Archive for July 2011
Here is the question of the day. Will those that have ever seen it wetter on the 8th of July please stand? I see that everyone is still seated so we must all be in agreement that it is really wet. I had the opportunity to drive around other areas than Eastern Township yesterday and it seems that crops are looking a little ragged. Corn stalks of varying size and color indicate that yields are being affected by the deluge of rain in the past few weeks. There are several fields of wheat that have not been planted with soybeans and it will be late in the month of July before it will be dry enough to plant.
Weeds are growing rapidly and drier weather is needed before sprayers can get into fields but the countryside is beautiful and green for July!
Thanks to everyone who helped with the petition drive to call for a vote on the annexation of the Benton High School District. We had almost 400 signatures and only needed 162. We now await the review of the petitions by the Library Board and we will keep you informed of the progress.
The 4th Annual Franklin County Farm Bureau/COUNTRY picnic will be this coming Tuesday, July 12th, at the 4-H Fairgrounds adjacent to Rend Lake College at 5 PM. Our Financial Representatives will be grilling pork loins and hot dogs with all the trimmings. Hope to see you all.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is asking members to urge Congress to pass the free trade agreements before the August recess!
The U.S. has never taken a backseat to any country – so why are we now? Combined, all three Free Trade Agreements (with Colombia, Korea, and Panama) represent almost $2.5 billion in new agriculture exports.
By July 15, contact your U.S. Senators and your congressman. Urge them to vote “yes” on the passage of the three FTAs before the August recess! And here’s why:
Illinois ranks consistently in the top 5 states for ag exports.
The crops we grow and our state’s transportation advantages always allow us to benefit from expanded trade.
If we don’t act, we will keep losing the Colombian grain market to our competitors.
We need jobs. Every $1 billion dollars’ worth of ag exports supports or creates 9,000 jobs throughout our economy.
Call or email your U.S. Senators and your Congressman by checking the website at www.ilfb.org. Tell them that it is time to pass the Colombia, Korea, and Panama trade agreements now.
Visit the Franklin County Farm Bureau website at www.fcfbil.org and view new video.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.
July 5, 2011
Illinois Farm Bureau
Governmental Affairs and Commodities
Who to Contact U.S. Senators Durbin and Kirk, and U.S. Congressman
Method of Contact Telephone calls
Date of Contacts July 5-15, 2011
Issue Summary Free Trade Agreements
Staff Contact Adam Nielsen (309-557-3152 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vote “yes” on the passage of the three Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) before August recess!
• Illinois ranks consistently in the top 5 states for ag exports.
• The crops we grow and our state’s transportation advantages always allow us to benefit from expanded trade.
• If we don’t act, we will keep losing the Colombian grain market to our competitors.
• We need jobs. Every $1 billion dollars’ worth of ag exports supports or creates 9,000 jobs throughout our economy.
• Senator Durbin at 202-224-2152
• Senator Kirk at 202-224-2854
• U.S. Congressman (locate the direct telephone number on LAC or call the switchboard at 202-224-3121)
Report Deadline: July 15, 2011
Report contacts through one of the following:
• Call 800-879-1976
• Email email@example.com
• Visit www.ilfb.org/reportcontacts
• Contact county Farm Bureau (and the CFB can report contacts to firstname.lastname@example.org or 309-557-3984)
• Visit with Legislative Action Center (http://capwiz.com/ilfb/state/main/?state=IL)
TALKING POINTS (to be used as a guide for your own words)
(PROPOSED SCRIPT FOR CALL)
• Hello. My name is ….
• I reside in (town), Illinois.
• My zip code is (xxxxx).
• I am calling to ask [Senator Durbin/Senator Kirk/Congressman xxxxxx] to vote yes on the three Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea.
• It is critical that these agreements pass before the August recess.
• Thank you for your time.
• It’s about jobs and the economy.
o Every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports 9,000 U.S. jobs, including transportation workers, food processors, packers, longshoremen, sales and marketing representatives, etc.
o By passing all three FTAs, nearly 22,500 new U.S. jobs could be created.
• The U.S. competitive advantage is in jeopardy.
o Korea is the fifth largest trade market in the world. Currently, competitors, such as Australia, Chile, Canada and the EU, are moving in and taking potential U.S. market share.
o In Korea, Chile’s market share for wine has increased from 2.4 percent to 21.5 percent, while the U.S. market share has decreased from 17.1 percent to 10.8 percent because U.S. wine imports face a 15 percent tariff. The Chile-Korea FTA eliminated Chile’s 15 percent tariff.
o Colombia is the top export market in South America.
o From 2008-2009, U.S. exports to Colombia have dropped almost 50 percent from $1.6 billion to $907 million and the trend is continuing.
o U.S. market share in Colombia peaked in 2008 at 46 percent. In 2010 it had dropped to 24 percent.
o The U.S. has a large share, 47 percent in 2010, of the Panama market. But, without an FTA, U.S. competitors are moving in.
o Panama has already completed an agreement with Canada, a U.S. trade competitor in exports of beef, potato products and processed foods.
• Gains are only realized by passing these agreements.
o Combined, all three FTAs represent almost $2.5 billion in new agriculture exports.
o The Korea agreement would bring a $1.9 billion gain for U.S. agriculture exports and would eliminate two-thirds of tariffs immediately.
o The Colombia agreement would bring a $370 million gain in agriculture exports and would eliminate 80 percent of tariffs immediately.
o The Panama agreement would bring a $46 million gain in agriculture exports and would eliminate 50 percent of tariffs immediately.
I suppose that we have written enough about the weather, crop conditions, harvesting wheat and farming in general but we continue to receive rain and the wheat harvest should be wrapped up by weeks end. And boy has it been a long process but an above average yield of wheat has occurred.
Almost every organization has to periodically look inwardly to evaluate the value of their programs. As most of you know we have been involved in a petition drive concerning the Benton Library District Expansion. This petition drive is simply an effort to place the issue on a ballot so that those that are affected can have a say in their annexation into the district. Some of our members that have been carrying petitions have been told that “this effort will hurt children in the Library District”. After some thought on the issue let’s look at some of the things that Franklin County Farm Bureau does for children in the county.
In 2008 we began the Harvest of Help Program which, from its very inception was an effort to provide food for children in Franklin County. During the four year period in which this program has existed we have provided over $25,000 worth of food to the pantries in Franklin County. This money was received from farmers who donated so that we could affect our community in a positive way. I believe we have.
Through the years at Farm Bureau we have supported the FFA programs in our county by sending students to leadership conferences, SIU Acquaintance Days and promoted these programs when they were threatened by cutbacks in the school system. In the last five years alone we have spent $5,000 on programs for our FFA students. We have spent over $2,000 in the past four years in support of 4-H programs.
The Ag in the Classroom Program is solely involved with providing Ag Education for students in all of our schools – from Pre K through high school. The total that we have spent in the last four years amounts to about $24,000.
When I look at the efforts of the Franklin County Farm Bureau, we have spent on youth education in excess of $60,000. There are very few privately held organizations that have this kind of expenditure to help children in this county. We are proud of what we have done and will continue to focus on children, youth and young adults as we promote agriculture and its values to our community.
The programs listed above are not the main focus of this organization – the state slogan is “To promote the well-being of agriculture and farm families”. We provide services for farmers as a group that they could not provide for themselves on an individual basis. By sponsoring educational activities throughout the year we are broadening this slogan.
I suppose I do like to brag about an organization that works for farmers and their well-being but also looks to our community locally and the youth that we support and encourage.
This weekend marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The men who signed this document placed value on their hopes and dreams of this country – let’s celebrate and thank GOD for America.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.