& Awards, Ag
FFA members visit state officials in Springfield
11, 2001] Hartem
FFA members recently took part in Agricultural Legislative Awareness
Day in Springfield.
Alberts, Kyle Hoerbert, Matthew Wrage, Kory Leesman and Brittney Kavanaugh
assisted FFA members from around the state in distributing agricultural
commodity baskets and lunches to all the legislators.
members also got to visit with Director of Agriculture Joe Hampton and their
state representative, John Turner.
FFA member Anthony Jones was selected to serve as an honorary page in the House
finish the day, these members toured the Illinois Vietnam and Korean War
Memorials, plus Lincoln's tomb.
[Pictured (left to
right) with Director of Agriculture Joe Hampton are Anthony Jones, Nick Alberts,
Joe Hampton, Kory Leesman, Kyle Hoerbert, Matthew Wrage, Brittney Kavanaugh and
Hartem FFA adviser Betsy Pech.]
[Hartem FFA members
(left to right) visiting with Rep. John Turner are Brittney Kavanaugh, Nick
Alberts, Mr. Turner, Kyle Hoerbert, Matthew Wrage and Kory Leesman.]
teams up with Illinois government
10, 2001] More
than 2,500 4-H members and their families from across Illinois saw
state government in action during the 4-H Legislative Connection at
the state Capitol on Tuesday, March 27. In its fifth year, this
annual event is one in which 4-H youth rub elbows with state
lawmakers and learn more about the legislative process. In addition,
the youth toured the Capitol complex, the Illinois State Museum and
other historic sites in Springfield.
1,000 Superior Award-winning exhibits from last summer’s Illinois State Fair
were on display in the "Best of the Best" 4-H exhibition. A midday
rally in the Capitol rotunda saluted 4-H and its impact on youth.
number of state officials took part in this 4-H Legislative Connection, and
participants from Logan County 4-H included Angela Cunningham, Elkhart; Molly
Gleason, Elkhart; Roxanne Horath, Atlanta; Allicent Pech, Lincoln; and Jennifer
information about opportunities in the 4-H program in Logan County, contact the
Logan County Extension unit at 732-8289.
in alternative enterprises
9, 2001] When
we think of agriculture in Logan County and the central Illinois
area in general, we think of corn, soybeans, beef cattle and hogs.
All of those enterprises do exist, and in large numbers. Some of the
other enterprises help with farm income, provide for using extra
labor and fill niches created by consumers.
have to ‘blaze their own trail’
County operators have U-pick strawberry operations, asparagus plantings, herbs,
flowers, traditional garden produce, ostriches, emus, elk, Christmas trees,
ornamentals and just about anything else you can think of. Why? Because there is
a market, or they have created one.
is one of the toughest parts about alternative enterprises: marketing. It wouldn’t
be called alternative if existing markets were available to sell your produce.
Some of the strategies to sell alternative items are direct marketing, contract
production, grower cooperatives, buyer cooperatives and wholesaling where some
type of market does exist. Wholesaling is generally a last option since producer
profits tend to shrink with each marketing partner, but there is safety in being
able to sell at least some of the produce.
producers in alternative enterprises have to "blaze their own trail."
Each one has to find out where a potential market exists and then produce for
that market. Many of these enterprises also are done on a small scale because
they are labor intensive. Think for a moment of picking 20 acres of strawberries
or hand-cutting 40 acres of flowers or herbs. A tenth of an acre is plenty for
many of these enterprises when you start out, but research must be done.
research done by third-party groups (such as colleges and universities) may be
hard to come by. That leaves producers trying to find others who have had
experience or possibly adapting information from other areas of the country or
overseas. Risk comfort level and the entrepreneurial spirit have a lot to do
with checking out alternative ag enterprises. If the tolerance for risk is low
or you want a ready-made market, many of the options (or possible cash
[to top of second column in this
newest trend among traditional producers is to produce something that is already
grown but has added value. For example, premiums are available for certain types
of soybeans that require only slight modifications in management. An extra 20
cents per bushel may worth using a special herbicide, storing the crop
separately and delivering the crop to a certain location. Most commonly this is
a type of contract production with a contract between a producer and a processor
or local elevator. The downside that we have already seen is that when several
producers are willing to produce the special crop, the premiums tend to
of Illinois Extension in Logan County has been involved in value-added corn and
soybean plots for the last three years, and I will do some follow-up work later
this year with the soybean plots in place this year. We also conducted a major
producer survey last summer dealing with value-added crops and had producer
meetings this winter.
enterprises aren’t for everyone. They can be a good option if the people
interested are able to "blaze their own trail."
Washington trip in review
5, 2001] WASHINGTON
— Phil Donahoe didn’t hesitate when Assistant U.S. Trade
Representative for Agricultural Affairs James M. Murphy asked the
Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2002 how
the next farm bill should be constructed. The LaFox, Ill., farmer
suggested America’s top trade negotiators consider shifting some
monetary supports toward infrastructure improvements rather than
focusing so much on direct payments to farmers.
in such exchanges was commonplace throughout the recent Illinois Agricultural
Leadership Program (IALP) National Travel seminar to Washington, D.C., Maryland
and New York. The 10-day study experience brought IALP class members in contact
with a cross section of government officials, agriculture industry executives,
financial leaders, farmers and watermen along the East Coast. Lincoln resident
Marty Ahrends participated in the seminar.
addition to briefings from the U.S. trade representative, participants visited
with officials from the departments of agriculture, energy and state, as
well as the Environmental Protection Agency. A panel discussion with attorneys
from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission sparked an
interesting dialogue on past and present agriculture acquisitions and mergers.
visits with Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and
Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., Rep. Charlie Stenholm, D-Texas, ranking minority
member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Edward M. Gramlich, governor of
the Federal Reserve Bank, put class participants in direct contact with the
people who actually make policy.
class members traveled from Washington to Maryland for two days of study on the
poultry and fishing industries along with initiatives and programs relating to
smart growth, water quality and agriculture nutrient regulations.
most shocking thing is that many of the environmental problems and potential
regulations we only talk about in the Midwest are real and foremost in the
Chesapeake Bay area," said Matt Hughes, IALP participant and farmer from
in Maryland, IALP class members were hosted by Perdue Farms and felt honored to
meet with company patriarch and former chairman Frank Perdue. His son, Jim
Perdue, represents the third generation in the family to head the company. The
class toured a broiler operation and Perdue’s grain and oilseed division that
processes 3.7 million tons of poultry feed annually. Perdue’s marketing and
environmental directors shared their emphasis on future markets and the
environmental awareness issues surrounding animal feeding operations. Gary Baise,
Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation board member and a Washington, D.C.,
attorney, joined the class on the Perdue tour and reminded the class of the
environmental lobby’s strength in waging lawsuits against agriculture.
[to top of second column in this
Maryland the class traveled to New York, taking in a Broadway musical before
devoting a day to studying the financial markets. Farm Credit Funding
Corporation hosted the class with tours of the New York Mercantile Exchange and
the New York Stock Exchange. Jim Brickley, president and chief executive officer
of the Farm Credit Funding Corp., provided an overview of the vital role their
institutions have in fulfilling the financial needs of production agriculture
operations and agribusinesses.
analysts from Merrill Lynch and Moody’s Investor Services provided background
on the structure of financial markets and budgets during a time of market unrest
and declining interest rates.
the budget projections from Merrill Lynch comparing the Bush administration, the
congressional budget office and Merrill Lynch was very helpful in comprehending
the many variables that affect budget projections," said Steve Arnold, Kane
County Farm Bureau manager and IALP participant. "It gave me a greater
understanding of how monies are accounted for in the federal budget."
seminar concluded with a tour and briefing at the United Nations, where Daniel
Martz, manager of planning and programs for Philip Morris Management Corp.,
discussed world trade and global warming issues.
information about the IALP Class of 2002’s National Travel seminar, visit www.agleadership.org
to view the diary compiled by the class during the seminar.
FFA member wins state award
5, 2001] Kate
Wrage was named the state winner in the Fruit/Vegetable category at
the recent Proficiency Awards Day judging. After progressing through
an interview, along with a review of her record books, Kate was
selected the state winner and will now represent Illinois at the
national FFA’s regional competition. Daniel Eeten, also of the
Hartem FFA, was chosen as the runner-up in Diversified Crop
state FFA vice-president, and Kate Wrage.]
Agriculture Sales Contest
17, 2001] The
Hartsburg-Emden FFA Chapter recently won the Section 14 FFA
Agriculture Sales Contest. The five members participating each
received first place in their respective subject areas. Those
members are Anthony Jones in product display, Natalie Coers in
newspaper advertising, Kent Leesman in customer relations, Matt
Duckworth in telephone skills and Kate Wrage in sales presentation.
The team as a whole also received first in market analysis. These
FFA members will advance to district competition March 28.
[Hartsburg-Emden participants in the
Section 14 FFA Agriculture Sales Contest were (left to right) Kent
Leesman, Kate Wrage, Natalie Coers and Anthony Jones. Contest
participant Matt Duckworth is not pictured.]
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