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4-H takes over county windows

[OCT. 11, 2002]  Logan County 4-H clubs recently participated in a window display contest throughout the county as part of National 4-H Week activities.

Clubs that participated and display sites were Atlanta Town and Country, using a window at the Atlanta Museum Annex; Chester 4-H, at Abe Lincoln’s General Store in Lincoln; Cloverdale, Lincoln Red Cross office; Clover Kids, Deron Powell’s State Farm Insurance in Mount Pulaski; Hartem Clovers, Hartsburg State Bank; Middletown 4-H’ers, Middletown Junior High; Millennium Clovers, Heads R Turnin’ in Lincoln; and Wide-A-Wake 4-H, Action Rentals in Lincoln.

First place went to the Wide-A-Wake 4-H club for their window display at the Action Rentals store on Broadway Street in Lincoln. Second place was awarded to Hartem Clovers for their display at Hartsburg State Bank, and third place went to Cloverdale for their display at Lincoln’s Red Cross office.

In addition, the 4-H clubs had a poster contest. Katie Turner, a member of the Hartem Clovers, was chosen as the winner.

For additional information about the 4-H program in Logan County, individuals can contact the Logan County Extension office at 732-8289.

[News release]

Agriculture + fun = FFA

[OCT. 9, 2002]  Section 14 officers, along with Meagan Wells, the 2002-2003 Illinois FFA treasurer, conducted visits Sept. 30-Oct. 4 to chapters throughout the section.

As the group traveled to 11 schools, Meagan presented a program on the many opportunities available in the FFA. The section officers helped out by sharing their own experiences and informing the members about various conferences and activities. After the program, FFA members filled out a goal card, as Meagan challenged them to set their goals high and strive to reach them.

A week of chapter visits would not be complete without Leadership Training School. On Wednesday, Oct. 2, all of the Greenhand FFA members and chapter officers came together at Athens High School for a night of learning and fun. The group was honored to have Mr. Dave Mouser, a motivational speaker and past state officer, to kick off the night.

Then, the section officer team took the respective chapter officers into a training session on their duties as officers. Meagan Wells stayed with the Greenhand members for a motivational session. As everyone came back together, the section officer team had a little bit of fun distinguishing the differences in proper and improper official dress. A meal was served, and then Meagan Wells gave her keynote address.

The week of activities filled with chapter visits and leadership training was a great success. The officers wish all of the FFA members in Section 14 and across the state the best of luck in accomplishing their goals this year and in the future.

[FFA news release]

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[Photos provided by FFA]

[The Hartsburg-Emden FFA helped the Logan County Sheriff's Department with a bike rodeo at the Emden School. The Sheriff’s Department explained to the kids about proper safety when riding a bike on the road.]

[The Hartsburg-Emden chapter received a visit Monday from section officers and the FFA state treasurer.]

[Hartsburg-Emden FFA officers and Greenhands attended Leadership Training School at Athens High School.]

Weekly outlook

Carry-over stocks

[OCT. 8, 2002]  URBANA — The calculation of the availability of U.S. corn and soybeans for the current marketing year may change with subsequent changes in the projected crop sizes, said a University of Illinois Extension marketing specialist.

"Strength of demand will be gauged by the rate of consumption as revealed in weekly, monthly and quarterly reports and by the development of Southern Hemisphere crops," said Darrel Good. "These developments will determine if current prices and current price projections are too high or too low. The prospects of small year-ending stocks of corn, soybeans and wheat — both in the United States and the world — may have more implications for prices next spring and summer than for current prices.

"Unless U.S. crop size is less than currently projected or demand is much stronger, supplies are probably large enough to satisfy consumption requirements for this marketing year at current prices. However, the drawdown in inventory that is currently expected would leave little or no reserves in case of a shortfall in production next year. Attention will first focus on growing conditions in South America and then to prospective acreage and weather conditions in the United States."

Good’s comments came as he reviewed the price implications of small carry-over stocks. The USDA projects that stocks of U.S. corn and wheat at the end of the current year will be the smallest in seven years. Stocks of soybeans are expected to be reduced to the lowest level in six years. Based on the projection of small inventories and on low ratios of projected stocks to projected consumption, some analysts believe that current prices are undervalued.

For example, Good noted, the projected stocks-to-use ratio for corn is 7.5 percent, the lowest since 1995-96 (5 percent), when the U.S. average farm price was $3.24. For the current year, the USDA projects the average price in a range of $2.35 to $2.75. For soybeans, the projected stocks-to-use ratio is about 6 percent, about the same as in 1996-97, when the U.S. average farm price was $7.35. For the current year, the USDA projects the average price in a range of $5.15 to $6.05.

"This type of comparison reveals the shortcomings of the simplistic approach of trying to explain average prices as a function of year-ending stocks," said Good. "In reality, consumption, stocks and price are simultaneously determined. Once crop size is known, maximum consumption during the crop year is determined, based on the assumption of a minimum level of year-ending stocks — probably between 4 and 5 percent of ‘normal’ annual consumption of corn and soybeans and about 15 percent for wheat.


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"The strength of demand, then, determines the level of price required to match available supplies with consumption. Strength of demand for U.S. crops is determined by a number of factors, including the number of livestock being fed, level of livestock prices, size of crop production in the rest of the world, exchange rates, processing capacity and price of processed goods, and U.S. and world economic conditions."

For corn, the current projection of crop size indicates that if year-ending stocks were reduced to about 5 percent of normal consumption (about 500 million bushels), there would be about 9.97 billion bushels of U.S. corn available for use during the current marketing year.

"The largest annual consumption ever experienced was the 9.817 billion bushels last year," said Good. "Unless demand is much stronger than currently anticipated, there is apparently an ample supply of U.S. corn at a ‘modest’ price."

For soybeans, the current U.S. production forecast suggests that consumption during the current year would be limited to about 2.724 million bushels if year-ending stocks were reduced to about 5 percent of "normal" consumption (145 million bushels). That level of consumption is 209 million bushels, or 7 percent, less than last year’s record consumption. The USDA expects that consumption will be reduced as a result of higher prices (an average of $5.15 to $6.05 compared to last year’s average of $4.35) and weaker demand for U.S. soybeans. Much of the expected weakness in demand is the result of the projection of a 240-million-bushel increase in South American soybean production in 2003.

For wheat, the USDA crop estimate suggests that consumption of U.S. wheat during the current marketing year would be limited to about 2.122 million bushels if year-ending stocks were reduced to 360 million bushels. That is 47 million (2 percent) less than consumption during the previous year and about 280 million (12 percent) less than the average consumption of about 2.4 billion bushels during the 1990s.

"Demand for U.S. wheat is expected to remain firm, due in part to unchanged production in the rest of the world," said Good. "The USDA expects that the reduction in consumption of U.S. wheat will be accomplished by higher prices — an average between $3.45 and $4.05 compared to last year’s average of $2.78."

[U of I news release]

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