R.F.D. News & Views

By Tim Alexander For Chronicle Media

The five 2024-25 Illinois State FFA Officers react after their June 13 elections during the 2024 Illinois FFA Convention in Springfield. (Illinois FFA- Farm Credit Newsroom photo)

After scorching parts of the West and Plains states earlier in June, a heat wave descended on central Illinois late last week and appears to be in no hurry to let go. How crops will deal with the heat will depend a lot on what shape they were in prior to the heat wave, and what our soil condition looks like. We have a summary of current conditions, so please read on … 

 Heat engulfs Midwest; is drought next? 

PEORIA — It took a while longer, but the excessive heat wave out West seems to have settled over Illinois and a large swath of the Corn Belt. Temperatures early this week were forecast to reach 95-97 degrees in central Illinois, as of press time, after temperatures hit 90 degrees in the region on Thursday, June 13, and stuck around.  

In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Climate Update issued June 13, it was noted that “Unrelenting heat has blanketed portions of the U.S. this June. The National Weather Service has issued heat watches, warnings, and advisories for multiple locations, including in the southwest and portions of the plains. Residents have struggled to get relief from the heat as they face triple-digit daytime temperatures and nights not dropping below 80 degrees. The NWS is forecasting the hot spell to continue for at least the next few days in many locations. In addition to the hot temperatures, windy and dry conditions have increased the risk of fire danger in some regions.” 

Most notably, Death Valley recorded a temperature of 122 degrees, and residents in Arizona cities were under Extreme Heat Warnings for much of the month due to what is described as a “heat dome.” Could this be the beginning of a “New Dust Bowl” some meteorologists have predicted will occur across a portion of the United States this year or next?  

For what it’s worth, Illinois soils and plants should be able to withstand a week without much precipitation and high temperatures, as many central Illinois weather forecasts predict. For the week ending June 10, Illinois’ overall topsoil moisture supply was rated 10 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 18 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 8 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 17 percent surplus.  

In the week prior to June 10, precipitation across Illinois averaged 0.66 inches, or 0.23 inches below normal, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  

 Crops largely planted across Illinois 

SPRINGFIELD — Most action seen in crop fields across Illinois involved early season spraying and other fieldwork, with the 2024 corn and soybean planting period winding down on schedule. According to USDA-NASS’ Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report for June 10, corn planted reached 93 percent, compared to the five-year average of 92 percent. Corn emerged reached 87 percent, compared to the five-year average of 85 percent. Corn condition was rated 4 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 56 percent good, 18 percent excellent.  

Soybeans planted reached 87 percent, compared to the five-year average of 84 percent. Soybeans emerged reached 69 percent, compared to the five-year average of 71 percent. Soybean condition was rated 4 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 56 percent good, and 13 percent excellent.  

 Illinois FFA elects new state leaders 

SPRINGFIELD — The 2024-25 Illinois State FFA officers were elected and installed during the 96th Illinois State FFA Convention, held June 11-13 at the Bank of Springfield Center. The newly elected state officers are: 

  • President: Trenton Payne of Olney (Richland County); Olney FFA 
  • Vice President: Brody Will of Teutopolis (Effingham County); Dieterich FFA 
  • Reporter: Sidney Stiers of Williamsfield (Knox County); Williamsfield FFA 
  • Secretary: Owen Torrance of Good Hope (McDonough County); West Prairie FFA 
  • Treasurer: Emma Dinges of Sublette (Lee County); Amboy FFA 

The 2024-25 Illinois State FFA officers were announced near the conclusion of the three-day event early Thursday afternoon, June 13. Newly elected Illinois State FFA President Payne, 17, of Olney (Richland County) and the Olney FFA Chapter, is the son of Shad and Diane Payne and a 2024 graduate of Richland County High School.  

“As a state officer, I want to mentor and inspire members,” Payne said following his election. “My goal is to help them reach their full potential, guide their efforts to becoming the best leaders they can be, and help them find their place in the FFA and the agricultural industry.” 

Congratulations to all of the newly elected officers and their proud families! 

 Survey: Consumer faith in affordable food eroding 

URBANA — As food inflation continues to run rampant in grocery stores and restaurants, the share of consumers who believe our food system is producing affordable food is shrinking. According to a recent University of Illinois farmdoc and Gardner Food and Agricultural Policy Series survey, the number of consumers who agree the food system produces affordable food has shrunk from 59 percent in May 2022 to 50.1 percent in May 2024.  

“When thinking about inflation three months from now, 41.1 percent of respondents expect that inflation will become worse, 35.3 percent expect it will stay the same and 23.6 percent expect it will become better,” reported study authors Brenna Ellison of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, along with Maria Kalaitzandonakes and Jonathan Coppess of the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the U of I. “Results … demonstrate that consumers perceive inflation and high food prices to be persistent problems, even though federal data suggest inflation is cooling. Consistent with this, a recent Gallup poll found that 41 percent of households identified inflation as the most important financial problem they are currently facing.” 

The article is available on the farmdoc daily website, https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/ (farmdoc daily)  

 Illinois Farm Fact: 

In addition to being elected 2024 Illinois State FFA Reporter, Sidney Stiers of Williamsfield will advance to the National FFA Convention competition finals in the Job Interview category. (Illinois FFA Convention press)