R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Illinois Beef elects new leader

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Dave Duzan, a cow-calf producer from Lexington, was elected president of the Ill. Beef Association during their annual meeting in Springfield on June 6. (photo provided)

An FDA ruling that went into effect this week means livestock producers will face enhanced scrutiny when looking to purchase certain medicines for their herds; we’ll look at just what that means for Illinois producers. In addition, we’ll help introduce the new president of the Illinois Beef Association. For these stories and more, please read on …


Microbial medicines facing greater scrutiny

SPRINGFIELD — New government regulations will make it a little harder for farmers and ranchers to acquire and administer medically important microbial medicines to treat their livestock. This is due to the Food and Drug Administration’s new oversight efforts for microbial medicines for animals that are currently available over the counter.

The plan is driven by the concept that medically important antimicrobial drugs should only be used in animals when necessary for the treatment, control, or prevention of specific diseases. Included in the plan is assurance that any medically important antimicrobial new animal drugs that continue to remain available as OTC products are brought under the oversight of licensed veterinarians. The guidance will help to ensure new animal drugs containing antimicrobials of human importance are administered only under veterinary oversight and only for therapeutic uses, according to an FDA summary of the plan.

On June 11, the FDA’s Guidance for Industry #263 took effect, bringing 91 over-the-counter antimicrobial products under prescription oversight. Illinois Pork Producers Association Board Member, Dr. Will Fombelle, partner and veterinarian in Carthage Veterinary Service, commented in an IPPA news release: “I think the swine industry is well-prepped for GFI 263. While some producers will need to develop a veterinary client patient relationship the vast majority of our producers will continue to operate as normal.”


PCM makes case for conservation

BLOOMINGTON — Precision Conservation Management, a farmer-led program of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinois Soybean Association, released their “2023 Business Case for Conservation” this month. The study details on-farm conservation decisions and results of farmers enrolled in the PCM program in Illinois, Kentucky and Nebraska. A valuable resource for farmers, the report suggests proven best management practices for conservation agriculture, including nitrogen application, cover crop utilization and tillage management.

A key takeaway from the report is data revealing that when farmers apply more than MRTN (maximum return to nitrogen)-recommended amounts of nitrogen as suggested by the University of Illinois, farms are less profitable. Those who apply less fertilizer are increasing profitability and minimizing impacts to the environment, according to the report.

In addition, the study shows that the most profitable acres in the PCM dataset utilize preplant and sidedressed nitrogen applications at MRTN rates. Half of the most profitable acres are implementing no-till practices ahead of soybeans or a light single tillage pass ahead of corn, according to the report.

As for cover crops, 70 percent of PCM farmers used cover crops for consecutive years on cornfields and 75 percent did so on soybean fields. “The incentives to plant cover crops have never been more appealing than they are right now,” said the ICGA and ISA in a joint news release. “Farmers within a PCM region should strongly consider joining the program this year. Interest in climate smart farming continues to grow, and with that interest comes cost-sharing opportunities that farmers will want to take advantage of.”

You can read the PCM 2023 Business Case for Conservation in full here.


First Illinois Leopold Award winner to be named

BLOOMINGTON — Three finalists for Illinois’ inaugural Leopold Conservation Award, named for famed conservationist Aldo Leopold of Sand County, Wisconsin, have been announced. The winner will be named at the 2023 Farm Progress Show in Decatur this August.

Nominated for the state’s first-ever prestigious Leopold Conservation Award were

Frey Family Farms of Dahlgren in Hamilton County, Rademacher Farms of Gifford in Champaign County, and Jean Stewart of Rossville in Vermilion County. Nominees participated in voluntary conservation efforts including cover crops, no-till, forestry, buffer strips or wetland creation. The winner will receive $10,000 and their conservation success story will be featured in a video and shared via other outreach efforts by the Sand County Foundation and co-sponsor American Farmland Trust.

“Leopold Conservation Award recipients are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO, in a joint Illinois Soybean-Illinois Corn news release.

With the addition of Illinois, the Leopold Conservation Award is presented in 27 states to farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat.


Illinois Beef elects new leader

SPRINGFIELD — Dave Duzan, a cow-calf producer from Lexington, was elected president of the Illinois Beef Association during their annual meeting June 6 in Springfield. He replaces Paul Walker of Danvers. The meeting included tours of the new IBA Office and a happy hour reception, in addition to an industry awards ceremony and dinner. A review of the association’s year, as well as a preview of what the remainder of 2023 and 2024 has in store for the Illinois beef industry, were also offered during the annual meeting of cattlemen and women.

“We’ve had a great year,” Duzan said. “We continue to expand services for membership. Involvement and engagement in our organization (pays) dividends.”

Recapping the previous year at the annual meeting, IBA executive vice president Josh St. Peters said IBA had advocated on behalf of livestock producers to defend the Livestock Facilities Management Act, defended producer freedoms on animal health, helped shoot down measures that spread misinformation about the use of antibiotics in livestock and tackled issues on alternative proteins and fake meat promotions. (IBA/Illinois Farm Bureau)


Illinois Farm Fact:

According to the USDA’s weekly crop report, Illinois’ corn crop’s rating was down 19 percentage points on June 5 compared to the week before. Just half of the crop was rated either good or excellent due to prolonged springtime drought conditions across much of the state.