Family Farm and Food Bytes
READERS CHOOSE PRAIRIE FARMS (FarmWeek) -Prairie Farms Cottage Cheese Cups have been named to Dairy Foods Magazine’s Top 10 Readers’ Choice list of best dairy products from 2019. Prairie Farms Dairy introduced its award-winning cottage cheese last fall with the introduction of Small Batch Cups with flavor options including Garden Veggie, Zesty Fiesta, Pineapple, Strawberry and Peach.
DEADLINE LOOMS FOR REAL ID DRIVER’S LICENSES (FarmWeek) -October 1 is the federal deadline requiring a Real ID driver’s license, valid passport or military ID to go through transportation security administration (TSA) checkpoints or enter a secure federal building, such as a courthouse. After the October deadline, Illinois residents may still use the traditional driver’s license for identification but those licenses will no longer be valid as a federal identification. The Illinois Real ID resembles the traditional Illinois driver’s license except for a star in a gold circle in the upper right of the license.
ILLINOIS CORN FARMERS GO ON OFFENSE DURING THE BIG GAME (Illinois Farm Families) – During the biggest game in football, IL Corn went on offense to remind consumers around the state that Illinois runs on homegrown corn. Viewers in major Illinois TV markets saw Illinois corn farmers during the Feb. 2 game’s commercial breaks. A 30-second “Illinois Runs on Homegrown Corn” commercial showcased the Swanson family, one of the many thousands of farmers who grow corn, a product that drives our state’s economy.
CAROL STREAM JOINS B20 CLUB (FarmWeek) -The Village of Carol Stream has become a new member of the B20 Club in recognition of the municipality’s work to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality for its residents. The B20 Club is a partnership between the Illinois Soybean Association checkout program and the American Lung Association that recognizes Illinois – based fleets that are committed to using biodiesel blends of 20% or greater.
U.S. AGRICULTURE SECRETARY UNSURE IF CORONAVIRUS WILL SLOW CHINA'S FARM IMPORTS (Reuters) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he does not know whether China’s coronavirus outbreak will upset Beijing’s pledge to radically increase purchases of American farm goods as part of the countries’ recent trade deal. The virus has cast further doubt on China’s ability to buy $36.5 billion of U.S. agricultural goods in 2020.
AFBF BOOK OF YEAR FULL OF BEANS (FarmWeek) -The American Farm Bureau® Foundation for Agriculture presented its 13th book of the year award to Peggy Thomas for Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car. The book describes Henry Ford’s drive to incorporate soybeans into every part of his life. After the Great Depression, the famous carmaker and businessman wanted to support ailing farmers and using research at his Ford Motor Company, Ford and his team discovered that soybeans were the perfect answer, especially for plastic parts.
EPA REASSERTS GLYPHOSATE SAFE TO USE, PROBABLY NOT CARCINOGENIC (Agri-Pulse) – The Environmental Protection Agency reaffirms that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, is safe to use and unlikely to cause cancer.
CHICAGO MAY BAN SINGLE USE CONTAINERS (FarmWeek) - Two Chicago council members are proposing to ban single-use polystyrene food containers and reduce use of plastic utensils in the city, according to an “Eater” report from the Specialty Food Association. The proposal would require reusable plates and bowls at dine-in restaurants. Plastic straws, paper napkins and foil could be used – if compostable or recyclable. Plastic silverware and drink tops could be used only if the customer asked for them or at “self-serve stations”.
FARMLAND MARKET FIRMLY GROUNDED (FarmWeekNow) -Farmland prices have eased down 15 to 20% in some areas of the country after reaching record highs in 2013–14 but generally remain strong due in part to a tight supply of available land, healthy demand and low interest rates. The Market Facilitation Program has, over the past 2 years, helped buffer some farmers from significant income pressures due to low commodity prices. debt to asset ratio (13.6% average) has increased but still is low historically speaking.
E-COMMERCE PILOT ALLOWS FARMERS TO SELL DIRECT TO CONSUMERS (FarmWeekNow) -A new e-commerce platform allows Illinois farmers to sell directly to consumers through a pilot project launched recently by the Illinois Farm Bureau® and MarketMaker, an interactive database. Through the pilot program, any Illinois farmer with a MarketMaker account may set up an electronic store at no cost. Farmers may have to pay a small transaction fee on each order received. Farmers may choose payment terms in different options, such as delivery to customers or for customers to pick up their purchases. No special equipment is needed; however, farmers need a computer and Internet access for e-commerce transactions.
FARMER VETERAN GROUPS EXCITED COUNTRY ARTIST CATERING WITH FARMER VETERAN FOOD (FarmWeekNow) – The national and Illinois Farmer Veteran Coalitions praised country artist Brantley Gilbert’s decision to buy food produced by a farmer veteran to cater meals during his 25-city tour. Gilbert’s agents announced his team would work with the Farmer Veteran Coalition to buy products for catering at each concert stop. The plan is to spotlight the value locally produced meat, dairy and produce can make on each community.
ILLINOIS LOSES 9% OF DAIRIES; FARMERS INVESTIGATE OPTIONS (FarmWeekNow)– Farmers at the annual Illinois Dairy Summit in Bloomington considered options to improve their bottom lines. And for good reason. The recent upturn in milk prices could tail off through winter. This, after a multiyear run of tight margins and losses, forced some farmers out of business.
ENTRY LEVEL DRIVER TRAINING REQUIREMENT DELAYED (IFB). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a 2-year delay in the implementation of Entry Level Driver Training (EDLT) requirements. Beginning February 7, 2022, before a driver may apply for or upgrade to a Class A or B CDL or seek an endorsement for hazardous materials (H), passengers (P), or school busses (S), the driver must complete entry-level driver training.
This training only applies to drivers applying for a CDL, upgrading to a new class of CDL, or seeking an additional endorsement. Those renewing an existing CDL and not seeking to change the class of license or add an endorsement will not be required to undergo training. Those with a non-CDL driver’s license are also not required to have training. This includes the non-CDL J50, and the non-CDL J51 license available to those that qualify for farmer exemptions from the CDL.
More information can be viewed on the FMCSA’s Website.
UNIFIED CARRIER REGISTRATION FEES RELEASED (IFB). The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fees for 2020 have been released and registration opened February 13, 2020. The fees, normally due January 1 of each year, were delayed until the Federal Register publication in which the fees are formally established. The UCR board recommends that states delay enforcement until June 1, 2020. Registration can be completed online with the Illinois Commerce Commission or at the UCR Plan’s website. Registration fees have been reduced by 14.45% from the fees paid for the 2019 registration year:
Number of Vehicles
1 – 2
3 – 5
6 – 20
21 – 100
1,001 or more
About Family Farm and Food Bytes: This is a collection of articles gathered from both mainstream and agriculture media and is designed to keep you informed as a member and leader within the Cook County Farm Bureau® organization. The articles summarized above are not intended to represent Cook County Farm Bureau policy or positions, but rather to provide members an idea of what is being reported regionally, nationally, and globally.