Corn harvest has begun in Franklin County and moisture levels are dry for corn as no rain and low humidity is causing almost drought like conditions. Soybean yields are being greatly affected with no rain and pasture has lost any green growth. Hay may be needed soon for cattle. Corn silage is almost all in the silos. Yields on corn are running 75 to 140 bushels per acre.
The outcome of the 2011 crop is still unknown but it is predicted that the U.S. net farm income should reach a record $103.6 billion this year, according to an updated report released Tuesday by the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service. This represents a 31 percent jump over last year, with ERS citing higher crop and livestock prices as reasons for the big gain. ERS pegged 2010 net farm income at $79.1 billion.
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Recently, Illinois farmers stepped up and offered comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) about issues such as, should farmers be considered as “for hire” if they have a 50/50 cost share agreement with a landowner? Illinois Farm Bureau added to the positive impact by inviting top management at FMCSA to Illinois. IFB wanted these decision-makers to see for themselves what farm equipment looks like and how farmers and ag retailers operate.
Success! These federal officials took IFB up on their offer and recently had a whirlwind tour of Central Illinois’ farming community. They visited a grain elevator, ethanol plant, and a fertilizer facility.
“What this trip has done so well – and I credit the Farm Bureau and its leaders for setting it up this way – is helped us connect the dots and understand the essentiality of the exceptions and exemptions in place for farmers,” Anne Ferro, FMCSA administrator.
The federal officials also visited a tractor dealership, where the visitors got a first-hand opportunity to drive the tractors they regulate.
“Come on, Anne, it’s your turn,” salesman Jerry Welch invited Ferro, who wore a large smile as she steered around the lot. Griffin whipped out a camera to record the experience on video before taking a spin herself.
The farmer hosts answered many questions and explained not only their farm lease arrangements, but also how they use transportation in their operations.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to show them what we actually do on a farm as far as transportation of our commodities from the farm to the market,” Schuler said.
“Seeing is believing,” Ferro added.
After seeing the scale of farms and farm equipment, the FMSCA officials left Central Illinois with many photographs and videos of their farm experiences, new perspectives of agricultural technology, and toy replicas of the tractor they drove.
Remember we are farmers working together. If we can help let us know.