Monday, September 24, 2012

Cattlemen switching from grain

Ah, it's a good time to be a cow. Sweets instead of grain.

I wonder if it will still be labeled "corn-fed beef" at the supermarket!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Safety in Rural Environments

The majority assume that living outside of heavily urban or suburban areas decreases the likelihood of their encountering a situation in which they would have to defend themselves or their loved ones from a lethal threat.
Oh, how that is so far from being true! In our very own McLean County, there are 3 deputies covering the entire county (the LARGEST geographic county in the state) at any given time. Protect yourself and your family.

Read more from PDN...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stop talking about Drought. Let's talk about Seed.

With rains from Issac washing away the stories of drought from this summer (while not really ending the drought, mind you) the new top Ag story is of gloom and doom for 2013. Seed companies are sounding the alarm of reduced supplies. I heard a story this weekend that Pioneer is working with South American farmers to produce seed corn this winter to make up for the lost supply by the drought-hit fields of Indiana. 

WJBC reports that not all seed companies are worried. Wyffels is reporting a better year this year than last. That just goes to show you, you can plan all you want to - it isn't man that is in control of the weather or farming.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Don't Fret, Drought Good For Wine

While the U.S. drought has punished corn and soybean crops, grape growers say they have a bit to cheer. Vintners throughout the nation's midsection say their vineyards generally have proven resilient to the months of battering heat and dryness. They say that's because the drought has left the surviving grapes with concentrated flavors and sugar, stoking the promise of standout wine.
Read more from WHOW...

Got Fire Extinguisher?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Illinois Cattle Farmers Turn to Crop Grazing

Some Central Illinois cattle farmers have turned their cattle out on corn crop fields that will not yield enough grain to be worth harvesting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bigger and Better, #FPS12 Expands by 85 acres

An increased demand for space at the Farm Progress Show has resulted in the expansion of the field by another street.

“When the Farm Progress Show site was built in Boone, it was built to accommodate the largest show usage in recent times,” says Matt Jungmann, National events manager. “As assignments for space were completed this spring, it became clear that extra space was needed to accommodate all the requests by exhibitors and the investment would need to be made to accommodate those requests.”

The Farm Progress Show grounds have grown from twelve streets to thirteen. That increase equates to 3.68 million square feet of exhibit space or close to 85 acres.

The 2012 Farm Progress Show takes place in Boone, Iowa, August 28, 29 and 30. The exhibit field is open to visitors 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. For a full schedule of events and more detailed information, visit And don't forget to check out our coverage of the show right here on!

Why I'm headed to Farm Progress 2012

It sure would be easy to take a year off and wait for Farm Progress 2013. I mean, I'm going to have to travel up to Iowa, miss a day of real work, and probably get so nasty dirty that the girls will hose me down before I'm allowed back in the house.

The thing is, there is A LOT going on in agriculture this year. The drought, farm bill, livestock sell-off, economy, and election are all big items for discussions. Looking at the official program that the folks at @FPShow sent me, manufacturers and dealers are counting on a big turnout. The programs are as varied as always, and the forecast looks great, as noted by fellow blogger Chuck Zimmerman. Yes, I think it is a great year to head to Iowa!

Watching Crop Tour for Direction

Read more from WJBC...

Yes, it is that scary

Overall, the August corn projection foresees a 10.1 percent reduction in utilization on a 12.8 percent reduction in production. In addition, the projection of year-ending stocks was reduced to 650 million bushels, the lowest level since the 1995 crop year.
From Policy Pennings...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crop Insurance - Set It Free?

Lots of talk this year about crop insurance. The current system is a bit messed up, and lots of confusing government speak and arcane rules. If You Love Crop Insurance, Set It Free!

Getting Ready for Farm Progress 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Insult to Injury

Forget the drought. Corn farmers in Illinois have another concern:
Last year, Iowa State University's Aaron Gassmann confirmed populations of western corn rootworms that are resistant to the Cry3Bb1 protein. At today's University of Illinois' Agronomy Day, U of I agronomist Mike Gray announced that he'd confirmed the exact same thing in Illinois.
Read more from

Weed Control Options

Bayer CropScience is touring the Midwest and South again this summer urging farmers to "respect the rotation." Now entering its third year, the company’s Respect the Rotation program advocates rotating crops, herbicides and traits to keep additional herbicide options from falling victim to weed resistance.

Read more from

Drought affects Ethanol production

Some ethanol plants in the U.S. have stopped production because of the drought.
Technology and Business Development Director for the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Dave Loos, said the reaction is about more than just a lack of corn for production. He said it’s market conditions such as corn prices, natural gas prices and the price of ethanol on the market compared with gasoline. Loos said it is possible that some plants could shut down.

Experts Urge Grain Bin Readiness

Despite drought conditions hampering the growing season, Illinois farmers are still going to be harvesting this fall, and things are shaping up for an early harvest. Experts are encouraging farmers to prepare their grain bins now.

Audio from WHOW...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cargill CEO calls for Corn Rationing

From the Chicago Tribune, discussing the government ethanol mandates:
"If all of that (demand rationing) is only on livestock or food consumers, it really makes the burden disproportionate. What we see are 3 or 4 percent declines in supply lead to 40 to 50 percent increases in prices, and I think the mandates are what drives that price elasticity which I think needs to be addressed,"

High corn prices force Ethanol discussion

High corn prices sparked by the drought are leading to renewed calls for an end to the ethanol mandate. 

Illinois needs 12 to 15 inches of rain

Most of Illinois needs 12 to 15 inches of rain in order to bring the state up to its normal levels. Across the MidWest and the Plains, rainfall amounts from 9 to over 15 inches are needed. Rain today (8/8/2012) will make only a small dent in this total, with most corn crops already past the point where additional moisture will be beneficial.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Secret Farm Bill???

Last fall, House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders tried to insert a “secret farm bill” in the super committee’s un-amendable deficit reduction package. They failed.
Now some of those same leaders are trying to evade a floor vote by the full House by extending the current law for a year, as a pretense to negotiate a five-year farm bill with the Senate, which has already passed its version of the $1 trillion bill.
And this time, some of those who backed the “secret farm bill” gambit aren’t keeping their intentions so secret.  They would like to avoid House debate on a bill that cost even more than the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP.
Read more from EWG Ag...

Crop Claims to top 1988

Steve Worthington, who oversees crops claims for Country Financial, predicts crop damage this summer will top the $40 billion in losses that farmers took during the 1988 drought.
from WJBC...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Variance in Corn Crop

This picture from twitter (courtesy of @ILDeere) shows just how much variance we may see in the 2012 corn crop due to the drought conditions. This is the same field, same plant date, and so relatively the same amount of moisture.

Flexibility in Farmland Leasing

From WJBC: “Certainly Illinois is unique, because we are one of the leading states in the number of acres that are not owned by farmers. About 62 percent of the farmland is rented by farmers from someone else. Most of the states, even in the Midwest, have a much higher farmer-owner rate, and so the rental area of Illinois is always a hot topic,” explained Don Meyer, a broker with Lee Realty working in real estate and farm management. ... Many farmers have had questions in the last five to ten years about variations on cash leases. Some who are locked into a fixed rate would now like to be more involved in sharing the risk, as well as the reward. Read more...

Friday, July 20, 2012

More Illinois CRP grazing

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Scherrie V. Giamanco announced that in response to drought conditions, FSA has authorized emergency haying and/or grazing use of certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres for 54 counties.


The following counties are approved for emergency CRP haying and grazing: Adams;Alexander, Bond; Brown; Calhoun; Cass; Christian; Cumberland; DeWitt; Edgar; Edwards;Fayette; Franklin; Gallatin; Greene; Hamilton; Hardin, Jackson, Jasper; Jefferson; Jersey;JoDaviess; Johnson, Livingston; Logan; Macon; Macoupin; Madison; Marion; Mason; Massac,McLean; Menard; Montgomery; Morgan; Piatt; Pike; Pope, Pulaski, Randolph; Richland;Saline, Sangamon; Schuyler; Scott; Shelby; Stephenson; Tazewell; Union, Wayne; White;Williamson ;Winnebago and Woodford.


The haying authorization will become effective August 2, 2012, which is after the wildlife nesting and brood rearing season in Illinois and shall not exceed August 31, 2012. The authorization to graze also will begin on August 2, 2012 not to exceed September 30, 2012.


"Eligible producers who are interested in emergency haying and/or grazing of CRP must request approval at their County FSA office before haying and/or grazing eligible acreage," said Giamanco. "It is also important for producers to obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that includes haying and/or grazing requirements," she said.


Upon approval of emergency haying, producers must leave at least 50 percent of each field or contiguous fields unhayed for wildlife. The same CRP acreage cannot be both hayed and grazed.


In addition, participants are limited to one hay cutting and are not permitted to sell any of the hay.There will be a 10 percent CRP payment reduction based on the number of acres actually hayed or grazed. Eligible producers who are interested in grazing must leave at least 25 percent of each field or contiguous CRP field ungrazed for wildlife, or graze not more than 75 percent of the stocking rate as determined by NRCS.


Producers who do not own or lease livestock, may rent or lease the haying or grazing privilege to an eligible livestock producer.


For more information on eligibility requirements and to request approval for emergency haying and/or grazing of CRP acres, contact your local County FSA office.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grazing of CRP

Cass County has been released for emergency haying and grazing of CRP acreage. Eligible producers must visit the office to identify areas to be hayed or grazed  and obtain approval before starting any activities. No grazing or cutting for hay can begin until August 2. The CRP annual rental payment will be reduced by 10% for the number of acres hay or grazed. For haying, 50% of each field or contiguous fields must not be harvested. For grazing, this figure is 25% or can be 0 if stocking rate is reduced. Call the FSA office at 217-452-7781 for more information.     

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why food prices SHOULDN'T go up

Joe explains correctly why the drought should not have a direct impact on non-meat food prices. However, markets being what they are, who knows for sure.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Young Farmers

2012 Farm Progress Show

The 2012 Farm Progress Show will be held in Boone, IA on August 28th-30th. Last year's show was just down the road from us in Decatur, IL. Local farmers and students that attended reported that the show was one of the best they had attended. If you're planning on going this year, tickets are available now.

Jared White from DewittDailyNews has an audio interview preview of this year's show.

Here's a slideshow of last year's show

Crop Insurance Payments Increasing

"Crop insurance could make large payments in 2012 as low yields become increasingly likely as a result of hot, dry growing conditions. Roughly 60% of the corn acres and 50% of soybean acres in Illinois are insured at high coverage levels with revenue products containing guarantee increase provisions. These acres likely will receive large payments if drought conditions continue."
Read more from Farm Industry News...

Drought effects on Food Prices?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Record Corn Crop?

Imagine walking into a corn field and sticking a spade into a 1 inch crack, only to find its deep enough to swallow the entire thing. That’s what happened to Chad Colby, of Cross Implement Inc. in Illinois, this week. He was walking a field with one of his growers discussing the same topic that is on the mind of most of the Midwest: Will the rain come in time?

Farmers throughout the country are living on a finite timeline. Counting the number of days they can survive without a rain. Brian Scott, a farmer near Monticello, Ind., says the weather has got to turn around soon. In fact he says that if it doesn’t rain by July 4, things are going to get really ugly really fast. "I don’t think it will be dead, but it’s going to be hurt awful bad," he says.
Read more from AgWeb...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

No rain affects more than crop growth...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Illinois Crops Still Dry

From WJBC: Although much of the state got some rain over the weekend, Illinois crops are still dry, especially in the southern third of the state. Seventy percent of the topsoil moisture in the state measures short or very short, and 75 percent of the subsoil moisture falls into those two categories.

Concern for IL Drought

Markets are beginning to realize the upcoming production effects of the drought. Even after 1" of rain this weekend, low precipitation quantities and 90+ heat are taking their toll on crops.

From Reuters:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Demand for soybeans remain high

Read more at Farm Futures.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heyworth FFA Learns in the Field

Local FFA chapter manages 23 acres along busy Illinois highway. Read more from AgriNews Online.

Got Hay?

Producers are encouraged to use Hay Net on the FSA website ( This online service allows producers with hay and those who need hay to post ads so they can make connections. Hay Net is a popular site for farmers and ranchers who have an emergency need, such as the one caused by wintery or flooded conditions. Individual ads can be posted free of charge by producers who complete a simple online registration form the first time they use the site.


Chess Game Over Farm Bill

From Politico: "As the Senate stews over which farm bill amendments to vote on, a chess game is being played, with fresh proposals filed each day in an effort to shape the outcome of the debate."

Grain Bin Safety

Area ag students learn about grain bin safety.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Put N Where You Need It

Becks Hybrids: Put late-season nitrogen where you need it, when you need it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Conservation Farm Tour

Plan to attend one of the six tours to learn how constructed wetlands, prairies and woodlands work in agricultural lands and what cost share programs are available that can help maintain profits while protecting the natural resources in the Mackinaw River watershed.  The event is sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, McLean County SWCD, McLean County NRCS, Monsanto and the Franklin Family. 
  • Franklin Farm located near Lexington, IL
  • June 13, 2012
  • 8:30a.m.-3:00 p.m.
For more information or to register for a tour contact the McLean County Soil & Water Conservation District at 309-452-0830 ext.3

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Farm Land Prices

@NickTimiraos: Farmland values surge in Midwest, up 19% year-over-year

Thursday, May 10, 2012

MCFB Leadership Scholarships

McLean County Farm Bureau Foundation has announced the five recipients of the 2012- 2013 Leadership Scholarships. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship for educational expenses. Scholarships are awarded to students from McLean County based on leadership and interest in agriculture. Megan Bloemer, a senior at Heyworth High School plans to major in Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois. Leroy High School senior, Mary Kline, plans to pursue an Animal Science degree at Kansas State University. Kelsey Davis will be a sophomore at Illinois College, studying biology with plans to become a Veterinarian. University of Illinois student, Olivia Harris, will be a sophomore majoring in Agricultural Communications. Gracie Weinzierl will be a junior at Illinois State University studying Agricultural Education and Agronomy.

USDA Projects Massive Corn Crop

The USDA is forecasting a corn crop nearly 20 percent larger than the one farmers harvested in 2012. Read more...

Suicide Higher on Family Farms?

It's family farmers who are left exposed when the economy turns cloudy. The same 'frontier mentality' that has kept them hanging on for so long often holds them back from seeking help. Read more...

Farm Bill Update

GUEBERT: Sugar water or Kool-Aid? Farm bill is empty spending

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obama's War on Family Farms

President Obama and his administration are making life on the family farm harder.

Precision Farming Effects

One of the many effects (some positive, some not) of precision fertilizer placement...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Speculating corn prices on acreage, production

Prospects for a large increase in corn acreage support expectations for more abundant stocks next year, but opinions about the magnitude of the build-up vary considerably. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some acreage intended for corn will be planted to soybeans due to the shift in price relationships following the March survey.

2,4-D Resistant Corn

A new biotech corn developed by Dow AgroSciences could answer the prayers of U.S. farmers plagued by a fierce epidemic of super-weeds. Or it could trigger a flood of dangerous chemicals that may make weeds even more resistant and damage other important U.S. crops.

Moms headed to Soybean fields

Nine Chicago-area moms will grow soybeans in their backyards and on their patios, as a hands-on experiment in producing one of Illinois' most important agricultural crops. The urban moms are being guided by Ron and Deb Moore of Roseville, Ill., who raise soybeans and corn on 1,000 acres. The experiment is part of an Illinois Farm Families initiative to open our farm doors, show consumers how we grow your food, and answer your questions about food and farming.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sustainable Student Farm at U of I

The Sustainable Student Farm at the University of Illinois is generating youth interest in farming.

Son of Warren Buffet Farms in Illinois

Buffett Son Pushes Fellow Farmers to Help Combat Hunger in Local Communities - The middle son of the Oracle of Omaha farms in Central Illinois.

Farm Land Prices Increasing

Reported by the Kansas City Star, farm land prices in the Midwest (including Illinois) rose 22 percent in 2011. From data from the Federal Reserve, this indicates that the cost of farming continues to rise and profits will be squeezed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Buffalo Grove Farm Celebrates 100 years

Adapting to a changing environment is critical to longevity in farming. This story from Buffalo Grove describes the journey of the Didier family, from dairy to retail greenhouses.

Fracking Coming to Illinois

Southern Illinois farmers could be impacted by the oil and natural gas extraction process known as "fracking." Article from WUIS.

Adding a New Generation to Farming

From WLDS: The group behind a new web site is hoping to catch the online generation’s interest in farming across West Central Illinois. The website is

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rainfall arrives across Illinois

This weekend brought rainfall across Illinois as farmers continue to report good progress with planting. Some areas in south-central portions of the state received enough rainfall to cause localized flooding and pooling in low areas. Generally, this rainfall is welcomed as dry conditions have persisted for the past month.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Crop damage to early plantings

Report from McLean county of some crop damage to planted corn. A risk you take with planting really early.

What's all that green stuff? Alfalfa ahead of schedule

A short drive around the Illinois countryside will likely reveal small fields of 18" green, leafy plants. What is it? Why it is Alfalfa, and it is running ahead of schedule this year. Memorial Day, the traditional first harvest for Alfalfa, is still 6 weeks away. But with hot weather earlier, along with moderate cold nights this Spring, Alfalfa is ahead of schedule.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Illinois Corn Promotion

Corn farmers in Central Illinois have two big advocates, both located in Bloomington, IL. Each organization has its own important role. Lindsay Mitchell from the corncrops blog explains.

Illinois Farmers Increase Corn Check-Off Rate

Illinois farmers have voted overwhelmingly to increase the rate per bushel going to the corn check-off program. Money from the program is used for research, development, and marketing of Illinois corn. Read more from the Aledo Times Record.

17 percent of Illinois corn crop planted

According to NASS and reported in the The State Journal-Register, Illinois farmers have planted 17 percent of their corn crop already.

Placemats Promote Farms

The Vermillion County Farm Bureau is using advertising on local restaurant placements to dispel myths of Illinois farms. Nice!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Buffet Rule to affect on farmers?

President Obama is pushing for the so-called "Buffet Rule". If enacted, individuals making over $1m per year would pay a minimum of 30% in taxes. The effects of such a plan on farmers is unknown, although most would agree that $1m per year in profits is not the norm. The bigger issue is whether the US should have a progressive tax plan that punishes success. At what point does 30% for $1m in income turn into 30% for $100k in income?

Farmers Debate Early Planting

Probably the most popular conversation topic over coffee in the local hangouts is "Are you planting yet?". Some farmers in Central Illinois have been out planting early corn crops. Others warn that the cold temperatures are not yet gone, and surface temperatures are too low to promote good growth. I spoke with an 80 year old Indiana farmer who plants by the calendar, not by the current weather. He's been farming for 60 years, so I'd say he's got it right. More thoughts from the Quincy Herald-Whig.

Illinois set to "Quick Grab" Farmland

From the Chicago Tribune, Illinois government is considering using "Quick Take" legislation to grab homes and farmland in order to build a toll road in Northern Illinois.