Family Farm and Food Bytes
ILLINOIS FARM FAMILIES WINS NATIONAL AWARD - The Illinois Farm Families (IFF) coalition’s consumer engagement campaign to build trust in Illinois farmers and their farming practices was the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) prestigious Silver Anvil Award in the “Reputation Management” category.
IFF was created by several Illinois commodity and agricultural organizations in 2009 to meet a growing consumer interest in how our food and everyday essentials are grown and made. The program gives a voice to the state’s nearly 70,000 family farmers while answering questions around food and farming. Founding members of IFF include the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, and Midwest Dairy.
The award’s judging criteria weighed heavily on measurable results and changes in audience attitudes and behaviors. IFF’s efforts have resulted in young Illinois parents’ “farm-to-table IQ” growing to more than twice the national average and building trust in local farm families to an unprecedented 90%. In 2021 alone, IFF communications reached 10+ million people with nearly half a million social media, video, and digital engagements. A popular video series that explored how farmers are a part of the solution to some of the state’s biggest environmental challenges is just one of the ways that helped consumers understand the relationship between farmers, the environment, and the everyday essentials farmers provide for us all.
ILLINOIS FSA ACCEPTING APPS FROM ORGANIC, ORGANIC TRANSITIONING FARMERS -Certified organic farmers and handlers and those who are transitioning to organic farming may apply for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Organic and Transitional Education Certification Program (OTECP) and Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) covers the cost of organic certification and other related expenses. The application deadline for both is Oct. 31.
Cost-share funding for certification is available for crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling and state organic program fees.
The program was launched to help organic farmers cope with market impacts from the pandemic. OTECP covers 25% of certification costs for organic farmers and handlers, $250 maximum per category; 75% of eligible expenses for transitional farmers, including fees for pre-certification inspections and development of an organic system plan, $750 maximum; 75% of registration fees for educational events, $200 maximum; and 75% of soil testing, $100 maximum. OCCSP covers 50% up to $500 per category of certification costs in 2022.
Farmers may receive cost-share dollars through both OTECP and OCCSP for expenses incurred from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022. To apply, producers and handlers should contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center. To complete OCCSP applications, applicants need to provide documentation of their organic certification and eligible expenses.
Organic farmers and handlers may also apply for OCCSP through participating state agencies.
MONARCHS UP 35% IN MEXICO (BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek) - More monarch butterflies spent the winter in Mexican mountain forests compared to the previous year, Mexico’s Commission for Protected Areas reported recently.
Known as the eastern monarch population, the monarchs that overwinter in Mexico migrate north through Texas and the Southern Plains, up through the Northern Plains, Illinois and the Midwest before moving into the Great Lakes region.
Mexican officials reported a 35% increase in the forested area where the butterflies stayed. The population covered 7 acres of trees compared to 5.2 acres the previous year. The annual butterfly count doesn’t measure numbers of individual butterflies, but the area they cover when clumped in trees.
Monarch butterflies have started arriving back in Illinois from their Mexican wintering grounds. Winter numbers increased 35% Mexican officials recently reported. (FarmWeek file photo)
Illinoisans can support monarchs by planting flowers, such as coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, for adult butterflies. Their larvae depend on milkweeds and only grow on plants in the milkweed family.
RURAL, URBAN UNITE ON STEWARDSHIP (By KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek) - Rural and urban, nonpoint and point sources met on common ground ON June 7 for the same goal – nutrient stewardship. That real-world situation involves 13,000 Fulton County acres owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) of Greater Chicago. For a fifth year, people from a range of backgrounds gathered to hear about stewardship research. The field day was hosted by the Fulton County Farm Bureau, along with Illinois Farm Bureau, MWRD, University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council.
A theme of partnership and collaboration resonated as leaders addressed the crowd and scientists highlighted their studies, noting the multiple entities funding their research. Many acknowledged the widespread nutrient challenge facing Illinois.
Overall, the state seeks to lower all nitrogen and phosphorus moving into water by 45% compared to average 1980-96 levels. Interim goals include a 15% nitrogen reduction and a 25% phosphorus reduction by 2025.
Released in 2015, the statewide Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy offers voluntary actions to lower nitrogen and phosphorus coming from urban runoff, diffuse nonpoint sources that are predominantly agricultural and specific point sources that are mainly municipal wastewater treatment and industry.
IFB and county Farm Bureaus remain involved and invested in nutrient stewardship efforts. Since 2015, IFB has invested $2.4 million in stewardship education, research and outreach, Lauren Lurkins, IFB director of environmental policy, told the crowd. Part of the organization’s effort includes nutrient stewardship grants that have supported 100 projects involving 70 county Farm Bureaus including Cook County Farm Bureau efforts.Bottom of Form
FREIGHT COSTS CONTRIBUTING TO HIGHER FOOD PRICES (By DANIEL GRANT, FarmWeek)
U.S. consumers are paying for record fuel prices in more ways than each time they fill up their personal vehicles or machinery. Freight and distribution costs have skyrocketed due in part to higher fuel prices, which are putting more pressure on the price of everything from meat to home goods.
The index for general freight trucking increased 39% from January through April this year and by 52% compared to January 2021, according to the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report. Labor costs are also compounding the situation.
U.S. food prices are projected to increase 7-8% at home and 6-7% away from home this year. That includes a possible 6-7% increase for pork, 9-10% increase for other meats and a 19.5-20.5% spike in egg prices, due in part to the loss of about 38 million layers resulting from the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
A key way to improve food availability and drive down costs is to reduce waste.
AFBF SUPPORTS NOMINATION OF DOUG McKALIP FOR USTR CHIEF AG NEGOTIATOR - American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the nomination of Doug McKalip for chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of United States Trade Representative.
“The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the nomination of Doug McKalip for the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U. S Trade Representative. He is a government professional with wide experience in agricultural issues.
“It is crucial that this position be filled without further delay so existing agreements can be strengthened and new agreements with the European Union, Great Britain and in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework can be explored. We are ready to work with Mr. McKalip and Ambassador Tai to ensure a level playing field and advance the important work of expanding agricultural trade opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / CC BY 2.0
About Family Farm and Food Bytes: This is a collection of articles gathered from other Farm Bureau and 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.