Saturday, June 30, 2007

Illinois Farm Bureau President gives Update at Tool Shed Meeting

I recently attended an area tool shed meeting where local farmers met to hear the latests happenings in Illinois agriculture in a presentation by Illinois Farm Bureau President, Phil Nelson.

His talk focused on the happenings with farm bill discussions in Washington, the Illinois budget mess in Springfield and the happenings in the bio-fuels industry and it's impact on agriculture.

The Champaign News-Gazette covered the meeting and has a good summary in it's on-line article.

Some brief quotes from the article:

Nelson said something that worries him is signs of a rift in the
agricultural community.

"Filling demands of the biofuel industry and
increasing our livestock business is a real challenge," he said. "The livestock
industry's attacking ethanol because it increases their feed costs. That's a
divisive wedge, livestock versus grain, and that's a worry. We're all in this
together."

Tolono farmer Lin Warfel asked Nelson if he sees any progress
encouraging development of other sources of biofuel, like cellulosic
materials.

Nelson said the government has just issued large grants to three
universities to help them investigate those possibilities but he said that
because corn is so abundant, even at $4 a bushel it's a much cheaper
source.

He said predictions are that half the biofuel used in the country is
expected to come from cellulosic crops, but that's at least 10 years in the
future.

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