R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Trump reactions, 2018 bean crop and more

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

As part of the Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, the Illinois Pork Producers Association, along with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program have provided nine regional Foodbanks with more than 4,000 pounds of ground pork this month as part of a special “Christmas in July” donation. (Photo courtesy of the Illinois Pork Producers Association)

In this week’s farm and rural news roundup, we have Illinois reaction to President Trump’s plan to subsidize farmers to the tune of $12 billion to make up for igniting an international trade war that has resulted in plummeting commodity prices. We also have perspective on what history tells us about what excellent crop condition ratings in late July and an abundant soybean crop. For these and other top agriculture-based news items, please read on …

Corn, soybean associations react to Trump directive

BLOOMINGTON — National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson perhaps best summed up U.S. agriculture’s reaction to President Donald J. Trump’s plan to direct the United States Department of Agriculture to subsidize farmers by purchasing some $12 billion in farm products on CNN last week: thanks, but we’d rather have our long-term international markets restored. The following is reaction from Illinois Corn Growers Association Aron Carlson, a Winnebago County farmer, issued July 24: “ICGA appreciates that President Trump understands the farm-level impacts of government-level trade actions and that he directed his administration to prepare an aid package to address the downward pressure on prices.
“Profitability is a major concern for Illinois corn farmers and declining commodity prices certainly aren’t helping the bottom line. Long term, we would much rather derive our income from the marketplace. Illinois corn farmers need the administration to complete the modernization of NAFTA, resolve other ongoing trade disputes, and provide improved domestic and international marketplace access for ethanol through the RVP waiver promised by President Trump and by updating the lifecycle analysis of corn-based ethanol.”

Also on July 24, Illinois Soybean Growers chairwoman Lynn Rohrscheib stated, “If trade is our problem, aid handouts are a poor solution. As producers, we would rather be able to sell our crop for a fair price and grow our agricultural export and market opportunities. Government handouts only provide short-term relief. The effect on our soybean supply chains could be disastrous if the U.S. government continues to pick winners and losers amidst this tariff spat. Our supply chains are already in a dangerous position due to harsh rhetoric, and a government handout only adds to the uncertainty.

“We continue to advocate for an end to this trade war and echo industry concerns for trade, not aid. We recognize the administration’s actions as being heard, but feel that any solution should involve rescinding the tariffs.”

Nafziger: Seeing is believing with 2018 bean crop

URBANA — An article appearing in the University of Illinois “Bulletin” publication last week by Emerson Nafziger of the U of I Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics states that if the appearance of the soybean crop in late July is any indicator of potential yield, the 2018 crop will be bountiful. “With a few exceptions, soybean crop ratings have tended either not to change much after mid-July or to drift up slowly,” the crop scientist noted. “Overall, high soybean crop ratings by late July tend to predict high yields, while low to medium ratings can sometimes be offset by August weather, resulting in average or even above-average yields.”

The soybean crop in Illinois was rated at 78 percent good or excellent as of July 22, according to the latest USDA-NASS crop progress report. “Because high crop ratings in late July predict high yields, we expect high soybean yields in 2018,” Nafziger concluded.

Indicators of high yields in Illinois soybean fields include “excellent plant stands in most fields, the excellent condition and color of the canopy, and the large number of pods already formed and still forming,” according to Nafziger, who published his observations in an essay titled “Is the 2018 Soybean Crop as Good as it Looks?”

Illinois Farm Fact:

Since its inception in 2008, the Pork Power program has generated nearly 570,000 pounds of pork — enough for 2.9 million meals — for families throughout Illinois. (Illinois Pork Producers Association)

“Christmas in July” for pork beneficiaries

SPRINGFIELD — It was like Christmas in July for several food banks in Illinois when the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) distributed some 4,000 pounds of ground pork in association with its “Pork Power” program. Combining forces with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program, the IPPA distributed the pork products to the Central Illinois Foodbank, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Midwest Foodbank, Northern Illinois Foodbank, Peoria Area Foodbank, Riverbend Foodbank, St. Louis Area Foodbank and Tristate Foodbank.

“We recognize that the need for high quality protein is year-round and Pork Power offers a practical way for Illinois farmers to work together to feed our communities,” stated Mike Haag, IPPA president, in a news release. Pork Power is propelled by pork, soybean and corn farmers who commit funds from their respective checkoff programs to the program. In addition to supporting Illinois food banks, the program also promotes pork by educating families on how to prepare and incorporate pork into their diets.

Illinois farmers elected to commodity boards

SPRINGFIELD — A number of Illinois farmer-leaders were elected to serve on their state 2018 agricultural boards, the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced. The elections filled positions on the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board

and the Sheep and Wool Marketing Board. The boards oversee the checkoff dollars that come for first point-of-sale assessments.

Elected to serve a three-year term on the ICMB were Jon Rosentiel of Pearl City, Paul Jeschke of Morton, Mike Wurmnest of Deer Creek, Tim Lenz of Starsburg and Dale Hendrich of Waterloo. Serving on the ISPOB for a three year term will be Steve Pitstick of Maple Park, Elliot Uphoff of Shelbyville, Doug Schroeder of Mahomet, Brian Atterberry of Carmi and Dr. Nick Harre of Nashville.

There were no candidates for two open district representatives in the Sheep and Wool Marketing Board. Congratulations to the newly elected Illinois farmer-leaders!

–R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Trump reactions, 2018 bean crop and more–