R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Trade matters, All Day Ag Outlook and more

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

An Extension forestry expert advises that late winter is an ideal time to plant a variety of trees to attract foraging deer, such as these specimens photographed last May at Barkley Lake in northcentral Kentucky. (Tim Alexander photo)

In this week’s news roundup for Illinois farmers and rural dwellers, we have highlights of Illinois agricultural perspectives on trade matters, courtesy of the University of Illinois, along with info on the upcoming All Day Ag Outlook sponsored by the U of I Extension. Also: a Mississippi State University Extension forestry expert explains why this is the time of year to plant trees and other forage for deer habitat on your rural property. Please read on …

U of I: Trade deals could have ‘substantial’ impact on state ag

URBANA — Both the newly reconstructed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, and NAFTA renegotiations hold the potential for substantial impacts on Illinois businesses, according to a recent University of Illinois analysis. Four of Illinois’ top six export destinations are covered by the two agreements, according to the analysis, issued Feb. 7 by the U of I Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and others under the Gardner Policy Series.

“Over the last five years agriculture has averaged 11.5 percent of total exports and $7.5 billion annually ($7.46 billion in 2017),” the report said of Illinois ag exports. “Two of the top 20 exported commodities have consistently been agricultural products: soybeans ($2.07 billion in 2017) and corn ($435 million in 2017).”

Canada and Mexico, both NAFTA participants, have long been Illinois’ top trade destinations due to the trade agreement and their proximity to the U.S. “Over the last five years, Canada has averaged a 29 percent share of Illinois exports, accounting for an average of $18.4 billion, whereas Mexico has averaged a 14 percent market share and $8.6 billion over the same time frame. No other country comes close to matching the combined trade numbers of these NAFTA partners,” according to the analysis.

However, Illinois ag exports — especially of protein-rich soy products — are finding a larger market in China and other Pacific nations, increasing the importance of the CPTPP to Illinois farmers. Since 2013, Illinois agricultural exports to China have accounted for 25 percent of all exports, led by soybeans. In 2017, 63 percent of Illinois soybean exports went to China, the report stated.

The analysis, “Illinois Ag Perspectives on Trade Matters,” can be accessed through the U of I farmdocDAILY website.

Illinois Farm Fact:

Since 2013, Illinois agricultural exports to China have averaged $1.85 billion per year. (U.S. Census Bureau, Economics Indicators Division)

All Day Ag Outlook returns to the Beef House

COVINGTON, Ind. — A popular steakhouse just outside Illinois will again serve as the location for the annual WILLAg All Day Outlook. “Our lineup is stellar this year,” says WILL FM’s Todd Gleason, who will emcee the event at the Beef House in Covington, Ind. On March 6. “The $30 price tag includes Beef House coffee and rolls in the morning and an always-worth-the-wait lunch. Come meet our analysts and bring your questions!”

The event will feature an agricultural weather outlook, cash grain panel, soybean panel and corn panel. In addition, a dicamba update will be offered by University of Illinois Extension weed scientist Aaron Hager, along with a session on changes in grain marketing for Curt Strubhar, a trader who works with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois.

For more information on this event, contact Illinois Public Media and the U of I Extension at (217) 333-9697.

Expert: establish deer habitat now

BILOXI, Miss. — Late winter is the ideal time to plant trees for deer forage on rural properties, according to the Mississippi State University Extension. “Broadleaf plants provide the foundation of a deer’s diet. Mast foods, items such as acorns and persimmons that accumulate on the forest floor, are more supplemental. From a management perspective, focus on supplying broadleaf plants, but you can certainly supplement that forage with hard and soft mast,” recommends MSU Extension’s Bill Hamrick, in an essay reprinted by AgFax.com Feb. 9. “Late winter through early spring is the best time of year to plant trees and shrubs.”

This is because the trees are dormant, and typically the soil is very moist, Hamrick explained. “When spring rolls around, newly planted trees will awaken in their new home on your hunting property,” he said.

While oaks and other hardwoods are a key food source for whitetails, they can take over 10

years to grow to a stage where they produce a significant amount of acorns. For that reason, Mississippi Extension recommends also planting trees that produce soft mast, such as persimmon, pear and crabapple.

“The beauty of these species is they are fairly easy to establish and grow quickly. From a hunting perspective, you could see an appreciable fruit crop in five to seven years. Also, deer and other wildlife relish soft mast that can be used to supplement their diets. The fruit can be a very effective natural attractant,” noted Hamrick.

“Hunters often stay close to soft-mast trees in the archery season when those trees and shrubs commonly shed their fruit. Similarly, in October through December, firearm hunters seek out white oak or swamp chestnut trees, which are dropping acorns that attract deer.”



–R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Trade matters, All Day Ag Outlook and more–