Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is Corn Rationing on the Horizon?

In the news as of late is speculation that the American corn supply may have finally maxed out, especially in a year that is expected to produce a smaller crop than in recent years.  

The much anticipated September USDA crop report is now behind us, and the supply-side estimates showed mixed results. The USDA slashed the yield estimate from the August estimate by a staggering 4.7 bushels per acre (bpa), to 148.1 2 bpa. A downward revision was in the market, but the estimate was below the average analysts’ guesstimate of 149.086 bpa. The crop estimate fell to 12.497 billion bushels, a scant 50 million bushels larger than the 2010-11 crop, which was planted on much smaller acreage.

On the other hand, the USDA maintained the August estimate for the harvested-to-planted ratio at 91.4%. Analysts were expecting to see the ratio lowered as well and were surprised that it was not. There is talk that once all the data are in, it will be reflected in the October estimate and that the cut could be as large as one million acres. That would bring the ratio down to 90.4%. Aside from the two disastrous crops in 2002-03 and 1993-94, that would be near the low end of the range of the past 20 years. Were that to happen, the crop would be 12.351 billion bushels – actually smaller than last year’s crop!
Many are blaming ethanol as the new game changer in the market place as the congressional RFS has been fully realized in the last few years.  This doesn't make the livestock industry happy at all:

Representatives from the livestock, dairy and poultry industries testified Sept. 14 about feed availability—or as one witness said, feed unavailability—in front of a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. Although comments varied, the majority pointed to the ethanol industry as a main factor in rising feed prices and called on Congress to end government subsidies, particularly for corn ethanol, while also providing a mechanism for a renewable fuel standard (RFS) waiver and altering Conservation Reserve Program policies to open up more cropland for planting.

So where does this leave American agriculture, once a unified industry?  Just as the 2012 farm bill is getting ready to be written, the  lack of unity will likely affect the outcome.  Couple this with the pending changes that are set to slash up to $1.6 trillion in federal spending, things aren't looking good for agriculture.

Friday, August 26, 2011

NCGA - Cellulosic Fuels Just a Fantasty?

A recent post on the National Corn Growers Association blog "Corn Commentary" is causing quite a stir in the bio-fuels world: 

When a two year-old throws a temper tantrum because he cannot have a pet unicorn, it can seem confusing, annoying or possibly endearing.  No matter which gut reaction a parent has, they universally understand the need to explain the concept of “nonexistent.” When the Environmental Protection Agency continually demands the impossible, why are they treated any differently?

The issue is simple.  The updated version of the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates usage of 250 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol this year and 500 million gallons by 2012.  As of June 2011, zero gallons of qualifying cellulosic ethanol were produced.  The target is, under current conditions, an impossible demand.

It is a demand based on promises.  Much as parents may tell stories about unicorns and fairies, some players in the ethanol and environmental industries pushed a product which they were not prepared to deliver.  In both scenarios, optimism created a beautiful vision of a world that does not exist.  Once the story was sold, neither party could meet the unrealistic expectation that they had created.
The blog post created such a stir in the bio-fuels world that it was later taken down and is now only available via google cache.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

U of Illinois Agronomy Day 2011

The University of Illinois Agronomy Day will be held Thursday August 18 at the South Farms on the University of Illinois Campus

Agronomy Day is a great opportunity for farmers, agri-business and others to come see and learn the latest about research in agriculture.  The opportunity for lunch and good networking is also a long tradition at Agronomy Day.

Come out and enjoy!

Half Century of Progress

The Half Century of Progress returns to Rantoul, Illinois on August 25-28, 2011.  Don't miss this great showcase of historic farm equipment. 

Friday, July 01, 2011

Fwd: News for YOU for the 4th of July Holiday!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Susie Harbaugh" <>
Date: Jul 1, 2011 11:21 AM
Subject: News for YOU for the 4th of July Holiday!
To: "Susie Harbaugh" <>



A weekly update for active volunteers

who want to stay




News for YOU for the Week Ending July 1





Gerald Henry, CCFB Director representing Sadorus Township, proudly displays the 2011 wheat crop which he was harvesting on Wednesday.  Henry has plans to retire after this, his 40th crop year.  He was hoping for an 84 bushel-per-acre yield on his soft red winter variety and planned to bale the residual straw prior to double-cropping soybeans with his Kinze 15-inch row, no-till planter.  Wheat from the Henry farm will end up at Siemer Milling in Teutopolis to be used in bread and cracker flour.


NEARLY 30 SPEAKERS HAVE BEEN BOOKED FOR THE 2ND ANNUAL LEADERSHIP ACADEMY slated for the 5 Mondays in August.  The first evening kicks off with a working session in leadership led by Dr. Tom Ramage, President of Parkland College and continues with hands-on sessions regarding the media taught by IFB personnel and University of Illinois professionals.  There will be an etiquette lunch and the opportunity to question a panel of past Farm Bureau Presidents to glean their expertise.  Attorney Steve Beckett will be on hand to explain Parliamentary Procedure while Executive Director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities for Illinois Farm Bureau Mark Gebhards will kick off a session on legislative issues that will also be attended by Representative Chad Hays, and members of the Champaign City Council and the Champaign County Board.  Interim Chancellor and Provost Robert Easter is slated as the keynote speaker at the final Leadership Academy session scheduled for Monday, August 29.  Applications are available by calling 352-5235 or e-mailing  Deadline to apply is July 15.  This is a TREMENDOUS opportunity to expand your knowledge base and fine tune your leadership skills for positions in Farm Bureau, your community and beyond.  Consider the opportunity!


THIS IS THE WEEK FOR THE CCFB FOUNDATION PULL 4 AGRICULTURE at Olde Barn Sporting Clays on Saturday!  Walk-ins are welcome from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. so bring a team down or shoot individually!  Each shooter gets a raffle ticket for a Beretta shotgun and lunch… CASH PRIZES for the winners!  The 5 Stand will also be open for a chance to win Cabela's gift cards!  Why not come on down to Oakland, have some fun, and help raise money to support our young people who are hoping to pursue a career in agriculture! 


YOUNG AG LEADERS WILL MEET THIS THURSDAY AT 7 P.M in the CCFB Auditorium.  Agenda items will include finalizing a sign-up sheet for workers at the Fisher Fair; plans for the Champaign County Fair Kiddie Peddle Tractor Pull; Discussion on the Tractor Safety School for youth; and an opportunity for an event for Young Ag Women that is scheduled for July 27.  Beat the heat!  Come out for dinner and discussion on Thursday evening!


TRACTOR SAFETY SCHOOL REGISTRATION IS OPEN for farm youth ages 14 years and older through July 15.  This Young Ag Leader sponsored project will train youth who work or plan to work on farms and run tractors on the proper methods to safely operate farm equipment.  Dates for the school will be August 5 and 6 and August 19 and 20 with a possible skill practice date of August 13.  Friday classes will run from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the Saturday portions are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Class participants are required to attend all four sessions to become certified.  Registration is $40 for Champaign County residents and $80 for out-of-county residents, payable at the time of registration.  Student manuals, handouts, meals and refreshments are all covered in the tuition fee.  Call Brenda at 352-5235 to register.




Jim Esworthy, a 100th Anniversary Committee Member, looks over the final manuscript of the CCFB 100th Anniversary Book written and compiled by Harold Guither during a meeting of that committee on Tuesday evening in the conference room.  The full color cover is completed for the manuscript and plans call for publishing to begin on or around the end of July.  Excitement is mounting for a raffle, a trivia night, a golf outing, a tractor drive, a family picnic and a fall harvest fest to celebrate this great milestone in Farm Bureau history!  The 100th anniversary of CCFB officially begins on Monday, January 30, 2012, with the county annual meeting featuring guest speaker, Orion Samuelson. 


YOUNG AG LEADERS WHO HAVE ORDERED TICKETS FOR THE CORNBELTERS GAME on July 8 at 7 p.m. should plan to pick tickets up at Will Call upon their arrival at the game.  For more information about this event, contact Anna Zieglar at Macon County Farm Bureau:


TOOLSHED MEETINGS WILL PUT FARM BUREAU TO WORK ON ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU!  Wednesday, July 13, is the date and there are THREE LOCATIONS and times to fit your need.Meet and greet Mark Gebhards, Executive Director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities at 8 a.m. for donuts, coffee and juice at Mark Pflugmacher's shed, Gifford.  Lunch will be served at Dick Parnell's shed, located at 1837 CR 500 E, Champaign.  By 3 p.m. you'll be ready for ice cream from none other than the world famous Sidney Dairy Barn.  Jerry Watson will be hosting this afternoon session at his tool shed located 1 mile east of route 130 on County Road 200 N near Villa Grove.  Come and voice your concerns over the latest developments regarding truck regulations; free trade agreements; the 2012 Farm Bill; EPA regulations; New state and congressional maps; the Illinois budget and it's impact on agriculture; or any other items of concern to YOU.  THIS IS OUR OPPORTUNITY to lock arms and get our questions answered and MORE IMPORTANTLY, our VOICES HEARD!




Farming Founders

A 4th of July GIFT from CCFB Director Lin Warfel


Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison

are noted for being framers.

They molded ideas grand

into a plan for freedom


They yearned with all their might

to breathe free

pushing back from tyranny

Tom J had ideas in mind

"that independent farmers should be

the foot soldiers of the nation."


So they were

and so they are.


The framers, farmers,

had thoughts too for trees and soil

James M proclaimed: 'Preserve'

the forests and the soil.


They framed the constitution

pledging their lives, their farms and fortunes, their sacred honor

Their names on the line condemned them

to do or die, hanged as traitors....


With their doing

they gifted us

the soil, the fields and forests

They planted the nation crop

One man asked:

"What have you given us?"

to Ben Franklin of the document.

"A democratic republic sir, if you can keep it."

answered he.


Today we fly our flags

watch the parades and fireworks


those who pledged and did, who do,

put themselves on the lines

defending, preserving

the daily gift to us:




Oh! thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


*Verse 4, The Star Spangled Banner, F.S.Keyes


Lin 4 July 2011



Illinois Farm Families Launch Program   The Illinois Farm Families coalition -- commodity groups for beef, corn, soybeans, pork and Farm Bureau -- kicks into a higher gear for summer by bringing a national program "Farmers Feed Us" to Illinois.  The sweepstakes program launches July 5 and will award two grand prizes of Free Groceries for a Year ($5,000).

   "Farmers Feed Us" is a contest that runs for 90 days, through October 2.   It is a publicity activity to begin a long-running series of  events for the Illinois Farm Families (IFF) coalition. 

   County Markets Stores -- with 33 Illinois locations -- will be the retail partner for this promotion.  Its stores will utilize point-of-sale materials featuring Illinois farmers.  Space in a number of their stores has been secured for advertising circulars, promoting the sweepstakes directly to consumers.

   Print, radio and television ads for Farmers Feed Us are scheduled to run  in July.   The ads feature five farm families that raise the coalition commodities, plus dairy.  Ads will run both in the Chicago area and downstate.

   The sweepstakes will serve as the launch point for on-going Illinois Farm Families communications platform, designed to engage consumers throughout the state with information about how their food is grown, while introducing them to farmers in Illinois.

    Featured farm families for Farmers Feed Us are: Ron and Deb Moore, soybean farmers from Roseville;  Brent and Kathy Scholl, pork farmers from Polo; Dave and Linda Drendel, dairy farmers from Hampshire; Mike and Lynn Martz, beef producers from Maple Park;  Steve and Elizabeth Ruh, corn farmers from Sugar Grove.

    Watch for local names YOU know as the program expands into Champaign County!





along with Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) and Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) are proposing a "major push back" against proposed regulations that will overburden the operators of Illinois' #1 industry:  Agriculture.  "We need to raise awareness as much as possible," said Brown on Thursday during an afternoon press conference at CCFB.  "It's important to get farmers back in the fields where they should be and alleviate their concern about these regulations regarding implements of husbandry, the for-hire designation regarding crop-share farm leases and the interpretation of interstate versus intrastate."  These three legislators are sponsoring House Resolution 470 which urges the federal government to reverse its recent interpretation of farm vehicle rules.


TRUCK REGS - At the request of several members of Congress, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the comment period on Docket ID: FMCSA 2011-0146, Applicability of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to Operators of Certain Farm Vehicles and Off-Road Agricultural Equipment,  by 30 days until  August 1, 2011. IFB's Adam Nielsen says given the concerns of other state Farm Bureaus about meeting the June 30 deadline, we did not oppose an extension as long as FMCSA remained committed to providing updated guidance by fall harvest.  They assure us they will be working to meet that goal. CCFB has had some FABULOUS letters come through the office from members on their way to the mailbox.  Content has included specific ways that the interpretation of these laws will negatively impact individual farm operations.  KEEP WRITING!  If you need assistance, editing, or the FAX or mailing address, let us know.  We're here to help!



"I'll be out of the office on July 8……see you again on Friday, July 15!  Have a VERY blessed 4th of July holiday!"




Susie Harbaugh, Assistant Manager

801 N. Country Fair Drive, Ste. A

Champaign, IL 61821

Phone: (217) 352-5235

Fax: (217) 352-8768


Wednesday, November 24, 2010