R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Farm bill passage, farmdoc and more

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Scott Irwin, University of Illinois farmdoc team leader, announced the launch of a redesigned farmdocDAILY website last week. (U of I photo)

This week’s farm and rural news roundup is led by news of the House passage of an extremely partisan farm bill, and a weather update from the Illinois state climatologist. In addition, we have info on a pair of organic growers’ field days scheduled in Illinois, and news of a major upgrade to the University of Illinois farmdocDAILY website. Please read on…

House farm bill passage sparks reaction

BLOOMINGTON – Passage of a new farm bill in the U.S. House last week was met with varied reaction from state commodity associations and lawmakers. The House passage by a 213-211 was a “very partisan farm bill that makes minor updates to farm programs, creates a vaccine bank for livestock farmers in the U.S., funds our export marketing programs that were going to run out of appropriated funding, and overhauls the food stamp program, diverting some funds to work training for program participants,” according to a post from Illinois Corn.

“Passing this bill not only shows support for agriculture, but it shows the American people we are not satisfied with the status quo, which is a welfare system that perpetuates poverty,” said Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois. Rep. Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat, said the Senate’s version of the farm bill is not partisan and does not throw millions of Americans off the food stamp program. “I am hopeful once this bill gets to conference, both sides of the aisle will come together and work to develop a farm bill that strips out these highly partisan provisions,” Bustos said.

Farm bill policy is top of mind for Illinois soybean growers, said Lynn Rohrscheib, president of the Illinois Soybean Growers group. “In times of uncertain prices and markets, the farm bill helps provide stability,” she noted in a prepared statement. “We appreciate this legislation that keeps agriculture and food and nutrition programs together. We realize this partnership is in the best interests of our communities. We now look to the Senate to continue this positive momentum to put this vital piece of agricultural legislation to work.”

Climatologist: June temps above normal; expect more

URBANA – As of June 21, the statewide average temperature for Illinois was 75.3 degrees, which is 4.4 degrees above normal. Above-normal temperatures will likely persist through July, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois Water Survey. In addition, precipitation in Illinois was also above normal. “The statewide precipitation for June is 3.61 inches, which is about 130 percent above normal. However, the precipitation is spread unevenly throughout the state,” Angel said, before sweeping rains deluged much of central Illinois last week, causing scattered flash flooding and road closures. “The largest monthly total so far is Beecher City (Effingham County) with 11.22 inches. Meanwhile, rainfall has been less plentiful in western and southern Illinois with amounts of two inches or less.”

The National Weather Service outlook for July in Illinois calls for increased chances of above normal temperatures, but offers no indication of increased risks of either above or below normal precipitation, Angel reported in his weekly weather blog.

Illinois Farm Fact:

There are currently 1,769 articles (and counting) available for farmers and the public through the improved University of Illinois farmdocDAILY website, representing the farmdoc team’s historical output. (University of Illinois)

aMaizeing” organic field days to tackle IP rights

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Organic Growers Association (IOGA) has scheduled a pair of “aMazeing” Field Days for July 19 and September 13, 2018, where growers can learn how the plant breeding landscape has evolved. The July 19 workshop, which will focus on plant breeding challenges, will be held at a Champaign farm, while the second workshop will take place at a yet-to-be-determined location in Wisconsin.

“Learn about how changes is intellectual property rights and consolidation of the seed industry have reduced the availability and diversity of seed available to the organic sector, which is the fastest growing food sector in the United States,” the IOGA said in a news release announcing the field days. “Even though the U.S. is among the world’s top producers and exporters of organic grain, imports of organic corn have more than doubled annually during recent years due to excess demand. This unmet demand, price premiums and exciting market opportunities are attracting interest in the development of new maize varieties that perform well in organic environments.”

The field days will serve to introduce a regional effort to develop a network that includes plant breeders, farmers and end users working together to design and support plant breeding and testing efforts to serve the region’s organic farmers, the IOGA announced. To register for the Illinois field day, visit www.tinyurl.com/yb753urx. More information on the events can be found at www.illinoisorganicgrowers.org.

U of I debuts new farmdoc format

URBANA – The University of Illinois farmdoc team launched a redesigned farmdocDAILY website on Friday, June 22. The new format represents a major upgrade in almost all dimensions, according to Scott Irwin, farmdoc team leader. “The key technological change to the site is that it now uses a ‘responsive layout.’ This means that the layout of the site adjusts automatically to the size of screen used to view the site. Make sure to check out the new site on your smart phone or tablet to see the improvement,” Irwin said in a news release. “Not only does the site have a new and responsive look and feel but we made a number of other significant changes as part of the redesign.”

Those changes include easier access to recent articles from the homepage, a new section that connects with farmdocDAILY on social media, and one-click access to every the University of Illinois Extension website and other sites in the farmdoc family, including Farm Policy News.

In addition, a new market prices section offers ten-minute delayed quotes for all major agricultural futures markets, charts and options quotes is featured, among other sweeping changes to the website.


–R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Farm bill passage, farmdoc and more–