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From 100 Bushels Per Acre Soybeans To No Longer Farming - The Story Of Dan Arkels

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...
 
 

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Farm Credit Celebrates 2018 Agriculture Scholars: Thirty High Schools Seniors Receive $2,000 to Pursue Ag Careers

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)

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McGrew Retires From Farm Credit After 36 Years

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.

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Seven Join Farm Credit Association Team

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. 

Michael Burns

Michael Burns

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.

Jon Cook

Jon Cook

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.

Megan Humphres

Megan Humphres

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.

Chea Mueller

Chea Mueller

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.

Clayton Reiser

Clayton Reiser

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.

Karli Verheyen

Karli Verheyen

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.

Jenny Walker

Jenny Walker

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).

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Farm Credit Family Scholars Named

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

Fletcher Bell

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

Cassidi Collins

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

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

Haley Giles

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

Britni Gortner

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

Annie Heinz

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

Jennifer Nigh

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

Maclaren Ranstead

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

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

McKenna Steineman

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.

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Farm Credit Awards Grants To 4-H & FFA Youth: Checks Totaling $20,000 Support Community Improvement Projects

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

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Farm Credit Names 2018 Agriculture Scholars: Thirty High Schools Seniors Receive $2,000 to Pursue Ag Careers

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.

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Interesting Times: Are You At Risk of Becoming a Frog in a Pot of Warming Water?

FOMC Update

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!

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IllinoisFarmRadio.com Hosts Outlook Meeting (Audio)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHOW / WTIM / IllinoisFarmRadio.com hosted a 2018 Market Outlook Meeting Wednesday night in Clinton.  Featured on the panel (left to right) were: Todd Hubbs, U of I Ag Economist; Chip Nelliger, Blue Reef Trading; and Curt Kimmel, Bates Commodities.  The event was emceed by Todd Gleason of WILL-AM.

 

Hear the full event here:

 

 

 

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Neff Named Outstanding Cooperative Director

Karen Neff, past-chair of on Farm Credit Illinois’ Board of Directors, was named the 2017 Illinois Cooperative Council’s Outstanding Cooperative Director.

Neff and her husband own and operate a grain and livestock operation in St. Clair County. As a member of the FCI Board of Directors for more than 10 years, Neff has demonstrated a deep passion for cooperation in agriculture. She served as the vice-chair for two years before becoming FCI’s first female board chair in 2013 and served in that role for four years.

“Karen believes in FCI’s cooperative mission and core purpose of Helping Farm Families Succeed and advocates from the boardroom for innovative ways for the Association to deliver value to members,” says Beth Bolger, FCI Marketplace Initiatives Manager and 2017 Illinois Cooperative Council Chair. “The Council commends and congratulates Karen for her leadership and service to FCI member-owners.”

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Farm Credit Illinois Reports 2017 Financial Results

Farm Credit Illinois released the cooperative’s audited financial results for the 2017 fiscal year, which were highlighted by strong credit quality, increased net income, and stable loan growth.

  • Credit quality strong: Acceptable credit quality remained strong at 97.50 percent for all loans owned and managed by the Association.
  • Net earnings growth: Increased patronage from the Association’s funding bank, AgriBank, and moderate increases in loan balances, net earnings increased 5.30 percent from $69.6 million in year-end 2016 to $73.3 million for the year ending Dec. 31, 2017.
  • Steady loan volume: The loan volume owned and managed by the Association grew 2.20 percent from 2016 despite current farm economic conditions.

“Farm Credit Illinois stayed committed to its mission of lending support to farm families, rural communities, and agribusinesses through both the prosperous and challenging economic cycles,” says Tom Tracy, President & CEO of Farm Credit Illinois. “Another year of strong credit quality and earnings at FCI is a direct reflection on the overall sound management skills of our cooperative members.”

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Farm Credit Launches FreshRoots: Young & Beginning Farmers Program Supports Next Generation

Farm Credit Illinois introduced an initiative to support new farmers during two young and beginning farmer forums, attended by more than 250 farmer participants in Springfield and Effingham this week.

Farm Credit Illinois’ Steve Witges announces the FreshRoots program during the young and beginning farmer forum in Effingham Wednesday.

The FreshRoots young and beginning farmers program provides lending assistance and learning incentives to farmers up to age 40 or in their first 10 years of farming. Eligible borrowers receive loan pricing discounts for five years on up to $1 million in farm real estate loans and $500,000 in operating loans. Participants earn up to $2,000 in FreshRoots stipends for attending learning workshops and can apply for one of the $5,000 Directors Cup awards, which annually recognize farmers demonstrating personal growth and professional development. 

“Our members and Board of Directors voiced their desire for FCI to help equip today’s young and beginning farmers for a healthy start in their farming careers,” says Tom Tracy, FCI President & CEO. “As a member-owned and driven cooperative, we heard their requests and specifically tailored a FreshRoots program dedicated to Helping the Next Generation of Farm Families Succeed.”

“The FreshRoots learning incentives motivate participants to embrace an attitude of lifelong learning and offer an opportunity to see firsthand how beneficial half-day workshops are for their growth and development in their young farming careers,” says Steve Witges, FCI regional vice president. “Participants can use what they learn in the workshops when submitting a farm balance sheet and business plan with their loan application. We want to guide young and beginning farmers to evaluate their business, set goals, and create action plans as they start growing FreshRoots.”

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Farm Credit Supports Local FFA

The Farm Credit Illinois Red Bud regional office recently supported the Christ Our Savior and Red Bud FFA chapters, awarding $250 to each. The donations are part of the financial cooperative’s ongoing support of rural communities and agriculture.

Above: Members of the Christ Our Savior FFA chapter accept the gift from Jacob Fishbein (FCI)

Above: Members of the Christ Our Savior FFA chapter accept the gift from Jacob Fishbein (FCI)

In 2017, FCI invested more than $235,000 in youth, community, and ag literacy initiatives throughout its 60-county marketplace.

Above from L to R: Zacary Michels, Alec Hahn, Logan Cowell, Blake Durbin, Treyton Jones, Laura DuFrenne (FCI), Joe Goeddel, Matt Wiegard, Patrick Sondag, Caleb Crain, Dylan Falkenhain, Joseph Kingsley, Dominick Liefer, Vance Schmidt, Katie Davis, Madilyn Hoock, Micheal Chausse, Nicole Boyke

The funds will be used to build raised garden beds for each chapter’s greenhouse. The Red Bud regional office annually supports local FFA chapter initiatives which further agricultural and youth development in rural communities.

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 About Farm Credit Illinois

Farm Credit Illinois is a farmer-owned and directed agricultural lending cooperative serving 8,500 farm families, agribusinesses, and rural landowners in the southern 60 counties of Illinois with competitive and flexible financing and crop insurance expertise. The Association manages a $4 billion loan portfolio, provides 1.4 million acres of crop insurance coverage, and employs 210 staff based in the Mahomet central office and 14 regional office locations. The U.S. Farm Credit System supports rural communities, farm families, and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services today and tomorrow.

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Farm Credit 2018 Scholarship & Grant Programs For Youth Available: Supporting the Future of Agriculture and Healthy Rural Communities

High school seniors pursuing a career in agriculture are invited to apply for a $2,000 Farm Credit Illinois Agriculture Scholarship.
2017 FCI agriculture scholars

2017 Agriculture Scholar recipients at recognition luncheon

Thirty scholarships will be given in 2018 with two recipients designated as Urban 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 2018 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 2018 semester and $1,000 for fall 2020.

Farm Credit Illinois also invites 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters organizing projects to apply for a $400 Community Improvement Grant.

 

Fifty $400 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 Feb. 28. Questions or requests for additional information may be sent to ask@farmcreditIL.com.

“Farm Credit was created with one special mission – to support rural communities and agriculture – and that extends beyond financial services,” says Tom Tracy, FCI President & CEO.

Clovers and Cloverettes 4-H Club

Clovers and Cloverettes 4-H Club

 

“The Agriculture Scholarship program promotes positive opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders who will shape the future of agriculture while the Community Improvement Grant program helps local clubs and chapters make positive and tangible contributions to the health of Rural America.”

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Farm Credit Illinois is a farmer-owned and -directed agricultural lending cooperative serving 11,000 farm families, agribusinesses, and rural landowners in the southern 60 counties of Illinois with competitive and flexible financing and crop insurance expertise. The Association manages a $4.2 billion loan portfolio, sells 1.4 million acres of crop insurance coverage, and employs 220 staff based in the Mahomet central office and 14 regional office locations. The U.S. Farm Credit System supports rural communities, farm families, and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services today and tomorrow.

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Is Your Crop Insurance Coverage Right For You?

Winter is a time to plan for the next growing season. While it may be easiest to simply renew existing crop insurance policies, you may be leaving money on the table and exposing your farm to extra risk. By annually revisiting a farm’s risk management strategy and asking your crop insurance agent questions, you’ll optimize your coverage decisions.

1. How have the multi-peril crop programs changed?

The national crop insurance program is constantly evolving. Examining these changes annually can uncover new opportunities and potential savings. For example: Did you know the definition of "replant" is changing in 2018? Or that coverage on irrigated and non-irrigated acres can be customized?

2. Have recent changes on the farm affected your expected planted acres?

As farms seize opportunities to expand their farmland or sell off non-income producing assets, their coverage needs change. This can be true if added acres have a strong production history that may change your guarantee. To ensure you have the correct coverage, share any farm business or personal changes with your crop insurance agent. These changes may include adding or removing partners, changing crop mix, forming a new entity, and changing your marital status.

3. How much risk should your farm business endure this year?

Establishing an estimated cost of production gives you two pieces of critical information – how much money is required to grow your crops and how much insurance is needed to cover this investment in case of a crop failure. While the current agriculture economic cycle continues, you may want to consider increasing coverage levels to mitigate risk and maintain equity in the event of a substantial loss.

4. How can crop insurance bolster your marketing plan?

By establishing your cost of production and planting intentions for 2018, you can begin to use crop insurance to aid your marketing plan. If you choose a Revenue Protection policy, you can forward market confidently because of the bushel guarantee.

5. Can educational programs teach about new options?

Winter is the perfect time to brush up on your skills, explore new techniques, and learn from other farmers in your region. Crop insurance companies will likely host informational winter meetings to share updates on the federal crop insurance program – much like Farm Credit Illinois‘ Fielding Forward crop insurance meetings.

Evaluating crop insurance coverage options annually helps you understand the best policies for your farm business’s needs. Having a frank and timely conversation with your crop insurance agent is the most effective way to develop a risk management plan to protect your farm business.

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Farm Credit Invests In Local County Fairs

Three Farm Credit Illinois (FCI) regional offices recently made gifts totaling near $3,000 to local county fairs. The donations are part of the financial cooperative’s ongoing support of rural communities and agriculture. In 2016, FCI invested more than $245,000 in youth, community, and ag literacy initiatives throughout its 60-county marketplace. 

Above from L to R: Back Row: Jackson Lashmett (Scott County Fair Vice President), Chaz Walker, Blake Clayton, Millie Lashmett, Jessica Freeman (Farm Credit Illinois), Kacie McCleery, Brayden Freeman; Front Row: Keira Dahman, Jackie Lashmett, Braylee Littig, Oz Walker

Jacksonville

The FCI Jacksonville regional office recently made a $750 gift to the Scott County Fair. The funds will provide improvements to the Scott County Junior Fair’s livestock wash racks, making them safer and more effective for the 4-H members using them.

Mt. Vernon & Red Bud

The FCI Mt. Vernon and Red Bud regional offices recently awarded $1,500 to Perry County University of Illinois Extension. The joint funds will provide a new livestock scale for the Perry County 4-H Fair. The Mt. Vernon and Red Bud regional offices annually support Extension initiatives which further agricultural and youth development in rural communities.

 

Above from L to R: Cindy Bauman (Franklin County
4-H program coordinator), Robby Gilliam (FCI, Mt. Vernon)

The Mt. Vernon regional office also awarded almost $700 to the Franklin County University of Illinois Extension to provide the funding for new paint for the 4-H Barn at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

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Five Ways To Find Your Balance Through Debt Restructuring

Farmers use their balancing skills every day – whether they’re climbing vertical ladders to close the top of the grain bin or wiping soybean dust off the combine windshield. While this dexterity is helpful while working outside, farmers must also be flexible in the office as they search for the financial balance necessary for business success.

As some farm families find themselves with depleted working capital, they may consider restructuring debt to increase liquidity. But before approaching a farm lender, they must recognize any underlying issues that got them off-center and create an action plan so restructuring doesn’t cause the farm further financial stress.

When evaluating the farm’s financial statement before restructuring debt, farmers should consider these tactics on their path to finding operational balance.

  1. Evaluate debt and term levels – overleveraging shorter-term assets and/or overly aggressive amortizations on term debts may be causing the cash flow issue
  2. Cut appropriate expenses before rebalancing ledgers – critically assess all farm expenditures, including family living expenses and non-income producing assets
  3. Understand current working capital levels – determine if cash reserves will support a new debt structure for the size of your farm business or if costs need to be reduced
  4. Review risk management practices – use a consistent marketing strategy and annually evaluate crop insurance options
  5. Keep thorough records – reliable year-end financial and accrual income statements are key to sound decision making

After examining these strategies, farmers are ready to talk with lenders about restructuring options. The conversation may include the following considerations:

  1. Being mindful of the asset and liability balance when financing assets to maintain adequate cash flow and build liquidity to withstand economic cycles
  2. Aligning the loan term to the life of the asset corresponding with the loan
  3. Considering locking in a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan to gain a better understanding of the long-term debt service demands on your family farm
  4. Understanding the additional cost of longer-term financing

Restructuring debt may not be a solution for all farm businesses, but the benefit of additional working capital may be worth the extra cost if care is taken in finding the optimal financial balance the farm business needs to continue today and tomorrow.

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Farm Credit Illinois Increases Farmdoc Endowment: $400,000 Gift Expands Annual Contribution to Program

Farm Credit Illinois (FCI) contributed an additional $400,000 into a farmdoc endowment at the University of Illinois Foundation, originally established in December 2010.
 
Farmdoc and farmdocdaily provide farm families with online tools, information, and resources to help farmers make business decisions on their farm. The two websites collectively host more than 3 million visits annually.
 
Since FCI established the farmdoc endowment with a $350,000 gift in 2010, the endowment has provided more than $100,000 of program support while its market value has gradually grown to $400,000. The latest $400,000 gift to the farmdoc endowment brings the market value to more than $800,000, which will now provide more than $30,000 of annual program support.
 
“Many of the 11,000 farm families comprising FCI’s membership visit and subscribe to farmdoc,” says Tom Tracy, FCI President & CEO. “As a farmer-owned financial cooperative, we are proud to invest in a cutting-edge initiative which provides tools and resources better equipping our members to make decisions, in turn Helping Farm Families Succeed today and tomorrow.”
 
“During the tightening of today’s Illinois farm economy, farmdoc is a crucial resource for farmers managing businesses with narrow financial margins,” says Mark Miller, FCI Board Chair.
 
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About Farm Credit Illinois
 
Farm Credit Illinois is a farmer-owned and directed agricultural lending cooperative serving 8,500 farm families, agribusinesses, and rural landowners in the southern 60 counties of Illinois with competitive and flexible financing and crop insurance expertise. The Association manages a $4 billion loan portfolio, provides 1.4 million acres of crop insurance coverage, and employs 210 staff based in the Mahomet central office and 14 regional office locations. The U.S. Farm Credit System supports rural communities, farm families, and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services today and tomorrow.

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Farm Credit Returns $3 Million To Farm Families: Harvest Interest Returns Impacts 2,859 Member-borrowers

Farm Credit Illinois provided zero percent interest on operating loans during October and November to more than 2,800 farm families – accumulating $3.02 million of total interest credit. This special “Harvest Interest Returns” program automatically applied to existing FCI operating loans on balances up to $500,000.
 
“In the challenging economic cycles of agriculture, farmer’s working capital levels are stressed,” says Tom Tracy, FCI President & CEO. “Harvest Interest Returns provided timely relief to our membership with operating loans while thanking the farm families working tirelessly through the harvest season.”
 
“As a farmer-owned cooperative, Directors see tighter margins reflected in our own balance sheets,” says Mark Miller, FCI Board Chair. “We recognized it was the Association’s role to give back a portion of the year’s success.”
 
Farm Credit Illinois is a farmer-owned and directed agricultural lending cooperative serving 11,000 farm families, agribusinesses, and rural landowners in the southern 60 counties of Illinois with competitive and flexible financing and crop insurance expertise. The Association manages a $4.2 billion loan portfolio, sells 1.4 million acres of crop insurance coverage, and employs 220 staff based in the Mahomet central office and 14 regional office locations. The U.S. Farm Credit System supports rural communities, farm families, and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services today and tomorrow.

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Seven Join Farm Credit Association Team

Farm Credit Illinois recently hired seven employees throughout its 60-county territory: Adam Bane, of Lexington; Jie Cai, of Champaign; Heather McKinney, of Mahomet; Renea Morris, of Paris; Brandi Nugent, of Paris; Tammy Schroeder, of Mahomet; and Ryan Tallman, of Pocahontas.

Adam BaneBane began Sept. 25, as a credit assistant in the credit services division based in the financial cooperative’s central office in Mahomet. He was raised on his family’s McLean County grain and livestock farm in Arrowsmith and graduated from Tri-Valley High School before receiving his associate’s degree in agriculture from Joliet Junior College. Bane then earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Bane worked for more than two years as a grain originator at Prairie Central Cooperative in Chenoa and as a sales professional for four years at Martin Sullivan in Lexington.

Jie CaiCai began Oct. 1, as a portfolio risk analyst in the credit services division based in the financial cooperative’s central office in Mahomet. She was raised in Shiyan, China and graduated from Dongfeng High School before receiving her bachelor’s degree in finance from Beijing Language and Cultural University. Cai then earned two master’s degrees – one in management with business finance from the University of York and another in policy economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Cai worked for one year as an analyst at Dagong Global Credit Rating Company in Beijing, China. Cai resides in Champaign with her husband Li Chen. Cai is the daughter of Zhengdong Tan and Xiuhua Cai of Shiyan, China.

Heather McKinneyMcKinney started as a sales and service specialist in the Mahomet regional office Oct. 9. The Mahomet office serves farm families and rural landowners in Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Piatt, and Vermilion Counties.

McKinney was raised in Champaign County and graduated from Mahomet-Seymour High School before receiving her associate’s degree in applied science hospitality management from Parkland College. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, McKinney worked for two years as a human resources payroll specialist at Express Employment in Champaign and as an assistant branch manager for more 15 years at Busey Bank in Mahomet. McKinney resides in Mahomet with her husband Joey with their two children – CJ (16) and Sydney (11).

Renae MorrisMorris began Oct. 2, as sales and service specialists at the Paris regional office. The Paris office serves farm families and rural landowners in Clark, Coles, and Edgar Counties.

Morris was raised in Edgar County and graduated from Chrisman High School. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Morris worked for more than 30 years in the banking industry, most recently as the president and manager at Paris Hi-Way Credit Union. Morris resides in Paris with her husband John and has two children – Mark and Sarah (Ben) Setzer.

Nugent started as sales and service specialists at the Paris regional office Sept. 26. The Paris office serves farm families and rural landowners in Clark, Coles, and Edgar Counties.

Morris was raised in Edgar County and graduated from Paris High School before receiving her bachelor’s degree in business management from Indiana State University. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Nugent worked for more than 12 years in human resources, most recently as an employee benefits relationships manager at USI Insurance in Terre Haute, Ind. for three years. Nugent resides in Paris with her husband Shawn and their children – Braylon (13) and Landon (11).

Tammy Schroeder

Schroeder was hired on full-time as a crop insurance service administrator in the crop insurance service division based in the financial cooperative’s central office in Mahomet Nov. 1. She was raised in Champaign County and graduated from Champaign Central High School before receiving her associate’s degree in travel and tourism from Parkland College.

Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Schroeder worked for six years at TSI Commercial Floor Covering & Advanced Commercial Roofing, two years at COUNTRY Financial, and 20 years at Patton Lumber Company. Schroeder resides in Mahomet with her husband Marty and has three daughters – Stephanie Hale, Jessica Schulze, and Jennifer Zimmerman.

Ryan TallmanTallman began Oct. 26, as a vice president of lending to the Highland regional office. The Highland office serves farm families and rural landowners in Bond, Clinton, Madison, and Washington Counties.

Tallman was raised on his family’s Kankakee County grain farm and graduated from Normal Community West High School before receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Prior to joining the Farm Credit team, Tallman worked for more than 12 years as a credit underwriter and loan officer at The Bank of Edwardsville. Tallman resides in Pocahontas with his wife Amber with their two children – Amelia (6) and Molly (4).

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Farm Credit Illinois is a farmer-owned and directed agricultural lending cooperative serving 11,000 farm families, agribusinesses, and rural landowners in the southern 60 counties of Illinois with competitive and flexible financing and crop insurance expertise. The Association manages a $4.2 billion loan portfolio, sells 1.4 million acres of crop insurance coverage, and employs 220 staff based in the Mahomet central office and 14 regional office locations. The U.S. Farm Credit System supports rural communities, farm families, and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services today and tomorrow.

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FCI Joins Farm Credit Technology Cooperative: New Platform & Member Portals Debut August 2018

Farm Credit Illinois is becoming an owner of the Farm Credit Financial Partners, Inc., (FPI) technology organization based in Agawam, Mass. and Spokane, Wash. The other owners of FPI include AgCountry Farm Credit Services (serving parts of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), Farm Credit East (serving most of New York and New England), Farm Credit West (serving parts of California and Arizona), and Northwest Farm Credit Services (serving Washington, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, and part of Idaho).
 
The $10 million capital investment by FCI provides the opportunity to collaborate with four of the 10 largest Associations in owning the premier technology and financial services platform in the Farm Credit System. For more than 20 years, FPI has developed innovative Farm Credit solutions with a proven track record as a successful technology leader in the System.
 
“Joining FPI gives us access to a robust, secure, and tested platform which is continually evolving to incorporate the latest technology advancements,” says Tom Tracy, FCI President & CEO. “This collaboration demonstrates the important and valuable principle of cooperation among cooperatives.”
 
A strategic transition plan will continue until the final technology upgrade in August. At that point, FCI borrowers will have access to a new online banking portal and begin receiving newly formatted payment notices, statements, receipts, and loan summaries. Detailed information about these changes will be shared with member-borrowers in summer 2018.
 
“Like all strategic business decisions at FCI, the overriding consideration for selecting FPI as our cooperative’s new technology platform is tied directly to our core purpose. We are convinced FPI best positions FCI for Helping Farm Families Succeed today and tomorrow,” says Tracy.

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New Illinois Farm Bureau VP Brian Duncan Addresses Farm Broadcasters After Election

Newly elected Illinois Farm Bureau vice president Brian Duncan of Ogle County, addressed farm broadcasters at the conclusion of Tuesday's IFB annual meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago.

 

Here is audio of the news conference:

 

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Rich Guebert Addresses Farm Broadcasters After Re-Election as Illinois Farm Bureau President

Rich Guebert addressed farm broadcasters Tuesday morning after being re-elected as president of the Illinois Farm Bureau for a 2-year term.

 

Below is raw audio from Guebert's news conference:

 

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BREAKING NEWS: Brian Duncan of Ogle County Is the New Illinois Farm Bureau Vice President

Brian Duncan of Ogle County, is the new vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau.  IFB delegates in Chicago elected Duncan at the conclusion of their meeting Tuesday morning.

 

More info to come.

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Comments from Mark Gebhards of Illinois Farm Bureau Government Relations at IFB Annual Meeting

Mark Gebhards, Director of Government Relations for Illinois Farm Bureau, spoke to reporters at the conclusion of the IFB Annual Meeting in Chicago Tuesday morning, about the various resolutions delegates acted on.  Raw audio of the news conference is below.

 

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BREAKING NEWS: Rich Guebert Re-Elected as President of Illinois Farm Bureau

Rich Guebert has been re-elected president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, at their annual meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago.  Guebert was re-elected for a 2-year term.

 

Guebert garnered nearly twice the votes as his opponent, Dave Erickson, who was the organization's vice president.  

 

More details to follow.

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Congressman Darin LaHood Speaks to 18th District Farmers at Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

18th District Congressman Darin LaHood spoke to some 75 farmers from his district, on Sunday morning at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.  He held a news conference after his meeting.  His comments are in the audio file below:

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Loyd Retires From Farm Credit After 33 Years

Mike Loyd is retiring from Farm Credit Illinois Nov. 30, after 33 years with the Farm Credit System. Loyd most recently served as vice president of marketplace initiatives based at the financial cooperative’s headquarters in Mahomet

 

Loyd spent his formative years on his family’s Williamson and Union County grain and livestock farms. Before joining the workforce, he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in instructional systems design from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. During his tenure, Loyd and the Association’s marketing team were recognized with the Classic Telly Award, several National Agri-Marketing Association awards, and the Farm Credit System’s 2007 marketing showcase award for the Farm Progress Show. He is a 31-year member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters.

 

At the beginning of his Farm Credit career, Loyd worked at the Farm Credit Bank of St. Louis as the marketing supervisor and played a lead role in communicating the merger of the Farm Credit Banks of St. Louis and St. Paul that formed AgriBank in 1992. After two years consulting for AgriBank in St. Paul, Minn., Loyd transitioned to the marketing department for Farm Credit Services of Southeastern Illinois in Mt. Vernon, Ill., in 1995. When the Southeastern and Central Illinois Associations moved to joint management in 1999, Loyd provided communications leadership and was named the head of marketing department in the newly formed Association in 2001, which eventually became Farm Credit Illinois.

 

Loyd and his wife Candy reside in rural Mansfield. Mike has one daughter: Lindsey, two step-children: Carrie and Tyler, and three step-grandchildren: Logan, Finn, and Avery. The Farm Credit Illinois team is grateful for Loyd’s leadership and service to farm families and rural communities.

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Cash is King

Whether it’s operating a business or prioritizing your personal finances, liquidity and cash play a big role. In fact, there is an old saying that “cash is king.” But with the farm economic reset going into its fifth year, cash and working capital are increasingly difficult to maintain. Nevertheless, the efforts to preserve these additional lines of defense are critical. Why? Let’s examine some of the benefits of cash and strong working capital positions.

First, cash – or working capital – acts as a safety net if adversity strikes, creating issues with profit and cash flow. If current assets can be turned to cash without disrupting overall operations, you are more flexible – especially in marketing. More specifically, the bushels of stored grain or side pen of cattle can be marketed at a profitable point instead of at a time when cash is most needed to pay expenses, service debt, or payback operating loans.

 

How One Farmer Benefits from Liquidity

This summer, one young producer indicated he maintains enough working capital to cover up to 40 percent of his total expenses. This includes cash, inventory, receivables, and prepaid expenses minus obligations such as accounts payables, lines of credit, accrued expenses, and principal due within the next 12 months. This strong position allows him to negotiate input costs ranging from land rents to parts and supplies. By maintaining working capital, he is able to capitalize on cash discounts for seed, fertilizer, and feed for his diversified operation. These small discounts added up year after year and ultimately increased his bottom line by just more than 5 percent.

Working Capital Provides Independence

Another benefit of financial liquidity is the negotiation power on capital investments such as machinery, equipment, and land. This position offers two distinct advantages: self-financing and timing. When bargaining with a cash payment, a type of self-insurance is present because no borrowing or additional debt servicing is required.

Additionally, having the cash to make a purchase allows you to quickly and selectively capitalize on deals. For example, some used equipment and breeding livestock are being sold for 60 cents on the dollar for payments in cash, but only for a brief window.

Of course, I am familiar with the long-time argument that cash earns very little sitting in the bank. That is true, but the return on the cash discounts and negotiated deals – when analyzed properly – most often shows a double-digit return in the long-term viability of the business.

On the personal side of finances, I recommend preserving four to eight months (eight to 12 if self-employed) of family living obligations in cash. Of course, the old economic rule is to maintain two months of living expenses in cash. This provides for the unexpected car repair or trip to the emergency room and mitigates the need to rely on expensive credit card debt if adversity strikes.

Rules of Thumb

When analyzing your balance sheet, see if you are up to par on financial liquidity by dividing your cash into current assets. You are in a strong financial position if your ratio is between or more than 10 to 20 percent. If you are in the 5 to 10 percent range, caution is warranted as working capital reserves are getting too low. And if you are under 5 percent with credit card debt, accounts payable, or a looming operating line to pay down, you are in a vulnerable and unfavorable position.

Finally, building cash and financial liquidity often entails paying taxes. In many cases, cash or liquid assets are used as a down payment on equipment or other assets to minimize taxes, but over time this builds overhead costs. The prudent producer manages taxes instead of minimizing them. Good managers also balance taxes with cash on hand to navigate the inevitable swings and volatility in global markets.

While perhaps difficult, maintaining cash and operational working capital impacts the bottom line and strategic flexibility. Both the short and long-term advantages of cash negotiations can add to profitability and sustainability. Especially during periods of suppressed prices, increasing available options through flexible liquidity may be the one factor to tip the financial balance in your favor.

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WHOW Local Farm Broadcaster Wins Award At National Convention

Jared White, local farm broadcaster for WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM and 92.3 FM in Clinton, was given the “Excellence in Ag Reporting” Award Friday, at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual convention in Kansas City.

White was given the award for the most used story on the N-A-F-B News Service in 2017.  Farm broadcasters from around the country, share stories with each other on the News Service.

White was presented a certificate for his work.

White has been WHOW's local farm broadcaster since 2011, and has been with the station since 2007.

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Farm Credit Illinois Marketing Team Tour Miller Media Group Radio Stations

 

3 marketing officials from Farm Credit Illinois' corporate headquarters in Mahomet, toured the 2 Miller Media Group locations on Friday.

F-C-I Vice-President for Marketplace Initiatives Mike Loyd (3rd from left), along with Marketing Production and Design Specialist Margie Menacher (2nd from left), and Liz Harder, Marketing and Public Relations Director (4th from left), toured both the Clinton and Taylorville locations.

The tour began at the Big Red Barn south of Clinton, touring WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM/92.3 FM and its sister station WEZC 95.9 FM.  M-M-G president Randal J. Miller (left) gave some of the history of the Clinton stations, and station manager Jared White gave the F-C-I marketing team a tour of the facility. 

The tour then went south to the M-M-G Taylorville studios, where 6 radio stations, including NEWSTALK WTIM, operate.  Miller and General Sales Manager Chris Bullock gave the F-C-I team a tour of the Taylorville facility, including its broadcast studios.

Following the tour, Miller presented Loyd a plaque for his 30 years of service to the cooperative, and for his nearly 20 years of doing business with the Miller Media Group stations including NEWSTALK WTIM and WHOW.  Loyd is retiring from F-C-I in November.

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Changes to the Federal Reserve Board

FOMC Update

The federal funds rate remains unchanged following the Sept. 19-20 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve (Fed). The anticipated decision minimally impacted the market. The FOMC cited moderate growth in household spending, expanding business investment, and solid job growth as the primary drivers of current economic conditions. While the Fed recognized the recent property damage caused by the hurricanes, it doesn’t find the impact on the country likely to alter the course of the nation’s economy.

As described in the most recent edition of INTERESTing Times, the Fed voted to initiate a balance sheet normalization program in October. The bond markets will have more debt available for the investing public to purchase as the Fed reduces its holdings. With all other things equal, less demand by the Fed should lead to higher prices in the bond markets in the form of higher interest rates.

The next Fed meeting is Oct. 31-Nov. 1. The futures market currently projects a minimal chance of a rate hike at this meeting. However, a 76 percent chance of another quarter point rate hike is currently predicted at the December FOMC meeting.

Updated Economic Projections

The Federal Reserve Board released its quarterly economic projections at the September meeting. The only significant change from the June projections was the reduction in the long-run federal funds rate from 3.00% down to 2.80% (the long-run is defined as year-end 2019 and beyond). Today, the federal funds rate is 1.25%.

Upcoming Changes to the Federal Reserve Board

The Federal Reserve is governed by a seven-member board with a chair, vice-chair, and five additional members called governors. In addition to the governors, five rotating Federal Reserve District Presidents also vote on monetary policy decisions. There are currently three vacant governor seats and the vice-chair is vacating in mid-October. This will leave the Federal Reserve Board with only Chair Janet Yellen and Governors Laiel Branaird and Jerome Powell. These vacancies leave the important Fed policy decisions to a very small number of people. Plus, the chair is up for appointment in early 2018; if Chair Yellen is not re-appointed, it would be customary for her to step aside.

The president must nominate individuals to fill these vacancies and the Senate must hold confirmation hearings to approve the appointments. As a candidate, President Trump was critical of Chair Yellen and the Fed’s so-called, “easy money” policies. Since becoming president, his tone towards Fed policy and Chair Yellen has softened and he has indicated a willingness to consider re-appointing her to the position, although, it is unknown if she wants to continue.

With the current and potential vacancies, there is a lot of potential for substantial changes to the Federal Reserve Board and its membership as new board members are nominated and confirmed.

Will these changes lead to a more aggressive monetary policy tightening cycle, or will the new Fed governors retain the accommodative policy of the current Federal Reserve Board? If the new Federal Reserve Board of Governors decides to change Fed policy such as the 2.00% inflation target, how will those changes be perceived by the bond market? We do indeed live in INTERESTing times!

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Lake Land College Foundation Honors 2 Area Individuals, Entities at Annual Meeting

The Lake Land College Foundation recognized 2 area individuals and entities Tuesday night during their annual meeting, for their contributions in helping the college raise money for scholarships.

Former president of First National Bank of Pana, and a former member of the Lake Land College Foundation board, John Livesay, was honored with the Foundation's Outstanding Fund Raising Volunteer Award.  Livesay told Regional Radio News about the donation he was instrumental in obtaining for the college.

Livesay said the Borgic family donated farmland to the Lake Land College Foundation.

Farm Credit Illinois C-E-O Tom Tracy was also honored for their support to the Lake Land College agriculture program.   Tracy told Regional Radio News that F-C-I management talks to their members every summer, and have told them supporting ag education is a priority.

Tracy added Lake Land College is an important part of F-C-I's success.

Find out more on the Lake Land College Foundation by clicking the "Foundation" tab at lakelandcollege-dot-edu.
 

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Combine Reports with Dave Steward in DeWitt County

Combine Reports with Dave Steward in DeWitt County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with David Brown in Macon County

Combine Reports with David Brown in Macon County

 

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Aaron Shafer in Christian County

Combine Reports with Aaron Shafer in Christian County

 

 

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Andy Bolsen in Moultrie County

Combine Reports with Andy Bolsen in Moultrie County

 

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Doug Martin in Logan County

Combine Reports with Doug Martin in Logan County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with David Dorn Jr. in Christian County

Combine Reports with David Dorn Jr. in Christian County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Jake Lieb in Piatt County

Combine Reports with Jake Lieb in Piatt County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Austin Rincker in Shelby County

Combine Reports with Austin Rincker in Shelby County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Alex Head in Macon County

Combine Reports with Alex Head in Macon County

 

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Scott Durbin in Christian County

Combine Reports with Scott Durbin in Christian County

 

 

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Elliott Burgett in Macon County

Combine Reports with Elliott Burgett in Macon County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Jeff Brown in Christian County

Combine Reports with Jeff Brown in Christian County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Ken Franklin in Christian County

Combine Reports with Ken Franklin in Christian County

 

 

 

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Combine Report with Ed Leonard Jr. In Macon County

Combine Report with Ed Leonard Jr. In Macon County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Jim Reed in Piatt County

Combine Reports with Jim Reed in Piatt County

 

 

 

 

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Combine Reports with Bryan Sharp in Christian County

Combine Reports with Bryan Sharp in Christian County

 

 

 

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Combine Reports With Marvin Finfrock III in DeWitt County

 

Combine Reports With Marvin Finfrock III in DeWitt County

 

 

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Macon County Ag Community Comes Together To Help Fellow Farmer

It may not be that unusual these days to see multiple combines in a field at harvest time, however to see multiple makes and models harvesting the same field together is a bit more rare.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White has more on why folks in western Macon County saw that Wednesday...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pictures from Thursday, August 31 at Farm Progress Show

 

 

 

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August 31 Farm Progress Show Interviews

Show wrap-up with Farm Progress National Shows Manager Matt Jungmann:

 

 

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs

 

 

Mark Davey, Market Manager, Gators, John Deere

 

 

Martin Lunkenbine, Camso

 

 

Matthew Madding, Marketing Manager, Combines, John Deere

 

 

Tiffany Turner, Product Marketing Manager, Large Tractors, John Deere

 

 

Tom Tracy, CEO, Farm Credit Illinois

 

 

Wesley Spurlock, President, National Corn Growers Association

 

 

 

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Day # 3 Begins at Farm Progress Show

Day # 3 is here!  Gates opened at 8 this morning, open til 4.

 

 

 

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More Interviews from Wednesday's Farm Progress Show

Andrew Mizell, Country Financial App

 

 

Dave Johnson, DuPont Crop :Protection/Herbicides

 

 

Eric Vanasdale, Country Financial on Drones

 

 

Jason Webster, Precision Planting

 

 

Marc Risinger, Pioneer Soybeans

 

 

Russ Sanders, Pioneer Plenish Soybeans

 

 

Steve Classen, Redball Hood Sprayers

 

 

Wesley Shupe, DuPont Crop Protection Agronomist

 

 

 

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illinoisfarmradio.com Local Farm Broadcaster Jared White Rides the Touchstone Energy Hot Air Balloon at Farm Progress Show

illinoisfarmradio.com Local Farm Broadcaster Jared White took what he described as a "once in a lifetime" ride in the Touchstone Energy Hot Air Balloon, at the Farm Progress Show late Wednesday afternoon.  Jared took these pictures high above Decatur.

 

Jared did his first-ever interview in a hot air balloon, with John Petrin, who is a world-champion hot air balloon pilot:

 

 

Special thanks to Kevin Bernson of Shelby Electric Cooperative, for making the arrangements for Jared's ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like he had fun!!!!

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Country Artist Easton Corbin Performs to Large Crowd at Farm Progress Show

 

Country music artist Easton Corbin performed for Farm Progress Show attendees in a late Wednesday afternoon concert sponsored by Ram Trucks.  The concert was free, and took place in Ram's Ride and Drive area just north of Progress City.

 

 

Weather was ideal, and a big crowd greeted Corbin's performance.

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More Pictures From Wednesday, August 30 Farm Progress Show

 

 

Raymond Poe, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director

 

 

The much-talked-about "Tribine" combine and auger cart in one.

 

 

GSI grain bin exhibit.

 

 

Kinze grain cart on tracks.

 

 

Kinze prototype planter.

 

 

New Case IH building.

 

 

Case IH Steiger CVX Drive tractor.

 

 

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More Interviews from Wednesday, August 30 Farm Progress Show

Amy Braun, Midwest Row Crop Collaborative

 

 

Cory Reed, Case IH Maxim Tractors

 

 

Jonathan Waits, GSI

 

 

Mark Gryp, Kinze

 

 

Mitch Kaiser, Case IH Steiger Tractors

 

 

Ron Kindred, Logan County Farmer and Illinois Soybean Association representative

 

 

Sam Funk, RaboAgriFinance

 

 

Tom Dean, Case IH New Building

 

 

Victor Akita, RaboAgriFinance Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

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Huge Crowds on Day 2 of the Farm Progress Show

 

Huge crowds and great weather are the perfect combination for day 2 of the 
Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois.

 

 

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Fireworks Open Day 2 of Farm Progress Show

 

Even though you couldn't see them, you could hear them to signal the opening of the gates for day 2 of the Farm Progress Show!  

 

They were shot off from the Eastern Exhibitor parking lot.  Lots of smoke!

 

 

 

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Senator Chapin Rose Visits the illinoisfarmradio.com Booth

Senator Chapin Rose visited the illinoisfarmradio.com booth this morning, to talk about a new Bio initiative for Central Illinois, that could mean jobs for the state, and another market for Illinois farmers' corn and soybeans.

 

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The Sun is UP for Day # 2 of the Farm Progress Show!

The sun is UP for day # 2 of the Farm Progress Show!!!

 

 

 

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More Interviews from Tuesday, August 29 Farm Progress Show

Ben Hortenstine, Ramsey Farmer on Enlist

 

 

Dan Valen, New Holland

 

 

Kevin Bernson, Shelby Electric Cooperative

 

 

Lauren Lurkins, IFB on NLRS

 

 

Melissa Bell, Mycogen Seed Agronomist

 

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Stop by the Beck's Hybrids Exhibit during the illinoisfarmradio.com Extended Noon Farm Show!

Beck's Hybrids is again our title sponsor for our over 30 hours of LIVE coverage from this year's Farm Progress Show!

illinoisfarmradio.com is originating an Expanded Noon Farm Show during the Farm Progress Show August 29, 30, and 31, from the Beck's Hybrids exhibit.  Stop by and see local farm broadcaster Jared White in action, visiting with many Beck's Hybrids representatives at the booth, from 12:20 til 1pm each day.

 

 

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Farm Progress Show Is Officially Open!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviews done on Tuesday, August 29:

 

Gabe Brown, Conservation Presenter

 

 

Jen Filipiak, American Farmland Trust

 

 

Kevin Covey, Equipment Technologies Sprayers

 

 

Lance Tarchione, Dekalb Asgrow Agronomist

 

 

Luke Samuel, Climate Corporation

 

 

Richard Lyons, Montgomery County Farmer on Conservation

 

 

Shannon Schultz, Stone Seed

 

 

Ty Witten, Monsanto Extend Dicamba

 

 

Susan Moore, IAA Foundation

 

 

Warren Goetsch, Illinois Department of Agriculture Deputy Director

 

 

 

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Farm Progress Show Day Before Pictures and Interviews August 28

 

Local farm broadcaster Jared White (left) interviewing Farm Progress National Shows Manager Matt Jungeman (right) on Monday, August 28, the day before the show starts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviews done August 28:

 

Andy Thompson, Yetter:

 

 

Anson Boch, Salford:

 


Aron Ballinger, Agco:

 

 

Ben Dillon, TriBine:

 

 

Brad Cox, Precision Planting:

 

 

Dustin Bolic, Drago Corn Heads:

 

 

Greg Souder, 360 Yield Center:

 

 

Harold Lovin, Beck's Hybrids:

 

 

Rachelle Thaibert, John Deere:

 

 

Todd Condit, Great Lakes Hybrids:

 

 

Tricia Braid, Illinois Corn Marketing Board:

 

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Farm Progress Show Set-Up and Pre-Show Interviews on illinoisfarmradio.com

Local farm broadcaster Jared White (left) interviewing Farm Progress National Shows Manager Matt Jungeman (right) at Media Day August 23.

 

 

Our broadcast position inside the BASF Media Tent on the east side of Progress City.  Our home for over 30 hours of LIVE coverage!

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Beck, Beck's Hybrids (interview done at the Beck's Field Day)

 

 

Interviews done Friday, August 25:

 

Danny Himes--LG Seeds:

 

 

David Brix, Host Farmer:

 

 

Mark Pomeranz, Case IH:

 

 

Mark Loyd, Farm Credit Illinois:

 


Rebecca Gunderson, New Holland:

 

 

Tim McMahon, AWI:

 

 

Wes Henne, Great Plains:

 

 

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US Ag Secretary Perdue Visits Central Illinois Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of a five-state RV tour, titled the "Back To Our Roots" Tour, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stopped in rural Sangamon County Monday.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White has more...

 

 

 

 

Sect. Perdue & IFB President Rich Guebert

 

 

Sect. Perdue & IL Ag Director Raymond Poe

 

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Monsanto Posts Open Letter On Dicamba Issues

Monsanto Cheif Technology Office Rob Fraley today posted an open letter to Monsanto customers addressing dicamba herbicide related issues in conjunction with the company's RoundUp Ready 2 Xtend soybeans.  The letter can be viewed by clicking the link below:

 

https://monsanto.com/products/product-stewardship/articles/to-our-farmer-customers/

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RECORD HARVEST LEVELS NOT LIKELY THIS YEAR

Crop condition ratings for corn and soybeans are below year-ago levels, as recorded in the USDA’s latest crop conditions report this week. American Farm Bureau Federation market intelligence director John Newton says this year has been a challenge for growers, with excessive moisture and planting delays this spring, and drought conditions in parts of the upper Midwest…
 
                    
 
Newton says the upcoming crop production report next week could provide better market direction heading into harvest season…
 
              
 
Newton says more data is available regarding yield expectations on the Farm Bureau Market Intel webpage…
 
                   
 
That information can be found at FB dot org forward slash market intel (www.FB.org/marketintel).

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Brazil, U.S., Set for Corn Selling Showdown

The world’s two biggest corn exporters are preparing for a showdown, according to Bloomberg. The United States and Brazil are set to square off in competition this growing season over corn exports as Brazil is in the middle of collecting the nation’s biggest corn harvest ever, and U.S. supplies remain plentiful from last years’ record harvest. Bloomberg says those conditions set the stage for a stiff battle to win world buyers in the second half of this year. Japan and Mexico are expected to be the biggest corn importers this season. Brazil’s corn production in the 2016-17 season is forecast to surge 45 percent from a year ago to a record 97 million metric tons, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency estimates that the 2016 U.S. harvest reached an all-time high and that the crop gathered this fall will be the second-bigger ever, but that could change with dwindling crop conditions. Brazil shipments of corn traditionally surge this time of year, during harvest. Meanwhile, U.S. corn shippers are seeing slow bookings for the coming marketing year. Still, experts in the U.S. say the nation is expected to remain the world’s top supplier.

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Farmers Indicate Higher Outlook on Farm Economy

Farmers surveyed as part of the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer indicated more optimism in July because of better commodity prices expectations this fall. The monthly survey for July reached 139, its highest level since January 2017, and its second-highest level since data collection began in October 2015. The increase continues a trend seen over the summer of more optimism regarding the future of the agriculture economy. The forward-looking measure of sentiment, the Index of Future Expectations, climbed seven points in July to 138. A measure above 100 indicates optimism, while a measure below 100 indicates pessimism regarding the farm economy. In July, farmers were asked if they expect to see higher, lower, or about the same grain, oilseed and cotton prices in the next 12 months. Many indicated they expected to see higher commodity prices through the next year. The improvement in producers’ expectations for commodity prices corresponded with early summer market activity. Wheat futures prices, driven by drought conditions in the Northern Great Plains, have been the most active, but uncertainty about the corn and soybean growing seasons has also contributed to market volatility.

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Conaway: Farm Bill Work to Begin in Eight Weeks

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway says work on the 2018 Farm Bill will start within the next eight weeks. Speaking during a farm bill listening session in his home state of Texas, Conaway told attendees that he wants to get the next farm bill on the House floor this year, according to the Hagstrom Report. After three hours of listening to farm leaders, Conaway added he wants the bill on the House floor this year because he disliked the turmoil of extensions. The 2014 Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2018. Conaway also noted that Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas said last week that he also would like to write the farm bill in 2017. His comments come as the House Agriculture Committee holds two listening sessions this week. The second is planned during the Minnesota Farmfest in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, Thursday.

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Congress Reverses Waterway Cuts But Doesn't Provide Funding

House and Senate appropriators have reversed the president’s proposed cuts to Army Corps inland waterways funding, but still provide no money to modernize critical locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
 
The good news is a reversal of a 17 percent cut the White House proposed to the Army Corps' civil works budget, and full-use of Inland Waterways Trust Fund annual revenues, boosted by higher barge diesel taxes.
 
Waterways Council Senior Vice-President Debra Calhoun says the downside is a continued lack of planning and design money for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program...
            
 
Calhoun says the Upper Miss and Illinois River locks modernization is part of the Army Corps’ priority projects list, and the Trump Administration wants to speed up NESP work from a scheduled 25 years, to 10 years. But Calhoun says there’s a political problem…
 
                   
 
Calhoun argues the Upper Mississippi locks have far outlived their 50-year design-life. Many were built in the 1930s and cannot accommodate longer modern barges that need to be separated to get through the ancient locks.
 
Congress authorized modern new locks on the Upper Miss and Illinois Rivers in 2007, but actual funding was never provided.

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