PIATT COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT FOUNDATION OFFERS SCHOLARSHIP
The Piatt County SWCD Foundation will be offering a scholarship this year. Administrative Coordinator Angela Daily states “The Foundation is excited to introduce this $1,000.00 scholarship for the first time! We have decided this is a good way to give back to our supporters and communities”. The Hugh Hammond Bennett Scholarship will target individuals interested in furthering their education in any Ag or Natural Resources related field.
Applications are available at the Piatt County SWCD Office located at 1209 Bear Lane in Monticello, or on our website www.piattcountyswcd.com
To be eligible, individuals will be required to meet three of the following criteria:
1. Currently enrolled in a school district that serves Piatt County.
2. A prior graduate of a school district that serves Piatt County.
3. Accepted to any post-secondary school and pursuing an agricultural or natural resource
related degree or certification.
4. Currently enrolled in any post-secondary school and pursuing an agricultural or natural
resource related degree or certification.
5. Have resided in Piatt County at some point in the last 5 years.
Applications must be emailed or postmarked by APRIL 30, 2019 to either of the following:
Mailing address: Piatt County SWCD
1209 Bear Lane
Monticello, Il 61856
Angela also mentioned, “Any questions pertaining to the scholarship should be directed to our office,
the phone number is 217-762-2146 x 3. Again, applications received on or before April 30, 2019 will be reviewed and one $1,000 scholarship will be awarded with the individual being contacted by June 10, 2019. Thanks and good luck.”
Join Precision Conservation Management on March 8th to learn more about PCM, experiences with cover crops, and insight on cover crop termination. RSVP to David Fulton, Conservation Specialist
Precision Conservation Management, Serving Piatt, DeWitt, and Macon Counties by calling 217-871-0435 or emailing email@example.com, by March 1st to save your seat.*
National Sequestration Education Center
3357 N President Howard Brown Blvd, Decatur, IL 62521
FREE Meal included with RSVP, catering by Griffins' BBQ
FREE Program on Cover Crops
11:30 PM - Lunch
11:50 PM - PCM update with Dave Fulton, Precision Conservation Management
12:15 PM - Farmer Panel with Allen Williams, Steve McCoy, and Eric Miller. Moderated by Abigail Peterson, Soil Health Partnership
12:50 PM - Cover Crops & Termination Strategy with Pete Fandel, Illinois Central College
1:30 PM - Adjourn
*Each attendee is permitted two guests, limited number of seats available
If a disability request or dietary/allergy specification needs to be accounted for, please inform Dave Fulton during the time of RSVP. The USDA is an equal opportunity provider.
The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rebounded sharply in January to a reading of 143, a 16-point improvement compared to December and the highest Barometer reading since June 2018. The January survey provided the first opportunity to measure farmer sentiment following USDA’s announcement that the second round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments would be made to soybean producers and it was also the first survey taken following passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), both of which appear to have helped boost farmer sentiment. In particular, total MFP payments (first and second installments, combined) to U.S. soybean farmers were estimated by USDA to be about $7.3 billion, providing a significant revenue boost to most Corn Belt farming operations.
The jump in the barometer from December to January was driven by increases in both of the barometer’s sub-indices but the biggest improvement was in the Index of Current Conditions, which rose to a reading of 132 from 109 a month earlier. In comparison, the Index of Future Expectations rose to 148 in January, 13 points above its December reading of 135 and its highest value since February 2017. The rise in the Current Conditions Index took it back to just below its June 2018 level.
Producers indicated they were more inclined to view making large investments in their farming operations favorably on the January survey than they did a month earlier. The Large Farm Investment Index rose to 62 in January, 11 points above its December value and the highest reading for the investment index since last June. Although the index was still below a year earlier in January, it has increased substantially over the last several months. The index bottomed out at 42 in September and has risen every month since then, except December when a modest decline occurred.
Although producers held a more favorable view of making investments in machinery and buildings in January than in late 2018, that perspective did not seem to carry over into their view of farmland values. When asked for their expectations for farmland values in the upcoming 12 months, producers’ attitude actually weakened slightly compared to November 2018 (the last time farmland value questions were posed) as the percentage expecting higher values declined from 17 to 13 percent and the percentage expecting lower prices drifted down to 21 from 22 percent. Producers longer term view of farmland values also weakened compared to November as the percentage expecting higher values declined 2 points to 48 percent and the percentage expecting lower values rose 4 points to 13 percent.
What’s going to happen with respect to trade negotiations continues to weigh heavily on U.S. farmers’ minds. In January, producers indicated that they were a bit more optimistic about the future for agricultural trade as 63 percent responded that they expect U.S. ag exports to increase over the next 5 years, compared to 59 percent in December. More significantly, the percentage of farmers expecting ag exports to decline over the next five years declined to just 7 percent, the lowest percentage since we first posed this question in May 2017, compared to 26 percent a month earlier.
There continues to be a lot of uncertainty regarding a possible shift in acreage between corn and soybeans in 2019. We asked producers that planted soybeans in 2018 what their plans are for 2019. Twenty-five percent of respondents that planted soybeans last year said they plan to reduce their soybean acreage in 2019 while two-thirds (67%) expect no change in their soybean acreage. Among those soybean farmers that expect to reduce soybean acreage, 58 percent of them expect to reduce their soybean acreage by more than 10% whereas the remaining 42 percent expect their acreage decline to be 10% or less.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2019, producers indicated that 2019 is poised to be a challenging year for many farm operations. A majority of producers (57%) indicated they expect their farms’ operating expenses to increase this year with 38 percent expecting operating expenses to be about the same, both compared to 2018. When asked if they expect livestock and grain prices to increase to levels that will substantially improve their farm’s financial situation in the next year, 70 percent of respondents said no. More specifically, when asked about their soybean price expectations, four out of 10 respondents (43%) said they expect November 2019 soybean futures to fall below $8.50 sometime between mid-January and summer 2019. Looking at their farm’s financial situation, 25 percent of respondents said they expect to have a larger farm operating loan in 2019 than in 2018. Among those expecting to have a larger operating loan, over half (53%) said it was because input costs increased. However, just over one-fourth (27%) said it was because they were carrying over unpaid operating debt from prior years, suggesting that their farm operation is under financial stress.
Producer sentiment improved markedly in January compared to a month earlier. Producers view of current conditions and expectations for the future both improved, but the large improvement in farmers’ perspective on current conditions was the biggest driver behind the Ag Economy Barometer’s increase. The boost in revenue provided by USDA’s MFP payments and the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, both of which took place in December but after the December survey was conducted, were likely responsible for some of the improvement in farmers’ sentiment. The sentiment improvement spilled over into a more optimistic perspective on making large investments in items like machinery and buildings as the Large Farm Investment Index rose 11 points in December to reach its highest level since last June. Although producers looked more favorably upon investing in machinery and buildings, that did not carry over into their views regarding future farmland values which weakened somewhat over both a 12-month and 5-year time horizon.
Looking ahead to plans for 2019, nearly one-fourth of farmers that planted soybeans in 2018 plan to reduce their soybean acreage this year whereas just 8 percent plan to increase their soybean acreage. Among those that plan to reduce acreage, 58 percent plan to reduce their acreage by 10 percent or more. This was a lower percentage than recorded on the November 2018 survey when 69 percent of growers planning to reduce soybean acreage said they expected to reduce soybean acreage by 10 percent or more.
The Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation (CUSF) received an early holiday gift when Farm Credit Illinois donated $25,000 for an outdoor educational pavilion to be built at Fowler Farm, just west of Champaign. Kelly Hill, CUSF’s Executive Director says, “Fowler Farm has continued to grow as an outdoor classroom for science, agriculture and environmental sustainability. We are honored to have Farm Credit Illinois recognize the value of investing in these types of transformative experiences for students.”
Julie Anders, Edison Middle School Science teacher and lead educator for the CUSF grant funded program at Fowler Farm is excited to bring more students out to experience the farm activities. “This type of community support gives students real life experience with issues of food production, nutrition and ecological awareness. The Farm Credit Learn & Grow Pavilion, will become a shared place of ownership for the students...just as they refer to "my school" and “my teacher" this space will also become "our farm" and "our Learn and Grow Pavilion" a shared space with a sense of community.”
“Providing today’s youth with engaging agricultural learning experiences in an outdoor classroom connects them with the soil and food in a tangible way,” says Tom Tracy, President & CEO Farm Credit Illinois. "We are grateful for the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation’s vision and the opportunity to fund the Farm Credit Learn & Grow Pavilion at Fowler Farm.”
CUSF Executive Director Hill continues, “with the funds secured, we will begin working with a generous group of professionals and community volunteers to complete the pavilion. We hope to have the pavilion completed and ready for student use in late spring.”
About the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation: CU Schools Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of education in Champaign-Urbana through community support of the public schools. The Foundation’s goal is to elevate excellence by partnering with the Champaign and Urbana public school community to change the lives of the educators and students served.
About Farm Credit Illinois: Farm Credit Illinois (FCI) supports rural communities, farm families, and agriculture as a farmer-owned lending cooperative. FCI is owned by 8,500 farm families, agribusinesses, and rural landowners in the central and southern 60 counties of Illinois. Invested in the future of the rural communities in which our 220 employees live and serve, FCI annually contributes $300,000 and 2,000 volunteer hours to youth, charities, and rural communities. Farm Credit Illinois is dedicated to Helping Farm Families Succeed today and tomorrow.
Thirty $2,000 scholarships are available to high school seniors with agricultural career aspirations, planning to enroll in an agriculture-based college curriculum next fall. Two under-represented minority student applicants will be designated as Diversity in Agriculture Scholars.
Selection criteria includes academic achievement, participation and leadership within school and community organizations, and a commitment to pursuing an agriculture-related career. Recipients must reside – or their family must farm – in one of the 60 central and southern Illinois counties served by Farm Credit Illinois.
NEW IN 2019 – FCI has replaced the essay portion of the application with a Passion for Agriculture Video submission. Create a 30-45 second video on your phone capturing your passion for agriculture. After a quick personal introduction, showcase one specific object (i.e. momento, place, project, person, plant, animal) you treasure and describe its significance and how it helped shape your commitment to agriculture.
All applicants should complete the Application and share the Academic Verification Form link with a school official to submit. The application deadline is March 1, 2019. Contact FCI with scholarship questions at ask@farmcreditIL.com or 217-590-2200.
Recipients will receive $1,000 of the scholarship for the Fall 2019 semester and the remaining $1,000 will be available to students who continue pursuing an agricultural degree during the Fall 2021 semester.
The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) offers a full $2,000 scholarship match to 2019 Farm Credit Illinois Agriculture Scholars who enroll full-time in the College of ACES either initially in the Fall 2019 semester or as a transfer student in the Fall 2021 semester. More information about the scholarship match is available from the U of I College of ACES.
Farm Credit Illinois introduced the FreshRoots Directors Cup recognition during the two-day learning and networking FreshRoots Retreat, attended by young and beginning farmers from across FCI’s 60-county territory in Champaign this week.
The $5,000 Directors Cup presented by the FCI Board celebrates young and beginning farmers committed to continuous learning and intentional living for a brighter future for their farm family business and community. Up to four young and beginning farmers will be recognized later this spring.
The Directors Cup award is part of the FreshRoots young and beginning farmers program, which provides lending assistance and learning incentives to farmers up to age 40 or in their first 10 years of farming. Cooperative members applying must be eligible for the FreshRoots program and have been an FCI member-borrower for at least three years.
“The Board of Directors is proud to present the FreshRoots Directors Cup to young and beginning farmers prioritizing personal growth and professional development,” says Eric Mosbey, FCI Board Chair. “We are proud to support today’s newest farmers taking proactive steps to invest in their future.”
“The Directors Cup award is another tangible way FCI is Helping the Next Generation of Farm Families Succeed,” says Tom Tracy FCI President & CEO.
An online application is available at www.farmcreditIL.com/freshroots and must be submitted by March 31. Contact your local FCI office for additional information.
Pictured above: Nearly 60 young and beginning farmers participated in the FreshRoots Retreat, featuring Dr. David Kohl, Virginia Tech professor emeritus.
High school seniors pursuing a career in agriculture are invited to apply for a $2,000 Farm Credit Illinois Agriculture Scholarship. Thirty scholarships will be given in 2019 with two recipients designated as Diversity in Agriculture Scholars.
Recipients are selected based on a combination of academic achievement, participation and leadership in school and community organizations, and the applicant’s commitment to an agricultural career. Applicants must be high school seniors enrolling in a college or university during the 2019 fall semester to pursue an agriculture-related academic major and career. Applicants must reside in – or immediate family must farm in – one of 60 central and southern counties in Illinois served by FCI.
Recipients will receive $1,000 for the fall 2019 semester and $1,000 for fall 2021.
Farm Credit Illinois also invites 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters organizing projects to apply for a $500 Community Improvement Grant.
Fifty $500 grants will be awarded to assist youth members in bringing positive change to their local community. Clubs should choose a project that delivers tangible value where the outcome is visible. Farm Credit encourages collaboration with other local organizations to develop and complete the improvement project.
Online applications for the scholarship and grant programs are available at www.farmcreditIL.com and must be submitted by March 1. In lieu of an essay, students will create a 30-45 second video capturing their passion for agriculture. Questions or requests for additional information may be sent to ask@farmcreditIL.com.
“When today’s youth give back and have a vision for prosperity, the future of Rural America is bright,” says Tom Tracy, FCI President & CEO. “Farm Credit is proud to offer the Agriculture Scholarship and Community Improvement Grant programs, which promote positive opportunities for tomorrow’s agricultural leaders and contribute to the health of rural communities.”
Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP) is a new federally subsidized insurance plan specifically for dairy producers. DRP protects revenue based on price and production.
Coverage is provided on declines in quarterly revenue from milk sales relative to the guaranteed coverage level.
DRP is an area-based plan of coverage and does not insure a dairy’s individual milk production. Production for the insurance period will be determined on the state-level with milk production reports from the National Agricultural Statistics Survey.
Coverage is available quarterly and can be purchased into the next year. Daily quotes are available for up to five quarters and endorsements may be purchased daily. The chart below details the purchasing windows.
To determine the level of coverage, dairy producers must decide on the following:
The value of the milk protected – class or component pricing
Class Pricing – uses Class III or Class IV futures prices
Component Pricing – uses component milk prices for butterfat protein
The amount of milk production to cover
Determined by the producer and can be less than the actual quarterly estimated production.
Coverage level from 70-95% with a protection factor up to 150%
Quarterly endorsement based on the current sales period
Contact your local crop insurance agent to learn more about how Dairy Revenue Protection can work for your operation.
WHOW THE BIG 1520 across Central Illinois, 92-point-3 FM in DeWitt County, and 106-point-5 FM in Logan County, again sponsored the Antique Tractor Show Contest at this week's Greater Peoria Farm Show.
Attendees were invited to submit their favorite antique tractors on display, on ballots during the show.
WHOW announced those winners today on its Noon Farm Show. They included first place winner being a Farmall 460 owned by Roger Henderson, of Jacksonville, IL who won a 150-dollars from WHOW.
Second place was a 1951 Oliver 77 owned by George Weyrich of San Jose, Illinois, who won a 100-dollars from WHOW.
Third place winner was a 1944 VA Case owned by Robert Blue, of Canton, Illinois, who won a 50-dollars from WHOW.
WHOW and the Greater Peoria Farm Show thank all the antique tractor owners that brought their machinery to this year's show.
For the last four years, the land value benchmark study completed by FCI each summer has shown an overall decline in value. But in certain cases, values have risen year after year. What factors affect the overall trend in your local market? Download the full 2018 report for detailed findings.
1. Commodity Prices
Land values typically correlate with commodity prices. When one goes up, the other follows suit, helping fuel the dramatic rise in land values from 2003-2014 and contributing to declining values since 2015.
Exports are crucial to corn and soybean pricing. Illinois farmers are expected to export 2.225 billion bushels of the 2018-2019 corn crop and 2.04 billion bushels of new crop soybean, according to a July USDA report. If trade negotiations are made, a small correction to commodity prices may prove beneficial. However, if negotiations drag on and tariffs remain, commodity prices will remain low, translating to lower Illinois land values.
3. Rising interest rates
Historically low interest rates from 2008-2015 made the cost of borrowing money for land owners and farm operators decrease, allowing for increased investment. The cost to borrow money has increased as the FOMC raised rates by a quarter point seven times so far since 2015. Each hike reduces the demand for farmland and increases the competition of other investment opportunities.
4. Supply and Demand
Currently in Illinois, less than one percent of farmland transfers ownership in a calendar year. A large amount of farmland was sold before the end of 2012 in response to the possibility of changes to capital gains tax law. Since then, the volume of farm sales moderated and remains low. Even with signs of reduced working capital on some farms, there haven’t been many liquidation sales coming to the market. This lower supply coupled with steady demand, have caused prices decrease only slightly.
As with all real estate, location is key. Certain areas of the FCI territory remain closely held by a small number of owners. When a farm becomes available in these areas, there is more than sufficient demand, driving prices above typical market values.
Factors within and outside your local region contribute to its land values. Overall, farm prices are expected to continue declining moderately in correlation with lower commodity prices, rising interest rates, and lower net farm incomes. However, given your area’s market condition and its specific land class, farmland can deviate from the norm.
Local farm broadcaster Jared White is traveling Central Illinois recording his popular Combine Reports. He's riding with local farmers in their combine, recording interviews on how this year's growing season went, and how harvest is progressing.
Jared is riding in a 2019 Chevy Silverado provided by Baum Chevrolet Buick in Clinton. The Silverado is the Official Truck of this fall's illinoisfarmradio.com Combine Reports.
The 2019 Chevy Silverado has gotten Jared into fields to visit with Central Illinois farmers in the midst of harvest.
Its solid body style still provides Jared with a smooth ride, even among the corn stalks!
Whether the field is near an oil derrick or a township road, Jared rides in comfort in the 2019 Chevy Silverado provided by Baum Chevrolet Buick in Clinton! The Silverado is the Official Truck of this year's illinoisfarmradio.com's Combine Reports!
Posted September 17, 2018
Rebecca Wiggins, a 16-year-old writer from Taylorvillle, attended the Illinois State Fair last month. She provided illinoisfarmradio.com this article on her perception of the Fair from a city girl's perspective.
Here is Rebecca's article:
Attending the State Fair has always been an entertaining and enjoyable experience as a long-time resident of central Illinois. As I have grown I've discovered that there is much more to explore than just unique food combinations and thrill-inducing rides. This past week I have had the opportunity to venture through the fairgrounds learning more about agriculture and what makes this industry vital to Illinois.
Living in downtown Taylorville for the majority of my life, I did not have much experience when it came to farming, or even realizing how valuable the agricultural industries are to our area. I knew of agriculture and farming from observing our corn and beans growing throughout the summer along Route 48, or watching the grain trucks and tractors pull into the elevator on Route 29. I simply did not realize the impact that agriculture nor those corn and beans had on our global economy.
On Thursday, August eighth, I was able to attend the Butter Cow unveiling in the Dairy Building on the grounds of the fair. The reveal was preceded by a press conference, which taught me a bit more about the origins of the creation, as well as why it is such a long-time and noteworthy fair attraction each year. I learned that Illinois has over six hundred dairy farms that generate thousands of jobs. The Butter Cow has been a crowd favorite for nearly a hundred years, bringing the dairy industry to the forefront and allowing a public display of thanks to our farmers.
In a quest for even more knowledge, I looked to my friends, the Future Farmers of America (FFA), who brought a new attribute to learning, enthusiasm. I decided to hop onto the Ag Tour cart, which was being pulled by a tractor, and my journey began. The tour was extremely informational, traveling across the fairgrounds explaining several aspects of farming along the way. From dairy farming, to horse racing, to the traditional grain industry, agriculture was affirmed as the heart of the Illinois economy. The guides providing the narrative made the tour interesting, telling jokes and asking many questions to ensure we were entertained as we deepened our knowledge. I learned that successful farmers must be self-motivated and hard-working, giving me a newfound respect for them. I also discovered, after our tractor had a minor issue, that a golf cart can pull a tractor and a cart full of people!
The final stop of my pursuit to learn more about the industry was Conservation World, which was filled with educational kiosks focusing on topics across the spectrum from fishing to natural resources. Children were able to engage in fishing clinics and study about Illinois sport and native species, even participating in a hands-on experience which allowed them to touch the fish. In the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Education Tent, we were gifted with a pack of seeds to plant to start a pollinator garden, and learned more about the significance of natural pollinators. IDNR Forest Resources specialists were more than happy to assist in answering any questions I had about keeping our wildlife protected, and also gave me additional information on this topic.
The Illinois State Fair was an exceptional and enjoyable experience! I learned more than I ever could've anticipated in this fun and adventurous setting. I now have a profound level of appreciation for agriculture and the world around me thanks to the farmers of Illinois.
illinoisfarmradio.com broadcast live from Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair on Tuesday, August 14th. The broadcast featured interviews with many commodity and ag leaders across the state, to spotlight the importance of agriculture as the state's largest industry. Current issues facing agriculture were also discussed with the guests.
Here are pictures of a couple of the many guests we interviewed:
Local farm broadcaster Jared White (left) interviewing Aaron Carlson with the Illinois Corn Growers Association.
Jared (right) interviewing Jim Martin, a board member with the Illinois Soybean Association.
Here is what the 40-minute broadcast sounded like:
Pictured above from L to R: Rod Stoll, Farm Credit Illinois vice president of marketplace engagement; Jessica Barkley; Bradley Barkley, Macoupin County farmer-veteran; Karen Neff, Farm Credit Illinois board member and St. Clair County farmer; Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois; Steve Thursby, Macoupin County farmer-veteran; Brandi Thursby
Farm Credit Illinois farmer-veteran members were present Wednesday as the AgriBank District Farm Credit Council (ADFCC) conferred its 2018 Friend of Farm Credit Award to U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, who has served on the House Agriculture Committee since coming to Congress in 2013 and currently serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research.
Davis received the award for his important work on behalf of rural communities, agriculture, and the Farm Credit System. ADFCC members are in Washington to meet with members of Congress about issues important to farmers and ranchers in AgriBank’s Midwestern District. The current deliberations on the Farm Bill are foremost on their agenda.
“The leadership Congressman Davis provides through his service on the House Agriculture Committee is critical to the well-being of our rural communities and our agricultural producers across the country,” said Karen Neff, a grain and livestock farmer from near Belleville, Ill.; a board member of Farm Credit Illinois; and ADFCC member. “We especially appreciate Congressman Davis’s efforts to ensure the crop insurance program remains an effective risk management tool to help producers deal with the uncertainties of weather and the markets. In addition to the counter-cyclical programs that are so important to producers, crop insurance is a vital component of ensuring an adequate safety net. Through his leadership on the House Committee on Agriculture, Congressman Davis ensured the crop insurance provisions remained strong in the House version of the Farm Bill.”
“It’s always an honor to be called a friend of farmers because they truly are some of the hardest working people I know,” Davis said. “What our farmers do is crucial to our economy and feeding the world. I’m proud to support their hard work in Congress by fighting to pass another Farm Bill that protects crop insurance and other policies critical to agriculture. I appreciate the Farm Credit Council and members, like Karen Neff, who continue to be a strong voice for farmers throughout Illinois.”
Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. Farm Credit has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for more than a century by providing farmers with the capital they need to make their businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information about Farm Credit, please visit www.farmcredit.com.
The AgriBank District Farm Credit Council represents Farm Credit farmers and ranchers in a 15-state area from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas and including Illinois. About half the nation’s cropland is located within the AgriBank District.
Farm Credit Illinois recently three new employees throughout its 60-county territory – Rachel Hawk, of Bloomington, Dylan Reetz, of Cissna Park, and Jon Strohl, of Sigel.
Hawk started June 5 as a human resources generalist in the human resource department based at the financial cooperative’s headquarters in Mahomet. She was raised on her family’s grain farm and graduated from Mercer County High School before receiving her bachelor’s degree in agricultural and consumer economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Hawk worked for two years as a human resources intern at Farm Credit Illinois in Mahomet and as a development intern for two months at American Farmland Trust in Washington, DC. She is an active member of the Illinois Farm Bureau Yong Leaders and Illinois FFA Alumni Association. Hawk is the daughter of Mark and Shelly Hawk of Aledo.
Reetz began May 21 as a sales service specialist at the Watseka regional office. The Watseka office serves farm families and rural landowners in Iroquois and northern Ford Counties. He was raised on his family’s Iroquois County grain farm and graduated from Cissna Park High School before receiving his bachelor’s degree in agriculture and consumer economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Reetz worked as a summer intern for CoBank based in St. Louis and a Farm Credit Illinois intern based out of the cooperative headquarters in Mahomet for two years. He is the son of Bob and Betty Reetz of Cissna Park.
Strohl started May 21 as an assistant vice president of crop insurance at the Effingham regional office. The Effingham office serves farm families and rural landowners in Clay, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion and Shelby Counties. He was raised on his family’s Shelby County grain and livestock farm and graduated from Neoga High School before receiving his associate’s degree in social science from Lake Land College. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Strohl worked for more than four years as a sales consultant at Crop Production Services in Neoga. Strohl resides in Sigel with his wife Elissa with their three children – Liam, Griffin, and Ada.
The Farm Credit Illinois Mt. Vernon regional office recently awarded $500 to the Jefferson County University of Illinois Extension and $725 to the White County University of Illinois Extension.
In 2017, FCI invested more than $270,000 in youth, community, and ag literacy initiatives throughout its 60-county territory. The Mt. Vernon regional office annually supports Extension initiatives which further agricultural and youth development in rural communities.
Pictured above from L to R: Craig Koors (FCI), Amy McCarty (White County Extension program coordinator), Donnie Seitz (White County livestock committee member)
The funds gifted to White County will provide new gutters for the 4-H Livestock Barn on the fairgrounds, increasing the lifespan of the building and allowing 4-H members to continue showing annually.
Pictured above from L to R: Caitlyn Wagner, Lilyanne Eastham, Karli Verheyen (FCI)
Sue King, of Sheldon, is retiring from Farm Credit Illinois June 29, after 20 years providing support to generations of farm families in the Watseka area. King is a sales and service specialist based at the Watseka regional office serving Iroquois and northern Ford Counties.
King was raised on a grain and livestock farm in Kentland, Ind. Before joining the workforce, she received a business certificate from Indiana Business College. King and her husband Steve have two children – Jodie (Bryan) Havens and Darrin (Amanda) – and two grandchildren – Evan and Leah. The Farm Credit Illinois team is grateful for King’s leadership and service to farm families and rural communities.
In the Fall of 2014, LaSalle County farmer Dan Arkels felt like he won the World Series. He was the first Illinois farmer to have reached the 100 bushels per acre mark in the Illinois Soybean Association's Yield Challenge, but now ... he's no longer farming.
NAFB Broadcaster, Jared White, has more...
The class of 2018 Farm Credit agriculture scholars was recognized during a scholarship luncheon at Farm Credit Illinois (FCI) in Mahomet Thursday, May 31.
A total of $60,000 of scholarships were awarded to 30 high school seniors. Each scholar receives $2,000 from FCI to pursue a degree in the field of agriculture. Twenty-seven of the students attended the recognition program.
Pictured above from left to right: Back row: Travis Kaeb of Buckley (Iroquois County), Noah Benedict of Dewey (Champaign County), Jebediah Baumgart of Norris City (White County), Jake Wente of Sigel (Cumberland County), Seth Mitchell of Olney (Richland County), Julissa Garcia of Gilman (Iroquois County), Bridget Payne of Harrisburg (Saline County); Middle row: Remington Henson of Wayne City (Wayne County), Tucker Marrs of Paris (Edgar County), Nicholas DeVries of New Douglas (Montgomery County), Clayton Smith of Sumner (Lawrence County), Peyton Tester of Witt (Montgomery County), Dillon White of Jacksonville (Morgan County), Tyler Hollis of Columbia (St. Clair County), Reed Jostes of Maroa (Macon County); Front row: Cole Herrmann of Hoyleton (Washington County), Megan Finfrock of Clinton (DeWitt County), Becca Royer of Oakland (Coles County), Parker Karrick of Patoka (Marion County), Alexis Ruemker of Columbia (Monroe County), Abigail Wagner of Milford (Iroquois County), Sarah Richey of Medora (Jersey County), Jenna Wheeler of Jacksonville (Morgan County), Cierra Crowell of Lincoln (Logan County), Sophia Hortin of Fisher (Champaign County), Benjamin Polo of Carlinville (Macoupin County)
This marks the fifteenth year of the Farm Credit agriculture scholarship program, which has awarded $400,000 to 329 students in central and southern Illinois since 2004. Scholarship selections are based on a combination of academic achievement, participation and leadership in school and community organizations, and the applicant’s commitment to an agricultural career.
“Farm Credit Illinois is proud to provide positive opportunities and lend support to young people with a passion for agriculture,” says Rod Stoll, vice president of marketplace engagement for FCI. “These scholars will assume careers that shape the future of agriculture and Rural America, in turn Helping Farm Families Succeed.”
Scholars not pictured above: Ryder Flener of Elizabethtown (Hardin County), Leah Hall of Carbondale (Jackson County), Callie McClay of Oakdale (Washington County), Calyssa Richie of New Berlin (Sangamon County)
Bonnie McGrew is retiring from Farm Credit Illinois May 31, after 36 years providing support to generations of farm families in the Champaign area. McGrew is a senior sales and service specialist based at the Mahomet regional office serving Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Piatt, and Vermilion Counties.
McGrew was raised in Ford County. Before joining the workforce, she studied at Northern Illinois University. During her Farm Credit career, McGrew was based in Paxton, Gibson City, and Champaign offices, before moving to the newly purchased cooperative headquarters and Mahomet regional office in 2008.
McGrew and her husband Lance have one daughter – Holli Applegate – and two grandchildren – Austin and Arin. The Farm Credit Illinois team is grateful for McGrew’s leadership and service to farm families and rural communities.
Farm Credit Illinois recently hired seven employees throughout its 60-county territory: Michael Burns, of Bloomington, Jon Cook, of Normal, Megan Humphres, of Toledo, Chea Mueller, of Highland, Clayton Reiser, of Champaign, Karli Verheyen, of Woodlawn, and Jenny Walker, of Cerro Gordo.
Burns started Jan. 22 as a loan associate in the commercial lending department based at the financial cooperative’s central office in Mahomet. Burns was raised in McLean County and graduated from Normal Community High School before receiving his bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Southern Illinois University. Burns then earned a master’s degree in MBA from Southern Illinois University. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Burns worked for over three years as a senior credit analyst at Heartland Bank and Trust in Bloomington. Burns resides in Bloomington with his fiancé Maria Nunez. He is the son of Roger and Debbie Burns of Bloomington.
Cook began April 13 as a vice president for the large and agribusiness team in the credit service division and is based at the financial cooperative’s central office in Mahomet. Cook was raised in McLean County and graduated from Bloomington High School before receiving his associate’s degree from Heartland Community College. Cook then earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Illinois State University. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Cook worked for 10 years as a commercial loan portfolio manager at Heartland Bank and Trust Company in Bloomington. He is the son of Randy and Marilyn Cook of Bloomington.
Humphres started Feb. 5 as an assistant vice president of crop insurance at the Effingham regional office. The Effingham office serves farm families and rural landowners in Clay, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion, and Shelby Counties. Humphres spent time on her extended family’s Coles County grain farm and graduated from Kansas High School. She earned an associate’s degree in agriculture from Lake Land College before transferring to Illinois State University and completing a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and agronomy management. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Humphres worked as a crop insurance specialist at First Neighbor Bank in Neoga. Humphres resides in Toledo with her fiancé Lance Moses. She is the daughter of Kevin and Julie Humphres of Kansas, Ill.
Mueller started Jan. 2 as a sales and service assistant at the Highland regional office. The Highland office serves farm families and rural landowners in Bond, Clinton, Madison and Washington Counties. Mueller was raised on her family’s Bond County grain farm and graduated from Greenville High School before completing a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Mueller worked for one year as a program aide at Bond County Community Unit #2 in Greenville. Mueller resides in Highland with her husband Aaron. She is the daughter of Rich and Ronda Reeves of Greenville.
Reiser began March 5 as a crop insurance assistant vice president at the Decatur regional office. The Decatur office serves farm families and rural landowners in DeWitt, Macon, and Moultrie Counties. Reiser was raised in Champaign County and graduated from St. Thomas More High School before receiving his bachelor’s degree in agribusiness with a concentration in markets and management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Reiser worked for more than three years in agronomy sales at Effingham Equity in Arcola and two years at DuPont Pioneer in seed corn production in St. Joseph.
Verheyen started April 12 as a sales and service specialist in the Mt. Vernon regional office. The Mt. Vernon office serves farm families and rural landowners in Edwards, Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Wayne, and White Counties. Verheyen was raised on her family’s Jefferson County livestock farm and graduated from Mt. Vernon High School before receiving her associate’s degree in ag business and production from Rend Lake College. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, she worked for three years as a member service representative at GenFed Financial Credit Union in Mt. Vernon.
Walker began Dec. 18 as a sales and service specialist at the Decatur regional office. The Decatur office serves farm families and rural landowners in DeWitt, Macon and Moultrie Counties. Walker was raised on her family’s Piatt County farrow-to finish-swine and grain farm. She graduated from Cerro Gordo High School before completing a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Walker worked for one year as a clinical research associate at the Decatur Memorial Hospital Cancer Care Institute and as a medical transcriptionist for seven years at SafeWorks Illinois in Champaign. She was also an assistant farm manager at Quality Swine Farm in Hammond for 15 years. Walker resides in Cerro Gordo with her husband Brandon. They have three children – Jarrett (18), Kali (16), and Lucas (9).
Twelve recipients of the 2018 Farm Credit Illinois Family Scholarship – administered by the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois – were recently named. Each scholar receives $3,000 towards their college education. The selection criteria emphasize scholastic achievement, leadership and community contributions, career vision and goals, and financial need. Farm Credit Illinois (FCI) serves farm families, agribusinesses, and rural communities in the central and southern 60 counties of Illinois.
Applicants for the Family Scholarship are children or grandchildren of Farm Credit Illinois employees, up to age 26, and registered as full-time college students in the fall of 2018.
Fletcher Bell, of Cerro Gordo, Ill., is pursuing a medical degree at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeon – ranked as the 7th leading medical school in the country. He graduated from Monticello High School and is the son of Ellen (Neher) – FCI Decatur vice president of lending – and Jerry Gregg of Cerro Gordo. He is the grandson of Donald M. Neher of Higginsville, Mo.
Cassidi Collins, of Mahomet, will be a freshman at the University of Kentucky in the physician’s assistance program in the fall. In May she graduates from Mahomet-Seymour High School and is the daughter of Tammi (FCI crop insurance service division service specialist) and Ted Collins of Mahomet.
Ellie and Emily Detmer
Sisters Ellie and Emily Detmer, of Breese, are two recipients. Ellie will be enrolled at Lindenwood University – Belleville as a graduate student in school and professional counseling this fall after completing her undergraduate education this spring. Emily will continue her studies in mathematics – with an actuarial science emphasis – at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Ellie and Emily graduated from Central Community High School and are the daughters of Chris (FCI Highland sales and service specialist) and Jeff Detmer of Breese.
Haley Giles, of Teutopolis, is attending Maryville University in St. Louis, Mo., in the occupational therapy graduate program. She graduated from Teutopolis High School and is the daughter of Bridgot (FCI Effingham regional manager) and Doug Giles of Teutopolis.
Britni Gortner, of Monticello, is continuing her studies in business and finance at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She graduated from Monticello High School and is the daughter of Niki Moore (FCI credit assistant in the credit services division) and Mark Gortner.
Annie Heinz, of Tuscola, is continuing her studies in accounting at Illinois State University. She graduated from Tuscola High School and is the daughter of Brad Heinz (FCI Highland appraiser) and Fran Heinz.
Jennifer Nigh, of Anchorage, Alaska, is continuing her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in nursing science at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She graduated from Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School and is the daughter of Barbara (FCI credit assistant in the credit services division) and Timothy Hess of Paxton.
Maclaren Ranstead, of Mahomet, will graduate from Mahomet-Seymour High School in May and pursue a degree in the architecture program at Ball State University in the fall. She is the daughter of Stacy Schweighart (FCI senior sales and service specialist in the commercial lending department) and Paul Ranstead.
David and Elizabeth Rhode
Siblings David and Elizabeth Rhode, of Mahomet, are two of 12 recipients. David is pursuing his medical doctorate at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. Elizabeth is pursuing a bioengineering degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. David and Elizabeth graduated from Morton High School and are the children of Bob (FCI general counsel) and Rebekah Rhode of Mahomet.
McKenna Steineman, of Effingham, will graduate from St. Anthony High School in May and attend St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., to pursue a degree in literature and music performance in the fall. She is the granddaughter of Dave Ragan (FCI Effingham appraiser) and daughter of Daniel and Angela Steineman of Effingham.
4-H clubs and FFA chapters throughout central and southern Illinois will implement valuable improvement projects in their communities with help from grants provided by Farm Credit Illinois. FCI awarded $400 grants to 50 4-H clubs and FFA chapters to deliver projects that will make their local communities better places to live.
This is the 10th year FCI has funded community improvement grants; the total amount awarded is nearly $110,000. Examples of this year’s award-winning projects include managing community gardens, improving fairgrounds, and constructing roadside welcome signs.
“Farm Credit is grateful to team-up with youth organizations to invest in the health of their communities, fulfilling our mission to support Rural America and agriculture,” says Rod Stoll, vice president of marketplace engagement for FCI. “We congratulate the 2018 grant recipients and salute them for making positive, tangible contributions to their local communities.”
The following 4-H clubs and FFA chapters are 2018 community improvement grant recipients:
Liberty 4-H Club (Bond County): Enhance show rings, water hydrants, and benches along Midway at the Bond County Fairgrounds
Old Ripley 4-H Club (Bond County): Landscape, plant vegetables and flowers, and clean-up at Old Ripley Church of Christ
Hardin Busy Bees 4-H Club (Calhoun County): Build display stands for the Calhoun County Fair’s 4-H and Education Building
Fantastic 4-Hers of Fisher 4-H Club (Champaign County): Build cedar planter boxes to beautify downtown Fisher
Mahomet Happy Helpers 4-H Club (Champaign County): Plant flowers along Main Street in Mahomet
Mahomet-Seymour FFA Chapter (Champaign County): Partner with local civic groups to improve the community landscapes at Barber Park
Philo 4-H Friends (Champaign County): Create butterfly education and promotion exhibit for the public at Philo Library
Sadorus All Stars 4-H Club (Champaign County): Improve East Side Park in Tolono with quality windbreak and shade trees
Casey Achievers 4-H Club (Clark County): Install recycled benches and green trash barrels at Martinsville Fairgrounds
Golden Star 4-H Club (Clark County): Improve Martinsville Fairgrounds
4-H Clovers and Cloverettes (Clinton County): Plant and maintain trees and create new pollinator garden at Germantown Veterans Park
Carlyle FFA Chapter (Clinton County): Deliver a honeybee project in East Clinton County
Clinton County 4-H Federation (Clinton County): Create flower farming area for honeybees in West Clinton County
Springpoint Rebels 4-H Club (Cumberland County): Fix-up playground at Lillyville Church
Edwards County FFA Chapter (Edwards County): Revive the flower bed in the visitor center parking lot at Beall Woods State Park
Ellery Panthers 4-H Club (Edwards County): Complete beautification project at Little Prairie Christian Church
Independent 4-Her’s (Franklin County): Complete beautification project within Whittington
Carrollton FFA Chapter (Greene County): Grow flowers to plant around town square in Carrollton
Greenfield FFA Chapter (Greene County): Plant a “Taste the Rainbow Garden” at Greenfield Elementary School
Barbwire Gang 4-H Club (Hamilton County): Build “Barbwire Gang Gives Back” boxes at the Hamilton County GIFT Garden
Hamilton County 4-H Federation (Hamilton County): Build a Farmers Market sign at Randolph and Jackson Streets
Piopolis Busy Bees 4-H Club (Hamilton County): Assist with repairs to McCoy Memorial Library
Corn Fed Clovers 4-H Club (Hardin County): Install recycled bench and expand Community Garden
Cissna Park FFA Chapter (Iroquois County): Plant and maintain Community Garden at Cissna Park High School
Milford FFA Chapter (Iroquois County): Deliver a recreational project at Milford Park
Jackson County Wranglers 4-H Club (Jackson County): Help create new horse arena at the U of I Extension Center
TRICO FFA Chapter (Jackson County): Build and maintain flower beds at TRICO High School
Northwestern Green Machines 4-H Club (Macoupin County): Implement community recycling program at Northwestern Elementary School
Athens FFA Chapter (Menard County): Build the Athens Warriors Food Garden Phase 3 Arboretum at Athens High School
West Menarders Ag 4-H Club (Menard County): Host a work day at the Menard County Fairgrounds
Agri-Stars 4-H Club (Morgan County): Plant and maintain a community garden for Morgan County at Hadden Farms
Berea Ag 4-H Club (Morgan County): Provide community outreach at First Baptist Church
East Side Jr’s 4-H Club (Morgan County): Construct shelves for cages in the new poultry building at the Morgan County Fairgrounds
Sullivan FFA (Moultrie County): Install safe sturdy gates for Moultrie-Sullivan Fairgrounds
Pope County Clover Crew 4-H Club (Pope County): Upgrade and continue the community garden at Coonhunter’s Club
River Rats 4-H Club (Pope County): Provide new outdoor student seating at Pope County Elementary School
Steeleville High School FFA Chapter (Randolph County): Host a beautification day at Steeleville High School
Southern Smilers 4-H Club (Richland County): Beautify board building at Richland County Fair
West Side 4-H Club (Sangamon County): Build community picnic tables for the Sangamon County Fairgrounds
Williamsville FFA Chapter (Sangamon County): Plant and maintain a community garden at Williamsville High School
Moweaqua Rustlers 4-H Club (Shelby County): Provide facelift to livestock barns at Shelby County 4-H and Junior Fairgrounds
Shelbyville Cloverbuds 4-H Club (Shelby County): Beautify Shelby County Senior Center
Stewardson-Strasburg FFA Chapter (Shelby County): Establish Mr. Wildman’s Memorial Garden at Stewardson-Strasburg High School
Strasburg Tailtwisters 4-H Club (Shelby County): Plant trees at Shelby County 4-H and Junior Fairgrounds
Lick Creek 4-H Club (Union County): Restore Ebenezer Hall Cemetery
Wayne City FFA Chapter (Wayne County): Provide hands-on horticulture opportunities at Wayne City High School
76 Clovers of Norris City (White County): Clean-up trash cans in White County
Centerville Ripsnorters 4-H Club (White County): Add landscaping to the front of the showers area at Burrell Woods
Crossville Prizewinners 4-H Club (White County): Build portable poultry and rabbit judging tables at White County Fairgrounds
Mad Hatters 4-H Club (White County): Build raised garden beds for senior living residents at Heritage Apartments
Farm Credit Illinois recently awarded a total of $60,000 in scholarships to high school seniors throughout central and southern Illinois to pursue agriculture-related majors and careers. Each of the 30 high school seniors received a $2,000 agriculture scholarship; two of the recipients were designated as Urban Agriculture Scholars.
This is the 15th year of the Farm Credit agriculture scholarship program which has awarded a total of $400,000 to 329 students since 2004. Scholarship selections are based on a combination of academic achievement, participation and leadership in school and community organizations, and the applicant’s commitment to an agricultural career.
“Farm Credit Illinois is proud to provide positive opportunities and lend support to young people with a passion for agriculture,” says Rod Stoll, vice president of marketplace engagement for FCI. “These scholars will assume careers that shape the future of agriculture and Rural America, in turn Helping Farm Families Succeed.”
The following students were selected to receive a 2018 Farm Credit agriculture scholarship:
Jebediah Baumgart of Norris City (White County) will graduate from Norris City-Omaha-Enfield High School and attend Rend Lake College to study agricultural business and agricultural production and management. His mother is Cindy Baumgart.
Noah Benedict of Dewey (Champaign County) will graduate from Mahomet-Seymour High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agribusiness markets and management. His parents are Chad and Becky Benedict.
Cierra Crowell of Lincoln (Logan County) will graduate from Lincoln Community High School and attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale to study equine science. Her parents are Jerry and Lotis Crowell.
Nicholas DeVries of New Douglas (Montgomery County) will graduate from Mount Olive High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agribusiness markets and management. His parents are Kevin and Sondra DeVries.
Megan Finfrock of Clinton (DeWitt County) will graduate from Clinton Community High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study crop sciences, concentrating in crop agribusiness. Her parents are Marvin and Shelley Finfrock.
Ryder Flener of Elizabethtown (Hardin County) will graduate from Hardin County High School and attend Oklahoma State University to study animal science. His parents are Janetta Flener and the late Randy Flener.
Julissa Garcia of Gilman (Iroquois County) will graduate from Iroquois West High School and enroll in the Parkland Pathways program to study animals sciences. Her parents are Hilario and Domitila Garcia.
Leah Hall of Carbondale (Jackson County) will graduate from Carbondale Community High School and attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale to study animal science. Her mother is Me-Chelle Hall.
Remington Henson of Wayne City (Wayne County) will graduate from Wayne City High School and attend Rend Lake College to study agricultural business and agricultural production and management. His parents are Shannon and Nicole Henson.
Cole Herrmann of Hoyleton (Washington County) will graduate from Nashville Community High School and attend Kaskaskia College to study pre-agricultural engineering. His parents are Carl and Charlene Herrmann.
Tyler Hollis of Columbia (St. Clair County) will graduate from Columbia High School and attend Missouri University of Science and Technology to study mechanical engineering. His parents are Rich and Gail Hollis.
Sophia Hortin of Fisher (Champaign County) will graduate from Fisher High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agricultural leadership and science education. Her parents are Mark and Shanna Hortin.
Reed Jostes of Maroa (Macon County) will graduate from Maroa-Forsyth High School and attend Southern Illinois University-Carbondale to study agricultural education. His parents are Josh and Heidi Jostes.
Travis Kaeb of Buckley (Iroquois County) will graduate from Cissna Park High School and attend Parkland College to study agricultural business, concentrating in precision agriculture. His parents are Warren and Jill Kaeb.
Parker Karrick of Patoka (Marion County) will graduate from Patoka Community High School and attend Kaskaskia College to study agriculture business. Her parents are Leslie and Angela Britt.
Tucker Marrs of Paris (Edgar County) will graduate from Paris High School and attend Lake Land College as an agriculture production transfer student. His parents are Wayne and Nancy Marrs.
Callie McClay of Oakdale (Washington County) will graduate from Nashville Community High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agricultural communications. Her parents are Steve and Denise McClay.
Seth Mitchell of Olney (Richland County) will graduate from Richland County High School and attend Lake Land College in agriculture. His parents are Aaron and Deborah Mitchell.
Bridget Payne of Harrisburg (Saline County) will graduate from Harrisburg High School and attend Southeastern Illinois College to study agriculture education. Her parents are Eric and Cheree Witges.
Benjamin Polo of Carlinville (Macoupin County) will graduate from Gillespie High School and attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale to study pre-veterinary medicine and science. His parents are Kevin and Therese Polo.
Sarah Richey of Medora (Jersey County) will graduate from Southwestern High School and attend Illinois Central College in the agriculture transfer program. Her parents are Joseph and Lynn Richey.
Calyssa Richie of New Berlin (Sangamon County) will graduate from New Berlin High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agricultural communications. Her parents are Bill and Ann Richie.
Becca Royer of Oakland (Coles County) will graduate from Oakland High School and attend Lake Land College in the agriculture transfer program. Her parents are Leann and Ruben Royer.
Alexis Ruemker of Columbia (Monroe County) will graduate from Waterloo High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agricultural leadership and science education. Her parents are Clem Ruemker and Cindy Rehmer-Ruemker.
Clayton Smith of Sumner (Lawrence County) will graduate from Oblong High School and attend Lincoln Trail College to study process technology and welding. His parents are Randy and Janette Smith.
Peyton Tester of Witt (Montgomery County) will graduate from Hillsboro High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study farm management. His parents are Dan and Ann Tester.
Abigail Wagner of Milford (Iroquois County) will graduate from Milford High and attend Joliet Junior College in the agriculture transfer program. Her parents are Luke and Shelly Wagner.
Jake Wente of Sigel (Cumberland County) will graduate from Teutopolis High School and attend Lake Land College to study ag business. His parents are Tim and Betty Wente.
Jenna Wheeler of Jacksonville (Morgan County) will graduate from Jacksonville High School and attend Lake Land College in the agriculture transfer program. Her parents are Dennis and Joy Wheeler.
Dillon White of Jacksonville (Morgan County) will graduate from Jacksonville High School High School and attend John Wood Community College to study animal science. His parents are Zachary and Tammy White.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve (Fed) met March 20-21 and voted unanimously to increase the federal funds rate by 0.25%. The move was once again anticipated and the immediate market impact on interest rates was uneventful. The FOMC cited continued strengthening of the labor market, strong employment gains, and continued pickup in economic activity as the primary drivers of current economic conditions. Effective March 21, the prime rate increased to 4.75%.
The FOMC also continued its previously approved policy to slowly reduce its balance sheet of both Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities by reinvesting less than the amounts maturing, explained in a previous edition of INTERESTing Times. This action will place more supply of these securities in the open market (and presumably increase the interest rate cost on these securities as the FOMC becomes less of a buyer). Combined, the roll-off from the Fed’s balance sheet will increase from $20 billion per month to $30 billion per month beginning in April. This also comes at the same time the federal government is increasing its borrowing as a result of the recent budget agreement to spend more money and the recent tax cut legislation which will result in less tax revenue.
The next Fed meeting is May 1-2. The futures market currently projects a less than 5% chance of a rate hike at this meeting and but is projecting a more than 80% chance of a rate hike during the June 28-29 FOMC meeting. At present time, the market is anticipating three total quarter-point increases by year-end with a small probability (30%) of a fourth hike in December this year.
Updated Economic Projections
The Federal Reserve Board members released their quarterly economic projections at the March meeting. There were some changes from December projections with real gross domestic product growth increased to 2.70% for 2018 – from 2.5% in December – and tapering down to a long-run growth rate of 1.80%. This year, the Fed projects a rise in the federal funds rate by an additional 0.50% (in two quarter point increments), three quarter point increases in 2019, and two more quarter point increases in 2020 to reach 3.40% – a 0.30% increase from December projections.
However, the FOMC continues to project a long-run federal funds rate of 2.80-3.00% – a forecast below the rate projected for 2020. Today, the federal funds rate is 1.75%. If the Fed projections are correct, we are about half-way through this tightening cycle.
Impact on Interest Rates – Don’t be a Frog in a Pot of Slowly Warming Water
You’ve heard the metaphor that a frog placed in a pot of water that is slowly warmed to the point of boiling will not perceive the danger and will eventually be cooked. While biologists may dispute the accuracy of this fable, don’t become the frog in the metaphorical story by sleeping on opportunities.
Variable rate loans have increased along with the federal funds rate. The Wall Street Journal prime rate is now at 4.75%. However, the market for longer-term loans has not increased as much as expected with the increases in short-term rates. This has kept long-term loan rates such as home mortgages and fixed-rate farm real estate loans much lower than anticipated. How much longer this phenomenon will last continues to be an INTERESTing question.
This was the sixth increase during this interest rate tightening cycle and the fed funds rate is now 1.50% higher than it was before the Fed began increasing rates. On a $1 million loan, that translates into an additional $15,000 of annual interest expense. Is the slow increase in interest expense making you feel like a frog in a pot? While you may not be able to do much to mitigate this risk on operating loans, you do have options to fix rates on term loans. Explore them before the water gets too hot!