R.F.D NEWS & VIEWS: U of I economists back USDA farm income projection

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Farmers and ag equipment vendors met at the 2018 Greater Peoria Farm Show Nov. 28-30. Attendance was down the first day of the show due to unseasonably warm weather and an incomplete Illinois harvest, though crowds improved perceptibly during the second and third days of Illinois’ largest indoor farm equipment show. (Tim Alexander photo)

The supermoon visible in Illinois was not the only cosmic occurrence happening last week, it turns out. Another rare cosmic alliance occurred when agricultural economists agreed with USDA’s projection for average 2017 grain farm income in the U.S. We have details on this rare detente between these historically opposing factions. In addition, we have news this week on upcoming winter ag get-togethers and more. Please read on …

U of I economists back USDA farm income projection

URBANA — It’s a rare occurrence indeed when university agricultural economists wholeheartedly agree with USDA projections and estimates. That’s just what happened last week, though, when a pair of University of Illinois ag economists and one from Southern Illinois University issued a paper, “Interpreting USDA’s November Farm Income Forecast,” in agreement with the department’s updated 2017 projection, which was issued November 27 by the USDA Economic Research Service.

“The forecast of $63.2 billion is $200 million (0.3 percent) lower than the forecast released in August. The updated forecast suggests that net farm income will exceed the 2016 estimate ($61.5 billion) by $1.7 billion (2.8 percent). This post shows that the November farm net farm income forecast is expected to be a good predictor of realized net farm income for 2017, based on historic forecast data,” the university ag economists said in their forecast, which was posted on the U of I farmdocDAILY website. “The USDA will release one more revision of the 2017 net farm income forecast in February 2018, and the 2017 official estimates will be released in August 2018.”

The USDA regards net farm income as a farm’s residual income after costs of production are deducted. It represents the “returns for operator labor, management, and equity, as well as any other unpaid resources used for farm production instead of elsewhere.”

The economists offered no speculation on causes for the unexpected spike in net farm income over that of 2016, after farmers faced another year of declining crop values.

Soybean Growers Honor Industry Leaders

CHICAGO — Six industry leaders were honored for their service to the soybean industry at the Chicago office of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) last week. The leaders were selected for excellence in promoting soy from Illinois in ISA priority areas, such as leadership, marketplace, stakeholder engagement, technology transfer and transportation.

Those honored were recently retired Illinois agriculture department employee Amparo Garza Lang (leadership in global competitive positioning) Lynn Clarkson (excellence in marketplace promotion), University of Illinois administrators Robert J. Jones and Kimberlee Kidwell (excellence in stakeholder engagement), John Schillinger (excellence in technology transfer), and Mike Steenhoek (transportation), who is executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition.

“We appreciate the time and service these people have provided to our industry. Their efforts help increase the profitability of Illinois soybean farmers,” stated Lynn Rohrscheib, ISA chairwoman and soybean producer from Fairmount. “Each of these people have made significant contributions to Illinois agriculture and to furthering the mission and vision of the ISA. (ISA news)

Illinois Farm Fact:

A half-ton steer consumes a diet comprised of 75 percent corn grain and 25 percent soybean meal. (Illinois Ag in the Classroom)

ISA debuts winter learning series

BLOOMINGTON — In other Illinois Soybean Association news, ILSoyAdvisor, comprised of certified crop advisers from across Illinois, is “going local” this winter with the debut of the ISA Better Beans Series for soybean farmers. Along with crop consultants, growers will have the opportunity to connect with agronomists, industry representatives and fellow farmers. Running between Jan. 30 and Feb. 22, 2018, the series will take place in five Illinois locations. The half-day meetings will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 1 p.m., and will include free registration, breakfast and lunch.

“We started this series because of the diversity of issues soybean growers face in different parts of Illinois. We hope this series will offer targeted advice for regional issues and will help growers increase their profitability,” said Dan Davidson, ISA director of strategic research, in a news release.

The dates and locations for the ISA Better Beans series are Jan. 30 (Barnacopia in Polo, Illinois),  Jan. 31 (Mendota Civic Center), Feb. 1 (Hamilton’s in Jacksonville), Feb. 6 (Carriage House in Altamont) and Feb. 22 (Four Points Sheraton in Fairview Heights). Each event will include three presentations from local experts, along with a local farmer-expert panel that includes a Q and A session with attendees.

You can call the ISA office (888) 826-4011 or see their website for registration information.

Beef Quality Assurance training dates set

SPRINGFIELD — Cattlemen in Illinois who are looking to make a positive impact in the beef industry and their own farms can register for Illinois Beef Association (IBA) sponsored training sessions and certification. The comprehensive Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training program is geared to cow-calf producers and feeders, and are free to IBA members and just $20 for non-members. The fee includes dinner and training materials.

Six BQA training sessions were announced last week by the IBA. They are set for Dec. 5 (Mason City American Legion), Dec. 6 (Quincy/Adams County Farm Bureau), Dec. 7 (Effingham County Farm Bureau), Dec. 12 (Freeport/Stephenson County Farm Bureau), Dec. 13 (Gilman/Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau) and Dec. 14 (Mount Vernon/Farm Credit Building).

Those interested in the meetings, which promote responsible, thoughtful cattle management, should call the IBA office at (217) 787-4280 or visit the IBA website. (IBA news)



R.F.D NEWS & VIEWS: U of I economists back USDA farm income projection–