For all there is to see at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur next week, something big will be missing.
"The 96-day corn hybrids that we plant here typically would be ready (to harvest at the show), if we have a normal heat cycle through the summer," says Matt Jungmann, the show's manager. "Unfortunately, we've had an unseasonably cool summer, and the corn was never able to catch up and mature.
In our sixty-year history, this is the first time we haven't been able to harvest because the corn's not ready."
The site at Richland Community College has expanded but still is not big enough to hold all of the exhibitors, the newest of which will be on a grassy area adjacent to Progress City USA.
More than 100,000 visitors are expected from throughout the U. S. – and more than three dozen other countries. The show alternates between Decatur and a site in Iowa.
INDIANAPOLIS - The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday (Aug. 12) predicted the nation's largest corn crop in history and the third largest soybean crop - a stark contrast from a year ago when crops were devastated by drought.
In its annual August crop production report, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service projected a national corn crop of 13.8 billion bushels on 154.4 bushels per acre - a 28 percent increase over last year's 10.7 billion bushels. The previous record was 13.09 billion in 2009.
Soybeans are projected at 3.26 billion bushels on a yield of 42.6 bushels per acre, up 8 percent from last year's crop of 3 billion bushels.
The drought reduced last year's corn harvest to its lowest level since 10 million bushels in 2003, and the average bushels per acre was the lowest since 113.5 in 1995.
"To say what a difference a year makes is a huge understatement. It's a big difference this year," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, at the Indiana State Fair, where a panel of agricultural experts analyzed the report, which offers the first look at expected harvests for 2013. Purdue Extension organized the panel.
Akridge, who moderated the panel, noted in his opening remarks that the report "sets up potential for a huge crop."
Panelists were Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agronomists Bob Nielsen and Shaun Casteel, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Gina Sheets and USDA-NASS Indiana State Statistician Greg Matli.
"We have a lot more grain this year, which will get much of the industry back to work," Hurt said. "The much bigger crop has producers and agronomists smiling, but the economists are not smiling. A larger crop means lower prices."
While those lower prices could mean lower farm incomes, they also could offer some good news to food consumers. Prices of raw ingredients will be down, meaning retail food-price increases could moderate to less than the rate of inflation, Hurt said.
In Indiana, USDA expects corn farmers to produce just shy of 1 billion bushels at 979.4 million, compared with 596.9 million bushels in 2012.
About two-thirds of the state's corn is rated good to excellent, which is welcome news to growers this late in the season, said Nielsen, corn specialist. "Half of Indiana's corn crop was planted after the 15th of May, which is the third latest in the last 10 years," he said. "But we've learned that the planting date is not always a direct predictor of yield."
According to Nielsen, Indiana corn development is about 1-2 weeks behind schedule, but moderate temperatures and timely rainfall meant the crop pollinated with little environmental stress.
The story is similar for the state's soybean crop, said Casteel, soybean specialist. Planting was delayed, but farmers made up ground and had most of the state's soybeans in the ground within 2-3 weeks in May.
USDA expects Indiana soybean growers to produce 261.5 million bushels, up from 223.5 million bushels in 2012. "Right now, soybean development is about a week behind, but we are set for good seed fill if we get the weather to finish it out," Casteel said.
In fact, with continuing moderate temperatures and timely rains, Hurt, Nielsen and Casteel agreed that yields could be higher than what USDA is predicting - especially since the department's numbers are based on grower surveys compiled before Aug. 1.
"This creates an opportunity to create value for the state of Indiana, " Sheets said.
The full report can be downloaded at http://www.nass.usda.gov.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is expressing its disappointment in the failure of the U.S. House to pass a farm bill.
The House rejected a five year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them. Illinois Farm Bureau National Legislative Director Adam Nielsen said leadership needs to emerge for any solution to be enacted.
"It's obviously very disappointing for those of us in the agriculture community who have been working for the better part of two years trying to get a five-year farm bill enacted," Nielsen said. "The hope is that we won't see days and days of finger pointing and blame game." The vote was 234-195 against the bill. 62 Republicans voted no, while 24 Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Members of both parties had signaled opposition to the food stamp cuts in the bill.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the vote, but I knew we faced an uphill battle," Congressman Rodney Davis said. "This vote should serve as a reminder of how far we've come, but how far we still have to go, and I believe if we continue to work we can get there. We owe it to our farmers to pass a responsible, long-term Farm Bill that cuts spending, makes common sense reforms and maintains a strong crop insurance program."
Nielsen said he doesn't know where the action will go next. The defeat was highly unexpected.
"This is in uncharted waters for the most part," he said. "Leadership doesn't put a bill on the floor of the House unless it has the votes; they don't take chances in this day and age. I think it may have been easier to vote against it once lawmakers saw it wasn't going to get to 218."
Democrats objected to a proposed cut of two-billion a year in food stamps. Some in the GOP said the cuts didn't go far enough.
Nielsen said the Farm Bureau was excited to have crop insurance provisions in the bill and a reduced food program attached. He credited Central Illinois lawmakers like Davis, Adam Kinzinger, and Aaron Schock for their understanding of what the bill needed and hopes better organization can find a solution soon.
County Committee selects Company to Buy Vermilion Manor
A Skokie-based health care firm will operate the Vermilion Manor Nursing home. That's if the County Board goes along with the recommendation of the county board committee made last night.
The Nursing Home Committee of the Vermilion County Board is recommending the Vermilion Manor Nursing Home be sold to FNR Healthcare Group. FNR would partner with Premier Healthcare Management to operate the home ON Tilton Road..
At Tuesday's special committee meeting in Danville, County Board Chairman Gary Weinard told those attending that it was realized long ago that something had to be done......
What was done is voters decided by a 60% margin to allow the County Board do the necessary thing and find an operator. Weinard said his concern was finding a company that would maintain the nursing home operations and maintain local jobs.
Premier Healthcare currently operates five nursing homes in Illinois, including ones in Savoy and Gilman.
It will take a two-thirds vote of the full Vermilion County Board to approve the sale. The Board will be meeting in a special session next Wednesday (6/26) to consider finalizing the sale.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been authorized to resume as of May 13 for continuous CRP practices.Filter strips, field borders, field windbreaks, pollinator habitat, riparian buffer tree plantings and grass waterways are just a few of the continuous CRP practices.
A general CRP signup for those landowners with highly erodible cropland will open May 20 and run through June 14.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and/or Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) staff will be making field visits to determine eligibility for re-enrollment on expiring CRP contracts.
For more information on CRP, Please contact the Iroquois County USDA Office at (815) 432-3946.