R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Illinois Farm Bureau College Meet winners recognized

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Final Four Round competitors (from left) Emma Kuhns, University of Illinois; Kylie Schakel, Lincoln Land Community College; Miriam Hoffman, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale; and Keely Wixted, Joliet Junior College.

Farmers wondering how much anhydrous ammonia will cost them in the spring received some guidance from the U of I farmdoc team last week and Illinois producers are being advised to respond to the Census of Agriculture. We also have news for farm and rural youth in this week’s column. Thanks for reading!


Analyst projects $1,100 ton ammonia in spring

URBANA — Projections issued by the University of Illinois farmdoc team place based on corn and natural gas price predictions suggest anhydrous ammonia prices will be above $1,100 per ton in the spring of 2023. In addition, global economic conditions and supply issues could increase nitrogen fertilizer prices.

“However, lower prices also are possible,” noted U of I economists Gary Schnitkey, Jim Baltz and Nick Paulson, along with Carl Zulauf of Ohio State University, who laid out four risk management strategies to help farmers get the most out of their fertilizer expenditures:

  1. Reduce rates to university recommended levels. Those recommendations are given on the Corn Nitrogen Tool for Midwest states. For 2023 expected prices, these recommendations are 159 pounds per acre for northern Illinois, 168 pounds per acre for central Illinois, and 187 pounds for Southern Illinois.
  2. Price nitrogen fertilizers multiple times during the year, with one pricing point in the fall and one in the spring. Pricing nitrogen at multiple points will reduce the risk of pricing all nitrogen at its highest point and will result in an average price for the farm nearer the average for the season.
  3. Wait to apply some of the nitrogen post-planting. Waiting to apply allows decisions to be made when corn prospects have a clearer focus.
  4. Price grain as fertilizers are purchased. One of the greatest risks when purchasing high-priced fertilizer is the risk that corn prices fall before the crop is marketed. Marketing a portion of the crop with fertilizer purchases can mitigate this risk.

“An end to the (Russia-Ukraine) conflict would likely result in lower natural gas and fertilizer prices. Grain prices likely would decline as well. On the other hand, a heightening of tensions could exacerbate natural gas and nitrogen flow from Western Europe, thereby raising prices,” the economists predicted. Read the entire article at  “Outlook for Nitrogen Prices in Spring 2023.” farmdoc daily (12):168, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Nov. 9, 2022.


‘Census of Agriculture’ coming soon

SPRINGFIELD — The next Census of Agriculture, conducted every five years, will be rolled out in gradual stages in Illinois beginning this month.

“Agriculture is a large and vital part of the Illinois economy,” said Mark Schleusener, Illinois State Statistician for USDA-NASS. “The Ag Census will provide state and county-level information that tell the story of Illinois agriculture. The results will be used by local organizations to support and enhance agriculture in Illinois. By responding, Illinois farmers and ranchers ensure the most accurate data is available for better decisions. I encourage everyone to respond, and to respond online if possible. That will save taxpayer dollars.”

Every commodity from the rarest to the most common in the state is included in the census, according to Schluesener. Information on land use, farming practices, farmer characteristics, organics, food marketing practices, machinery and equipment, precision agriculture, renewable energy, and farm-related income is among the data collected. Rural and urban farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2022 are included in the ag census, which is confidential in nature.

To conduct the survey, USDA will mail more than 100,000 Census questionnaires to Illinois ag producers and potential ag producers in the coming weeks. (USDA NASS-Illinois)


Program helps rural teens help rural teens

SPRINGFIELD — Rural youth and teens can learn how to recognize and respond when a young person might need help with a free Youth Mental Health First Aid workshop offered by University of Illinois Extension and the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center.

The program allows youth to learn how to identify common signs and symptoms of youth mental illness or substance use, gain skills to feel confident listening to and supporting a young person in crisis and leave with resources to connect them with appropriate care. Topics of study include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, ADHD, trauma, addiction, self-care, social media, and bullying.

According to an Extension news release, the Youth Mental Health First Aid workshop is open to the public and is appropriate for anyone in the agricultural community who wants to help farm youth. Especially welcome are teachers, school staff, coaches, camp counselors, youth group leaders, parents, and anyone who works with youth.

Register for free online at go.illinois.edu/YMHFA. Participants will complete a two-hour self-paced online training before joining the instructor for a live webinar(s) at any of the times below. Three different sessions are available.

  • 30 and Dec. 12, 6-8:30 p.m. (participants attend both evenings)
  • 5, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • 11, 2023, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information, contact Emily Schoenfelder at eschoe@illinois.edu or Shelby Carlson at srcarls2@illinois.edu.


IFB College Meet winners recognized

BLOOMINGTON — Miriam Hoffman, a sophomore at Southern Illinois University, took first place in Illinois Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet, held on Friday, Nov. 4. A member of the LaSalle County Farm Bureau and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter, Hoffman will go on to represent Illinois in the national Collegiate Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s FUSION Conference in March.

Final Four participants included second place finisher Emma Kuhns, University of Illinois, Effingham County, third place: Kylie Schakel, Lincoln Land Community College, Sangamon County, and fourth place: Keely Wixted, Joliet Junior College, DuPage County. Congratulations to these outstanding students! (IFB news)


Illinois Farm Fact:

According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, 1-in-5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition. Mental Health America reports that 5.13 percent of youth report having a substance use or alcohol problem.  (U of I Extension)

R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Ag commodity groups fueling football playoff trips