R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Pork producers, trade issues, Summer Harvest show and more

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Tractor games such as the tractor barrel race will be one of the features of the Central Illinois Farm Heritage Tractor Club’s Summer Harvest July 27-28 at the Princeville Heritage Museum, 325 N. Ostrum Ave., in Princeville.

Though the immediate future does not appear stable for pork producers, this is not keeping Illinois farmers from following through on plans to build new swine barns. This was the case last week in Barry, where an open house was held for a new barn. Also in the news: Junior Beef youth from across Illinois gathered at the Corn Crib stadium in Normal for seminars and baseball during the July 17 EDGE Conference. We also have info about the Summer Harvest antique tractor and machinery show this weekend in Princeville … please read on!

Pork producers keeping the faith

BARRY — American Farm Bureau Federation vice president Scott VanderWal joined state farm bureau managers on July 18 in warning Congress that many farms would lose money and some would go out of business entirely if the growing U.S. trade war continues. Perhaps no farm sector has been affected as adversely as pork, with producers suffering declining profits pushing them below break-even since early April, when Chinese officials announced pork would be included in their first round of retaliatory tariffs against U.S. imports.

This is not stopping some Illinois farmers from following through on pork diversification or expansion plans. Last week in Barry, a public open house was held to celebrate a new 2,480 head pig barn built by the Harter family. The local community was invited to the barn for a tour in advance of the pigs moving in, and a delicious meal was prepared by the farm’s production partner The Maschhoffs. Doug Harter and his wife, Kim, along with Bryce, Cayden, Camden and Kelsey Harter cut a ribbon to signify the opening of their newest pig barn.

“We are proud to announce the expansion of our farm,” Doug Harter said during the ribbon cutting. “We work together as a family with care and compassion to provide the best quality pork to help feed the world.”

New technology in the barn includes automatic fans and ventilation, 24/7 access to food and water, and a controlled environment to ensure safe living conditions for the pigs. A majority of the materials used in constructing the barn were sourced from local businesses, according to a news release from the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

Report: trade issue impacts mounts for corn, beans

URBANA — Studies from a myriad of expert sources across the U.S. conclude that the Trump Administration’s trade war is eroding the backbone of U.S. agriculture at a time when farmers and ranchers are already dealing with price declines. One of the latest studies, this one issued July 16 by the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, shows how the escalating trade issues between the U.S. and many of our trading partners continue to affect the outlook in both the corn and soybean markets.

“Drastic price declines since Memorial Day show the impact of trade uncertainty and yield potential. The prospect of large yields combined with trade issues set the baseline for determining export potential and price formation in both corn and soybean markets moving forward,” said Todd Hubbs, an agricultural economist with the department. Barring a resolution to current trade issues, Hubbs predicts soybean exports next marketing year will struggle despite the low prices currently in place. “Adjustments to 2018-19 marketing year trade numbers in the latest USDA forecasts present a bearish picture for soybean exports.”

Additionally, the prospect of record corn yields and the uncertainty surrounding trade continue to place downward pressure on corn prices, he said. Hubbs’ entire essay, “Soybean and Corn Export Outlook,” can be accessed through the U of I farmdocDAILY website.

Illinois Farm Fact:

Comparing the corn phase of a corn-soybean rotation to continuous corn showed an average yield benefit of more than 20 percent and a cumulative reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 35 percent. (Northwestern Illinois Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center)

Beef youth gather at Corn Crib stadium

NORMAL — Around 40 youth members of the Illinois Junior Beef Association met at the Corn Crib baseball stadium on July 17 for daylong educational activities followed by “Beef Night” promotions during the Normal CornBelters Frontier League baseball game. The activities, which included tours of nearby beef operations, were part of the IJBA EDGE Conference.

Stacey Lorenz of Grant Park, Illinois, director of outreach and promotions for the Illinois Beef Association, organized and led the contingent through the day’s events. “We had a lot of kids here compared to last year,” said Lorenz. “It turned out really good. We started at Dameron Angus Farm to see their cow-calf operation, and then we went to Prairie View Farms, another of the best angus producers out there. The kids learned a lot about genetics and feed. The farm also grilled out for us. We finished off the day with ice cream and the ball game.”

Only around a dozen kids stayed for the CornBelters contest, however, as “many of them had to get home for chores,” according to Codee Schlipf, public relations director for the IBA. The game’s ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by IJBA member Keegan Cassady.

Summer Harvest show comes to Princeville

PRINCEVILLE — An antique tractor parade will originate from Wheels O’ Time Museum in Dunlap on July 27 at 9 a.m. to kick off the Central Illinois Farm Heritage Tractor Club’s Summer Harvest antique tractor and equipment show at the Princeville Heritage Museum, 325 N. Ostrum Ave., in Princeville. The parade ends at the show site, where activities including equipment demonstrations, tractor games, kids activities and an antique tractor and equipment show are planned.

This year, the antique tractor and equipment display will spotlight Ford and Ferguson, roof mowers, Maytag and Wheel Horse equipment. A silent auction and food will be offered. Show hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 27 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 28. During the week leading up to the show, a number of antique tractors will be on display at the Wheels O’ Time Museum. For more information contact the museum at 309-385-1916 or Kevin Engquist at 309-296-9616. “There is something for everyone!” says Engquist.


–R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Pork producers, trade issues, Summer Harvest show and more–