From the Farm Desk
PRITZKER NAMES AG ADVISORY TEAM (Pantagraph) – Govenor-elect J.B. Pritzker named 22 ag leaders to his ag advisory committee. Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr. was named to the committee, as well as Illinois Soybean Association CEO Craig Ratajczyk, Illinois Corn Growers Association Executive Director Rodney Weinzierl, and ADM CEO Juan Luciano. Committee co-chairs are Colleen Callahan, former state director for USDA Rural Development, and former state senator John Sullivan.
CLIMATE CHANGE BAD NEWS FOR MIDWEST (Chicago Tribune) – The Midwest could face a grim long-term agricultural forecast due to climate change. Rising temperatures in the Midwest are projected to be the largest contributing factor to declines in U.S. agricultural productivity, with extreme heat wilting crops, upping incidence of crop disease, and posing a threat to livestock. In fact, temperatures are projected to climb more in the Midwest than in any other region.
CARGILL TESTING ROBOTIC CATTLE DRIVER (NPR’s The Salt) – Working with livestock is dangerous, but Cargill is hoping to remove some of that danger by hiring some new employees: robots. Developed by a Russian tech company for security purposes, Cargill has redesigned robots to include a tougher metal exterior and an MP3 player which whistles, or a device which produces a gust of air, to move cattle forward. The robot has been tested at plants in Nebraska and Pennsylvania.
FUEL INFORMATION ON CAR/TRUCK ENGINES (Illinois Corn Growers Association) - Whether you have a new model year vehicle, or you have a new-to-you vehicle, you should know if it can flex. The Renewable Fuels Association has released their updated chart of passenger vehicles that are FlexFuel compatible, meaning that you can fill up year-round with any ethanol blend from regular, unleaded E10 all the way up to E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent petroleum-based gasoline. The FlexFuel fleet is an important bridge to the fuels of the future. IL Corn is investing checkoff dollars in developing new fuels and engines that to be high efficiency and with an improved emissions profile, will require high-octane gasoline. Corn-based ethanol is the best option to provide octane.
U.S. POULTRY PRODUCTION GROWING, MARKET EXPANSION CRUCIAL (FarmWeek) - Chickens grow out in six to eight weeks and a little longer for turkeys. “Hormones are something we can’t and don’t use in the poultry industry. It’s banned,” Tyler noted recently. “Regardless, you get people talking about growing chickens so fast in six to eight weeks using hormones. “That’s far from the truth,” he added. “It’s just good genetics and the grain we’re feeding them. We’ve got a great system for producing the product.” The poultry industry consumes about one-third of the corn produced in the U.S.
About 20 percent of chicken and 14 percent of turkey produced in the U.S. gets exported each year. Trade issues in China remain a major issue for the poultry industry. China previously imported about $800 million in U.S. poultry products, including about $300 million worth of chicken paws, before blocking that market due to concerns about avian influenza. Elsewhere, the poultry industry made a huge breakthrough this year with entrance into another market about the size of China (1.3 billion people) – India. The U.S. poultry industry gained access to India in March and started shipping containers of poultry products there in April.
The US has about 120 poultry markets worldwide.
INDUSTRIAL HEMP CHANGES COMING (FarmWeekNow). “The farm bill would redefine marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act and remove hemp from that definition,” said David Williams, Ph.D., agronomist with the University of Kentucky. “So, at least theoretically, it would legalize hemp, but it will remain under a state-regulated structure.”
Williams attracted a roomful of interested Illinois farmers at the recent annual meeting of the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) in Chicago. Since passage of the last farm bill in 2014, Kentucky has initiated an industrial hemp research pilot program that has allowed some farmers in that state to grow the crop.
Williams noted industrial hemp has a long history for use as rope and fiber. It closely resembles its cousin, marijuana, and became tangled with it in the federal law passed nearly five decades ago that also classified industrial hemp as a ‘controlled substance.’ Industrial hemp contains only low-levels of the chemical that intoxicates marijuana users.
Illinois farmers had several questions for Williams about growing industrial hemp. Some of his responses included:
- Herbicide residuals in a corn and soybean rotation can be a problem
- As of now, there is no place in Illinois where you can receive a check for hemp fiber
- Bees and other pollinators love industrial hemp (and, no, industrial hemp pollen does not contain intoxicant cannabinoids.
- At present, pesticide application in industrial hemp is illegal, but use of pesticides is one item being evaluated in U of K production trials.
Earlier this year, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation legalizing industrial hemp production in the state. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is currently in the process of developing new rules on growing and processing industrial hemp.
According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, farmers there planted 3,200 acres of industrial hemp this year. The department’s figures show licensed hemp processors paid Kentucky growers $7.5 million in 2017 and created more than 80 full-time jobs. Licensed industrial hemp processors in Kentucky reported capital investments in 2017 of more than $25 million and gross product sales of close to $17 million.
NEW RULES FOR DICAMBA USE (FarmWeek) - Planning to use crop protection products containing dicamba in 2019? The new label means some changes for those who apply the product. You have to be a certified applicator in 2019. If you have a private applicator’s license or commercial applicator’s license, you are good to go heading into 2019. Dicamba specific training is also now an annual requirement for applicators.
About “From the Farm Desk”: There are a lot of farm-related news items that cross the Editor’s desk to share with area farmers and farm supporters. This collection of news briefs is gathered from both mainstream and agriculture media and is designed to keep farmer members and leaders up-to-date. The articles are not intended to represent Cook County Farm Bureau policy or positions.