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Harvest update

[OCT. 22, 2001]  Harvest is winding down in the Logan County area. We canít say it is rapidly winding down, due to the weather not being very cooperative. Estimates for harvest completed would be 95 percent for corn and 93 percent on soybeans. Yields have been better for later maturing crops, due to the timing of pollination and seed set and available moisture at critical times.

There continue to be some wide swings in reported yields. Corn yields have ranged from around 90 bushels to over 200, with most recently harvested corn in the 160- to 180-bushel range. For soybeans, many of the fields being recently harvested are in the 50- to 65-bushel range.

It seems like no matter how early we start harvest, Mother Nature doesnít allow us to finish much before the last part of October or the first of November.


Leasing in central Illinois

One of the topics that is always talked about, but less often addressed, is farm leasing. Most of the talk centers on what cash rents are and modifications to the traditional 50-50 crop share lease. In the interest of focusing thoughts on leasing, following are some points from a recent newsletter put out by Dale Lattz from the University of Illinois.

Central Illinois grain farms have about 14 percent of the land in the operation owned by the operator; 65 percent of the land is rented on a crop share basis; and 21 percent is rented on a cash lease basis. Cash rented ground has increased about 1 percent a year for the last five years at the expense of ground rented on shares.

Many landlords and tenants are currently reviewing their lease situations. There are advantages and disadvantages to any leasing arrangement. From the landlordís perspective, there can be significant impacts on how income is treated for self-employment tax and how ground values are calculated for estate tax (if something happens to you). Before making any changes, you should contact your tax planner or attorney.


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The other thing that is considered at this time of year is the amount of cash rent to charge. I donít know if there is such a thing as a "fair" lease, but we should strive to have an equitable lease. There is also no such thing as an "average" cash rent. The range of cash rents in the county has over a $100-per-acre spread. Each rental arrangement should be negotiated between parties to fit their particular situation.

One of the benchmarks to use in determining if cash rents should be increasing or decreasing is equivalent cash rents. This is the payment a landowner would have received under a traditional crop share arrangement. The 10-year average for northern and central Illinois on high productivity soils is $138.04. This includes $33.03 in landowner expenses, which would mainly be real estate taxes.

The other main point to consider in establishing cash rental arrangements is the government program payments. These payments are shared according to risk. In a traditional 50-50 crop share arrangement, this would be 50 percent to the landowner and 50 percent to the tenant. In a cash rent situation, the tenant would get 100 percent of all payments. With a new farm bill being debated, the future levels of payments are uncertain.

If you want to check out the entire newsletter for yourself, visit the site at http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/manage/

Good luck in establishing your rental arrangements.

[John Fulton]

Rep. Wright visits Hartem ag program

[OCT. 16, 2001]  Rep. Jonathan Wright, R-Hartsburg, recently paid a visit to the Hartsburg-Emden Agriculture Department. FFA members Natalie Coers and Kent Leesman, along with agriculture teacher Betsy Pech, took time to explain the agriculture education program, not only at Hartsburg-Emden but statewide as well.

The students informed Rep. Wright that Illinois agriculture education has a line item in the Illinois State Board of Education budget, which assists in funding high school agriculture programs. This money also is used to develop new curriculums, as well as developing agriculture literacy kits for elementary students.

Kent and Natalie gave Rep. Wright a tour of the agriculture facilities, and he was able to see equipment, agri-science kits and other supplemental supplies that the Hartsburg-Emden agriculture program has purchased with the money appropriated by the Illinois Legislature.

[Natalie Coers and Kent Leesman explain to Rep. Jonathan Wright the purpose of the agri-science kits dealing with genetics, math in agriculture and the many uses of dairy products.]

Nominations needed for FSA election

[OCT. 9, 2001]  Logan County Farm Service Agency is currently searching for individuals representative of the county farmers to serve as nominees for the county committee election, which this year is in the district made up of Orvil, Prairie Creek, Broadwell, West Lincoln, Corwin and Sheridan townships, according to FSA County Executive Director Mark Fricke.

The Logan County FSA administers federal agricultural production, farm loan, conservation and emergency programs annually in Logan County. A locally elected committee of farmers and landowners that serve staggered, three-year terms oversees operation of the county office.

"It is critical to FSAís future that we ensure that all farmers have an equal opportunity to be a candidate to serve as a member on our county committees," said Fricke. "Employees in the county office will be taking an active role in contacting producers and farm groups, along with leaders of minority, female and under-represented groups, to ensure that they fully understand the role of the county committee."

Individuals of legal voting age with an interest in farmland as an owner, operator, tenant or sharecropper or those who are eligible to participate in any FSA program are eligible to vote in the election and are eligible to serve on the committee if nominated and elected. Spouses are also eligible to vote and serve on the committee if nominated and elected.


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"The locally elected committees shoulder primary responsibility for making national farm programs fit the needs and situations faced by local farmers," Fricke said. "They bring local expertise and knowledge to USDAís daily delivery of programs and services."

Fricke reminded farmers that for a nomination petition to be valid, it must be limited to one nominee, must include written certification that the nominee is willing to serve if elected and must be signed by one eligible voter in the area holding the election this year. Eligible voters may circulate or sign nomination petitions for as many candidates as they choose.

The deadline to return valid nomination petitions to the local FSA office is Oct. 29.

Minority and female farmers are encouraged to take part in this important nomination process. For more information, contact the local FSA office or USDA service centers.

[News release]

Nuisance insect pests

[OCT. 6, 2001]  With fall definitely in the air, many of natureís own are trying to find shelter for the winter. This group would include crickets, ants, spiders, ladybugs and elm leaf beetles. They are really seeking warmth, and they donít care if they are on a rock in the sun or in your basement. Once in the home, you must decide whether to use pesticides, the vacuum cleaner or tolerate them.

You can save yourself a great deal of worry over the welfare of children and pets by choosing a non-chemical course of action (the vacuum or tolerance). Another option that keeps pesticides out of the house is to spray a barrier of diazinon on the outside foundation of the house.

Foundation sprays can be reduced to following a five-step program to have good success. Some of the insects and their relatives that can be controlled or reduced would include ants, centipedes, cockroaches, spiders and earwigs. In addition to trying for warmth, some of these are just naturally hanging around in flower beds and lawns outside the house.


Step one is to purchase an emulsifiable concentrate of diazinon (liquid form). Dilute with water to make a .5 percent solution for a foundation spray. The average home requires about three gallons of spray solution, so you will need about eight ounces of 25 percent diazinon concentrate in three gallons of water to get the correct percentage.

Step two is to spray the foundation of the house just to the point of runoff. Spray all the way around the house. Also make sure to spray around the base of door openings.


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Step three is to also spray a 10- to 12-inch band of the solution on the adjacent soil. A wider band may give better protection but also has the extra insecticide involved. A wider band may be helpful if there is a flower bed or shrubbery providing for more insects close to the house.

Step four is to spray behind concrete steps and other structures that join up with the foundation. If you canít spray behind them, spray over and around them.

Step five is to spray cracks and crevices in the foundation and in concrete slabs (such as driveways) that join the foundation.

The idea is to crate a continuous barrier that insects, spiders, millipedes and other pests have to crawl through to get into your house. Even if they do get in, they wonít last long. Once insects are in the home, you shouldnít use anything other than aerosol products that are labeled for use in the home. Many of the products just kill things that they come in contact with. A few do have a lasting residual. Remember that the more residual pesticides have, the more chances for accidentally causing poisoning problems.

Any time that you are dealing with pesticides, you should read the label. The label is a legal document that should tell what it controls, how to mix, how to apply, safety precautions and other important information.

Good luck to you as we enter fall and try to keep those nuisance pests out of your home.

[John Fulton]

4-H prepares for centennial in 2002

[OCT. 3, 2001]  The 4-H centennial celebration will be in 2002. Itís not very often that we get to celebrate 100 years, so there will be several special events throughout the year. One of the main goals of the committee at this time is to identify past 4-H members living in the Logan County area.

If you are a past 4-H member living in Logan County, please contact the Extension office for a past member involvement form, so that we may build a record of former members living in the area. The Centennial Committee is considering several activities in the coming year that would involve these former 4-Híers.

Please contact us by e-mail at logan_co@mail.aces.uiuc.edu, by paper mail at 980 N. Postville Drive, Lincoln, IL 62656 or by phone at (217) 732-8289. If you are one of the past 4-H members from Logan County who lives away from the area, we would also like to hear from you!

[John Fulton]

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