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Progress update on proposed ethanol production plant in Fulton County

[DEC. 28, 2001]  It's being called the largest private sector economic stimulus project in Fulton County in a quarter century. Not since CILCO's Duck Creek Power Station was completed in 1976 has a private investment effort been undertaken like the proposed Central Illinois Energy ethanol production plant. Central Illinois Energy, or CIE, General Manager Mike Smith of London Mills says approximately $5 million has been raised since the public offering began in mid-November.

Organizers of the $40 million plant are looking for $16 million from farmers and other investors by February 1 of 2002. The remaining $24 million would be financed by area lenders.


The fund-raising targets both farmer and non-farmer investors. As an incentive to non-farmer investors, CIE is required to pay an eight-percent cumulative dividend. There's also a buy-back option of 115-percent of the initial investment for non-farmer investors. Farmer investors are contractually obligated to sell corn to the plant. CIE would buy wet corn at 20-to-30-percent moisture content, which would mean considerable cost savings in drying costs to producers. Smith the plant will buy six million bushels of wet corn and six million bushels of dry corn per year. Producers can choose how much wet and how much dry corn they sell to the facility. He added because of the wet corn cost-saving advantages, commitments to supply wet corn are going well. That creates an incentive for producers to invest as soon as possible, Smith says, since wet corn bushels are available only on a first come, first served basis.


Informational meetings about the project have been taking place throughout the six-county market area of Fulton, Peoria, Knox, McDonough, Schuyler, and Mason Counties. Meetings have also taken place in other surrounding counties. Five more public meetings are scheduled for early January:

-Monday, Jan. 7, 2002 at 9:00 am. at the Brimfield American Legion at 121 West Knoxville, sponsored by the Peoria County Farm Bureau Marketing Committee, Riverland FS, Pioneer Seed, and Akron Services. 18th District Congressman Ray LaHood and 47th District State Senator Carl Hawkinson are scheduled to attend. Also planning to attend is Gaylor Engineering owner Mike Gaylor of Dunedin (done EED' un) Florida. His firm is the engineer for the facility.


-Monday, Jan. 7, 2002 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bushnell Rec Center at 300 Miller Street, sponsored by Prairie Premium Ag Coalition. Gaylor plans to attend. Refreshments will be served.

-Monday, Jan. 7, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. at the Farmington High School ag room at 568 East Vernon, sponsored by the Farmington Ag Alumni Association.


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-Tuesday January 8, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. at UAP/Richter, one mile south of Blandinsville on the blacktop, sponsored by UAP/Richter. Refreshments will be served.

-Tuesday January 8, 2002 at 6:30 p.m. at the Southeastern High School cafeteria at 90 West Green Street in Augusta, sponsored by Pioneer Seed and Southeastern ag alumni. 


Those attending the meetings are asked to arrive up to 30 minutes early to help the registration process move smoothly and allow the meetings to start on time. Smith stressed registration is very simple and is not time-consuming. There is no obligation to invest for meeting attendees.

The minimum investment is five shares at $1,000 per share. The agreement calls for corn producers who invest to also deliver 1,000 bushels of corn per year for five years for each share purchased. After five years, delivery contracts would be renewed annually. The same $5,000 minimum investment, but without the corn commitment, applies to non-farmers. As another incentive to act quickly, Smith pointed out the per share price for both farmer and non-farmer investors goes up to $1,200 starting Jan. 16 2002.

CIE would create 35 full-time jobs and produce 30 million gallons of ethanol a year. If fund-raising goes as expected, Smith says construction would begin in 2002 and the facility would be operational in 2003. Plans are to build it on a 280-acre site 3.5 miles south of Canton.

Any group or organization that would like to have a presentation made about CIE should call (309) 668-3299. The length of the program is about 45 minutes. For those who cannot make it to meetings a 45-minute video of the presentation is also available, free, upon request.

CIE is an initiative of a group of Fulton County area farmers and agri-business people called the Central Illinois Ag Coalition, or CIAC

For more information about the project, Smith can be reached at (309) 668-3299. His e-mail address is msmith@CIAConline.com . On the Internet, go to http://www.CIAConline.com.

[Mike Smith, Central Illinois Ag Coalition president]

Extension office announces workshops

[DEC. 24, 2001]  Logan County will host a workshop titled "The ABC’s of Horse Nutrition" on Jan. 31. The workshop will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Extension office. Preregistration is requested and may be obtained by calling the office at 732-8289 before Jan. 25.

Kristen Janicki, visiting equine educator, will be the presenter. Kristen will discuss the importance of forages in a horse’s diet, the abundance of grains available for horses with greater energy or protein needs, and the different characteristics each brings to meet the horse’s requirements. In addition, Kristen will explain the basic nutrients necessary for an excellent nutrition program and what to consider when formulating a diet for your horse, including the use of body condition scoring to evaluate your feeding program.

Entomology roundtable

Dr. Kevin Steffey will be with us on Feb. 11 to participate in an entomology roundtable discussion. The program, beginning at 1:30 p.m. and concluding at 3:30 p.m., will be at the Extension office. Preregistration is requested and may be obtained by calling the office at 732-8289.

Steffey will be able to provide information on potential problems in 2002 with western corn rootworm, soybean aphids, B.t. corn and the implications, and address other discussion topics.

A similar roundtable discussion a few years ago focused on B.t. corn events and the Star Link potential and problems. It seems like a crystal ball must have been in use!


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Illinois tillage conference

A statewide conference with the theme "Tillage & Nutrient Management for the Future: Advanced Concepts" is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the Interstate Center in Bloomington. The program, featuring state and nationally known speakers, runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Preregistration is necessary and the deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 5. Seating is limited, so registration will be taken on a first-come basis. A $15 fee per person will be charged to cover room rental and the noon luncheon. Please make checks payable to McLean Co. SWCD and send to McLean Co. SWCD, 402 N. Kays Drive, Normal, IL 61761, with the following information: IL Tillage Conference, your name, address, phone number and county of residence.

Extension office holiday schedule

The Extension office will be closed over the holidays, with reopening set for Jan. 2. The staff wishes you and your family a joyous holiday season.

[John Fulton]

Cost of operation figures

[DEC. 10, 2001]  This time of year, many farmers are wanting to "settle up" for the various field operations done on a custom basis for neighbors. Traditionally termed "custom rates," Illinois uses "cost of operation" figures. Neighboring states do actually use surveys of custom operators to publish figures that are true custom rates.

The following table contains many of the more requested figures. For the non-farm clientele, these rates represent the actual cost for performing the operation on a farm.

These figures are the actual costs of operation including power, machine, fuel and labor. The figures are based on fuel costs of $1 per gallon (and even though fuel prices are higher, they won’t significantly affect the cost!) and a labor cost of $12.50 per hour. There is nothing included for management.

[John Fulton]


Cost of operation

Coulter chisel plow

$10.80 per acre

Moldboard plow

$20.70 per acre

No-till planter

$ 8.80 per acre


$ 7.90 per acre

Rotary mowing

$ 8.60 per acre

Anhydrous ammonia application

$ 7.60 per acre

Combining corn

$27.70 per acre

Combining soybeans

$23.10 per acre

Using grain cart

$ 3.85 average per acre average (Iowa data)

Grain hauling with truck

$ .068 cents per bushel average (Iowa data)

The new jewel at U of I

[DEC. 3, 2001]  Logan County identifies itself as the heart of Midwest farming. With that goes a deep relationship to the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus. We have many local alumni who are strong supporters in the college’s continued growth as a top agricultural education institution. It is through the alumni association’s support that the campus now has a new pride and joy, the ACES (College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) Library, Information and Alumni Center.

The new library was opened and dedicated this fall. Its completion signifies a wholeness that has previously eluded the ag college campus, as it has always been in a temporary state of waiting for needed buildings or resources of its own. Many local people have been contributing toward its development for many years.


Name three great U of I influences in Logan County. If you say the Fighting Illini, University of Illinois Farm Extension Services, agriculture education and development, you are not only talking about the interests of many Logan County residents but also the combined passion of one particular man, Frederic B. Hoppin. Hoppin not only contributed financially but also gave many years of dedication and involvement as an alum.

A 1941 U of I ag grad, the late Fred Hoppin served as Logan County’s University of Illinois farm adviser and Extension agent from 1949 to 1956. Following that time he moved into the real estate business as his primary occupation until his retirement. His ties with agriculture and U of I remained strong.

"Fred was a loyal Illini. Even when in real estate his main interest was in agriculture," says Ruth, his wife, who is a steadfast and true Illini alum also.


He and two partners, Roy Hatch and Red John Pace, were area forerunners in breeding by means of artificial insemination. He held leadership positions in both cattle and pork industries, starting dairy herd and swine herd associations.

Some of Hoppin’s most outstanding contributions were as a supporter of U of I. With the growing ag campus needs in the 1970s, Hoppin was asked by the president of the alumni association to head up the new building program, "Food for Century III." He had the job of influencing legislators to assist in matching funds with the alumni association for $88 million in new and updated agricultural buildings on the campus. The project took 15 years and included the relocation of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

He received the honorary "I" from the athletic association. Ruth Hoppin fondly recalls that before there were televised games, football games were filmed. The films were brought over after the games and local fans, known as the Quarterback Club, would gather together to watch them.



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Hoppin had many other U of I awards and distinctions, but the Exceptional Service Award that was bestowed on him in 1984 by the Agricultural Alumni Association summed up the values of his contributions, as the award was created just for him.

It took 15 years to raise the funding for the new building project. In January of 1998 the state of Illinois signed a grant matching the alumni funds. However, Hoppin did not get to participate in the fall groundbreaking, as he passed away in August of 1998. The alumni room in the new facility has been dedicated in honor of Frederic B. Hoppin and Ruth H. Hoppin.


Hoppin was one of many local supporters. Other Logan County residents and close neighbors noted for their generous contributions to the library are as follows:

The Ralph and Ada Allen family

The Isaac Funk family

George and Ruth Brauer

William M. and Starr L. Hull

Russell L. and Mary W. Jeckel

Rod Stoll

Donald D. and Martha C. Zimmerman

Delmar B. and Martha Z. Zumwalt

A little history

In 1862 Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Bill, which authorized the creation of land grant universities. The signing of this bill brought the University of Illinois, first called the Illinois Industrial University, into being.

While this is the third library location, it is the first time a building intended for use as the library has been built. The first library was established when the courtyard of the Agriculture Hall was roofed over in 1912. Though it was to be only temporary, the library was moved in 1924 to its most recent location, Mumford Hall.

Long overdue, the new library consolidates a lot of collections and valuable holdings that have been scattered in different locations on campus. Students, researchers and teachers will no longer have to go running around searching numerous locations for periodicals and literature that relate to the agricultural field. It now provides the agricultural community with highly valued, field-specific informational resources all in one location. Not only is educational and research information now centrally located, but it also hosts related offices and provides meeting places.

The ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center has been nicknamed the "jewel" of the agricultural campus. The title is bestowed because the beautiful, hexagonal building takes the shape of a gem, particularly from an aerial perspective. To a person looking down on its slightly sloped and angled roof sections with a small flat center, it appears jewel-faceted.

[Jan Youngquist]

TLC for your fresh Christmas tree

[NOV. 19, 2001]  With the Thanksgiving holiday bearing down on us, many people will begin thinking about purchasing their holiday symbol for the Christmas season — the Christmas tree. A freshly cut Christmas tree can be a beautiful sight. With proper selection and care, consumers can safely enjoy a fresh tree throughout the holiday season.

Following is information shared by Extension educators in the horticulture program to help you in the process of selection through care.


•  Buy Christmas trees early in the season.

•  Consider purchasing Christmas trees from a choose-and-cut farm.

•  The sooner you can get the tree home to a constant source of water, the fresher it will stay.

•  Fresh trees should have pliable needles, a fresh evergreen aroma and firm needle retention.


•  Protect the tree on the drive home. Wind rushing through the tree can cause it to lose valuable moisture.

•  Cover trees tied on top of the car or in an open trunk.


•  If you won't be putting the tree in its stand right away, store it in a place out of the wind and freezing temperatures. Make a fresh cut on the butt by removing 1" of the trunk and place in fresh water.

•  Remove 1 inch of the stump when bringing the tree indoors.

•  Immediately place the tree into a stand that holds at least one-half gallon of water.


•  Avoid standing the tree in front of large windows that expose it to sun and heat.

•  Avoid placing near furnace register vents and fireplaces. This exposes the tree to heat that leads to rapid moisture loss.


•  Keep the water level above the base of the cut at all times. Check water level daily.

•  A fresh tree will use one-half to two gallons of water the first day it’s brought inside.



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•  A fresh tree may soak up a quart or more of water per day.

•  If the cut base dries out, the sap will harden and the tree will not take up any more water.

•  Water additives such as aspirin, sugar or flame retardant are not necessary.


If you have made a fresh cut on the base and the tree no longer takes up water, it has lost moisture below a critical level and will never regain its freshness. Remove this tree from the house. A tree in this condition will burn.

Horticulture websites

Horticulture is everyone’s agriculture. To help you keep up on some of the current information, here are several links to University of Illinois websites:

The Solutions Series is designed to provide information on topics in foods and nutrition, consumer and family economics, as well as horticulture. Sources of information include the University of Illinois, United States Department of Agriculture and other land grant universities.


For a copy of the Home, Yard & Garden Pest Newsletter, click on http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/cespubs/hyg/

The Hort Corner has lots of good information: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/hort/index.html

Kids Link has horticulture information for children: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/kids/index.html

[John Fulton]


Honors & Awards

Ag Announcements

Taste and learn about grains in meals

[DEC. 20, 2001]  Consumers have been reading and hearing about the benefits of adding grains and fiber to our meals — but how does it really help our diet? The local unit of University of Illinois Extension is sponsoring a program called "Grains in Our Meals," which is open to the public. The program will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Logan County Extension office, 980 N. Postville Drive in Lincoln.

Jananne Finck, nutrition and wellness educator with the University of Illinois Extension, will present information about the selection, preparation, storage and service of grain products for your meals. She is a registered dietitian based at the Springfield Extension center.

Finck will discuss the role grain plays in a nutritious diet and cover the planning of meals to include breads, cereals and other dishes using grain products. Information on safe methods of handling grain products will also be reviewed. Tasting will be encouraged.

Anyone interested is invited. Contact the Logan Extension office for preregistration, which is due Jan. 10, one week before the program. There is no fee to attend. For more information and to register ahead, please call the office at (217) 732-8289.

New youth development educator
joins local U of I Extension staff

[DEC. 13, 2001]  The University of Illinois Extension has recently appointed Shelly Dittmer to the position of unit educator for youth development. She will be responsible for coordinating educational programs for the youth of Logan County.

Prior to this position, Shelly taught English and speech communications at the high school level for 10 years.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English education from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Western Illinois University.

Shelly and her husband, Todd, reside in Peoria.

Shelly is excited about this new opportunity and looks forward to working with the people of Logan County.

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