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CCFB News» October 2022

Family Farm and Food Bytes

10/13/2022 @ 2:55 pm



Farmland values continued to climb the first half of 2022 in Illinois, according to the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ISPFMRA). “In the first half of 2022, we’ve seen on average of an additional 18% increase in farmland values,” Luke Worrell, of Worrell Land Services and chair of ISPFMRA’s land values and lease trends program, told the RFD Radio Network.


This comes on the heels of an average increase in farmland values of 24% statewide in 2021.


The surge in farmland values is the result of everything from historically-high commodity prices and rising investor interest to the overall inflationary environment in the U.S. and low interest rates.


But now, with tightening farm margins and higher interest rates compared to the last few years, more than half of ISPFMRA members feel the farmland market possibly reached a plateau and will settle near current values the second half of the year.


USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released its annual estimates of average cash rental rates in Illinois.


The state averages this year are $243 per acre for non-irrigated farmland (up $16 from 2021), $259 for non-irrigated land (up $17) and $39.50 for pastureland (down $1.50).


For more information about the annual NASS cash rent report and a county breakdown, visit


YOUTH ORGANIZATION CONNECTS STUDENTS TO AG CAREERS- Ebony Webber, CEO of National Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), discussed the organization and its youth chapters last month with the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE) in Chicago. The group toured Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) and also heard from faculty and administrators.


Members of Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences’ (CHSAS) Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences Chapter toured Costa Rica ag sites in 2019. The high school is among seven in the state that host the youth organization. (Photo courtesy of Derrick Rhodes, CHSAS)


Increasing the number of urban students interested in agriculture-related careers is an ongoing goal for ILCAE and others involved with agriculture education.

Currently, seven Illinois districts including CHSAS, Prosser Career Academy and Gary Comer College Prep in Chicago offer Junior MANRRS chapters and five more around the state are considering it.



With a record number of entries from over 80 dairy companies, Prairie Farms Dairy and its family of companies received more awards than any other company, making Prairie Farms the reigning contest champion. The awards included 12 first-place wins, 11 second-place wins, 19 third-place wins, one grand champion win and sweeping wins in several categories.


Prairie Farms claimed top spots in four categories:

  • Regular Cottage Cheese Awards: First, Prairie Farms Quincy; Second, Prairie Farms Fort Wayne, Indiana; third, Prairie Farms Quincy.
  • Lowfat Cottage Cheese Awards: First, Prairie Farms Quincy; second, Belfonte, Kansas City, Missouri; third, Prairie Farms, Carbondale.
  • Blueberry Yogurt Category Awards: First, Hiland Dairy, Wichita, Kansas; second, Belfonte, Kansas City; third, Prairie Farms, Quincy.
  • Open Class Pasteurized Milk Awards: First, Prairie Farms, Holland, Indiana; second, Hiland Dairy, Omaha, Nebraska; third, Prairie Farms, Anderson, Indiana.


Prairie Farms Dairy and its family of companies received 44 awards at the World Dairy Expo (WDE) Championship Dairy Product Contest in Madison, Wisconsin.




Hiland Dairy’s Chandler, Oklahoma plant received the Grade A Grand Champion Award for its French Onion Dip. Other category wins included 15 fluid milk awards, six cheese awards, six cottage cheese awards, six yogurt awards, three sour cream dip awards, four whipping cream/half & half awards, two sour cream awards, and one ice cream award.


The WDE Championship Dairy Product Contest is one of the country's most prestigious dairy judging competitions. Judges spent three days sampling and tasting a variety of dairy products. A record 1,560 entries were submitted to this year’s contest.


FARMERS ADVISED TO SECURE PROPANE NEEDS. Farmers probably shouldn’t play the waiting game when it comes to locking in propane supplies for fall grain drying and winter heating needs. Prices aren’t expected to decline and there could be supply issues in portions of the country later this year, depending on demand.

Propane prices remain elevated compared to last year, but haven’t risen at the rate of other products in the energy sector. Worldwide demand remains strong, with about half of U.S. propane supplies exported, which looks to keep pressure on propane prices.


USDA SURVEY FINDS FARMER MARKET TRENDS.A 2019 National Farmers Market Survey conducted by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and the National Agricultural Statistical Service collected data regarding management practices from 10,000 farmers markets.


Here are some top statistics identified across all national regions:


Farmers markets across the U.S. differ substantially by geographic location and proximity to urban centers. Farmers market managers revealed considerable diversity in the number of vendors, types of products and federal nutrition programs available at each location.


Nearly 22% of vendors sold products that were either new or novel, like tofu and meat and dairy substitutes, nuts, mushrooms, wild foraged foods, prepared foods, seeds, fermented foods, crafts, soaps, pet food or a service. About 77% of farmers markets had at least one product in that category, showing a prevalence of items beyond typical produce or dairy.


Farmers market managers are often volunteers (34%), rather than paid market employees (29%). Half of the respondents, representing more than 3,000 farmers markets, reported that their markets accepted at least one federal

Food and Nutrition Service benefit as payment in 2019. A higher percentage of markets in the West (64%) and in urban spaces (54%) accepted these benefits.


About one-third of farmers markets offered or engaged in at least one food waste and/or conservation program in 2019. The most common programs were donating to food banks, recycling and composting.

For a full list the survey briefs and more information, go to


HPAI CASES ADD TO FOOD PRICE INFLATION. The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) spread its wings across a much larger portion of the U.S. in the past year compared to the previous outbreak in 2015. And it continues to drive up food price inflation, which recently soared to 11.4% — the largest 12-month increase since the period ending in May 1979.


Cases of HPAI have been confirmed from Florida to Alaska. The turkey industry alone lost more than 5 million birds, prior to a recent outbreak in California. USDA also reported an outbreak of HPAI affecting 175,000 turkeys in Minnesota this month, which was the first confirmed case in the Midwest since May. “We sit at 418 confirmed detections in 48 states that impacted about 40.5 million birds in the U.S.,” Bernt Nelson, American Farm Bureau Federation economist, told the RFD Radio Network. “When we find a case, those birds are isolated and the flock is depopulated.”


The weekly average price for an 8- to 16-pound turkey was $1.85 per pound on Sept. 3, 27% higher than the same time last year. Breast cuts are leading the surge with an average price of $6.65 per pound on Sept. 3 compared to $3.13 at the same time last year, Nelson noted. Meanwhile, the loss of chickens to HPAI led to egg prices nearly tripling in the past year.


It’s one of the numerous contributors to the historic runup in food prices. Other key factors include ongoing supply chain issues, escalating costs for shipping, packaging and fuel, a labor shortage and widespread drought in the western U.S. impacting food output.


EXECUTIVE ORDER AIMS TO EXPAND BIOMASS PRODUCTION, SMART-CLIMATE AG.President Joe Biden issued an executive order in September aimed at expanding federal investments in biomanufacturingand biotechnology, including programs that incentivize climate-smart agricultural production and the use of domestic biomass. The order stems from the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, legislation Biden signed into law to subsidize the construction of microprocessor and semiconductor facilities, boost science and technology research and address China's anti-competitive trade practices.


The order ultimately sets out to grow U.S. biomanufacturing capacity, expand markets and streamline regulations for bio-based products, increase research, offer training for biomanufacturing jobs and develop standards around data and biosecurity. 


Central to those efforts is the agriculture industry, which through the order would "boost sustainable biomass production and create climate-smart incentives for American agricultural producers and forest landowners."  


The order directs USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack to submit to Biden within 180 days a report assessing how to use biotechnology and biomanufacturing for "food and agriculture innovation, including by improving sustainability and land conservation; increasing food quality and nutrition; increasing and protecting agricultural yields; protecting against plant and animal pests and diseases; and cultivating alternative food sources".  Within a year, Vilsack also must submit a plan "to support the resilience of the United States' biomass supply chain for domestic biomanufacturing and bio-based product manufacturing, while also advancing food security, environmental sustainability, and the needs of underserved communities," the order states.


About Family Farm and Food Bytes: This is a collection of articles gathered from Illinois FarmWeek, FarmWeekNow and other media sources and is designed to keep you informed as a member and leader within the Cook County Farm Bureau® organization. We thank the FarmWeek staff for their reporting skills and talents. 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.

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