Manager’s Article August 29, 2017

FarmThursday August 24 we finally were able to go out in the county and do the Corn Yield Tour. Of course these are not numbers that are written in stone but we have always been close to the National Average in the past. Results are as follows:
Barren 157.7
Benton 162.9
Browning 136.9
Cave 146.8
Denning 161.4
Eastern 161.5
Ewing 145.3
Frankfort 154.3
Goode 117.9
Northern 206.5
Tyrone 162.0
Six Mile 125.1
COUNTY AVERAGE 153.2
Pictured are: (standing) Chelsea Browning, Brad Browning, Tony Lamczyk, Diane Wallace, Bennie Browning, Seth Schlag, Jenny Schlag and Esiah Schlag (front row) Marshall Browning, Kendall Browning, Joe Heard, Michael Browning, and Melissa Lamczyk. Not pictured – Gay Bowlin, Marc Lamczyk, Kenneth Rexing, Nikki Isaacs, Adam Birkner and Clint Brashear.
An odd thing has happened in wheat country — a lot of farmers aren’t planting wheat.
Thanks to a global grain glut that has caused prices and profits to plunge, this year farmers planted the fewest acres of wheat since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping records nearly a century ago.
Instead of planting the crop that gave the wheat belt its identity, many farmers are opting this year for crops that might be less iconic but are suddenly in demand, such as chickpeas and lentils, used in hummus and healthy snacks.
American farmers still plant wheat over a vast landscape that stretches from the southern Plains of Oklahoma and Texas north through Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas as well as dry regions of Washington and Oregon. However, this year’s crop of 45.7 million acres (18.49 million hectares) is the smallest since 1919.
North Dakota harvested wheat acres are down 15 percent, Montana 11 percent and Nebraska 23 percent, to the state’s lowest winter wheat acres on record.
Fewer farmers planted wheat after a 2016 crop that was the least profitable in at least 30 years, said grain market analyst Todd Hultman, of Omaha, Nebraska-based agriculture market data provider DTN.
Many farmers took notice of a surging demand for crops driven by consumer purchases of healthy high-protein food.
“The world wants more protein and wheat is not the high-protein choice and so that’s where your use of those other things come into play and are doing better,” Hultman said. “Up north around North Dakota you will see more alternative things like sunflowers, lentils and chickpeas.”
How long the new trend will continue is unknown. While some farmers will likely switch back to wheat when profitability returns, others may keep planting the alternatives because demand is expected to remain strong, keeping prices at attractive levels.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article August 22, 2017

gayIf you are reading this that means that you have made it through the Eclipse. It seems that from everything that I have heard the event was huge. Most things were positive and in Franklin County it seems that the traffic was not too bad. I drove past many gas stations who had every pump in use and that is a positive for the county.
The campgrounds were full and so were most of the hotel rooms in the county. Grocery stores had empty shelves especially in the surrounding counties of Makanda. It was great to see so much attention given to Southern Illinois on the major TV news networks as well. Just remember that this event is going to happen again in 7 years so keep those Eclipse glasses in a safe place.
The Corn Yield Tour did not happen last week – instead the good Lord blessed the farmers with rain and that means that the crops will be even better. We are planning on having it this Thursday so if anyone would like to help please come to the office at 8 am on Thursday August 24. We could actually use some extra help this year so if you aren’t busy please come. If you need more information call 435-3616.
If you are a Franklin County Farm Bureau M Member we are offering an all-expense paid trip to attend the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago. We go up on December 1 (Friday) and come home on December 5 (Tuesday). It would give you a chance to see what goes on during out General Session when changes to the Illinois Farm Bureau Policy are voted on. We stay at the Palmer House Hilton and it is a very enjoyable trip. Tell us why it would benefit you to attend this meeting and what it would mean to agriculture. If you would like more information on how to apply to go or on how to become a Franklin County Farm Bureau MM (farming) or PM (Professional) member please call the office. Applications are due by October 10th.
Local member benefits include: Lake Cove Hotel in Whittington, Door Doctor of Southern Illinois, Hobbs Service Company in Benton, and Thomas Printing in Benton. You must be a Franklin County Farm Bureau member to receive the benefits that these businesses are sharing with us. For more information on joining the Farm Bureau please call us at 435-3616.
Don’t forget our state wide benefits of hotels and car rental discounts as well. Also, a big benefit is Lasik Surgery. I had it 9 years ago and have never been dissatisfied with the results. The savings was over half of what was being charged – I saved $1,900.
I had encouraged you in the past to contact me or to get on the Illinois Farm Bureau website to sign the petition on Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) but it has been announced that Farmers have an additional month to comment on a proposed rule rescinding the ‘waters of the U.S.’ rule. The U.S. EPA announced a 30-day extension of the comment period, pushing the deadline to comment to Sept. 27. IFB supports EPA’s efforts. So far, about 1,900 farmers have signed the petition. If you have any questions please call the office.
The DuQuoin State Fair begins this Friday and runs through Labor Day. For the Grandstand line-up visit their website but also know that there any many other things to do at the fair – free music, visit the Exhibition Hall and just walk around and see the animals.
With summer drawing to a close soon Farmer’s Markets across the county will be ending as well. They will usually run through the end of October so don’t wait to get your fresh produce and home-made items.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article August 15, 2017

gayCongratulations to Franklin County 4-H for making a good showing at the Illinois State Fair. Those taking Supreme were: Derek Sample – Cooking 101 and Bailey Crisp – Visual Aids 3-D and Grace Kemp was awarded Reserved Champion in rabbits. Grace is pictured below.
This Thursday many are gathering at the Farm Bureau office to help with the annual corn yield event. We will be checking yields throughout the county – if you would like to help just give me a call or show up at the office at 8am on Thursday August 17 and join us. Next week I will have all of the results.
With the Eclipse less than a week away don’t forget to get your OFFICIAL ISO approved glasses and enjoy the event. Be careful on the roadways, don’t be in a hurry over the weekend because ther will be many people from out of town in the area. If you can use a backroad to get where you are going it might be a good idea. Be sure get gas before Friday and maybe even a little food in the house. With a lot of campers in the area my only fear is that they will be purchasing food from the grocery store while they are here so be prepared.
Watch the spectacular 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in the spot of the longest duration…Marion, Illinois. Illinois 4-H is teaming with the Marion Miners Baseball to offer a full day of Family-Friendly activities! Your $8 ticket provides entry to the ballpark and a set of 4-H Eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse, along with hands-on science activities for youth of all ages. Add a hotdog meal for $7 more. Don’t forget to order a commemorative 4-H Eclipse t-shirt for just $12!
Steve Browning and I attended the Benton City Council meeting to ask for their continued sponsorship with Farm City Days. We are currently planning on June 9, 2018 from 3-7pm with the parade beginning at 3 as well. The Benton City Council will make the decision to let us use this time and to block off the square and feeder streets. We will keep you informed.
We are also looking for more volunteers to help with the event. We meet monthly to discuss and make decisions. Once it gets closer we will meet more often. We need new fresh ideas and some muscle too. We want to blow last year out of the water and the more help we get the easier it will be. Call if you would like to help 435-3616.
Local member benefits include: FB McAfoos in Benton, Mr D’s Drive-In in Benton and K & K Storage in Benton. Extreme Exigency and the Armed Barber in Benton and Tabor Pest Services in Benton. You must be a Franklin County Farm Bureau member to receive the benefits that these businesses are sharing with us. For more information on joining the Farm Bureau please call us at 435-3616.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.

Manager’s Article August 1, 2017

gayI opened an email from the Illinois Farm Bureau this past Monday. Very important email I might add.
Over the past three years hundreds of Illinois Farm Bureau members have repeatedly responded to each Farm Bureau call to undo the Obama EPA’s attempted end run around the Clean Water Act.
You might know that the rule was designed to greatly expand the law’s regulatory footprint beyond navigable waters to include most of your farmland.
Fortunately, the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule has been tied up in a Federal court and has never taken effect.
Now, the Trump EPA is moving to rescind WOTUS and has opened up a comment period to get feedback from you.
In order to have your voices heard you must have an email address and a cell phone number then go to the Illinois Farm Bureau website at www.ilfb.org – and sign the petition to “DROWN THE RULE”. We have until August 21, 2017 to get this done.
You can also use text messaging to sign the petition – type “ENDWOTUS” to 52886.
Our goal is to get 2,500 signatures across the state of Illinois and take these signatures to Washington to re-write the law to encompass what we feel is the best for the farmers and everyone else when it comes to WOTUS.
If you have any questions please feel free to call out office at 435-3616 or simply Google “WOTUS”.
It will soon be time for our annual Corn Yield Tour in Franklin County. We will probably go out in a week or so to farms throughout the county to check the yield potential. If you are interested in being part of the Corn Yield check this year give us a call and we will let you know when we will be going.
With school starting soon it is time for Melissa Lamczyk, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator, to put on her “teaching” hat. Melissa is available to come to any Franklin County school to teach the students about the importance of farming and where their food comes from. If you would like for Melissa to come to your classroom please call us at 435-3616 to get on her schedule.
I would like to thank the family of the late Betty Storey for including donations to the Benton Farmers Market as a memorial contribution.
If you are looking for something to do head to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield August 10 – 20, 2017. Franklin County 4-H Day is August 12 and the following 4-H participants excelled in their area and received the honor of exhibiting their projects: Derek Sample – Cooking 101; Mackenzie Crisel – Floriculture III; Bailey Crisp – Visual Arts 3D; Anna Kistner – Intercultural; Tony Kistner – Leadership I; Marissa Lamczyk – Photography II; Jasper Meadows – Heritage Arts (Division of Visual Arts); Clara Meadows – Computer Generated (Division of Visual Arts); Andrea Douglas – Woodworking II; Ryan Lemons – Junk Drawer Robotics I and Allyson Bryant – Cooking 40.
We would like to extend out congratulations to these participants and which them the best of luck.
Summer is almost over but there is still time to enjoy some of the discounts that the Farm Bureau has to offer for Theme Parks.
If you are in the market for a new Ford or Lincoln – possibly to pick up a 2017 at the end of the year sale and you are a Farm Bureau member remember to use your $500 special offer for FORD or $750 special offer for LINCOLN. If you are not a member then call today to join and save big.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.gay