Family Farm and Food Bytes
AGRICULTURE CELEBRATES HERITAGE, FUTURE AT STATE FAIR. At the state fair on August 16, Gov. J.B. Pritzker highlighted the importance of young people studying agriculture, saying their “fate is vital to our state’s success and future growth. That’s why we’re making agricultural education more accessible across Illinois. Pritzker announced a new state appropriation of $550,000 will pay the FFA membership dues for every student taking ag classes in Illinois. The fee elimination makes Illinois an FFA-affiliation-membership state, ensuring every ag ed student will have his or her FFA dues automatically paid. Previously a third of ag students, nearly 15,000, didn’t have access to FFA membership, according to the governor.
INTEREST RATES ADD PRESSURE TO FARM EXPENSES - Higher interest rates will necessarily change farm operating loans drastically for next season. However, they will increase the cost of most farm inputs. Farmers are seen costs going up for seed, fertilizer, pesticides and other inputs.
MEMBERS ASKED TO TAKE ACTION ON ATRAZINE PROPOSAL - the Illinois Farm Bureau recently asked its FBACT US Environmental Protection Agency to refrain from implementing stricter limits on the use of atrazine. Atrazine, a key component in over 90 herbicide mixtures, for decades has been applied to control broadleaf and grassy weeds and aids in sustainable farming practices like no-till.
Dr. DAVID NAYAK, KENDALL-GRUNDY CFB MEMBER, GROWING FOOD FOR GREATER CHICAGO FOOD DEPOSITORY - On July 28, Chicago physician David Nayak delivered fresh sweet corn to two area food banks including the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). Nayak Farms worked with Feeding Illinois to donate 16,000 pounds of fresh sweet corn to the GCFD and another truckload was delivered to Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva. With staggered plantings, additional deliveries are expected.
GROWMARK AT FOREFRONT OF AG MARKET OPPORTUNITIES – GROWMARK launched a joint effort with Indigo Ag to spur participation in the carbon market about this time last year. Indigo Ag operates one of the only high-quality, third-party verified carbon credit programs currently in operation.
BAYER AGREES TO BUY MAJORITY STAKE IN COVERCRESS – Bayer recently agreed to acquire 65% ownership of CoverCress, Inc., developer of a new oilseed crop. The remaining 35% ownership will be controlled by Bunge, Ltd and Chevron USA, Inc. CoverCress, Inc. is contracted with Illinois and other Midwestern farmers to grow CoverCress, a new oilseed crop (for renewable diesel fuel) that overwinters and can be also processed as a low carbon feedstock. Depending on seed availability, between 10,000 and 15,000 acres could be seeded this fall.
ARS SCIENTISTS STUDYING USE OF INSECTS AS POULTRY FEED - Mosquitoes that feast on human blood can be a nuisance and, in some cases, a serious danger. Now, a team of enterprising Agricultural Research Service scientists is turning the tables on them and other insect pests. Chickens seem to vastly prefer mosquitoes to their current feed. Mosquitoes are up to 63% protein.
MILLENNIALS GETTING PRICED OUT OF FARMLAND MARKET - the significant increase in farmland prices and the low turnover rate are making it more difficult for many farmers to expand their operations. According to Ag America (the nation’s largest non-bank agricultural lender), the demographic of farmers getting squeezed most in the current economic environment are millennial’s, those currently between ages 26 and 41. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported farmland values in its district increased 23% during the first quarter of 2022 compared to last year.
USDA PROJECTS RECORD SOYBEAN, SMALLER CORN HARVEST - USDA’s estimates of soybean production took center stage recently as it projected a record crop nationwide of 4.53 billion bushels, up 2% from last year, with a record yield average of 51.9 bushels per acre, up ½ a bushel from 2021. The cornice months when in the opposite direction as USDA projected total production of 14.4 billion bushels, down 5% from last year, with the national yield of 175.4 bushels per acre, down 1.6 bushels from the 2021 record.
BELOW AVERAGE HYPOXIA ZONE MEASURED IN GULF OF MEXICO - Low flow from the Mississippi River contributed to a smaller than average hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration recently reported. Louisiana scientists announce the hypoxia zone measured about 3275 mi.², less than the five-year average of 4280 mi.². Hypoxia is the depletion of oxygen in the water that can affect aquatic life. Illinois and 11 other states of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Taskforce are engaged in each of their respective states to reduce the hypoxia zone.
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. 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.