Saturday, January 06, 2007

Charlyn Fargo Leaves State Journal Register

Longtime Springfield Illinois State Journal Register Agriculture reporter Charlyn Fargo has left the news-paper after 27 years on the job. She has accepted a position as Bureau Chief for the Department of County Fairs and Horse Racing in the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Charlyn wrote her last story in the Saturday edition of the SJ-R.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Livestock producers still trying to recover from storm

The Brownfield network has a story regarding livestock producers in Nebraska:

The massive winter storm that hammered the Plains this past weekend brought
an inch of ice or more to a large chunk of Nebraska, and power still hasn't been
restored in some spots. Utility crews from South Dakota and Iowa have been
brought into help their counterparts in Nebraska, but some locations may not see
power restored for many more days. That's because the ice storm did so much
damage to Nebraska's rural electric infrastructure. According to a press release
from the Iowa Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, which has sent crews
to Nebraska, the storm did major damage to the state's electricity grid from
"Lexington north to Broken Bow, extending northeast through Neligh and Norfolk,
south through Aurora, and down to the Kansas border."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Where is winter?

East central Illinois has had a very mild winter thus far. We have had a week's worth of weather that has been about 50 degrees each day.

Do you think this will last?

Machinery Costs Rise

The University of Illinois's FBFM released it's latest machinery costs last month.

Per Acre Machinery Costs and Values on Illinois FBFM Farms,
2005 summaries of Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM) records
indicate that power costs on Illinois farms averaged $68 per acre in 2005. Power
costs contain charges for utilities ($6), repairs ($17), machine hire ($8), fuel
and oil ($16), light vehicle ($2) and machinery depreciation
Variability in Power Costs
Power costs varied considerably across
FBFM grain farms, as illustrated in Figure 1. Each dot shows an individual
farm's power cost on the vertical axis and tillable acres on the horizontal
axis. One-third of the farms had per acre power costs less than $57 per acre
while another one-third had costs higher than $74 per acre.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Sorghum Beer by AB

Food Navigator is reporting that Anheuser-Bush has developed a sorghum based beer for those consumers who are allergic to wheat or barley based beer.

Targeted at consumers following a wheat-free or gluten-free diet, the
beverage, called Redbridge, will be sold in stores carrying organic products and
restaurants. Sorghum, the primary ingredient in Redbridge, is a safe grain for those allergic to wheat or gluten. It is grown in the United States, Africa, Southern Europe, Central America and Southern Asia. Sorghum beers have been available internationally for years and are popular in many African countries.
“We set out to create a fine, hand-crafted specialty beer made without wheat or barley,” said Angie Minges, product manager, Anheuser-Busch.

AgWired - Ag related blog

AgWired is another great blog in the agriculture world, run by Chuck and Cindy Zimmerman, AgWired has many great stories each day and is updated frequently with fresh content. AgWired also has a frequent PodCast with guests related to agriculture. I was impressed with the depth of information on the page and found it quite easy to use.

Here is some information from there blog about their company:

ZimmComm is a “new media” company that
specializes in blogging, podcasting and managing RSS feeds for the
industry. The company also operates a customized news release
production and
distribution business called AgNewsWire which features their patented
Talking News Releases and the ability to post your release directly in front
farmers. If you want to use the internet to reach your customers and
then give the pioneering experts a call today.
Besides creating
and managing blogs and podcasts for clients, ZimmComm also publishes a few of
their own like “AgWired,” which focuses on what’s new in the world of
agribusiness, targeting agricultural marketing & communications
professionals. Other ZimmComm blogs include: World Dairy Diary, the world dairy
business blog and DomesticFuel, renewable fuel news.
Advertising and promotional opportunities are available on all of these

BioDiesel to add $24 billion to US Economy

Agri-News is reporting that Bio Diesel will add $24 billion in value to the US economy in the coming years as use of the bio fuel grows.

The emergence of biodiesel is helping bolster the U.S. economy by way of
jobs and reducing dependence on imports.According to the economic analysis by
John M. Urbanchuk of LECG and funded by the soybean checkoff through the United
Soybean Board, biodiesel will contribute to the U.S. economy in a variety of
ways.“It’s going to add about $24 billion to the U.S. economy between 2005 and
2015. That’s assuming we have growth that reaches 650 million gallons of annual
production by 2015, which looks like that’s going to happen maybe quicker than
that,” said USB Chairman Eric Niemann, a soybean farmer from Nortonville,

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ethanol and water useage

As ethanol plants are popping up all over the midwest, one of the growing concerns is the availability of water to feed these plants. A very interesting short paper was written by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy that lays out the primary issues in dealing with water. There conclusions are that water will need to have much more consideration given to it by policy makers, local government and ethanol producers in the future as water availability becomes an issue.

Great progress has already been made on ethanol conversion, but more will need to be done to satisfy the public in the future.

Ag classes offer new focus

An intersting story in this weeks AgriNews talks about the conversion of agriculture classes at Naperville HS into new subject areas as the town grew from a small rural town to a vibrant urban area. Many other high schools will need to consider the same option to keep students interested in agriculture.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. – A group of suburban students building holiday
centerpieces or learning about garden plants might seem as far away from
agriculture education as you can get. But students at Naperville North High
School only need to look around on their way to school to see how they can use
the classes after they graduate.“If you live in an urban area, look around,”
John Bushman, agriscience teacher at Naperville North High School, said. “How
many landscapers do you have? How many lawn care people, floral shops?”

University of Illinois Farm Health and Safety Site

The University of Illinois Extension has unveiled a new website at that provides links for research in the areas of farm safety and health.

Happy New Year from American Farmer

Happy New Year - visit this site often for updates on American Agriculture.