalfa hay. Local grain bids are corn, $4.30; soybeans, $13.10; and wheat, $6.39. Have a safe week. Rick Corners, Centralia, Jefferson County: Well, we had another 0.75 of an inch of rain this week. Corn harvest is starting slowly, and lots of soybeans will be ready to cut next week.

Ken Taake, Ullin, Pulaski County: We received only a trace of rain Tuesday afternoon, so we were back in the field by Wednesday. Some areas of the county had received more than an inch of rain, so they were out of the field for a few days. Harvest seems to be picking up speed. I keep hearing of great corn yields, but so far on our farm they’ve been average. There have been a few soybeans harvested in the area. I’ve heard of some very good early yields. We finally cut a few soybeans Thursday afternoon. Yields look to be pretty good, maybe in the 60-bushel-per-acre range. Moisture was good. Beans were dry. I’ll have a better idea of how our early beans are doing next week. Please have a safe week.

Reports received Friday morning. Expanded crop and weather information available at FarmWeekNow.com


Page 7 Monday, September 30, 2013 FarmWeek

CROPWATCHERS Kevin Raber, Browns, Wabash County: We had about 0.75 of an inch of rain last week. It should really help the late-planted and double-crop beans. Corn harvest is moving along. Good yields and moisture levels above 20 percent have slowed things down. There have been some beans harvested, but I haven’t heard yields yet. It won’t be long until wheat sowing will begin.

Dean Shields, Murphysboro, Jackson County: The weather this week was really dry. The corn harvest is in full swing. Most reports of the corn are fairly good. We’re seeing a few beans cut. Haven’t heard too much about the yield yet. There has also been some milo cut. Everyone take care and have a safe harvest.

Randy Anderson, Galatia, Saline County Been a busy week. Started shelling corn at the beginning of the week. Moisture is running 22 to 26 percent. So, we are having to dry all of it. Hoping to get started cutting beans today (Friday). Most guys I have talked to said beans have done well. Be careful out there. The fire danger is getting higher every day.

Illinois farmers dodge early frost; harvest creeps along

BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

The recent run of heat and dryness across much of the state in some respects was a good thing for the late-planted crops. A dreaded early frost, which would have sapped yields from immature plants, didn’t materialize. Temperatures last week reached the 80s and are expected to do so again the middle of this week after a cold front passes through, with a chance of some rain over the weekend and into the early part of this week. “As we get into October, we’re within the normal range we’d expect the first frost,” Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, told FarmWeek on Friday. The first frost generally occurs around the first week

of October in northern Illinois, the second week of the month in central Illinois and the third week of the month in the south. But that doesn’t appear likely anytime soon. “Temperature-wise, it appears we’ll remain on the warm side for the next week or two,” Angel said. “By mid-week, we should be back in the low-80s, which is above average. The average high (in Champaign) at the end of September is 72 degrees.” The bad news about the warm/dry trend is drought expanded in the state last week. About 55 percent of the state, generally between Interstates 80 and 72, last week was in moderate to severe drought. Abnormally dry conditions also expanded in southern Illinois. “We’ve seen very dry condi-

tions across much of the state,” Angel said. “About the only part of the state that’s been wet the past 90 days is the southeast corner.” Rainfall last month, as of Sept. 27, averaged 1.6 inches across the state, which is about half the average amount.

Corn, however, is drying down slowing at many locations. Harvest the first of last week was just 5 percent complete compared to the average of 24 percent. “There’s not much harvest (activity) up here,” Paul Taylor, a farmer from Esmond and

protections,” but warned proposed “residual interest” and related rules would expose customers to “significantly

time of continued wariness in the wake of Peregrine Financial Group and derivatives broker MF Global’s recent

president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association said. “I did some hand-shelling (last week) and moisture was still in the low-30s.” Doug Uphoff, a FarmWeek Cropwatcher from Shelby County, last week reported corn moisture was 21 to 25 percent in his area with yields in the 140- to 180-bushel range. “We’re three to four weeks behind schedule,” Uphoff told the RFD Radio Network®. Taylor said harvest was delayed in his area due in part to some late-season rains. He didn’t complain, though, as he estimated bean yields could be in the 60s. He also expects a large corn crop. “We’re optimistic about a big (corn) crop,” he said. “We need it to calm concerns about the food and fuel debate and to rebuild a lot of global demand.”

Proposed rules could discourage farmer futures use BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

For years, Illinois Farm Bureau’s Doug Yoder has beat the drum for market-based farm risk management. The Chicago-based CME Group is working to interest and educate producers in effective use of futures-based tools. But now, 21 ag groups including American Farm Bureau Federation have urged Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioners to reconsider proposed rules that in their view could hurt rather than help customers. In a letter to the CFTC, the coalition hailed efforts “to enhance futures customer

greater financial risk.” The CFTC proposes futures brokerages set aside their own reserves to cover customer margin deficiencies throughout the trading day. CFTC is eyeing safeguards at a

bankruptcies, even among seasoned customers, Yoder said. Given heightened market volatility and anticipated ag policy and possible crop insurance changes, “we may need to rely more on (futures-

based) marketing tools and techniques,” he maintained. “The overall message here is to make sure new regs are in place to protect users, but we want to ensure they’re not so stringent that they’re driving farmers away from these very important risk management tools,” Yoder told FarmWeek. Ag groups recommended the commission conduct extensive cost-benefit analysis before acting on new provisions. They charged proposed provisions likely would: • Force “futures commission merchants” (FCMs) — brokers — to use their own funds to “top up” residual interest or, more likely, pass on

marily for farmers and farmbased, nonprofit groups. Demonstration projects are to research and demonstrate production practices that characterize a sustainable agriculture system on working farms. Individual farmers are strongly encouraged to apply. Outreach and education projects must build credibility for sustainable agriculture. Proposals should either

inform the general public about sustainable food systems or instruct farmers about sustainable ag practices and alternative marketing strategies. Any unit of government, organization, educational institution, nonprofit group or individual is eligible to receive funding. Individuals may receive grants up to $10,000, while governmental units, nonprofit groups, insti-

tutions and organizations qualify for grants up to $20,000. An independent, 11-member committee will review the applications and recommend funding. Guidelines and application forms are online at {agr.state.il.us/C2000/common/SAguidelines.pdf}. Direct questions to Mike Rahe, program manager, at mike.rahe@illinois.gov or 217785-5594.

‘We may need to rely more on (futuresbased) mar keting tools and techniques.’ — Doug Yoder IFB senior director of affiliate and risk management

IDOA accepting sustainable ag grant applications The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will accept applications for sustainable agriculture grants until Oct. 15. Grants will be awarded for on-farm research and demonstrations, educational outreach and university research projects, according to Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider. On-farm research and demonstration grants are pri-

costs by requiring customers to “pre-margin” hedge accounts. “You’re talking big bucks, if you’re talking all the customer accounts,” Yoder said. “That’s not feasible, and it’s risky for FCMs. They’re going to exit the business or charge you more as a customer.” • Discourage farmers who use futures directly to hedge production risk. Yoder stressed futures-based tools “vary in complexity, the degree of risk they help you alleviate and the degree of volatility risk you’re willing to accept,” offering options for novice farmer/marketers. • Force customers to send excess margin to FCMs in anticipation of future movement on existing market positions. That’s “the last thing customers want to do now” in the wake of MF Global and Peregrine, and would endanger far more customer money in the event of further FCM insolvency, ag groups warned. • Compel customers to borrow more money just to post margin on potential market moves already difficult for either customers or lenders to predict. Increased borrowing could impact customer farm/business investment.


PRODUCTION

FarmWeek Page 8 Monday, September 30, 2013

Potential for soybean pod splitting sparks concerns Splitting of green soybean pods is not a common problem, but it occasionally shows up, especially in years where a prolonged dry weather period is followed by a period of abundant moisture during pod fill. Splitting of green soybean pods also

BY KEVIN BLACK

sometimes seems to have a varietal relationship with some varieties appearing to be more prone to this problem than others. Certain virus diseases, like bean pod mottle virus may also be associated with soybean pod splitting. The reason for this is not clear, but is believed to be related to loss of elasticity in the pod wall. Some areas are now receiving rainfall following several weeks of dry weather. Since soybean maturity has

been delayed across much of the Midwest, we believe that splitting of green soybean pods may show up again this year, especially in double-crop soybeans. Grower management practices are not believed to play a large role in soybean pod splitting. It’s mostly related to soybean growth stage and weather conditions, and quite possibly the presence of certain pathogens. Depending on the maturity of the

soybeans when pod splitting occurs, this also can result in presence of shriveled, moldy or even sprouted soybeans at harvest time. Adjustment of combine settings can help clean moldy or lightweight soybeans out of the harvested beans.

Kevin Black is GROWMARK’s insect and plant disease technical manager. His email address is kblack@growmark.com.

The Bay, the Basin and farm confidentiality BY MARTIN ROSS FarmWeek

As Midwest farmers help protect the environment, an East Coast producer advises them to protect personal data as well. Phillip “Chip” Councell Jr. farms on the eastern shore of Maryland, in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay region — a focus of federal nutrient regulations that affect a variety of economic sectors. Councell, who also serves as corn sector director with the U.S. Grains Council,

farms nearly 1,500 acres between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and about 60 miles east of Washington. Despite 25 years of focused ag stewardship efforts and Maryland’s voluntary and eventually mandatory nutrient management plans, a federal court in 2009 ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take further steps in enforcing the federal Clean Water Act. President Obama then issued an executive order to

“clean up the bay,” Councell said, setting the stage for Maryland’s existing crop nutrient standards and livestock “total maximum daily load” permit requirements. As part of that permitting process, producers must submit a nutrient management plan to the state, and any permit and supporting data is “open to the public.” An environmental group recently petitioned Maryland officials for livestock data under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),

raising concerns especially about confidentiality of personal farm information. Maryland law assured protection of data for three years; FOIA applicants argue it subsequently becomes public information. That concerns Illinois farmers. As a federal court ruled last week in a second case seen by some as a potential step toward Chesapeakestyle regulation of the Upper Mississippi River Basin (see below), Illinois Farm Bureau’s Resolutions Committee is soliciting member input on proposals to strengthen protection of electronic and other farm data. “As you move forward, make sure those plans are locked tight,” Councell recommended at a recent Illinois Corn Growers Association meeting. EPA charged each Chesapeake-region state with developing its own watershed implementation plan. Maryland has set more stringent guidelines than surrounding states. According to Councell, Gov. Martin O’Malley feels that “because we’re in the heart of the bay, we have to lead the way.” EPA completed its initial

study of the bay watershed in 1983. By 1998, 1 million out of 1.4 million cropland acres were enrolled in Maryland’s voluntary nitrogen-based nutrient management plan program. But a 1997 fish kill in two bay area rivers spurred officials to propose mandatory nutrient management plans. Councell said farmers “embraced it,” but then the federal court handed down its 2009 edict. If current Maryland-style rules are imposed in the Mississippi Basin, “it’s going to change the way you farm,” Councell advised Illinois growers. While nutrient standards in some cases may “make you a more efficient user of fertilizer,” he noted bay area regulators consider only total field applications without factoring variables such as overlap at turn rows or woodland field borders. He cited one neighbor delayed in top-dressing wheat pending agency review of his required nutrient plan. “As this thing tightens up, it’s going to require us to apply these nutrients where we’ll get the most bang,” Councell said.

Court ruling directs EPA to eye nutrient rules

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A Louisiana district court has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to decide within 180 days whether it will require new limits on the nutrient pollution that according to a group of environmentalist plaintiffs is causing growth of dangerous algae in the Illinois-Mississippi River basin. Attorneys at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) led the suit, filed on behalf of members of the Mississippi River Collaborative. They charge elevated waterborne nitrogen and phosphorus levels are causing toxic algae blooms and polluting drinking water. The lawsuit, filed 1 1/2 years ago, challenged EPA’s rejection of the collaborative’s 2008 petition asking it to establish numeric nutrient limits. The suit charged EPA with failing to address whether numeric pollution limits are needed to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. While the court decision does not direct EPA’s response, the agency must decide within six months whether numeric standards are needed.


FROM THE COUNTIES

Page 9 Monday, September 30, 2013 FarmWeek

Rock Island farmers, adopted lawmaker tour north shore

Chicago’s north shore was the recent destination for Rock Island County Farm Bureau members and their adopted legislator, Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston. Gabel toured Rock Island County agricultural sites after joining the Adopt-A-Legislator program in 2011. The representative and her assistant, Matt Trewartha, hosted the farmers with a jampacked agenda. The day started with a tour of Wilmette’s Baha’i Temple, one of only seven in the

BY CHRISTINA NOURIE

world, and Welcome Center where the group learned about the history of the Baha’i faith. Science was next on the agenda with a tour of Northwestern University’s Advanced Molecular Imaging and Life Sciences research facility and the technology used in applications such as MRIs, ultrasounds and endoscopy. At lunch, the group met Catherine Hurley, Evanston’s coordinator of sustainable programs, and discussed local community gardens, composting and farmers markets. The afternoon focused on

C

OOK — Far m Bureau will sponsor an electronics recycling and shred day from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 12 at the COUNTRY Financial buildmanufacturing. First was a ing in Oak Forest. Call the tour of Evanston’s FEW Spir- Far m Bureau office at 708its, a small micro-distillery 354-3276 for more inforusing a “grain-to-glass” mation or to register. process with as many local • Far m Bureau will sponingredients as possible. The sor a member appreciation farmers and one of the owners banquet at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 talked about the connection at The Cotillion in Palatine. between agriculture and the Cost is $12. Proceeds will distillery. benefit the foundation. Call The final stop was Kraft the Far m Bureau office at corporate headquarters where 708-354-3276 for reser vathe group met Derek Crawtions by Oct. 28. ford, Kraft’s state government AWRENCE — Far m affairs director. They discussed Bureau will sponsor a several legislative issues related bus trip to the Covered to agriculture and business, Bridge Festival in Mansincluding biotech crops and field, Ind., from 6:30 a.m. biotech labeling. The farmers to 6 p.m. Oct. 16. The bus shared their concerns about will leave from the labeling with Gabel. Lawrenceville Christian The Rock Island County Church parking lot. Cost is farmers hope to invite Gabel $20 for members and $30 and a group of her confor nonmembers. Call the stituents for a fall visit. Far m Bureau office at 9432610 to register or for more Christina Nourie is the Illinois infor mation. Farm Bureau northeast legislative ACON — Far m coordinator. Bureau and 95Q

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Derek Crawford, right, Kraft’s state government affairs director, shows the gardens at Kraft’s corporate headquarters to left to right Rock Island County Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Chairman Bill Onken, county Farm Bureau President Marty McManus and adopted legislator Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston. County Farm Bureau leaders recently toured Kraft corporate headquarters, which is in Gabel’s Chicago district. (Photo by Christina Nourie)

Tri-state biomass heating symposium in northern Illinois

Cost-effective heating with woody biomass will be the focus of a tri-state symposium Oct. 24 in Freeport. The early registration deadline is Oct. 17. The event will start at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. in the college’s Student Conference Center, Building H. The symposium will be hosted by the University of Illinois Extension, University of Wisconsin Extension and Highland Community College. “Modern biomass systems are competitive with more expensive heating fuels, such as fuel oil, LP gas and electricity,” said Jay Solomon, a U of I Extension educator in energy and environmental stewardship. In northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, wood is a common heat source for homes, businesses and public buildings, according to Solomon. He noted northern Illinois, eastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin have a similar natural resource base for wood-biomass heating. The symposium will feature speakers from industry and equipment suppliers and universities, and members of the Illinois Biomass Working Group. Topics will include local opportunities, biomass heating experiences, current timber availability and a Midwest biomass effort. Registration is required. The early registration fee is $15 per person. After Oct. 17, the fee increases to $20. For more information, call U of I Extension at 815-235-4125 or visit {tinyurl.com/pc6whdf}.

will sponsor far mer lunches at 11 a.m. Thursday at Legacy Grain in Blue Mound, Oct. 10 at ADM Grain in Niantic and Oct. 18 at Topflight Grain in Emery. HITE — Far m Bureau will sponsor Life Line Screenings Wednesday at the Far m Bureau office. Members will receive a discount. Call 800-324-1851 to schedule an appointment. ILL — Far m Bureau will sponsor a centennial dinner celebration beginning at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at Joliet Junior College Weitendorf Agriculture facility in Joliet. Cost is $25. Orion Samuelson, WGN Radio, will be the speaker. Call the Far m Bureau office at 7274811 for reser vations by Nov. 4.

W W

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


PROFITABILITY

FarmWeek Page 10 Monday, September 30, 2013

Equipment operators must do their part for safe driving Last spring, Illinois Farm Bureau was part of a wonderful cooperative campaign titled “Caution: Slow Down, Share the Road,” which reminds drivers to be careful around farm equipment. Banners appeared around the state reminding motorists the importance of staying alert and aware in order to coexist with agriculture equipment that is often large and slow. The campaign is

BY KEVIN FRYE

ongoing, but receives special emphasis around planting and harvesting seasons due to the increased amount of equipment on the road. Educating motorists to be aware and drive safely around agriculture equipment is essential, but those who drive the equipment must do their part as well. I have personally been involved with two close calls while driving on rural roads, which were the fault of the

IEPA seeks legal action on Spoon River contamination Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director Lisa Bonnett last week asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to pursue legal action against Iowa-based Keokuk Junction Railway Co. (KJR) related to contamination of the Spoon River in Fulton County. IEPA is citing the company for several violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations. On Sept. 16, a train derailed, destroying a bridge over the river. Three tank cars containing corn syrup fell into the river and more than 20,000 gallons of corn syrup leaked into the water, according to IEPA. KJR and its parent company, Pioneer Railcorp (PR), hired contractors to remove the damaged cars and the spilled contents. On Sept. 21, IEPA and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources found about 400 dead fish near a dam near Bernadotte. Aerators were installed near the dam, and additional water sampling is ongoing. IEPA is asking the attorney general to compel KJR to: • Provide all data about the cars involved in the derailment, including the type and amount of material each carried, • Remove contaminated soil from the Spoon River bank and continue aerating the water, and • Provide data on the derailment cause and bridge failure and submit an emergency response plan.

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) $34.70-$48.00 $42.13 40 lbs. (cash) $55.50-$66.00 $61.62 Recipts

This Week 82,021 *Eastern Corn Belt prices picked up at seller’s farm

Last Week 116,065

Eastern Corn Belt direct hogs (plant delivered) Carcass Live

(Prices $ per hundredweight) This week Prev. week Change $89.72 $93.05 -$3.33 $66.39 $68.86 -$2.46

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

This week $124.00 NA

Prev. week $123.00 NA

Change $1.00 NA

driver in control of the agriculture equipment. While driving a loaded grain truck in my youth, I did not slow down early enough given the increased weight, and could not stop until reaching the other side of the highway. Kevin Frye The second incident involved a farm tractor pulling a wagon that disregarded a stop sign and turned in front of me, leading to a lot of smoke from my screeching tires. Thankfully, neither situation resulted in a crash, but they easily could have been disastrous. Intersections are a high risk

for serious accidents. A common error is to disregard a rural intersection due to perceived low traffic, or false security from sitting high in equipment and thinking this enables one to see all approaching traffic. Cornstalks, a dip in the road, glare from the sun and the many blind spots on equipment can easily block oncoming traffic. Driving agricultural equipment demands constant awareness of the machinery, soft shoulders, culverts, washed-out areas, hills, curves, narrow roads, bridges and even animals. Distracted driving — texting and/or talking on phones that are not hands-free — has no place in the cab. Seat belts should be worn at all

Lamb prices Slaughter Prices — Negotiated, Live, wooled and shorn 77-163 lbs. for 110.43-138 $/cwt. (wtd. ave. 121.39)

Export inspections (Million bushels) Week ending Soybeans Wheat Corn 9/19/2013 16.8 42.3 17.9 9/12/2013 3.0 46.5 20.2 Last year 12.6 22.6 24.8 Season total 21.6 462.8 46.3 Previous season total 35.2 331.3 62.5 USDA projected total 1370 1100 1225 Crop marketing year began June 1 for wheat and Sept. 1 for corn and soybeans.

Kevin Frye is GROWMARK’s safety services manager. His email address is kfrye@growmark.com.

Surprising hog numbers leave analysts rooting for answers BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek

Market analysts were shocked Friday as some of USDA’s estimates in the quarterly hogs and pigs report were much larger than pre-report projections. USDA estimated the inventory of market hogs (62.5 million head) was up three-tenths of a percent from last year. The average trade guess prior to the report called for a 1.7 percent decline in market hogs. Meanwhile, analysts expected the number of pigs saved per litter would remain steady due in part to an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). But USDA surprised traders when it estimated pigs saved per litter from June through August was a record-high 10.33. “The trade was looking for market hog numbers to be down 1.7 percent, but USDA came in (up three-tenths of a percent),” said Dale Durchholz, AgriVisor senior analyst. “That’s shocking. It’s a huge swing in the numbers.” Len Steiner, president of Steiner Consulting Group, also was baffled by USDA’s estimates. “We’re really scratching our heads on a couple of items (in the report),” Steiner said during a teleconference hosted by the National Pork Board. “The breeding herd number was below the lowest number analysts came up with, so somehow we’ve gotten out of sync.” USDA placed the breeding hog inventory at 5.81 million head, up three-tenths of a percent. Market analysts predicted a 1.5 percent increase. The total inventory of hogs and pigs as of

Sept. 1 totaled 68.36 million head, up threetenths of a percent from last year. Analysts prior to the report projected the inventory of hogs and pigs would be down 1 percent. “The report implies a very quick recovery in slaughter rates,” Dan Vaught, economist with Doane Advisory Services, said during the Pork Board’s teleconference. “If we don’t see that, we’ll start to question the numbers in this report very quickly.” Hog slaughter the last three weeks averaged 2.1 million head, down 8 percent from last year and 4.5 percent lower than the five-year average, according to the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report. Analysts looked for that trend to continue prior to the report. They also looked for PEDV, which is particularly lethal for piglets, to have an impact on the inventory estimates. So far this year, 644 cases of PEDV have been reported in 17 states, including Illinois. “There’s a lot of concern about it,” said Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics. “These numbers (of pigs saved per litter and the pig crop) were larger than I expected given what we know about PEDV.” The June-August pig crop was estimated at 30.2 million head, up 2 percent from 2012. The analysts expect the markets will open sharply lower the first of this week due to the bearish report. But hog prices are expected to remain profitable due to tight meat supplies. Steiner estimated carcass prices will average $87 per hundredweight in the fourth quarter of 2013, $86 in the first quarter of 2014, $90 in the second quarter of 2014 and $88 in the third quarter next year.

USDA

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 $159.37 $156.89 $2.48

times, just as in motor vehicles. Keep equipment in good condition with clean slow moving vehicle signs, working lights, good tires, responsive brakes and clean windshields. When pulling loads, use the proper sized hitch pin and safety clip. Use the correct safety chains as an extra precaution. Without question, the public needs to become educated about driving safely around farm equipment. But we also need to make sure we are doing our part to be conspicuously visible and to watch out for others. Good luck to you for a safe and successful harvest season.

NAP APPLICATION DATES — Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) application deadlines differ, depending on the crop being insured, according to the Farm Service Agency (FSA). •Nov. 20 is the application closing date for biannual and perennial crops, such as apples, asparagus, blueberries, caneberries, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, rhubarb and strawberries. • Dec. 1 is the application closing date for honey. Farmers should apply for NAP coverage using form CCC-471 (Application for Coverage). Related service fees are due when the application is filed. The application and service fee must be filed

Farm Service Agency

by the crop sales closing date. Contact your local FSA office for the filing dates for your crops. FILING NAP NOTICE OF LOSS — The CCC-576, Notice of Loss, is used to report failed acreage and prevented planting and may be completed by any farmer with an interest in the crop. Timely filing for a Notice of Loss is required for all crops, including grasses. For losses on crops covered by NAP and crop insurance, a farmer must file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss, in the FSA county office within 15 days of the disaster or when losses become apparent. If filing for prevented planting, an acreage report and CCC-576 must be filed within 15 calendar days of the final planting date for the crop.


PROFITABILITY

Page 11 Monday, September 30, 2013 FarmWeek

CASH STRATEGIST

Money leaving commodities

More than a few times over the last few months, we’ve come across a debate about whether the “Commodity Super Cycle” had come to an end. Looking at changes in the amount of money invested in commodities, there’s certainly reason to think that is a possibility. Still, there hasn’t been the “smoking gun” occurrence that would lend credence to that possibility. Nevertheless, the investment playing field has changed markedly over the last few months. Europe finally stopped the financial hemorrhaging of some of their weaker countries, bringing interest rates down while boosting economic activity. Chinese economic activity is starting to improve after going through an extended slowdown in their growth rate. And a new government in Japan finally took steps to aggressively stimulate growth to hopefully shake off the malaise that had plagued them for more than a decade. Our Federal Reserve continues to pursue an easy money policy to stimulate our growth. Stock markets around the world have responded,

attracting increasing interest. Hence, the big institutional investors that had been the cornerstone of the flow of money into commodity index funds were finding new opportunities outside of the commodity arena. This came at a time when investing in commodities had become more challenging. The spring swoon in the gold market likely hastened the departure. Meanwhile, the amount of money in hedge funds trading commodities remained near historic peaks, but it started to flatten out when it pushed over $300 billion in early 2012. The latest data for the second quarter of 2013 shows money may be starting to leave there as well. Given lackluster action since midsummer, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it drop again in the third quarter. From one perspective, the change is good. The decline in money in the market should mean less volatility than the last four years. But, as money leaves, it reduces the chances of seeing markets move near historic highs, let alone to new ones. Maybe the Commodity Super Cycle has peaked. A drop under 500 on the Continuous Commodity Index would certainly tilt the odds in favor of that. But it doesn’t necessarily mean lower prices, just less volatile ones.

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Corn Strategy

ü2013 crop: Even though the corn market struggles to hold gains, we still believe the downside has been exhausted for now. Wait for a rally to $4.70 on December futures to make needed sales. Unless there’s something unexpectedly bullish in the Oct. 11 USDA report, leave an order to sell another 10 percent if December futures hit $4.80. If corn is farm stored, use a hedge-to-arrive (HTA) contract for spring delivery to capture storage income. ü2014 crop: We continue to think initiating sales at $5.15 to $5.25 on December 2014 futures is a good move. But we are reluctant to leave an order to begin pricing until we know more about the current crop. vFundamentals: Early yield reports continue to be very good. Even though the later planted crops aren’t expected to be as good, as well as the western crops, it still looks like USDA’s last projection at 155.3 bushels is a realistic estimate. Even though acreage may be reduced as much as 3 million, it’s still difficult to build a scenario with ending stocks under 1.5 billion bushels

Cents per bu.

Soybean Strategy

ü2013 cr op: Continued short-term weakness in the soybean market has damaged the possibility of seeing a new high. But short-term downside risk is limited at this time. Wait for a rally to $13.60 to make catch-up sales. We might even add to sales at that level; check the Hotline. We don’t believe it will pay to store soybeans this year, other than maybe for a short time after harvest. ü2014 crop: The higher soybean/corn price ratio will stimulate plantings in South America, and maybe in the U.S. next spring. We may initiate sales if November 2014 futures rebound to $12.25; check the Hotline. vF u n d a m e n t a l s : L i k e corn, we continue to mostly hear of surprisingly good yields, even in many of the drier areas. But like corn, those crops in the western/northwestern areas will be the poorest. The Oct. 11 USDA report should offer good insight into

both yield and acreage on the crop being har vested, yield being the most uncertain.

Wheat Strategy

ü2013 cr op: T his past week’s rally should have turned the minor trend in wheat higher. World crop concern was the ingredient that helped turn the trend up. Use a rally to $6.95 on Chicago December futures to price another 15 percent, boosting sales to 70 percent. If wheat is far m stored, consider a winter deliver y with an HTA contract based on March futures. ü2014 crop: Leave an order

to make a 10 percent sale if Chicago July futures reach $7.05. vFundamentals: A wave of frost/freeze in Argentina, continued wet weather slowing planting in Ukraine and high Chinese prices carried wheat prices higher last week. The Argentine frost could cut expor t availability, tur ning Brazil to the U.S. or Canada to cover needs. Some think delays could cut Ukraine plantings 30 percent. China was rumored to be buying wheat again, this time from Australia. But it’s important to remember the world is not short of wheat.


PERSPECTIVES

FarmWeek Page 12 Monday, September 30, 2013

SPACE-AGE TECHNOLOGY: To infinity and beyond! When I was a student at the University of Illinois, I had the pleasure (yes, pleasure!) of being part of history. At the time, Dr. Philip Dziuk, a veterinarian and professor in animal reproductive physiology, was gathering information from trial research on how he could take fertilized eggs from an ovulating female pig and place those in a host female who was at the exact PAT same stage of estrus as TITUS the donor. I was a student in one of his reproductive physiology classes. This technology went on to be perfected and was very useful in the swine industry. BUT it was far more important when this technology moved along and was applied to humans. Years later, thousands of couples enjoy the joy of parenthood as a result of this technique that got its early start from animal agriculture. Who would have thought of the wide-reaching effect when the original hypothesis was formulated? One of my favorite TV shows is “Person of Interest.” In a nutshell, this CBS series is about two men — one of them a millionaire computer geek who created a machine that is capable of detecting all acts of terror on the plan-

et by monitoring every surveillance camera, every cellphone, email or technology. The other guy is an ex-CIA agent who uses this data to halt future violent crimes before they happen. Sounds a little far-fetched, don’t you think? Technology — particularly technology in agriculture — may not be that far off from this TV series. With each advancement in the area of information gathering and data sharing, new questions arise about how this data will be used. Within a short 30 years, precision agriculture has progressed from the 3acre grid mapping system for fertilizer application to a full gamut of data application and analysis for our fields. Now we can monitor crop yield, topography, moisture levels, organic matter content, nitrogen levels, phosphorus, pH and a host of other variables that can take agriculture into the space-age of farming. Satellite imagery and global positioning systems (GPS) have enhanced our capabilities to gather and perfect this information. In the beginning, variable rate technology (VRT) was used as a sales tool for the farmer to

simply save money on fertilizer costs and “put it where it’s needed.” But we’ve found out precision agriculture is so much more than that! Consider these questions about data collection and sharing. Who has access to the data you generate? How is it used? How secure is it? Do you have a formal agreement with your equipment vendor or supplier? What legal implications will surface from this data? Will it be used “for the good” or “against” you? What will the cost be? The Farm Production and Marketing (FPM) Strength with Advisory Team (SWAT) committee considered those questions. In April 2013, the American Far m Bureau Federation (AFBF) requested states discuss the options on data sharing/data privacy and if there is a need for policy on the topic. The Illinois Far m Bureau FPM SWAT committee recently tried to put common sense into the issues of agricultural privacy and ownership of data, how it is collected and how it is stored or used.

Uncertainty is certain in ag

Any farmer will tell you that with agriculture things don’t always go as planned. In fact, farmers often refer to farming as a gamble. We never know from the beginning of each growing season if our efforts will pay off in the end. A GLEN COPE farm, like any guest columnist business, is subject to many different variables that can each be vital factors in achieving a profit. One variable that sets agriculture apart is Mother Nature. The weather, when cooperative, can be a farmer’s best friend in terms of raising successful crops and providing ample forage for livestock. However, many times it has proven to be one of agriculture’s biggest adversaries. Both the widespread drought of 2012 and the more regional droughts during the previous year are prime examples of what a lack of moisture can do to food production. The flip side of that extreme is too much moisture. What farmer in the Midwest could forget the Mississippi River flood of 1993, which completely cov-

ered entire fields with water, drowning 20 million acres across nine states? Other examples of the tough hand Mother Nature can deal are frost, wind and hail damage to crops and infrastructure, which can also be common occurrences on the farm. Another uncertainty many farmers find equally as frustrating as the weather is market fluctuations for the crops they grow. Aside from normal supply and demand pressures on the market, other influences include the state of both the global and U.S. economies, growing conditions in competing countries and even hedge fund managers, who may find agriculture commodities attractive investments one day and completely pull money from them the next. Farmers always try to plan for a small profit after crops and livestock are sold. However, imagine the disappointment when something completely out of a farmer’s control causes the market to plunge. This uncertainty can make financial planning difficult for the best of farmers. This is why the phrase “farmers are price takers not price

makers” is often heard amongst the people who make their living off the land. With all the unknowns related to farming, it is extremely important that some of the risk be reduced. It is high time that our policymakers give farmers some assurance that if another bad weather year occurs, they won’t be financially ruined because of the high cost to produce a crop. If it were not for crop insurance, it would have been nearly impossible for even a debt-free family farm to survive a year like 2012. Crop insurance allows farmers to farm for another year. If another 1993 or 2012 occurs, many farmers will be forced to sell out because they have so much invested in the crop before it is even harvested. In light of all the uncertainty of farming, farmers need Congress to pass the farm bill and save the farm when disaster strikes again.

Glen Cope is a fourth-generation cattle rancher from Missouri. In 2012, he served as chairman of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.

Letter policy

Some of the ideas that surfaced included: • Your personal farm data has value. Do not give it up so freely. • Know how your data is used and who is provided the information. • IFB needs to educate farmers about data sharing, collection and dissemination. • Many of the companies currently gathering data indicate they have no intention of using the data in a harmful way. But in light of the various cyber leaks in other sectors of technology, how can farmers be guaranteed the utmost security of their data? The data is stored “in the cloud” and agreements are created for the manufacturers and their extended network of third party entities. How far-reaching are these agreements? Will this data be used to make a product better, or track trends in seed selection or be useful when crop insurance is underwritten? So what will we and those that gather it do with this data information? The use and benefit of it is up to us. Will we be “stuck in time” or flying like a rocket ship “to infinity ... and beyond?” Pat Titus and her husband, Phil, raise corn, soybeans and purebred swine near Arcola. Titus is safety and regulatory administrator for Illini FS. She serves on the SWAT FPM committee.

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