Family Farm and Food Bytes
ILLINOIS THE 11TH STATE TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA (FarmWeekNow) Starting Jan. 1, Illinois residents older than 21 will be able to possess up to nearly 1 ounce of marijuana, while nonresidents may have nearly a half-ounce. The state will license a maximum of 30 cultivation centers and up to 100 craft growers, which would have initial capacity of a maximum 5,000 feet of growing space. Current medical marijuana cultivation centers and dispensaries will be able to apply early for recreational marijuana licenses that will be regulated by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
FARMERS NATIONAL REPORTS UPTICK IN FARMLAND SALES (FarmWeekNow) Farmers and others interested in purchasing farmland found a few more opportunities to buy ground in some areas so far this year. Farmers National Company, based in Omaha, Nebraska, reported a 29% increase in the number of acres sold nationwide through the first half of the year. But the sales trend remains somewhat subdued in Illinois and surrounding states as many buyers remain cautious and selective in the central Corn Belt. Many of the farmland sales so far this year were generated by estates, trusts and family inheritances that saw a time to sell.
Some sales were the result of increasing financial pressure on farmers. This marks the sixth consecutive year of declining farm income as USDA predicts net farm income could drop 50% from 2013. Meanwhile, working capital plunged almost 70% since 2012, while inflation adjusted farm debt reached the highest level since the 1980s.
Farmland values continue to hold steady while farmers remain interested, although possibly more cautious, buyers compared to recent years. Investors and 1031 exchange buyers also remain active in the market, thus supporting farmland values, at least in Illinois. Meanwhile, low interest rates continue to support land prices.
ILLINOIS STATE FAIR HEMP PLOT GROWS EDUCATION (FarmWeekNow) Illinois’ newest crop has sparked so much interest that the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will put industrial hemp on display during the Illinois State Fair Aug. 8-18. The IDOA seeks to educate Illinois State Fair visitors about industrial hemp with a plot on the Springfield fairgrounds. Planted June 11, the demonstration plot includes hemp grown for fiber and cannabidiol or CBD. IDOA’s plot joins 16,646 licensed industrial hemp acres across Illinois. In addition to a hemp plot, IDOA will show a movie and distribute information about industrial hemp at a booth in the IDOA tent during the State Fair.
By July 11, IDOA had received 835 applications and issued 556 grower licenses, according to IDOA. Hemp license fees were paid for 16,646 acres that include both outdoor and indoor cultivation. IDOA had approved 19,625 acres for cultivation. In addition, IDOA also received 236 applications for hemp processing and issued 118 licenses.
CHICAGO AREA WATERWAYS TEEMING WITH LIFE, NOT ASIAN CARP (IDNR) – No bighead or silver carp were seen or captured in July’s monitoring of more than 400 sites and investigation of 602 sites for fish, announced a Illinois Department of Natural Resources release. More promising was the amount of diversity noted in the fish observed during the monitoring. “The 49 species collected during this spring effort alone show that we see quite a different waterway than was present 20 years ago due to improvements in the water quality throughout Chicago’s canals and rivers,” said John Dettmers, co-chair of the Asian Carp Monitoring and Response Workgroup.
FARM PROGRESS SHOW TICKETS AVAILABLE Macon County Farm Bureau (MCFB) will once again serve as an outlet for advance ticket orders for the Farm Progress Show in Decatur Aug. 27-29. Tickets cost $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. To order, email MCFB Manager, Tim Stock, at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of tickets needed. Tickets may be shipped directly to purchasers for an additional fee or can be picked up at the MCFB office in Decatur. Ticket buyers will not be charged for any unused tickets if they are sent back to MCFB immediately following the show. For more information, call 217-877-2436.
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.