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Pritzker urges use of face coverings as state reports 954 more COVID-19 cases

Among the deaths reported Sunday are 14 residents of Cook County, two from DuPage County and one from Will County.   In all, the state has now confirmed 153,916 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began and 7,187 deaths.   The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate stands at 3%, up from 2.3% last Sunday.   As of Saturday night, 1,342 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19, 311 of them in intensive-care units and 127 on ventilators, officials said. That's 10 more ICU patients than reported Saturday.   Click Here to read more.

Adjacent and Neighboring: How Far is That with DIcamba?

An article posted to the Bulletin last November outlined several changes made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the labels of XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan.  The intent of these label amendments is to reduce sensitive plant species exposure to dicamba primarily through physical movement (i.e., drift during the application or particle movement during temperature inversions) and via dicamba residues dislodged from application equipment.  Those in Illinois who have completed the required dicamba training being conducted by registrant personnel likely heard repeatedly that preventing off-target movement during the application is solely and completely the responsibility of ...

Department of Pesticide Regulation Opens Debate on New Neonic Regulations

During a workshop Tuesday, research staff for the Department of Pesticide Regulation presented new mitigations on four neonicotinoid pesticides.   The draft regulation takes a tiered approach based on the level of threat to bees. It would prohibit applications during bloom and limit them to just one of the four active ingredients (AI) per season. Additional measures would apply when managed pollinators are present. For crops that are highly attractive to bees, such as almonds, DPR plans to further limit individual application rates and timing based on the crop type.   Alyssa Houtby, director of government affairs at California Citrus ...

Dicamba Legal Update: Here's What We Know About the Legal Status of Dicamba

A federal appeals court ruling on dicamba herbicides issued Wednesday has thrown the agricultural industry into confusion.   A panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that EPA's approval of the use of XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan on an estimated 60 million acres of Xtend soybeans and cotton is vacated -- or ended -- effective immediately.   DTN is working to figure out how this ruling will affect farmers, applicators and dicamba registrants in the weeks to come. Here is what we know now.   Click Here to read more.

Enviros Appeal EPA Action, Agency Finds Itself Back in Court on Chlorpyrifos

EPA decided in July not to ban the insecticide chlorpyrifos, and now, environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle to review that decision.   In July, EPA said it will expedite what is an ongoing review of chlorpyrifos in response to public concerns raised. The agency has until 2022 to complete its review.   Groups filing the petition include the League of United Latin American Citizens; Pesticide Action Network North America; Natural Resources Defense Council; California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; Farmworker Association of Florida; Farmworker Justice; Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; ...

EPA Gets Limited Dicamba Data As Dicamba Injury Complaints Rise, States' Communication With EPA Declines

Once again, most major soybean states are dealing with a deluge of dicamba injury allegations this summer, with two states already reporting a record level of complaints.   But, unlike last year, the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs is not getting routine updates from state regulators on these injury reports. Last year, representatives from the federal agency participated in weekly conference calls with state pesticide regulators on dicamba injury complaints and investigative findings throughout the summer and fall. EPA officials also visited multiple states to tour dicamba injury and hold public forums on the topic.   This year, this ...

Hopes for trade breakthrough fade as China cancels U.S. farm visits

A U.S.-China trade deal appeared elusive on Friday after Chinese officials unexpectedly canceled a visit to farms in Montana and Nebraska as deputy trade negotiators wrapped up two days of negotiations in Washington.   Chinese officials were expected to visit U.S. farmers next week as a goodwill gesture, but canceled to return to China sooner than originally scheduled, agriculture organizations from Montana and Nebraska said.   The United States had removed tariffs overnight from over 400 Chinese products in response to requests from U.S. companies.   The Chinese Embassy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture did ...

Questions surround Madigan’s handling of sexual assault allegations against ex-state rep

As a state legislator Jack Franks was known for speaking frankly about the state’s troubles.   It helped propel him to a new elected post in 2016: Chairman of the McHenry County Board.   After he left the legislature, House Speaker Mike Madigan’s office received a complaint from an employee alleging Franks sexually harassed her.   That complaint was made in November 2018.  Madigan says he ordered an investigation and his office banned the former legislator from visiting the Capitol Complex.   Three months later, Madigan’s office determined the “allegations were credible.”   ...

States Ask EPA for Clarity on Dicamba, State’s Rights to Sell

On the heels of the decision to remove registrations for Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax herbicides, states—and ultimately, farmers are waiting for EPA to provide guidance. The decision was issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit late Wednesday night.   “USDA stands ready to assist its federal partners in meeting that goal,” says USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “I encourage the EPA to use any available flexibilities to allow the continued use of already purchased dicamba products, which are a critical tool for American farmers to combat weeds resistant to many other ...

Trump ups ante on China, threatens duties on nearly all its imports

U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Friday he was ready to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the United States, threatening duties on another $267 billion of goods on top of $200 billion in imports primed for levies in coming days.   The moves would sharply escalate Trump's trade war with Beijing over his demands for major changes in economic, trade and technology policy. China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against U.S. companies operating there.   Hours after a public comment period closed on his $200 billion China tariff list, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force ...

Video gambling sees significant growth in Illinois

Video gambling has seen significant growth in Illinois, with revenues increasing by more than 75 percent in just the last three years, a new state report concludes.   The report released last month by the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability found that video gambling racked up a net income of $1.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, generating about $70 million in tax revenue for local governments.   Video gambling is the driving force behind overall gambling revenues that reached a record high last year in Illinois, The Chicago Tribune reported.   Chicago has banned video ...

Voluntary compliance needed to avoid nutrient mandates

No matter where the heaviest nutrient loss contributors may be located, all farmers statewide are encouraged to meet the voluntary goals in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.   Otherwise, all farmers regardless of their contributions to the state’s nutrient losses, may be confronted with mandatory rules, said Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau director of natural and environmental resources.   “Where we tend to have (field) tile is where we tend to see the most nitrogen losses,” Lurkins said. “The phosphorous tends to move with the soil.”   These nutrient losses are draining into ...

$1.4 Billion Fertilizer Plant Picks Tuscola

Economic incentives potentially worth more than $14 million in taxpayer dollars played a key role in helping Illinois land a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant, says a state lawmaker who help shepherd the package through the General Assembly.   State Rep. Adam Brown, R-Champaign, said the state aid was a critical factor in convincing Cronus Chemical to build the facility in the Douglas County community of Tuscola.   Click Here to read more.

$115 million going towards broadband expansion across Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker has announced the first round of grant recipients for Connect Illinois funds set aside for broadband expansion.   $50 million in state grants will be matched by $65 million in non-state funding for 28 projects estimated to reach more than 26,000 homes, businesses, and farms across Illinois.   The funds have been released as part of the $420 million Connect Illinois plan with the goal of bringing basic internet access to all Illinois communities by 2024.   Click Here to read more.

$3 trillion and counting…

As COVID 19 deaths surpass 50,000, the states fuss over “reopening” their respective economies, and meat processing plants are closing and reopening left and right, this week total new federal spending to rescue businesses and individuals impacted by the is now just shy of $3 trillion.   And before President Trump’s signature is even dry on the latest nearly $500-billion economic “stimulus” package, a fifth legislative package is being negotiated. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) alluded to such an animal earlier this month, but then went mum; Trump is calling for a “big, bold” ...

$300 Million Dicamba Settlement Finalized, Claim Filing to Start Shortly

Soybean farmers whose fields were injured by off-target dicamba movement in the past six years could file claims for compensation as early as late December, after the details of a $300 million settlement with Monsanto (now a subsidiary of Bayer) were finalized Wednesday.   The settlement is part of Bayer's efforts to settle ongoing lawsuits involving its herbicides, including multi-district litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri over dicamba injury claims. The settlement was originally announced in June 2020, but the agreement was not signed until Wednesday, said Don Downing, an attorney with the ...

'We've Struck a Deal': Biden Announces Agreement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Spending Plan

After months of negotiations and disagreement, President Joe Biden and the White House announced a deal was reached on an infrastructure spending plan. The news came after a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators Thursday.   "We have a deal," Biden told reporters at the White House after meeting with the group. The announcement was also posted on the President's official Twitter page.   We’ve struck a deal. A group of senators – five Democrats and five Republicans – has come together and forged an infrastructure agreement that will create millions of American jobs. &...

15 Factors for 2019 Dicamba Applications

Wondering how to manage dicamba in dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2019? Here’s what four Extension and university weed specialists – Aaron Hager with the University of Illinois, Bill Johnson and Joe Ikley with Purdue University, and Mark Loux at Ohio State University – are recommending regarding dicamba in 2019. Click Here to read more.

15 State Attorneys General Press EPA on Interpretive Rule of WOTUS

Fifteen state attorneys general have asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to withdraw a rule that even agency have said created confusion in the agriculture community.   The so-called interpretive rule identified 56 conservation practices that are expempt from the Clean Water Act regulations, so long as they meet Natural Resources Conservation Services specifications.  Many agriculture interest groups and farmers have expressed concern that the interpretive rule would turn the NRCS into an enforcer of the Clean Water Act.   Click Here to read more.

15% of the U.S. Corn Crop Is Seeded, USDA Says

U.S. farmers have fallen about halfway behind their average corn planting pace at this time of the year.   In its Crop Progress Report on Monday, the USDA pegged U.S. corn planting at 15% complete, behind the 27% five-year average.   As of Sunday, Iowa farmers have 21% of that state’s corn crop planted vs. a 26% five-year average. Illinois farmers have 9% of their corn seeded, behind a 43% five-year average. Indiana farmers are now 2% complete, while Nebraska has 16% of its corn in the ground.   Click Here to read more.

15% of the U.S. Corn Crop Is Seeded, USDA Says

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Wednesday defended his proposed tax increases to pay for a capital bill against critics who said they will disproportionately hurt the poor.   Pritzker acknowledged some of the proposed taxes might be considered regressive, but he said they also represent a stable source of income.   "In order to put an infrastructure bill together, you've got to have various revenue sources," Pritzker said. "It's important that they are stable revenue sources because you need to bond them out."   Investors want to know there is a reliable revenue source behind ...

17 new Illinois laws for 2017

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly may not have approved a full year’s budget in 2016, but they did manage to agree on nearly 200 laws that go into effect when the new year begins.   Here’s a look at 17 new Illinois laws for 2017: 1. Battling opioid and heroin addiction Following up on landmark legislation from 2015, lawmakers passed two measures aimed addressing the state’s opioid and heroin addiction crisis. One allows drug court participants to use medication-based addiction treatments. The other requires licensed substance abuse programs to provide educational information on medication-based treatments and ...

2015 Planting Intentions: Fertilizer, Seed, Pesticide Manufacturers Dodge a Bullet

Fertilizer, seed and pesticide manufacturers likely took comfort in the acreage numbers contained in USDA's 2015 Prospective Planting report). Farmers reported intentions to plant 89.2 million acres of corn, 1.4 million less than in 2014, but about 470,000 more than the average trade guess (farmdoc daily March 31, 2015). Farmers reported intentions to plant 84.6 million acres of soybeans in 2015, 834,000 more than in 2014, but nearly 1.3 million less than the trade guess (farmdoc daily March 31, 2015). Overall, projected switches from corn to soybeans indicated in the Prospective Plantings report were less than what many had anticipated. Input costs are higher for corn than for soybeans. In central Illinois on ...

2018 Illinois State Fair attendance down 8% from 2017

The Illinois State Fair in Springfield saw 369,144 people walk or drive through its gates last month, an 8 percent drop compared to last year’s fair, state officials reported Friday.   Officials noted, however, that fairgoers this year appeared to spend more money than in 2017, according to an early look at vendors’ sales receipts.   This year’s attendance total was lower than the 401,648 who attended the 2017 fair but higher than the 347,855 who passed through the gates during the 2016 event that was plagued by flooding rains, extreme heat and power outages. The 2015 state fair, the first to be ...

2019 Observations from the Field: Dicamba

Approximately two weeks ago, only a few (11 reported as of July 16) dicamba-related complaints had been filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), and some held aspirations that the magnitude of off-target issues would be less this year than during the two previous seasons.  Today, it appears those hopeful aspirations are being replaced by the harsh reality that the magnitude of off-target issues in 2019 might be either similar to or possibly exceed those of previous seasons.  By the end of business on July 31, IDOA reported 191 dicamba-related complaints, 132 of which were received between Monday and Thursday of this week. &...

2019 Policy Outlook: Trade, Trade and Trade

The most significant policy issue of 2018 looms large over the outlook for the new year. Ag leaders of both parties say actions on trade in the first half of 2019 will decide agriculture’s fate for years to come.   It’s not just the on-again, off-again haggling with China that dragged soybean markets up and down at breakneck speed, but also the lingering issues of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) that still must pass Congressional muster.   “I just think it’s hard for Democrats to vote yes on trade agreements,” said former ...

3rd Annual IFCA 4R Field Day Dec 12

Please mark your calendars to attend the IFCA 4R Field Day on Thursday, December 12.  This will be an "indoor" field day but we will have footage of 4R field practices from the fall of 2019 to illustrate how nutrient placement can help reduce losses.   The meeting will be held at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington, IL.  If you need some CCA credits before year-end, this is another great way to pick up nutrient management and soil & water credits.  You'll receive new information on the status of water quality in Illinois Rivers, how ...

4 Ag Policy Issues to Watch

Tom Vilsack was sworn in as USDA Secretary for the second time at the end of February. Since then, he has pushed forward advances on the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), climate and mitigation policies and equity in USDA programs. He’s also provided glimpses of ag priorities in an infrastructure package.   CFAP - Checks for $20-per-acre payments for price-trigger crops will go out in April. The payments are part of the third round of CFAP.   Vilsack’s USDA is renaming a portion of the CFAP program to Pandemic Assistance for Producers. The newly named program ...

4 Court Cases Agriculture Needs to Watch

It appears that 2017 could be an important year for a number of agricultural law issues. From the Clean Water Act, to “Ag Gag” legislation, to the Endangered Species Act, there are a number of pending cases that could have major impacts on the agricultural industry in the coming year. Here is a brief look at four of the biggest cases to watch this year.   Click Here to read more.

4 small words may hamstring Trump team's WOTUS overhaul

The Trump administration might have unwittingly cleared a path for a legal assault in its proposal for delaying the effective date of the contentious 2015 Clean Water Rule, experts in administrative law say.   At issue are four words in the proposal released last month by U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers aimed at delaying by two years the Obama rule defining which wetlands and waterways get protection under the Clean Water Act.   The administration said it intended to "provide clarity and consistency" to the rule, also known as Waters of the U.S., or ...

4 winners and 2 losers in the Illinois primary election

Illinois primary voters went to the polls for the 2018 midterms Tuesday night, where Chicago-style machine politics showed it’s still got what it takes to win.   For Republicans, that means Gov. Bruce Rauner hung on, beating back a far-right challenger who ran ads that even the state GOP rejected. Rauner already has a target on his back since Donald Trump lost the state by 20 points in November. Plus, Rauner has been in charge through multiple financial crises, including higher education and state employee pensions.   For Democrat J.B. Pritzker, the fall is shaping up to be high-stakes. ...

40th MAGIE Show - Apparel, Special Guest Max Armstrong & Online Registration

The MAGIE show is approaching fast and the IFCA staff is excited to see you in Bloomington on August 25th and 26th.  Show your support for our 40th celebration and visit our on-line store to purchase a commemorative polo shirt, t-shirt and/or hat.  Hats are in short supply and are limited at the moment, so don’t delay with your order.  Click here to go directly to the IFCA store.  We would love to see our attendees wearing their newly purchased apparel at the show.   Are you an avid fan of ...

4R Nutrient Stewardship Research Funding to Double

The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) President Chris Jahn announced that TFI and more than 100 partners will more than double existing investment in nutrient stewardship research, outreach and implementation.  The announcement was made at Michigan State University during a panel led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “4R Nutrient Stewardship – or in the words of Secretary Vilsack, the use of the right source, rate, timing and placement of fertilizer, is the framework that helps growers boost the performance of inputs, leading to a reduction in air emissions from fertilizer application and improved water quality,” said Jahn. Click ...

5 Fertilizer Trends To Watch

It’s elemental—N, P, K, secondary nutrients and micronutrients. But with annual fertilizer sales totaling $180 billion—that’s three times more than crop protection sales, three times more than seed sales and more than two times ag machinery sales—the fertilizer industry is also quite complex.   Those stats are courtesy of Charlotte Hebebrand, director general of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA). Hebebrand notes the area for growth in the fertilizer industry isn’t necessarily in the massive totals of products used but rather how products are used.   “The average uptake ...

5 things to know about Election Day in Illinois

Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling and your chance to play a role in democracy is fast approaching.   President Donald Trump is halfway through his four-year term. And the chance to push his agenda forward — or stop it in its tracks — has arrived. In Illinois, citizens can vote in U.S. House races to help determine if Congress switches to Democratic control and for governor and other state races to determine the balance of power in Springfield.   On the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, whether you’re politically apathetic or ready to tackle your ballot ...

5 Things You May Not Know About Pesticides

It’s a hot topic in all circles involving agriculture: pesticides. Some are for, some are against, but in truth, most people simply don’t know that much about them. The term pesticide is actually a bit of a catch-all, and is often used interchangeably with herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides, among others. Historically, pests have been loosely defined anything that negatively impacts a food producer’s efforts or interferes with crop or animal production.   While we tend to think of pesticides in a modern sense (over the past couple of generations or so), the reality ...

50 Years of Little Change: The Distribution of US Farming by State

Specialization is a defining attribute of US farming over the last 50 years.  For example, share of farms that had beef cows, grew corn, grew wheat, sold hogs, and sold milk declined from 72%, 44%, 23%, 25%, and 20% to 36%, 15%, 5%, 3%, and 2%, respectively, between the 1964 and 2017 Censuses of Agriculture.  Nevertheless, state shares of US farm, crop, and livestock cash receipts has changed little, implying a mostly stable geographical distribution of US farming by state.  Individual livestock types have experienced more change, but even then no more than 20% of states had a share change that exceeded 1.5 percentage points over 50 years.   Procedures:  The US ...

6 Anhydrous Ammonia Reminders

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association provides these six seasonal reminders about using anhydrous ammonia fertilizer.   This week is sure to be a busy one with ammonia application in central and northern Illinois.  Here are a few reminders to keep foremost in your mind in working with ammonia:   Slow down!  Nurse tanks should not travel down the road more than 25 mph.     Click Here to read more.

6 Fertilizer Facts For World Fertilizer Day—Oct. 13

The U.S. fertilizer industry employs 89,000 people and contributes $155 billion to the U.S. economy. Additionally, the industry supplies the crop nutrients needed for food production to feed a hungry world. In celebration of the role fertilizer has in our everyday life, one day—Oct. 13—is set aside to celebrate the impact fertilizer has had.   As part of marking the special day, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released this new video, “You Taught Me Hope”   Here are some fertilizer facts from TFI: U.S. farmers have more than doubled corn production using just 6.9% more fertilizer ...

6 Safety Reminders When Working With Ammonia

Anhydrous ammonia is being applied around the state, and farmers and others working around and with ammonia should keep safety practices in mind. Thanks to the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, here are some safety reminders. Slow down! Nurse tanks should not travel more than 25 mph down the road. Always turn nurse tank valves off at the tank source and disconnect hoses before pulling onto a public roadway as required by law. Never have a "charged" system when sharing the road with other drivers. Don’t operate nurse tanks in low light conditions or before or after ...

65% of Illinois Corn, 63% of Soybeans are in Good to Excellent Condition

The USDA says crop conditions declined slightly in Illinois last week.   As of Sunday, the state’s corn crop is rated 65 percent good to excellent, down three percent from the previous week, but four percent above the five-year average.   Soybeans are rated 63 percent good to excellent, down four points on the week, but consistent with the five-year average. Twenty-two percent of soybeans are blooming.   It was a productive week for winter wheat harvest, jumping from 63 to 87 percent complete.   Click Here to read more.

8 Ag Statistics to Know in 2018

USDA looked into its crystal ball this week and released its first round of numbers for many key forecasts for agriculture in 2018.   “There are a lot of factors that could shift farm income higher or lower than our current forecast,” says USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson. “Prices may be higher due to growing global economic growth driving demand for agricultural commodities.”   Johansson speaking at USDA’s 2018 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va., shared these facts and figures, which are good to keep in mind as you finalize your plans for 2018.   Click Here ...

8 Illinois Ag Retailers Ranked Among the CropLife 100

Ag retailers have always relied heavily on their state associations to stay on top of the latest regulations and legislative news to ensure they are in fertilizer and pesticide compliance. From NH3 training and certification, to the dicamba FAQs, these groups have assisted the crop production supply and service industry in promoting the sound stewardship and use of agricultural inputs.   One state association that has been a leading influencer on legislative and regulatory policies for ag retailers has been the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA). Led by the recently retired President Jean Payne, IFCA has made a number ...

8 Things To Know About Dicamba Application In 2018

In Illinois, for example, more than 11,000 applicators have attended a classroom training for dicamba application in 2018.   1.This year is the final year for a two-year EPA registration of the three new dicamba formulations: Xtendimax with VaporGrip Technology; Engenia Herbicide; DuPont FeXapan Herbicide.   “If EPA amends the registration (beyond 2018), we will not amend it with an expiration date later than 2021,” says Reuben Baris, with the EPA office of pesticide programs. He explains this time frame allows the agency to monitor any potential increase or change in weed resistance patterns linked to dicamba-tolerant crop applications.   Click Here ...

8% of. U.S. Corn, 6% of Soybeans Harvested

The USDA’s condition rating on corn improved slightly over the past week, while soybeans held steady.   61% of U.S. corn is in good to excellent shape as of Sunday, up 1% on the week, with 95% of the crop dented, compared to the five-year average of 90%, and 59% of the crop mature, compared to 49% on average, and 8% harvested, compared to the usual rate of 10%.   63% of U.S. soybeans are called good to excellent, unchanged, with 59% of the crop dropping leaves, compared to 50% typically in mid to late September and 6% harvested, matching the five-year average.   20% of winter wheat is ...

A $3 billion construction boom swept through these small Iowa towns. Here's what it left behind.

A lone fifth-wheel camper surrounded by a sea of gravel and grass stands as one of the few remnants of the construction frenzy that descended upon this corner of Iowa to build the $3 billion Iowa Fertilizer Co. factory.   Thousands of construction workers swarmed here after the 2012 groundbreaking ceremony, filling this RV park and nearby hotels. They engulfed bars and restaurants across the region.   The influx couldn't be missed in tiny, unincorporated Wever, which isn't home to a single stoplight.   Click Here to read more.

A $3 billion construction boom swept through these small Iowa towns. Here's what it left behind.

In an effort to promote workforce development, Ivanka Trump visited the welding program Wednesday at Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey.   The visit by Trump, presidential adviser and daughter of the president, was part of an effort to promote the president’s Council for the American Worker. The visit came shortly before fall classes were scheduled to begin at the education center.   Accompanying Trump was U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville. Godfrey is in Davis’ district.   Trump toured the welding facilities at the education center, even took a turn with some of the equipment, ...

A better bean or Frankenfood: First gene-edited crop harvested

For Pete Zimmerman, a Minnesota farmer, the age of gene-edited foods has arrived. While he couldn’t be happier, the hi-tech soybeans he’s now harvesting are at the crux of a long-running debate about a frankenfood future.   Zimmerman is among farmers in three states now harvesting 16,000 acres of DNA-altered soybeans destined to be used in salad dressings, granola bars and fry oil, and sold to consumers early next year. It’s the first commercialized crop created with a technique some say could revolutionize agriculture, and others fear could carry as-yet unknown peril.   In March, ...

A Breakdown of Changes to the 2020 Dicamba Labels

EPA released three new dicamba over-the-top herbicide labels on Tuesday: XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta).   (FeXapan -- Corteva Agriscience's marketed version of XtendiMax -- is not yet registered for use, but Corteva confirmed to DTN that the company will be seeking a federal registration of the product now that XtendiMax is registered).   The three new labels come with many pages of details and use restrictions, some old, some new. DTN analyzed each one to see what changes were made from the 2018 registration, as well as what might look familiar to applicators. Here's the breakdown. &...

A controversial technology could save us from starvation — if we let it

Maybe it was a mistake to pack the bag of fried kale chips in his suitcase, Stefan Jansson thought as he hoisted his luggage onto the airport security scanner for a flight from Sweden to Norway.   The last time he'd taken the leafy greens across borders he was nearly detained. The kale, which had been modified using a powerful gene-editing technology called CRISPR, was not allowed in the country. But Jansson, a Swedish plant researcher who studies how to make healthier and more efficient crops, decided it was worth the risk.   In the US, foods made this ...

A CRISPR Future: Five Ways Gene Editing Will Transform Our World

A CRISPR Future   Over the past few years, CRISPR has been making headlines. Experts predict that this gene editing technology will transform our planet, revolutionizing the societies we live in and the organisms we live alongside. Compared to other tools used for genetic engineering, CRISPR (also known by its more technical name, CRISPR-Cas9) is precise, cheap, easy to use, and remarkably powerful.   Discovered in the early 1990s, and first used in biochemical experiments seven years later, CRISPR has rapidly become the most popular gene editing tool among researchers in fields such as human biology, agriculture, and ...

A Huge Rally in Food Prices Is Stoking Record Fertilizer Demand

Fertilizer producers are next in line to benefit from rising crop prices, with farmers poised to plant more acres in 2021.   For the world’s handful of companies that produce potash -- a potassium-rich fertilizer mined underground from evaporated sea beds -- it is the light at the end of the tunnel following several volatile years. Bloomberg’s Green Markets pegs global potash demand at a record in 2021, while Morningstar Inc. says it will likely set a new “high watermark.”     Farmers’ incomes in the U.S. and Canada are up from a year ...

A Koch Company in Fertilizer Patent Dispute

A small North Carolina agriculture business is accusing a fertilizer company owned by the billionaire Koch brothers of trying to drive it out of business.   The claim by Eco Agro Resource came in a court filing in U.S. District Court in North Carolina in early September in response to an August patent infringement lawsuit against it by Koch Agronomic Services.   Click Here to read more.

A look at the political gridlock over state school funding

Illinois may have ended its historic budget impasse, but the Capitol finds itself stuck in political gridlock again, this time over school funding.   The Democratic-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner are at odds over a proposal that would alter how Illinois distributes school money.   Legislators approved a required plan that re-writes the funding formula, but Rauner opposes it and says he’ll send it back with changes. Democrats are unsure if they have the votes to override him and are using a procedural hold to keep it off Rauner’s desk, but that hold is ...

A New Environment for Ag Policy

Following a turbulent 2020, which included a global pandemic, hard-fought presidential race and numerous congressional changeovers, the path of U.S. ag policy is likely headed for an adjustment. The “Sonny” sided leadership of USDA and its motto to “Do Right and Feed Everyone” will see the return of the long-tenure of Tom Vilsack. Add in new and retiring ag committee members in Congress, and the future of ag policy feels poised for a reset at the start of this new decade.  ~By Clinton Griffiths, John Herath and Tyne Morgan   Tom Vilsack, who led USDA ...

A new gene-editing toolbox will revolutionize farming and food production.

Whether you know it specifically as CRISPR or “gene editing 2.0,” this technology has already descended upon agriculture and will continue to disrupt plant breeding for years.   These new breeding techniques are distinct from GMOs because they represent a much less invasive process. It’s not unlike the copy-and-paste function on a computer — plant breeders can highlight desirable crop traits, expressed as snippets of genetic code, clip out that code and reinsert it into other breeding lines.   “To describe it in three words: genetic molecular scissors,” says Kan Wang, Iowa State University global ...

A New Stream of Clean Water Act Litigation in Iowa

The Des Moines Water Works has opened a new stream of litigation in the Clean Water Act as the board voted Thursday to sue three northern counties in Iowa over agricultural runoff.   The board voted to sue Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties in federal court.  Each of the counties is a minimum of 125 miles from Des Moines, but water work officials claim those three counties are the major driving force behind high nitrates that are found in the Des Moines River.   Click Here to read more.

A Peek Inside the US House Next Year

WELCOME TO MY HOUSE -- Several congressional races have yet to be called, but we’re starting to get a better sense for what the makeup — and dynamics — will look like in the House next year. The big picture? Democrats are on track to have their thinnest majority in two decades. Here are the major storylines you can expect in each party:   IN THE DEM PARTY: It’s all about the Mods versus the Squad. Both factions are already sparring over the party's agenda, what went wrong in the election and who has a ...

A Request for 2019 Yields

On October 17, 2019, the UI College ACES put out a news release that described an effort to gather yields from a lot of Illinois corn and soybean fields in 2019. We’re doing this because of the unique opportunity we have to try to get a handle on how planting date affected yields in 2019, so we know better what to expect if and when planting is this late again.   Although late planting is nothing new in Illinois, never before have so many acres been planted as late as in 2019. I describe it in the release as a “giant, unplanned, ...

A sad day for our society when salt is labeled non-GMO

There it was on the salt container label, the proud proclamation that the product inside was "non-GMO."   I looked at the label a second time and then a third time, not quite trusting my eyes, before telling myself, "But salt doesn't have genes. Of course it's not genetically modified. Why bother labeling it non-GMO?"   Then I realized why: some consumers will pay extra for anything labeled non-GMO — and some food companies are happy to sell it to them at the higher price. Salt, though an extreme example, reflects this powerful and ...

A year after tax increase, Illinois is still in the red

Last July, lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto, passing a $36.5 billion budget that took an additional $5 billion from taxpayers and ended a more than two-year standoff between the freshman governor demanding pro-business reforms and Democrats in the General Assembly, who passed a budget with the help of a handful of defecting Republicans.   The final vote tallies were slim, but Democrats passed the budget Rauner said in his veto message included “no changes to create jobs and grow our economy. It will push more families and businesses out of our state.”   On the House Floor, ...

AASA: Answering Pesticide Questions

The American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) has completed its 12th year of inspecting bulk agricultural retail facilities. This program helps ensure compliance and stewardship of pesticide handling and storage.   The AASA is a not-for-profit organization governed by a board that includes pesticide manufacturers, distributors, retailers and a state ag department advisor. AASA conducts a national stewardship inspection program for ag retail facilities that store bulk pesticides, portable refillable containers, and packaged products.   Once every three years, your bulk ag retail facility will receive an AASA inspection. The inspection is no cost to you, and the inspection report is ...

Activists on both sides pushing hard as marijuana legalization bill looms in Illinois

When a new study reported that legal marijuana could have dire circumstances for the Midwest, it marked the latest in an onslaught of public relations attempts to affect the outcome of the legalization debate in Illinois.   On one side, the cannabis industry, investors, social justice advocates, and mostly Democratic lawmakers are calling for an end to what they consider a destructive war against a relatively harmless and sometimes beneficial drug.   On the other side, law enforcement, addiction counselors, preachers, and most Republican lawmakers warn about the dangers of legalizing another mind-altering addictive substance.   While each side has ...

Additional Dicamba Herbicide Approved for Over-the-Top Use

The company says Engenia reduces drift by 70% compared to Clarity—with a greater reduction when compared to Banvel. It’s still important to read and follow label directions to reduce risk of off-target movement.   “Soybean and cotton growers now have a new tool at their disposal to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds,” said Neil Bentley, director of marketing, U.S. Crop, BASF. The new tool uses a BAPMA salt.   BASF offers the following recommendations for ground sprayers: •Nozzle Size: TTI11004 •Spray Volume: greater than 10 GPA •Boom Height: less than 24" above target •Equipment ...

Adjacent and Neighboring Dicamba Applications: How Far is That?

An article posted last November outlined several changes made by the Environmental Protection Agency to XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan labels. The intent of these label amendments is to reduce sensitive plant species exposure to dicamba primarily through physical movement (i.e., drift during the application or particle movement during temperature inversions) and via dicamba residues dislodged from application equipment.    Illinois applicators who have completed the required dicamba training being conducted by registrant personnel likely heard repeatedly that preventing off-target movement during the application is solely and completely the responsibility of the applicator.   Click Here to read more. &...

Administration Asked to Suspend WOTUS Enforcement Nationwide

Some producer groups are asking the Obama administration to suspend enforcement of its new Clean Water Act rule until a court case is resolved.   The administration considers implementation of the rule blocked in only 13 states as a result of last week's decision by a North Dakota federal judge. In a letter to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on Monday, the National Milk Producers Federation said that because of the ruling, dairy farmers will be treated differently nationwide depending on where they live.   “Therefore, we ask that EPA and the Corp of Engineers use ...

Adult-use cannabis sales generated nearly $35 million in February in Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office said statewide adult-use cannabis sales totaled nearly $35 million in February.   The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation on Wednesday said the legalized recreational marijuana pulled in $34,805,072.01 and dispensaries across the state sold 831,600 items over the 29-day period.   Sales to Illinois residents totaled $25,615,371, while sales to out-of-state residents totaled $9,189,701.01; these figures do not include taxes collected.   “These numbers show there continues to be a strong demand across the state as the most equity centric cannabis program in the country moves forward in Illinois,” said Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor ...

Aerial Application By The Numbers

Every six to eight years, the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) conducts its Aerial Application Industry Survey of operators and pilots. "With our growing numbers, embrace of environmental protection technologies and techniques and an infusion of younger operators and pilots, NAAA's 2019 industry 'census' demonstrates the industry is well-positioned to work hand in hand with ag retailers in support of farmers," says NAAA executive director Andrew Moore. Here are the key takeaways for ag retailers.   Click Here to read more.

After credit downgrades, Rauner defends Illinois bond sale

Gov. Bruce Rauner says many bond buyers support the pro-business changes he’s pushing and want to invest in Illinois despite its worst-in-the-nation credit rating.   The Republican said Tuesday that taking on more debt is appropriate because the money is for improvements to roads and bridges, not daily operating expenses.   Illinois will go to market Thursday to sell $550 million in bonds.   Click Here to read more.    

After GMO resistance, gene-editing technology is the next new thing

A lack of science in public decision making, punctuated by a misunderstanding and dislike of GMOs, are hurdles the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development face, Director Jamie Clover Adams said.   Public pushes against GMOs and for animal welfare improvements such as “cage-free” eggs hurt food producers financially because the efforts needed to adjust to public opinion cost more than people are willing to pay for the final product, Clover Adams said.   “There is not one lick of science out there that’s peer reviewed that says that genetically modified organisms are not safe,&...

After House Rejection, Farm Bill Timeline May Stretch Into 2019

In the last farm bill, conservative Republicans demanded the biggest cuts in food stamps in a generation, leading the House to defeat the bill in June 2013. It then took Congress more than six months to put the pieces together. The same outcome is possible now after a revolt by Republican conservatives defeated a new farm bill calling for stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients and looser payment limit rules for farmers. Once again, the delay may stretch into the new year.   House Speaker Paul Ryan preserved a last chance to revive the farm bill this week by requesting ...

After Joe Biden Election Win, China Will Seek to Renegotiate Trade Deal, Beijing Advisers Say

Joe Biden’s US election victory will encourage China to try and renegotiate Donald Trump’s trade deal, viewed in Beijing as being “twisted” in Washington’s favour, according to advisers to the Chinese government.   The phase one trade deal was hammered out after months of painful negotiations and 18 months of trade war tariffs piling up on both sides. It saw China commit to buying US$200 billion in additional US goods on top of 2017 levels, but stopped short of forcing major structural changes to China’s economic model.   Even so, advisers see ...

After nearly two-year merger process, Bayer finally owns Monsanto

Nearly two years after Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto was first announced, the financial part of the $63 billion merger was finally completed Thursday.     “Today’s closing represents an important milestone toward the vision of creating a leading agricultural company, supporting growers in their efforts to be more productive and sustainable for the benefit of our planet and consumers,” said Hugh Grant, outgoing chairman and CEO of Monsanto.     But amid a still-ongoing marathon to secure regulatory approval of the deal, Thursday’s closing simply marks Bayer’s purchase of the Creve ...

After Two Decades, Scientists Find GMOs in Corn Are Good for You. Seriously.

Genetically modified organisms have garnered an abundance of skepticism and misinformation in the public eye. One new analysis uses over two decades of research to put some rumors about GMOs to rest   Click Here to read more.

After years of pushback, Ohio will limit phosphorus into Lake Erie to reduce harmful algal blooms

After years of rebuffing pressure to limit fertilizer and manure flowing into Lake Erie, Ohio will develop a Total Maximum Daily Load for phosphorus, which causes harmful algal blooms in the western basin.   The Ohio EPA’s draft 2020 water quality report -- which every two years outlines the general condition of Ohio’s rivers and lakes -- says the state will spend two to three years to develop an enforceable limit on the amount of phosphorus that can be dumped into the water.   “I’ve been asking for a TMDL for the western Lake ...

After years of pushback, Ohio will limit phosphorus into Lake Erie to reduce harmful algal blooms

After years of rebuffing pressure to limit fertilizer and manure flowing into Lake Erie, Ohio will develop a Total Maximum Daily Load for phosphorus, which causes harmful algal blooms in the western basin.   The Ohio EPA’s draft 2020 water quality report -- which every two years outlines the general condition of Ohio’s rivers and lakes -- says the state will spend two to three years to develop an enforceable limit on the amount of phosphorus that can be dumped into the water.   “I’ve been asking for a TMDL for the western Lake ...

After years-long debate, water quality legislation is headed to the Iowa Governor

A bill committing $282 million to water quality initiatives will head to the governor's desk, the culmination of a debate that spanned three legislative sessions and two governors.   The Iowa House of Representatives, which had dug in its heels to oppose a Senate-backed water quality plan in favor of its own, surprised onlookers by bringing up the Senate's plan for a quick vote Tuesday morning. House lawmakers debated the issue for less than an hour, abruptly putting an end to legislative gridlock that has pitted the two chambers against each other.   Click Here to read more.

Ag And Food Groups Unveil Climate Policy Platform

As former Vice President Joe Biden prepares to address climate change across every federal agency in a new administration, a coalition of ag, food and environment groups is laying out a framework for how agriculture can address climate and sustainability.   The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) Tuesday laid out 40 recommendations to guide federal climate policy.  The group is a consortium of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and The ...

Ag Bracing for Railroad Delays as Record Harvest Looms

At Dakota Mill & Grain, a grain and agriculture nutrient company based in Rapid City that depends heavily on trains to move crops and fertilizer, officials' had no reason to think the 2013 harvest would be different than any other.   But a few months after the fields were harvested, the Corn Belt was pummeled by brutal winter, and competing demands among coal, oil, grain and other commodities for space on the country's clogged rail network left railroads such as Canadian Pacific Railway and BNSF Railway struggling to ferry cars around the region.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Coalition Issues Reports Documenting the Benefits of Neonics

A series of reports released today by a coalition of agricultural companies shows, in part, that without the use of widely used and controversial insecticide, North American farmers would need to to resort to using more and older chemicals.   Bayer CropSciencs, Syngenta, and Valent U.S.A. Corporation formed the Growing Matters coalition and commissioned the study from AgInformatics to evaluate the economic and societal benefits of neonicotinoids, which are the largest selling insecticide class in the world.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Director John Sullivan says revised numbers not as bad as many expected

This year’s Illinois corn crop could be as much as 17 percent smaller than last year’s crop, while soybean production could fall as much as 21 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week.   Those numbers were part of a highly-anticipated report in which the USDA revised its most recent crop production estimates in light of this year’s unusually wet planting season that delayed or prevented many farmers from getting crops into the ground, followed by a severe heat wave in July that affected the development of those crops.   As a result, ...

Ag Economist Says Tesla is The Biggest Threat to Farming

The chief ag economist for Wells Fargo says Tesla is the biggest threat to farming, “No matter what you set for a blend rate in the United States you can’t force a Tesla owner to buy any ethanol,” says Dr. Michael Swanson who was on the Danforth Plant Science Center ‘Ag Tech Next’ series Tuesday. He was asked if electric vehicle production and increased fuel efficiency standards will impact supply and demand for U.S grains.   Swanson says battery technology improvements are being worked on in labs and that is expected to accelerate ...

AG ECONOMIST: COVID-19 Impacts On AG Aren't Going Away Soon

An ag economist says the impacts of COVID-19 will be felt in the ag industry for quite some time.   Purdue University’s Allan Gray says the pandemic will likely continue to impact demand as well as farm income.   “This sort of fits and starts that we’re seeing right now on how we’re trying to open our economy and then the virus flares back up again and now maybe we’re slowing it down those things are not going to go away and we’ll continue to see demand shocks,” ...

Ag groups optimistic for Endangered Species Act reform despite election year politics(AUDIO)

Reform of the Endangered Species Act has long been a goal of many ag groups, and there’s hope something can happen this year.   Click Here to listen.

Ag Groups Take Action in WOTUS Case

While EPA continues to draft a new waters of the United States rule, the wheels of justice keep turning, as a coalition of agriculture groups took federal court action in North Dakota on Friday to try to stop the 2015 WOTUS rule from ever becoming law.   Though EPA took action in recent months to delay the implementation of the 2015 rule by two years to allow for a rewrite, a case filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota continues.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Industry at Odds Over Pesticide Studied In Bee Deaths

A class of pesticide commonly used on Midwest farm fields that have been linked to destruction of bee colonies may not be as effective against corn and soybean pests as many once thought, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report.   Initially, the pesticide, called neonicotinoids or "neonics" were developed in the early 1990's to fight wireworm and bean leaf beetles. Many corn and Soybean seeds are treated with the pesticides to keep these bugs away in the spring while the seed sprouts.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Industry Pleased with CHS Fertilizer Plant Approval

North Dakota farmer-leaders say they're happy CHS Inc. has decided to re-engage in a proposed $3 billion fertilizer project in Spiritwood, N.D. near Jamestown, N.D.   It is the single largest private investment project in North Dakota history, and the largest for CHS.   CHS, the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperative, announced September 5 that the board approved the plant, which will convert natural gas into nitrogen fertilizers.  In April, CHS had announced it was delaying what was then projected as a $2 billion plant because of increased construction costs.   Click Here to read more.

Ag Industry Thanks Trump Administration for WOTUS Replacement

The troubled 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule introduced by the Obama administration in 2015 to define which waters are regulated by the Clean Water Act was officially replaced today by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Farmers, ranchers and other industry groups expressed their gratitude on Thursday.   “President Trump is restoring the rule of law and empowering Americans by removing undue burdens and strangling regulations from the backs of our productive farmers, ranchers, and rural land-owners. The days are gone when the Federal Government can claim a small farm pond on private land as navigable waters,” Agriculture ...

AG LOOKS TO APPROPS TO HALT FERTILIZER STORAGE CRACKDOWN

Labor Secretary Tom Perez can expect to face some heat over the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s decision to apply strict chemical management and storage rules to fertilizer retailers when he testifies this morning at a hearing of the House Appropriations labor subcommittee. Agricultural groups are pressing lawmakers to use OSHA’s budget to block the agency from enforcing the new standards, which they say are unnecessary and should be made through the proper rulemaking process.   Click Here to read more.  

Ag officials revise corn, soybean harvest outlook

Ag officials have lowered their estimates for this year’s corn crop.   In the U.S. Department of Agriculture Illinois Crop Report released Friday, officials said this year’s corn acreage is estimated at 10.9 million acres, up 4 percent from last year and the harvested area, forecast at 10.7 million acres, is up 5 percent from 2019.   Based on Sept. 1 conditions, however, the Illinois corn yield is forecast at 203 bushels per acre, down four bushels from last month but 22 bushels higher than in 2019.   Total production is forecast at 2.17 billion bushels, up 18 percent from last year’s production.   ...

Ag Retail Earns Policy Victories, Prepares for Next Challenges

The legislative, regulatory and judicial landscape is vastly different from what the agricultural retail industry experienced decades ago. In the past eight years, federal regulators completed hundreds of major rules that impacted many sectors, including agriculture. Each of these rules imposes new costs greater than $100 million.   In the past year, the worst offenders of excessive, unlawful regulations were the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Congressional partisan gridlock leads to more stalemates than accomplishments. This legislative dysfunction led to federal agencies like EPA and OSHA filling in the policy ...

Ag Retailer Navigates The Future With Technology

Driven by environmental responsibility, farmer efficiency and stewardship, and the possibilities of technology, in 2015 the team at Luckey Farmers Cooperative started its journey to digitize its business.   As chief technology officer Andrew Gladden recalls, the turning point came with the 2014 algal bloom in Lake Erie that limited drinking water to half a million people.   “So in 2015, we really focused on the four Rs, and joined the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program,” Gladden says. “We knew that our paper-driven processes that we had, weren't going to cut it for the certification. So we made a ...

Ag Retailers Expect Flat Seed Sales in 2021, But Not From a Lack of Trait Choices

Abundant trait choices notwithstanding, the outlook for seed is somewhat muted going to 2021. The majority of respondents to the 2020 CropLife 100 survey believe seed demand this year will be flat for the three major crops — corn, soybeans, and cotton.   Based upon the annual USDA estimates, growers are expected to plant more than 90 million acres each of the two most popular row crops, corn and soybeans, during the 2021 growing season. For corn and soybeans, the views among CropLife 100 respondents are very even. According to the survey, 36% think corn acreage will grow in 2021, 44% think it will remain flat, and 20% believe it ...

Ag Retailers Report Progress on Products and Services that Improve Water Quality

Ag retail-serviced acres of variable rate technology (VRT), cover crops, rotational soil testing, and other phosphorus-saving strategies continue to grow in the Sandusky River Watershed and the Great Lakes Basin. Sixty-two Great Lakes Basin ag retailers participating in the Partnership for Ag Resource Management (PARM) reported 2016 sales of products and services that help keep phosphorus fertilizer on cropland, and out of waterways.   In the Sandusky River Watershed, where the project began, variable rate phosphorus application increased 19% last year, from 51% to 70% of acreage serviced by participating ag retailers. Based on published study results in scientific journals, the project partners estimate ...

Ag Retailers Watching COVID-19, Modify Work Schedules, Cancel Events

On Friday, two states cancelled in-person trainings offered through the state departments of agriculture.   The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association has announced postponed and cancelled events.   Provided by IFCA: “Due to the COVID-19 virus, the IL Dept of Ag and the University of Illinois have temporarily suspended all the commercial and private applicator training and testing clinics for the month of March. The option of taking the test at the IDA Springfield or DeKalb office is also closed for now. IFCA has communicated with both IDA and UI, and we can assure everyone that IDA will announce ...

Ag Secretary Perdue Comments on Dicamba Issue

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue indicated to reporters this week that he would like to see the industry work out a fix on dicamba issues.   “I would much prefer that method rather than a prescriptive, top-down regulation,” he said, adding that he is “hoping that the industry itself and the producers themselves are working toward a resolution.”   Click here to read more.

Ag Secretary: Smartphones Could Tell Buyers What's in Food(GMO)

In the ever-complicated debate over labeling of genetically modified foods, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack offers this idea: Use your smartphone. Vilsack told members of Congress on Wednesday that consumers could just use their phones to scan special bar codes or other symbols on food packages in the grocery store. All sorts of information could pop up, such as whether the food's ingredients include genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. "Industry could solve that issue in a heartbeat," Vilsack said during a House hearing on agriculture spending. Click Here to read more.  

AGCO to Acquire Precision Planting from The Climate Corporation

AGCO and The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced today that a definitive agreement has been signed for AGCO to acquire the Precision Planting LLC equipment business.   “Precision Planting is a strong business that plays an essential role in the growth and adoption of innovative precision ag practices that help farmers enhance their productivity,” says Mike Stern, chief executive officer for The Climate Corporation. “As a leading global equipment manufacturer, AGCO is uniquely positioned to enable broader distribution of Precision Planting technology and will continue the development of innovative products that improve the efficiency ...

Agricultural Life After 2020

Guilty pleasure time — one of my favorite television shows from a few years back was called “Life After People.” For those unfamiliar, this program looked at what would happen if humanity suddenly disappeared, chronicling how things would be for the planet once we as a species were not around.   Not that it’s quite the same but given how much of an aberration 2020 is turning out to be, I thought it might be interesting to speculate on the fates for some items for those in agriculture once this year has faded into the history books. &...

Agriculture and Climate Change: Taking the Best of all Farming Systems Could Tip the Carbon Scale in the Right Direction

Agriculture contributes a significant portion of the world’s climate-changing greenhouse gases. In turn, changes in climate will reduce agricultural yields and make farming harder, just as increasing worldwide populations put pressure on the industry to produce more food.   There are basically two ways to reduce agriculture’s impact on climate: decrease the sources of carbon, or increase the sinking of carbon (plants sequestering key compounds). New varieties of plants and animals will have to tolerate abiotic stresses like drought, salt and temperature increases, while at the same time improving yields and nutrition.   Part one of ...

Agriculture department receives 369 hemp applications in two days

The Illinois Department of Agriculture received more than 360 applications to grow and process industrial hemp in the first two days applications were accepted.   Ag director John Sullivan said in a news release Wednesday afternoon that he was “pleased” with the outcome, but not surprised, since there had been an “incredible amount” of interest from potential hemp growers and processors during the last several months.   The department received 295 grower applications and 74 processor applications. Of the grower applications, 97 licenses and registrations have been issued, and 29 licenses to process hemp were given out.   The applications have ...

Agriculture Drone Market May Exceed $4 billion

According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone market may reach $3.6 billion by 2024. However, a new study forecasts an even larger bumper crop for just one of the many sub-sectors — agriculture.   The study, released this week by MarketInsightsReports, predicts the ag drone market will exceed the entire drone market value referenced in the Esticast report and do so two years earlier.   The report foresees a $4.2 billion value for the agricultural drone market by 2022 — representing a growth rate of 30 percent and beating Esticast’s overall prediction for the ...

Agriculture groups want to tackle climate change, but won’t call it that

A coalition of 21 agriculture groups says the industry is doing its part to control greenhouse gas emissions and wants a seat at the federal policy table as Congress focuses on climate change, but largely avoided using that term at a Wednesday briefing.   Instead, members of the newly formed Farmers for a Sustainable Future used terms like "climate smart," sustainability, climate policy and climate issues. Farmers and ranchers, they said, can help the environment with tools such as efficient water use, improved manure management, use of cover crops that can capture and store carbon and nitrogen, and ethanol ...

Agriculture Industry Bets on Carbon as a New Cash Crop

U.S. farmers make their living raising crops from the soil each year. Now, some are getting paid for putting something back into their fields: carbon.   Big agriculture companies including Bayer AG , Nutrien Ltd. and Cargill Inc. are jockeying with startups to encourage crop producers to adopt climate-friendly practices and develop farming-driven carbon markets. Those efforts would let retailers, food makers and other companies offset their greenhouse gas emissions by paying farmers for their fields’ capacity to withdraw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and trap it in the soil.   The concept envisions the U.S. Midwest’...

Agriculture Nominee Perdue Will Get Hearing Next Week

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing next week to consider Sonny Perdue's nomination to be agriculture secretary.     President Donald Trump announced in January that he would nominate Perdue. After a seven-week delay, Perdue submitted the necessary ethics paperwork last week and said he would step down from several companies bearing his name.     Perdue, 70, is a farmer's son who would be the first Southerner in the post in more than two decades.   Click Here to read more.

Agriculture secretary says he’s telling Trump to consider rejoining TPP

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told senators Tuesday that he’s encouraging President Trump to consider rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11-nation trade deal the president pulled out of days after taking office.   Perdue’s comment is the latest mixed signal from the Trump administration over the TPP, which Trump recently told senators he’s open to rejoining, only to subsequently suggest over Twitter that he’s not.   The agriculture secretary’s statement came at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing in response to a question from Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).   Click Here to ...

Agriculture Today: Lawsuits and Lessons

Watching a lot of television during the recent coronavirus lockdown period, it’s pretty clear to me that the agricultural industry has become the new “favorite target” of the U.S. legal profession. Worse still, I don’t foresee this changing anytime soon, so the marketplace should be prepared to address this kind of intense scrutiny going forward.   Of course, most people probably don’t view this statement as all that surprising. Like me, many folks that make their living from agriculture have likely seen (or at least heard about) the numerous television commercials ...

AI Is Becoming a New Weapon in the Battle Against Crop Pests

Artificial intelligence already is making strides in the development of new drugs, and now the pesticide industry wants in on the action.   Switzerland’s Syngenta AG has teamed up with Insilico Medicine to use its deep-learning tools to produce sustainable weedkillers. As well as taking on some of the early-stage work traditionally conducted in a lab, AI could design molecules used in crop-protection tools that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly, the companies said Wednesday.   AI is among new methods emerging as environmental and health concerns spur a quest for sustainable alternatives to traditional pesticides used by ...

All of Mississippi's beaches have been closed for swimming due to toxic algae

Every beach along Mississippi's Gulf Coast is closed for swimming as the entire shoreline is now under the same water warning tied to a blue-green algae bloom. CBS Biloxi affiliate WLOX-TV reported that Pascagoula's two beach testing sites on the east and west stations joined a list of 19 other beaches Sunday morning.   The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issued a statement saying the closures were mandated in Jackson County, which spans a sizable chunk of the Mississippi coastline, "due to a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) extending into those areas."   According to the ...

Alliance Shows Fertilizer, Ag Retail Industries Are Serious About Safety

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President & CEO Chris Jahn and Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President & CEO Daren Coppock today highlighted ongoing efforts by the fertilizer and ag retail industries to enhance workplace and community safety while formalizing an alliance between TFI, ARA, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The alliance will build upon the stewardship efforts associated with the ResponsibleAg program, a voluntary initiative created in 2014 by TFI and ARA to enhance health, safety, and security performance at agricultural retail facilities.   “Safety is a key priority for the ...

Amid Legal Limbo, Dicamba Injury on the Rise Once Again

As July gets underway, state regulators, weed scientists, agronomists and farmers are reporting off-target dicamba injury to crops and plants for the fifth summer in a row.   This year, some of the most widespread symptomology and crop injury is being reported in Iowa, where scientists told DTN that weather conditions, court rulings and planting dates combined into a "perfect storm" to produce off-target movement from June dicamba applications.   "It's far worse than past years," said Meaghan Anderson, a field agronomist for Iowa State University, based in central Iowa. "You can tell pretty ...

Ammonia exports jumped from Russia

In January-July this year, the supply of nitrogen fertilizers from Russia to the world market increased by 5.8% to 7.882 million tons, according to the materials of the Federal Customs Service.   Sales of potash fertilizers grew by 1.4% to 4.751 million tons, while complex fertilizers decreased by 12% to 5.995 million tons. Exports of anhydrous ammonia increased by 9% to 2.704 million tons.   In monetary terms, shipments of nitrogen fertilizers abroad expanded by 14.8% to $1.641 billion, potash – by 21.8% to $1.231 billion, ammonia – by 7.7% to $701.9 million, while complex declined by 5.1% to $1.865 billion.   Click Here to read more.

An Email From A Powerful Former State Lobbyist Hints At A Rape Cover-Up

A powerful former Springfield lobbyist and close friend of House Speaker Michael Madigan once sought leniency for a state worker in a disciplinary case by arguing that the worker “kept his mouth shut” about an unspecified rape downstate.   In the previously undisclosed, 2012 email, ex-lobbyist Michael McClain urged two top aides to then-Gov. Pat Quinn to avoid firing the worker, also telling them the man was politically “loyal” to Quinn and stayed silent about “ghost workers.”   McClain and a former client, Commonwealth Edison, already are facing intense scrutiny from federal agents investigating the ...

Analysis Shows Illinois has Highest Taxes in Nation

Illinois now has the dubious honor of having the highest taxes in the United States.   The analysis by personal finance website WalletHub looked at state and local taxes, income taxes, real estate taxes, sales and excise taxes, and vehicle property taxes for the report.   The study shows the average Illinois household pays nearly $9,500 a year in state and local taxes, the highest in the nation.   WalletHub’s analysis showed Illinois with the highest overall effective state and local taxes, and the second-highest real estate taxes in the country. Analyst Jill Gonzalez said Illinois’ gas taxes ...

And this was surprising how?

The House Special Investigations Committee II had its first substantive hearing last week and frankly nothing happened (or didn’t happen) that should have come as a surprise to anyone.   This is the committee looking into whether House Speaker Michael Madigan has engaged in conduct unbecoming a la wmaker. (Spoiler alert: The Republicans say “yes,” the Democrats say “no.”)   House Republican Leader Jim Durkin was finally allowed to deliver some opening remarks, but it took the better part of an hour of partisan arguing before that came to pass.   Republicans grilled a ...

Annual training required for dicamba use

Whether you’re a farmer, commercial operator or someone mixing or loading dicamba for soybean application, you are required to undergo certification once again this year.   “I’m running in to a lot of growers who think that because they went last year, they don’t have to go to training again, and that is not the case,” said Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association president.   Pesticide applicators who desire to use dicamba herbicides that are labeled for use in soybeans must participate in special dicamba training prior to using these herbicides ...

Another 39K File Jobless Claims in Illinois

The state of Illinois saw slight decreases in the number of people filing first-time unemployment claims as well as the number of people receiving continuing benefits during the week that ended July 4.   But those gains were more than offset by increases in the number of people applying for and receiving benefits under another program designed for people who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits.   The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that it processed 39,015 initial unemployment claims during the week, which was shortened by the Independence Day holiday weekend. That was down from 43,934 initial claims ...

Another Dicamba Registered

Growers of dicamba-tolerant crops now have three registered dicamba herbicides for use in-crop over soybeans and cotton for the coming season. The latest in the lineup is DuPont's FeXapan herbicide plus VaporGrip Technology.   FeXapan is a single active ingredient product that contains only dicamba as a diglycolamine (DGA) salt. VaporGrip is an additive designed to keep the dicamba in a less volatile state compared to older DGA formulations, such as Clarity.   Click Here to read more.

Appeals court smacks OSHA on anhydrous regulations

A Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. recently ruled the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violated federal law when it issued an enforcement memorandum last summer pushing more regulation on some ag retailers regarding handling and storage of anhydrous ammonia.   The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) said the court’s action saves anhydrous providers – and perhaps you, if you farm, since that’s where the costs will be likely be passed on – more than $100 million.   "This administration has broadly and unjustly avoided proper procedure to construct and ...

Appeals Court tells EPA to Ban Pesticide or Decide It's Safe

A federal appeals court on April 29 ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to quickly determine whether a pesticide linked to brain damage in children should be banned, saying the agency had delayed acting on the widely used bug-killer chlorpyrifos for nearly 14 years.   In a 2-1 decision, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to act on a possible ban within 60 days.   "The EPA has spent more than a decade assembling a record of chlorpyrifos's ill effects," U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote. "Yet, rather than ban the ...

Applicator Training Still Open For February 2019

For experienced applicators looking for a refresher course, AGCO Corporation and Asmark Institute have partnered to offer a training program. The next offering of this training is Feb. 12 to 13 at the Applicator Training Center in Bloomington, Ill., and registration is still open.   The comprehensive, two-day course will cover these eight topics: •reducing or eliminating off-target applications due to spray drift •the differences in tank additives •proper cleanout techniques •the importance of recordkeeping •reading and understanding product labels •self-protection in emergencies •how to safely travel on roads •how to assess and choose ...

ARA and IFCA Seeks Clarification On Dicamba Label

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) has been in support of extending the registration of dicamba and applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action to extend the registration through 2020. ARA supports the continued use of this new technology and supports label restrictions to ensure the best possible stewardship and use of the product. Following the announcement, ARA received several questions from members and is seeking clarification from EPA on two elements of the new registration guidelines.   The first question is on the scope of the term “certified applicator.” The ...

ARA Applauds Senate Passage of Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021

Today the U.S. Senate passed S.1251, the Growing Climate Solutions Act of 2021, in a vote of 92-8. The bill would help boost ag carbon markets by creating a certification process at USDA. Agricultural Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock issued the following statement in response:   "ARA is pleased that this important piece of legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, and we urge the U.S. House of Representatives to follow suit.   "Agricultural practices will continue to play a key role in climate policy discussions, and it is essential that the ag retail industry ...

ARA Encouraged by Progress on Seasonal Ag CDL Reform

Today the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a mark-up on S. 2016, the Surface Transportation Investment Act. The Agricultural Retailers Association has been working closely with Senator Moran, R-Kan., Senator Thune, R-S.D., and allies on Capitol Hill to encourage reform to the Farm-Related Restricted Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program, more commonly referred to as the Seasonal Ag CDL program ahead of this mark-up. Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton issued the following statement:   "The Seasonal Ag CDL program is critical to ensure ag retailers are able to provide the ...

ARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmakers

More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a ARA news release.   Hosted by the Agricultural Retailers Association, the fly-in garnered participation from ARA members from across the country and several national and state agribusiness groups.   “Grassroots advocacy matters,” said ARA President and CEO Daren Coppock. “This is an important opportunity for our members and stakeholders to put agricultural policy issues in front of their federal legislators.”   Delegations of retailers and suppliers visited with more than 160 members of Congress and/or ...

ARA: 2018 Farm Bill Represents ‘Missed Opportunity’

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock released the following statement on the conference report on the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill):   “ARA is happy to see a Farm Bill move forward, however this bill represents a missed opportunity to correct some straightforward regulatory problems that would have had no budgetary impact.   “We are disappointed to see language to fix the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulatory overlap once again dropped from the conference report. The association strongly supported language to fix the long-standing duplicative permitting requirement for pesticide applications that are ...

Are Ag Retailers on the Road Back to Normalcy?

For the world-at-large, 2020 was definitely not the norm. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic across the globe kept things from operating as they normally would in virtually every sector of life. In general, the agricultural industry was able to continue its business activities without too much disruption. However, when all was said and done, the ag retailers that make up the CropLife 100 still did see their annual revenues for 2020 fall 1.9% to $31.7 billion, according to the 2020 CropLife 100 Survey.   In truth, there were hints that the ag retail marketplace would take some kind of financial hit earlier in the year, when CropLife® ...

Are Biden Tax Proposals Creating Panic on the Farm?

Are you in a panic about the tax law changes being debated in Washington? One proposal includes reducing the death tax exemption to $3.5 million. Illinois farmers have lived under a $4 million state exemption for many years, so if you are thinking of a threshold at which you need estate tax planning, I’ve got good news: It won’t change much.   Let’s look back at a few points you may remember reading:   November 2019. With the Illinois exemption of $4 million, a couple with a farm worth around $16 million would incur Illinois tax of around $1.2 million &...

Are GMO critics more open to gene editing that targets plant and human diseases?

The early generations of transgenic plants focused primarily on increasing productivity, either by reducing pest damage or increasing yields by minimizing the impact of weeds. These have met with fierce opposition from anti-GMO groups and some government quarters (such as Green Party members in European parliaments). But transgenics and other modifications in medicines (ranging from monoclonal antibodies against melanoma and lung cancer to gene therapies against inherited rare disorders and RNA interference in molecular diagnostics) have not seen the same kind of resistance.  Is it possible that transgenics (or even more modern techniques like CRISPR that don’t ...

Are We On The Edge Of An Agricultural Recession?

It’s no secret that farm country is suffering from retaliatory tariffs that are the result of President Donald Trump’s trade negotiating tactics, but could the trade war push U.S. agriculture into a recession? One Wall Street analyst thinks they could.   “From an investor's standpoint, what we're seeing on Wall Street is perhaps a little naivety and a little complacency around the impact of tariffs on the ag economy,” Ann Duignan of JP Morgan told Chip Flory on AgriTalk earlier this week. “I think from Wall Street's perspective, the ...

Are you anti-GMO? Then you’re anti-science, too.

In keeping with our era of ideological boycotts, I will no longer be purchasing Kind bars. Or Barilla pasta. Or Triscuit crackers. Or Del Monte diced tomatoes. Or Nutro dog food.   A one-person boycott, of course, is really just a change in your shopping list. But the companies that produce these brands are guilty of crimes against rationality. All advertise on their packaging, in one way or another, that they don’t contain GMOs — genetically modified organisms. Walking down the aisle of my supermarket, I could have picked many other examples. Some food companies seem to be ...

Arkansas Farmers Sue Monsanto, BASF, DuPont Over Dicamba Damage

Monsanto Co., BASF Corp., and DuPont face a class-action lawsuit from farmers who claim their crops were damaged by the herbicide dicamba, a new legal front against producers of soybeans and cotton resistant to the weed killer.   The lawsuit stems from a wave of complaints from farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and elsewhere who say that their crops were damaged by dicamba being sprayed on nearby fields planted with dicamba-tolerant corn and soybeans that were developed primarily by Monsanto (  Smokey Alley Farm P’ship v. Monsanto Co. , E.D. Mo., No. 4:17-cv-02031, 7/19/17 ).   The Monsanto seeds—...

Arkansas Governor’s Task Force sets April 15 cut off for Dicamba.

A quick rundown: as of September 13, harvest season is underway in earnest, the Arkansas Governor’s Dicamba Task Force report has been released, a spraying cutoff date (proposed by the task force and approved by the Plant Board’s Pesticide Committee) of April 15 has been proposed for 2018, Monsanto has filed a petition with the Plant Board asking the task force’s recommendations be ignored and, most importantly, there are 966 dicamba drift complaints in the state.   On Tuesday (September 12), the Pesticide Committee unanimously agreed to accept the task force recommendation of an April 15 cutoff for spraying dicamba. ...

Arkansas House, Senate OK bills to stiffen fines for herbicide abuse

The House and Senate passed similar bills Monday that would allow the State Plant Board to levy greater civil penalties in egregious cases of herbicide misapplication.   The House voted 68-12 to pass House Bill 1692 by Rep. David Hillman, R-Almyra. The Senate voted 32-1 to approve Senate Bill 501 by Sen. Blake Johnson, R-Corning. Both bills would allow the plant board to assess a civil penalty greater than $1,000 but not more than $25,000, but only if the board finds the violation is egregious.   A violation would be egregious only if "significant off-target crop damage occurred as a result of the ...

Arkansas judge freezes herbicide ban for about 85 farmers

An Arkansas judge has issued a temporary restraining order on an herbicide ban.   The state Plant Board’s dicamba ban takes effect Monday and will run through October 31. The ban was issued after the board received nearly 1,000 complaints last summer that the herbicide drifted onto crops and caused damage.   The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Judge Tonya Alexander issued the ruling Thursday after a motion was filed on behalf of about 85 farmers. Alexander says the farmers faced harm to their crops without the order.   Click Here to read more.

Arkansas judge throws out Monsanto dicamba lawsuit

The Arkansas ban on dicamba continues after a judge threw out Monsanto’s lawsuit to stop the state from blocking sale of the product. On Friday the Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza cited a recent Arkansas Supreme Court decision that the state cannot be made a defendant in court.   In June, the Arkansas State Plant Board bowed to the pressure of more than 240 complaints connected to alleged drifting of the chemical dicamba and passed a vote 9-5 to ban the sale and use of the product.   Click Here to read more.

Arkansas lawmakers approve ban on disputed herbicide

Arkansas lawmakers on Friday approved banning an herbicide that farmers say has drifted onto crops where it wasn't applied and caused damage, but the prohibition still faces a legal challenge from a maker of the weed killer.   The Legislative Council, without discussion, approved the Plant Board's plan to ban dicamba from April 16 through Oct. 31. A subcommittee earlier this week recommended that the council — the Legislature's main governing body when lawmakers aren't in session — approve the proposal.   Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as ...

Arkansas lawmakers put efforts to ban herbicide on hold

Arkansas lawmakers have put on hold a plan to ban an herbicide that farmers in several states say has drifted on to their crops and caused damage, agreeing with a panel’s recommendation to call on regulators to revise restrictions proposed on the weed killer.   The Arkansas Legislative Council approved a recommendation Friday to delay considering the state Plant Board’s proposal to ban dicamba’s use from April 16 through October 31 next year. The council is the Legislature’s main governing body when lawmakers aren’t in session.   A subcommittee earlier this week ...

Arkansas panel backs ban of herbicide dicamba

An Arkansas regulatory panel voted Wednesday to ban the use of an herbicide for part of next year after the weed killer drew complaints from farmers across several states who say it has drifted onto their crops and caused widespread damage.   The Arkansas Plant Board on Wednesday approved prohibiting the use of dicamba in the state between April 16 and Oct. 31. The ban includes several exemptions, including for pastures and home use, and now heads to a legislative panel.   Dicamba has been around for decades, but problems arose over the past couple of years as farmers began to use ...

Arkansas Plant Board Backs Stiff Dicamba Fines

The state Plant Board on Wednesday approved the framework for allowing fines of up to $25,000 for the most serious cases of illegal spraying of dicamba and other herbicides.   State lawmakers approved the stiffer fines in March during their regular legislative session, but state law that governs boards and commissions requires the Plant Board, a part of the state Department of Agriculture, and its civil-penalties committee to revise a penalty matrix.   The Plant Board, with little discussion, unanimously approved the committee's work. The new penalty matrix now goes to Gov. Asa Hutchinson for review. If approved by the ...

Arkansas Plant Board Moves to Approve Dicamba Use in 2019

The Arkansas State Plant Board on Wednesday adopted a plan to allow restricted use of dicamba in 2019 through May 25.   The proposed new rule is applicable to all current (Engenia,  Fexapan, and Xtendimax) and future dicamba products registered for in-crop use in Arkansas.  According to a statement from the State Plant Board, changes regarding dicamba use in the proposed rule include: •Restrictions on in-crop applications of dicamba from May 26 to October 31. •A half-mile buffer zone required around all non-dicamba crops when dicamba is applied. •A one-mile buffer zone for university and USDA research stations, certified ...

Arkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now What?

The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, with an exemption for pastureland, and to expedite the rule increasing civil penalties for dicamba misuse.   The proposed rule is the first step in the process of establishing an emergency rule. The next step includes a review of the proposed rule by the governor before being submitted to the Executive Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council for approval.   “Governor (Asa) Hutchinson has followed this issue closely and previously tasked Secretary (Wes) Ward and ASPB Director (Terry) Walker ...

Arkansas Plant Board votes to curb weedkiller

The state Plant Board on Friday voted to restrict the use of certain herbicides in the state after some farmers this summer illegally sprayed the weedkiller dicamba and damaged their neighbors' crops.   The issue now goes up for a 30-day public comment period and then to a public hearing, which the board set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 21. The governor and the state Legislature will have final say on whether the restrictions are put in place.   Except for one member who abstained because of a conflict of interest, the vote on each of the recommendations, listed below, was unanimous. &...

Arkansas Regulators Move Toward Enacting Later Dicamba Cutoff

The Arkansas State Plant Board voted Wednesday, March 4, in favor of a new rule to adopt the EPA's federal dicamba cutoff dates for over-the-top dicamba use in the state in 2021.   While procedural hurdles remain, the decision is a stark reversal from the board's previous vote in December 2020 to keep its May 25 dicamba cutoff date, which has been in place for three years. That cutoff date remains in place for now while the proposed new rule goes through the state's rulemaking requirements.   The surprising reversal hinged on a membership change that occurred on the plant board ...

Arkansas Supreme Court stays judges' orders on dicamba ban, again halting use of herbicide

The AP reports that the Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed temporary restraining orders from two circuit court judges in East Arkansas that would have allowed a group of farmers to use the banned herbicide dicamba.    The orders — from Judge Tonya Alexander in Mississippi County and Judge Christopher Morledge in Phillips County — prevented the state from enforcing a ban on the controversial herbicide which was put in place by the State Plant Board, as we reported last week. With the Supreme Court's latest action, the ban remains firmly in effect.    The court's ...

As deadline to pass constitutional amendment looms, Illinois lawmakers fear missed opportunity for redistricting reform

After years of unsuccessful legislative and citizen-led efforts to strip the General Assembly of the power to draw congressional and legislative district boundaries, the coronavirus shutdown appears to have doomed any chance of constitutional redistricting reform before the state’s maps are set for another decade.   Going into the spring legislative session, backers of change were hoping to make one more effort at getting something done before a looming deadline. In February, lawmakers filed identical state constitutional amendments in the Illinois House and Senate that would hand over the power to draw and approve district boundaries to an ...

As harvest season begins, farmers worry how dicamba herbicide could affect next year’s crop

In front of several greenhouse scaffolds, Steve Hamra gestured to a metal cart containing trays of seedlings for bell peppers, tomatoes and romaine lettuce. About 150 miles south of St. Louis on a 10-acre site, Hamra is growing produce hydroponically, or in water instead of soil, for about 400 schools, in Missouri and other states.   Hamra, president and founder of Amanzi Farms, hopes to expand its operations to Kansas City and Springfield. But he’s worried that his vegetables could be damaged by the herbicide dicamba, which some neighboring farms are using.   The chemical is sold under brand names, ...

As Illinois Lawmakers Start Redistricting After 2020 Census, BGA Pushes for Fair Maps

The once-a-decade process of redistricting Illinois is taking place now, after the census.   In Illinois, politicians decide Congressional and state districts, and it's typically extremely partisan. Advertisement   The watchdog group "Better Government Association" has been campaigning for years for fair maps.   Now that public hearings are underway statewide, there is a lot at stake besides the fact that state lawmakers have a June 30 deadline to finalize the remap or possibly face a bipartisan committee that would take over and make the decision, Greising said.   Click Here to read more.

As latest round of U.S.-China talks end, 'significant work' remains

U.S. and Chinese negotiators wrapped up their latest round of trade talks on Friday and were scheduled to resume discussions next week to try to secure a pact that would end a tit-for-tat tariff battle that has roiled global markets.   The two sides offered few details of the progress as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He concluded three days of meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said a deal could be announced in the next four weeks.   Last year Washington and Beijing ...

As Palmer spreads, researchers eye sources, genetic changes

The spread of Palmer amaranth in the Midwest may be partly the result of good intentions gone bad.   Escapes from seed bags used in conservation programs are one component in the increasing presence of the troublesome weed, Southern Illinois University weed scientist Karla Gage told growers at a field day here.   “It’s a seed contamination issue, and it is happening throughout the country,” Gage said. “Iowa is particularly hard hit. It is now in areas there that did not have Palmer amaranth.”   The weed seeds are included in collections of grass ...

As states legalize marijuana, pesticides may be a blind spot

People who consume marijuana medically or recreationally may be exposing themselves to unknown health risks from toxic pesticides.   The EPA would ordinarily evaluate pesticide safety but has never done so for marijuana because the plant is illegal under federal law. So, states with legalized marijuana industries have been tasking newly created cannabis regulators, health officials and others with setting testing standards for pesticide residues present on the plant.   Now, state pesticide officials, who normally assure that EPA guidance is followed, as well as former career EPA staff, academics and environmental groups, say that without the federal guidance, marijuana ...

As Syngenta deal closes, ChemChina and Sinochem press $120 billion deal: sources

Chinese state-owned Sinochem and ChemChina are in merger talks to create the world's biggest industrial chemicals firm, to be headed by Sinochem chief Ning Gaoning, four people with knowledge of the negotiations said.   A deal could be announced by the end of the year, the people said, potentially just months after ChemChina completes its own $43 billion purchase of Switzerland's Syngenta (SYNN.S), China's biggest overseas deal to date.   A consolidation of Sinochem and ChemChina would be worth around $120 billion, one of the people said, topping companies like industrial chemicals giant BASF (BASFn.DE).   Talks ...

As the seed treatment market grows, so do pesticide concerns

Many of the seeds being planted around Minnesota today are treated with chemicals to protect them as they grow.   Syngenta, one of the top pesticide companies in the world and the global leader in the treated seed market, has a seed research facility about an hour south of the Twin Cities near the tiny community of Stanton.   Ravi Ramachandran, who heads the Syngenta Seedcare Institute, says about 75 scientists work there developing and testing seeds and seed coatings.   "And in fact this institute is probably the most sophisticated research center for seed treatment technology in the industry ...

Ask Your Farmer-Customers to Talk with Neighbors about Herbicide Drift

Retailers and farmers need to plan ahead and communicate to avoid damaging crops, especially when using dicamba herbicides. Before spraying know the area, communicate with neighbors and take advantage of online resources to ensure you’re taking appropriate precautions for downwind sensitive areas.   “If you damage your neighbor’s field, you can’t take it back, so it’s vital you understand the area where you are applying, identify the sensitive areas and sensitive crops and adhere to the downwind buffer as the label requires,” says Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer ...

Asked about gas tax, Chao says ‘nothing is off the table’

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Wednesday that the administration “has learned from the past” that it should consult with Congress before proposing an infrastructure plan, but stopped short of saying when consultations would start.   Appearing before the Senate’s Transportation-HUD appropriations subcommittee, Chao indicated there could be support from the White House for higher gas taxes and fees on airplane tickets, but she also renewed the administration’s call to cut red tape in project approvals and find ways to attract private-sector funding from pension funds and endowments.   Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware ...

Asmark, AGCO open facility for applicators

The nation’s first all-inclusive training facility for beginning crop protection applicators opened June 12.   The Applicator Training Center, created through a collaboration between the Asmark Institute and AGCO Corp., is the home of the new four-day course dedicated to educating individuals with little or no background in the application of crop protection products and plant nutrients.   The facility and training grounds are adjacent to the Asmark Institute Agricenter that was built in 2012 and houses the anhydrous ammonia safety training course and grain safety training courses.   Course curriculum was built with extensive input from ag retailers and ...

At Ag Retail stop, Perdue says priority is next Farm Bill

It was USDA Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue who was asking the questions Monday afternoon, as he met several Central Illinois farmers on a five-state tour of the Midwest.   During a stop at the Evergreen FS Plant, Perdue was introduced to Stanley Weeks, a 90-year-old farmer from the Chenoa area.   “How long have you been digging in the dirt with your hands?” Perdue asked.   Weeks answered that he remembers farming back in the days where horses did most of the work and not tractors. Still, it was Weeks who walked away impressed.   Click here to ...

At EPA, a fight over numbers in water protection rule reveals a shift in ideology

A new paper by three economists, published Thursday in the journal Science, challenges how the Environmental Protection Agency has justified repealing a 2015 water protection rule and contends that the Trump administration ignored hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits the regulation would have produced each year.   But EPA officials, including a career official overseeing the agency’s National Center for Environmental Economics, counter that Obama administration officials ignored warnings that they had used unreliable and outdated studies when calculating the regulation.   The dueling analyses of the rule, known as Waters of the United States, underscore how fraught ...

At the Illinois State Fair, farmers celebrate ag but bemoan a ‘nightmare’ of a year

Cooper Garlisch, age 2 ½, was not about to lose the Cutest Little Farmer contest. Climbing atop his red toy tractor, he scooted himself across a stage at the Illinois State Fair with gusto, drawing cheers from an audience that seemed to appreciate the showmanship.   His dad, Scott Garlisch, watched with amusement, soaking in one of the sweeter events of the annual celebration of all things agriculture — and putting aside, for a moment, the stresses weighing on his farm as the industry faces what some say is the worst year in memory.   “I have two young boys, ...

August USDA Reports Confirm Too Much of Everything

There’s a saying that big crops get bigger. According to USDA’s August Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, the 2018 corn and soybean crops continue to grow.   Here are the key numbers:   Corn: Production forecast at 14.6 billion bushels, down less than 1% from last year. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, yields are expected to average 178.4 bushels per acre, up 1.8 bushels from 2017. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 81.8 million acres, which is down 1% from 2017.   Soybeans: Production forecast at 4.59 billion bushels, up 4% ...

Ban of Chlorpyrifos Products Continues to Expand

The effort to ban the use of chlorpyrifos products in agriculture continues to expand. Other states are following California’s example in prohibiting the use of Chlorpyrifos in agricultural production. The California Environmental Protection Agency announced back in October that the sale of chlorpyrifos will no longer be allowed beginning February 6th next year.   New York will now be the latest state to prohibit the use of the product. Beginning January 1, chlorpyrifos will no longer be allowed for aerial application, with the exception of apple tree trunks. A complete ban of the product will become effective in New ...

Barge Traffic Resumes Near Memphis, Despite I-40 Bridge Damage

Corn and soybeans are on barges headed down the Mississippi River once again, thanks to a decision by the U.S. Coast Guard to reopen the Hernando de Soto Bridge.   The bridge on Interstate 40, linking Arkansas and Tennessee near Memphis, was closed on Tuesday after a crack was discovered in a steel beam during a routine, federally mandated inspection that occurs about every two years.   After review on Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard said river traffic was safe to resume and reopened the bridge, according to a press release.   As of Friday, there were 62 vessels and 1,058 ...

BASF Closes on Bayer Assets, Launches Agricultural Solutions Division

BASF hosted a conference call for global ag media this afternoon to announce the official close of its “acquisition of a range of businesses and assets” from fellow German multinational Bayer.   BASF signed agreements in October 2017 and April 2018 to acquire the businesses and assets Bayer offered to divest in the context of its acquisition of Monsanto, for an all-cash purchase price of €7.6 billion, subject to certain adjustments at closing.   Click Here to read more.

Bayer Abandons Work on Louisiana Dicamba Plant

Bayer AG said on Tuesday it will scrap a nearly $1 billion project to produce the chemical dicamba in the United States, but said the move is unrelated to a federal court decision that blocked sales of weedkillers based on the product.   The German-based company is moving to save cash as it wages an expensive legal battle to fight allegations that another product, its glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup, causes cancer. Bayer denies the claims.   The company said it is halting work on a new dicamba plant in Luling, Louisiana, because global overcapacity for producing the chemical made the investment less ...

Bayer Advances Toward Resolving Roundup Litigation

A draft settlement of lawsuits alleging a connection between Roundup exposure and cancer has been agreed to by Bayer and lawyers representing “tens of thousands” of plaintiffs, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing “people familiar with the matter.”   The newspaper reported the settlement “appears poised to end up” in the $10 billion range, but also that the deal has not been signed “and could yet fall apart.”   Bayer issued a brief statement, saying, “Mediation discussions continue in good faith under a court order requiring confidentiality, and the company cannot ...

Bayer AG Does Not Expect More Roundup Trials

Bayer AG says it does not expect any more Roundup trials to occur as it remains committed to settling the pending litigation.   The U.S. district judge who is overseeing all Roundup lawsuits filed in federal courts had set a deadline of November 2nd for all of the lawsuits to be settled.   Bayer says a very small number of cases that have not been settled in the multi-district litigation could be remanded to other courts.   But, with the ongoing settlement progress and the continuing COVID pandemic they do not expect trials to occur before the third quarter ...

Bayer asks California appeals court to throw out $78 million Roundup verdict

Bayer AG on Wednesday asked a California appellate court to throw out a $78 million judgment it was ordered to pay to a school groundskeeper who claimed the company’s weed killers gave him cancer.   In a filing in California’s Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, the company said that there was “no evidence” that glyphosate, a chemical found in the company’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products, could cause cancer.   “Bayer stands behind these products and will continue to vigorously defend them,” the company said in a news release.   ...

Bayer asks California appeals court to throw out $78 million Roundup verdict

Bayer AG on Wednesday asked a California appellate court to throw out a $78 million judgment it was ordered to pay to a school groundskeeper who claimed the company’s weed killers gave him cancer.   In a filing in California’s Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, the company said that there was “no evidence” that glyphosate, a chemical found in the company’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products, could cause cancer.   “Bayer stands behind these products and will continue to vigorously defend them,” the company said in a news release.   ...

Bayer Braces for Third Roundup Verdict

The jury in Bayer AG’s third Roundup weedkiller trial was urged by a plaintiffs’ lawyer to consider socking the company with $1 billion in damages as punishment for covering up the health risks of the herbicide for decades.   The aggressive demand on behalf an elderly couple who claim they got cancer from exposure to Roundup shows that plaintiffs are becoming bolder after winning the first two trials against Bayer, which together yielded $159 million in damages.   The couple’s attorney said the billion-dollar request is roughly based on the gross profit of $892 million recorded in 2017 by ...

Bayer expects significant surge in number of U.S. glyphosate cases

Bayer expects the number of claims in the United States related to Roundup herbicide to have surged in the third quarter, as the German drugs and pesticides maker tries to reach a settlement after earlier court rulings against it.   "With the substantial increase in plaintiff advertising this year, we expect to see a significant surge in the number of plaintiff filings over the third quarter," the company said in a written statement.   Bayer, which acquired Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers as part of its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto last year, faces potentially heavy litigation costs ...

Bayer faces billion-dollar losses related to legal claims of deadly Roundup herbicide

Pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer has shed some $20 billion in market value in the weeks since a California court ordered it to pay $289 million in damages to plaintiff Dewayne Lee Johnson, related to his use of the herbicide Roundup.   Jurors found that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer in a $66 billion merger, had acted with malice and negligence in failing to warn Johnson, a former school groundskeeper, about the cancer risks associated with Roundup and its key ingredient, glyphosate. Johnson is now suffering from late-stage non-Hodgkins lymphoma.   The German-based company Bayer merged with Monsanto in June 2018, just two months ...

Bayer May Settle Roundup Lawsuit for $10 Billion

As Bayer continues its mitigation to reach a settlement, Dow Jones is reporting the company could settle its glyphosate (Roundup) legal cases for a sum around $10 billion. A settlement would mean the end of the company’s legal battles concerning glyphosate.   Bayer, who bought the inventor of glyphosate, Monsanto, is dealing with under 50,000 plaintiffs who claim the product has caused cancer. So far, the company has lost three glyphosate trials—with some pending appeal outcomes.   The company recently said it would consider a settlement that is “financially reasonable and represents finality [for future and current ...

Bayer Reaches $2 billion Deal over Future Roundup Cancer Claims

Bayer has been struggling to finalize the settlement of claims that Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. Bayer inherited the business and the litigation as part of a $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto in 2018.   The company has said that decades of studies have shown Roundup and glyphosate are safe for human use.   Wednesday’s settlement would cover future claims brought by individuals who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and were exposed to Roundup before their diagnosis. The settlement also includes benefits for people who were exposed to ...

Bayer Says Judge’s Ruling Won’t Affect Roundup Availability for Farmers

In response to a U.S. judge’s rejection of Bayer’s $2 billion class-action proposal, the company announced a five-point plan late Wednesday to address future claims.   In addition, Bayer addressed concerns of row-crop farmers who use Roundup (glyphosate) for weed control. The company says the decision will have no impact on the agricultural marketplace or Bayer’s commitment to Roundup or Roundup Ready for its farmer and retailer customers.   “We stand behind the availability and safety of glyphosate for farmers, and this won’t affect their ability to purchase or use it,&...

Bayer Says More Americans Are Alleging Monsanto Weedkillers Cause Cancer

Bayer  AG  said the number of American plaintiffs alleging its recently acquired weedkillers cause cancer has risen sharply, adding to concerns about potentially lengthy and costly litigation stemming from its acquisition of Monsanto.   The German chemicals company on Wednesday also lowered its full-year earnings outlook because of delays in closing its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto, which included a portfolio of herbicides that contain glyphosate, notably flagship product Roundup.   Bayer said it faced some 8,700 plaintiffs across the U.S. as of late August—mainly cancer patients who claim to have fallen ill after being exposed to ...

Bayer says Oct. U.S. glyphosate trial delayed until further notice

A pending U.S. lawsuit over claims related to Bayer’s (BAYGn.DE) glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup has been delayed, the company said on Sunday, with a court status conference in February, 2020.   “The Oct. 15, 2019 trial date for Winston v. Monsanto in St. Louis City has been postponed,” Bayer said in a statement.   The lawsuit is the latest of several to be delayed as mediator Ken Feinberg tries to negotiate a settlement between the company and U.S. plaintiffs after a California jury in August last year found that Monsanto should have warned of alleged cancer risks. &...

Bayer says to comply with court mediation order in glyphosate case

Bayer said on Friday it would comply with a U.S. federal judge's order to enter mediation with a plaintiff who claims the company failed to warn against an alleged cancer risk from its Roundup weedkiller.   Bayer has seen billions wiped off its market value since August, when a first U.S. jury found Bayer liable because Monsanto, acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year, had not warned of the alleged risk from Roundup, which is based on active ingredient glyphosate.   It suffered a similar courtroom defeat last month and more than 10,000 cases are pending.   U....

Bayer says U.S. farmers unfazed by glyphosate litigation

Bayer, the world’s largest maker of seeds and pesticides, said U.S. farmers were unperturbed by lawsuits seeking damages from Bayer for an alleged cancer-causing effect of glyphosate-based herbicides.   “There is extremely strong support among farmers, who are imploring us to keep this crop chemical - which is systemically relevant for the preparation of fields - on the market,” Chief Executive Werner Baumann told journalists in a conference call on Wednesday.   He added third-quarter herbicide sales were roughly on par with the year-earlier level.   Bayer, which relies for most of its Crop Science ...

Bayer Shares Fall After Judge Questions Part of Proposed Settlement

Bayer shares fell more 6% on Tuesday after a U.S. judge questioned part of the German company's proposed settlement to deal with future claims relating to allegations that its widely used weedkiller Roundup caused cancer.   Last month Bayer agreed to pay as much as $10.9 billion to settle close to 100,000 U.S. lawsuits related to Roundup.   That included $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation. That part of the settlement requires court approval.   "The Court is skeptical of the propriety and fairness of the proposed settlement, and is tentatively inclined to ...

Bayer takes $10 billion writedown, flags higher Roundup settlement bill

Bayer is facing a double hit from a higher legal bill for claims relating to weedkiller Roundup as well as 9.25 billion euros ($10.82 billion) in impairments on agriculture businesses, much of it related to its Monsanto deal.   The company said the write-downs, driven by weaker demand from farmers due to low biofuel prices, plus an increase of about $750 million in the costs of settlement terms with U.S. plaintiffs over Roundup, resulted in a loss before interest and tax of 9.4 billion euros in the third quarter.   Bayer was caught up in litigation over Roundup, based on the herbicide glyphosate, ...

Bayer to appeal EU ruling on neonicotinoids

Bayer will appeal the ruling of the General Court of the European Union in Case T-429/13. The company is concerned that the verdict, announced in May, could have far-reaching consequences for the certainty and predictability of active substance approvals in the European Union. By appealing the verdict, Bayer aims to ensure that some general interpretations of the crop protection law established by the court are re-considered. These interpretations may have importance beyond this particular case, and Bayer believes they are not legally founded.   Bayer wishes to underline that it respects the European legislative process and accepts the recent decision ...

Bayer to fund projects to increase pollinator forage

Bayer and its partners in a new Feed a Bee steering committee are making available $500,000 over the next two years to fund projects that will increase forage and plantings for honey bees, monarch butterflies and other pollinators in every state in the U.S.   The initiative aims to build on Bayer’s Feed a Bee program, now in its third year, which the company says has rallied more than 900,000 individuals and 117 organizations to plant more than 2 billion wildflowers across the U.S., creating and expanding forage areas for pollinators.   "We convened the (Feed a Bee) steering ...

Bayer to sell Liberty crop protection brands to get Monsanto merger nod

Bayer has agreed to sell its Liberty herbicide and LibertyLink-branded seeds businesses to win antitrust approval for its acquisition of Monsanto, it said on Monday.   The divestment of the two global brands, a requirement imposed by South Africa's Competition Commission on Sunday, will account for the bulk of asset sales worth about $2.5 billion which need to be made to satisfy competition regulators looking at the $66 million Monsanto deal, sources close to the matter have said.   "Bayer has agreed to these conditions and is evaluating how best to execute the imposed divestiture," the German group said ...

Bayer's Monsanto faces 8,000 lawsuits on glyphosate

The number of U.S. lawsuits brought against Bayer’s (BAYGn.DE) newly acquired Monsanto has jumped to about 8,000, as the German drugmaker braces for years of legal wrangling over alleged cancer risks of glyphosate-based weedkillers.   Bayer had previously disclosed 5,200 such lawsuits against Monsanto, which it acquired in a $63 billion deal completed in June.   “The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” ...

Bayer, BASF Fight to Keep Weedkiller on U.S. Farms

Chemical makers Bayer AG and BASF SE are pushing to keep a controversial weedkiller on the market after a federal court in June blocked its use in U.S. soybean and cotton fields.   The companies are seeking approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency that would allow farmers to continue spraying dicamba, a herbicide that can kill hardy weeds but has been blamed for drifting off fields and damaging millions of acres of neighboring crops. Bayer and BASF are proposing that farmers mix the weedkiller with new chemical agents that company officials said would help dicamba stay where it is ...

Bayer, Syngenta Clash With EU Over Bees Amid M&A Charm Offensive

Bayer AG and Syngenta AG, two of the agrichemical giants trying to win the European Commission’s blessing for deals reshaping the global industry, clashed with the EU over bans on insecticides that regulators blame for killing honeybees.   The EU action not only damages farmers, the agricultural industry and the environment, but throws companies into legal uncertainty, Bayer said on the first day of hearings at the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg. BASF SE is also lining up to attack 2013 bans of previously approved pesticides, based on new studies the EU said showed “unacceptable” ...

Bayer’s Glyphosate Lawsuit Headaches Promise to Linger

You’ll have to forgive the executives at Bayer if they have something of a headache these days. While the German-based company is well-known for its brand of pain reliver to the general public, in agriculture, the crop protection/seed giant is primarily known for the No. 1 selling herbicide in the world, glyphosate – thanks to its 2018 acquisition of Monsanto. This combination made the company the largest such business entity in the world, with annual sales in the $22 billion range.   But along with acquiring brand glyphosate, Bayer also acquired a host of lawsuits across America related to it, ...

Be proactive to prevent dicamba drift issues

Grapes, snap beans, tomatoes and watermelons are among some of the most sensitive crops to dicamba, warns University of Illinois Commercial Agriculture Educator Elizabeth Wahle.   But so are peppers, cantaloupes, cucumbers, peaches, apples, squash, broccoli, cut flowers, cabbage, kale, pecans and turnips.   In short, all specialty crops are susceptible to dicamba and other pesticide drift, Wahle recently explained to a group of apple and peach growers in Calhoun County, one of Illinois’ biggest fruit tree districts   Click Here to read more.

Bee Pesticide Ban Debate Could Arise in Next Farm Bill

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) wants to include a ban on pesticides linked to declining bee health in next year’s farm bill, one of several initiatives he is pushing in the legislation to reauthorize agriculture and nutrition programs.   Thirty-one Democrats are backing a bill—the Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2017 ( H.R. 3040)—that would suspend the approval of neonicotinoid pesticides, common insect-killers that are said to harm honeybees, aquatic insects, birds, and other insects and animals. H.R. 3040 would ban imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, and any other neonicotinoids until the Environmental Protection Agency can ...

BeeCheck maps hives and protects pollinators

Recent reports of mosquito spraying for Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in other states have led to many N.C. residents asking what can they do to protect commercial and hobby beehives across the state. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages bee owners to use the BeeCheck mapping software to alert farmers and pesticide applicators to the location of their hives.   “We have spent the past several months educating beekeepers and pesticide applicators about the program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Since the program launched five months ago, 533 producers and more ...

Beekeeper calls pollinator protection bill an overreaction

One of Washington state’s largest beekeepers says the reintroduction of a bill to ban certain pesticides to protect honeybees is an overreaction.   “Neonics are insecticides, and bees are insects, so sloppy or careless application kills bees. But the majority of applicators use caution and don’t cause major acute kills,” says Tim Hiatt, co-owner of Hiatt Honey Co., in Ephrata.   U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act in the House on Feb. 14. The bill would suspend the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides ...

Beekeepers sue EPA over controversial pesticide authorization

An environmental group representing leaders in the beekeeping industry has filed a lawsuit contesting the Trump administration's rollback of pesticide restrictions, citing major risks to honeybee hives. The lawsuit, filed last week by Earthjustice, accuses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of reauthorizing the use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor against the concerns of beekeepers who warn that the chemical can seriously harm or even destroy entire beehives. “Honeybees and other pollinators are dying in droves because of insecticides like sulfoxaflor, yet the Trump administration removes restrictions just to please the chemical industry,” Greg Loarie, an attorney for Earthjustice, ...

Beer Makers Target Precise Fertilizer Application

Sentera, a technology company that provides agronomic insights, is partnering with Anheuser-Busch to improve nitrogen usage among growers. The pair will focus on nitrogen demands in rice production, which is critical for beer.   “While currently there are ways to systematically manage nitrogen demand, this solution enables us to get a baseline for the field, recommend a rate and closely monitor plant health throughout the growing season to modify additional applications accordingly,” said Zach Marston, principle scientist at Sentera in a recent press release. “Ultimately, this empowers us to make adaptive decisions regarding nitrogen applications and management.&...

Behind The Label: An Inside Look At the EPA Approval Process

It takes 10 to 12 years and around $300 million to bring a new pesticide, including herbicides, fungicides or insecticides, to market. While much of that time and money is spent in a lab and on in-field testing, EPA and other governmental agency reviews have started to take a bigger piece of that pie.   In addition, products have to re-register every 15 or so years with updated data. Dicamba, for example, is undergoing the re-registration process as part of the earlier conditional registration.   Here’s a quick look at what EPA requires for registration review.   Click Here to read more.

Behind Walmart's push to eliminate 1 gigaton of greenhouse gases by 2030

As the climate crisis facing the planet becomes more immediate — fueled by powerful images that include devastating floods in Venice and uncontrollable wildfires in the Amazon — companies are waking up to the role they play in climate change and announcing plans for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.   But one company was very much ahead of the curve. Walmart has been focused on sustainability since 2005. Following Hurricane Katrina and the devastation left in its wake, then-CEO Lee Scott announced a change in the company's mindset, which included focusing on ways the retailer could become more environmentally ...

Believe it or not, the bees are doing just fine

You've probably heard the bad news by now that bees were recently added to the endangered species list for the first time. But if you're part of the 60 percent of people who share stories without actually reading them, you might have missed an important detail: namely, that the newly endangered bees are a handful of relatively obscure species who live only in Hawaii.   The bees you're more familiar with — the ones that buzz around your yard dipping into flowers, making honey, pollinating crops and generally keeping the world's food supply from collapsing? Those bees ...

Bernie Sanders rolls out "Roosevelt style trust-busting" agriculture plan

2020 Democrat Bernie Sanders unveiled a multifaceted, comprehensive plan to help revitalize rural farming communities and break up big agriculture corporations like Bayer-Monsanto and John Deere by enacting "Roosevelt style trust-busting laws."   "Agriculture today is not working for the majority of Americans. It is not working economically for farmers, it is not working for rural communities, and it is not working for the environment. But it is working for big agribusiness corporations that are extracting our rural resources for profit."   "For far too long, government farm policies have incentivized a 'get big or get ...

Biden Administration Promises Focus on Environmental Justice

When President Joe Biden made environmental protection a key element of his campaign, he promised to overhaul the federal office that investigates complaints from people in minority communities who believe they have been unfairly harmed by industrial pollution or waste disposal.   Although the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that disadvantaged communities in America are disproportionately affected by pollution, hundreds of complaints sent to its civil rights office since the mid-1990s have only once resulted in a formal finding of discrimination.   The situation has provoked criticism from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the EPA’s own Office ...

Biden Administration to Consider Carbon Border Tax as Part of Trade Agenda: USTR

The Biden administration said on Monday it would consider carbon border adjustment taxes to help cut greenhouse gas emissions in global trade and to combat China’s use of forced labor among Uighur Muslims in its western Xinjiang region.   Releasing a new administration trade agenda here, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said the carbon border adjustment, which consists of import fees levied by carbon-taxing countries on goods manufactured in non-carbon-taxing countries, would be considered as part of an effort to explore and develop market and regulatory approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   The broad set ...

Biden Could Announce Cabinet Picks as Soon as This Week

President-elect Joe Biden is moving quickly to fill out his administration and could name top leaders for his Cabinet as early as this week.   Biden told reporters on Thursday that he's already decided on who will lead the Treasury Department. That pick, along with his nominee for secretary of state, may be announced before Thanksgiving, according to people close to the transition who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.   The Cabinet announcements could be released in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, ...

Biden Elevates White House Science Post to Cabinet Level

President-elect Joe Biden is elevating the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to a Cabinet-level position, a move that highlights the emphasis the incoming administration plans to put on science as it inherits a public health crisis.   Biden on Friday named Eric Lander, a principal leader of the Human Genome Project, to the post and announced several other key members of the White House science team.   "Science will always be at the forefront of my administration -- and these world-renowned scientists will ensure everything we do is grounded in science, facts, and ...

Biden Ends Direct Negotiations with GOP on Infrastructure

President Biden has ended infrastructure negotiations with the GOP. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says Republicans’ latest offer doesn’t “meet the essential needs” of the country to fix roads and bridges, position the country for a reliant clean energy future, and create jobs.   She says Biden had reduced his plant by more than a trillion dollars and Republicans had increased theirs by only $150 Billion.   A bipartisan group of senators led by Mitt Romney has been working on an alternative offer as a backup and will be in touch with the president about ...

Biden EPA Asks Court for a Chance to Reconsider Glyphosate Registration Decision

The Biden EPA has asked a federal court for a chance to review and possibly revise parts of the agency's 2020 interim decision to re-register glyphosate (Roundup) while leaving the herbicide on the market.   EPA's request was filed Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where it is facing a combined lawsuit from a coalition of farmworker and environmental groups, who are asking the court to vacate the registration of glyphosate entirely.   Specifically, EPA wants to reconsider its analysis of glyphosate's ecological risks and other costs of the herbicide and re-weigh ...

Biden Mulls Giving Farmers Billions to Fight Climate Change.

The Biden administration's ambitious plan to create a multibillion-dollar bank to help pay farmers to capture carbon from the atmosphere is running into surprising skepticism, challenging Agriculture Department officials to persuade the industry to get behind the massive climate proposal.   "There's a balance between moving really quickly and also being deliberate enough that we can bring folks along with us,” said a senior USDA official, who believes the doubts can be addressed.   The plan is to roll out some type of action this year, the senior official said, who was granted anonymity in order ...

Biden Plans to Tap Top NC Environmental Regulator to Lead EPA

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Michael Regan, North Carolina's top environmental regulator, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, according to three sources with knowledge of the discussions.   If confirmed, Regan would be the first Black man to run the EPA and would become one of the key players in Biden's sweeping agenda to fight climate change by bringing the U.S. economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.   His nomination would end a competitive contest to be named the nation's top environmental regulator that included California's environmental chief Mary Nichols, who ...

Biden Rolls Out Strategy to Reduce Supply Chain Disruptions

The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the fragility of supply chains in the U.S. To build a more resilient supply chain, the White House just published a 250-page report with assessments and an expansive list of recommendations.   To discuss what these recommendations mean for agriculture, Jared Bernstein, White House Council of Economic Advisers, joined AgriTalk Host Chip Flory on Tuesday, June 8. Listen to their discussion:   “When you're thinking about supply chains, our goal is more resilient, less fragile,” Bernstein says. “We have seen the fragility of our supply chains exposed during the pandemic. We need ...

Biden Sets Goal to Cut GHG Emissions by at Least 50%

President Biden is setting a goal to reduce U.S. Greenhouse Gas emissions by at least 50% over the next 10 years.     He unveiled the plan today, Earth Day, at his international climate summit with leaders from China, India and other countries.     The new U.S. target is almost double that of the nation’s earlier Paris Climate Agreement commitment.     The White House says there are multiple paths to reach the emissions goal by 2030 and that millions of jobs will be created as a result. It says agriculture and forests play a role by enhancing ...

Biden Signals Major Shift on Regulations With First-Day Orders

A series of orders by President Biden reimagining the regulatory process has thrilled progressives by stressing the need to craft policy that focuses on dignity, safety and equity as much as technical analysis.   The orders, signed the first day of the administration, have gotten less attention than those rejoining the Paris Climate Accord or ending the so-called Muslim ban, but could have a major impact, signaling an administration that plans to roll out more sweeping rules than its predecessors.   But the orders have also prompted concerns by some who fear the administration will move away from the lengthy, ...

Biden Team’s Proactive Outreach to Agriculture Has Farm Groups Optimistic

With only 12 days until the Biden presidential inauguration, agriculture is waiting to see what a shift in power will mean for agricultural policy. There is already optimism sprouting from some agricultural groups, with leaders saying the Biden Administration is taking an extremely proactive approach.     “I have been in Washington since Ronald Reagan was President, so I've seen administrations come and I’ve seen administrations go. I have never, ever seen the kind of outreach to agriculture that I’ve seen with the Biden folks,” says Jon Doggett, CEO of National Corn Growers ...

Biden to champion climate action in 2021

Climate change is poised to receive a much bigger spotlight in 2021 as President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration puts a renewed focus on tackling various environmental and energy issues.   Biden has made combating climate change one of his top priorities when he enters office and has set a goal to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050 while pushing different ways to reduce emissions.   While Biden's focus on climate change is set to mark a drastic shift in U.S. policy compared to the Trump administration, complexities in the rulemaking process and pushback from a likely divided ...

Biden to Move Fast to Strike Down Trump’s Environmental Agenda

The EPA and Interior Department under President-elect Joe Biden will have a range of tools at their disposal to start undoing President Donald Trump’s deregulatory agenda on the environment, according to former agency officials, lawyers, and environmentalists.   Many of the administration’s more ambitious environmental goals, such as reviving regulations on climate pollutants from power plants and automobiles, will take longer to change or put into place. But most observers expect Biden’s team to get working immediately after inauguration on smaller measures, such as the “secret science” rule that would block the ...

Biden uses executive orders to address COVID-19, other health care issues

President Joe Biden’s extensive use of executive orders Wednesday to jump-start his presidency and his plans to sign several more this month demonstrate his desire to act swiftly, without waiting for congressional approval, on issues such as COVID-19.   Experts expect him to continue to leverage executive powers to advance his health care agenda. The early wave of executive actions suggests he’ll try to quickly reverse current policies from the Trump administration and outline his own priorities as the United States approaches the grim milestone, projected as soon as next month, of half a million COVID-19 ...

Biden Weighs Pick for Agriculture Chief from Diverse Slate

One leading candidate for agriculture secretary hails from Cleveland, has the backing of progressives and has worked for years to boost food stamp programs. Another is a former senator from farm-state North Dakota who has championed production agriculture and boasts of a voting record squarely in the middle.   Three other possible selections have similarly varied backgrounds — one helped write and implement federal regulations for organic foods, another is California’s agriculture secretary and represented wine grape growers, and a third has spent his career ensuring protections for farm workers.   President-elect Joe Biden’s choices for ...

Biden's EPA Pick to Review Options for Biofuel Blending Law Beyond 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency said he will confer with legal and policy teams to understand the options available for setting mandates to blend biofuels into the nation’s fuel mix beyond 2022.   Michael Regan also said he has had conversations with other members of the Biden administration, including Biden’s pick for the Agriculture Department, to discuss the role biofuels can play in combating climate change, according to written responses from Regan to questions submitted to him by Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa.   Under the U....

Biden's Executive Order Takes Aim at Mergers as CN-KCS Seeks Regulatory OK

President Joe Biden's executive order on competition, which the president will sign Friday afternoon, takes aim at industries that have faced increased consolidation, which includes agriculture, health care, technology, financial services and transportation.   "That lack of competition drives up prices for consumers," a fact sheet released from the White House stated. "As fewer large players have controlled more of the market, mark-ups (charges over costs) have tripled. Families are paying higher prices for necessities -- things like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and internet service."   The order's drive is to "reduce the ...

Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Will Make or Break His Climate Legacy

President Joe Biden is turning to his next legislative priority, a $3 trillion pair of infrastructure bills that put climate change front and center. As first reported in the New York Times on March 22, funding will be directed to the electric grid, energy-efficient affordable housing, electric vehicle charging stations, and other clean energy priorities. It follows a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package signed earlier this month.   The infrastructure package shows that Biden is taking a different approach to the climate crisis than Barack Obama. Rather than centering his climate policy agenda on regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants (as Obama ...

Big Reach for Autonomous Farming

For anyone interested in autonomous farming, the next week or two will be an interesting time for the evolution of the science and the technology. This spring, Craig Rupp and Kyler Laird are beginning their audacious journey to plant 10,000 acres of soybeans with a single, autonomous tractor and 18-row planter.   Rupp is CEO of Sabanto Ag, the company formed in October 2018 to test the notions of new production efficiency through autonomous farming. Sabanto is a "Farming-as-a-Service company performing row-crop operations using advanced autonomous equipment," according to the company's website, www.sabantoag.com. Laird is the co-founder ...

Bill Aiming to Curb Toxic Algae in Lake Erie Passes Ohio Houe

The Ohio House unanimously passed a bill yesterday designed to help reduce farmland manure runoff into Lake Erie, while the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has responded to 10 reported manure spills discovered in the last nine days. House Bill 61 would prohibit farmers in northwestern Ohio from spreading manure and fertilizer on their fields if the ground is frozen or saturated with water, or if the forecast calls for a greater than 50 percent chance of precipitation exceeding 1 inch in a 12-hour period. Click Here to read more.

Bill Aiming to Curb Toxic Algae in Lake Erie Passes Ohio House

The Ohio House unanimously passed a bill yesterday designed to help reduce farmland manure runoff into Lake Erie, while the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has responded to 10 reported manure spills discovered in the last nine days. House Bill 61 would prohibit farmers in northwestern Ohio from spreading manure and fertilizer on their fields if the ground is frozen or saturated with water, or if the forecast calls for a greater than 50 percent chance of precipitation exceeding 1 inch in a 12-hour period. Click Here to read more.

Bill Banning EPA's Proposed Attack on Property Rights Expected to Be Considered By House

The House is expected to vote on legislation as soon as today that would prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with their proposed "waters of the U.S." rule.   In April, the EPA and Corps proposed regulation that would define what waters that they can regulate under the Clean Water Act.  For decades, they have tried to expand their jurisdiction.  The proposed rule is no exception, acting as both a water and land power grab.  It has little to do with actually improving the environment.   Click Here to read ...

Bill Gates Discusses GMO Controversy - Video

The Gates Foundation co-chair responds to criticism by some environmentalists and other against the use of genetically modified seeds.   Click Here to watch the video.

Bill Gates Discusses GMO Controversy - Video

The Gates Foundation co-chair responds to criticism by some environmentalists and other against the use of genetically modified seeds.   Click Here to watch the video.

Bill Gates Discusses GMO Controversy - Video

The Gates Foundation co-chair responds to criticism by some environmentalists and other against the use of genetically modified seeds.   Click Here to watch the video.

Bill on Gov Quinn's desk would allow voters to register on Election Day

Illinois Democrats pushed election day voting registration bill last month on the second-to-last day of spring session with the idea that it would boost voter turnout.  Many Republicans claim it is part of a larger effort to increase Democrats' numbers at the polls in a competitve election, namley Gov Quinn's bid for a second full term againist Repulican businessman Bruce Rauner.   Click here to read more about the bill.

Bill would limit terms of Illinois legislative leaders

A bill has been proposed at the Illinois General Assembly that would put term limits on four legislative positions.   The State Journal-Register reports that Republican Rep. Thomas M. Bennett of Gibson City has proposed the bill. It would limit the House speaker, Senate president and the minority leader in each chamber to 10 consecutive years in their roles.   Bennett submitted a similar bill in March, but it never left the committee. But last year, the chamber approved a resolution that limits the tenure of the Senate president and the minority leader to 10 years.   Click Here to read more.

Billionaire J.B. Pritzker announces run for Illinois governor

Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that he is launching a campaign to try to unseat Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, setting the stage for what could be one of the most expensive races of the 2018 election cycle.   Pritzker, an heir to his family's Hyatt Hotel chain and investor who Forbes estimates is worth $3.4 billion, has the ability to self-finance a campaign that is expected to shatter the more than $100 million spent by the wealthy venture capitalist Rauner and former Democratic governor Pat Quinn in the 2014 race.   Pritzker, who served as co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’...

Bills Would Allow Illinois Lawmakers to Meet, Vote Remotely

Two lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the General Assembly to meet and vote remotely during a pandemic or other emergency that makes in-person meetings dangerous.   Rep. Ann Williams and Sen. Robert Martwick, both Chicago Democrats, filed the legislation Monday, saying the current inability to conduct business remotely has hindered lawmakers’ ability to respond to the health crisis.   “In March, we had no idea a pandemic would sweep the globe, bringing life as we know it to a halt,” Williams said in a news release. “While we were able to meet for a ...

Biotech Crop Surge Reaches All-Time High

In the past 21 years, commercialized biotech crops have increased 110-fold to an estimated 185.1 million hectares (about 457 million acres) in 2016, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).   “Biotech crops have become a vital agricultural resource for farmers around the world because of the immense benefits for improved productivity and profitability,” according to ISAAA chair of the board, Paul S. Teng. “With the commercial approvals and plantings of new varieties of biotech potatoes and apples, consumers will begin to enjoy direct benefits of biotechnology with produce that is not likely to spoil or ...

Bleak Outlook Sparks Frenzied Dealmaking in Nitrogen Fertilizer Market

Sinking crop prices and frenzied output growth by nitrogen fertilizer producers have sparked nearly $10 billion worth of deals in the fragmented sector and signal more consolidation may be ahead in the largest of three crop nutrient markets.   Illinois-based CF Industries Holdings Inc., the world's third-largest nitrogen fertilizer producer, was involved in three of four deals in the past month, taking out two potential competitors in its backyard and locking up sales volumes in the United States, the world's No. 1 corn-producing country.   "What CF is doing is classic corporate self-preservation in a world where there are well-financed ...

Boston Globe---GMO Labeling Bill Lacks a Scientific Justification

Advances in crop biotechnology over the past 20 years have multiplied the range of so-called genetically engineered foods in the average citizen's diet.  Despite reassurances from the international and US scientific community about the safety of genetically modified organisms(GMO), the anti-GMO movement continues to gain ground, and has arrived at the state legislature in the form of a proposal that would create new food labeling regulations.  But until there is a solid scientific reason to believe that genetically modified crops are unhealthy, a labeling requirement would only serve to confuse consumers.   Click Here to read more.

Both local parties see state, national issues as leverage

As local parties gear up for the fall campaign season, Sangamon County Democrats are hoping to use state and national politics -- specifically, Gov. Bruce Rauner and President Donald Trump -- to motivate their supporters in the coming months.   In Sangamon County, which has historically been a Republican stronghold, GOP leaders say those same forces work in their favor, because of support for both men. And when it comes to several measures, such as fundraising and office holders, the Republicans still hold the edge.   That played out recently, for instance, when Democrats were unable to find a candidate ...

Brandt Expands Illinois Production Facility

A new 40,000 square foot expansion has begun at Brandt’s Pleasant Plains, Ill., manufacturing facility.   The company says the larger footprint will allow for expand storage capacity by more than 30%. The space will be used for more storage of its finished dry and liquid fertilizer blends in addition to larger supplies of raw materials.   The expansion is a $1.5 investment.   “In 2020, we saw unprecedented demand for Brandt specialty nutrition products,” Bill Engel, Brandt Executive Vice President said in a news release. “We continue to make significant investments in our business to ensure that we ...

Brandt Hosts Illinois' National AG Day Event

The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. An estimated 200 Ag professionals, FFA members and distinguished guests joined Governor Bruce Rauner and Director Philip Nelson in honoring the agriculture industry and celebrating the abundance provided by American farmers. "I want to thank BRANDT for hosting us today," said Governor Rauner. "And I want you to know that I'm all in for the agriculture industry." In addition to Governor Rauner and Director Nelson, speakers included David Erickson, VP of the Illinois Farm Bureau; Marty Marr, Board ...

Brazil court overturns ban on weed-killer glyphosate

A Brazilian court on Monday overturned an injunction banning products containing the popular weed-killer glyphosate, knocking down a previous ruling that had been set to disrupt the soy planting season set to begin this month.   A Brazilian judge ruled last month to halt the registration of new glyphosate-based products in the country and to suspend existing registrations after 30 days, until health agency Anvisa issues a pending ruling on its safety.   That 30-day deadline had been due to pass on Monday, just as the first month of soy planting gets under way. The injunction and the subsequent reversal also ...

Brazil regulator approves Mosaic purchase of Vale fertilizer unit

A Brazilian regulator has approved the acquisition of miner Vale's (VALE5.SA) fertilizer unit by U.S.-based Mosaic (MOS.N) without restrictions, according to a notice in the official government newspaper published Tuesday.   Mosaic agreed to buy Vale Fertilizantes in December for $2.5 billion in a deal that makes Vale the largest shareholder in the U.S. company while raising money to help the Brazilian miner to achieve its debt reduction goals.   "This acquisition gives Mosaic the opportunity to benefit from the growing Brazilian agriculture market. ... For Vale, the deal guarantees an important capital injection and ...

Brazil soy exporters to police Monsanto Biotech Seeds - for a Fee

At least one soybean exporter in Brazil has agreed with Monsanto to collect royalties, in exchange for a fee, from farmers who planted genetically engineered seeds marketed by the company, according to industry sources.   The landmark deal, already finalized by a firm that declined to be identified, highlights an increasingly complex relationship between global grain merchants and biotech firms.   Click Here to read more.

Bribery charge against ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo brings fresh scrutiny to sweepstakes machines, raises questions about potential for abuse as gambling expands

State lawmakers have worked over the past decade to bring various forms of gambling out of the shadows and onto the tax rolls, from legalizing video poker at bars and restaurants in 2009 to authorizing sports betting this spring.   But the latest turn in a sprawling federal probe into public corruption from Chicago to Springfield has shined a light on a type of gambling that has flourished in a gray area of the law.   Chicago Democrat Luis Arroyo, who resigned from the Illinois House on Friday after being charged with bribery Monday, is alleged to have offered kickbacks to ...

Bright green color, dead fish raise algae-bloom fears on Salt Fork

State agencies are investigating dead fish and an unusual green color in the Salt Fork River first noticed by residents last week.   The intense green color of the river, which is low after weeks with no significant rainfall and with hot summer temperatures, was first noticed Wednesday and Thursday by nearby residents who reported it to local agencies, including the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.   The intense green color of the river, which is low after weeks with no significant rainfall and hot summer temperatures, was first noticed on Wednesday and Thursday by local residents, who reported it to ...

Bringing economic development and water quality in Iowa. (Audio)

A new alliance is focusing on the dollars and cents of water quality for Iowa agriculture. Click Here to hear more.  

Bringing economic development and water quality in Iowa. (Audio)

A new alliance is focusing on the dollars and cents of water quality for Iowa agriculture. Click Here to hear more.  

Broad coalition in Iowa to push for sales tax hike targeted at water quality

Iowans would pay higher state sales taxes to finance improvements in water quality and other natural resources programs under a new lobbying initiative endorsed Monday by a group of Iowa business and conservation leaders.   Organizers said they are launching a larger and stronger Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition that will propose raising the state sales tax by three-eighths of 1 cent in the 2017 session of the Iowa Legislature, which convenes in January. The additional $180 million in state revenue would support initiatives that would include cleaning up the state's dirty rivers and streams, upgrading soil conservation, and ...

Broadband Infrastructure Investment a Must

A member of the Rural Broadband Association says Congress must make sure networks are built to last to meet the growing demand for broadband and that means using a variety of technologies.     “Putting resources towards infrastructure that must be substantially rebuilt in only a few years’ time will be a waste and risk leaving rural America behind,” Jennifer Prather with Totel Communications of Texas testified at a House Ag committee hearing about what is needed to reach the goal of providing ALL rural Americans reliable, high-speed internet.     “Any new broadband program must ...

Bruce Rauner, Rahm Emanuel and Michael Madigan butt heads over the Illinois budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner made some news the other day when he went on Dan Proft's WIND-AM/560 radio show and whacked Mayor Rahm Emanuel but good.   “It's so unfortunate the way the mayor is failing the people of Chicago and he's looking to blame other people for it,” Rauner told Proft. The mayor has done “virtually nothing” to reform the city's government and its schools, he added.   Rauner wasn't totally wrong on either point.   As a buddy of mine says, Emanuel is a better mayor than Richard M. Daley ...

Buda man killed in tractor, train crash

The 25-year-old man killed when an Amtrak train collided with his tractor Thursday morning southwest of Wyanet was identified Friday morning as Andrew "Drew" Frese, of Buda.   Frese, who was struck around 9:35 a.m. at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad crossing, was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:30 a.m. by Coroner Janice Wamhoff.   Frese was southbound, crossing from one field to another when he was struck by the westbound passenger train, Sheriff James Reed said in a news release. He was pulling an anhydrous ammonia applicator behind the John Deere tractor.   The locomotive ...

Budget Battle Agitating Ag

President Donald Trump has made waves with many groups when it comes to health care reform, immigration policy, and proposed tax cuts. However, when the administration announced its proposed federal budget, it displeased several members of the agricultural community.   At issue are the President’s call to make significant cuts to the 2018 Farm Bill and risk management programs many grower-customers have relied on to stay in business during the commodity price down cycle the marketplace currently finds itself in.   Click Here to read more.

Budget highlighted eventful, mostly peaceful session

For the first time in a while, Illinois lawmakers aren’t facing overtime duty in Springfield this summer.   With a budget passed and a commitment from Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign it, Illinois should peacefully start its new fiscal year July 1.   “I’d like to really thank the Republicans for their support and cooperation this year,” said Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, on the last day of the session. “I think a lot of that started last year when we started with our Grand Bargain and started working together. I think we carried ...

Budget includes $80M for Capitol fixes, $30M for fairgrounds

Repairing buildings at the state fairgrounds, replacing some plumbing in the Capitol and making long-awaited improvements to the Lincoln-Herndon law office are among the public works projects that will be financed under the budget signed into law Monday.   “The things moving to the head of the line in this budget would be (road projects), also several hundred million dollars for improvements and repairs at facilities like colleges, universities, prisons, the Capitol Complex,” said Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, the House Democrats’ point person on the budget. “The deferred maintenance kind of repairs that have built up ...

Budget mess implicates safety with armored-pickup halt

After four months hauling cash from Illinois driver's facilities without payment from the state, an armored-truck company walked last fall, leaving the job to police officers who work for the secretary of state.   Montreal-based GardaWorld's trucks started rolling again after the state paid the overdue $79,000 amid a record budget standoff. But that only covered work through last Friday, so almost as quickly as the mess was resolved, the state could find itself in the same predicament again.   While the state's 10-month deadlock has forced deep spending cuts on human services and education programs, the armored ...

Budget Resolutions Take Center Stage, Along with Cabinet Nominations

The House plans to take up a budget resolution this week for a coronavirus relief package, and the Senate may be close behind.   House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., plans to release a fiscal 2021 budget resolution Monday. It’s expected to go to the Rules Committee on Tuesday and to the floor Wednesday.   Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is expected to introduce an identical budget resolution early in the week in the Senate, with a goal of adopting the budget by Friday morning.   Click Here to read more.

Budget Roadshow: Senate Panel Talks Cuts in Southern Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner isn't the only state official hitting the road during the Legislature's spring recess. With the Republican chief executive making a 17-stop swing through western and central Illinois this week in support of a series of business reforms, members of a Senate budget panel are heading to Carbondale on Wednesday to discuss the governor's controversial spending proposal. The Democrat who heads the committee said the southern Illinois stop is just one in a series of local hearings designed to take testimony from organizations and individuals who will be affected by Rauner's plan to slash ...

Buffer Regulations, Benefits, and Challenges

Buffer is not a four-letter word, but in Minnesota, it might as well be one. Governor Mark Dayton’s campaign last winter and spring for mandatory 50-foot buffers along streams, lakes, and ditches brought a lot of heat to this northern state. Dayton even suggested that farm practices are turning the state’s 10,000 lakes into cesspools.   "There were a lot of lightning rods to this,” recalls Kevin Paap, who farms near Mankato and who is president of Minnesota Farm Bureau. “One week I had over 60 calls from people wondering what was going on.”   ...

Bush Attacks Regulations as He Seeks Iowa Breakout

Jeb Bush is attacking the Obama administration's regulatory agenda, including its new Clean Water Act rule, as he struggles to find a message to shore up his lagging race in Iowa.   The former Florida governor, who spent four hours at the Iowa State Fair on Friday, opened a speech by charging that the economy was being held back by the “most convoluted regulatory system.”   “I don't need to tell Iowans about the EPA rules as it relates to water and now the rules as it relates to air that will stifle the ability ...

Bustos secures agriculture wins for rural america in $152 billion appropriations bill

Thursday, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) helped pass a comprehensive Agriculture and Rural Development funding bill out of the powerful House Appropriations Committee that would deliver more than $152 billion in agriculture and rural support.   “Democrats are building up our rural communities, and this package reflects the critical investments that rural America needs to recover from COVID-19 and build back stronger than ever,” said Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “More than any other single issue, mayors across my district have called for increased investment in critical water and broadband infrastructure. From towns like Avon, ...

Buttigieg: A Mileage Tax 'Shows a Lot of Promise'

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Friday that a tax on how far travelers go looks like a promising way to fund President Biden’s infrastructure bill.   Biden said during his first solo press conference on Thursday that he will announce the $3 trillion proposal on Friday in Pittsburgh.   The next day, his Transportation head said a mileage tax could be one way to help pay for the plan.   “I think that shows a lot of promise,” Buttigieg said. “If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay ...

California Environmental Protection Agency Acts to Ban Chlorpyrifos

In a move to protect workers, public health and the environment, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced today that the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is acting to ban the use of the pesticide and toxic air contaminant chlorpyrifos in California by initiating cancellation of the pesticide.   CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also announced that the Governor will propose $5.7 million in new funding in the May Revision budget proposal to support the transition to safer, more sustainable alternatives, and plans to convene a working group to identify, evaluate and recommend alternative pest management ...

California Growers to Lose Controversial Pesticide

While California growers have been expecting this moment for a while, the California Environmental Protection Agency has officially (CalEPA) announced the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) the sunset of chlorpyrifos in the state.   This announcement follows restricted use by California Department of Pesticide Regulation last fall.   Chlorpyrifos is used on more than 800,000 acres and 60 crops including tree nuts, vegetables, grapes, citrus, cotton, and alfalfa in California alone. Collectively, these crops amount to $23 billion in value for the state. Chlorpyrifos has been a key tool in Asian citrus psyllid control in Florida.   Gov. Gavin Newson also will propose $5.7 ...

California May have to Restrict Common Pesticide

California farmers who spray a widely used insecticide on some of the state's most abundant crops may soon have to overcome the nation's steepest restrictions of find another pest killer, officials said Thursday.   Regulators are proposing heavy restrictions - but not an all out ban - on chlorpyrifos, used to treat crops like grapes and almonds.  The pesticide, in use since 1965, has sickened dozens of farmworks in recent years.  Traces have been found in waterways, threating fish, and regulators say overuse coud make targeted insects immune to the pesticide.   Click Here to read more.

Callahan Highlights Relationship Between AG and Natural Resources

A leader in both agriculture and natural resources says there needs to be a continued relationship between the two sectors.   Colleen Callahan is the former director of Illinois Rural Development for the USDA and now serves as the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. She says the ag and natural resources departments work toward similar goals.   “Because when we talk about the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, when we talk about flooding, when we talk about levees, aren’t we talking about soil and water and aren’t those natural resources? The two departments ...

Calling GMO's "Unnatural" Suggests They are Unhealthy

The push to define natural food has involved lawsuits about many different aspects of what's in our food, including high-fructose corn, syrup, additives, chemicals and GMO's.  But these issues are not equal, and categorizing GMO's in particular as unnatural would wrongly suggest that they are unhealthy.   Nearly every respected scientific association - including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Medical Association, and American Society of Plant Biologist- has attested to the safety of GMO crops for one simple reason: scientific evidence indicates that the consumption of genetically modified crops is not ...

Campbell GMO labeling announcement could spur federal action

Campbell Soup Company's decision to support mandatory GMO labeling received plaudits from labeling advocates, jeers from an anti-labeling industry coalition, and a more subdued response from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.   It also may have greased the skids for federal legislation, a task that could be made easier if all sides in the debate could agree on what Congress should do.   Negotiations over a resolution to the issue could heat up next week. A source told Agri-Pulse that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is inviting representatives from both sides to a meeting Wednesday in an attempt to forge a ...

Can EPA ‘restore science and common sense’ to neonicotinoid insecticide regulations?

A federal district court judge has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to consult with the FWS before approving 59 products containing neonicotinoid pesticides that are used primarily as seed coatings for corn, canola, cotton, potato, sugar beet and other crops.   Extensive studies have concluded that the actual cause of bee die-offs and “colony collapse disorders” has been a toxic mix of tiny pests (parasitic Varroa destructor mites, phorid flies, Nosema ceranae gut fungus, tobacco ringspot virus and deformed wing virus) – as well as chemicals used by beekeepers trying to control these beehive infestations.   Field ...

Can legislation be passed in lame duck session, but held for the new governor?

The question of whether it's possible for one class of state lawmakers to pass a bill but hold it for a future governor could be tested when lawmakers come back for lame duck session, but the answer if it’s legal might have to wait on the courts.   What could happen when lawmakers return Monday for the final two days of the 100th General Assembly? That’s anyone’s guess. And there is lots of speculation.   State Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, asked out loud an interesting procedural question.   Click Here to read more.

Can Rural Broadband Help Save Farm Country?

When Robert Blair first got an aerial glimpse of his 1,300-acre dryland operation, he knew images of his fields would be a game-changer. Like many in the rolling Palouse Hills, the Kendrick, Idaho-based farmer grows wheat, barley, lentils, chickpeas, and alfalfa, as well as cows. Unlike many, Blair prefers to be at the bleeding edge of technology. But it’s not easy. Thirteen years after he first started using drones, he still struggles to get good enough internet connectivity to take full advantage of the technology.   Right now, it typically takes four days, on average, to send data ...

Can the Illinois GOP still be effective as a superminority?

Illinois Republicans seem in an unenviable position today.   The party controls no constitutional offices in state government. Democrats have more members in the Legislature than at any time since it took on its modern size, with supermajorities in both chambers.   But that doesn’t mean local GOP lawmakers are disconsolate. They’re not thrilled at the position their party is in. But each says he sees opportunities to be effective even from a position in which Republicans alone can’t deliver the votes to pass a bill or override a gubernatorial veto.   Right now, ...

Canada approves North American trade deal

Canada on Friday formally approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), taking the last legislative step to implementation of the deal to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).   The trade deal, ratified by the Mexican legislature last June and by Congress in January, was formally ratified by the Canadian Senate Friday, and shortly thereafter received royal assent, the Canadian governor general's approval.   The deal was passed through the legislature before Parliament shut down for five weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.   Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that his family would self-isolate ...

Canada’s suspect move to phase out neonicotinoids to ‘protect bees’ sets stage for US regulatory battle

Canada’s PMRA—its environmental regulatory agency, part of HealthCanada—rolled out for public comment its tentative decision to phase out almost all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid pesticides over the next 3-5 years. Neonicotiniods, or neonics, are crop protection products that have become the world’s most widely used pesticide class thanks to their ability to selectively control pests that destroy crops, while also being human- and animal-safe.   However, neonics have become embroiled in a multi-year controversy in Europe and North America over whether they hurt beneficial species, specifically honeybees and wild bees. For years, ...

Canadian Farmers Store Fertilizer to Fight Dealer' Pricing Power

Canadian farmers are plowing profits from bumper crops into fertilizer storage facilities to mitigate the pricing power held by major retailers and producers. Having their own storage lets farmers buy nutrients more cheaply during the off-season and creates fewer transport bottlenecks in the spring planting season. Over time, the practice might erode the steep premiums farmers pay in the spring to retail businesses owned by Agrium Inc, Richardson International and Cargill Ltd , while shifting distribution patterns of producers Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, Mosaic Co and CF Industries. The trend is part of a wider shift by North American farmers to ...

Canadian Fertilizer Companies Brace for Fall in U.S. Crop Prices

Canadian fertilizer companies Potash Corp of Saskatchewan and Agrium Inc are bracing for a pullback in demand from U.S. farmers due to sliding crop prices, but say any slump is unlikely to be severe.   The prospect for a record-large U.S. corn crop has dragged Chicago nearby corn futures to a four-year low.  Lower prices of corn, wheat and soybeans reduce farmers' margins, althought big crops offset some of the impact.   Corn is one of the biggest users of fertilizer - which boosts crop yields - and the United States pays a premium for potash over ...

Cancer agency left in the dark over glyphosate evidence

When Aaron Blair sat down to chair a week-long meeting of 17 specialists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France in March 2015, there was something he wasn’t telling them.   The epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute had seen important unpublished scientific data relating directly to a key question the IARC specialists were about to consider: Whether research shows that the weedkiller glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling RoundUp brand, causes cancer.   Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that ...

Candidate guide for March 20 Primary Election

Political parties will be selecting their nominees for federal and state offices in Illinois during the March 20 primary. Here’s a look at the races important to Springfield-area residents. Scroll down for a list of candidates, links to profile articles about them, extended audio interviews with The State Journal-Register Editorial Board and unedited written questionnaires.   Click Here to read more.

Candidates begin filing petitions for 2018 Illinois primary

Hundreds of candidates were in line Monday enjoying moderate temperatures in the 40s and sunshine outside the State Board of Elections as an every-two-year event was repeated with the 8 a.m. start of filing for next year’s elections.   The filings mark a formal beginning to a 2018 election season in Illinois that could see record spending in the race for governor. Filing for offices -- including members of Congress, state constitutional officers and legislators, as well as judges -- runs through next Monday.   Leading the line Monday was a group from the Democratic Party of Illinois with ...

Candidates for governor offer different economic visions

In late 2017, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign debuted an ad featuring three Republican governors from surrounding states sarcastically saying “thank you” to House Speaker Michael Madigan for “raising Illinois taxes” and “helping create new jobs” in their states.   The ad was an opening salvo in a campaign that has seen Rauner and his Democratic critics blame one another over who is more responsible for economic growth that lags behind most other states.   The state added slightly more than 50,000 jobs between September 2017 and last month, representing a year-to-year increase of just 0.8 ...

Candidates for Illinois governor spend $65.7 million on TV ads –– just for the primaries

Like Chicago’s downtown on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, a river of green has flowed through TV sets ahead of Tuesday’s primary vote, as governor candidates have spent tens of millions of dollars on advertising during the long campaign.   The frenzied final weekend of in-person campaigning supplements the nearly $65.7 million spent by governor candidates and interest groups on TV commercials so far. The contest could become the most expensive race to be Illinois’ chief executive in state history.   That TV spending total -- in just the primary -- is more than the ...

Capital plan debate: Lots of money needed to build, fix things in Illinois

As about 20 senators from a couple of Senate committees looked on recently, Matt Magalis, acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation, tried to lay out some of the state’s backlogged transportation needs.   The state needs $13 billion to $15 billion over 10 years just for maintenance of existing roads. That doesn’t include additional roads or traffic lanes needed to move additional traffic, especially in the Chicago metropolitan area.   Nor did it include an estimated $250 million needed for airport improvements exclusive of O’Hare and Midway, $19.1 billion for mass transit, $800 million for passenger rail and $4 billion ...

Capitol Hill Slowly Focuses On Non-COVID, Non-Election Issues

It may seem the only news these days focuses on COVID 19 cases, the fight against inequality or President Trump’s reelection challenges, whether Joe Biden or Josh Bolton.  Truth be told, Washington, DC, is slowly trying to take care of other business.   There will be a “phase four” economic stimulus bill as talks accelerate, though no word on whether the price tag will be billions or trillions.  USDA said this week it’s mailed $2.9 billion in producer direct payments based on its $16 billion in CARES Act funding.  Lawmakers are trying to shoehorn ...

Cash Strapped Illinois: Can't do the "Impossible" on Paying

The state of Illinois asked a federal judge Friday not to hold it in contempt for missing a recent court-ordered deadline to pay services providers for the disabled, saying compliance should “not mean doing the impossible” amid one of the nation’s worst budgetary crises.   That plea came in a U.S. court filing in Chicago days after Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman told officials to explain why they hadn’t met a deadline she set for last week for some payments. She could rule next week on holding Illinois in contempt based on the explanation. &...

Caution Lights Ahead For Dicamba Use

It’s early March, and Security Seed and Chemical applicators are busy prepping equipment for the upcoming spray season. In a few days, they’ll make burndown treatments in sun-warmed Tennessee river-bottom fields, where green weeds are just starting to poke through the ground.   The company annually custom sprays about 1 million acres of corn, soybean and wheat ground across parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and its home state of Tennessee. This year, many of those acres will be treated with one of the new dicamba formulations that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved for use in ...

Cautious optimism for 2020

The president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association senses optimism on the ag retail side of things.   “I think their pre-pay seasons for the 2020 crop year were good,” said Jean Payne. “We had a pretty decent fall fertilizer season for both dry fertilizer and ammonia.”    Payne believes the industry is in a good position from a supply standpoint. We have not seen much of an impact yet on the China situation curtailing imports of generic chemicals that are used in blending here in the U.S.   “The nice thing about ...

CCAs Help Reduce Nitrogen Losses in Illinois

Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) across the country routinely address pests, diseases, weeds and other agronomic issues with their farmer-customers. In Illinois, CCAs are also working closely with industry stakeholders to address and reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus the state contributes annually to the Gulf of Mexico.   “CCAs are instrumental in providing guidance to farmers on the 4R practices--right rate and right source of nutrients, at the right time and in the right place--that improve nutrient utilization and reduce nutrient losses,” says Lisa Martin, coordinator for the Illinois CCA program.   Click Here to read more.

CDC: Twice as many affected by Beach Park ammonia leak than initially thought; confusion about ‘smoke’ led to more injuries

A lack of communication led to healthcare providers and first-responders exposing themselves to a toxic gas after the release of an agricultural fertilizer that created a fog in April in Beach Park, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Thursday afternoon.   In addition, more than twice as many people — including homeowners, commuters, police and fire first-responders and hospital personnel — were exposed and treated during the hazardous material incident than initially reported, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.   Authorities reported in the past that the ...

Central Illinois farmers face tough decisions due to heavy rainfall

After last week's rains and a forecast showing more this week, farmers in parts of Illinois are being forced to make some tough decisions on the timing of their planting – or in some cases, replanting.   National Weather Service maps show most of central and southern Illinois have received more than 10 inches of rain in the past 30 days. Some counties are between 14 and 16 inches. This leaves some farmers with corn crops yet to be replanted and farmers with acreage to be replanted looking at the radar and wondering when to get back out there.   Click Here to ...

Central Illinois lawmakers express frustration, concern over COVID-19, budget

Central Illinois Republican lawmakers expressed frustration Thursday about what they see as Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s failure to include the legislature in determining how to reopen Illinois amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   Speaking during a McLean County Chamber of Commerce “State of the State” webinar, lawmakers said the governor has not adequately recognized differences among regions when outlining when and how businesses could reopen. They also expressed concerns over the recently enacted state budget for fiscal year 2021 and the impact a graduated income tax could have on the business community and the middle class.   Senate ...

Central Illinois Nearing Break in Severe Rain, but Flood Risk Still High

Central Illinois residents spent Saturday cleaning up from flooding following hours being blasted by extreme precipitation. Fewer storms are expected Sunday, but the risk of high water remains.   Thunderstorms were expected to move through the region overnight into Sunday afternoon and evening, but with far less intensity than those that blasted the area Friday night and Saturday afternoon.   A Funks Grove firefighter uses an exposure suit to recover a guideline used in rescues from the swollen Timber Creek along Interstate 55 on Saturday. Firefighters said water had come up over 15 feet from the normal level of the creek as ...

Century-old locks and dams require urgent upgrades

When we talk about fixing the crumbling infrastructure in our country, many think about our roads and bridges, which absolutely need our attention and investment. But one of the lesser-known issues with our nation’s infrastructure involves our vast network of rivers and waterways used to transport commodities across the country.   Locks and dams on our inland waterways play an essential role in moving products produced in my district. The 13th Congressional District of Illinois is settled in the west, central part of the state, nestled up against where the Illinois River flows into the mighty Mississippi River. &...

CFATS: What It and Its Renewal Means to Ag Retail

In 2006, the regulatory program Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) was established. CFATS is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) aiming to prevent chemicals from being stolen, sabotaged or deliberately released by any bad actor, including terrorists.   CFATS is back in the news because the Congressional authorization for the program is set to expire in January 2019.   “We had annual reauthorization for CFATS until 2014, and then Congress passed a statute that granted a four-year authorization,” explains Amy Graydon, Acting Director of the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division which administers the CFATS program. Graydon says the four-year authorization ...

Challenges to Nutrient Loss Reduction In Illinois

Farmers have made conservation headway through the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy since 2011, but there are still big challenges hindering recent progress.    During a virtual Illinois Conservation Cropping Seminar Joel Gruver with Western Illinois University says the state has already reached 14% nitrogen loss reduction with the goal of 15% by 2025 and reached 22% phosphorus loss reduction with the goal of 25% by 2025. But he says there have been higher levels of loss in recent years, mainly from drivers farmers cannot control.    “One of the biggest drivers is probably not what is being done specifically in terms of farm ...

Changes are likely coming to the Illinois pot legalization bill.

Some provisions that advocates for recreational marijuana legalization have said are the most important facets of their bill faced the stiffest questions at a legislative hearing Wednesday.   “Throughout all of the work we’ve been doing, there’s been three real themes that have arisen on why we should be doing this,” said state Sen. Heather Steans, Senate Bill 7’s sponsor. “We want public safety, particularly for our kids; we want social justice; and we want, by getting our policy right, additional revenue for the state.”   But, at an Illinois Senate ...

Changes to Illinois pesticide trainings from COVID-19

The Illinois Department of Agriculture and University of Illinois Extension Pesticide Safety Education Program have made changes to pesticide applicator requirements because of COVID-19.   All applicator trainings and testing clinics are cancelled through May 31st. Refunds will be issued for those who were registered, and new regulations have been set.   Licenses that expired at the end of 2019 are now extended through December 31, 2020.  Applicators can call or email the department to obtain an updated license showing the extension.   Non-certified applicators do not have a testing requirement for the remainder of 2020 but must continue to work under the ...

Check new nature preserve map before dicamba application

As farmers approach spring planting season, they have a new resource to help with compliance of dicamba label requirements that stipulate a downwind buffer adjacent to nature preserves.   The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has added a section to their Natural Resources Awareness Tool for Applicators map for nature preserves. Visit bit.ly/ChemicalDriftAwareness and click on “INPC Sites Illinois Nature Preserve Commission Sites.”   Click Here to read more.

ChemChina Gets EU Nod for Syngenta Deal One Day After U.S.

China National Chemical Corp. won European Union antitrust approval for its $43 billion takeover of Swiss pesticide maker Syngenta AG, a day after the U.S. gave its blessing, bringing China’s largest foreign acquisition closer to the finish line.   ChemChina’s offer to divest some pesticides and other agricultural products will remove "problematic overlaps" and allow the EU to clear the deal, the European Commission said in an emailed statement. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager praised the companies for being "prepared to address our concerns" with the concessions, she said at a news ...

Chicago looks to Springfield for help in balancing 2020 budget

Illinois lawmakers must change state pension laws and allow for new taxes, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday.   The freshman mayor unveiled her budget proposal Wednesday. In it, she specifically relies on $50 million in revenue from a new progressive real estate transfer tax, which would have to be approved by the Illinois General Assembly and governor. She also said the state must rethink its the tax structure proposed for Chicago casino and make changes to state pension laws.   “We will need cooperation from Springfield in order to get this done,” she said, adding that “… ...

China approves two new GMO crops for import

China has approved two more genetically modified (GMO) crops for import, the Ministry of Agriculture said, the second such move in the past month to expand access to biotech seeds as part of Beijing’s 100-day trade talks with Washington.   The two new crops, approved from July 16 for a period of three years, are Syngenta’s 5307 insect-resistant corn sold under the Agrisure Duracade brand and Monsanto’s 87427 glyphosate-resistant corn, sold under the Roundup Ready brand, the ministry said on its website Monday.   Click Here to read more.

China buys 264,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans - USDA

Private exporters reported the sale of 264,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in the 2019/20 marketing year, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday, amid hopes for a partial trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.   That marked the first U.S. government confirmation of a soybean sale to the top buyer of the oilseed since President Donald Trump said on Oct. 11 that China would buy up to $50 billion in American farm products as part of a trade agreement.   An earlier USDA report showed total U.S. soybean export sales of 475,200 tonnes, ...

China buys U.S. soybeans a day after trade talks

Chinese state-owned firms bought at least 1 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans on Friday, a day after high-level bilateral talks yielded progress toward a trade deal and a Chinese commitment to buy more U.S. soybeans.   The purchases are slated for shipment between April and July, with a large share expected from U.S. Gulf Coast export terminals, three traders with knowledge of the deals said.   One trader with direct knowledge of the deals said total purchases were around 2.2 million tonnes. The other two traders said the sales were similar to three recent waves of buying in which ...

China buys U.S. soybeans after halt to U.S. purchases ordered

State-owned Chinese firms bought at least three cargoes of U.S. soybeans on Monday, even as sources in China said the government had told them to halt purchases after Washington said it would eliminate special treatment for Hong Kong to punish Beijing.   The purchases, totaling at least 180,000 tonnes of the oilseed, were for shipment in October or November, the peak U.S. soy export season when American soybeans are usually the cheapest in the world, three U.S. traders with knowledge of the deals said.   It was not immediately clear why buying continued after Beijing’s message ...

China buys U.S. soybeans for third day in a row

China agreed to buy 136,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday morning, the third straight day in a row an export deal with the world’s top soy importer has been announced.   Chinese buyers have booked 606,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans this week - all for delivery in the 2019/20 marketing year - as futures prices fell to an 11-month low due to fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.   China is preparing to buy more than 30 million tonnes of crops for state stockpiles to help protect itself from supply chain disruptions caused by ...

China gives long-awaited GM crop approvals amid U.S. Trade Talks

China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import on Tuesday, the first in about 18 months in a move that could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods. The United States is the world’s biggest producer of GM crops, while China is the top importer of GM soybeans and canola.   U.S. farmers and global seed companies have long complained about Beijing’s slow and unpredictable process for appro...ving GM crops for import, stoking trade tensions between the world’s two ...

China GMO crop panel meeting raises approval hopes: sources

An influential Chinese scientific advisory board on genetically modified crops met last week for the first time in a year, two sources said, in a sign that Beijing may be preparing to approve new biotech crops for import.   The meeting, which took place from June 20 to June 22, according to one of the sources, comes amid escalating trade tension with the United States, the world's top producer of GMO crops.   "The meeting happened last week," said a second source with a Chinese seed company, who closely follows Beijing's seed approval process.   Click Here to ...

China Halts U.S. Agricultural Purchases as Trade War Heats Up

China is stepping away from further U.S. farm imports after President Donald Trump ratcheted up tensions with its biggest agricultural trading partner last week   The Chinese government has asked its state-owned enterprises to suspend purchases of U.S. agricultural products, people familiar with the situation said. Also, privately run Chinese crushers that had received retaliatory-tariff waivers on American soybeans from Beijing have stopped buying the commodity due to uncertainty over trade relations, other people said.   President Trump on Thursday proposed adding 10% tariffs on another $300 billion in imports from Sept. 1, marking an abrupt escalation of the trade war ...

China Looking to Curb Fertilizer, Pesticide Use

China, the world's top producer of rice and wheat, is seeking to cap the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides that have helped to contaminate large swathes of its arable land and threaten its ability to keep up with domestic food demand.   More than 19 percent of soil samples taken from Chinese farmland have been found to contain excessive levels of heavy metals or chemicals waste.  In central Hunan province, more than three quarters of the rice fields have been contaminated, government research has shown.   Click Here to read more.

China makes first big U.S. soybean purchase since Trump-Xi truce

China on Wednesday made its first major purchases of U.S. soybeans since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce earlier this month, providing some relief to U.S. farmers who have struggled to find buyers for their record-large harvest.   Trump told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday the Chinese were already buying a "tremendous amount" of U.S. soybeans and would also soon cut tariffs on U.S. autos.   The purchase of over 1.5 million tonnes of beans is the most concrete evidence yet that China is making good ...

China may soon regret slapping tariffs on US soybeans

One of China's major moves in the trade war with the United States is in danger of backfiring on its own farmers.   They're facing a potential shortage of soybeans, one of China's biggest imports from the United States, after Beijing slapped a 25% tariff on them last month in retaliation for US tariffs on a swath of Chinese goods.   American farmers, who sold more than $12 billion worth of soybeans to China last year, have spoken out repeatedly about the threat to their livelihood. But the new tariff is causing problems in China, too.   The country ...

China needs 'explosive' buying to meet U.S. farm import target

By end-May, imports were running behind 2017 levels - rather than 50% ahead as needed - and while orders for China’s main farm import, soybeans, have started to pick up, scorching levels of buying would be needed to hit the mark.   Add in a rapid deterioration in U.S.-China relations, an upcoming U.S. election, a global pandemic and questions over just how much soybeans China actually needs, and farmers and analysts say it may be a stretch too far.   “It just doesn’t seem likely to me,” said John Payne, senior futures & ...

China Pushes Public to Accept GMO as Syngenta Takeover Nears

China will carry out a nationwide poll next month to test the public’s acceptance of genetically-modified food, a technology the government says would boost yields and sustainable agriculture in a country that’s seen consumption soar.   Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University and two other Chinese colleges will carry out the survey, said Jin Jianbin, a professor at Tsinghua’s School of Journalism and Communication. The poll, sponsored by the government, will be carried out in tandem with a campaign on social media to broadcast basic knowledge on GMO technology, which is widely misunderstood in ...

China says buying U.S. farm products will not affect imports from other countries

China’s purchases of U.S. agricultural products will not impact its imports from other countries, a commerce ministry official said on Tuesday.   China welcomes the entry of competitive U.S. products into its markets and hopes the United States could create conditions to facilitate exports to China, Li Xingqian told a news conference.   China will expand imports based on market conditions and in line with rules of the World Trade Organisation, Li added.   Beijing agreed to major purchases of U.S. farm products as part of an initial trade deal signed last week, but doubts ...

China shuns U.S. soybeans amid trade war, turns to Brazil

China’s soybean processors are snapping up record volumes of Brazilian cargoes for shipment in the fourth quarter, curbing purchases of U.S. crops in North America’s peak marketing season as the trade war between Washington and Beijing intensifies.   That shift away from U.S. beans by China, which takes more than 60 percent of the commodity traded worldwide, will pile further pressure on benchmark Chicago Board of Trade prices Sv1 after they plumbed 10-year lows last week.   China in July imposed a retaliatory 25-percent import duty on U.S. soybeans as part of the tit-for-tat ...

China Signals GM, Biotech Push in Key Policy Statement

China will industrialise biotech breeding as part of a campaign to improve food security, top leaders said in a policy statement late on Friday, signalling Beijing could soon take a further step towards commercialising genetically modified (GM) crops.   According to a statement issued after the annual Central Economic Work Conference held on Dec. 16-18, China needs to make better use of science and technology to achieve a “turnaround” in its seed industry.   “The key to ensuring food security lies in implementing the strategy of storing grain in the ground and storing grain in technology,” ...

China still considering curbs on U.S. soybean imports

China is still considering import curbs on U.S. soybeans in retaliation for moves by Washington to impose trade tariffs, U.S. Soybean Export Council Asia director Paul Burke said on Thursday, following a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture.   The ministry requested an informal meeting in Beijing with the council, Burke told Reuters by phone. The meeting, which took place on Monday, was attended by the U.S. trade group's China director, Xiaoping Zhang, along with officials from the ministry's department of international relations.   Click Here to read more.  

China threatens new tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods

China threatened Friday to tax an additional $60 billion a year worth of U.S. imports if the Trump administration imposes its own new levies on Chinese goods.   The threat comes two days after President Donald Trump ordered his administration to consider increasing the rate of tariffs it has already proposed on $200 billion a year of Chinese goods — everything from chemicals to handbags — to 25 percent from 10 percent.   The United States and China, the world’s two biggest economies, have for months been engaged in an escalating trade dispute. While they have targeted each other’...

China to exempt U.S. pork and soybeans from additional trade war duties, in response to Trump’s tariff delay

China has announced that it will exclude imports of U.S. soybeans, pork and other farm goods from additional trade war tariffs, opening the door for significant purchases of agricultural products. The official Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday that China's National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce made the exemption in response to the U.S.’ decision of postpone an increase in the tariff rate on $250 billion of Chinese goods from October 1 to October 15. It comes after U.S. President Donald Trump spoke on Thursday of the possibility of an “interim trade deal&...

China to halve tariffs on some U.S. imports as coronavirus risks grow

China on Thursday said it would halve additional tariffs levied against 1,717 U.S. goods last year, following the signing of a Phase 1 deal that defused a bruising trade war between the world’s two largest economies.   While the announcement reciprocates the U.S. commitment under the deal, it is also seen by analysts as a move by Beijing to boost confidence amid a virus outbreak that has disrupted businesses and hit investor sentiment.   Casting doubts over the immediate outlook, however, was the prospect raised in a local media report that Beijing could invoke a disaster-related clause in ...

China to impose tariffs on U.S. goods despite Trump warning

China said on Monday it would impose higher tariffs on a range of U.S. goods, striking back in its trade war with Washington shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump warned it not to retaliate.   China’s finance ministry said it plans to set import tariffs ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on 5,140 U.S. products on a target list worth about $60 billion. It said the tariffs will take effect on June 1.   The announcement came less than two hours after Trump warned Beijing not to retaliate after China said it “will never surrender to external pressure.&...

China ups 2019/20 corn import forecast on U.S. trade deal prospects

China on Thursday raised estimates for its corn imports in 2019/20, on prospects that shipments of the grain from the United States will increase under the Phase 1 trade deal.   China’s corn imports in 2019/20 were seen at 4 million tonnes, up 1 million from the forecast in the previous month, after Beijing exempted extra tariffs on a list of U.S. products, including corn and sorghum in March, the country’s agriculture ministry said.   The price difference between domestic corn and imports might expand further following the trade move, promoting more U.S. shipments, the Ministry of Agriculture and ...

China Urges Regions to Bolster Fertilizer Supply Amid Surging Prices

China’s central government urged its regions on Friday to “strengthen” supplies of fertilizer during the summer amid record prices and tight stocks of the chemicals.   The appeal comes as the government battles soaring prices of a host of raw materials, and after Premier Li Keqiang called for curbing prices of key farm inputs like fertilizer and diesel to guarantee stable grain prices.   The government has stepped up its focus on food security since the global coronavirus pandemic and is targeting a bigger corn crop this year after prices hit record levels in 2020, roiling global ...

China will cut, remove export tariffs on some steel, fertilizer

China will cut export taxes on some steel products and fertilisers and ditch those for sales abroad of steel wire, rod and bars from Jan. 1, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday, in a series of measures that could boost shipments.   The move is likely to stir concerns among foreign competitors in the United States and Europe that China, the world’s top steel producer, may be looking to sell its excess product abroad.   It follows a ministerial level G20 meeting in Berlin last month, where China and the United States remained at odds over how to ...

China's tepid trade-deal spending leaves US farmers in limbo

American farmers say China needs to do more to meet the commitments it made in a high-profile initial trade agreement with the U.S.   U.S. customs data shows Beijing purchased $3.1 billion of U.S. agriculture during the first three months of the year, well shy of the quarterly amount required to reach the $50 billion a year promised in the January agreement. China's data suggests the purchases, which were limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, reached $5 billion.   “While things are moving in the right direction on the purchase side, they need to accelerate,” John Newton, chief ...

China's war on smog hits fertilizer, pesticide output in December

China’s fertilizer and pesticide output fell in December to their lowest on records going back to February 2015, data showed on Monday, as Beijing’s war on smog and efforts to ensure winter heating forced producers to suspend operations.   Fertilizer output dropped 7 percent from a year ago to 4.75 million tonnes, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday. The volume was also down 9.3 percent from the previous month’s 5.24 million tonnes, the data also showed.   The drop came after natural gas shortages this winter forced many gas-based fertilizer plants to shut, tightening supplies ...

China-Russia agricultural ties will emerge stronger than ever

Growing consumption rates and disruption of global supply chains have led China to eye a sustainably focused circular economy and to search for reliable agricultural imports. This give Russia a major chance to expand trade relations with China beyond oil and gas exports, and to assert itself as a reliable, even indispensable, partner for China’s food security.   During the past few decades China has demonstrated a spectacular shift in consumption habits. Grain consumption more than tripled from 125 million metric tons in 1975 to 420 million in 2018, while currently the average Chinese person eats 63 kilograms of meat a year, six ...

China-U.S. Trade Tariffs May Cut U.S. Farm Exports by 40%

Bilateral tariffs may reduce the value of U.S. farm exports to China by about 40 percent, according to a report published by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, a government think tank.   U.S. soybean, cotton, beef and cereal shipments to China may each drop by 50 percent in value, it said in a report published on its official WeChat account on Tuesday, citing results of a simulation. The price of imported soybeans may rise 5.9 percent and imported cotton prices may increase 7.5 percent, with minor impacts predicted for other farm goods, it said.   China could take measures including sourcing ...

China’s exports to the US are falling sharply as Trump escalates the trade war

China’s exports unexpectedly fell in August as shipments to the United States slowed sharply, pointing to further weakness in the world’s second-largest economy and underlining a pressing need for more stimulus as the Sino-U.S. trade war escalates.   Beijing is widely expected to announce more support measures in coming weeks to avert the risk of a sharper economic slowdown as the United States ratchets up trade pressure, including the first cuts in some key lending rates in four years.   On Friday, the central bank cut banks’ reserve requirements for a seventh time since ...

China’s New Fertilizer Tariffs Are No Big Deal for U.S. Industry

China intends to slap duties on U.S. shipments of some fertilizers as part of a $60 billion ramp up in a trade war between the two nations. The good news for U.S. producers is the move is unlikely to have any significant impact on their business.   It’s “no concern,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Andrew Wong said in an email. “China mostly only imports potash for fertilizer use, and that comes from Canada.”   The U.S. is a very small fertilizer exporter and very few, if any, American shipments go to China, ...

Chinese Buyers Look to Cancel U.S. Soybean Orders as Processing Margins Shrink

Some Chinese soybean importers and processors are looking to cancel deals signed for U.S. cargoes for December and January shipment, after crushing margins collapsed following a steep rally in Chicago futures, three trade sources said.   This is a first sign of slowing Chinese demand after a five-month buying spree that combined with dryness in top producer Brazil to add more than quarter to benchmark Chicago futures since the crop year began on Sep. 1, and 13% this month.   China is the world's biggest soybean importer, accounting for more than 60% of shipments.   Click Here to read more.   &...

Chipotle Sued for Using GMO's After Declaring Its Food GMO Free

opular burrito chain Chipotle, which proudly declared it is completely GMO-free in April, is being sued over alleged use of GMOs. According to CBS, a class action lawsuit has been filed in San Francisco against the Colorado-based company claiming that Chipotle has been using GMOs — or genetically modified organisms — in its food "despite advertising that it is GMO-free." The lawsuit — which has been filed on behalf of all California consumers who purchased Chipotle after April 27, 2015 — further alleges that Chipotle's menu has never been completely GMO-free. The lawsuit says that the restaurants serve popular ...

Chlorpyrifos Sunset in Sight

Is the end in sight for the agricultural insecticide chlorpyrifos? On April 29, 2021, a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency within 60 days to either ban chlorpyrifos completely, or to fix safe tolerances for it in food residues. The 9th Circuit’s ruling came in response to a petition from environmental groups dating from 2007. One dissenting judge said the order amounted to a de facto ban, since the EPA has already found no safe levels within foods.   If this is indeed the end, it’s the end of an artificially extended ...

Chlorpyrifos Use to End in California

The use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos will end in California at the end of next year as a result of an agreement struck on Wednesday between the state and manufacturers.   Under the agreement with Corteva and other companies, all sales of chlorpyrifos products in California will end on Feb. 6, 2020. Growers will no longer be allowed to possess or use chlorpyrifos products in California after Dec. 31, 2020.   The state said it is applying the settlement terms and deadlines to seven other companies not part of the agreement but are subject to the cancellation order.   In May, the state announced ...

Chlorpyrifos workshops reach beyond one pesticide

The discussion is too little too late for many in the ag community. They had the opportunity to share their disappointment recently that the California Environmental Protection Agency did not open up a broader conversation about alternatives to chlorpyrifos before it made the decision last year to cancel product registrations.   The agency’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, in partnership with CDFA, held three public workshops this month “to hear ideas about how farming communities can transition away from the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos,” according to a December press release.   The conversations, however, focused on ...

Chris Novak Named CEO/President of CropLife America

CropLife America (CLA), the leading association for the U.S. crop protection industry, has selected Chris Novak as its next president and CEO.     “I’m pleased to announce that Mr. Chris Novak has been selected by our Board’s search committee to become just the fifth staff leader of our association in its 85-year history. Chris brings a wealth of agriculture trade association and industry experience to CLA, in particular his recent roles as CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and National Pork Board,” noted CLA Board Chairman and Bayer North America President ...

CHS Pulls Plug on Planned $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant

Minnesota-based CHS Inc. says it will not move forward with a planned $3 billion fertilizer plant in southeastern North Dakota.   The farmer-owned cooperative instead is buying a minority interest in CF Industries Nitrogen LLC for $2.8 billion. The deal includes a supply agreement under which CHS can buy up to 1.7 million tons of fertilizer annually.   Plans for the fertilizer plant near Spiritwood had been in the works more than three years. CHS Inc. announced about a year ago that it was moving forward with the factory, with plans to use natural gas from North Dakota's oil patch as a ...

City of West receives $10.4 million in lawsuit settlement

The city of West will receive $10.44 million in its settlement with defendants in the massive litigation spawned by the April 2013 fire and explosion at West Fertilizer Co.   The West City Council approved the settlement amount this week, which includes funds for damages not covered by insurance or grants from state or federal agencies, said Waco attorney Steve Harrison, who was among a group of attorneys representing the city of West and chairman of the plaintiffs’ executive committee.   “The resolution brings to a conclusion more than 4 1/2 years of litigation by the city against the fertilizer manufacturers,” ...

City officials push for local control over pesticide use

City Council passed a resolution last week calling on state legislators to repeal or amend a state law that prevents municipalities from regulating the use of pesticides themselves.   The state statute, called the Illinois Pesticide Act, puts all control of pesticide regulation in the hand of the General Assembly. Leslie Shad, board member of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, said Evanston’s resolution was put forward after the village of Oak Park passed a similar measure. Shad — who worked with Oak Park officials on the issue and pushed for the resolution in Evanston — said the use of ...

Clarity On Carbon’s Potential: Compare Nine of the Leading Markets

In launching the TruCarbon carbon program, Brett Bruggeman, president of WinField United, says the team is ready to learn a lot and perhaps stub its toes. This spring, the team will enroll growers via the company’s 24 retail partners, which are in the Truterra network. And by summer, the first transactions with Microsoft as the buyer will occur.   “We are on a fast pace,” says Jason Weller, vice president, Truterra. “We have a customer and a huge opportunity to do the initial sale, and it will be one of the largest soil carbon credit sales ...

Class Action Suit Alleges Companies Conspired Against Farmer Interests

On Friday, Jan. 8, a class action complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by a farmer’s widow on behalf of his estate.   In summary, the lawsuit alleges crop input manufacturers, large wholesalers and retailers have created an unfair market for farmers.   The plaintiff is Barbara Piper, the executor of the estate of her husband, Michael Piper, who died in 2017. Michael, who went by Mike, was a farmer in Mount Vernon, Ill. He grew row crops and was involved in competitive tractor pulling.   Claims include: “The existing ...

Clean Water, Healthy Soil

Carl Zimmerman in Earlville, Illinois, farms 1,600 acres of corn and soybeans on land that his father began farming in 1966.   Over time, the Zimmermans have increased their acres (his father started with 350), raised cattle and hogs, and built up the soil through cover crops and no-till management.   “What got us started with cover crops was growing sweet corn. Eight years ago, we decided to plant oats to help combat weed issues on about 120 to 160 of those acres,” Zimmerman explains. “Over the years, we gained more trust in cover crops and got by with less tillage.” &...

Clearing up New GMO Labeling Confusion

We are learning more about new labeling laws that will be in effect this time next year regarding genetically modified foods.   It took Congress three years to set up the rules and regulations.   All foods with more than five percent GMOs will have to be labeled. Some companies are already putting that information in packaging.   A food scientist from Kansas State University describes what we can expect to see in the coming months. "You'll see a little green label, it's a circle that looks like a farm scene in the middle of it, and ...

Clinton in Favor of WOTUS, Trump Against

CLINTON BACKS WOTUS: Hillary Clinton has made it crystal clear that she backs the EPA’s waters of the U.S. rule, which attempts to clarify the types of water the agency can regulate under the Clean Water Act. The Democratic presidential nominee made what appears to be her first public endorsement of the controversial rule in a written statement to Farm Futures published this week. Clinton said she supports the rule and would work with all affected parties to ensure “common sense implementation.” She also said she was pleased that EPA maintained in WOTUS the “...

Clock is ticking on GMO labeling (AUDIO)

With a Vermont GMO labeling bill set to go into effect at the beginning of July, negotiators in the Senate have yet to pass a bill that would create a national standard.    Click Here to read more.

Closer Look: Lawmaker Pay, A Firestorm for Years, Lit Again

Illinois government by the numbers: 27 days into a new fiscal year, the state has no budget, a deficit of up to $4 billion and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner insisting that Democrats in the Legislature embrace his five pro-business and anti-corruption initiatives.   And in the face of those recalcitrant lawmakers, Rauner has brought some new figures into the equation: A 2 percent automatic cost-of-living increase, set to take effect this month to boost the $68,000 base legislative salary by nearly $1,400. “They’ve taken a pay hike for themselves without any budget and without any real reforms,” Rauner said last week. &...

Closures to Illinois Waterway Locks remain set for July 1

Beginning July 1, the Rock Island Engineer District is temporarily closing the Dresden Island, Marseilles, Starved Rock, Peoria and LaGrange locks on the Illinois Waterway to facilitate needed repairs and maintenance. The closures, which will be conducted simultaneously to limit impacts to navigation, are scheduled to last through late October.   During the closures, no vessels will be able to pass through the closed locks. Navigation on the rest of the river, between the locks, will be able to continue without impact as water levels will be maintained at a normal level throughout the season.   Repairs being made during the ...

CoBank: Change Is Coming for U.S. Food and Agricultural Businesses

The widely anticipated summer economic boom is well underway and U.S. consumers are spending on services again. Jobs are abundantly available, but workers are scarce as the labor market is healing more slowly than most economists expected. According to a new Quarterly report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, labor challenges felt during the pandemic and continuing today will incentivize businesses throughout the food supply chain to rapidly increase automation within their operations.   “The most significant and lasting impact from COVID will be an acceleration in automation,” said Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s ...

Collection of gun control bills passes out of Illinois House

Invigorated by gun control advocates who flooded the Capitol Wednesday, the Illinois House passed a series of gun control measures that included a ban the sale of bump stocks and a requirement for gun dealers to be licensed.   The measures come just two weeks after tragedies involving firearms, including the death of Chicago police Cmdr. Paul Bauer and the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, caught the nation’s attention and sparked widespread outcry over the previous lack of action on the issue.   Adding to the pomp and circumstance were protesters from gun control advocacy group Moms Demand ...

Collin Peterson Elected House Ag Chairman in US House

House Democrats on Friday elected Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, a position Peterson held from 2007 to 2011 when his party last was in the majority in the House.   Since 2011 Peterson has been the committee’s ranking member. Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, who served as chairman from 2015 through 2019, is now the ranking member.   “I am honored to receive the support of my colleagues to serve as chairman of the Agriculture Committee in the 116th Congress,” Peterson said in a statement.   “I look forward to continuing the important work of ...

Come ready to bid at AG-SOLVE PAC Live and Silent Auction next week.

  This year at the convention, we will have our first annual live and silent auction to support AG-SOLVE PAC, IFCA's political action fund.  The donation of items has been terrific!  To prepare for what you will want to bid on, see below the list of auction items and the companies who have contributed to the auction. We can’t thank them enough for the donations! The silent auction will start outside the CCA session on Jan 19, will move to the trade show floor on the 20th, and will conclude the morning of the 21st. The ...

Come Ready to Bid at the IFCA AG-SOLVE Auctoin on January 29th.

Once again IFCA and AG-SOLVE will be having an annual auction at the convention on January 29th at 3:30 pm on the trade show floor.  IFCA is very excited about the list of items that we will be auctioning.  To see the list of auction items click here. We want to thank all the companies who donated auction items. We couldn't do it without all their help. If you have any questions on any of the auction items please don't hesitate to call KJ at the office at 309-827-2774.   Also it'...

Coming Up In The Veto Session

When Illinois lawmakers return for their fall session next month, they, and by extension, taxpayers, will face tantalizing questions.   Should legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner craft a massive public works program to begin tackling a backlog of needed improvements to state roads, bridges and other capital projects?     If the answer is “yes,” how will the improvements be financed, or in simpler terms, what taxes and fees will need to be raised/imposed to pay for everything, or at least to underwrite the yearly costs of repaying billions of borrowed dollars?   Click Here to ...

Commerce Secretary to Farmers: Plant as Much as Possible

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sounded a little like now-deceased former Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz in a press call Friday about scrutinizing trade agreements.   A reporter asked Ross about the business uncertainty created due to so much conflict over the White House efforts to renegotiate nearly every U.S. trade agreement. The reporter's question itself was a little curious as he suggested farmers don't know how much crop to plant because of uncertainty over trade agreements.   Ross responded that American farmers should plant as much as possible. "If I were a farmer, I would plant as ...

Companies Ask Ninth Circuit Court to Re-Hear Dicamba Case

Bayer, BASF and Corteva Agriscience continue the fight to preserve postemergent dicamba use. The companies are contesting the results of a June 3 decision by three judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which vacated the registrations of their dicamba herbicides, XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan.   On Monday evening, the three companies filed separate petitions asking for an "en banc" review of the case, which requests that all the judges of the Ninth Circuit re-hear the original case.   In the original decision, the three judges assigned to the case concluded that EPA ...

Compromise Near on Ohio Fertilizer Law

The chairman of a House committee said Wednesday that lawmakers are “virtually there” on a compromise on legislation to reduce agricultural fertilizer runoff into northern Ohio waters. But talks continue behind closed doors on how to enforce new restrictions on the application of manure and other fertilizers containing phosphorous and nitrogen and how quickly farmers must comply before facing fines. “We have to understand these things don’t happen overnight,” said Rep. Brian Hill (R., Zanesville), a farmer and chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. Click Here to read more.  

Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Governor Bruce Rauner continue battle over finances.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Governor Bruce Rauner continue their battle over finances   Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza and Illinois governor Bruce Rauner are exchanging harsh words in their ongoing battle over the state's finances. Mendoza blasted Rauner in a speech to the City Club of Chicago Monday, claiming that the governor is "prepared for the state to collapse financially if he doesn't get his way on the budget and has begun squirreling away hundreds of millions of dollars in 'special funds' to protect his political back," according to Crain's Chicago Business. Rauner's office says ...

Confession of an Anti-GMO Activist

In a now-famous segment of his talk show, Jimmy Kimmel sent a reporter out to a West Coast farmers market in 2014 to ask food-conscious shoppers what they thought of GMOs. All the interviewees declared their horrified avoidance of GMOs—and then, predictably, failed to come up with an explanation for what the letters “G.M.O.” stand for.   The answer, of course, is “genetically modified organism.” First launched commercially on a wide scale in U.S. agriculture in 1996, GMOs are typically plants or animals whose genomes have been modified by the addition of one ...

Conflict Over Soil and Water Quality Puts "Iowa Nice" to a Test

The flat, endless acres of black dirt here in northern Iowa will soon be filled with corn and soybean seeds. But as farmers tuned up their tractors and waited for the perfect moment to plant, another topic weighed on their minds: a lawsuit filed in federal court by the state’s largest water utility. After years of mounting frustration, the utility, Des Moines Water Works, sued the leaders of three rural Iowa counties last month. Too little has been done, the lawsuit says, to prevent nitrates from flowing out of farm fields into the Raccoon River and, eventually, into ...

Cong Mike Conaway helps friends in chase for AG Committee Chair.

Cong Mike Conaway has quietly emerged as a Republican rainmaker, building some major political capitol in advance of his likely run for chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress.   The Texas Republican helped bring in more than $800,000 for other House GOP lawmakers in the second quarter of 2014 alone, according to a preview for fundraising numbers shared with POLITICO and confirmed by sources in the Republican fundraising world.   Click Here to read more.

Cong Mike Conaway Named House Ag Committee Chair

An anticipated, Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas has been selected Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.    Conaway issued the following statement after the House Republican Steering Committee selected him as the 50th chairman of the House Committee of Agriculture.   Click Here to read more.

Cong. Conaway bill would streamline endangered species review process for pesticides

Federal wildlife agencies would consult with the Environmental Protection Agency on the effect of pesticides on endangered species in a much different way, if the farm bill introduced by House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, becomes law.   The language had been sought by the crop protection industry, which applauded its inclusion.   CropLife America said the new provision is much needed. Beau Greenwood, the group’s executive vice president, said the language fixes what he called a “regulatory glitch” that has extended the registration review process by years.   Greenwood also said that the bill’...

Cong. Davis Calls for National Standard of GMO Labeling

Differences of opinion continue on whether or not food with genetically-modified organisms despite Congressional approval of a voluntary national labeling standard.   Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) said he doesn’t get why GMOs are such a major issue because they can cover a lot of agricultural ground.   “Science shows that genetically-modified feeds are completely safe,” said Davis.  “Three trillion meals have been served with absolutely no evidence of any impact on anyone.  The fact that GMO labels are such a major issues, I don’t know.”   But, Davis said because ...

Cong. Shimkus vows to use subcommittee chairmanship to work for WOTUS repeal (AUDIO)

Illinois Republican John Shimkus will once again chair the House Environment Subcommittee, and he says he'll use all options to kill the Waters of the U.S. rule. Click Here to listen

Congress allows farm bill to lapse before reauthorization deadline

Congress quietly allowed the farm bill to expire over the weekend despite House Republicans’ hopes they would come to a consensus and pass a reauthorization ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.   The expiration was blamed on discrepancies between the House and the Senate, as well as the parties, over key provisions, including most prominently over a House provision to attach work requirements to the food stamp benefits in the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).   Democrats blasted the welfare reform language, arguing the Senate-passed version did not include the changes, while saying the requirements could be detrimental to ...

Congress Passes $19.1 Billion Disaster Aid Bill, Sends to Trump

The U.S. Congress on Monday approved legislation providing $19.1 billion in emergency funding for disaster recovery efforts throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico, sending it to President Donald Trump to sign into law.   Final passage came as the Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 354-58 for the measure, which lawmakers and Trump had haggled over for months. It was approved by the Republican-led Senate late last month, and Trump has said he supports it.   The president, who is on a visit to London, tweeted that the bill’s passage was “great,” but appeared to think ...

Congress to consider GMO labeling, TPP approval in new year

Lawmakers are back in Washington, D.C. after the holiday break.   According to POLITICO, GMO labeling, child nutrition authorization, approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other pending legislation is expected to be tackled in the new year.   Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks concluded in late October. The deal between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries is said to be the largest free trade agreement involving the U.S.   If approved by Congress, TPP will eliminate more than 18,000 taxes other countries place on U.S. goods in the form of tariffs.   Click Here to read more. &...

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos talks Farm Bill and Trade Tariffs. (AUDIO)

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. The Illinois Democrat will serve on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee and discusses the many challenges of resolving differences in the respective proposals including SNAP work requirements, conservation programs and farm support payment limits. Bustos agrees the U.S. should work toward free and fair trade, but disagrees with the Trump administration’s tariff policy. Bustos supports comprehensive immigration reform and is counting on a leadership change in the mid-term elections to bring better policy and a different result.   Click Here to Listen.

Conservation Winner in State Budget

The recently-passed fiscal year 2022 budget featured new and increased support for conservation programs and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.   The Illinois House approved the budget 72-44-1 with only Democrats voting in favor. The Senate voted 37-21 in favor of the fiscal year blueprint with all Republicans and three Democrats opposing. It now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.   Highlights - Funding was more than doubled for the cover crop insurance premium discount program from $300,000 to $660,000. The move increases from 50,000 acres the first two years of the program to 100,000 acres. IDOA’s Fall Covers ...

Conservative GOP support for pot legalization could tip scale

The legalization of marijuana in Illinois has begun to take on an air of inevitability — this week’s decision by the Cook County Board to hold a non-binding referendum in March providing just the latest evidence.   But it wasn’t the high-profile decision by our left-leaning county commissioners that convinced me nearly as much as a relatively obscure pronouncement a week earlier by a downstate Republican legislator.   Sen. Jason Barickman, a decidedly conservative lawmaker from Bloomington, announced on Facebook he is willing to support legalized cannabis “if it is done correctly.”   Doing ...

Considerations for Dicamba Application Restrictions

On March 1, 2019 the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced it will require Special Local Needs labels (referred to as 24(c) labels) during the 2019 growing season for the four commercial dicamba-containing products labeled for use in dicamba-resistant soybean varieties.  The Special Local Needs labels include five elements, one of which is a June 30 application deadline.  IDOA recognizes the importance of this technology to Illinois soybean growers and is taking this proactive step to reduce the instances of damage to dicot plant species (including sensitive soybean, many specialty crops and native plants such as trees) in order to preserve the ...

Considerations for Dicamba Application Restrictions

On March 1, 2019 the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced it will require Special Local Needs labels (referred to as 24(c) labels) during the 2019 growing season for the four commercial dicamba-containing products labeled for use in dicamba-resistant soybean varieties.  The Special Local Needs labels include five elements, one of which is a June 30 application deadline.  IDOA recognizes the importance of this technology to Illinois soybean growers and is taking this proactive step to reduce the instances of damage to dicot plant species (including sensitive soybean, many specialty crops and native plants such as trees) in order to preserve the ...

Controlled Release Fertilizers: Fertilizer Placement Optimize Nutrient Leaching

Controlled-release fertilizers are a widely used method of delivering nutrients to nursery container crops.  Controlled release is just like it sounds, the fertilizers contain encapsulated solid mineral nutrients that dissolve slowly in water which are released over an extended period of time.   Controlled-release fertilizers (CRFs) are quite popular, but growers and researchers want ways to decrease fertilizer and irrigation expenses and reduce the impact of nutrient leaching into the environment, so a new study compares CRF placement strategies.   Click Here to read more.  

Core Truths: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked.

Last week Popular Science Magazine put out a story about the 10 most commonly asked questions regarding GMO crops.  Popular Science does a great job of debunking many falsehoods about GMO crops.   Click Here to read more.

Corn and Nitrogen As Rains Continue

Some rain has fallen somewhere in Illinois nearly every day for the past 3 weeks, and rainfall totals for this period exceed 7 inches – two to three times normal – over more than half of the state (Figure 1). This has a lot of people wondering if enough nitrogen remains in the soil to supply the corn crops   Daily high temperatures have averaged close to normal over the past three weeks, while night temperatures have been 3 to 4 degrees above normal, so growing degree accumulation rates remain high. Sunshine amounts have been marginal, but growing conditions have been good enough to keep ...

Corn and soybean crops at mid-season, 2019

The 2019 Illinois corn crop reached 50% planted during the first week of June, more than a month later than the average of the past five years. The soybean crop reached 50% planted a few days later than corn, and more than three weeks later than the average of the past five years. May rainfall was above normal over most of Illinois, and June brought near-normal rainfall over much of the state. Still, the late planting coupled with too much or too little rainfall after planting produced July crop condition ratings of only about 40% good + excellent for both crops, compared to an average ...

Corn and soybean crops at mid-season, 2019

The 2019 Illinois corn crop reached 50% planted during the first week of June, more than a month later than the average of the past five years. The soybean crop reached 50% planted a few days later than corn, and more than three weeks later than the average of the past five years. May rainfall was above normal over most of Illinois, and June brought near-normal rainfall over much of the state. Still, the late planting coupled with too much or too little rainfall after planting produced July crop condition ratings of only about 40% good + excellent for both crops, compared to an average ...

Corn and soybean crops limp towards the finish line

After the worst start to a cropping season in decades, mid-season lack of rain in parts of Illinois, and season-long low crop ratings, it’s time to take a look at what comes next as the 2019 cropping season moves into its final stages.   Corn   To no one’s surprise, various crop tours in recent weeks have confirmed that corn yields in parts of Illinois are likely to be disappointing. If there is a positive, it’s that the crop may look a little better than we thought it would by now after more than half ...

Corn and Soybean Harvest One-Quarter Complete in Illinois

Illinois farmers entered the first week of October with one-quarter of both corn and soybean harvest complete.   The USDA reports as of Sunday 26% of corn is harvested, doubling progress from the previous week, but still behind the five-year average of 39%. 89% of the crop is considered mature with 73% rated good to excellent.   Soybean harvest reached 25%, up from 11% the previous but also behind the average of 33%. 81% of the crop is dropping leaves with 75% rated good to excellent.   Winter wheat planting is also well underway with 29% in the ground ahead of the 16% average with 9% of the crop emerged.   Click ...

Corn may become Illinois’ official state grain as bill passes House

A bill that recognizes corn as the official state grain passed the Illinois House Friday.   Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, is sponsoring the bill that he said was inspired by the Pittsfield High School agriculture development class.   “They did a lot of research on the impact that corn has on the state of Illinois,” Davidsmeyer said. “They didn’t want to necessarily compete with soybeans, which are another huge product for the state of Illinois, so they wanted to make corn the state grain.”   Additionally, Davidsmeyer said this was a great opportunity ...

Corn rated 61%, soybeans 63% good to excellent in Illinois

USDA’s crop condition ratings for Illinois corn and soybeans dropped a bit during the first week of July.   After a week of temperatures nearly four degrees above normal and average rainfall for the state, USDA rated corn 61% and soybeans 63% good to excellent, both down from the high sixties the week before.   As of Sunday, 10% of the corn crop is silking, compared to 1% the week before and the five-year average of 28%.   Soybeans blooming reached 22% compared to the average 24% and 1% of the crop has started setting pods.    Click Here to read more.

Corn Rootworms Poised to Stage a Comeback as Bt Resistance Spreads

After several years of low corn rootworm populations, the "billion-dollar bug" is catching eyes again in the Corn Belt.   Populations of both western and northern corn rootworm are rebounding after a mild winter and favorable egg hatch conditions this year, and they're bringing some bad habits along: growing Bt resistance.   Corteva Agriscience recently confirmed their second report of western corn rootworm resistance to Cry34/35Ab1, the Herculex RW trait that is the underpinning of most pyramided rootworm hybrids, this summer. The trait is usually offered in pyramids that cross many brand platforms, with names such ...

Coronavirus afflicts ethics reform

There was some tangible legislative fallout from the coronavirus outbreak last week.   The task force charged with making recommendations for beefing up state ethics laws missed its end of March deadline for delivering its recommendations.   The task force was formed after the spate of federal raids and wire taps of state and local officials last fall. It seems like a lifetime ago now, but it was a pressing issue back then and will be again. Does anyone believe the feds are dropping their investigations because people are consumed with the coronavirus now?   Anyway, there are pledges from ...

Corteva Will Stop Making Chlorpyrifos

After this year, Corteva Agriscience will no longer manufacture or sell the pesticide chlorpyrifos. The company says this is in response to demand decline–not public or regulatory concern. Corteva is not the only manufacturer of the insecticide.    Corteva said it secured enough supply to meet current demand through the end of this year, and farmers who bought chlorpyrifos from Corteva in 2020 will receive their orders.    “Demand for one of our long-standing products, chlorpyrifos, has declined significantly over the last two decades, particularly in the U.S.  Due to this reduced demand, Corteva ...

Costs and benefits need to be assessed in weighing bans on glyphosate and neonicotinoids

The continuing debates over whether the herbicide glyphosate or the insecticide class of neonicotinoids (neonics) could—or should—remain available for farmers and other users has been met with simplistic arguments both pro and con:   Pro ban: These chemicals are dangerous, they may kill bees and other life and shouldn’t be allowed near our food. Anti ban: These chemicals have been widely tested and proved safe, they are absolutely necessary and if removed from the market will force farmers to use more ineffective and dangerous chemicals.   Which answer is more accurate? Neither, because farmers ...

Cotton, soy plantings to rise; corn, wheat to fall, USDA forecasts

U.S. cotton farmers are planning to sow 12.2 million acres this year, up 21 percent from last year, driven by expectations of higher prices in 2017, USDA said today in a report based on a survey of growers. The estimate is also up from the 11.5 million planted acres the department predicted at its annual Outlook Forum in late February.   Projections for most other major crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat, hewed closely to the February estimates.   The estimate for corn plantings, for example, is 90 million acres, the same as predicted in February. That would be down 4 percent, or about 4 million ...

Could CRISPR-Engineered Crops help Solve the World’s Food Crisis?

With the United Nations (UN) projecting that the world population will reach 8.5 billion by the year 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050, an increasingly pressing question is how will we provide enough food for this many people without putting more pressure on our already strained resources and planet? One potential solution being investigated is that of crop plants, which can now be precisely enhanced using advanced technologies like CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) engineering, to be more resilient to pests and climatic stresses, as well produce higher yields.   As early as 2007, Dr Feng Zhang, PhD, an Assistant Professor at the ...

Countdown Begins for Compliance With GMO Food-Labeling Rule

Four years after the thunder in Congress over labeling foods made with GMO ingredients, the deadline for compliance with the USDA labeling regulation is in sight — the end of 2021 — despite complaints that the rule is riddled with loopholes that exempt many foods.   Under the rule, food makers have four options for indicating GMO ingredients, ranging from saying so on the package to a fingernail-size QR code, so consumers may find it difficult to identify a GMO food. The labels will say bioengineered, rather than the more commonly used GMO, which also might dilute their impact. And disclosure ...

Court Accuses EPA of "Filibustering" on Pesticide Safety

A federal court scolded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for continually delaying a formal response to a request that it restrict a pesticide’s use.   The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA late Monday to either issue a new regulation concerning the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos or issue some other complete, formal response to the request by the end of October, more than eight years after conservation groups first filed the petition.   “Although filibustering may be a venerable tradition in the United States Senate, it is frowned upon in administrative agencies tasked with ...

Court Action Ahead of New WOTUS Rule

Though EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may soon release a new proposed clean water rule, two separate lawsuits in New York are seeking to derail the agencies' move.   Last week EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a House committee the agency is nearing completion of a new rule to replace the 2015 waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.   Attorneys general in 10 states and the District of Columbia are asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to issue a summary judgement in a lawsuit they filed on Feb. 6 of this ...

Court Allows EPA Existing Stock Provisions to Remain

On Friday, judges in California with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a petition to halt all use of Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax dicamba herbicides. Instead, it will allow farmers to use existing stocks of the dicamba products under specific rules of EPA’s cancellation order.   EPA’s final cancellation order on the three dicamba formulations provided the following guidance: •Distribution or sale is prohibited unless it’s for product disposal or returns to the registrant (BASF, Corteva or Bayer).   Farmers and commercial applicators can use the existing stocks in their possession ...

Court Blocks EPA Water Rule. (Video)

A federal court blocked an Environmental Protection Agency rule on Thursday that would give the federal government jurisdiction over ditches, tributaries and other waterways normally under the control of states.   U.S. District Court of North Dakota Chief Judge Ralph Erickson placed a temporary injunction against the agency, which would delay the regulation from taking effect Friday.   "The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely," Erickson said in his decision favoring the 13 states that sued the EPA over its Clean Water Rule, formerly the Waters of the U.S. rule. The rule has ...

Court Blocks Overtime Rule

In a stunning blow to the Obama administration's economic legacy, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday delaying implementation of a regulation that would extend overtime eligibility to an estimated 4.2 million workers.   The ruling puts in serious jeopardy the most significant wage intervention by President Barack Obama, who has been unable to persuade Congress to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour. The Labor Department regulation, previously set to take effect Dec. 1, effectively restored overtime pay to the middle class after decades of erosion had reduced it to a benefit available only to low-wage workers. &...

Court gives EPA firm deadline on chlorpyrifos

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has given the Environmental Protection Agency an additional three months to decide whether to allow continued use of chlorpyrifos.   In a decision issued Friday, Aug. 12, a three-judge panel ordered EPA to make a final decision by March 31, 2017. The court added that it “will not grant any further extensions.” EPA had asked for six more months, and pesticide manufacturers and commodity groups had sought an extra year. Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council said EPA should comply with the Dec. 30 deadline imposed by the court last year. &...

Court Halts Pesticide Ag Worker Rule

A federal court issued a temporary restraining order on Monday barring the EPA from implementing a new rule on pesticide application exclusion zones.   A number of farm worker groups sued EPA on Dec. 16, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging the new rule, which was finalized in October, weakened protections for farm workers.   Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice, told DTN the court granted the restraining order. Farmworker Justice and Earthjustice are co-counsels in the case.   EPA finalized several changes to application exclusion zones when it comes to applying pesticides, ...

Court Orders Chlorpyrifos Use Canceled

EPA has been ordered to cancel chlorpyrifos registrations within 60 days, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled on Thursday the agency was not justified in maintaining the insecticide's registration "in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children."   The EPA denied a petition filed by environmental groups on March 30, 2017, to ban the pesticide outright. The agency said in a statement at the time that farmers need chlorpyrifos and an agency that relies on "sound science" when making decisions.   ...

Court rejects greens’ appeal of EPA decision not to ban pesticide

A federal appeals court rejected a request from environmental groups to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision not to restrict the controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos.   The San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit made its decision on procedural grounds, writing Tuesday that the green groups, led by the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), need to first file a challenge with the EPA before they can go to court.   “PANNA’s complaints arrive at our doorstep too soon,” the three-judge panel of the appeals court wrote.   Click Here to read ...

Court rules OSHA must go through rulemaking on PSM change

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration acted illegally when it imposed new safety requirements on fertilizer dealers without giving them a chance to comment, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.   In its decision, the court ruled that OSHA acted outside the bounds of the Occupational Safety and Health Act when it redefined “retail facility” exemptions to the Process Safety Management Standard.   OSHA tightened the standard following the West Fertilizer facility explosion in 2013, caused by a fire that detonated between 40 and 60 tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate. The explosion at the plant in West, ...

Court To Decide Who Should Pay For Nitrate Cleanup In Iowa

A water provider escalated its fight against farmers last week, taking the battle over who should shoulder the costs of pollution before the highest court in Iowa, where nitrates from crop fertilizers have pitted the agriculture industry against water suppliers in a protracted water-quality battle.   The case brought by Des Moines Water Works asked the Iowa Supreme Court to decide ”whether agriculture drainage districts have immunity from lawsuits and whether the water utility can seek monetary damages,” the Associated Press reported. “Water Works says it spent $1.5 million last year alone to remove nitrate from water to ...

Court Tosses Trump Rule Limiting Emissions Regulations

A panel of federal appeals judges Washington, D.C., on Monday nixed a Trump administration rule that would have prevented the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries.   The rule, finalized just before President Trump left office, only allows greenhouse gas limits on power plants, exempting activities like such as oil and gas production and iron and steel manufacturing.   The regulation says that only sectors whose pollution makes up more than 3 percent of the country’s  greenhouse gas emissions are “considered to contribute significantly to dangerous air pollution.” &...

Court Upholds Trump Water Rule

The U.S. District Court of South Carolina last week dismissed a challenge to the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which in 2020 replaced the Obama administration’s controversial 2015 Waters of the United States rule known by the acronym WOTUS.   The Biden administration announced its intentions to revise the definition of waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act on June 9, with the Department of Justice filing a motion requesting remand of the Trump rule.   Led by the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the environmental groups asked the court to vacate the Navigable ...

Cover Crops, Conservation Continue to Gain Steam

Warmer weather is finally here and many farmers begin to get their planter ready to kick off another growing season. While there may be a visible flurry of activity on the farm, our waterways and streams are silently busy accommodating extra rainfall that typically falls during the season. The additional waterflow is carrying soil nutrients.   Dr. Laura Gentry, Director of Water Quality Research, Clay Bess, Precision Conservation Management (PCM) Operation Manager, and Brent Weathers, Farmer in Vermillion County recently led a panelist discussion about their experience growing cover crops and managing other conservation practices.   The panelists answered questions ...

Covid Aid Bill Provides Ag Funding for Sectors Left Out of CFAP

The coronavirus aid package approved by Congress overnight Monday provides $13 billion in ag funding, much of it destined for sectors left out of previous aid packages.   The bill gives the USDA Secretary the authority to make payments to livestock producers who had to depopulate their herds due to limited processing plant capacity because of COVID-19 outbreaks. It also provides for assistance long sought by biofuel producers.   “Today’s passage of this landmark legislation is great news for America’s ethanol producers, who have struggled through the most difficult and trying year in the industry’...

COVID-19 is killing ethanol

At planting time, most farmers would have all their ducks in a row, so to speak.   The right amount of seed corn and seed beans; the right type of fertilizer on the right fields; and the right crop protection chemicals in the right place at the right time.   But this year may be different for some.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture surveyed farmers March 1 and found there were plans for almost 97 million acres of corn. The ratio of profitability between corn and soybeans was about even, which gave the nod to corn.   That was March 1. ...

COVID-19: How Ag Retailers Are Stepping Up to Help Customers, Employees Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Unprecedented. Unpredictable. Uncharted territory. Fluid situation. Those are just some of the terms being used to describe the coronavirus and its impact on the current state of the world. Closer to home, U.S. ag retailers are trying to navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, while simultaneously ramping up operations ahead of #plant20.   “Unlike many businesses, it’s simply not an option to shutdown agriculture,” said Tennessee Farmers Cooperative CEO Bart Krisle in a message to customers on March 19. “Farmers have animals to feed and crops to plant, and these activities require a reliable source of ...

COVID-19’s Lasting Effect on Ag Retail: Online Ordering

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way ag retailers are doing business in 2020. But what will be the lasting effects of virtual sales, no on-farm visits and less face-to-face interaction?   If you look to the consumer market, you may say there will be an uptick in e-commerce, as many more Americans are ordering necessities online.   So, is ag retail different? Yes and no.   Yes, ag retail has seen an increase in farmers buying inputs online. In 2018, Farm Journal conducted its first Crop Input Purchase Behavior Study, which found 8% of respondents currently bought some of their crop inputs ...

Crispr Can Speed Up Nature—and Change How We Grow Food

Like any self-respecting farmer, Zachary Lippman was grumbling about the weather. Stout, with close-cropped hair and beard, Lippman was standing in a greenhouse in the middle of Long Island, surrounded by a profusion of rambunctiously bushy plants. “Don’t get me started,” he said, referring to the late and inclement spring. It was a Tuesday in mid-April, but a chance of snow had been in the forecast, and a chilly wind blew across the island. Not the sort of weather that conjures thoughts of summer tomatoes. But Lippman was thinking ahead to sometime around Memorial Day, when ...

CRISPR Enables One-Step Hybrid Seed Production in Crops

Crop hybrid technologies have contributed to the significant yield improvement worldwide in the past decades. However, designing and maintaining a hybrid production line has always been complex and laborious. Now, researchers in China have developed a new system combining CRISPR-mediated genome editing with other approaches that could produce better seeds compared with conventional hybrid methods and shorten the production timeline by 5 to 10 years. The study appears July 8 in the journal Molecular Plant.   Hybrids are preferred over purebreds in crop production. Crossing two genetically distant plant varieties often gives rise to progeny with superior traits compared with the parents. The ...

CRISPR gene editing could boost crop yields and nutrition, but public acceptance remains wild card

The process of producing better food, protecting the environment and improving animal health is advancing at a seemingly breakneck pace.   These advancements are driven in part by new scientific discoveries, genetic research, data science, enhanced computational power and the availability of new systems for precision breeding like CRISPR....   The science is moving so rapidly that some are wondering if producers, consumers and regulators will ultimately be able to understand and embrace the changes.   Click Here to read more.

CRISPR is Coming to Our Plates

A new technique is sneaking in our lives, potentially changing the foods we eat every day. From growing resilient crops, to boosting flavor to tackling allergens like gluten, gene-edited food brings to the table a new opportunity to improve health and pleasure, as well as fight climate change. And, most importantly, many scientists say they’re working only with nature’s own tools. Given the impressive change this could potentially bring to our farms, supermarkets and tables, let’s explore how gene-editing could change the world, and the challenging questions we should be asking.    On ...

CRISPR Will Make GMOs Ubiquitous

Broad access to these technologies is changing the world of research in ways that we can’t even begin to grasp.   Labels multiply in supermarkets faster than salmonella at a convenience-store sushi bar. It’s important to keep up; we should all be well-informed eaters. But the onslaught of clean food, natural products, sustainably produced, gluten free, butterflies everywhere, and GMO-free sea salt are just too much. The average consumer is overwhelmed by all the words and symbols.   It’s about to get worse, because the National Organic Standards Board, the group responsible for the ...

CRISPR's Future In Food Depends On Consumers

“This is a critical year for CRISPR,” says Rodolphe Barrangou, a “CRISPR pioneer” and one of the scientists who first identified the bacteria in yogurt as a researcher for Danisco in 2007. He now leads the CRISPR lab at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “We know it works. We know it’s real.” Now, says Barrangou, the technology’s success depends on whether consumers will accept it.   CRISPR stands for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat,” a set of repeating DNA segments found in bacteria. These bacteria contain a ...

Cronus Fertilizers Announces New Shareholder to Advance Tuscola, Illinois Project

Cronus Fertilizers announced today that Titan Chemicals Holding, an entity controlled by Keyman-Avunduk Investment Company AG (KAIC) has become the majority shareholder for its Tuscola, Illinois Ammonia project.   KAIC brings additional financial backing and industry experience to advance the planned facility. Upon completion, the Tuscola facility will be one of the largest of its kind in the United States.   Melih Keyman is the president, CEO and founder of KEYTRADE AG, founder of KAIC and a veteran of the fertilizer industry. Keyman also serves on the board of The Fertilizer Institute, is an Ambassador of the International Fertilizer Association ...

Cronus Fertilizers Expands Partnership and Extends EPC Contract with Thyssen Krupp Industrial Solutions for Tuscola, Illinois, Ammonia Project

Cronus Fertilizers announced important changes to its partnership with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) that will enhance the success of Cronus’ proposed Tuscola, Illinois, fertilizer plant. Cronus has extended its fixed price, lump-sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) through June 30, 2021, and is finalizing an additional operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement with tkIS. Under the terms of the O&M agreement, tkIS will be involved in operating and maintaining the plant once it begins production. Furthermore, tkIS will become a minority shareholder in Cronus Fertilizers LLC.   These agreements strengthen the ...

Cronus Fertilizers Sign EPC Contract with Maire Tecnimont for Illinois Fertilizer Plant

Cronus Fertilizers announced today that it has executed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Tecnimont - Illinois, a subsidiary of Tecnimont S.p.A., for the Cronus Fertilizers plant in Tuscola, Illinois. The Lump Sum Turnkey (LSTK) EPC contract is valued at approximately $1.5 billion and is pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Cronus and Tecnimont S.p.A. (Italy) in Nomember 2014. Tecnimont S.p.A is the main subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2015 following financial closing and will be completed in approximately three years.  ...

Crop Bulletins

The unforgiving rain events Illinois has experienced this spring has made for a stressful and uncertain season.  Dr. Nafziger recently produced two Crop Central Bulletin articles that address the different variables affecting farmers and retailers who are managing the current crop.  Some of the topics covered include current crop conditions, root growth, nitrogen, other nutrients, and fungicides.  Please click the links below to read the articles:   Wet Soils and Corn   Managing Crops after a Lot of Mid-Season Rain

Crop Report: Conditions Good, Profits in Question

This summer’s warm and wet weather has been good for crops and bad for crop prices.   “Things are about as bleak as they’ve been in terms of any kind of profitability in several years,” said Gary Luth, who farms near Allerton. “The crop looks good, but there’s not going to be much money in it.”   Soybean prices are below $9 a bushel and corn is in the low $3 range, down from more than $13 and more than $7 in the early 2010s, respectively.   “The higher the (harvest) prediction, the ...

Crop Tour: Inconsistency Plagues Illinois Crops

Scouts on the eastern leg of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour made their way through Illinois today. Brian Grete, leader of the eastern leg and Pro Farmer editor, says the crops he sampled were “definitely subpar.”   “Normally you roll through there and you see consistency and 200+ bu. yields,” he told U.S. Farm Report host Tyne Morgan. “There’s some out there but not enough to tip the scale.”   Grete says variability will be to blame for Illinois yield woes.   “There’s too much variability in the ...

CropLife America Applauds EPA's Glyphosate Findings

In a memorandum released in June, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) found that the herbicide glyphosate, found in Roundup, posed no risk to the human endocrine system.    Glyphosate was developed to target broadleaf annual weeds that compete with commercial crops. It is also commonly used by home gardeners and in industrial areas or along railway lines as a form of weed control.   “The EPA’s rigorous testing and science-based regulations ensure that growers have access to increasingly precise crop protection products, including glyphosate-based herbicides,” said Janet E. Collins, ...

CropLife Magazine Talks with Allen Summers about NAEHSS Saftery School and 2018 MAGIE Show

CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj and special guest Allen Summers discuss The Asmark Institute and the upcoming Safety School at 2018 MAGIE Show.   Click Here to read more.

CropLife Magazine Unveils Annual Ranking of Top 100 U.S. Ag Retailers

CropLife magazine has published its annual CropLife 100, a listing of the largest U.S. ag retailers ranked.   Companies included in the 2019 ranking were limited to independent dealerships and cooperatives offering fertilizer, crop protection products, seed, and custom application services.   Overall, the nation’s top ag retailers saw their revenues in 2019 increase an impressive 6%, increasing from $30.5 billion in 2018 to $32.3 billion. “Considering the kind of year 2019 turned out to be for all of agriculture — and the fact that the revenues for CropLife 100 ag retailers have averaged around 2% annual growth the past few years — this was indeed ...

CropLife Retail Week: Reports from Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association Convention and Trade Show

Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj give a shout-out to birthday boy Dick Meister and review their times at the North Dakota Precision Ag Summit and the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association annual meeting.   Click Here to read more.

CropLife.com: Top 20 Stories from 2020

When it comes to 2020’s top stories in U.S. ag retail (and in any industry, for that matter), it’s hard to imagine the pandemic not dominating the headlines. In fact, it’s difficult to even recall what was happening in agriculture before mid-March, when the coronavirus changed how we live our daily lives and began consuming us to no end.   For most of us in agriculture (and the rest of the world), 2020 didn’t end soon enough. If the pandemic wasn’t enough, our industry also faced the usual suspects this year, ...

Crops are in – but they need some heat

An agronomist says planting progress in the western part of Illinois is the opposite of what it usually is this time of year.   Brent Titus is with UPL.  “Northwestern Illinois is nearly 100 percent planted,” he says.  “We get around the Quad Cities and their halo almost everything is in.  But as we move south, the weather has caused guys to not be able to go as much.  We think about starting (to plant) and we think about starting in southwest Illinois and moving north and this year is just the opposite of ...

Cullerton to Rauner: Take the deal, save the state before it’s too late

As you read this, it’s May 15, which leaves 16 days until the General Assembly’s constitutional deadline for action.   Illinois hasn’t had a comprehensive budget in two years. It hasn’t spent or invested a penny in higher education since Dec. 31. It no longer funds Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and other charitable organizations that, on behalf of the state, assist the disabled, elderly and downtrodden.   This has gone on too long. It’s time for action.   The calendar continues to count down, even though people routinely are told the governor ...

Cupped Soybeans and Dicamba: Scientists Dispel Common Myths

Cupped soybean fields are surfacing across the South and Midwest again this summer, and with them, a new crop of rumored causes.   Once again, however, the simplest explanation for those puckered up soybeans remains off-target dicamba applications, agronomists and weed scientists told DTN. Tens of millions of acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans are currently growing alongside non-dicamba-tolerant beans, and dicamba use in corn is on the rise in the fight against herbicide-tolerant weeds.   "I've heard about every possible alternative answer for cupped soybeans besides dicamba," said Iowa State University field agronomist Meaghan Anderson, with a touch ...

Curbing Fertilizer Runoff a Challenge

While many farmers employ what are thought to be best practices keep fertilizers from running off their fields and feeding huge algae blooms in lakes including Erie, scientists are working on novel ways to curb the problem.   New ideas include spreading gypsum to better hold phosphorus in fields and creating farm-area flood plains with plants that gobble up the fertilizer before they reach waterways.   Click Here to read more.

Cutting Through the Bee Buzz: Pollinator Numbers are Up. / Commentary

Last week Cong. Tom Rooney of Florida and Cong. David Valadao from California wrote a commentary article in Roll Call Newspaper on pollinator numbers in the U.S. and what activists groups are trying to do about it in Washington DC. They go on and talk about the pollinator numbers across the U.S. and why activists want to ban some pesticides first and ask questions later.   Click Here to read more.

CVR Parters to Buy Rentech Nitrogen for $533 Million

Nitrogen fertilizer producer CVR Partners LP said it would buy Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP for about $533 million, excluding debt, as global fertilizer makers aim to scale up at a time when increased supplies weigh on nitrogen prices.   The deal comes less than a week after CF Industries Holdings Inc said it would buy OCI NV's North American and European plants for $6 billion, making CF the world's largest publicly traded nitrogen company.   Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world's second-largest potash miner, has been proposing to acquire German salt and fertilizer company K+S AG.   Click ...

Damages Not Allowed in Iowa Runoff Case

Des Moines Water Works will not be allowed to collect damages in a lawsuit aimed at forcing the state to regulate nutrients runoff in Iowa, according to a 104-page ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court on Friday.   DMWW filed a federal lawsuit in January 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa in Sioux City against drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties. The counties northwest of Des Moines are part of the Raccoon River watershed. The lawsuit also names county supervisors.   One of the legal questions raised was whether DMWW could ...

Darren Soto, Mike Bost Team Up on Soil Quality Bill

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., is teaming up with U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., to allow more experts, including Certified Crop Advisors and Certified Agronomists, to act as Technical Service Providers for nutrient management.   Bost and Soto introduced the “Nutrient Management Technical Service Provider Certification Act” which gives more options for agriculture producers to access nutrient management technical assistance on Thursday.   “Our bipartisan bill cuts red tape and gives our farmers more resources to improve soil quality,” Bost said. “The Department of Agriculture has said that it lacks the manpower to ...

Davis, Londrigan spar on agriculture, trade at Decatur debate

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and his Democratic challenger, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, trod new turf in their third debate Monday night at Millikin University, setting themselves apart not only on health care and tax reform but also on trade issues.   It was only appropriate that trade and soybean tariffs would be a major topic since Decatur once called itself "The Soybean Capital of the World" and is the home of Archer Daniels Midland Co., an international food-processing company.   About 250 people attended the debate, which had to be closed after the venue reached capacity.   Davis, ...

Dead zone in Chesapeake Bay is the smallest in years

There’s another sign that the health of the Chesapeake Bay is improving.   This year’s dead zone in the Maryland portion of the Bay was the second smallest since the state began monitoring it in 1985, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.   The only time it was smaller was in 2012.   And on Virginia side, The Virginia Institute of Marine Science said the dead zone was the smallest it has been in five years.   Click Here to read more.

Death Tax Repeal Bills Introduced in Congress

On Tuesday, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2021 was reintroduced (S. 617 & H.R. 1712) by Congressmen Smith (R-MO) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) in the House and Senate Minority Whip Thune in the Senate.   While it’s not expected that a repeal will pass under the Biden administration, opponents of the “Death Tax” will be fighting against Democrats’ increased efforts to reform the tax.  Last Congress, Senate Democrats proposed rolling back the doubled exemption to partly pay for their infrastructure package. With another reconciliation bill likely this year, opponents are on high alert for any ...

Decision Time for Dicamba

There is no easy button for dicamba applications.   Not only was training made mandatory for use of new dicamba formulations in 2018, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also severely tightened spray requirements in an attempt to avoid the off-target movement experienced last spray season.   While controversy has swirled around whether these label requirements are adequate, or even logistically possible, some fundamental facts exist:   Farmers will have access to in-season use of dicamba in soybeans and cotton. Some states have set specific calendar and/or temperature cutoffs.   Click here to read more.

Delays at proposed Tuscola fertilizer plant put tax breaks at risk

Cronus Chemicals will start losing part of its nearly $40 million in state tax incentives if its proposed $1.9 billion ammonia fertilizer plant in Tuscola is not operating by July 2, according to tax credit agreements.   A review of company filings with the state of Illinois shows the project must be “in service” within 24 months of July 2, 2015.  According to the documents, “in service” means “the state or condition of readiness and availability for specifically assigned functions.”   And if the plant is not complete and operating within five years of July 2, 2015, the company will lose ...

Dem lawmakers: Graduated income tax needed to avoid big cuts

Democratic lawmakers said Thursday the only alternatives to a graduated income tax the state has are to make cuts across the board, including to schools and social services, or raise the income tax by 20 percent on everyone.   Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, said over the next several weeks, lawmakers will begin moving a resolution through the House and Senate to put a referendum on the ballot in 2020 so voters can choose whether to change the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax.   “I am confident as I was two years ago and four ...

Democratic AGs push back on EPA plan to limit review of pesticide impacts on endangered species

Eleven state attorneys general are pushing back against an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal they say would weaken the process for determining whether pesticides are harmful to endangered species.   The comments submitted by the Democratic attorneys general come the same week as a new rule from the Department of the Interior that would dramatically roll back the Endangered Species Act (ESA).    In their comments submitted Thursday, the attorneys general warn that the EPA’s proposal runs counter to the agency’s policy of “institutionalized caution" and circumvents consultation with other agencies charged with ...

Democratic plan could block Trump’s tariff-aid payments to farmers

House Democrats are weighing a short-term spending plan that could temporarily freeze the Trump administration’s trade relief payments to farmers. The House Appropriations Committee is circulating among members a draft continuing resolution that leaves out language requested by the White House to ensure that the Agriculture Department can continue distributing checks to farmers and ranchers burned by President Donald Trump’s trade war. “The American people deserve a robust debate on the costs of the Trump trade war,” committee spokesperson Evan Hollander confirmed in an email. “The clean CR that House Democrats have circulated ...

Democrats Propose New Maps for Illinois House, Senate as GOP Blasts Data, Lack of Details

Democrats who control the Illinois House and Senate posted maps online Friday night showing proposed boundaries for new state legislative districts as part of a process required by the state constitution at least every 10 years.   The proposed maps “comply with federal and state law and ensure the broad racial and geographic diversity of Illinois is reflected in the General Assembly,”  Democrats said in a news release emailed at about 7:30 p.m.   "Redistricting is about making sure all voices are heard, and that’s exactly what this map accomplishes," State Sen. Omar Aquino, ...

Democrats Reintroduce Measure to Address Racial Disparities in Environmental Impacts

Senate Democrats and their counterparts in the House on Thursday reintroduced legislation that aims to address the disparate impact environmental harm and pollution has on people of color and low-income Americans.   The Environmental Justice for All Act would authorize regulatory agencies to consider cumulative impacts in Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act decisions.   The measure would also require increased community input in agencies’ environmental decisionmaking and amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act, allowing private citizens and organizations to sue over alleged discrimination in environmental programs.   Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the Senate version of the bill, ...

Democrats start moving stopgap state budget despite clear hurdles

Illinois House Democrats on Wednesday advanced a plan to rush more than $815 million to state universities and social service providers, but that money might not arrive anytime soon because Gov. Bruce Rauner criticized the proposal and Senate Democrats still are working on their own plan.   Despite the political hurdles, supporters said they wanted to press ahead, contending that colleges and groups who care for the state's most vulnerable people are in desperate need of a "lifeline." A previous stopgap state budget expired at the beginning of the year as Illinois gets closer to going two years ...

Democrats Talk Climate, Ag

In an evening-long event on climate policies, Democratic candidates said farmers and agriculture can be a solution to climate change, but criticized large scale agriculture and food production at the same time.   On Wednesday, CNN hosted a marathon town hall with pre-selected questioners asking 10 Democratic presidential candidates about climate change. Hurricane Dorian provided a backdrop for the town hall with updates on the storm hitting Florida.   Until the event, climate had only been a small slice of questions at Democratic debates. The Democratic National Committee rejected requests for a debate centered around the topic, so CNN gave each ...

Democrats to duke it out for top climate candidate title

Ten Democratic presidential contenders will make the case for their respective climate agendas Wednesday when they compete for the title of top environmental candidate.   The seven-hour forum on CNN, with each participant speaking separately, will offer White House hopefuls the chance to emerge as the leading supporter of environmental defense and climate action in the wake of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s withdrawal from the 2020 race. The Democratic governor’s platform was almost exclusively centered on combating climate change.   “There is definitely now an opening with Inslee not in the race anymore for someone to ...

Democrats weigh 2018 challenge to Rauner; GOP on the attack

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner sent two clear signals when he dumped $50 million into his campaign fund: The 2018 race for Illinois governor will be a rough one, and the contest starts now.   What's still unknown is which Democrats will try to unseat the multimillionaire former businessman. Among those contemplating a bid are U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, businessman Chris Kennedy, state Sen. Andy Manar and billionaire investor J.B. Pritzker, according to potential candidates and aides.   In a glimpse of what's to come, the Democratic Governors Association said Rauner is "more focused on getting elected than passing ...

Dems block committee vote on EPA nominee Pruitt

Democrats slowed down the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator by boycotting a scheduled vote by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.   Committee Democrats said Pruitt had not fully answered their questions about potential conflicts of interest and his plans to recuse himself from participation in lawsuits he brought against EPA while Oklahoma attorney general.   Committee rules require a quorum of seven members, including two members of the minority, to be present in order to hold a vote. But they also include an exception allowing measures to be reported to the Senate if  “...

Dems Give Mandatory GMO Labeling Bill a Second Try

Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut along with Rep. Pete DeFazio, D-Ore., held a press conference today to reintroduce a mandatory GMO labeling bill that will face stiff opposition in a Congress controlled by Republicans. Boxer said the more than 30 other Democrats in the House and Senate who are sponsoring the legislation are up to the challenge. “A lot of things don't have a chance around this joint, but that doesn't mean we're not going to push it,” Boxer said. “Ninety percent of the people want this ...

Denied access to neonicotinoid insecticides, UK farmers scramble to control deadly plant virus

Controlling the spread of plant viruses has just got harder with the demise of neonicotinoid seed treatments putting the emphasis back on pyrethroids for vector control. Oilseed rape growers have been denied neonics for a while, but until this season sugar beet and cereal growers have been able to benefit from the protection they offered.   [In fall 2019] the importance of [Barley yellow dwarf virus] BYDV rises up the agenda and researchers have been looking at ways to mitigate the risk the disease poses to cereal crops.   Prof John Holland, head of farmland ecology at the Game and Wildlife ...

Des Moine Water Works shifts how it disposes of excess nitrates

Darrell Shook is not the first to ask what Des Moines Water Works does with the nitrates it filters from drinking water.   “I've heard that they put the nitrates back in the river at the allowable rate. If this is true, are they not causing a problem for water users downstream?” the retired farmer writes. “If this is not true, I think your readers would be interested in knowing what is done with the removed nitrates.”   When it comes to water quality, answers can get muddy fast. So let’s review some ...

Des Moines council supports bill dismantling water utilities

The Des Moines City Council voted to continue its support of controversial legislation that would dismantle Des Moines Water Works Monday night despite a room full of angry citizens who spoke against it.   The vote was four against, two in favor and one abstaining on Councilman Skip Moore's motion that the city oppose bills in the Statehouse that would place water utilities and its assets under the control of local city councils. Both bills have passed Iowa House and Senate committees and are eligible for floor debate.   The City of Des Moines directed its lobbyists to register ...

Des Moines Faces Extreme Measures to Find Clean Water

In the dim light just after dawn, Bill Blubaugh parks his Des Moines Water Works pickup truck, grabs a dipper and a couple plastic bottles and walks down a boat ramp to the Raccoon River, where he scoops up samples from a waterway that cuts through some of the nation’s most intensely farmed land.   Each day the utility analyzes what’s in those samples and others from the nearby Des Moines River as it works to deliver drinking water to more than 500,000 people in Iowa’s capital city and its suburbs.   “Some mornings ...

Des Moines Water Works plans $15 million for expanded nitrate facility

Des Moines Water Works expects to spend $15 million to double the size of its nitrate removal facility to handle growing levels of the compound from the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers.   Utility officials say the new equipment and the cost to operate it will mean bigger rate increases for customers in coming years.   The Water Works board this week approved an $800,000 contract with CH2M, an engineering consultant based in West Des Moines, to design the facility expansion.   The utility's growth plan follow its failed lawsuit against three northern Iowa counties. Water Works sued 10 northern Iowa ...

Despite federal, state efforts, dicamba complaints continue

For the third straight year, a volatile pesticide is damaging crops across the Midwest and South, despite federal and state efforts to lessen the drift.   Since 2017, farmers have sprayed an increasing amount of the weedkiller, called dicamba, on soybean and cotton crops genetically engineered by agribusiness company Monsanto to withstand being sprayed by the herbicide.   But each year, dicamba has drifted off-target and damaged millions of acres of nonresistant soybeans and other plants.   In fact, farmers in Illinois, the nation’s leading soybean-producing state, have reported record levels of crop damage caused by pesticide drift in 2019, ...

Despite less farming this season, bad algae blooms expected on Lake Erie

Researchers who monitor algae blooms on Lake Erie face an interesting scenario this year.   Normally, farmers in the western basin have thousands of acres of corn and soybeans planted by now. Because of excessive rains from last fall through early summer, that’s not the case this year, so the farmers likely didn’t fertilize their fields as much.   Some fertilizer, which contains phosphorus, eventually runs off into tributaries that feed the lake, sometimes causing harmful algae blooms. On a scale of 1 to 10, the bloom severity is expected to hit 7.5 this year. As of last week, ...

Despite the US-China trade agreement, key details are unclear

After the U.S. and China announced the “phase-one” trade agreement, a critical point remains in question: agricultural purchases.   Bilateral trade is a significant part of the dispute between the world’s two largest economies, especially after both sides decided to break the negotiations into phases, rather than tackling a slew of American concerns, which range from the trade deficit in goods to state control in the economy.   On Friday, both countries held separate press conferences to announce that they reached the phase-one agreement.   President Donald Trump said the Chinese would buy $50 billion in ...

DETERMINING ‘OFF-TARGET DICAMBA’ YIELD LOSS IS A CHALLENGE

In addition to the normal challenges associated with harvest, some Midwestern growers are also trying to evaluate yield loss in soybeans due to off-target movement of dicamba.   Stephanie Porter, a sales agronomist with Burrus Seed, says she’s seen and heard reports of yield losses ranging from zero to 40 bushels per acre. But Porter says linking those losses directly to dicamba damage could prove difficult.   “I don’t think there is a good way to evaluate it,” Porter says. “It’s really hard to do comparisons ...

DHS Approved to Expand CFATS Personnel Surety Program to Tiers 3 and 4

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been given the green light from the White House Office and Management and Budget (OMB) on a proposal to expand the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program’s Personnel Surety Program (PSP) . DHS received the authorization in late May to expand the program to cover CFATS facilities in risk Tiers 3 and 4, which consists of more than 3,000 CFATS facilities in Tiers 3 and 4. Most agricultural retailers that are subject to CFATS are considered tiers 3 or 4.   DHS plans to rollout this expansion to the PSP over the course of the next three years and ...

Dicabma Settlement Claims Period Starts

Farmers who believe they had crops damaged from off-target dicamba from 2015 to 2020 can now submit claims at dicambasoybeansettlement.com/ or call 855-914-4672. The deadline to submit claims is May 28, 2021. The claims period began on December 29, 2020.   It’s part of a $400 million settlement announced last June that’s designed to compensate farmers for yield losses resulting from off-target dicamba crop damage.   “We are pleased that relief will soon be available to the thousands of farmers across America who have suffered yield losses due to off-target movement of dicamba,” said attorney Don Downing, chair of ...

Dicamba brings in record number of complaints

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has recorded over 100 more dicamba-related complaints than in 2018, and it’s not done counting.   With 455 dicamba-related pesticide complaints submitted to the Illinois Department of Agriculture as of Aug. 16, the 2019 growing season has leaped ahead of 2018’s total of 336 dicamba complaints.   Aaron Hager, University of Illinois weed scientist, says label revisions have clearly not helped in Illinois, where an estimated 6 million acres of soybeans were treated with a dicamba herbicide product this year.    “We’re going to increase our complaints in the largest soybean-growing state again this year ...

Dicamba Buffers, Training and Licensing: What to Know for 2019

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) renewed the labels of three dicamba-containing products used in dicamba-resistant soybean varieties on October 31, 2018.  These renewed labels also contain new restrictions and requirements that did not appear on the original labels.  Each application must completely satisfy all label requirements and restrictions, but the following three new requirements might necessitate additional forethought and planning.   Additional in-field buffers   Fields that exist in counties that might harbor endangered terrestrial dicot plant species must have an in-field, 57-foot omnidirectional buffer. The new 57-foot buffer will occur on three sides of the field and ...

Dicamba Complaints Have Long-Tailed Implications

Farmers have been using dicamba over-the-top of soybeans and cotton since 2017. The herbicide is approved through 2020, and this year and next year will weigh heavily on the herbicide’s future.   “The first year with dicamba, 2017, we had 246 dicamba-related complaints,” says Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. “In 2018 we had 330 and in 2019 we’ve had 728 as of now. The big difference now is that we are using it on far more acres and later in the season; very rarely was it used in June and July.”   Illinois is showing ...

Dicamba damage complaints spike early

The 2018 growing season feels like déjà vu, says Jean Payne, Illinois Chemical and Fertilizer Association president, as farmers and applicators watch soybeans cup and pesticide misuse claims multiply from off-target dicamba movement.   University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager says he walked an off-target dicamba soybean field on June 6, about two weeks earlier than in 2017, and estimates 150,000 impacted acres as of the third week in June.   According to Payne, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has received 66 formal complaints related to dicamba. “Most are generated from central Illinois at this time,” she says, adding ...

Dicamba Damaged Peach Grower Awarded $265 Mil, Bayer/BASF will Appeal

In the first case involving dicamba, a jury sided with the plaintiff and found Bayer and BASF responsible for $15 million in actual damages and $250 million in punitive damages. The case was tried in Cape Girardeau, Mo. and involved damages to a peach orchard.   Bader Farms, the plaintiff, sued in civil court for damages that occurred to peach trees starting in 2015 when Xtend cotton seed was launched. Bader says his peach orchards are dying as a direct result of dicamba damage from drift or volatilization.   Bayer (Monsanto in court documents) and BASF say the peach yield losses and tree ...

Dicamba debate spreading

A time-worn and dependable weed killer used by millions of farmers for over 40 years has become the bane of rural America that threatens to tear apart family friendships and the social order of a struggling, but peaceful, Corn Belt at light speed.   Dicamba has not only become the story of the year in just a few months, but has the potential to rearrange long-term trends in farm management and even ownership.   For the agriculturally unwashed, dicamba for years has been used as an early season broadleaf herbicide designed to clear a field and then be retired for the ...

Dicamba decision looms for governor; limit herbicide’s use, Arkansas panel urges

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will soon have to choose between the recommendations of his own Plant Board or the wishes of Monsanto, the St. Louis-based seed giant.   The issue is dicamba -- or, rather, the misuse of it.   Some farmers illegally sprayed the herbicide this summer, damaging thousands of acres of cotton, soybeans, fruits and vegetables in Arkansas and neighboring states. The federal Environmental Protection Agency served search warrants in Missouri. That state's largest peach farm has sued Monsanto. The mess hit rock bottom Oct. 27 with the fatal shooting of an Arkansas farmer.   Monsanto has a new ...

Dicamba Decision Time for EPA: What's on the Table?

As the fall seed-buying season advances, EPA is facing a major time crunch on its dicamba herbicide decisions.   The agency had originally vowed to have a re-registration decision for four dicamba herbicides -- Tavium (Syngenta), Engenia (BASF), XtendiMax (Bayer) and FeXapan (Corteva) -- settled by early fall so farmers could buy their corresponding dicamba-tolerant seed with the certainty of in-season weed control options.   All four herbicides were set to expire in December 2020, but when a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling vacated all but one of those herbicides, EPA's timeline was thrown into disarray. (See more here: ) &...

Dicamba Discussion Dominates IFCA

As one of the first state association meetings held each year, the annual Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) event in Peoria, IL, is a good gauge as to what ag retailers will spend their upcoming growing season focusing on (view slideshow above). Not surprisingly, this year looks to be a follow-up of sorts to one of the major issues of 2017 – dicamba and off-target movement. During the three-day IFCA meeting, no less than half-a-dozen speakers looked at the dicamba question in one fashion or another.   “I hope, as an industry, we are not taking our eye off ...

Dicamba Drift Injury 2020 Report

Growers and retailers in Illinois, the largest U.S. soybean growing state, breathed a sigh of relief as reports of drift injury dropped sharply from last year’s record 700-plus dicamba-related complaints.   “Given that our cut-off was June 25 and it’s nearly one month later, we are optimistic that dicamba complaints may end up below 100 in 2020 which is a significant improvement,” Jean Payne, President of Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, told CropLife®. “It appears that in 2020, Illinois has finally broken the cycle of having an increase in complaints each year dicamba was labeled ...

Dicamba drift problems not an aberration

Dicamba drift across the landscape was the dominant call again this June and July.   Once again, Palmer amaranth control with dicamba was very good in many fields. This is the third year where there have been major issues keeping dicamba in the field, but Palmer amaranth control was good in fields where it was applied. It really dawned on me that this is not so much new, but after three consecutive years is, in fact, the “new normal.”   For three decades, I have had the privilege to make thousands of field visits to help growers troubleshoot ...

Dicamba Faces Legal Battlefield

EPA is facing a tangle of lawsuits over its 2020 registration of three over-the-top dicamba herbicides, XtendiMax, Engenia and Tavium.   Given the many legal steps ahead for them, these lawsuits are unlikely to immediately affect the legal availability of dicamba in 2021, but they could threaten the chemical's use in spray seasons to come.   The lawsuits have been brought by two different groups of plaintiffs with two very different complaints. On one side, agricultural commodity groups are arguing the new dicamba labels are too restrictive; on the other, environmental groups argue they are too permissive.   Click Here to ...

Dicamba in 2018: What’s at Stake?

Manufacturers have weighed in. Farmers and retailers have stated their cases and shared their experiences. Labels have been tweaked. University extension specialists and county educators have taught until there is no more to teach. State agriculture officials and pesticide regulators have inspected, pored over data, and made decisions about the regulations and restrictions to impose for this season. Now, as is so often the case, it’s incumbent on the agricultural retailers to execute the application, and advise farmers on how to properly follow all the requirements for implementing a dicamba-tolerant cropping system.   Click Here to read more.

Dicamba injury complaints originating far from Missouri Bootheel

A Missouri Department of Agriculture official says dicamba injury complaints have spread from the state’s Bootheel region and now total about 120.  Plant Industries Division Director Judy Grundler says reports of crops injured by the herbicide now originate from parts of the state hundreds of miles to the northwest.   DSCN4816“Complaints are primarily coming from a four country area in the Bootheel region,” Grundler told the Missouri House Committee on Appropriations – Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Thursday.  “We now have had a complaint that has come in from Butler County and a ...

Dicamba Injury Is Back in 2018

Dicamba is once again injuring non-dicamba-tolerant soybeans in 2018. As of June 15, university weed scientists estimate that approximately 383,000 acres of soybeans have been injured by dicamba so far, according to Kevin Bradley, University of Missouri Extension weeds specialist.   That’s out of an estimated 89 million acres of soybeans planted, according to USDA. Last year, dicamba damaged an estimated 3.6 million acres out of 89.5 million acres. That concerns Bradley, particularly if Xtend technology adoption increases in 2018 and beyond. Monsanto estimated 2018 Xtend acres to double from 2017 to 50 million acres in 2018.   Of the 15 state departments of agriculture that responded to this request ...

Dicamba Lawsuit Setback

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit against dicamba last week, but left open a door for the plaintiffs to expedite a new lawsuit in 2019.   The original lawsuit, which was filed by four farm and environmental groups in 2017, argued that the EPA's 2016 registration of XtendiMax for over-the-top use on soybean and cotton fields was unlawful. When that registration ended and EPA renewed the dicamba registration in 2018, Monsanto (now Bayer) and EPA argued that the court should dismiss the lawsuit as moot.   The court agreed, but the panel of judges also ruled that the ...

Dicamba Rules Vary by State. Another Patchwork of State Dicamba Rules Emerging for 2019

Pick a state, any state, and chances are the rules for dicamba use there could differ from its neighbors next year.   EPA released federal labels for XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan on October 31, and already, a patchwork of additional state restrictions is developing.   Arkansas is weighing a May 20 cutoff date, with large protective buffers for certain sensitive crops. Indiana and Minnesota have both submitted 24(c) special local needs labels to EPA with proposed June 20 cutoff dates. South Dakota has submitted a 24(c) for a June 30 cutoff date, which North Dakota is also considering, and a handful of other states ...

Dicamba So Far in 2018: Tough to Tell

It’s still too early tell exactly how dicamba injury-related issues on U.S. cropland will compare to last year, but as of late July, a major improvement is not in the cards. It’s disappointing, given the unprecedented training that went on in the off-season.   In his closely watched dicamba report, Dr. Kevin Bradley, Professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri, recalled that last year on July 25, there were 1,411 dicamba-related injury investigations being conducted by the various state Departments of Agriculture while university weed scientists estimated approximately 2.5 million acres of soybean ...

Dicamba training became monumental task in Illinois

Arkansas, Missouri and West Tennessee attracted most of the media coverage on off-target applications of dicamba last year. But the misapplications were also a problem in Midwest soybean states like Illinois. The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association’s Jean Payne discussed Illinois’ efforts to address the issue in a presentation at The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance Conference in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this year.   Click Here to read more.

Dicamba training emphasizes how to 'use it the right way'

Pittsfield farmer John Thomas didn't think he had a weed resistance problem -- until last year.   When several applications of Roundup didn't touch the waterhemp growing in a field, Thomas tried dicamba to control the pesky weed.   Dicamba "worked just like it was supposed to" and cleaned up the field, Thomas said, so making sure the product remains available is a top priority for him and other farmers.   "We're just going to have to follow the rules and use it the right way so we don't run into any of ...

Dicamba training to be required before 2018 use

Illinois Dicamba Training will roll out this winter, with sessions beginning Nov. 27 and continuing until April 1, just prior to spring planting.   Illinois is following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) parameters as it relates to dicamba use in 2018.   “We are now moving forward with one of the new requirements on this label for 2018, which is that this is a restricted-use pesticide,” Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) President Jean Payne recently told the RFD Radio Network.  “So you already have to be a certified applicator to apply it.”   Click Here to ...

Dicamba: What does success look like in 2020?

Here’s what we know in Illinois in September 2019: The Illinois Department of Agriculture had received 937 total herbicide complaints as of Sept. 13. Of those, 708 were related to dicamba.   In 2018: 330 dicamba-related complaints. In 2017: 246 dicamba-related complaints. Before in-season dicamba, from 1989 to 2016, total ag and non-ag complaints averaged about a hundred a year.   Clearly, those numbers are going the wrong way. And 937 complaints is more than any other state, which is a problem for the leading soybean-producing state in the nation — enough so that IDOA convened a group of stakeholders for a series of meetings this month, which began ...

Dicamba: What is Success or Failure in 2018?

It’s difficult to recall the debut of a weed management technology that generated more divisiveness than the 2017 introduction of dicamba-resistant soybean varieties and the accompanying use of dicamba.  Damage to off-target vegetation from myriad sources of exposure resulted in not only monetary losses, but also untold costs to professional and personal relationships.  Trust that took years to build was damaged or lost in the span of one growing season.  This includes the public trust in pesticide use.   The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in response to the unprecedented number of complaints, issued several ...

Dicamba: Who's Liable?

There was no question what was to blame for the curled soybeans on the central Illinois farm in late June. The farmer, the neighbor who made the application, even the investigator from the neighbor's insurance company, all agreed. Off-target dicamba movement was the culprit.   Yet the letter the injured farmer received months later from the insurance company was quite clear: "We do not find any negligence on the part of our insured and are respectfully denying your claim." The company concluded that the dicamba damage had occurred from volatility -- a factor beyond the applicator's ...

Dicamba’s Future Under New Pressure

Over-the-top dicamba products, Engenia, FeXapan and XtendMax spent time under the court’s microscope, resulting in EPA issuing a final cancellation order for these products. The same plaintiffs sought vacatur for Enlist Duo herbicide this year.   Since 2017, the National Family Farm Coalition and the Natural Resources Defense Council have argued in court that allowing over-the-top dicamba application on soybeans and cotton violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and should be vacated.   On June 3, 2020, three California judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed ...

Dick Durbin: Time to Raise Gas Tax

As Congress stares down another looming highway cliff and old idea is getting some new attention: Raising the gas tax.   Congress has avoided confronting the politically nettlesome issue for more than 20 years; the federal taxes last increased in 1993.  In the meantime cars have become more fuel efficient, the 18.4 cents per-gallon tax has lost buying power and Congress has repeatedly kicked the can, choosing tens billions in general fund bailouts over raising a tax that would hit the vast majority of Americans right in the pocket.   Click Here to read more.

Did Bill Gates Just Change the GMO Debate

I'm always amazed at the new research that floats across my desk on nearly a daily basis. This week, a new international study revealed scientists have found a way to make crops use 25% less water without compromising yield.   The key is altering the expression of one gene-- the gene that controls the protein responsible for opening and closing the microscopic pores on the plants leaves that let water escape. The scientists say that gene is found in all plants.   This study was funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  During an "...

Did you get a drone for Christmas? Know the law before you take to the skies

Whether a beginner, a serious aviation enthusiast, or just a fan of gadgets, many of you will have received drones as Christmas gifts.   Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have surged in popularity and affordability in recent years, and there's no doubt that recreational drone use is on the rise as a result.   But not all recreational drone users know the law — or if they do, they don't appear to be following it.   There has been a string of near misses between drones and other aircraft, and other cases of irresponsible use.   Only last month, ...

Diesel Fuel Prices Surge Following Drone Attack on Saudi Arabian Oil Facilities

Diesel fuel prices surged Monday as oil markets reacted to weekend news of a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that took an estimated 50% of the country's production offline.   "Before the Sept. 14 drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the outlook for diesel prices was looking favorable for harvest needs," DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman said on Monday.   "Diesel was priced at $2.86 a gallon in the Midwest, down 10% from this time a year ago. On Monday after the attacks, however, diesel futures are up nearly 10%, unfortunate timing for grain producers getting ready to begin ...

Digging into a gene-editing deal

The tools of biotechnology have been used in crop development for more than three decades. And while transgenic crops may have gotten the public's attention in the beginning, plant breeders saw other benefits — including marker-assisted breeding. But the latest tool that will allow plant breeders to reach new crop production is gene editing, and Syngenta is incorporating that new tech into its development programs.   Recently, the company announced it has signed a nonexclusive intellectual property license with the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to use a key tool for gene editing &...

Disaster Aid Bill On Hold Again for Now

A House Republican has temporarily blocked the $19 billion dollar disaster aid bill.  Texas Republican Chip Roy objected to speeding the measure through a nearly-empty chamber on Friday. He also complained the bill does not contain any of President Trump's request for dealing with the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.   The House will return to the bill possibly as early as next week.   The disaster aid would deliver help for southern states suffering from last fall's hurricanes, Midwestern states hit by flooding, and fire-ravaged rural California.   The Senate voted in support of the ...

Do you understand the new overtime rules?

Farming is the kind of job that happens 24 hours a day and seven days a week, year-round. Time on the clock adds up quickly, which is why producers need to educate themselves on the new final rule on overtime pay within the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.   Agriculture workers are exempt, but some people on your payroll might be subject to the rules that go into effect Dec. 1—particularly if you operate a seed business, a custom farming enterprise, a creamery or a farm stand.   Who Qualifies? Across all industries, 4.2 million workers will be affected by the ...

Don't Hold Your Breath, Springfield Stoppage Could Last Until 2016

The Illinois General Assembly is moving into its eighth week without a budget. And Illinoisans are left wondering how much longer lawmakers can keep up the staring contest. But with nothing in Illinois law requiring lawmakers to settle on a budget within a specific period of time – and a lack of political pressure points to spur action – the will to come to a compromise is waning.   In fact, the budget impasse could technically last until January 2016, when a new legislative session begins.   Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Democrats’ budget proposal on account ...

Don't have breakfast plans on Wednesday morning.........Come to AG-SOLVE Policy Outlook Breakfast.

If you don't have breakfast plans already on Wednesday morning, please join us at the Policy Outlook breakfast.  AG-SOLVE will be giving it's  "Friend of AG" award to two retiring state representative, Rep Don Moffitt and Rep Pat Verschoore. They've been great friends to IFCA and to the industry. CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Todd Masisch will be giving us a outlook on the business climate in Springfield and Washington DC. The cost of the breakfast is $25 and you can pay at the door.&...

Donald Trump asks China to lift all US agricultural tariffs

US President Donald Trump has asked China to "immediately" lift all tariffs on US agricultural products.   In a tweet, the president said he made the request because "we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions".   Mr Trump has delayed tariffs scheduled for 1 March on Chinese goods due to progress in talks.   He has long complained about the country's trading practices, and has imposed tariffs totalling more than $250bn (£189bn) on Chinese goods.   China has responded in kind, placing tariffs on $110bn of US products and accusing the US of starting &...

Donald Trump asks China to lift all US agricultural tariffs

US President Donald Trump has asked China to "immediately" lift all tariffs on US agricultural products.   In a tweet, the president said he made the request because "we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions".   Mr Trump has delayed tariffs scheduled for 1 March on Chinese goods due to progress in talks.   He has long complained about the country's trading practices, and has imposed tariffs totalling more than $250bn on Chinese goods.   Click Here to read more.

Don’t Bank on Dicamba Extension

The June 30 cutoff date for applying in-season dicamba to soybeans in Illinois remains in place, according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.   Doug Owens, head of IDOA’s Bureau of Environmental Programs, says they’ll continue to review the situation but are sticking with June 30 for now.   “The weather’s not cooperating with anybody right now,” Owens says. “We’ll review as we go along, but as of this date, there is no proposed revision to that time.”   The June 30 cutoff was one of five additional state-specific restrictions IDOA ...

DOT Finalizes New Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule on Thursday updating hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for truck drivers.      “America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a U.S. Department of Transportation release.   In August 2019, the Agency published a ...

Dow, DuPont merger wins U.S. antitrust approval with conditions

DuPont (DD.N) and Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) have won U.S. antitrust approval to merge on condition that the companies sell certain crop protection products and other assets, according to a court filing on Thursday.   The asset sales required by U.S. antitrust enforcers were similar to what the companies had agreed to give up in a deal they struck with European regulators in March. The deal is one of several big mergers by farm suppliers, and the antitrust approval was quickly denounced by the head of the National Farmers Union, saying that farmers would face higher ...

Drainage districts could be part of Iowa's nitrate solution, report says

Drainage districts, once the target of a Des Moines Water Works lawsuit, could be part of the solution to cut high nitrate levels in Iowa's lakes, rivers and streams, according to a new report.   Iowa's 3,700 drainage districts already have power under state law to "mitigate pollution discharge" since they're "presumed to be a public benefit" that contribute to "public health, convenience and welfare," according to the Iowa Policy Project, an Iowa City research group.   “Public health and welfare can and should be interpreted to mean keeping ...

Drift complaints storm ag department

Since joining the Illinois Department of Agriculture in 1989, Deputy Director Warren Goetsch watched the number of annual pesticide drift complaints jump from an average 125 to 430 in 2017.   The cause? Dicamba.   “The addition of dicamba for use on soybeans and cotton has provided for some major challenges. I think Illinois was either third or fourth in the number of complaints from the previous year,” Goetsch said.   Click Here to read more.

Drift driving you nuts or just the clamor surrounding it?

Some Illinois farmers participating on social media have been active over the last week with reports of alleged herbicide drift damage to crops – specifically, damage from dicamba.   First, if you think you might be the victim of spray drift and you have crop insurance, take some action.   “On the federal crop program through the Risk Management Agency, that is not a covered loss,” said Brad Clow, COUNTRY Financial crops claims manager. “How that can impact our customers is on the APH (Actual Production History).”   Click Here to read more.

Drifting pesticides put neighboring farms at risk

Iowa’s organic farms, vineyards, apiaries and other non-conventional farms surrounded by row crops treated with pesticides are at risk of being hit with drifting spray that can hurt their farms.   The drift comes from misuse on neighboring farms, mostly the result of someone not following the label instructions on a pesticide, including requirements that a product not be used if wind speeds are too high.   Gretchen Paluch, bureau chief of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s pesticide bureau, said the state averages a little more than 100 incidents of pesticides misuse a year, ...

Drone Advisory Committee Legislation Moves Forward

Last week, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) to ensure the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s chief drone policy committee includes representation for agriculture, forestry, local governments and rural America.   Since it was first announced in 2016, the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) has never included a representative from the agriculture or forestry sector and no representatives from county or tribal governments have been selected to the policy board.   The House passed the bill during votes late Thursday evening, sending the bill to the President’s ...

Drone operators seek permission to fly out of direct sight

As thousands of commercial drones take to the skies under new Federal Aviation Administration rules, some small operators are pursuing a coveted exemption that would allow them to fly their drones where they can't be seen by the pilot.   The companies who want them say the so-called line-of-sight exemptions are essential to someday use drones for such tasks as cleanup and repair after storm damage and monitoring widespread crop conditions.   But thus far, the FAA has only given exemptions to three companies that participated in a year-long FAA pilot program: CNN, BNSF Railway and the drone data ...

Drones in Agriculture: How UAVs Make Farming More Efficient

Dronefly just released a new infographic consolidating the most interesting contemporary uses of unmanned aerial vehicles in the field of agriculture.   If you’re not familiar with these, have a look at one or two of the previous pieces we reported on. Drones are a tool like any other. They can be dismissed or misappropriated or used to one’s advantage. These days, people are finding all sorts of ingenious methods to increase efficiency and maximize profits using modern drone tech. Today, the subject of discussion is agriculture: How, when and where are drones used in this ...

Duckworth says She's Considering Senate Bid Against Kirk

Rep. Tammy Duckworth ended a political guessing game Monday by making it official that she is exploring a challenge to Sen. Mark Kirk in 2016.   Duckworth, a Democrat from Hoffman Estates, told the Tribune she is considering a bid against the Highland Park, Republican, raising the potential of a high-dollar campaign between two military veterans known for their comebacks.   Click Here to read more.

Dueling Biotech Labeling Efforts in Congress

Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, lashed out Thursday at three Democrats in Congress for introducing a bill that would require labeling foods that have ingredients from biotech crops. The congressmen said lawmakers should "stop listening to celebrity chefs and well-heeled 'activists,' and start really caring about those less fortunate." Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut introduced a bill in the Senate and Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon introduce a bill in the House. The bills are called the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. The bills would require labeling for foods that contained ingredients from ...

Durbin: USMCA will grow economy, support jobs in Illinois

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, has thrown his support behind the United State Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), which he deemed “a new NAFTA,” the agreement that went into effect between the three countries in 1994.   Flanked by the presidents of the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois AFL-CIO at a press conference at Brandt Consolidated in Springfield Sunday, Durbin said that Mexico and Canada — the top trading partners of Illinois — will have “a new lease on a relationship that can improve as we increase trade among our nations.”   Durbin, the Senate’...

During a rushed harvest, don’t skip these nitrogen steps

Harvest will likely be rushed this year as a result of the planting delays this spring. This means a shorter window in which to gather crops and prepare fields for next year. With this time crunch, your customers may overlook or forget some basic best practices for fall operations. In the case of nitrogen application, these best practices can make the difference between a boosted 2020 yield and loss of this valuable input.   With that in mind, if time, soil conditions and weather allow for fall applications on your customers’ fields, now is a good time to review best ...

Durkin appoints people to work with Democrats on non-budget issues

Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said Thursday that he is appointing GOP members to work with Democrats on non-budget legislation being sought by Gov. Bruce Rauner.   The move comes four days after House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, appointed four of his top lieutenants to negotiate with the Republican governor over issues like workers’ compensation changes and a property tax freeze that Rauner insists must be part of a budget solution.   At the time, Durkin, of Western Springs, said Madigan’s move should be viewed with caution because the Democrats “have a history of creating ...

Durkin Calls for 4% Cuts to Illinois Budget After Tax Amendment Fails

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said Thursday that the Pritzker administration should start with 4% across the board cuts to the state budget following the failure of the graduated income tax amendment.   After that, Durkin said Republican lawmakers are willing to negotiate with the administration to identify further cuts that can be made.   Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday that he plans to meet with legislative leaders to plan a way forward with the budget following the defeat of the amendment. He warned that “deep and painful cuts” are in the offing because the amendment failed.   If ...

E.P.A. to Lift Obama-Era Controls on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas

The Trump administration is expected in the coming days to lift Obama-era controls on the release of methane, a powerful climate-warming gas that is emitted from leaks and flares in oil and gas wells.   The new rule on methane pollution, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, has been expected for months, and will be made public before Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke anonymously to avoid publicly pre-empting the official announcement.   The rollback of the methane rule is the latest move in the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to weaken environmental standards, ...

Economists Discuss What Post- COVID-19 Could Look Like In Ag Sector

The coronavirus pandemic sent shockwaves through the ag industry and two economists are sharing what they think could happen as the sector recovers.   Purdue University Ag Economist Jayson Lusk projects that retail food prices will continue to fall.   “Mainly because we’ve seen meet prices already start to fall,” he says.   But, he says there will also be scrutiny over anti-competitive behavior.   “There already is a lot of increasing scrutiny over what happened to these price changes—was somebody to blame other than the coronavirus. There are court cases already out ...

Effects of Senate 50-50 Split

While Congress recovers from the storming of the U.S. Capitol, policy options for the incoming Biden administration opened up Wednesday when Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated GOP Sen. David Perdue in the second Georgia Senate runoff.   The Georgia victories by Ossoff and Raphael Warnock pushed the U.S. Senate into a 50-50 party split with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris serving as tie breaker. Democrats will hold the majority in both chambers of Congress and the presidency.   The shift turns around committee chairs in the Senate. Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will reclaim the gavel. Sen. ...

ELD Extension Not Applied to Farm Supply Retailers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration new Electronic Logging Device requirements go into effect December 18. However, the agency provided a 90-day waiver for agricultural commodity and livestock transporters. But that 90-day waiver will not include transporters of farm supplies.   ELD systems synchronize with a vehicle's engine to more easily and accurately record driving time for hours of service requirements. The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). To ease the transition to ELDs, FMCSA has announced that any violations cited during the time ...

ELD mandate hard enforcement is here

For many truck drivers in the United States, the world changed on April 1.   “After April Fools Day, our world does really change when it comes to ELDs,” said Matt Wells, associate director of the Midwest Truckers Association.   On April 1, truck enforcement officers began placing truck drivers out of service for failure to comply with the federal mandate to use electronic logging devices, unless they have an exemption.   Click Here to read more.

ELDT Resources and Class B Clarification

This past Tuesday, IFCA hosted a webinar with Dan Meyer of FMCSA and Kevin Duesterhaus of IL SOS, covering Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT).  If you were unable to listen in, don't worry, as you can find the recorded webinar on our homepage at www.ifca.com.  There you will also find the powerpoint slides used in the webinar.  For a PDF version of the slides, please click HERE.   One important question IFCA repeatedly received from our members was how ELDT would impact Class B Drivers within our ...

Election Failures Could Push Michael Madigan Closer to an Exit. Here's Why.

Arguably the most prevalent image in the just-concluded election was a photograph of House Speaker Michael Madigan.   From the statewide debate over the graduated income tax to local legislative races, Madigan's image once again was used to unite opposition to an issue or a candidate. To be associated with Madigan was reason to be rejected by voters.   It's a tactic that's been used for years by Republicans with limited success. Two years ago, the state Republican Party chair suggested that Madigan as a campaign issue may have run its course.   However, with Tuesday's ...

Electric cars, better fuel efficiency spell doom for Illinois gas tax

As roads and bridges in Illinois crumble, so too does the primary source of revenue the state relies on to fix them — the gas tax.   Illinois adds 19 cents to the pump price of each gallon of gas to underwrite road work, a fee that hasn’t changed in 27 years even though inflation has cut the purchasing power by half. And with cars getting ever better gas mileage, the so-called Motor Fuel Tax reaps less today to fund repairs than it did a decade ago: $1.38 billion in 2007, $1.28 billion last year, state data show.   Experts warn that the ...

Eleventh Hour District Court Ruling Delays Waters of the U.S. Rule in 13 States

On Thursday, Judge Ralph Erickson of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota granted a motion by 13 states(Illinois was not part of the lawsuit) to prevent the EPA and Army Corps "Clean Water Rule" to take effect August 28. Two other District Courts had earlier dismissed similar cases due to lack of jurisdiction, however Judge Erickson found that not only did the District Court have jurisdiction, but also that the rule would cause "irreparable harm" if it took effect. EPA and Army Corps have said that the injunction will only apply to the 13 states who brought ...

Embattled EPA head Pruitt resigns

Scott Pruitt will resign from his position leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday, following months of high-profile controversies regarding his spending, ethics and management at the agency.   In a tweet Thursday, President Trump confirmed Pruitt's departure, saying he's accepted the administrator's resignation.   “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” Trump tweeted.   Trump said Pruitt will be replaced on Monday by EPA Deputy ...

Embattled State Senator Martin Sandoval resigns Wednesday

A state lawmaker who appears to be in the crosshairs of federal investigators will resign Jan. 1.   Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, hasn’t made a public appearance – including skipping all of the Illinois General Assembly’s veto session this fall – since the FBI raided his home and Springfield and legislative offices on Sept. 24.   Sandoval’s resignation letter: “It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve the State of Illinois and fight on behalf of the good people of the Southwest-Side of Chicago/Suburban West Cook,” Sandoval wrote in a resignation ...

Embattled Waters of the U.S. to be Redefined for Agriculture – Again

In April, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan told Congress he did not intend to return to the Obama administration’s definition of Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS).   On Wednesday, he made good on that declaration, announcing via a press release that EPA and the Department of the Army plan to revise the definition of WOTUS to “better protect our nation’s vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth.”   The announcement means the agencies are also setting aside the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (...

Endangered Species Act needs fixing, not scrapping

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard from a variety of witnesses on Wednesday that the Endangered Species Act, now more than 40 years old, still provides an important function, but agreed it needs to be modernized.   The initial witness, David Freudenthal, governor of Wyoming from 2003-2011 and a U.S. attorney under President Bill Clinton, told lawmakers that the “original groundbreaking legislation” signed into law by Richard Nixon, granted broad authority to the executive branch. But over time, he said in prepared testimony, “the mix of regulations, court decisions, policy guidance and individual agency actions ...

Enlist Duo OK'd for use on three crops in 34 states

Corn, soybean and cotton growers in 34 states will be allowed to use Enlist Duo under a new decision issued by EPA.   The agency had to reconsider its 2014 decision to approve use of the herbicide because of questions about the synergistic effects of 2,4-D and glyphosate, the two active ingredients in the product.   EPA initially allowed use of Enlist Duo on corn and soybeans in six states and then expanded that number to 15. Now, based on new data submitted by manufacturer Dow AgroSciences, EPA has reaffirmed its original decision on the safety of the product and added approval for ...

Enlist Duo Ruling: Ninth Circuit Court Ruling Upholds Enlist Duo Registration

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today denied a petition to vacate the registration of Corteva Agriscience's Enlist Duo herbicide, a 2,4-D-choline and glyphosate premix designed for use over 2,4-D-tolerant Enlist crops.   The court ruled that EPA only needed to fix one oversight with the Enlist Duo registration regarding the herbicide's risk to monarch butterflies. The herbicide's registration will remain intact in the meantime.   The decision in Enlist's favor will come as a relief to many in the agrichemical industry, which is still reeling from a recent Ninth Circuit court ...

Enrollment picks up in mandatory dicamba classes in Illinois

About one-third of the 18,000 licensed private and commercial applicators have completed the mandatory annual dicamba training so far.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved late last year the continued use of dicamba on soybeans for 2019 and 2020 with the annual applicators’ training requirement in place. Applicators using dicamba were also required to enroll in the training last year.   Jean Payne, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association president, said at the organization’s annual conference Jan. 29 that enrollment has picked up from about 30 enrolled in classes in December to 100 to 150 in January, and more classes are being added. &...

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Webinar

IFCA has partnered with the Illinois Secretary of State and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide an educational, informative, and interactive webinar that will cover what you need to know in order to be prepared for the February 7, 2022, implementation of the Federal Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT).     The webinar will be Tuesday, July 13th, at 9 a.m. The presenters will be Kevin Dousterhaus with the Illinois Secretary of State and Dan Meyers with FMCSA.  Please click here to register for this webinar.    What is ELDT? FMCSA's Entry-Level Driver Training (...

Entry-Level Driver Training - IFCA Webinar

There is still time to register for the free webinar covering information relating to the federally mandated Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) that begins February 7, 2022.  Please click here to register for this webinar, which will host both representatives of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Illinois Secretary of State.

Entry-Level Driver Training Webinar

IFCA has partnered with the Illinois Secretary of State and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide an educational, informative, and interactive webinar that will cover what you need to know to be prepared for the February 7, 2022 implementation of the Federal Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT).     The webinar will take place Tuesday, July 13, at 9 a.m. The presenters will be Kevin Dousterhaus with the Illinois Secretary of State and Dan Meyers with FMCSA.  Please click here to register for this webinar.    What is ELDT? FMCSA's Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) ...

Enviro Groups Sue EPA Over New Dicamba Registrations

In what is becoming a familiar cycle, a group of environmental and farm groups have filed a lawsuit challenging EPA's latest round of dicamba herbicide registrations.   The lawsuit was filed by the same groups whose lawsuit against the 2018 dicamba registrations ended in a federal court vacating three dicamba registrations on June 3 of this year. See more here: .   The plaintiffs in that lawsuit -- National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network -- had vowed to challenge the EPA's new 2020 registrations of XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta) ...

Environment Expected to get Bigger Stage at Iowa Caucuses

Hot-button issues such as clean power, water quality regulations and renewable fuels are expected to get a bigger stage in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, as environmental activists put more pressure on presidential contenders to address controversial issues such as climate change. But experts still expect that concerns about saving the planet likely will play second, third and possibly even fourth fiddle to issues such as jobs and the economy, heath care and national security. The key, they say, may be to link the environment to popular measures such as wind and solar energy that can create jobs while also reducing America'...

Environment takes center stage in House infrastructure plan

Environmental provisions are a major focus of House Democrats’ new infrastructure plan, which includes proposals relating to water, electric vehicles and rail investments.   House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said at a Wednesday press conference that the plan “has major initiatives that will really encourage clean energy and address climate change.”   The 5-year, $760 billion framework includes plans to spend $50.5 billion on clean water and wastewater infrastructure, $25.4 billion on drinking water and $34.3 billion on clean energy.   It also aims to develop an electric vehicle charging network with the goal of ...

Environmental Group Sues Over Protections for 20 Species

An environmental group filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging the federal government has failed to act on petitions to protect nine species under the Endangered Species Act and hasn’t designated critical habitat for 11 other species that are already protected.     The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., by the Center for Biological Diversity lists a variety of plants, bees and animals from Oregon to Florida to Delaware and joins a previous lawsuit filed last year that listed 200 different species that were awaiting protection decisions.     The average waiting period for an imperiled ...

Environmental groups launch EU campaign to ban all pesticides by 2035

A new campaign has been launched by EU environmental groups to ban all pesticides by 2035.   Civil society organisations from across the EU have submitted a proposal to the European Commission for a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) calling for new legislation to phase out pesticides.   The campaign has been started by a cross-sector alliance of civil society organisations covering the environment, health, farming and beekeeping. Amongst others, the organisers include the European networks Friends of the Earth Europe and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) as well as the Munich Environmental Institute, the Aurelia foundation (Germany), Géné...

Environmental groups sue EPA over Clean Water Act rollback

A recent flurry of litigation from around the state and across the country could have huge ramifications in California on the protection and distribution of scarce water resources.   Two separate coalitions of environmental advocacy groups filed litigation on Wednesday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers challenging the Trump Administration's rollback of the Clean Water Act.   At the core of the litigation is the definition of federally protected waterways, as recent changes in regulatory language have reduced legal protections for huge numbers of streams, especially around the arid West.   The ...

Environmental Groups Urge Congressional Leaders to Leave Climate Provisions in Infrastructure Package

A coalition of environmental groups in a letter Thursday warned congressional leaders not to decouple climate provisions from any infrastructure package they take up.   In the letter, addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), climate groups comprised of more than 15 million members said climate provisions must remain in the American Jobs Plan.   “Our groups cannot support policies that continue to allow increases in the pollution that drives climate change or increases economic and environmental inequity for communities ...

Environmentalists say they'll try to sue German, EU authorities over glyphosate

Environmentalist groups said on Monday that Germany and the European Union had broken the rules when assessing the safety of the weed-killer glyphosate and that they would try to bring legal actions against the institutes involved.   Global 2000 and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) said they had registered legal complaints with prosecutors in Vienna and Berlin, with lawsuits in France and Italy to follow. It was not clear how long it would take for the complaints to proceed, particularly as one body is pan-European and the other domestic, meaning they would potentially go through different courts.   The European Food ...

Environmentalists seek to force endangered species listings

An environmental group is seeking to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to act on petitions to protect 417 animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act.   “These 417 species and hundreds of others are being dangerously neglected for no other reasons than bureaucratic inefficiency and lack of political will,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has filed notice to sue the agency.   According to the notice, the petitions have been filed over the last eight years. The agency has issued initial findings determining that ESA listings may be warranted for ...

Enzymes influence bee sensitivity to neonicotinoids

A new study finds that enzymes in honey bees and bumble bees determine how sensitive they are to different neonicotinoid insecticides.   The joint study by Exeter University, Rothamsted Research and Bayer found that certain neonicotinoids are more toxic to bees than others.   As in other organisms, toxins in bees can be broken down by enzymes called cytochrome P450s. The researchers carried out the most comprehensive analysis of bee P450 detoxification enzymes ever conducted. The study identified one subfamily of these enzymes in bees - CYP9Q - and found it was responsible for the rapid breakdown of ...

EPA Administrator Thinks Dicamba Will Remain in Farmers’ Toolbox

The head of the US Environmental Protection Agency says he is hopeful new oversight put in place regarding dicamba herbicides will keep dicamba in the farmer’s tool box.   Last October, as several states were investigating spray drift complaints, the EPA decided to classify dicamba as a “restricted use” pesticide, among other new oversight requirements for record keeping, and application weather conditions.   EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says the future of dicamba looks encouraging.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Administrator: WOTUS Rule May Be Completed in 2018

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to look at whether it can approve the use of E15 year-round, EPA's Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Tuesday during his first appearance before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.   As members of Congress continue to explore possible reform to the Renewable Fuel Standard and amid pressure from petroleum refiners to waive RFS requirements, the expansion of the E15 market continues to be a top priority for the ethanol industry.   Allowing year-round E15 sales would bolster demand for corn, and as a result, would boost markets for ...

EPA announces $113 million for Illinois water infrastructure

Using City Water, Light and Power’s lead service pipe replacement project as a backdrop, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced more than $113 million to modernize water infrastructure in Illinois.   “With these funds, Illinois will provide low-interest financing to communities across the state for costs associated with planning, design, and construction of eligible wastewater and drinking water infrastructure for projects and activities to protect human health,” said EPA Region 5 Adminstrator Kurt Thiede.   Thiede added that the program, Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, is “one of the many tools ...

EPA Announces Changes to Dicamba Registration

On October 31, the EPA announced that it is extending the registration of dicamba for two years for over-the-top use (application to growing plants) to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba.   This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders, according to an EPA news release.    “EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest-control tool for America’s farmers,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler in an EPA news release. “By extending the ...

EPA Announces New Pesticides for Hemp and Proposes New Rules for Atrazine

The EPA made a combined announcement today on two topics: the management of hemp production and the future of atrazine use.   The agency recently registered 10 pesticides for use on hemp, to help alleviate the current dearth of products that are legal and safe to use in the fast-growing industry of commercial hemp production.   The agency also laid out a proposed interim registration decision on atrazine, including lower use rates and new label requirements, as part of the agency's re-registration review of the chemical. The decision will be posted for public comment for 60 days in the Federal Register, ...

EPA Announces Voluntary Program Aimed at Curbing Pesticide Drift

The EPA today announced a voluntary program aimed at showing applicators which products should be used to promote drift reduction during pesticide application.   The Drift Reduction Technology(DRT) program will recognize products that can reduce drift by at least 25 percent.  An EPA assigned star-rating system will recognize the degree to which these products can reduce pesticide drift, up to four stars.    Click Here to read more.

EPA appeals board upholds cancellation of Bayer's Belt

EPA's Environmental Appeals Board has upheld the cancellation of flubendiamide, a Bayer CropScience insecticide sold under the trade name Belt, but will allow existing stocks to be sold by retailers.   The EAB decision, issued late this afternoon, upheld an earlier ruling by an administrative law judge who said Bayer and fellow registrant Nichino America willingly agreed with the terms of conditional registrations they received in 2008: that if EPA determined flubendiamide caused “unreasonable adverse effects” on the environment, then the companies would have to voluntarily cancel their registrations. When EPA made the “unreasonable adverse effects” ...

EPA approves new soybean weed tool

The EPA has approved a herbicide for use with soybeans, giving farmers another tool as they fight herbicide resistant weeds.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the registration of the use of isoxaflutole on genetically engineered soybeans.   "We’ve heard from farmers across the country about the importance of having new means available to combat economically-damaging weeds,” said EPA's Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “We listened and believe this action balances the need to provide growers with the products necessary to continue to provide Americans with a safe and abundant food supply while ...

EPA asks Court to Toss Trump Rule That Could Prevent Emissions Limits on Polluting Industries

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday asked a court to throw out a Trump administration rule that could prevent setting greenhouse gas limits on multiple polluting industries.   The agency said in a court filing that under the previous administration, it “failed to provide any public notice or opportunity for comment on the central elements of the Significant Contribution Rule, rendering it unlawful.”   It also said that it did not undertake significant analyses that are relevant to the rule’s “underlying legal and factual questions.”   The rule, finalized just before President Trump ...

EPA Awards Over $1.8 Million for Innovative, Market-Based Nutrient Reduction Projects in Great Lakes Basin

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $1.8 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants to five organizations that will use market-based approaches, including water quality trading, to enhance nonpoint source excess nutrient reduction efforts in the Great Lakes basin. This action supports EPA’s 50th anniversary celebration and its February theme of protecting America’s waters.   “Addressing emerging challenges, like excess nutrients in our waters, requires creative solutions,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This EPA funding will help build on existing state, local and tribal efforts and support innovative ...

EPA Blasts "Myths" on Water Jurisdictions Rule

The EPA hit back Thursday after a top Republican accused it of trying to take over large pieces of private land and water.   Tom Reynolds, the agency's top spokesman, wrote a blog post to respond to what he said were "myths and misunderstandings" about the Waters of the United States rule.   Click Here to read more.

EPA broadens exclusion zone exemptions in new proposal

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing changes to the Application Exclusion Zone language in federal pesticide law that would expand exemptions and lessen regulatory requirements for ag operations.   The changes, announced Thursday in an EPA press release, would expand AEZ exemptions under the existing Worker Protection Standard to a producer’s immediate family, limit AEZ applicability to a farm owner’s property, and clarify language on pesticide applications being suspended when other individuals enter the AEZ.   EPA said limiting the AEZ to a farm owner’s property was necessary because “the off-farm aspect of ...

EPA Chief Discusses Clean Water Rule

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has discussed a federal water rule with Indiana officials, but environmental groups say they weren't included in the conversation.     Scott Pruitt met with Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and other state officials this week to discuss the federal Clean Water Rule, The Indianapolis Star reported . Pruitt also met with agriculture and business leaders at Mike Starkey Farms and Liberty Mine in Boonville.     Officials from the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Nature Conservancy's Indiana Chapter, the Sierra Club's Hoosier Chapter, Citizens Action Coalition, Conservation Law Center ...

EPA Chief Promises Clarifications in Waters of the U.S. Rule

Obama administration officials rejected Republican claims that they're seeking free rein to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act, but admitted a proposed rule had led to widespread confusion about what streams, ditches and other features could be regulated.   During the three and half hours of testimony Wednesday before a joint House-Senate hearing, the officials described aspects of the rule that they'll clarify before making it final but didn't specify the changes that will be made.   Click Here to read more.

EPA chief Pruitt pushing end to clean air and water rules

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was in Little Rock today and touted his effort to loosen clean air and water rules at a meeting at the Don and Randal Tyson Conference Center at the Arkansas Poultry Federation.   Click Here to read more.    

EPA Chief Won't Ditch the Waters Rule, But She is Digging for Answers

Is it worth the effort for an Environmental Protection Agency administrator in a Democratic administration to meet with her farm, ranch, and Republican critics?  Or should she stay safely among her environmental and conservation supporters in Washington and the coastal cities and just push ahead?   Click Here to read more.

EPA Considering Limits for Widely used Insecticide

Pressure is mounting on the Environmental Protection Agency to ban or further curb the use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide widely used to protect crops such as soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, citrus and peanuts.   EPA is reviewing a court order requiring the agency to decide whether it will suggest a ban on the commonly used insecticide known as chlorpyrifos by Oct. 31.   Chlorpyrifos-used in commercial products for 40 years-already has limits set on its use by the EPA, but the agency has now recognized concerns about its presence in drinking water. For example, the chemical has been detected with increasing frequency in ...

EPA Considers Placing Limits on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water

The Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it’s considering drinking water limits for the entire class of PFAS compounds, which public health advocates say are categorically toxic.   The chemicals are used to make products resistant to water, stain and heat, and are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t fully break down or degrade. They are linked to a range of serious health problems such as cancer, liver disease, kidney problems, heart disease, decreased immunity and more.   Though the EPA announcement marks only the beginning of a years-long process, the move ...

EPA Decision on Dicamba Expected Late in 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency set a goal of issuing a decision on Monsanto’s new dicamba products by the end of this year. The products are designed to be used with the Roundup Ready Xtend crops. However, the approval process has been bogged down by reports of farmers using an older version of the herbicide and have done some damage in nearby crops that aren’t resistant to the weed killer. In April, the EPA proposed allowing the use of the herbicide designed to be used with the Monsanto Xtend crops, but it hasn’t actually approved ...

EPA declines to revoke Iowa water quality enforcement powers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected a petition filed by environmental groups that asked the agency to withdraw the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' authority to manage a program designed to limit water pollution.   Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Environmental Integrity Project filed a petition in 2007 asking for tougher fines, penalties and inspections and Clean Water Act permits for large animal confinement operations.   The EPA found some of the complaints valid and in 2013 entered into a five-year work plan with the Iowa DNR to bring its oversight ...

EPA Declines to Study Restricting Roundup Pesticide's Use

The Environmental Protection Agency declined to study restricting the use of a pesticide believed to harm the monarch butterfly’s habitat.   The EPA told the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) it rejected the green group’s petition regarding glyphosate, a pesticide marketed by Monsanto Co. as Roundup.   “The agency at this time has not determined that glyphosate causes unreasonable adverse effects to the monarch butterfly,” the EPA told the green group.   The NRDC and other green groups have long argued that Roundup is responsible for killing large swathes of milkweed, a plant that ...

EPA Declines to Study Restricting Roundup Pesticide's Use

The Environmental Protection Agency declined to study restricting the use of a pesticide believed to harm the monarch butterfly’s habitat.   The EPA told the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) it rejected the green group’s petition regarding glyphosate, a pesticide marketed by Monsanto Co. as Roundup.   “The agency at this time has not determined that glyphosate causes unreasonable adverse effects to the monarch butterfly,” the EPA told the green group.   The NRDC and other green groups have long argued that Roundup is responsible for killing large swathes of milkweed, a plant that ...

EPA Denies Texas Emergency Weedkiller Request

Federal regulators denied Texas farmers' push to use a powerful herbicide against an invasive "super weed" threating to strangle cotton crops.   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited risks to drinking water and other hazards in its refusal of state officials' emergency request to allow the farmers to use Milo-Pro.  The herbicide includes the propazine, a restricted product that requires a license to purchase and use.   Click Here to read more.

EPA doesn’t have to set water limits for 2 fertilizers

A federal judge has given the Environmental Protection Agency more time to work with states on limiting their runoff of chemicals blamed for oxygen-depleted “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.   Scientists say nitrogen and phosphorus carried down the Mississippi River stimulate plankton blooms that decompose on the sea floor each summer, using up so much oxygen that life cannot be supported in vast stretches of the Gulf of Mexico.   Farm runoff is the biggest source of these chemicals in the Mississippi watershed, according to the EPA. Other sources include storm runoff from cities ...

EPA Ends 2015 WOTUS Rule

Farm groups declared victory Thursday after the Trump administration formally ended the 2015 waters of the U.S. rule. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, announced Thursday the agencies would eliminate the controversial 2015 Clean Water Act rule drafted by the Obama administration. The 2015 rule greatly expanded EPA and Army Corps of Engineers regulatory oversight of streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands. "Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration's overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that ...

EPA evaluates pesticides for use on hemp

The EPA received 10 pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The 10 requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production.   “EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The agency is announcing a 30-day public comment period on 10 existing pesticide product applications for industrial hemp.” &...

EPA eyes limits for agricultural chemical linked to crop damage

The U.S. environmental agency is considering banning sprayings of the agricultural herbicide dicamba after a set deadline next year, according to state officials advising the agency on its response to crop damage linked to the weed killer.   Setting a cut-off date, possibly sometime in the first half of 2018, would aim to protect plants vulnerable to dicamba, after growers across the U.S. farm belt reported the chemical drifted from where it was sprayed this summer, damaging millions of acres of soybeans and other crops.   A ban could hurt sales by Monsanto Co (MON.N) and DuPont which ...

EPA Eyes Spring for Clean Water Rule,

Despite stiff opposition from congressional Republicans, EPA is moving ahead with plans to finalize its proposed Clean Water Act rule by this spring, Administator Gina McCarthy said today.   "We want to be informed by what said to us during the comment process as well as what we heard in our 100-plus meetings with different stakeholders," she told reporters.  "So, we have a lot of work to do, but we're certain that we can get that done in a timely way."   Click Here to read more.

EPA Faces Multiple Dicamba Lawsuits in 2021

EPA is facing a tangle of lawsuits over its 2020 registration of three over-the-top dicamba herbicides, XtendiMax, Engenia and Tavium.   Given the many legal steps ahead for them, these lawsuits are unlikely to immediately affect the legal availability of dicamba in 2021, but they could threaten the chemical's use in spray seasons to come.   The lawsuits have been brought by two different groups of plaintiffs with two very different complaints. On one side, agricultural commodity groups are arguing the new dicamba labels are too restrictive; on the other, environmental groups argue they are too permissive.   Click Here to ...

EPA finalizes Trump administration rollbacks on stream and wetland protections

The Trump administration published a final rule Tuesday rolling back Obama-era environmental protections.   The final rule, written by the Engineers Corps and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), redefines the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act, passed under President Obama in 2015. The changes effectively remove limits on the amount of pollution that can be dumped into small streams and wetlands. The L.A. Times reports 81 percent of streams in the Southwest would lose protections.   Environmental groups criticized the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was proposed in December 2018, after it was finalized at the ...

EPA Finalizes Update to Pesticide Application Exclusion Zones

On Thursday, October 29, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a finalized update to requirements for the pesticide application exclusion zone (AEZ.) An AEZ is the area surrounding pesticide application equipment that exists only during outdoor production pesticide applications.   EPA has clarified and simplified the AEZ requirements based in part on input from state pesticide regulatory agencies and agricultural stakeholders after the adoption of the 2015 Worker Protection Standard (WPS) rule. Consistent with the 2018 Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA), EPA is only implementing changes related to the AEZ requirements in the WPS.   Click Here to read more.

EPA forms posse to fix 'broken' endangered species regulations to speed up pesticide approval

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to fix what it calls the "broken" process of balancing pesticide approvals with endangered species protections, which conservationists have warned could be the start of eroding key protections under the Endangered Species Act.   “The current Endangered Species Act pesticide consultation process is broken,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in announcing a new interagency working group with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Their goal is to fix the system which ensures endangered species aren't harmed when approving the use of new pesticides.   Click Here ...

EPA Full Stream with "Waters" Protection Rule, but Trouble Ahead.

The Obama administration on Wednesday launched a sweeping measure to protect the nation’s waterways and wetlands — an initiative that faces a fierce counterattack from powerhouse industries like agriculture, oil and home-building.   On its face, the final “Waters of the United States” rule is largely a technical document, defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. But the industries and their allies in Congress condemn it as a massive power grab by Washington, saying it will give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in ...

EPA Gets Vote of Confidence as Pesticide Fee Bill Approved

The House’s swift approval of a bill to allow the EPA to levy fees to support its pesticide licensing work is a rare vote of confidence in the often-maligned agency from the GOP-controlled Congress.   Backers of the measure are now hoping congressional appropriators will provide the agency with enough in the next fiscal year to properly operate the Office of Pesticide Programs—funding which is linked to the fee program.   The House on March 20 passed the Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act (PREA) of 2017 (H.R. 1029) by voice vote after 10 minutes of debate.   The bill is ...

EPA Glyphosate Decision Challenged

EPA's interim registration approval of glyphosate in January now faces its first court challenge, as a number of food safety, farm worker and environmental groups have asked a federal appeals court to review the decision.   The Rural Coalition, Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas, Farmworker Association of Florida, Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.   The groups allege EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, and violated the agency's duties in the Endangered Species ...

EPA has 90 days to decide on chlorpyrifos ban

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to decide by mid-July whether to ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used pesticide for corn, soybeans, fruit and nut trees, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, broccoli and cauliflower as well as other row crops.   In March 2017, EPA denied a petition that asked it to revoke all pesticide tolerances (maximum residue levels in food) for chlorpyrifos and cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations. The agency concluded that, despite several years of study, the science addressing neurodevelopmental effects remains unresolved and that further evaluation of the science during the remaining time for completion ...

EPA has Plan to Reduce Nutrients in Waterways

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency plans to release a "document of strategic actions" in November designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous in the state's rivers and lakes.   The document is the result of months of talks between environmentalists, agriculture interests, municipal wastewater agencies, academics and others to develop the plan.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Ignored Science in Past Dicamba Decision, New EPA Official Says

EPA's past 2018 dicamba registration decision was tainted by political interference and ignored important science on the herbicide's risks, according to an internal EPA email DTN has obtained and verified with the agency.   "Over the past few years, I am aware that political interference sometimes compromised the integrity of our science," Michal Freedhoff, the new acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in an email sent to all OCSPP employees on March 10, 2021.   The email highlights the agency's 2018 dicamba registrations of Bayer's XtendiMax herbicide, BASF's Engenia ...

EPA Imposes New Requirements for Dicamba

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached an agreement with dicamba manufacturers to minimize the potential for drift damage from use in soybeans and cotton.   “Today's actions are the result of intensive, collaborative efforts, working side by side with the states and university scientists from across the nation who have first-hand knowledge of the problem and workable solutions," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "Our collective efforts with our state partners ensure we are relying on the best, on-the-ground, information."   Click Here to read more.

EPA keeps chlorpyrifos on fields, for now

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will not ban the use of chlorpyrifos, rejecting a request from environmental groups to prohibit the pesticide.   The action came in response to an appellate court decision earlier this year ordering the agency to respond to a petition from environmental groups that sought to ban the widely used pesticide. Research has shown that chlorpyrifos, which is commonly applied on fruit and vegetable crops, has the potential to damage brain development in children. Today was the final day EPA could respond under the court’s timeline. . The EPA, in a notice ...

EPA keeps chlorpyrifos on fields, for now

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will not ban the use of chlorpyrifos, rejecting a request from environmental groups to prohibit the pesticide.   The action came in response to an appellate court decision earlier this year ordering the agency to respond to a petition from environmental groups that sought to ban the widely used pesticide. Research has shown that chlorpyrifos, which is commonly applied on fruit and vegetable crops, has the potential to damage brain development in children. Today was the final day EPA could respond under the court’s timeline. . The EPA, in a notice ...

EPA Marks Three Herbicide Active Ingredients Safe, Including Atrazine

After 7 years, the US Environmental Protection Agency says the widely used herbicide can stay on the market with some new restrictions. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced this final decision on Sept. 18, during an event in Missouri attended by farm-group leaders and local lawmakers.   Atrazine is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the US. Farmers spray it on crops such as corn, sorghum, and sugarcane to control grasses and broadleaf weeds. Consumers apply it to residential lawns to kill weeds. Atrazine persists in the environment and is a widespread drinking water contaminant. The herbicide and its breakdown products ...

EPA May Limit State Restrictions on Pesticide Use, Such as Dicamba

After months of denials and vague language, EPA has confirmed it is considering limiting the ability of states to restrict pesticide use beyond the federal label.   State regulators are expressing alarm at this development, particularly those dealing with widespread dicamba injury, which appears to be the catalyst for EPA's announcement.   At issue is Section 24(c) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which allows states to grant "special local needs" (SLN) labels that supplement federal pesticide labels. Several states in the Midwest and South have used 24(c) labels to limit use of new ...

EPA mulls delay of risk management program changes

Planned changes to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s Risk Management Program would not prevent tragic incidents such as the West, Texas, fertilizer disaster, which was ultimately ruled an act of arson, according to supporters of a proposed implementation delay.   “The current risk management program regulations are working well,” said Richard Gupton, vice president for public policy and counsel with the Agricultural Retailers Association in Washington. “The new regulations will impose additional compliance costs on industry, potentially make sensitive security information available to the public and not provide, in our opinion, any significant safety ...

EPA Names 40 Chemicals to be Evaluated for Risk

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is publishing a list of 40 chemicals to begin the prioritization process - the initial step in reviewing chemicals in commerce under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act.   "EPA continues to demonstrate its commitment to the successful and timely implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "We are delivering on the promise of Lautenberg to better assess and manage existing chemicals in commerce and provide greater certainty and transparency to the American public."    "Initiating a chemical ...

EPA narrows protections from pesticide spraying

The Environmental Protection Agency has narrowed a rule to protect individuals from pesticide spraying by establishing one 25-foot “Application Exclusion Zone” for all ground spray applications and limiting AEZ’s to the boundaries of the agricultural establishment.   The agency also will exempt farm owners and family members from requirements to stay out of the spray area so long as they shelter in place during pesticide applications. An AEZ is an area where workers and other individuals cannot be when outdoor pesticide spraying is taking place.   The agency said it was making the changes, which had ...

EPA official’s comments stir fear, confusion over future of Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts

Environmentalists and politicians worry Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts could be weakened, if not doomed, days after the federal official overseeing that work called an agreement to reduce water pollution an “aspirational” goal and not rules to be enforced.   They say the federal Environmental Protection Agency, through its Annapolis-based Chesapeake Bay Program office, plays a central role in guiding water quality improvements across the big estuary’s watershed. Under the EPA’s supervision, six states and the District of Columbia in 2010 agreed to significantly reduce pollution by 2025; the EPA pledged it would step in if they ...

EPA on Dicamba: ‘We Need to Have Certainty for Our Growers’

The EPA wants to work with state pesticide regulators on its review of dicamba herbicides as the registration deadline approaches this December, according to an article from Agri-Pulse on Wednesday.   “We need to have certainty for our growers,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, at the Association of American Pesticide Officials’ annual meeting in Alexandria, VA, according to the article. She called dicamba-tolerant seed and accompanying herbicides “a valuable tool for America’s farmers.”   But in a nod to the continuing ...

EPA Paraquat Requirements Place Spotlight on Closed Transfer Systems

The liquid herbicide paraquat is widely used throughout North America as an effective herbicide and pre-harvest crop defoliant, but can be fatal if accidentally ingested in small quantities as well as cause eye damage and irritation to skin.   So, in response to the serious risks associated with paraquat, the EPA has already pursued significant manufacturer labeling and training changes. Now, for growers, the next step in the process is to address changes required to safely dispense the restricted-use pesticide. Consequently, it is urgent that growers quickly get up to speed on what the EPA has mandated in terms of ...

EPA Pesticide Rules Delayed Amid Farm Bill Wrangling

The Trump administration is postponing the release of two farmworker protection proposals that would roll back changes made under former President Barack Obama.   The Environmental Protection Agency will propose changes to the Worker Protection Standard (RIN:2070-AK43) and Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule (RIN:2070-AK37) in January, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s regulatory agenda released Oct. 17. The regulatory agenda previously set the changes for September.   They would include lowering the minimum age for pesticide applicators and farmworkers from the current 18 and revising a provision that allowed farmworkers to pick a “...

EPA plan seeks cuts in phosphorus pollution that causes algae masses in Lake Erie

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called for stepped-up efforts Wednesday to reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to algae blooms in Lake Erie but recommended no new federal regulations to accomplish the task.   A plan released by EPA's Chicago-based Region 5 office sets targets for reducing phosphorus that feeds giant algae masses that in the past decade have caused fish kills and beach closures on the shallowest of the Great Lakes, harming tourism and threatening drinking water. A 2014 bloom settled over the drinking water intake pipe for Toledo, Ohio, contaminating the municipal supply for more than 400,000 people.   But ...

EPA plan seeks cuts in pollution that causes Lake Erie algae

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called for stepped-up efforts Wednesday to reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to algae blooms in Lake Erie but recommended no new federal regulations to accomplish the task.   A plan released by EPA's Chicago-based Region 5 office sets targets for reducing phosphorus that feeds giant algae masses that in the past decade have caused fish kills and beach closures on the shallowest of the Great Lakes, harming tourism and threatening drinking water. A 2014 bloom settled over the drinking water intake pipe for Toledo, Ohio, contaminating the municipal supply for more than 400,000 people.   But ...

EPA Plans Temporary Pesticide Restrictions While Bees Feed

If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing. A federal rule proposed Thursday would create temporary pesticide-free zones when certain plants are in bloom around bees that are trucked from farm to farm by professional beekeepers, which are the majority of honeybees in the U.S. The pesticide halt would only happen during the time the flower is in bloom and the bees are there, and only on the property where the bees are working, not neighboring land Click Here to read ...

EPA plans to buy out more than 1,200 employees this summer

The Environmental Protection Agency plans on shedding more than 1,200 employees by early September through buyouts and early retirements, as part of a broader push by the Trump administration to shrink a government entity the president once promised to eliminate “in almost every form.”   The departures would amount to about 8 percent of the current 15,000-person workforce of the EPA, where a hiring freeze also remains in effect. The Trump administration has proposed a 31 percent cut to its budget, the largest percentage reduction of any agency and one that could mean several thousand job losses.   Click Here to ...

EPA Proposes Changes in Chlorpyrifos Regulation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the use of the pesticide Chlorpyrifos for some purposes in a proposed interim decision and associated risk assessments, which are open to public comment for 60 days.   Specifically, EPA is proposing: label amendments limiting application to address potential drinking water risks of concern; additional personal protection equipment and application restrictions to address potential occupational handler risks of concern; and spray drift mitigation, in combination with the use limitations and application restrictions identified to address drinking water and occupational risks, to reduce exposure to non-target organisms.   EPA will also consider the input and ...

EPA Proposes Changes To Gypsum Source

Richard Gupton Senior Vice President, Public Policy & Counsel at Ag Retailers Association explains the EPA-proposed revisions to regulations of coal ash that could impact ag retailers, their farmer customers and the availability of gypsum in the latest AgPro Podcast.   ARA is encouraging retailers to submit comments by the Oct. 15 deadline.   The proposed changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) are related to the disposal of coal combustion residuals (also referred to as coal ash.)   Coal ash is a source of Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) gypsum. This gypsum is used as a fertilizer and a ...

EPA Proposes Dicamba for GE Cotton, Soybeans

Cotton and soybean growers will have a new herbicide at their disposal if an EPA proposal to approve dicamba on the genetically engineered versions of those crops is approved.   With weeds “becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides,” the availability of dicamba “will provide an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds,” EPA said. Better Food Better World The comment period on the proposal ends April 30.   CropLife America called the proposed decision “another critical milestone toward farmers gaining access to new dicamba weed-management tools.”   Click Here to read more.  

EPA Proposes New Bt Crop Regulation to Slow Insect Resistance

Big changes could be coming to Bt corn and cotton management in the years ahead, according to a newly released draft of proposed Bt regulations from EPA.   The agency released a document this week outlining steps it is considering taking to help the agricultural industry slow the spread of Bt resistance in lepidopteran pests such as corn earworm, fall armyworm and western bean cutworm.   The plan proposes phasing out certain Bt corn and cotton products and making changes to seed blends, or refuge-in-a-bag, corn products. It would also change how companies define resistance and respond to unexpected injury ...

EPA Proposes New Corn Rootworm Management Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new measures to delay the corn rootworm pest becoming resistant to corn genetically engineered to produce certain pesticides.     The EPA Federal Register Notice published January 28, 2015, "EPA Proposal To Improve Corn Rootworm Resistance Management; Notice of Availability," proposes some requirements for the manufacturers of Bt corn, which is engineered to include a gene from Bacillus thuringeiensis, a bacterium that lives in the soil and naturally produces a toxin that functions as a pesticide.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Proposes Reapproving Chlorpyrifos

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to continue to allow uses of a pesticide that’s been linked to brain damage in children.   In a proposed interim decision dated Thursday, the EPA continued to allow uses of the chemical chlorpyrifos, which agricultural workers can be exposed to through their jobs and that the general public can be exposed to through food.   However, the public has 60 days to comment on the proposal, meaning that it will likely be up to President-elect Joe Biden's administration to make the final decision on whether to approve the continued uses ...

EPA Pulls 12 Neonicotinoid-Containing Pesticides

In response to legal action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cancelling registrations for 12 pesticides containing neonicotinoid. Cancellations are part of a legal settlement brought forward by environmentalists and bee keepers.   Product cancellations include: •Meridian 0.20G •Meridian 0.14F •Avicta Complete Corn 500 •THX_MXM_FDL_TBZ FS •Adage Deluxe •Adage Premier •Emesto Quantum •V-10170 0.25 G GL Insecticide •Inovate Seed Protectant •Inovate Neutral Seed Protectant •Aloft GC G Insecticide •Flower, Rose & Shrub Care III   Syngenta, Bayer and Valent each had to cancel products as a result of ...

EPA Pulls Glyphosate Report Back, House Committee Ask "Why?"

EPA posted the final report of the agency’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee at the end of last week but pulled it from the agency’s website May 2, saying a full review would not be completed until the end of the year.     That report, dated October 2015, concludes glyphosate likely is not carcinogenic to humans. It was signed by 13 scientists and titled “Final Report.”   In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday, committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, announced his committee is launching an investigation into the matter.   “…EPA&...

EPA Quietly Extends WOTUS Comment Period Past Election Day

Landowners will have more time to comment on the proposed "Waters of the US" federal rule.  The proposed rule was an attempted by EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to provide more clarity over the term navigable waters.  On Monday the EPA extended the comment period from October 20th to November 14, 2014.   Click Here to read more.

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has re-approved a chemical used in Bayer's Roundup weed killer despite concerns over its health risks.   The agency is doubling down on its claims that the chemical, glyphosate, doesn’t pose a danger to humans despite thousands of lawsuits that attribute cancer to Roundup.   “The EPA found there was insufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate plays a role in any human diseases,” said an agency interim registration review decision.   The agency did find that glyphosate presented “low or limited potential risks” in birds and mammals.   ...

EPA Recommends Keeping Current Air Standards

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the agency is proposing to retain current ozone requirements that were set in 2015.   “Current scientific information continues to support the conclusion that the primary standard established in 2015 protects public health with an adequate margin of safety.”   He says from 2017 to 2019, ozone concentrations across the country fell four percent.   Wheeler says a recent Harvard study, which suggests breathing more polluted air after many years could worsen the effects of COVID-19, has not been peer-reviewed and is withholding judgment until then.   Click Here to read more

EPA rejects petition to revoke chlorpyrifos tolerances

The agency announced the decision late today, two days ahead of a court-ordered deadline. The Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network had petitioned the agency 10 years ago to ban Dow AgroSciences’ organophosphate insecticide (tradename: Lorsban), which is used to control a variety of crop pests, including corn rootworm and soybean aphid.   The groups have argued that food residue levels are high enough to pose a risk to the developing brain and nervous system   But EPA said in its news release that its October 2015 proposal to revoke food tolerances “largely relied on certain epidemiological study ...

EPA rejects request to delay pesticide safety rule

EPA's farmworker protection rule will go into effect Jan. 2 as scheduled, the agency said today.   The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) petitioned EPA last week to delay implementation by a year. EPA said it would respond officially to the petition in the new year.   The groups said EPA had failed to provide state lead agencies, or SLA's, with needed training materials and guidance, and had not properly alerted Congress to the presence of the “designated representative” provision in the rule.   That provision allows farmworkers ...

EPA Releases Draft Biological Evaluations for Atrazine, Simazine and Propazine

EPA is taking the next step in its regulatory review of atrazine, simazine, and propazine, three widely-used herbicides used to control a variety of grasses and broadleaf weeds. Atrazine is used on about 75 million acres of agricultural crop land every year and is especially effective, affordable, and well-studied.   In September 2020, EPA announced its interim registration review decisions for atrazine, simazine, and propazine (collectively known as the triazines), finalizing measures to protect human health, mitigate potential ecological risks while providing America’s farmers with valuable tools they have come to rely upon.   On November 5, EPA released its draft ...

EPA Releases RFS Proposals for 2014-2016

The EPA on Friday released proposed Renewable Volume Obligations(RVOs) for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, 2015 and 2016 that show an increase in required blending, but still below statutory levels sought by the renewable fuels industry.   EPA's proposal reflects actual usage for 2014, but calls for increase in subsequent years.  Janet McCabe, EPA's acting assistant administrator of the Office of Air, said the proposed volume requirements "will provide a strong incentive for continued investment and growth in biofuels".   Click Here to read more.

EPA remains top target with Trump administration proposing 31 percent budget cut

Candidate Donald Trump vowed to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form,” leaving only “little tidbits” intact. President Trump is making good on his promise to take a sledgehammer to the agency.   Under the White House’s latest budget proposal, released Tuesday, the EPA would fare worse than any other federal agency. The proposal would reduce the agency’s current funding by more than 31 percent, to $5.65 billion.   Click Here to read more.

EPA rethinks pesticide 'exclusion zones'

Pesticides could be sprayed within 100 feet of passersby under a proposed federal rule that responds to complaints by farm groups but would conflict with Washington and Oregon's current regulations.   The Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to redefine "application exclusion zone" — the area off-limits to anyone not spraying the pesticides. The EPA planned to publish the rule Nov. 1 in the Federal Register, triggering a 90-day comment period.   The current rule requires aerial or air-blast spraying to stop if someone comes within 100 feet of the equipment, even if they're not on the property.   ...

EPA reviews its directions on dicamba after widespread damage reports

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing its directions on how to use the latest versions of the weed killer dicamba, following hundreds of reports about crop damage when traces of it drift away from application sites, an agency spokeswoman said on Tuesday.   "We are reviewing the current use restrictions on the labels for these dicamba formulations in light of the incidents that have been reported this year," EPA spokeswoman Amy Graham said in an email to Reuters.   The EPA approved new formulations of the pesticide, a weed killer sold by Monsanto Co., BASF and ...

EPA Reviews Put Popular Pesticides Under The Magnifying Glass

Every year, dozens of active ingredients in fungicides, herbicides and insecticides undergo regulatory review and are at risk of being pulled off the market. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviews each registered pesticide at least every 15 years to ensure it still meets the most up-to-date science available. Three common active ingredients planted on millions of acres—pyrethroids, chlorpyrifos and atrazine—are currently under, have recently emerged from review or will be entering the process soon.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Says Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments on Soybeans are of Little Benefit

EPA finds that neonicotinoid seed treatments provide no increase in yeild on soybeans when compared to no pest control.   An EPA analysis of neonicotinoid seed treatments has conclued that there is "little or no increase in soybean yields using most neonicotinoid seed treatment when compared to using no pest control at all," that agency said Thursday.   Click Here to read more.

EPA says no health risk from trace amounts of herbicide in breakfast cereals

An environmental advocacy group reports it has found small amounts of a herbicide in consumer foods including breakfast cereals, saying there is cause for concern even though the amount is within limits allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.   Just how much, if any, of the herbicide can be considered safe is a matter of long-running scientific and legal debate. The Environmental Working Group's standard for what's acceptable is, by far, the most conservative, beyond even that of California, which has the tightest regulation in the country.   The Environmental Working Group commissioned tests of popular breakfast products, ...

EPA says Reregistration Review for Dicamba Products is Ongoing

Three formulations of dicamba were abruptly taken off the market this year, but there is a chance they could come back for use in 2021.   The Administrator of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, says that the reregistration review of three dicamba products that were part of a California court case earlier this summer is ongoing. "The companies that manufacture dicamba have already applied for a new license," he states. "We're reviewing that now. We hope to have a decision later this fall in time for people to make plans for the growing season."   In early ...

EPA Science Panel Considering Guidelines That Upend Basic Air Pollution Science

Several members of a powerful science panel for the Environmental Protection Agency expressed doubt at a hearing Thursday about the long-established scientific consensus that air pollution can cause premature death.   The panel was meeting to consider recommendations that would fundamentally change how the agency analyzes the public health dangers posed by air pollution and could lead to weaker regulation of soot.   The recommendations concern how the EPA regulates microscopic soot known as particulate matter, which causes and exacerbates respiratory diseases such as asthma. Determining exactly how much particulate matter is safe to breathe requires complex analysis of an ...

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Pesticide Applications for Hemp

The U.S. EPA has announced the receipt of 10 pesticide applications to expand their use on hemp. The 10 requests are the result of the December 2018 Farm Bill provisions that removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, legalizing hemp for commercial use and production.   “EPA is taking the next step toward registering crop protection tools for hemp in time for use during the 2020 application and growing seasons,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Agency is announcing a 30-day public comment period on ten existing pesticide product applications for industrial hemp. We hope this transparent and public process ...

EPA Sends 2014 Biofuel Targets to White House

The U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency on Friday sent its final targets for 2014 biofuel use to the White House as the long delayed rule enters its last round of review before public release.   The Obama administration will now face a last-ditch round of lobbying from biofuel producers seeking changes to the rule and opponents of the renewable fuels mandate who hope regulators will stand firm on proposed cuts to the targets.   Click Here to read more.

EPA should revoke Monsanto weed killer approval, Enviromental groups tell U.S. court

Environmental groups argued in federal appeals court on Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to analyze the risks Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) Monsanto’s dicamba-based weed killer posed to nearby crops before approving it in 2016.   The groups, which filed a lawsuit in February, want the court to force the EPA to vacate its approval of XtendiMax, arguing it not only harms nearby crops and plants but wildlife as well. It is not clear whether the court has the authority to revoke an EPA approval.   The United States has faced a weed-killer crisis caused by the ...

EPA Study Finds That Neonics NOT Causing Colony Collapse Disorder in Bees

A few years ago, bees suddenly had a sharp decline in numbers. This "Colony Collapse Disorder" as it is called, is a disorder in the sense that it is a recurring phenomenon, detailed for the last 1,000 years even when record-keeping just consisted of sporadic anecdotes. It was noted more frequently as record-keeping became more thorough. so it appeared far more often by the 1800s. By the 1900s, record-keeping had improved enough that there were seven recorded instances of this CCD phenomenon just in the United States. But the cultural landscape was much different by the end of the 20th century, ...

EPA Taking Public Comments on Planned Phase-Out of BT Corn Traits

The Environmental Protection Agency is taking comments on a plan that would phase out many of the existing Bt corn and cotton plant protection traits.   The agency wants to implement many recommendations from a scientific advisory panel that are designed to delay insect resistance to the plant protection traits and prolong the effectiveness of plant protection products.   The EPA says Bt resistance has been reported for corn earworm, fall armyworm, western bean cutworm, and the southwestern corn borer.  The agency reports insect resistance risk factors including a lack of high-dose toxin in pests, cross-pollination with non-Bt plants, ...

EPA Throws Up Roadblock to State Restrictions on Dicamba, Other Pesticides

State regulators are reeling from a sudden apparent policy change by EPA that will make restricting pesticides -- such as dicamba -- beyond the federal label much harder for states to accomplish in the years ahead.   The policy change was announced in a single footnote, buried amid dozens of pages of regulatory documents accompanying EPA's three new dicamba registrations released on Oct. 30. The footnote is only three sentences long, but it packs a punch, regulators and legal experts said. It will require states to go through state law or rulemaking processes if they want to further restrict a ...

EPA Wants to Remove 72 Approved Pesticide List

The EPA Thursday requested public comment on the agency's proposal to remove 72 chemicals from the Approved Pesticide Inert Ingredient List.  Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Jim Jones, stated "This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients."  The action is in response to petitions by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility and others.  There groups asked the agency to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients found in pesticide products.   ...

EPA watchdog questions safety of sewage used as fertilizer

The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't know if the treated sewage sludge that farmers use as fertilizer is safe, according to a report from its internal watchdog. The treated sewage known as biosolids is chock full of nutrients, which is what makes it so good at enriching soil. But it also can be chock full of pollutants, from heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic to pharmaceutical compounds, flame retardants and disease-carrying organisms. And the EPA doesn't know enough about hundreds of pollutants found in the material, the agency's inspector general said in a report Thursday. The EPA'...

EPA Water Chief on Clean Water Protections

To finally determine a lasting definition of waterways that qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water director says everyone with a stake in the issue will need to be engaged.   Radhika Fox recently spoke to The Associated Press about the Biden administration's plan to rewrite the regulation, also called Waters of the United States. The contentious rule was scaled back by the Trump administration after being expanded under President Barack Obama.   Fox joins the EPA as water issues have become a priority under President Joe Biden. She ...

EPA Water Proposal Rattles Ag Industry.

For years, farmers and ranchers have cast a wary eye toward new laws and regulations from Washington that they fear will be costly burdensome.   Agricultural producers argue they know the best way to take care of their land, not only to maximize production but to preserve the acreage they depend upon to survive.   Now, a rule being proposed by the EPA outlining which bodies of waters the agency would oversee under the Clean Water Act has again rattled the agriculture industry.  The EPA says it is necessary after recent court rulings to clarify the 1972 law.  Many ...

EPA Water Rule Starts in the Ephemeral Streams

EPA finds itself fighting a losing public-relations war against not just farm groups but also vocal Republican officials.   Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman on Monday called EPA "the enemy of agriculture."   At issue remains the proposed rule by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redefine what "waters of the United States" mean in the Clean Water Act.   Click Here to read more.

EPA Weighs In On Glyphosate, Says It Likely Doesn't Cause Cancer

No chemical used by farmers, it seems, gets more attention than glyphosate, also known by its trade name, Roundup. That's mainly because it is a cornerstone of the shift to genetically modified crops, many of which have been modified to tolerate glyphosate. This, in turn, persuaded farmers to rely on this chemical for easy control of their weeds. (Easy, at least, until weeds evolved to become immune to glyphosate, but that's a different story.)   Glyphosate had been considered among the safest of herbicides. So it was a shock to many, last year, when the International Agency for ...

EPA Will Address Challenges to New Dicamba Label

A regional EPA administrator says concerns brought forth by the American Soybean Association and Plains Cotton Council over new dicamba label restrictions WILL be addressed by the EPA.   The groups are suing, not to vacate the label, but to challenge the new buffer requirements and cut-off dates for over-the-top application.   EPA Region Seven Administrator Jim Gulliford tells Brownfield Ag News,   “I think the challenge from the commodity organizations is, well, we can’t be certain about when we get our crop planted so how can we be certain about these cut-off dates. So, I think ...

EPA wins new chance to argue against pesticide ban

The Trump administration has persuaded a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its recent decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which critics say can harm children and farmers.   In an order on Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it will again review former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 refusal to ban chlorpyrifos for use on food crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts.   Pruitt’s ruling reversed a 2015 Obama administration plan to extend a 2000 ban on the pesticide that had covered most household settings.   ...

EPA's first neonicotinoid assessment finds risk to honey bees

A widely used neonicotinoid insecticide poses a risk to honey bees, EPA said in an analysis released today that drew criticism from a leading manufacturer of the product as well as environmental groups.   The neonic is imidacloprid, and EPA said that it “potentially poses risk to hives” when used on crops that attract pollinators. Citrus and cotton, in particular, appear to present a risk to honey bee hives and other pollinators, the agency said.   “Other crops such as corn and leafy vegetables either do not produce nectar or have residues below the EPA identified level&...

EPA's New Clean Water Rule Will Make WOTUS A Rallying Cry Againist POTUS

On Friday, barring a last-minute judicial intervention, hundreds of millions of acres of land across the country will fall under Obama administration’s broad new Clean Water Rule, which defines “waters of the U.S.” to include virtually any wet area — even a rain-fed temporary pool — that is close to any other body of water with a physical connection to a navigable waterway. Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, is likely to become a rallying cry for landowners who resent the administration’s attempts to steadily expand the limits of federal jurisdiction.   ...

EPA's National Compliance Initiative to Apply to Ag Retailers

The EPA National Compliance Initiative (NCI) prioritizes the enforcement of the Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations on specific chemical facilities, including ag retailers handling anhydrous ammonia.   Ag retailers that store and/or handle anhydrous ammonia are required to comply with the RMP regardless of the NCI.   The purpose of the NCI is to reduce accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities.   Click Here to read more.

EPA, Army propose two-year delay of WOTUS

The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army are proposing to delay the effective date of the Waters of the U.S. rule by two years.   “Today’s proposal shows our commitment to our state and tribal partners and to providing regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and businesses,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This step will allow us to minimize confusion as we continue to receive input from across the country on how we should revise the definition of the ‘waters of the United States.’&...

EPA, Fish and Wildlife to Review Pesticide Use

The EPA is requesting the voluntary cancelation or amendment to several pesticides including atrazine for certain uses. EPA’s request attempts to stop the pesticide use in areas like roadsides and Conservation Reserve Program land.   Triazine Network Chairman Gary Marshall says the EPA’s request comes after a court order required both EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine if pesticides are allowed to be approved through the Endangered Species Act.   Marshall tells Brownfield the move puts critical farming tools at risk.   “[With] a lot of the endangered species, EPA ...

EPA, Spingfield's CWLP encouraging farmers to keep soil out of lake

At the edge of corn and soybean fields that Lee Curby farms in Glenarm, a pipe empties water into a creek that cuts between some trees.   When Curby’s grandfather farmed the land in the 1960s, there was a pond where the trees and plants grow now, he said. A couple feet of red clay that used to form the bottom of the pond rise up from the creek bed, and another few feet of rich, black dirt sit on top.   Heavy spring rain and farming techniques such as tilling over the last few decades have washed ...

Estate tax repeal bills introduced.(AUDIO)

A pair of South Dakota Republicans and a Georgia Democrat are giving new life to a longstanding effort to reshape the tax code. Click Here to read more.

EU approves three biotech soybean traits

After a long delay, the European Union has approved three biotech soybean traits for import and processing, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.   The stacked even ts are:   • Monsanto's Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (MON87708 x MON89788, with dicamba and glyphosate tolerance. It is approved in China and is being planted by U.S. farmers.)  • Monsanto's Vistive Gold (MON87705 x MON89788, the product is high-oleic with glyphosate tolerance and is being grown by U.S. farmers to provide trans-fat free soybean oil for the food industry. • Bayer CropScience's Balance GT (FG72, ...

EU Banned Pesticides to Help Bees. Now Other Bugs Are Invading

The European Union has a bug problem.   After regulators in late 2013 banned pesticide called neonicotinoids, link in some studies to the unintended deaths of bees, farmers across the continent applied older chemicals to which many pests had developed a resistance, allowing them to survive.  Now, infestations may lead to a 15 percent drop in year's European harvest of rapeseed, the region's primary source of vegetable oil used to make food ingredients and biodiesel, according to researcher Oil World.   Click Here to read more.

EU Calls for Rethink of GMO Rules for Gene-Edited Crops

The European Commission launched a review of EU rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Thursday, opening the door to a possible loosening of restrictions for plants resulting from gene-editing technology.   Prompted by a 2018 ruling from the European Union's top court that techniques to alter the genome of an organism should be governed by existing EU rules on GMOs, the Commission concluded that its 2001 legislation was "not fit for purpose".   Gene-editing technology targets specific genes within an organism to promote certain characteristics or curb others, while genetic modification involves transferring a gene from one kind ...

EU Court rejects industry evidence on neonicotinoids

The European General Court has rejected industry evidence that the European Commission decision to restrict certain uses of three neonicotinoid insecticides – clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid in 2013 did not have a legal basis.   The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) expressed disappointment at the ruling. AIC said it supported the action brought by Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta as it ‘firmly believes in an approval system that is based on scientific evidence, independent review and an assessment of impacts, rather than politics’.   Hazel Doonan, head of AIC’s crop protection sector said: “Effective modern crop protection ...

EU delays decision on herbicide glyphosate

EU countries failed on Wednesday to vote on a license extension for weedkiller glyphosate, delaying again a decision on the widely used herbicide that critics say could cause cancer.   The European Commission said in a statement the relevant committee did not hold a vote at a meeting and that it would announce the date of the next meeting shortly.   Click Here to read more.

EU fires warning shot over agrichemical mega-mergers

Brussels has issued a stark warning to the world’s leading agrichemical companies that they will need to make significant concessions in the coming months if they want to complete a wave of mega-mergers.   Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, on Thursday opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed $130 billion tie-up between Dow and DuPont. The deal between the two U.S. chemical giants would create the world’s largest crop protection and seed company.   The unusual breadth of Vestager’s probe into Dow/DuPont is a signal that the Commission is also ...

EU Issues Near-Complete Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Neonicotinoid pesticides—these include imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin, and are sold under various brand names—have long been pegged, albeit not without controversy, as dangerous to long-term bee health. In 2013, the EU issued a set of restrictions on their use, but last week, after a vote, the Union enacted a broad ban on all outdoor use of the three major varieties.   This category of pesticides is one of the suspected culprits of colony collapse disorder, and research has indicated that it reduces the bee’s ability to lay eggs and is also harmful to non-bee beneficial ...

EU Nations Could Get Power to Block GMO Crops

European lawmakers have voted to give EU member states the power to ban cultivation of genetically modified crops on their territory even if they have been approved by the 28-nation bloc.   Tuesday's vote on genetically modified organisms, or GMO, must still be converted into EU-wide law by the bloc's executive, the European Commission and national governments.   Click Here to read more.

EuroChem takes on US fertilizer assets from Trammo

EuroChem Group AG, a leading global fertilizer company, announces the expansion of its North American distribution network via the assumption of dry and liquid fertilizer transport and storage assets from international merchandising and trading firm Trammo, Inc.   The move substantially expands EuroChem’s fertilizer storage capacity in the US, and will enable the Group to strengthen its presence into Western Canada as well as on the East Coast. EuroChem now operates 25 warehouses in the US, with a current storage capacity of about 500 000 t.   The US market accounted for about 11% of Group sales in 2017. EuroChem expanded its presence ...

Europe still can’t decide whether to approve glyphosate

The European Union has once again declined to renew its authorization of glyphosate, which likely will leave the decision in the hands of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.   On Thursday, ministers representing the EU member states voted 14-9, with five abstentions, in favor of extending the authorization to use glyphosate for five years. But under EU rules, a “qualified majority” representing 55 percent of the member states and 65 percent of the EU’s population is needed for approval.   Click Here to read more.

European farm groups defend neonicotinoids as environmental NGOs calls for total ban to protect bees

EU farming lobby Copa-Cogeca said [the European Food Safety Authority's] report confirmed there was no justification for a total ban on the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments on all crops.   The [UK's National Farmers' Union] said Efsa’s assessment “failed to take proper account of what is happening to bees in real field situations”.   “The reality is that there is a balance between environmental protection and food production that has to be considered and the impacts of a ‘no neonicotinoid’ scenario on pollinators also need to be ...

Even Republicans and GMO Friendly Executives are Caving to Insane Anti-GMO Demands

Instead of fretting over Sony's sheepish release of a movie depicting the assassination of Kim Jong-un consider how your grocery bill will look in 2015 if we accede to the anti-scientific demands of Europe, China, Russia and Japan.   Long before every American household had a car, most American farmers owned tractors.  The radio, GPS, and handheld computers: farmers embrace new technology because they work harder and possess a profound appreciation for risk.  This is why American, Canadian, Australian and Indian farmers have all embraced genetically-modified organisms(GMOs), crops that address these risks, while using less fossil fuel. &...

Even with a budget, eliminating bill backlog will take time

Along with the state’s first full budget in three years, Illinois lawmakers this month approved plans to pay down the enormous bill backlog that was a byproduct of the financial stalemate.   But the person who will ultimately write the checks to pay down that backlog is warning that the end of the stalemate – and the higher taxes that were approved as part of that deal – aren’t a quick fix for eliminating the stack of bills that total nearly $14.5 billion.   “I need to do a good job of tempering people’s ...

Everybody wants fair maps. Right?

The people of Illinois want fair legislative maps.   They want maps that are drawn by an independent body working on behalf of voters, not by politicians looking after themselves. They want maps that promote competitive elections instead of protecting incumbents.   They’ve said so, over and over again, in polls going back decades. They’ve collected hundreds of thousands of signatures — three times — and raised millions of dollars, trying to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot.   Click Here to read more.

Evidence or ‘Junk Science’—Will the Biden Administration Ban Essential Pesticides Experts say are Safe?

Within days of being sworn in, President Joe Biden elevated the science adviser to the president to Cabinet rank, with a seat beside the secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury. This bold move signaled the administration’s commitment to an evidence-based approach to policymaking.   Yet some are already hoping to undermine this forward-thinking policy.   Activist groups are demanding the administration replace evidence-based research with activist-backed junk science. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), among others, is demanding a ban on 11 critical pesticides that farmers have relied on to feed the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.   These are ...

Evidence too thin to support chlorpyrifos regulation, panel concludes

A Scientific Advisory Panel convened by EPA said the agency should not rely on a Columbia University epidemiological study to determine safe levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos, a widely used insecticide.   The SAP's concerns, expressed in a report submitted to EPA, echoed those expressed by pesticide manufacturers and commodity groups who said there were too many unanswered questions about the study, which used umbilical cord blood data from pregnant women to extrapolate exposure levels for children.   They also said using the epidemiological study would upend decades of regulatory practice that relied on animal studies to set safe ...

Ex-Gov. Quinn unveils redistricting reform plan

Former Gov. Pat Quinn is pitching a legislative redistricting plan he says will meet constitutional muster because it's simpler than previous plans.     The Democrat said at a press conference Tuesday that an 11-member commission appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court should draw political boundaries. He said there should be no more than six members from any one political party on the commission, and that at least seven must sign off on any new map.   He presented the plan days after the high court rejected a petition-driven ballot measure that would've also allowed a commission to ...

Ex-Rep. Don Moffitt appointed to state Agriculture Department post

Don Moffitt didn't stay retired for long.   The longtime legislator, who stepped down from his post Wednesday as the second-longest-serving Republican in the state House, was tapped by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday as the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.   Moffitt, of Gilson, is a lifelong farmer and served in the House starting in 1993 with a stint as the top GOP member of the body's agriculture committee. Early in his career he also served as a high school agriculture teacher.   The appointment had long been rumored. Moffitt declined to answer a question ...

Ex-Sen. Martin Sandoval Charged With Bribery, Filing False Tax Return

Former Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval has been charged with bribery and filing a false tax return, according to an indictment filed in federal court Monday.   Sandoval stepped down from his officer earlier this month, announcing his resignation in November, more than two months after federal agents raided his offices in suburban Cicero and at the Illinois State Capitol.   In 2018, Sandoval - who was chair of the Senate Transportation Committee at the time - "corruptly solicited, demanded, agreed to accept, and accepted" money in exchange for his support of the operation of red-light cameras in Illinois, prosecutors ...

Executive Order Encourages Federal Agencies to Relax Regulations

In an Executive Order signed Tuesday by President Trump, federal agencies are encouraged to make attempts at “rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery.” The President announced the executive order at a cabinet meeting at the White House, telling Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao the order “gives you tremendous power to cut regulation.” Some agencies have already loosened requirements amid the pandemic. A March memo from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alerted industry it would suspend enforcement of environmental laws that require companies to monitor their pollution. The ...

Expect WOTUS proposal by end of month

The head of the EPA tells Brownfield they intend to have their Waters of the U.S. proposed regulation by the end of November, “And I think that’s going to be good news for farmers across the country. Our goal is to allow the property owner to be able to stand on his or her property and determine for themselves whether or not their property falls under the federal definition,” Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tells Brownfield Ag New it’s another example of the Trump administration providing certainty to American farmers, “They should ...

Experts Doubt Arson Finding in Deadly TX Fertilizer Blast

The fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and injured more than 160 in the town of West may not have been sparked by a deliberately set fire as federal investigators claimed, according to attorneys, arson experts and a former top workplace safety official under President Barack Obama.   The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been largely silent on the 2013 West Fertilizer explosion since it announced last year that an arsonist was responsible for the initial blaze and offered a $50,000 reward for information. No arrests have been made, and the ATF won't discuss the case beyond repeating a ...

Experts Estimate 1.1 Million Acres of Dicamba Damage

As of July 15, farmers, homeowners and others filed 605 official complaints of suspected dicamba damage with state departments of agriculture across soybean growing states. That number reflects soybeans and all other specialty crops including vegetable plants, fruit trees, ornamentals, trees, etc.   However, university Extension experts estimate that not all cases of off-target movement have been reported. They estimate 1.1 million total acres of soybeans alone have received damage this season. This includes Arkansas, which has an in-season dicamba ban, at 400,000 estimated acres of damage with 155 official complaints.   “I can’t really say this year is an improvement over ...

FAA Issues Permits for Agriculture, Real Estate Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday issued permits to use drones to monitor crops and photograph properties for sale, marking the first time permission has been granted to companies involved in agriculture and real estate.   The exemptions to the current ban on commercial drone flights were granted to Advanced Aviation Solutions in State, Idaho, for "crop scouting" and to Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona.   Click Here to read more.

FAA Struggling to Deal with Drones

The FAA issued guidelines last week, saying the use of model aircraft (drones) by farmers is unlawful.  If a farmer flies a model aircraft over his cornfield doing rolls and loops, that's legal.  But if he uses the same model airplane to determine how to conserve water or use less fertilizer that's illegal.   The FAA says their decision is all about safety.   Click Here to read more.

Fall fertilizer application season compressed again

Harvest delays and a warm start to October didn’t give farmers many opportunities to apply fall fertilizer.   But it appears applicators still have time to catch up this month, weather permitting, to hopefully avoid a repeat of a shortened fertilizer season last fall, according to Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.   “We really had one to two days our members started to roll on fall-applied anhydrous ammonia after we had such an immediate drop of temperatures at the end of October,” Payne told the RFD Radio Network. “Unfortunately, we&...

Fall Fertilizer Looking ‘More Positive’

According to most market watchers, the Great Recession ended for much of the world approximately five years ago. For the fertilizer marketplace, however, the Great Recession is still ongoing, at least in financial terms.   During 2017 economists estimate that U.S. grower income dropped to $58 billion. Not too many years ago, this figure topped $100 billion. Likewise, commodity prices have remained very low vs. where they stood at the beginning of the 2010s. Not surprisingly, this income pressure has directly impacted ag retailers and their fertilizer sales the past few years.   According to data collected in the 2017 CropLife 100 survey of ...

Fall looking quiet for ag on Capitol Hill. (Audio)

Congress returns to Washington this week after seven weeks back home. Avoiding a government shutdown is sure to take up a good deal of time before the fiscal year comes to a close at the end of the month.    Click Here to hear more.

Fall NH3 Schools

This fall, IFCA and IDA will be hosting six competent ammonia trainings in five counties.  These trainings will cover all important aspects regarding safety and regulatory information with anhydrous ammonia for ag retailers.  Upon completion of the training, the attendee will achieve a "competent attendant" certificate that is required by IDA regulations to handle anhydrous ammonia at the retail level.  For more information on the trainings and to register, please click here.

Fall Nitrogen - BMPs and Water Quality

With temperatures falling to the 30's at night for much of central and northern Illinois, thoughts begin to turn to the yearly question "When Can I Start to Apply Ammonia?"   The following best management practices reflect what we've learned in 8 years of NREC funded research, performed on actual farmer fields over tile drainage.  These BMPs are also part of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (INLRS) recommendations and the University of Illinois recommendations.  The BMPs are as follows:   Use the Right Nitrogen Rate and do not apply the full rate in the fall.&...

Fall Weed Control. What's Your Plan for Weed Seeds Lurking in Harvested Fields?

This time of year, Illinois farmer Nathan Wentworth is on the phone to his chemical retailer as soon as the dust from the combine settles.   "If we're in the middle of October or later, as soon as a bean field is harvested, we're having it sprayed with herbicides," he said. "It's a core component of our weed control program, because we're minimum-till."   Fall burndown applications may be more important than usual this fall, after the challenging spring many growers experienced, noted Ohio State University Extension weed scientist Mark Loux.   &...

Fallout of Illinois budget feud grows

The consequences of Illinois lawmakers' epic failure to approve a state budget continue to pile up, with new warnings about unfunded 911 call centers and schools, thousands of road construction jobs in jeopardy and the long-term cost to taxpayers growing by the billions.     Yet, the political sniping between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who run the Legislature hasn't changed: Each side blames the other, and neither appears willing to budge. The only state without a budget for the fiscal year that ends this month, Illinois is on the brink of entering a record second year without a ...

Farm and Bee Groups Send Letter Supporting Increase in Pollinator Research Levels

A group of more than 40 farm groups and companies sent a letter to House and Senate agricultural appropriations leaders supporting increase in the President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget for honey bee research activities.  The House will begin consideration of appropriations bills next week.   Click Here to read more.

Farm Bill Reduces Endangered Species Protections

Well, it seems the current House farm bill draft is getting more controversial day by day. For example, in addition to proposed changes to the nutrition programs, the draft bill includes a provision that would allow EPA to approve pesticides without undertaking reviews now required to protect endangered species.   As expected, environmental groups are up in arms and argue that the provision is an “unprecedented” attack that could have lasting ramifications for ecosystems across the nation   Click Here to read more.

Farm Exemptions Apply to Most DOT Rules for Hauling Enlist

In most cases, Illinois farmers who transport Enlist for their own use are exempt from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous material regulations, according to Rodney Knittel, Illinois Farm Bureau assistant director of transportation and infrastructure.   “As the popularity of Enlist is increasing, you’re (farmers) going to be given documents from ag retailers. IFB wants farmers to know the reason behind this and what applies to farmers by law,” Knittel told FarmWeek.   Knittel explained hazardous materials (HazMat) have long been in place for Class 9 hazardous materials, which are miscellaneous hazardous materials that include ...

Farm Groups Want New Immigration Laws, Not an Executive Order

President Barack Obama's executive order regarding undocumented immigrants does little for the agricultural industry, according to several farm group representatives, who say legislative reform through Congress is the way to solve farm labor problems.   Obama's executive action, which he announced Thursday night in a televised address from the White House, will protect up to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.  Obama said the directive was a "commonsense" plan consistent with what previous presidents of both parties had done for the past 50 years.   Click Here to read more.

Farm States Brace for Loss of Clout as House Redistricting Nears

Major farm states are likely to lose more influence in the U.S. House because of population shifts that are expected to result in lost seats across the Midwest as well as in Pennsylvania and New York.   The results of the 2020 Census are not expected to be released before March, but analysts expect the states losing seats to include Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. California also could lose at least one House seat.   "As we continue to lose members of Congress from rural America, I worry about the long-term effect it will have on agriculture,” Rep. ...

Farmer Sees Both Sides Of The Dicamba Story

A central Illinois farmer says he understands both sides of issues surrounding dicamba use.   Alex Head who farms near Decatur tells Brownfield he has seen yield loss from dicamba drift on his non-GMO soybean crop.    “It is a great tool to have and it kills weeds, but the fact that it doesn’t stay on target is a little bit frustrating.”   On the other hand, Head also grows soybean seed and has seen the benefits of dicamba products.   “I am not going to sit here and just run it under the ...

Farmer, trucker groups take aim at length limit

Current truck regulation makes it difficult to haul agricultural and other products on local roads without breaking the law.   Trucks up to 65 feet long can use interstate and state highways, but the limit drops to 55 feet on county and township roads. The shorter limit makes it virtually impossible to use the longest available trailers to transport grain, oilseeds, livestock or other agricultural products from a farm to market without violating the law.   Click Here to read more.

Farmers Are Concerned about Pesticide Resistance

Many Iowa farmers believe they have identified pesticide resistance on the land they farm, and most are concerned that herbicide-resistant weeds and pesticide resistant insects will become a problem, according to a new report from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll.   Click Here to read more.

Farmers Are Planning For Illinois River Shutdown Next Year

It’s not uncommon for many Illinois farmers to ship much, or even all, of their commodities along the Illinois River.  So a plan to close the river in 2020 for lock and dam repairs could have a huge impact.   “They’re going to need to re-route, predetermine and plan to not be able to use the river for up to 4 months,” said Kirby Wagner, Assistant Director of Transportation and Infrastructure for the Illinois Farm Bureau.  The organization has been reaching out to farmers in advance with a series of meetings.   “It&...

Farmers are striving for cleaner water with a new water system

People gathered around to watch the first woodchip bioreactor become installed in Henry County.   “It’s definitely been a learning process it’s kind of exciting. It was something I figured would be good for the environment,” according to farmer Todd VerHeecke.   VerHeecke said he hopes that by keeping the soil clean, it will help future generations of farmers.   “It’s something we're trying to be more cognizant of with our Illinois nutrient loss reduction strategy, to try to help produce that so that we don't have as many ...

Farmers are working to reduce nitrate levels, but some factors are out of their control

Five years ago, our Department of Agriculture partnered with Iowa State University, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and others to develop the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as a science-based model to guide our water quality efforts. Since that time, we have regularly reviewed the progress we’re making and identified ways to do even more to protect our natural resources.   Accurately measuring what’s happening in Iowa’s watersheds is complicated. We know – and numerous studies have shown – that many factors, such as soil type, landscape and weather can have a significant impact ...

Farmers Around the World Should be Watching the Roundup Cancer Case

The San Fransisco Superior Court will soon hear testimony from a man dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who claims Roundup (glyphosate) caused his cancer. This trial is the first of many against Monsanto under claims its widely-used herbicide lead to cancer.   Dewayne Johnson worked for a public-school system in California for two years when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During his tenure with the school he used Roundup and other herbicides extensively for landscaping.   Right now, plaintiff and defense attorneys are covering legal requirements are in jury selection and will begin opening statements as ...

Farmers Ask for ‘Right to Repair’

Legislation backed by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group would require farming equipment manufacturers to make software required for repairs available to consumers for purchase.   House Bill 3061, introduced as the “Digital Right to Repair Act” in February by Democratic Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg, would mandate that manufacturers, by 2022, provide farmers with the same diagnostic materials available to official repair providers. It would also require the manufacturers to make parts necessary for repair, including software, available for purchase.   The legislation comes after the release of a report by the U.S. PIRG that alleges farmers ...

Farmers Do Their Part to Keep Toxic Algae Out

Lake Erie should be a source of pride for all Ohio residents. It hosts one of the world’s largest freshwater commercial industries. It is a tourist hot spot. The lake generates billions of dollars in revenue for our region.   But Lake Erie is afflicted each year by harmful algae blooms caused by an abundance of phosphorus in rivers, tributaries, and groundwater. Phosphorus occurs naturally and is essential for all life. But as is often the case, too much of a good thing is not good.   Causes of excess phosphorus include wastewater treatment, animal manure, and industrial ...

Farmers Hopes Illinois River Repairs Stay on Schedule

A northwest Illinois farmer says staying on schedule with the lock and dam repairs on the Illinois River is key this year.   Corn and soybean farmer David Erickson tells Brownfield while there was concern if repairs would be done in a timely manner, the closures on the Illinois River are scheduled to be lifted at the end of the month.   “It looks like that schedule is holding pretty true which will be very important as we move what I think will be a pretty good size crop this late fall and early winter.”   He says ...

Farmers Keeping Nutrients on the Field, Out of Streams

Clean water is a priority for all of us. When farmers manage nutrients, they are also helping to minimize the runoff of nutrients into local streams and rivers.   Farmers rely on two major nutrients in fertilizer — nitrogen and phosphorus — to help crops grow. When excess fertilizer leaves the field and enters local waterways in surface water runoff, those nutrients cause algae in the water to bloom much faster than it would under normal conditions. The algae eventually breaks down, and the bacteria involved in decomposition deplete oxygen in the water to unhealthily low levels. Ultimately, fish and ...

Farmers Move Away from Fall-Applied Anhydrous

Farmers’ shift away from fall application of nitrogen for crops such as corn and sorghum is being reflected in changing retail practices, says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. “In my area of central Illinois, I know two fertilizer plants that have completely dropped anhydrous ammonia,” he says. “Their sales had shifted to spring application of nitrogen solution. While ammonia can be applied in the spring, farmers found it took up too much of their time when they needed to concentrate on planting, compared to nitrogen solution that can be applied as they plant or with ...

Farmers Offer Strategy to Lessen Herbicide Damage Issues

As Arkansas pesticide regulators debated the fate of dicamba herbicides, farmer Perry Galloway sat quietly in the audience gallery through most of the day-long board meeting.   It wasn't his plan to be so quiet. Galloway, of Gregory, Arkansas, and attorney Grant Ballard had prepared earlier in the week to present the Arkansas State Plant Board with a grass-roots plan to allow farmers access to postemergence dicamba applications.   The plant board's agenda did not include time for public comments. While several board members referred to the farmers' effort during breaks from the meeting, there was no official ...

Farmers Proactive in Cutting Nitrate Losses

The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy will be finalized this summer, but farmers already have got a jump on it with changes in their fertilizer management efforts.   The strategy will direct efforts to reduce nutrients from point and non-point sources in a coordinated, primarily voluntary and cost-effective manner with a goal to reduce the state’s phosphorus load by 25 percent and its nitrate-nitrogen load by 15 percent by 2025. The eventual target is a 45 percent reduction in the loss of these nutrients to the Mississippi River.   There has been a large increase in spring nitrogen sales in the state ...

Farmers Saving Nutrients to Help Mother Nature.

A couple of rural Chapin farmers are doing their part to reduce nutrient loss from their fields and help the environment.   John Werries and his son, Dean, started planting cover crops in the fall of 2012 as a way to stop soil erosion.   “The more we learned about it, the more benefits we realized,” John Werries said.   Cover crops’ benefits include sequestering nutrients, helping break up soil compaction and adding organic matter to the soil.   “We were urged to start experimenting on a small scale for several years before adopting it on a ...

Farmers suing Monsanto, BASF over dicamba urge judge to keep litigation alive

Farmers suing over crop damage allegedly caused by Bayer AG unit Monsanto Co and BASF Corp’s dicamba-based seeds and weedkillers urged a federal judge on Monday to reject the companies’ motions to dismiss the cases.   In filings opposing the requests for dismissal, lawyers representing the roughly 20 farms told U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, that the companies had ignored facts in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the alleged “ecological disaster” they created.   Click Here to read more.

Farmers to Trump: No trade war, please

President Donald Trump has promised to shield farmers from the sting of China’s trade retaliation, but that embattled portion of Trump’s rural base says they just want to sell on the open market, without tariffs slapped on their products amid escalating tensions.   In interviews with POLITICO this week, several farmers across the country said they don’t want a trade war and they want to avoid having their income tied to government support to make up for losses created by one.   “We want our living to come from the marketplace,” said ...

Farmers turn to crop dusters as Southern Rust impacts corn

The fungus known as Southern Corn Rust is becoming an annual problem for farmers in southern Illinois.   Farmers like Randy Anderson have begun taking steps to protect their crops.   Southern Corn Rust has made its way to seven southern Illinois counties so far this year.   "With some of your later planted corn. When I say that, we're talking about corn planted in late May and early June. It really shows a devastating effect on that plant itself," explained Anderson.   The fungus originates in the southern United States and Mexico. In the last few ...

Farmers Warn Mexico’s GM Corn Ban Will Raise Food Prices

Mexico’s farmer associations are teaming up and pushing back through legal battles in opposition to a presidential decree to ban genetically modified (GM) maize and glyphosate in Mexico by 2024.   The Mexican government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has carried out a battle against scientific innovation in the country’s farm fields over the three years of his administration, attacking biotechnological crops and agricultural supplies. Earlier this year, AMLO enacted a decree to phase out the use of the herbicide glyphosate and the cultivation of GM corn, as well as GM corn imports, by 2024, arguing ...

Farmers, anti-glyphosate activists lobby EPA as agency mulls herbicide’s future in US

Pro- and anti-glyphosate companies and organizations lined up to praise — or bash — the active ingredient in the most widely applied herbicide in the world, in comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency [the first week of September.]   The subject was a Proposed Interim Decision (PID) issued by EPA in May, a critical step in the multiyear process to re-register the herbicide.   In general, defenders of the product, used in Roundup, Ranger Pro and other formulations, stressed the chemical’s value to growers and findings by regulatory bodies around the world that “continue to support ...

Farmers, Arkansas battle over dicamba ban

Farmers in Arkansas are fighting the state for the right to use dicamba this growing season, challenging a seasonal ban that began April 16 and runs through Oct. 31.   So far the results have been mixed, with about 200 farmers authorized to use the herbicide. But whether that permission will last until planting of soybeans and cotton begins in earnest is an open question. The issues raised, such as whether the Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) can claim sovereign immunity from lawsuits, will ultimately have to be resolved by the state Supreme Court. But in the meantime, the publicity has spawned more ...

Farmers, Ranchers Dispute Legal Limits of Revamped Water Rule

Cattlemen in the West are gearing up for a legal battle over the Trump administration’s revamped water jurisdiction rule, even as a national trade association of farmers that touts itself as the “unified voice of agriculture” supports the change.   Ranchers in New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington state want no federal control of any body of water that crosses their lands. They’ve asked the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative nonprofit legal firm, to sue on their behalf to fix what they see as lingering “federal overreach” problems with the most recent definition ...

Farmers, Retailers Face Tight Chemical Supply, Shipping Delays

Some agricultural chemicals such as herbicides and fungicides are in tight supply this spring as shipping backlogs and pandemic-related delays have run headlong into higher demand from increased row-crop acres this year.     Farmers from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma told DTN in emails they are hearing of higher prices, delays and shortages for herbicides, particularly glyphosate (Roundup) and glufosinate (Liberty), as well as some fungicides.     "We secured most of our needs in advance, but I have had some calls from suppliers the past several weeks basically saying that we should ...

FCC Report Shows Importance of Rural Broadband.

A new report by the Federal Communications Commission acknowledges the impact of rural broadband service on-farm productivity.   The FCC’s Office of Economics and Analytics released the new paper called “Impact of Broadband Penetration on U.S. Farm Productivity.”   In a statement Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says this paper underscores the importance of the Commission’s top priority of expanding broadband access in rural and underserved areas.  Pai says the availability of broadband has significant positive impacts on crop yields and other farm production metrics by lowering fertilizer and seed costs.   ...

FDA launches ‘Feed Your Mind’ to increase understanding of GMOs

he U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, launched a new initiative, “Feed Your Mind,” to help consumers better understand foods created through genetic engineering, commonly called GMOs or genetically modified organisms. “Feed Your Mind,” aims to answer the most common questions that consumers have about GMOs, including what GMOs are, how and why they are made, how they are regulated, and to address health and safety questions that consumers may have about these products.   “While foods from genetically ...

FDA Official: GMO Foods "As Safe As" Other Foods

A top official at the Food and Drug Administration assured lawmakers Wednesday the agency has no safety concerns about the increasingly controversial production of genetically engineered foods.   Genetically modified organisms, better known as GMO, are used by farmers to increase their crop yields.  But many concerns have been raised by food safety groups about the dangers of eating foods that were scientifically altered.   Michael Landa, director of the Center for Foods Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA, dismissed those claims Wednesday.   Click Here to read more.

February Edition of IFCA's News Under The Dome

Click Here to read February edition of IFCA's "News Under the Dome".  In this month's edition, IFCA gives an update on winter fly-in to DC, Gov. Pritzer signs $15 minimum wage increase,  

Federal Reserve: Observations on the Ag Economy- May 2021

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board released its May 2021 Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions by Federal Reserve District. The report included several observations pertaining to the U.S. agricultural economy.   Seventh District- Chicago– “Expectations for farm income in 2021 strengthened across sectors in April and early May. Drought and dry weather conditions were an issue across a substantial portion of the District, though timely rains could still erase most of the impact. Frosts damaged some plants and trees, with potentially heavy losses for fruit producers. Corn and soybean planting proceeded ahead of ...

Feds considering repeal of EPA emissions rule for trucks

The Trump administration is considering repealing an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule limiting emissions from truck components.   According to an Office of Management and Budget notice, the EPA is formally proposing to repeal the rule, something EPA Administrator Scott Pruittsaid in August he would do.   The regulation, an Obama administration effort to cut climate change-causing emissions from the transportation sector, aims to limit pollution from trucks.   The rule applies to gliders, which are medium- and heavy-duty trucks assembled using refurbished powertrains and new truck parts called “glider kits,” which are also subject to the regulation. ...

Feds Tell Farmers to Buzz Off on Pesticide When Bees are Busy on Big Croplands

 If honeybees are busy pollinating large, blooming croplands, farmers wanting to spray toxic pesticides will soon have to buzz off, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing. A federal rule to be proposed Thursday would create temporary pesticide-free zones when certain plants are in bloom around bees that are trucked from farm to farm by professional beekeepers, which are the majority of honeybees in the U.S. The pesticide halt would only happen during the time the flower is in bloom and the bees are there, and only on the property where the bees are working, not neighboring land. The ...

Feds Unveil Commercial Drone Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration is moving to allow commercial drones that weigh less than 55 pounds to be flown in the U.S. under new regulations that were released on Sunday morning. The proposal, which has been highly anticipated, would greatly increase the domestic use of drones in a long-sought victory for advocates of the technology.   Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the FAA’s rules will strike a balance the desire for increased drone use and concerns that have arisen about potential privacy violations from the unmanned flights.   Click Here to read more.

Feds’ ComEd Bribery Case Implicates Mike Madigan; Speaker’s Office Subpoenaed; Governor Says Madigan ‘Must Resign’ If Allegations Are True

Following months of speculation about a wide-ranging investigation, federal prosecutors have charged ComEd with a years-long bribery scheme involving the company’s arrangement for jobs, contracts, and payments to allies and associates of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.   ComEd will pay a $200 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to end the federal probe, admitting it sought to influence “Public Official A” — identified as the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives without using Madigan’s name — by arranging for his allies and people who performed political work for him to ...

Fertilizer Application Regulations Aimed to Stem Runoff. (Video)

Senate Bill 1 was signed by Governor John Kasich on April 2, 2015, designed to protect Lake Erie from toxic algal blooms and improve overall water quality around the state.  The new rules will take effect on July 3.   New regulations will require northwestern Ohio farmers to limit spreading fertilizer and manure on flooded or sodden fields. based on specific precipitation criteria.  The new law prohibits application of nutrients following 1 inch of rain or more falling in 24 hours, or for manure, 0.5 inch of precipitation in the previous 12 hours.   Last August harmful algal blooms contaminated the water supply for more than 400,000 ...

Fertilizer company moves forward with $2.8B project in Indiana

A fertilizer company in southwest Indiana is moving forward with a $2.8 billion project with the help of state incentives.   Midwest Fertilizer Co. will begin construction on its Posey County manufacturing facility next year, the Evansville Courier & Press reported. Construction is projected to support more than 2,500 jobs.   The state Economic Development Corp. has offered the company up to $2.9 million in conditional tax credits, up to $400,000 in training grants and up to $300,000 in conditional incentives. The performance-based incentives require the company to create jobs and invest in the state.   Pakistan-based Fatima Group is one of the company's ...

Fertilizer Concerns Regarding Infrastructure Plan

IFCA has been in discussions with our national association, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), regarding legislative language that has been put into the major infrastructure bill being discussed in our nation's capitol.  IFCA's concern is the reinstatement of the Superfund Tax on chemicals/fertilizers, which would serve as additional revenue to help pay for the bill.  While the details are still vague and the legislation is still being drafted, IFCA believes the proposal mirrors one that was included in the President’s FY22 Budget which would reinstate, and double, the Superfund ...

Fertilizer decisions: targeted nutrient applications find popularity

Fertilizer applicators are becoming a more common sight in Illinois in growing cornfields.   That is one trend in nutrient delivery on farms Dan Schaefer has seen. It follows decreasing frozen-ground fall applications.   “I don’t have any real hard figures, but less and less of replacement P and K is put on when it’s frozen or snow covered,” said Schaefer, director of nutrient stewardship with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.   “Guys are starting to understand that application on top of snow — especially phosphorus — is not the best time.&...

Fertilizer for Food and Fuel

The agricultural industry not only provides the nutrients and food needed to feed the populations of the United States but also provides tens of thousands of American jobs. From rural Iowa to the orange groves in Florida, America’s economic livelihood depends in part upon the determination and technological advancements of an ever-changing agriculture industry.  National Agriculture Week serves as a reminder of the tremendous impact agriculture makes on our lives and the environment in which we live, work, and raise a family. This industry continues to see dramatic advances in technology, genetics, crop protection, and the application ...

Fertilizer Industry Continues to Positively Impact The US Economy

The Fertilizer Industry contributed more than $130 billion and nearly 500,000 jobs to the US economy in 2019, according to a new study.   Corey Rosenbusch is the president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute.   “A lot of people probably recognize how important fertilizer is to putting food on their tables but the impact on jobs and the economy was really amazing to see,” he says.   He tells Brownfield it’s no surprise the fertilizer industry was deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and continued to have a positive impact on communities across the country.   “50% of ...

Fertilizer Industry Data Shows Sustainability Improvements

The annual sustainability report from The Fertilizer Institute highlights improvements in safety, energy reduction, and carbon capture.   CEO Corey Rosenbusch tells Brownfield the fertilizer industry’s safety rating is the highest it has been since data collection began in 2013 and 41% of all energy consumed is generated using waste heat rather than pulling from the electrical grid.   “29% of all the CO2 that was generated per ton of nutrient produced was recaptured and utilized for other products and we saw 53% less water was used to produce one ton of fertilizer compared to 2013.”   He says the data ...

Fertilizer Logistics: Insight Into Getting It Right This Planting Season

Spring is upon us and farmers, suppliers, and transporters are all busy preparing for the planting season, which includes lining up fertilizer supplies and accurately estimating inventory needs. Due to the hustle to get ready and some global inventory imports coming into the Gulf Coast slightly behind schedule, the 4Rs (right place, right time, right product, and right rate) are a high priority for our industry right now.     Right Place: Prepping fertilizer for the North American spring season requires planning, contracting, staging, and execution to have the right product in the right place for end-users. Most of the ...

Fertilizer Makers Yara and CF Industries Discussing "Merger of Equals:

Two of the biggest fertilizer producers in the world are in talks about what could be the next inversion deal to be announced.   CF Industries, based in Deerfield, Illinois, near Chicago and Yara International of Norway both confirmed on Tuesday that they were in discussions about a deal that would essentially be a merger of equals.   Click Here to read more.

Fertilizer Revenues Decline 7% for Top 100 Ag Retailers in 2020

Back during the 1970s, a singer in one classic song said he “could see clearly now the rain is gone.” But for the fertilizer category among CropLife 100 ag retailers, the vision of 2020 following the end of the 2019 rains still left an incredibly blurry image, marked by losses in multiple areas.   In many ways, market watchers probably shouldn’t be that surprised by this performance when eye-balling the fertilizer category. Indeed, following some very good growth years during the early years of the 2010s, the fertilizer category began to see some significant pullback from grower-customers towards the ...

Fertilizer Safety Bill Prompted by West Blast Advances in Texas

Two years after 15 people died in the West fertilizer plant explosion, the full House on Friday gave tentative approval to a bill that would tighten the state’s regulation of ammonium nitrate storage and add safeguards for dealing with the dangerous chemical. But the measure, which is the first West-related bill since the blast to advance out of committee, wouldn’t require sprinkler systems or other chemical safety measures that could help prevent future explosions. And a number of other bills aimed at addressing some of the problems uncovered in the aftermath of the explosion have gained little ...

Fertilizer use accounts for soils, farm’s strengths

Targeting fertilizer applications to optimize rates can pay off with higher yields and efficient use of inputs.   Joe Sperfslage, who farms near Coggon, Iowa, has taken his fertilizer program to the next level — combining grid-based soil sampling with variable rate planting and a split-season nitrogen (N) fertilizer program.   “We’re really happy with it,” Sperfslage said.   He uses River Valley Cooperative's YieldVantage precision ag system to calculate prescription fertilizer rates based on a number of factors, including soil test results and weather.   “We put on 15 gallons of 32 percent (urea-ammonium nitrate) ...

Fertilizer Use to Surpass 200 Million Tonnes in 2018

Global fertilizer use is likely to rise above 200.5 million tonnes in 2018, 25 percent higher than recorded in 2008. World fertilizer consumption will grow by 1.8 percent a year through 2018, according to FAO's new report "World fertilizer trends and outlook to 2018." At the same time "the global capacity of fertilizer products, intermediates and raw materials will increase further," the report said. Click Here to read more  

Field trials look for nitrogen answers

Nitrogen rates, forms and application timings are the focus of multi-year trials funded by the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council.   Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois Crop Sciences professor emeritus and primary investigator of the on-farm trials, provided his observations from the research findings in an Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association-hosted webinar Oct. 19.   A primary objective of the work is to gather data on the response of corn grain to nitrogen fertilizer rates with replicated, field-scale trials at numerous on-farm locations.   Trails include comparing fall- and spring-applied or early spring and sidedressed nitrogen rates. The trials also ...

FieldWatch Launches Two Apps, Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

In April 2018, FieldWatch launched two free mobile apps (both Android and iOS), one to complement each of its sites, with the goal of making access and input easier. ( FieldWatch )   In its 10th year since being started at Purdue University, FieldWatch has grown to be in 19 states and one Canadian province with more than 17,000 users. The non-profit has created two mapping tools—DriftWatch and BeeCheck. Both are voluntary and free, and the sites are built with a Google Maps interactive interface to show pesticide applicators the locations of registered sites—sensitive crops or beehives. More than 20,000 sites representing ...

FieldWatch Looks to Expand its Mapping Efforts as Herbicide Use Grows

Checking for sensitive crops before spraying a herbicide is always a good bet, but for some applicators, it's also the law.   Anyone spraying over-the-top dicamba herbicides is legally required to document that they checked a sensitive crop registry for the area surrounding the field and keep that documentation for two years. While some state- and crop-specific registries exist, for most applicators, this requirement will be met by one company: FieldWatch.   FieldWatch, a nonprofit formed nearly a decade ago to alert applicators to specialty crops, organic crops and eventually beehives, is eager to expand to help row-crop farmers ...

FieldWatch Names New CEO

FieldWatch, Inc., a non-profit company that promotes improved communication and stewardship among crop producers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators, announced that effective Oct. 1, 2020, Bob Walters has accepted the role of Chief Executive Officer.   Walters has been FieldWatch’s Director of Business Development since joining the company in 2016. He replaces Stephanie Regagnon who has taken a leadership role at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.   “Bob has been instrumental in the growth and development of FieldWatch as we have expanded to 22 states and one Canadian Province,” said Patrick Jones, Board of Directors Chairman at FieldWatch. “Bob&...

FieldWatch – Before You Spray

Before making pesticide applications this year check the FieldWatch online registry so you are aware of sensitive crops and beehives in the area. In 2017 the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau received a record number of complaints regarding pesticide applications. Taking the time to review what is near a field prior to applications can help mitigate future problems.   FieldWatch features a voluntary mapping tool through Google Maps™ that shows pesticide applicators the locations of registered sensitive crops and beehives so they can make informed decisions regarding potential pesticide applications. FieldWatch replaced the Iowa Department of ...

FIFRA science panel divided on EPA glyphosate cancer study

EPA’s conclusion that glyphosate is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans has received a mixed review from a scientific review panel.   The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) “was split,” according to the report issued today. Some panelists agreed with the EPA issue paper, prepared by the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and released last year. Other members felt the “not likely” characterization should be replaced by “suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential.” And still other members were not comfortable with either description, preferring instead &...

Filibuster Face-Off: Schumer, McConnell at Loggerheads Over U.S. Senate Power Sharing

A standoff between new U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and the man he replaced, Republican Mitch McConnell, over a core rule of Senate operations has kept the two from reaching a deal on how to manage the 50-50 chamber.   Schumer is resisting McConnell’s demand for a promise to protect the long-standing Senate rule requiring a supermajority of 60 votes to advance most legislation, known as the legislative filibuster.   Their argument is holding up the basic organization and work of the Senate as it begins the new year with 50 senators from each party. Committees ...

Filling Your Tank Won't Break the Bank in 2021, and Pandemic's not the Sole Reason

One crumb of comfort amid the pandemic has been the drop in gas prices. A gallon of regular could be bought for less than $2 Friday, compared to the regional average of $2.82 a year ago, according to AAA.   On the other hand, isn't cheap fuel a bittersweet benefit, given it's directly related to COVID-19 requiring millions to work from home and cut back on travel?                                  &...

Final tally: 591 bills signed, 8 vetoed by governor

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday signed the final three bills of the 599 sent to him by the Illinois General Assembly during the spring legislative session.   Per the final tally, Pritzker signed 591 of the bills into law, while vetoing seven and sending one back to the General Assembly with an amendatory veto. The General Assembly will return in late October and early November to discuss new legislation and consider overriding any of the vetoes.   Among the final measures signed by the governor this week was the Home Energy Affordability and Transparency Act, which aims to provide greater ...

Finish line near for corn and soybeans planting

Corn planting nears the finish line and farmers are not far behind in soybean planting.   The June 5 USDA Crop Progress shows farmers have planted 96% of the corn acres, down a mere 1% from the four year average of 97%.   All but one state (Pennsylvania at 82%) has planted more than 90% of their acres. Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin came in at 91% -- lagging behind the majority of states in the 95-99% completion range.   Click Here to read more.

First U.S. bumble bee added to endangered species list

The rusty patched bumble bee became the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain federal protection on Tuesday when it was added to the government's list of endangered and threatened species.   The bee, once widely found in the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States, was listed after U.S. President Donald Trump's administration lifted a hold it had placed on a plan for federal protections proposed last fall by the administration of former President Barack Obama.   Click Here to read more.  

Five Lock and Dam Closures on Illinois River Looming

The Illinois Waterway, which provides a navigable connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, includes eight lock and dam sites that are long overdue for significant repairs. In order to facilitate repairs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (USACE/Corps) Rock Island District developed a consolidated repair schedule that included a short closure to locks in 2019, followed by two extended closures in 2020 and 2023. The closures are scheduled to take place simultaneously to lessen the impact to commercial navigation as much as possible.   The current 9-foot channel lock and dam system on the Illinois River was built in ...

Five States Sue EPA Over Rule Limiting Pesticide Safety Enforcement

Five states this week sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a rule that narrows the areas where farmers are required to limit human presence during the application of pesticides.   The states argue that the rule will harm their agricultural workers.   The agency's rule, finalized in October, makes it so that requirements that govern areas near pesticide applications can only be enforced on a farmer’s property and not in surrounding “off-farm” areas.   The EPA argued that it was hard for farmers to enforce rules off of their property, but opponents of the ...

Five things we've learned about dicamba

As we prepare for another year with the Xtend soybean system, we thought it would help to briefly summarize some of the most important things we've learned about dicamba as a result of research our outstanding graduate students have conducted during the past several seasons.   1. Dicamba can be detected in the air following treatment.   This isn't really any grand new finding; we've seen this trend in graduate student Shea Farrell's research for the past two seasons. But Farrell is now finished with all his experiments, and his results clearly show concentrations of dicamba can ...

Five-Herbicide Corn Tech

USDA is considering how to regulate Bayer's developmental five-way herbicide-tolerant corn trait, which will ultimately tolerate in-season applications of 2,4-D, dicamba, glufosinate, glyphosate and quizalofop (FOPS herbicides).   USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) received a petition from Monsanto (now a legal entity owned by Bayer) to deregulate the new GM corn trait, called MON 87429, last spring, so the company can use it for hybrid seed production. After reviewing comments from the public, the agency announced its next step this week: the launch of an environmental impact review for the new trait.   "In reviewing ...

Flooding on the Mississippi Affecting Shipping of Ag Product

The Mississippi River at the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois reached a new record high and it's disrupting efforts to move ag product on the river.   The situation is so bad the CME says it is affecting corn and soybean shipping stations. You can read the release from CME Goup here. It says the shipping stations are unable to load due to high water levels and flooding.  The National Weather Service website showed the Mississippi River level last Thursday at 22.64 ft.  That's just above the 22.63 ft mark reached on July 9th, 1993.   Click Here ...

Floods, food, farms top Ag Legislative Day topics

Sunshine Tuesday greeted thousands of Illinois agricultural leaders and FFA members and advisers from across the state for the 50th Agricultural Legislative Day at the Capitol.   Addressing gathered leaders in the Illinois State Library, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recalled last year’s historic flooding. At a White House meeting, Pritzker said he sought President Donald Trump’s support for more flood fighting help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Rebuilding levees and protecting basic infrastructure is important,” the governor said.   In a news conference later, Pritzker told reporters the Rebuild Illinois capital ...

Florida confirms toxic red tide spreading along Atlantic coast

Dozens of dead fish littered a Palm Beach County beach Wednesday as a toxic red tide appeared to spread along Florida’s Atlantic coast.   Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials confirmed Wednesday that low to moderate amounts of the algae that cause red tide have now turned up off three counties along the state’s more densely populated east coast. Blooms were confirmed in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, marking the first appearance of red tide along Atlantic shores in more than a decade.   Wildlife officials are also testing Miami-Dade and Broward counties. ...

FMC buys DuPont crop protection assets, sells health and nutrition

DuPont is selling part of its crop protection business to FMC Corp. and acquiring that company’s health and nutrition business to satisfy conditions imposed by the European Commission when it approved DuPont’s merger with Dow Chemical on Monday.   The DuPont-FMC transactions should go a long way toward satisfying concerns by regulators in the U.S. and other countries such as Australia and Brazil that are reviewing the $130 billion union between Dow and DuPont. The companies said they now expect the merger to close sometime in August.   “The remedy we’ve entered into ... ...

FMC to Acquire Danish Insecticide Maker for $1.4 Billion

Auriga Industries of Denmark said on Monday that it had agreed to sell  its insecticide maker, Cheminova, to the FMC Corporation for about $1.4 billion in cash, plus the assumption of debt.   The deal is expected to bolster operations at FMC, which supplies insecticides, fungicides and other chemicals to the agriculture industry.   Click Here to read more.

FMC To Introduce Two New Herbicide Modes Of Action In Next Decade

In a world where resistant weeds run rampant, one chemical company is bringing relief to corn, soybean and rice farmers. FMC will introduce a novel rice herbicide and a corn and soybean herbicide in the next five to ten years.    “When we say new mode of action, it means there’s not a product on the market today for that crop or that use,” says Kathy Shelton, FMC vice president and chief technology officer. “We have one molecule in our pipeline today that doesn’t have a name yet that focuses on rice, ...

FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Relief Exemption Through End of Year

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the COVID-19 emergency declaration until the end of the year.   This extension continues the exemption granted from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, for direct emergency assistance for some supply chains. It is limited to the transportation of:   -Livestock and livestock feed; -Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; -Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants; and -Food, paper products, and other groceries for ...

FMCSA Issues Interim Final Rule on Agricultural Commodity Definitions

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is has published a final rule clarifying agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.   Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source. The agricultural commodity rulemaking from FMCSA prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining ...

FMCSA suspends HOS in all 50 states for Coronavirus outbreak relief haulers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a nationwide Hours of Service (HOS) waiver for motor carriers hauling relief supplies for Coronavirus/COVID-19.   The FMCSA made the declaration shortly after President Trump declared a nationwide state of emergency over the Coronavirus outbreak on Friday, March 13.   The emergency waiver suspends HOS regulations in all 50 state and Washington D.C. for drivers who are directly providing relief supplies for the Coronavirus outbreak:   By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks are granted ...

FMCSA to Announce Two-Year Delay in Implementing ELDT Rule

Federal trucking regulators are near completion of a formal notice that implementation of the Entry Level Driver Training rule that was set to take effect on a limited basis Feb. 7 will be delayed by up to two years.   The notice is “in the pipeline,” said a DOT official who asked not to be identified.   “There is a Federal Register notice forthcoming,” the official said about the rule, which will be administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “The whole thing is going to be delayed. It’s mostly due to the ...

FMCSA Unveils Proposed Changes to Hours-of-Service Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Aug. 14 issued a long-awaited proposal to make changes to its hours-of-service rules that would increase truck drivers’ flexibility with their 30-minute rest break and with allocating time in a sleeper berth.   The proposal also would extend by two hours duty time for drivers encountering adverse weather and expand the current 100 air-mile “shorthaul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, consistent with workday rules for longhaul truck drivers.   The agency will accept comments on the proposal for 45 days after it is published in the Federal Register, scheduled for Aug. 20. &...

FMCSA Updates to Hours of Service Rules are Welcome Reforms for Ag Retailers

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Counsel Richard Gupton released the following statement in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules: “This is welcome news. An update to HOS rules has been a priority for ag retailers for a long time. We are grateful that the Department of Transportation and the administration took our comments into consideration with this final rule. “Perhaps most notable reforms in the rule are the change to the short-haul ...

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For Triazines, 2020 Provides Some ‘Good News’

For most of the world, it almost goes without saying that 2020 has been long on bad news and short on the good. However, for one class of popular herbicides, there is some good news!   In mid-September, EPA announced a long-awaited interim decision regarding the re-registration of the triazines: Atrazine, propazine, and simazine. Following years of research and public comments from the agriculture community, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler declared these fundamental crop management tools “safe for continued use in controlling resilient weeds.” According to the Triazine Network, a coalition of agricultural organizations that advocates for science-based regulatory decisions, ...

Forget GMOs. The next big battle is over genetically ‘edited’ foods

Green stalks have only just begun to sprout in the test fields where biotech giant DuPont Pioneer is planting rows of a new genetically edited corn. But across the street, in the company’s sprawling research campus, executives are already fretting about how to sell it to the world.   On one hand, this corn is a revolution: It will probably be the first plant to market developed through the cutting-edge genome-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas.   On the other, the industry’s last big breakthrough of this kind — genetically modified organisms, or GMOs — was an unqualified ...

Former Georgia governor expected to get USDA nomination

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is emerging as President-elect Donald Trump's selection for agriculture secretary even though the search had focused in recent weeks on a woman or Hispanic and no official announcement has yet been issued.   Experience a renewed commitment to crop insurance. A source close to the transition team confirmed media reports Monday that Trump had settled on Perdue, whom the president-elect had interviewed in November.   Perdue, 70, served two terms as Georgia governor, from 2003 to 2011. He has a doctorate in veterinary medicine although he spent much of his career in business in rural Georgia, running ...

Four Things Missouri Scientists Learned About 2,4-D and Dicamba in 2020

University of Missouri Extension weed scientist Mandy Bish unveiled the results of the group's latest research on new auxin herbicide technologies at the annual MU Crop Management Conference, held virtually Dec. 1-2.   MU weed scientists, who led the charge on early investigations of dicamba volatility and temperature inversions, have now turned some of their attention to 2,4-D-choline as its use on 2,4-tolerant Enlist crops ramps up.   Here are four big takeaways for farmers to keep in mind for the 2021 spray season.   Click Here to read more.

Four versions of legal sports betting bill filed by state rep

In an effort to kick-start discussions on legal sports betting in Illinois, state Rep. Mike Zalewski has filed four different proposals.   The Riverside Democrat said the proposals will be discussed at a hearing of the House Revenue Committee next week. “What we have learned the last few months is there is great interest and agreement in the gaming industry to bring sports betting and its economic benefits to Illinois and little agreement yet on now to best do it,” Zalewski said in a statement.   Zalewski said the proposals that will be discussed were modeled on sports ...

Four-State Study Tests Nitrate-Reduction Technology

Approxmately 265 square miles drain into the Lake Springfield watershed from an area covering portions of three counties.     Researchers are tracking technology at two test sites in Auburn intended to keep the nitrate byproducts from 300 farms within the watershed out of streams, rivers and ultimately the lake.  The sites -- known as "saturated buffer zones" -- are among 15 in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota in a larger study on reducing nitrates that threaten water quality and aquatic life.   Click Here to read more.

France clamps down on use of weedkiller glyphosate in farming

France’s health and environment agency announced restrictions on weedkiller glyphosate in farming, but stopped short of a full ban in the European Union’s top agricultural producer due to a lack of non-chemical alternatives in some areas.   The new rules set out by ANSES on Friday are part of a push by the French government to phase out glyphosate by 2021 and reflect a global debate about the safety of the weedkiller, first developed by Bayer’s Monsanto unit under the brand Roundup.   President Emmanuel Macron in 2017 pledged to end glyphosate use in France within ...

France Offering Financial Aid to Growers to Stop Using Glyphosate

With everything that has happened in the world these past 18 months or so, you might have missed this somewhat important development for agriculture. Back in December, one country’s president did not like how market forces were working against his personal beliefs. So, he decided to try to a new tactic to better support his world view.   Of course, I’m talking about French President Emmanuel Macron and his ongoing efforts to discontinue the use of glyphosate in his country. Originally, back in 2017, President Macron made a pledge to his supporters that his government would end the ...

Franklin Park, Illinois to seek ability to regulate pesticide use

Franklin Park officials want to be able to regulate pesticides at the village level, and they have plans to ask the state to allow them to do so.   The village board may vote as soon as its next meeting on a resolution requesting that the Illinois General Assembly remove the clause from the Illinois Pesticide Act that prevents municipalities from controlling pesticide use.     “It’s the reason I got involved in public office — sustainability,” Mayor Barrett Pedersen said of the proposed resolution.   Oak Park and Evanston have approved similar motions, according to ...

Freight rail reform can’t come soon enough

Forest and paper product manufacturers rely on America’s railroads to move raw materials to mills and finished products to customers. Nearly 60 million tons of wood, pulp and paper products made that journey in 2015, according to the American Association of Railroads. The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB), which has regulatory oversight of rail rates and service, has initiated proceedings to revise outdated regulatory exemptions, enhance rail competition through reciprocal switching agreements and improve its procedures used to challenge unreasonably high rail rates. Implementing those reforms will go a long way toward supporting our industry’s needs for ...

From the Farm: Chemical Supplies for Herbicides

Farm chemical supplies are having difficulty sourcing typical herbicides as Stu reports in Thursday’s From the Farm.   COVID-19 is being blamed for a shortfall of the popular herbicides “Roundup” and “Liberty.”   “If we are seeing any tighter supplies on those two chemicals. There’s some tighter supplies on other stuff, but most of those, the Roundup and the Liberty are the biggest two, I would say tighter supplies, or short supplies in certain areas of the country right now,” said Kevin Johnson, Interim President of Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical ...

Frontline, Farm-State Democrats Push Back Against Biden Tax Plan

A group of 13 House Democrats, led by Iowa’s Cindy Axne and California’s Jim Costa, is pressing party leaders to exempt family farms from a tax increase President Joe Biden has proposed on inherited assets to help pay for new child care, education and other spending.   Under Biden's $1.8 trillion package of family-related assistance, heirs would no longer receive "stepped up basis" for capital gains tax purposes, which resets the value of inherited property to the date of death. Instead they'd be liable for the tax on the full appreciation in value from ...

Frost/freeze damage report: will plants recover?

Temperatures over most of Illinois dropped to the upper 20s or low 30s on Saturday morning, May 9. This resulted in damage or even death to emerged and emerging corn and soybeans. The extent of damage was closely tied to when fields were planted.   Corn planted during the warm part of April—the first week—was up and growing (slowly) by May 1, with limited leaf area. In some fields, emerged stands were already subpar, especially in the wettest parts of the state, whether or not water stood in the field. According to NASS, 68 percent of the corn crop ...

Funding Change in WRDA Bill Expected to Increase Inland Waterway Projects

A change in the funding formula for inland waterway projects could add $100 million annually to waterway infrastructure spending as the House of Representatives approved a new Water Resources Development Act on Tuesday.   The bill, commonly known as WRDA, will lower the funding cost share for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund from 50% to 35%, and increase the costs from general federal revenue for those projects from 50% to 65%. The shift in cost share will boost the number of projects that can be funded annually.   "It will provide about an additional $100 million each year for construction projects for inland waterways," ...

Future Agricultural Transport on North American Waterways

The long-term trend of annual rainfall taken across Northern USA and Southern Canada for over a century reveals a steady increase. Redirecting some seasonal spring flood water through pipes into water tables would bypass frozen ground and enhance summer agricultural production. That production would influence future seasonal agricultural bulk transportation along North American inland waterways.    North America’s inland waterways carry massive amounts of bulk freight at lower per ton operating costs that railway and truck transport. As winter approaches and cash crops harvested, waterway transport moves massive volumes of produce such as corn, soy, barley, oats ...

Future Cronus Plant Site Sees Planting of Last Crop

Crops are being planted for one last time on the 240 acres of rural Tuscola farmland slated to be site of the new Cronus fertilizer plant. Come spring 2016, all of that corn and soybeans will be replaced by a beehive of activity, with construction workers transforming the farmland into a $1.4 billion plant. "We are absolutely excited about coming to Tuscola," Cronus spokesman Dave Lundy said. "We chose Douglas County because it is so well positioned for us. Our customers are there, our resources are there, and the area will provide us with a great workforce." Click Here to read more.  

FWS proposes listing bumble bee as endangered

The rusty patched bumble bee is one step closer to becoming the first bee in the continental United States to be protected under the Endangered Species Act.   Its range has shrunk by 92 percent since the 1990s, a major reason that the Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list it as endangered. The service's proposed listing rule was issued today and will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.   The Xerces Society, which petitioned FWS to list the species in 2013, said the bee “is not only an important pollinator of prairie wildflowers, but also of cranberries, ...

G.M.O. Foods Will Soon Require Labels. What Will the Labels Say?

The United States Department of Agriculture has proposed new guidelines for labeling foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Food makers will be required by federal law to use the labels, starting in 2020.   The safety of genetically modified ingredients, widely known as G.M.O.s, remains a source of anxiety for some Americans despite the scientific studies that say they pose no health threat. Many food makers now voluntarily place “No G.M.O.’’ labels on their products as a marketing tactic.   Clarifying how genes are altered in the plants and animals we eat, and ...

Gambling bill could move with or without Senate’s ‘grand bargain’

A state senator said he’s willing to move forward with a bill that would create six new casinos in Illinois if the “grand bargain” budget resolution stalls.   Senate Bill 7, which is part of the Senate’s legislative bargain aimed at ending the state’s nearly two-year budget impasse, seeks to expand gambling in the hope of generating substantial revenue. Additionally, the legislation would allow existing Illinois casinos to expand and permit Chicago airports to install slot machines in terminals and at four horse racing tracks.   One of the sponsors of the bill, ...

Gambling expansion revived in Illinois House but stalls in committee

A massive gambling expansion bill stalled in a House committee Monday further clouding chances the bill can win approval before Thursday’s scheduled adjournment.   The lead sponsor of Senate Bill 7, Rep. Robert Rita, D-Blue Island, said he’ll keep working on the bill despite time running out on the session.   “I want to analyze it and figure out where we can massage something, in terms of the testimony today,” Rita said. “I’m going to continue to work on this. I’m not going to close the door now.”   ...

Gambling expansion, sports betting on collision course as end of Illinois' legislative session nears

The smart money says that if Illinois lawmakers are going to legalize sports betting this spring, it’s going to be part of a larger gambling expansion deal that also includes new casino licenses and expanded betting options at horse tracks.   Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not want to squander the opportunity to bring in new state revenue through legalized sports betting, made possible by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year, by tying the issue to the parochial gambling debates that have failed to produce an agreement for the better part of a decade. The ...

Gas taxes and driver's license fees would go up dramatically under Illinois Senate proposal

The cost of owning and operating a vehicle in Illinois would increase dramatically under a proposal in the state Senate aimed at paying for repairs to crumbling roads and bridges.   The legislation, introduced this week by Democratic Sen. Martin Sandoval of Chicago, would more than double the state’s gas tax to 44 cents a gallon, double the driver’s license fee to $60 and raise the vehicle registration fee to $148. The driver’s license fee is now $30; the vehicle registration fee is $98.   It also would significantly hike the registration fee for electric vehicles, from $17.50 to $1,000. Greater ...

Gavilon Expands Fertilizer Operations in Minnesota and Illinois

Omaha-based commodities commodities company the Gavilon Group is expanding fertilizer operations in Minnesota and Illinois.   MicroSource, a micronutrient division of Gavilon Fertilizer LLC, will expand its capacity and research and development capabilities in Shakopee, Minnesota.  The company also recently purchased about 7 acres of land in Marseilles, Illinois, which it has leased since 1995 as part of its fertilizer operations, said Patrick Burke, a Gavilion spokesman.   Click Here to read more.

GE Crop History Revisited: Researchers Talk About Food Safety, Regulations, Markets and Growing Weed Resistance

John Linder, a grain farmer from Edison, Ohio, offered the closing public comments Monday in the opening discussion by scientists and laypeople on the past experience and potential future of agricultural of agricultural biotechnology in the U.S.   "As farmers, we are looking for the new innovation if we are really going to have the population growth going to have the population growth going forward that has been spoken about so many times," Linder said.  "We need the next products to get us there and actually achieve what needs to be done for the world.  I think ...

Gene editing plants and animals could help fight climate change

Editing the genes of plants and animals could help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and other sectors, according to a report highlighting the possible uses of the technology.   Why it matters: For too long the potential of biotechnology to address climate change has taken a back seat to engineering, chemistry and energy. But new advances in gene editing could make farming more efficient and take carbon out of the atmosphere.   By the numbers: The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a think tank for science and technology policy, concludes in a recent report that gene-editing technologies like CRISPR ...

Gene Editing Seeds With CRISPR Is Transforming Agricultural Biotechnology

One of the main focuses of agricultural biotechnology is to feed a hungry world in a more sustainable way. Many current farming methods are inefficient because they require large amounts of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Agricultural biotech is trying to solve these problems by starting at the seed level.   Inari, a company that specializes in seed technology, is using gene editing to change food production by making it more sustainable. Inari announced it has raised $208 million in a Series D fundraiser and has reached a valuation of $1.2 billion.   Inari's SEEDesign platform focuses on gene-edited seeds that can ...

Gene-edited plants aid food security, researchers say

With renewed attention to implementation and regulation, new plant breeding technologies such as gene editing could make an important contribution to global food security, say a group of plant geneticists and economists.   The authors, from several institutions including the University of Liege, Belgium, and the National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Pakistan, catalogue several new technologies to edit genes of plant crops that they suggest “may allay fears associated with GM crops”.   Because direct gene editing doesn’t involve transferring DNA across species – which creates transgenic crops – the paper, published in the ...

Gene-Edited Plants and Animals: Can They Bridge the Divide in the GMO Debate?

The debate surrounding genetically engineered (“GE” or “GMO”) plants and animals has historically been, and still is, extremely divisive. Anti-GMO activists raise many objections, including two that often resonate with a segment of the public: (1) control of the food supply by a few multinational corporations, and (2) reliance on pesticides.   To exemplify these controversies, take Bt corn and cotton, wherein scientists have introduced bacterial genes[1] that produce insecticidal toxins. When insects eat portions of these plants where the toxin is produced—such as in the root, as is the case for the corn rootworm—...

General Assembly can’t hold remote meetings, citing state law

Although many Illinoisans are being urged to work remotely from home during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, that does not appear to be an option for state lawmakers.   A spokesman for Senate President Don Harmon said in an email that Article IV, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution says sessions of each house of the General Assembly must be open to the public unless two-thirds of the members vote to close them. He also pointed to a state law that says legislative sessions must be held “in the seat of government,” which is Springfield.   That statute goes on ...

General Assembly debating bills on bag taxes

Before the spring legislative session is over, Illinois residents might find it pays -- literally -- to hang onto those bags you get in the store.   That’s because the General Assembly is debating bills that would put a tax on the bags that stores put your groceries and other merchandise in as you check out.   The proposals vary. Gov. J.B. Pritzker called for a 5-cents per bag tax, but only on plastic bags. A bill favored by environmentalists would put a 10-cents a bag tax on all types of single-use bags, whether plastic, paper or ...

General Assembly headed back to Springfield

Illinois lawmakers will return to Springfield Wednesday to resume a spring session interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.   However, with the specter of the pandemic still looming over the proceedings, it will be anything but a normal session. The House will relocate to the Bank of Springfield Center to conduct its business so that members and staff can maintain social distancing. The Senate plans to meet in the Capitol.   House members are being issued a lengthy list of instructions to follow, including getting tested for COVID-19 before returning, being advised they should travel alone and not bring family members ...

General Assembly Made History, but Much Left Undone

The 101st Illinois General Assembly took historic action that ranged from passing legislation to end cash bail prior to electing a Black House Speaker for the first time.   But lawmakers ran out of time on several consequential measures — including bills that would have expanded vote-by-mail, allowed lawmakers to conduct business remotely during the pandemic and eliminated newly expanded income tax deductions for business owners. Another bill relating to the state’s rollout of legalization of adult-use marijuana also failed to pass, as did a measure that was part of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ health care ...

General Assembly returns with little time left for budget

  Time may be running out for the Democratic-controlled House and Senate and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to end the standoff, now in its 10th month, before it claims its highest-profile victim to date. Chicago State University officials have said the predominantly black South Side school only has enough money to make payroll through month’s end.     Like every other public university and community college across Illinois, Chicago State hasn’t received any state funding for the fiscal year that began July 1. Eastern Illinois University has laid off hundreds of employees, and faculty members have agreed ...

General Mills Shareholders Reject Proposal to Dump GMO's

General Mills Inc. has made strong commitments this year to natural and organic foods.  It took genetically modified ingredients out of its signature cereal brand Cheerios and then doubled down on its organic lineup by striking and $820 million deal for Anne's, a stalwart of the the organic and natural foods industry.   But when the industrial food behemoth's shareholders were presented with a proposal to dump all genetically modified ingredients from the company's vast lineup of brands, they responed with a resounding "NO."   Click Here to read more.

Genetic Labeling: Take #2

The State of Vermont has passed a statute mandating the labeling of genetically engineered foods as of July 1, 2016. Other states have considered and are considering similar legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to preempt all state legislation on the labeling of genetic engineering. The Senate failed by a vote of 48-49 to preempt the states, falling well short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate.   Several major companies have now made independent decisions to label their products as made with genetic engineering given the vacuum left by the Senate. They are making the best of ...

Genetically Boosting the Nutritional Value of Corn Could Benefit Millions

Rutgers scientists have found an efficient way to enhance the nutritional value of corn – the world’s largest commodity crop – by inserting a bacterial gene that causes it to produce a key nutrient called methionine, according to a new study.   The Rutgers University-New Brunswick discovery could benefit millions of people in developing countries, such as in South America and Africa, who depend on corn as a staple. It could also significantly reduce worldwide animal feed costs.   “We improved the nutritional value of corn, the largest commodity crop grown on Earth,” said&...

Germany Will Ban Glyphosate After 2023 To Save Insects

Germany will ban the use of glyphosate herbicides at the end of 2023. The country is making the decision as part of an environmental protection program the government cabinet agreed to this week, according to Dow Jones.   Glyphosate, owned by German ag and pharmaceutical company Bayer, has come under fire in the U.S. over the past year with claims the pesticide causes cancer. Germany’s concerns, however, revolve around the pesticide’s impact on food sources for insects in the country.   Bayer provided the following statement to Agweb regarding the announcement in Germany:   We respect ...

Get Ready for an InfoAg Road Trip!

  Get Ready for an InfoAg Road Trip!   August 3-4 | St. Louis Union Station Hotel   You know the InfoAg Conference and the value you've received in years past - the new precision ag knowledge, the hands-on experience with new tools and technology, and the days of getting together with friends and colleagues.   So make tracks for this year's InfoAg and... Learn--See what's new, what's next, and what to expect as we move forward - 15 CEUs available. Network--Meet the experts and experienced users in the newest tech and software while developing new relationships to ...

Getting out: Many students leaving Illinois to attend college

Illinois has the second-highest rate nationally of college freshmen choosing to leave the state to pursue higher education — a mark it hit even before the state’s two-year budget impasse — and preliminary figures this fall suggest the numbers continue to look grim.   Between 2000 and 2014, when the out-migration hit an all-time high, the number of freshmen leaving Illinois to attend college shot up by about 64 percent, according to a study earlier this year by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Only New Jersey, which also has had state budget woes, exceeded Illinois in loss of students to ...

Getting the Crop Protection Message Out Beyond the Agriculture Industry

I can remember the last business trip I took in the opening days of the pandemic hitting our shores. I was in an apple orchard outside Quincy, WA, speaking to growers and distributors at a workshop about crop protection programs. During the trip my cohorts and myself were rightly concerned that our return flights back east may get grounded. Thankfully our return flights proceeded as scheduled but a week later at the end of March 2020, nearly all travel was coming to a pandemic-induced standstill. That apple meeting seems like decades ago.   Fast forward to Summer 2021 with vaccinations pushing the ...

Global Fertilizer Supplies to Outweigh Demand, Rabobank Says

While global fertilizer supplies appear set to outweigh demand, the forecast for pricing for the first quarter of 2015 "looks rather cloudy" according to a new report on the global fertilizer industry by Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group.   The report, which looks at issues of price, supply and demand in key agricultural markets, says that lower farmer margins will prompt farmers to be more prudent in fertilizer applications, but "strong demand destruction" is unlikely.  Spring demand in the Northern Hemisphere will prevent prices from slipping significantly, the bank said.   Click Here to read more.

Global Nitrogen Outlook: 4 Key Market Drivers to Watch in 2021

Having grown up in a farming community, then working in agriculture for more than 25 years, I have witnessed the exceptional resiliency of North American farmers many times.   After 2019, I thought I had seen our industry overcome among the most significant challenges we would ever face: Historic flooding in the spring that disrupted fertilizer applications and planting followed by poor weather in the fall that disrupted the harvest.   As we all know, the agriculture community faced even more challenges in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic created extreme uncertainty across the economy, including for key crop consuming industries such as ethanol and ...

Glufosinate: The Next Big G-Force in Crop Protection

“The glufosinate molecule has essentially been a rollercoaster ride the last 12 to 18 months across the globe. What we’re seeing is a huge increase in demand on a global scale for glufosinate,” Sam Knott, Director of U.S. Central Crops for generics player Atticus LLC told AgriBusiness Global.   “When countries like China started to phase out paraquat several years ago and Mexico started to ban glyphosate, the industry has had to rely on a broad-spectrum herbicide like glufosinate that has tolerant crops to fill that void.”   Spurred by rapid adoption of the glufosinate-enabled ...

Glufosinate: The Next Big G-Force in Crop Protection

“The glufosinate molecule has essentially been a rollercoaster ride the last 12 to 18 months across the globe. What we’re seeing is a huge increase in demand on a global scale for glufosinate,” Sam Knott, Director of U.S. Central Crops for generics player Atticus LLC told AgriBusiness Global.   “When countries like China started to phase out paraquat several years ago and Mexico started to ban glyphosate, the industry has had to rely on a broad-spectrum herbicide like glufosinate that has tolerant crops to fill that void.”   Spurred by rapid adoption of the glufosinate-enabled ...

Glyphosate is banned in Austria

Glyphosate is banned in Austria. A report from Dow Jones says legislators there outlawed the key chemical in Roundup. Bayer – which acquired Roundup in its purchase of Monsanto last year – has lost several lawsuits in the U.S. alleging the herbicide causes cancer.   Bayer says regulators, including the U.S. EPA and the European Chemicals Agency, have declared glyphosate to be safe and not carcinogenic. Bayer is currently facing lawsuits from more than 13,000 plaintiffs alleging that Roundup gave them cancer.   Austria is a small market for Roundup, but the ban could complicate Bayer’s efforts ...

Glyphosate panel split on chemical's carcinogenicity

Environmental Protection Agency officials received a mixed message from scientists assembled to review evidence of whether glyphosate is a human carcinogen.   The members of a Scientific Advisory Panel concluded their four-day meeting in Arlington, Virginia, by offering opinions on EPA's conclusion that the active ingredient in Roundup, the world's most widely used herbicide, is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”   The result: The panel was split on the issue. Some members backed EPA's finding and others said that the evidence was “suggestive” of carcinogenic potential for the chemical.   Some ...

Glyphosate Still Under Review

More changes could be ahead for glyphosate use in the U.S. after the EPA released a draft Biological Evaluation for the herbicide, which scrutinizes the pesticide's potential effect on federally listed endangered species and designated critical habitats.   The agency determined that glyphosate is "likely to adversely affect" 1,676 listed species and 759 critical habitats, the vast majority of the species and habitats it considered. If this draft conclusion is finalized as is, EPA will have to loop in two other federal agencies -- the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service -- ...

Glyphosate Watchers Are Polar Opposites

In life, most things/trends tend to appear in shades of gray, with equal parts black/bad and white/good in evidence. There are a few topics, however, that always seem to divide observers into black or white camps, with no gray anywhere to be seen. Examples of this would include such hot-button topics as religion, abortion, and, more recently, impeachment.   For those in agriculture, it’s pretty clear that the topic of glyphosate can be added to this list. Those for or against the popular herbicide are definitely polar opposites.   For proof of this fact, let&...

Glyphosate, Some Other Crop Protection Products In Tight Supply

If you still need to purchase glyphosate to tackle tough weeds or terminate cover crops this spring, be advised, it could be hard to come by.     “My retailers say while they have most of the glyphosate needed in-house, replacement product is very hard to get, and they’re taking care of prepaid customers first,” says Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist and owner of Crop-Tech Consulting, Heyworth, Ill.     Iowa farmers are also encountering a tight supply of glyphosate. “I don’t know much about the shortage, other than the fact it ...

Glyphosate, Top-Selling Weed Killer, Wins E.U. Approval for 5 Years

The European Union voted on Monday to extend its authorization for the world’s best-selling herbicide for an abbreviated period of five years, with France and Germany splitting over the move.   President Emmanuel Macron of France said after the decision was announced that he had asked government officials to draw up a plan for banning the herbicide, glyphosate, in his country within three years. He also posted a message on Twitter with the hashtag #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain. France led the opposition to allowing the use of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and in weed killers made ...

GM crops take the line of least resistance in their global spread

Genetically modified crops are continuing to spread across the world’s agricultural land. Last year they covered a record 185m hectares, 3 per cent up on 2015.   Experts are anticipating another small increase this year, though the authoritative annual GM survey by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) will not appear until next spring.   These modified crops are still distributed very unevenly. They are found predominantly in the western hemisphere. The US and Canada are the heartland of biotech crops, while South American countries are adopting them rapidly — especially Brazil, where the GM area ...

GMO Food Fight Hits House Floor This Week

In an interview with The Hill, Pompeo said a bill on the Senate side is likely to come in September when lawmakers return from summer recess, but whether the President will sign it if it makes it to his desk remains to be seen.   “I’m always concerned when you are trying to pass legislation that you think is right for the American people that lots of things could prevent it from happening,” he said. “That would certainly include that the White House might not sign this bill.”   But Pompeo said every indication ...

GMO Food Labeling Law Pressure Mounts.

Congress could face pressure to establish a uniform, nationwide law on the labeling of foods made with genetically modified ingredients as early as next year, as more states regulate the technology found in much of the U.S. food supply.   The debate over weather to label salad dressings, soups, cereals, and other grocery store staples made with GMO gained momentum in May after Vermont became the first state to require labeling of foods made from those ingredients.   Click Here to read more.

GMO Labeling Efforts Fail in Colorado, Oregon, Succeed in Maui

Maui County, Hawaii approved a temporary ban on GMO crop cultivation but efforts to label genetically-modified foods at the polls in Colorado and Oregon failed.  Millions of dollars were spent backing and opposing the measures.   Click Here to read more.

GMO Labeling Trails by Six Points in Oregon Measure 92 Poll

Oregon's Measure 92 to require labeling of GMO foods is behind by six points, according to a new poll released Tuesday, just a week before election day.   The measure has already made history, becoming the costliest ballot measure fight in Oregon history.  Opponents have raised just over $16 million -- also a record for one side -- and backers have raised nearly $7 million.   Click Here to read more.

GMO labelling law in U.S. receives mixed reviews

Farm groups and food companies are pleased with a new United States labelling law governing genetically modified organisms, but non-GMO certification bodies and consumer groups call it a farce.   The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard came into effect Feb. 19, but won’t be in full force until Jan. 1, 2022.   The national, mandatory labelling law regulates 12 GM crops and fruits ranging from alfalfa to suga r beets. The only animal covered is salmon.   Click Here to read more.

GMO labels feed fears: Our view USA TODAY

Forcing companies to label genetically modified foods sounds simple enough. Don’t consumers have a right to know what they're eating?   Like a lot of seemingly straightforward ideas these days, though, this one is anything but. Mandatory labeling — set to go into effect in Vermont on July 1 unless Congress overrides state laws — has risks and consequences its backers rarely acknowledge. On balance it’s a bad idea. A key reason is that it validates the notion that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are dangerous, which is simply not true.   Using science to make crops ...

GMO Scientists Could Save the World From Hunger, If We Let Them

A Nebraska Cornhusker frets as he surveys his drought-stunted crop. A Nigerian yam farmer digs up shrunken tubers. A Costa Rican coffee baron lays off hundreds of workers because a fungus has spoiled his harvest. I planted cherry trees in upstate New York last spring. One summer morning, they were denuded by Japanese beetles. Such disasters are increasingly common on a planet buffeted by climate change and worldwide commerce, where heat burns crops, soil has been ruined by over-farming and drought, and bugs ride across oceans to feast on defenseless plants. Agronomists have been working on these problems for years, ...

GMOs are better for the environment than you’d think

Crops are engineered in a number of ways. Often, they are made resistant to an herbicide, so a farmer can spray one on their fields and keep their plots free from weeds without killing the crop itself. Or they can be innately poisonous to its predators, like milkweed is, which reduces the amount of pesticides needed to keep a crop safe.   But do these things harm the environment? According to the data: not really. GM crops appear to be just as sustainable and productive as non-GM crops, if not more so.   “Sustainability,” in addition to being ...

GMOs Are Not Agriculture's Future--Biotech Is

As a scientist who has spent his career in agricultural biotech, I’ve watched with some sympathy as the public struggles to sort out whether to embrace innovation in agriculture or continue a wariness that originated nearly 40 years ago with the introduction of genetically modified crops.   Very recently the agricultural world watched with interest as the European Union’s highest court upheld a decade-old policy that hinders innovation in farming. I have listened carefully to the concerns and understand a certain degree of trepidation about introducing new technologies to farming practices that are thousands of years old. ...

GOP Calls Out Pritzker for Backtracking on Maps

Illinois Senate Republicans on Wednesday harshly criticized Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, accusing him of breaking a campaign pledge to support an independent commission to redraw congressional and legislative district maps.   “What I want to say is, the gerrymandering train is on the tracks,” Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, said during a news conference. “It is moving ahead and Gov. Pritzker has considerable power as the chief executive to make his candidate promise a reality.   “If the governor abandons that promise, he abandons the best chance that we have to actually ...

GOP Chairman: EPA Maps Out Power Grab

The Republican chairman of the House Science Committee pounced Wednesday on a series of Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) maps he says reveal a plot to "control a huge amount of private property across the country."   The EPA, however, says the maps released by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) show nothing more than the location of U.S. water resources and are in no way connected to the agency's plan to clarify what bodies of water come under its regulatory authority.   Click Here to read more.

GOP Holds Line in State Legislatures, Dealing Blow to Democrats

Democratic hopes of claiming control of state legislative chambers across the nation crashed into an immovable Republican wall in key states on Tuesday, a substantial blow to the party’s chances of wielding more influence in the decennial redistricting process ahead.   Instead of big Democratic gains, early election results appear to show Republicans picked up enough seats to win control of at least two legislative chambers, the New Hampshire state Senate and the Alaska state House, where Republicans appear to be in a position to break a bipartisan coalition that ran the House for the last two years. &...

GOP Lawmaker Blasts Scientist Who Hid Evidence Showing Weed Killer Does Not Cause Cancer

House Republican Trey Gowdy wants to know why a scientist with the National Cancer Institute withheld evidence from a government agency showing that a widely used herbicide does not cause cancer.   Gowdy, a South Carolina congressman who chairs the House Oversight Committee, noted in a letter Tuesday to the National Institute of Health (NIH) that NCI scientist Aaron Blair was the researcher who reviewed a separate study showing no evidence glyphosate causes cancer.   “The committee is concerned about these new revelations, especially given Dr. Blair’s apparent admission that the AHS study was ‘powerful,’ ...

GOP Lawmakers Again Demand Answers On State Unemployment Agency Failures

GOP lawmakers are again demanding answers from Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Securities over the state’s processing of unemployment benefits.   Since COVID-19 hit Illinois, IDES has been inundated with unemployment claims from Illinoisans impacted by the state’s stay-at-home orders and pandemic-related recession.   As a result, wait times for people trying to contact IDES customer service lines grew longer.   But even after months of known issues at IDES, Republicans claim they’re still being kept in the dark about what’s happening at the agency. Major problems include ...

GOP Leaders Focus on Tax Legislation Study

Republican leaders of the Agriculture committees are highlighting a new study that states Democrats’ proposed legislation would devastate the next generation of family farmers and ranchers.   House Committee on Agriculture ranking member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Pa., and Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., requested the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M University to analyze two pieces of legislation introduced in the Senate that would change the tax liabilities of family members when farm and ranch estates are passed from generation to generation.   AFPC’s study analyzed ...

GOP Looks to Extend tax Breaks During Lame Duck

Republican leaders hope that they can extend dozens of expiring tax provisions worth in the hundreds of billions of dollars even before they take control of the Senate in January, clearing the way for other work and gaining and early victory on tax policy.   Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell listed passing the provisions, known as "extenders," just behind a government funding bill as a priority for when the Senate reconvenes for the first time since the midterm elections this week.   Click Here to read more.

GOP under pressure to deliver health care reform, crowded agenda

President Donald Trump has set a high bar for Congress when it comes to health care: “insurance for everybody,” including people with pre-existing conditions, at “much lower” cost. And he wants Congress to act fast, at the same time that lawmakers repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as Obamacare is formally known. “We have to take care of the American people immediately, so we can’t wait,” he told Republican lawmakers at their retreat last week in Philadelphia.   Donald TrumpRepublicans say they plan to have legislation on the House floor before April. ...

GOP's LaHood remains front-runner in race to replace Schock

The son of longtime congressman Ray LaHood remained the overwhelming favorite Monday as the field took shape for the special election to replace disgraced former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock in a heavily Republican central Illinois district that includes part of Springfield. Darin LaHood, 46, of Peoria is a former state and federal prosecutor known in Illinois for his fiscally conservative views and focus on ethics reform. Ideologically, he's considered more conservative than his father, who held the seat before Schock and was transportation secretary for Democratic President Barack Obama. Click Here to read more.  

Got questions about dicamba? Check out IDOA's FAQ

Farmers have another resource to help them navigate new dicamba label rules.     The Illinois Department of Agriculture has updated its website and published a frequently asked questions page to reflect the new 2021 requirements farmers must follow – from application cut-off dates to temperature restrictions.     Those rules apply to XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, Engenia Herbicide and Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology.     “There’s a lot that’s changed in that label,” said Brad Beaver, IDOA’s acting bureau chief of environmental programs. “Go through and make sure you’re ...

Gov Rauner: Tariffs ‘can cause massive unemployment’

Gov. Bruce Rauner discussed the threat posed by escalating trade disputes with the the Japanese ambassador to the United States on Tuesday at a machine tools facility in Schaumburg.   “We … talked about tariffs, and the importance of making sure we don’t break out in a full trade war, how tariffs can cause massive unemployment, job losses, around the world and here in Illinois,” Rauner said.   Rauner said he told Ambassador Shinsuke J. Sugiyama in a private meeting that he had cautioned Trump administration officials to avoid a “tariff war” during a ...

Gov-Elect Rauner Says Some Agency Directors May Stay

Current state of Illinois department heads may not necessarily be on their way out after Gov-elect Bruce Rauner is inaugurated Jan. 12.   Rauner, speaking in Springfield Tuesday at a Better Government Association luncheon, said he was meeting with his budget team and state legislators about Illinois' deep fiscal hole later in the day, as well as meeting with candidates for key positions in the government.   Click Here to read more.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, J.B. Pritzker clash at agriculture forum over Trump policies

Gov. Bruce Rauner praised President Donald Trump’s economic and trade policies at an agricultural candidate forum Wednesday and said they should be replicated in Illinois.   But Democratic contender J.B. Pritzker, appearing later, chastised Rauner for not utilizing the state’s congressional leadership to get more aid from Washington and not standing up against Trump tariffs impacting the agriculture industry.   The two men spoke at a forum hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau at a family farm in Normal. Like the political days at the state fair, the quadrennial forums provide candidates a chance to ...

Gov. Bruce Rauner, J.B. Pritzker say economic growth vital to budget, but differ on tax strategy to achieve it

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker said Sunday that growing Illinois’ business economy is vital to their budget plans but differed vastly on the role of tax policy to help achieve it.   Rauner said his agenda for incremental lowering of the state’s income tax, along with proposals to diminish union bargaining rights, also would lower property taxes, attracting business and allowing for a state budget that would not require cuts to social services.   Pritzker said his plans for a graduated income tax to replace the state’s currently mandated flat ...

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says 'All the rules were followed' in wake of report that feds are looking into removal of toilets in Gold Coast mansion for property tax break

Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s removal of toilets from an Astor Street mansion to gain a property tax break, a move that gained notoriety during his recent election campaign, is under review by federal prosecutors, WBEZ-FM 91.5 reported Wednesday.   The report, attributed to an unnamed “law enforcement source,” said Pritzker, his wife, M.K., and his brother-in-law, Thomas Muenster, were part of the federal review. The station reported that the review began last October and said there were no signs that any charges were imminent.   A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office ...

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a $40 billion state budget into law.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Wednesday a $40 billion budget package, representing an increase in state spending of $1 billion from the current fiscal year that ends June 30.   In recent years — back when Springfield was split between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled state House and Senate — the idea of lawmakers passing a state budget plan was not a foregone conclusion. In fact, when the Illinois General Assembly approved the state budget last year, it was the first time in Rauner’s four-year tenure that a state spending plan was in place when the new ...

Gov. J.B. Pritzker urges U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to declare disaster for rain-soaked Illinois farmers

Because of flooding throughout Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker wrote a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Wednesday urging Perdue to issue a disaster declaration for farmers in the state.   In a news release today about the letter, Pritzker said: “For months, our state has been battling historic flooding, causing untold damage to homes, businesses, and farms across Illinois, for our farmers, this has meant delaying, reducing, or even eliminating planting, hurting a core state industry and impacting working families across Illinois…While the state will continue to do everything we can to help, a ...

Gov. J.B. Pritzker: Illinois, not Iowa, should go first in primaries

Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker on Friday offered a full-throated case for why his state’s primaries should supplant Iowa’s caucuses as the nation’s first presidential nominating contest, repeatedly emphasizing the importance of electoral diversity in the candidate selection process.   “I do not think Iowa should go first,” Pritzker told POLITICO at the 10th annual State Solutions Conference, conducted on the sidelines of the National Governors Association’s winter meeting in Washington.   “We have the most diverse state that you could have for picking a presidential nominee,” he ...

Gov. JB Pritzker Donates $51.5M More for Taxes Initiative

Governor JB Pritzker has donated another $51.5 million of his own money to a committee working to make the fair tax happen.   The contribution to Vote Yes for Fairness, a committee headed by the governor's former deputy campaign manager, was reported late Friday in a filing with the State Board of Elections, according to the Associated Press.   The money is in addition to the $5 million donation the governor made last December.   Last year, the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation that will ask Illinois voters on the November ballot whether the state constitution should be amended to replace ...

Gov. JB Pritzker Signs $43 Billion State Budget, Including Plan To Borrow $5 Billion From Federal Reserve

Gov. JB Pritzker has signed a $43 billion state budget that relies heavily on a federal loan to make up for tax revenues that have plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic.   State lawmakers approved the budget plan last month, mostly along party lines, during a special session in Springfield.   “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the enormous role government plays in keeping communities safe and providing the tools people need to build better lives,” Pritzker said in a statement on Wednesday. “While the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our state revenues, investing in our people will allow ...

Gov. Pritzker Signs Illinois Redistricting Maps

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed newly-passed legislative district maps to govern elections in the Illinois General Assembly for the next decade despite opposition from Republicans and criticism from certain community groups who say they were ignored in the process.   “Illinois’ strength is in our diversity, and these maps help to ensure that communities that have been left out and left behind have fair representation in our government,” Pritzker said in a statement. “These district boundaries align with both the federal and state Voting Rights Acts, which help to ensure our diverse communities ...

Gov. Quinn approves minimum wage ballot question.

Gov. Quinn approved a November ballot measure asking if Illinois should boost its minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2015.  The question is non-binding, but Democrats and Gov. Quinn say it will provide support to move the idea through the Illinois General Assembly.  This has been one of Gov. Quinn's top re-election priorities.   Click Here to read more.

Gov. Quinn Signs $1Billion Plan for Road Repair

Gov. Pat Quinn signed an approximately $1 billion capital spending plan last week intended to create jobs and help repair Illinois roads and bridges after a harsh winter.   Click Here to read more.

Gov. Rauner administration says no plans for mass privatization of state jobs

In yet another email to state workers in the process of voting on whether to authorize a first-ever strike, the Rauner administration said it has no plans for mass privatization of state jobs.   John Terranova, deputy director of labor relations for the Department of Central Management Services, said he continues to receive many questions from workers about the administration's last, best and final offer to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that includes a process to privatize state jobs.   "Let me begin by saying that the state has no plans to engage in ...

Gov. Rauner cuts Chicago money from school funding bill

Gov. Bruce Rauner followed through on his threat Tuesday and used his amendatory veto power to rewrite a school funding bill, something Democratic lawmakers said will set back funding reform by decades and could jeopardize the school year in many districts.   Rauner made multiple changes to Senate Bill 1, including how it deals with Chicago teacher pensions. Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said other changes Rauner made could harm some of the most financially vulnerable school districts throughout the state.   At a Statehouse news conference to announce his changes, though, Rauner focused on his belief that SB 1 gives an ...

Gov. Rauner Hits Road to Promote Agenda

Gov. Bruce Rauner told more than 400 people gathered Friday that his gauge of how well he has done in office will be the state of the economy in central Illinois. "I will judge my success as governor by how much the economy is booming here in Peoria and in central Illinois," he told a highly receptive crowd at the Gateway Building on Peoria's riverfront. "You reflect Illinois very well. We have the hardest working people in America. They deserve and need opportunity." The speech, sponsored by several area chambers of commerce, had little in the way of new ...

Gov. Rauner lays out ambitious goals for budget

Gov. Bruce Rauner will deliver the final budget speech of his current term Wednesday, laying out his spending priorities as he heads into his bid for another four years. To that end, the governor has set himself a formidable set of objectives that he said will be addressed in his budget plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1. This is what Rauner said during his State of the State speech two weeks ago:  “The surest road to economic vitality and job growth is a collaborative effort to regain our financial integrity,” Rauner said. “To that ...

Gov. Rauner Plans to Restore about $26 Million in Grant Cuts

Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to restore approximately $26 million in grant cuts for services ranging from autism treatment to burial services for the poor after a new revenue forecast estimates the state is expected to bring in more money this year than initially anticipated. The move comes after weeks of hearings by Democratic lawmakers to put a continued public focus on the cuts, which the Rauner administration made quietly on Good Friday ahead of the Easter holiday weekend. Democrats contended the $26 million in trims went above and beyond an earlier agreement to cut $300 million and sweep special funds in an effort ...

Gov. Rauner Rallies GOP Supporters During Governor's Day at Illinois State Fair

Gov. Bruce Rauner used his platform at Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair on Wednesday to advocate for "turnaround agenda" reforms he wants enacted and to hammer away at House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.   State government has gone seven weeks into the fiscal year that began July 1 with no budget agreement, and several busloads of people protesting cuts to programs including home and child care chanted across the street from the Director's Lawn at the fair as Rauner and others spoke at the Republican Party rally.   Rauner arrived riding his motorcycle and spoke to the ...

Gov. Rauner Signs Bill Forbidding Illinois Lawmakers from Creating New Local Governments

A new law signed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will ban state lawmakers for the next four years from approving any legislation creating a new level of local government.   House Bill 228, filed by Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, forbids the General Assembly from enacting any bill that either creates a new type of local government or allows an existing government to split into two.   Franks said it is a small but important step in reining in out-of-control property taxes and improving accountability to voters. He estimated at least 50 to 60 bills have been filed in recent years to create new ...

Gov. Rauner Signs Education Funding Bill to Keep Schools Open

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed an education funding bill that should ensure that schools can open on time even if the current budget impasse extends into August.   Rauner signed House Bill 3763, which provides state spending authority for general state aid to public school districts, the backbone of state financial support for public schools.   The bill also contains funding for early childhood education programs, bilingual education and required payments to the downstate teacher pension system.   Click Here to read more.

Gov. Rauner Vetoes State Budget, Cites $4 Billion Deficit

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the remainder of the state's operations budget Thursday, saying it was out of balance and unconstitutional.   Rauner took the action a day after approving a bill that provides funding for elementary and secondary education and will allow the state's public schools to open on schedule this fall.   The Republican governor previously threatened to veto the spending plan the legislature's Democrats sent to him because it is up to $4 billion out of balance.   In an op-ed piece published Thursday by the Chicago Tribune, Rauner wrote that he was sent to Springfield ...

Gov. Rauner: Length of the Legislative Session Entirely Up to Lawmakers

I'm the new guy in Springfield.  I'm proud of that.   Although being new means I'm not as familiar with how things historically have been done in state government, it keeps me idealistic and hopeful.  I'm not jaded or cynical about what we can accomplish to make Illinois great again.   Click Here to read more.

Government Cameras Hidden on Private Property? Welcome to Open Fields

Seated at his kitchen table, finishing off the remains of a Saturday breakfast, Hunter Hollingsworth’s world was rocked by footsteps on his front porch and pounding at the door, punctuated by an aggressive order: “Open up or we’ll kick the door down.”   Surrounded on all sides of his house, and the driveway blocked, Hollingsworth was the target of approximately 10 federal and state wildlife officials packing pistols, shotguns and rifles. And what was Hollingsworth’s crime? Drugs, armed robbery, assault, money laundering? Not quite.   Months prior, in 2018, the Tennessee landowner removed a ...

Government consolidation efforts gain traction in General Assembly

Before his election to the Illinois House in 2012, state Rep. Sam Yingling was the supervisor of his local township in central Lake County, a job with few responsibilities beyond presiding over monthly meetings and administering town funds.   Yingling decided to run for that office after an informal fact-finding investigation on behalf of his fellow business owners, who were fed up with the area’s high property taxes. Yingling found that the township represented a “bastion of waste,” one of many units of local government that need not exist.   “After being there for about six ...

Governor asks for Depatment of Ag Director's resignation

Governor JB Pritzker, D-Illinois, has sought and accepted the resignation of the director of the Department of Agriculture.   John Sullivan's resignation was accepted over the weekend.   Sullivan formerly served as a senator for the 47th Senate District from 2003 to 2017.   During his time in the Senate, John served as chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee and worked on many issues that affect farmers and agriculture.   Emily Bittner, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications for the Governor’s Office, sent us the following statement on Sullivan's resignation.   Click Here to read more.

Governor Branstad, U.S. Ag Secretary Vilsack tout water quality initiative

Republican Governor Terry Branstad and former Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack — the U.S. Ag Secretary — joined forces today to tout a plan that would extend the one-cent sales tax that’s currently spent on school infrastructure projects and use most of the inflationary growth to finance water quality projects.   “This is the biggest and boldest initiative that I’ve probably put together in all my years as governor,” Branstad said late this morning.   The one-cent sales tax for schools is set to expire in 2029. Branstad’s plan would extend it to 2049. ...

Governor calls for second budget meeting with leaders

Gov. Bruce Rauner has planned another round of talks on state budget with legislative leaders in Chicago.   Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly says the meeting is Tuesday afternoon at The James R. Thompson Center.   The Republican met last week with leaders for first time in months, including Democrats, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. The leaders have not been able to agree on a spending plan for the fiscal year that began on July 1.   Click Here to read more.  

Governor Hopefuls Offer Differing Economic Plans

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner pitched vastly different strategies Thursday for improving Illinois' economy, with the incumbent pushing for an extension of the income increase and asking the wealthy to pay more and his rival saying the state can't keep taxing its way out of its problems.   With less than four weeks before the Nov. 4 election, the candidates for Illinois governor met in Peoria for their first true, televised debate.   Click Here to read more.

Governor JB Pritzker releases graduated income tax plan, reaction mixed

Illinois taxpayers are reacting to Governor JB Pritzker's graduated income tax plan, which would raise taxes on the rich to fix the state's budget problems.    As the corned beef is dished up at Manny's Deli Friday, customers are dishing out their opinions about Pritzker's state income tax plan. Two men had a friendly argument over whether the proposed graduated income tax is better than the current flat tax.    "I'm for it, I think it is a long time coming, there has been less asked of people on the top", ...

Governor Rauner signs agriculture bills at Du Quoin State Fair

Governor Rauner signed the Industrial Hemp Act, Senate Bill 2298 on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Du Quoin State Fair.   The bill adds Illinois to a growing number of states that permit growth of cannabis cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper- and fabric-making, biodegradable plastics, construction materials and health food.   The governor also signed House Bill 5749 which will ease weight-limit restrictions on state highways during harvest time, improve the competitive outlook for Illinois farmers and agricultural commodities haulers.   Both bills will enhance one of the state’s leading industries: farming.   Click Here to read more.

Governor Rauner signs agriculture bills at Du Quoin State Fair

Governor Rauner signed the Industrial Hemp Act, Senate Bill 2298 on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Du Quoin State Fair.   The bill adds Illinois to a growing number of states that permit growth of cannabis cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper- and fabric-making, biodegradable plastics, construction materials and health food.   The governor also signed House Bill 5749 which will ease weight-limit restrictions on state highways during harvest time, improve the competitive outlook for Illinois farmers and agricultural commodities haulers.   Both bills will enhance one of the state's leading industries: farming.   Click Here to read more.

Governor warns of early open ‘consequences’

The state has seen some of its largest daily increases in COVID-19-related deaths this week, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned business owners and local governments of consequences they will face if they defy his stay-at-home order.   Pritzker said there are no “easy decisions” in a pandemic and he sympathizes with local elected leaders struggling with difficult choices.   “But what I don’t have sympathy for is those so intent on disregarding science and logic, so afraid to tell their constituents what they may not want to hear — that they put more ...

Governor's Race a Tale of Business Climates

The business climate in Illinois is either on a steady and dependable rebound or still beset by storms on multiple fronts.   More than just a glass half-empty or half full conundrum, the issue of how attractive it is to set up shop in the Land of Lincoln has been a driving force in the gubernatorial race between Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, alongside the lingering question of weather the state is losing businesses to its neighbors.   Click Here to read more.

Governor's ag transition team gets to work

Chicago was the place to be for members of Illinois’ agriculture community Monday. In addition to the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s newly formed agriculture transition committee also met in the Windy City to begin discussions about the needs of the state’s No. 1 industry.   The first meeting of the Growing Our Agricultural Economy Committee was a great success, according to the committee co-chair Colleen Callahan.   “The Pritzker transition team has assembled a very broad group with expertise that spans so many different areas,” she told the ...

Graduated tax amendment center of debate

The graduated income tax amendment took center stage at a virtual forum Wednesday and, like much of the debate on it so far, centered largely on what might happen if the amendment passes or fails.   It will either open the door to more tax increases or it will not. It will either open the door to taxing retirement income or it will not. It will either provide much-needed income to the state or it won’t make much of a dent in the state’s fiscal problems.   “The tax system in this state is simply ...

Grain and Fertilizer Shipments on Mississippi River Could Reach a Standstill

Grain and fertilizer shipments on the Mississippi River could come to a standstill in the thick of harvest after rainfall in the upper Midwest flows south.   According to the Army Corps of Engineers, four locks may close temporarily on the river, preventing grain shipments from moving south.   The locks are 16 in Muscatine, Ia.; 17 in New Boston, Ill.; 18 in Burlington, Ia.; and 20 in Canton, Mo.   The Corps anticipates shutting down traffic on Saturday or Sunday, depending on the flooding crest. The locks would be out of operation for “a coupe days.”   Click Here to read ...

Grand bargain not dead, Republicans push for more modifications

Despite falling flat this week, there’s still talk at the statehouse about the so-called grand bargain, but there’s also still some skepticism.   State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, said any income tax increase should have a sunset because taxpayers need assurances any increase won’t be wasted.   “They need to know that we’re not going to squander the hard earned dollars that they send to Springfield,” McConnaughay said.   State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, echoed McConnaughay’s comments, but state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, said Wednesday the state ...

Grassley, Judiciary Committee hold ag merger hearing(AUDIO)

Ag executives were called before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and they did their best to sell the benefits of their respective proposed mergers.   Click Here to hear more.

Greater adoption of dicamba could be driving increase in misuse complaints

Reports of off target movement of dicamba have increased this year in parts of the Midwest, but so has the use of the herbicide.   In Illinois the number of misuse complaints have nearly doubled from 2018, while reports in Missouri have gone down.   Jean Payne with the Illinois Chemical and Fertilizer Association says they surveyed their applicator members and in central Illinois where they have seen the most symptomology issues, the adoption of dicamba tolerant soybeans was up by 60%.   “When you increase the number of acres that you apply, you obviously increase the probability of issues too.&...

Greenfield California takes first step to become a ‘pesticide-free’ city with a ban on Roundup.

In 2012, Carlos Alvarez woke up in his Greenfield home in the middle of the night with no feeling in his legs. He cried out for his mom, who for a moment thought her son was just joking. “She looked at me after a while and was like, ‘This isn’t a joke.’” After several blood tests, Alvarez found out that the seizing response in his legs was due to cancer.   He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 15. As he went through treatment, Alvarez met other kids from his town with cancer. “...

Groundskeeper Accepts Reduced $78 Million Award In Monsanto Cancer Suit

The groundskeeper who won a massive civil suit against Bayer's Monsanto claiming that the weedkiller Roundup caused his cancer has agreed to accept $78 million, after a judge substantially reduced the jury's original $289 million award.   Dewayne "Lee" Johnson, a Northern Californian groundskeeper and pest-control manager, was 42 when he developed a strange rash that would lead to a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in August 2014.   His groundskeeper duties included mixing and spraying hundreds of gallons of Roundup, the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller product, court records say.   Johnson — now near death according to his doctors &...

Group challenges amendment language of graduated tax plan

A group aligned with the Republican Party filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the language of a proposed Illinois constitutional amendment that creates a graduated-rate income tax.   The Illinois Policy Institute contends in the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court that the explanation of the amendment on the ballot for voter approval is misleading and needs court-ordered clarification. The amendment would change the state’s mandated flat-rate income tax to a graduated-rate tax with rates that increase along with income.   The Illinois General Assembly in May approved the language in the proposed amendment that is atop the ...

Group Sues to Block Fracking Rules From Being Published

A group of residents from southern Illinois is suing the governor and the director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in an attempt to block the publication of rules governing horizontal hydraulic fracturing.   The lawsuit, filed Monday in Madison County, says the state agency didn't give the public ample notice during the rule-making process, failed to use scientific studies in crafting its draft of the rules and "left members of the public scrambling" to review and comment on the rules before they were published.   The rules, based on a law passed in June 2013, are expected to ...

Group turns in more than 550K signatures for redistricting ballot question

A group that wants an independent commission to draw legislative districts in Illinois on Friday delivered more than 550,000 signatures backing its request to put the measure on the ballot in November for a constitutional change.     Leaders of the group Independent Maps delivered the signatures to the Illinois State Board of Elections, more than double the amount needed to get the amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot. The minimum number of signatures needed is 290,216, but the signatures still need to be verified by the state's election board.   Ballot initiatives to change the redistricting process have failed in the ...

Groups ask EPA to delay farmworker safety rule

A farmworker safety rule scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 needs to be delayed a year because EPA has not told states how to implement it, the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Association of State Departments of Agriculture said today.   In a petition filed with the agency, AFBF and NASDA claim EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to deliver “enforcement guidance, educational materials, and training resources necessary to effectively implement the rule changes and assist the regulated community with compliance activities.” They asked the agency to push the effective date ...

Groups File Case Against EPA Over Sulfoxaflor

A coalition of 11 attorneys general led by California is urging a federal appellate court to reject an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bid to re-register an insecticide made by Corteva Agriscience, saying the move creates a loophole that allows for an indefinite “delay.”   California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his counterparts including in New York and Massachusetts, told the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that it should deny EPA’s motion to remand its registration of sulfoxaflor calling the agency’s move an attempt to delay the litigation “indefinitely” while ...

Groups seek permanent action on OSHA anhydrous retailer rule

A provision in the recent year-end funding bill passed by Congress has temporarily suspended an Occupational Safety and Health Administration policy change on anhydrous ammonia facilities, but groups are continuing to seek permanent action.   The OSHA rule, issued in a memorandum in July, changes the definition of what constitutes a retail facility under the Process Safety Management program.   Previous policy was that a facility is exempt from PSM coverage, and regulated under a separate program, if it "derived more than 50% of its income from direct sales of highly hazardous chemicals to the end user."   Click Here to ...

Groups sue Iowa, claim farm fertilizer runoff hurting Raccoon River, Des Moines drinking water

“Our lawsuit is holding the state to a higher standard — for us, for our kids and our grandkids,” he said.   Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association, said his group is disappointed "another potentially divisive lawsuit is being filed by those opposed to agriculture in Iowa."   "Lawsuits do absolutely nothing to improve water quality in this state," Leeds said Wednesday. "All it does is divide rural and urban and causes everyone to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyer fees."   "It's a diversion from ...

Groups urge Sessions to reject ag-chem consolidation

More than 300 groups are asking newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to thoroughly investigate – and then stop – the proposed mergers involving six major ag chemical companies.    “The proposed mergers – of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer AG, and Syngenta with ChemChina – are each problematic on their own, with many likely negative impacts on farmers, businesses, workers, and consumers,” the groups said in a letter transmitted to Sessions today. “When taken together, they pose the threat of major oligopolistic outcomes in the industries of farming inputs, research, development, and technology.” &...

Groups Want Injunction Against WOTUS Rule

The Clean Water Act regulation issued in 2015 by the EPA gave the agency broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.   A U.S. Court of Appeals in October 2015 blocked the rule’s implementation, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that lawsuits against the WOTUS Rule should be heard at the federal District Court level technically lifted that stay. (In 2015, NPPC, other agriculture and business groups and ...

GROWMAKR CEO Announces Retirement

Jim Spradlin, GROWMARK’s CEO since September 2014, announced to the GROWMARK Board of Directors today his intent to retire effective February 28, 2022.   GROWMARK Chairman of the Board John Reifsteck said, “Jim has served the GROWMARK System with excellence since 1982. His leadership as CEO has been transformational, and he will leave a legacy of innovation in digital technology, leadership development, succession planning, and the establishment of an enterprise-wide strategy that is yielding increased customer satisfaction and financial success.”   Spradlin joined the FS/GROWMARK System as an accounting trainee at Schuyler-Brown FS. He has served in many leadership ...

Guardians of the Drift, More States Turn to FieldWatch as Spray Season 2019 Approaches

Worried about spraying dicamba too close to specialty crops or bees in 2019?   Well, there's an app for that. Actually, there's an entire company for it.   FieldWatch is a non-profit that allows farmers and beekeepers to register and map the boundaries of their specialty crops and beehives for pesticide applicators to avoid. Although the company was established well before dicamba-tolerant crops were commercialized, it has spent the past two years growing rapidly and adding features and tools to protect dicamba-sensitive sites.   Now that federal dicamba labels require applicators to check a sensitive crop registry before spraying, ...

Guide answers cover crop questions

Considering Cover Crops?” is a newly-published guide for Illinois farmers that provides a comprehensive resource to the most recent research for effectively incorporating a cover crop ahead of corn, soybeans and wheat.   The guide outlines comprehensive tactics for cover crop use as part of a nutrient management strategy. Research results from planting to termination of cover crops are included.   With funding from the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council, researchers from the University of Illinois, Illinois State University and PurdueUniversity are studying the various variables involved in a successful cover crop program. This research has been performed ...

Harvest emergency declared as Illinois farmers begin gathering crops

The harvest emergency announced by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday is only the second one ever enacted, but its practical effects will repeat annually without such a declaration beginning next year.   The emergency status enables the Illinois Department of Transportation to issue free permits to farmers and crop haulers allowing them to surpass gross vehicle and gross axle weight limits during the harvest season. A bill signed into law Aug. 25 will automatically enact the measures each harvest season beginning in 2019.   Rauner declared the first harvest emergency in 2017 and said the declarations and new law will allow Illinois farmers ...

Has agriculture won the battle over GMOs?

Have agriculture advocates won the battle over GMOs?   It’s a wonderful and attention-grabbing concept, but the short answer is no, and we definitely shouldn’t take our foot off the gas when it comes to science and agricultural communication. We have, however, made significant progress on public perception with regards to understanding the importance of genetically engineered crops in our modern food system. No longer are those who are against GMOs as loud or “in your face” as they used to be. So what happened?   It appears that the non-GMO food industry and ...

Has Dicamba Use Reached Its Peak?

Since the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals first vacated the registration for three dicamba formulations back in June, the entire agricultural industry has had its eyes upon how governmental agencies and the entire marketplace would respond. From the governmental side, the answer has come. But how will the industry react now? Based upon the results from the 2020 CropLife 100 survey, dicamba’s future remains a bit unclear.   First, some review. On October 27, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that EPA had approved new registrations for two dicamba products — XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology from Bayer and Engenia from BASF — ...

Has Speaker Madigan Given Up on Economic and Responsible Government

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s decadeslong reign has culminated in recent years with a steep decline in economic opportunity for working-class Illinoisans and a cratering of the state’s financial position. Despite this track record, Madigan describes himself as the defender of the middle class against tax and regulatory reforms because he claims, without citing any evidence, that reforms would reduce the wages and standard of living for the middle class. Meanwhile, Madigan champions an income tax hike, which would reduce the take-home wages and standard of living of Illinoisans. This curious mix of political positions offers ...

Head of Busiest U.S. Port Says China to Miss Agriculture Target

The head of the U.S.’s busiest port said China is on track to buy less than one-third of the American agricultural products it promised to purchase in 2020, the first year of a trade pact between the world’s two biggest economies.   “The phase-one trade deal set lofty expectations for purchases that had not been witnessed by American agriculture producers ever -- what we’ve seen so far is a requirement to buy $36 billion worth of goods, and we may edge our way towards $10 billion,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of ...

Health Canada still on track for phasing out imidacloprid

It’s still too early tell exactly how dicamba injury-related issues on U.S. cropland will compare to last year, but as of late July, a major improvement is not in the cards. It’s disappointing, given the unprecedented training that went on in the off-season.   In his closely watched dicamba report, Dr. Kevin Bradley, Professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri, recalled that last year on July 25, there were 1,411 dicamba-related injury investigations being conducted by the various state Departments of Agriculture while university weed scientists estimated approximately 2.5 million acres of soybean ...

Heart of Illinois Remains in Severe Drought Stage

The US drought monitor showed little week to week variation for Illinois, with the entire central portion of the state experiencing some form of drought.   Abnormally dry conditions persist in central Illinois moving up into northeastern areas. A section of moderate drought in central and eastern locales has spread into McClean county, while an oval section of severe drought in the heart of the state spread into Menard county now reaching a total of six counties.   The National Weather Service in Lincoln, Illinois reports water levels at Lake Decatur are the lowest since the drought of 2012, but widespread ...

Help Ditch the Waters of the US (WOTUS) Rule! Please write comments today!

Puddles, ponds, ditches, ephemerals (land that looks like a small stream during heavy rain but isn’t wet most of the time) and isolated wetlands appear throughout Illinois farmland. The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposed rule that would expand their regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to these types of land features and waters, giving the agencies the power to dictate land-use decisions and farming practices on or near these “waters of the US.” In short, EPA has moved ahead with a proposal that Congress and ...

Hemp 101: Experts highlight plant’s many uses at Farm Progress Show

Hemp means different things to different people.   The National Hemp Association is using the Farm Progress Show to clear the air about this versatile crop.   Geoff Whaling, chairman of the association, said many people get confused when differentiating between marijuana and hemp.   “Hemp is cannabis but it is not marijuana,” Whaling said. “Marijuana has THC, whereas hemp does not.”   Interest in hemp increased after the 2018 Farm Bill signed by President Donald Trump removed it from the the list of controlled substances, thus legalizing its production. The 2014 Farm Bill already had allowed for ...

Hemp concerns and trade jitters top US agriculture appropriations hearing

Senate appropriators had trade woes and the promise of industrial hemp on their minds Thursday as they sought assurances from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue of better times for farmers in their states.   Perdue testified before the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on the president’s $15.7 billion request for discretionary funding for the Agriculture Department. The request is more than $4.2 billion lower than the enacted level for fiscal 2019 and includes cuts to research, rural housing, international humanitarian food programs and other areas popular with lawmakers.   Subcommittee members asked about the proposed reductions, but indicated they are likely to ignore ...

Herbicide drift in 2018: How are we doing?

Off-target injury associated with dicamba application in dicamba-resistant soybean was a significant problem in the Cornbelt during 2017 (A final report on dicamba-injured soybean acres).  The increase in off-target problems associated with dicamba led to a record number of pesticide misuse investigations by the Iowa Department of Agriculture (IDALS) in 2017.    So how do things look at this point of the growing season in terms of herbicide drift?  IDALS recently released data on pesticide misuse investigations for 2018.  While these investigations involve a wide range of ‘misuses’, the majority of complaints are due to herbicide drift.&...

Herbicide Injury on the Rise

Both the temperature and tempers are running hot this summer, as herbicide injury surfaces across the Midwest and South once again.   Dicamba remains the primary source of complaints, although cases of 2,4-D injury are also being reported, state regulators told DTN. In October 2020, EPA granted new labels and five-year registrations to three dicamba herbicides -- XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta) -- for use over-the-top of Xtend and XtendFlex soybeans and cottonfields. The agency added some new rules, including national cutoff dates and use of new volatility reduction agents (VRAs) in the tank.   Yet regulators are watching ...

Herbicide resistances create challenges

“Six Weed Management Predictions to Keep You Up at Night” was among the topics featured at the recent University of Illinois Agronomy Day.   Patrick Tranel, Department of Crop Sciences professor, delivered the bad news of what has happened and most likely will be happening in farmers’ battle with weeds.   “The problem with weeds is that they’re always changing, and the challenges that you’re going to be facing five years from now are probably going to be a little different than the challenges you’re facing right now,” Tranel ...

Here's crazy talk, even by Springfield standards

It has looked to me for a very long time that House Speaker Michael Madigan has been waiting for an existential state crisis to force Gov. Bruce Rauner to back completely away from his anti-union, pro-business Turnaround Agenda so that they can pass a "clean" state budget.   As you surely know by now, the governor won't agree to a budget deal until he gets things like changes to workers' compensation insurance laws and reductions of collective bargaining rights for government union members.   Whether that crisis comes after the Illinois Supreme Court rules that state workers cannot be ...

Here's what J.B. Pritzker's election means for Illinois' taxes, minimum wage, health care and more

For the second election in a row, Illinois voters have handed the governor’s office to an ultrawealthy but politically inexperienced businessman who promises to jump-start the state’s economy. But Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune and a former venture capitalist, offers a vastly different approach to boosting investment and job growth than his predecessor, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, a multimillionaire former private equity investor. Rauner, whose agenda ran into strong opposition from the Democratic-controlled legislature, focused on issues like freezing property taxes and curtailing the power of organized ...

Here’s What Agriculture Wants Out of U.S., China March Meeting

As the U.S. and China enter into the second year of the Phase One trade deal, the U.S. and China are meeting for the first time since President Biden took office. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan are in Alaska to meet with two senior Chinese diplomats.   Mixed messages have circulated about the goals of this meeting. However, leading into the meeting, China announced several sales of U.S. old-crop corn, which racked up to a total of 121 million bushels this week.   Brian Kuehl, executive director for Farmers ...

High court to decide where WOTUS case should be heard

The Supreme Court will decide whether the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals was right to assert jurisdiction over legal challenges to the “waters of the U.S.” rule.   The court decided today to grant a petition seeking review of the 6th Circuit's fractured decision, in which that court narrowly determined that it should adjudicate the numerous WOTUS challenges.   The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed the petition in September challenging that decision, noting that even Circuit Judge David McKeague, who agreed with the federal government, expressed serious doubts about the government's reasoning.   The ...

Hillary Clinton: We Can't Afford to Lose Biotechs.

The former First Lady made remarks during the keynote presentation last week at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego.   "I stand in favor of using seeds and products that have a proven track record, you say, and are scientifically provable to continue to try to make the case to those who are skeptical," Clinton said when asked about her stance on GMOs.   Click Here to read more.

Historic rains ravaged Illinois farms during planting season. Now the race is on to harvest corn and soybeans before it’s too late.

Mark Tuttle cuts straight to the point when describing the field and weather conditions he has faced this year on his farm in southern DeKalb County.   “In one word, I’d say: ‘miserable,’” said Tuttle, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on about 1,000 acres near Somonauk, about 25 miles southwest of Aurora.   Historic flooding and heavy spring rains that left wide swaths of farmland muddy, soaked or underwater left many Illinois farmers scrambling to plant their crops after they waited for waterlogged fields to dry. In a state where agriculture remains an essential part ...

Honeybee colonies increase after years of decline

The number of U.S. honeybee colonies rose in 2017 from a year earlier, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey released Tuesday.   The number of commercial U.S. honeybee colonies rose 3 percent to 2.89 million as of April 1, compared with 2.8 million a year earlier, the department reported. It said the increase was caused by beekeepers adding more bees to make up for previous years’ rapid losses.   Parasites and disease have accounted for the majority of the decline in honeybee population. But another cause of this drop is colony collapse disorder, which has raised concerns among farmers ...

Honeybee population isn't ‘crashing’ and seed pesticides are not driving health problems—and here’s why

In recent years, articles on honeybees have often started with a sentence like this: “Populations of honeybees have crashed in recent years, and many researchers have pointed the blame at a class of widely used insecticides called neonicotinoids.”   In fact, that’s how an otherwise excellent article in The Scientist summarizing a recent USDA study on honeybees’ molecular responses to neonicotinoids began. The narrative that honeybees, which are not originally native to North America, face mortal danger––has been advanced by environmental groups for years and echoed in the media, in casual blogs ...

Honeybees May Be Dying in Larger Numbers Due to Climate Change

Beekeepers in the U.S. reported an increase in honeybee deaths over the last year, possibly the result of erratic weather patterns brought on by a changing climate, according to the scientist leading an annual survey on the insects.   U.S. beekeepers said 40 percent of their hives, also called colonies, died unexpectedly during the year that ended March 31, according to a survey released Wednesday by researchers from Auburn University and the University of Maryland. That’s up from 33 percent a year earlier.   Elevated bee-loss rates have been an agricultural concern for the past decade, since a mysterious ...

Hopes Dim for Iowa Water Quality Compromise

The likelihood of Iowa lawmakers agreeing this session on a major plan to finance water quality improvement projects appears to be dimming.   However, House Republicans introduced new legislation Tuesday to pay for programs to curb water pollution even as Senate Democratic Leader Michael Gronstal was expressing strong doubts about GOP proposals. This year's session is tentatively scheduled to adjourn around April 19, which means time is running short to reach a compromise.   House Study Bill 654, sponsored by House Republicans, would convert an existing 6 percent sales tax Iowans pay on their water bill for metered water into a 6 percent ...

Hopes dim for passage of Trump trade deal

House Democrats say there's little to no chance that Congress will take up President Trump's replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) before the end of summer.   With only three more weeks scheduled to be in session before the August recess, House Democrats from across the spectrum are demanding that the trade pact with Mexico and Canada be renegotiated, citing concerns with the implications for labor and environmental standards as well as drug prices.   The Trump administration has been pushing for approval of the deal, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), by ...

House Ag Approps Approves Funding Bill Without Amendments

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday approved the fiscal year 2021 Agriculture appropriations bill without amendments. Click Here to read more.   Total discretionary funding in the legislation is $23.98 billion, an increase of $487 million above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level.   The committee earlier released the bill and a summary of it.   In an opening statement, House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., said, “The bill and accompanying report are products of a lot of hard work that has been done in the face of uncertainty and unusual working conditions.”   Click Here to read more.

House Ag Chair: USMCA Vote As Soon as Next Week

The House could vote on the U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) as soon as next week, according to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).   In an exclusive interview with Pro Farmer policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer and Farm Journal news director John Herath for the DC Signal to Noise Podcast, Peterson said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to get the USMCA vote on the fast track.   “[USMCA Working Group chair] Richard [Neal] (D-Mass.) told me he is going to try to move it when we get back next week, or the week after, so he’...

House Ag Committee Approves Bill to Limit Pesticide Permitting

The House Ag Committee on Thursday approved a bill, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015, to remove pesticide application permitting processes the bill's sponsors say are duplicative. The committee said the bill clarifies Congressional intent regarding pesticide regulation in or near waters of the United States. The Committee on Agriculture and the full House passed this bill during the two previous Congresses, but the Senate did not act on it. Click Here to read more.  

House Ag Committee Challenge EPA Water Rule.

Last week, the House Ag Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry held a hearing on the controversial EPA water rule.  EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed the new rule in March to change the way the U.S. is regulating water under the Clean Water Act.  The hearing came as legislation was introduced by 30 Republican Senators last week to specifically block EPA and Army Corps from finalizing the water of the U.S. rule.   Click Here to read more.

House Ag Leaders: GMO Labeling Bill Does Not Preempt Cultivation Bans

Proponents of a bill that would bar states from requiring the labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are attempting to clear away confusion about the intent of the legislation, which is expected on the House floor next week.   The Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act (HR 1599), first introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., was approved Tuesday by the House Agriculture Committee on a voice vote during a 15-minute meeting.    Supporters are pushing back against a claim made by advocates for mandatory GMO labeling who say the bill would ...

House Ag Members Consider USDA-Run Non-GMO Certification Program

The chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, says that the success of USDA's marketing programs indicate a proposed non-GMO certification program could be a viable solution for consumers wanting to avoid genetically engineered food products.   “We just heard from USDA that they have the capability and resources to provide valuable oversight of these voluntary marketing claims,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., said at a hearing today, adding that the Agriculture Committee is considering proposed legislation “that seeks to put in place a policy to make this work.”   Click Here ...

House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on water infrastructure bill

Senate and House lawmakers on Monday night reached an agreement on a bipartisan water infrastructure bill that will reauthorize billions of dollars in federal spending on ports, harbors, and waterways as well as deauthorize inefficient spending on water projects.   Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and committee ranking member Sen. Tom Carper(D-Del.), along with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster(R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), on Monday announced agreement on America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.   The water infrastructure bill is one of ...

House Approps Passes Ag Bill

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved by voice vote the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill covering the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Farm Credit Administration.   The committee, which met in the Ways and Means hearing room and practiced social distancing, approved the bill by voice vote. Some “No” votes could be heard, but no one asked for a roll call vote.   House Appropriations Committee ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, said some provisions stopping the Trump administration from making “reforms” could be “poison pills,” ...

House Democrats mum on support for Madigan

I reached out to several House Democrats who could be considered politically vulnerable in 2022 to ask them how they plan to vote on Speaker Michael Madigan’s reelection in January.   With one exception, I didn’t make much headway.   Much has been made about the number of Democratic women who have said they will not vote to reelect the longtime House Speaker. That’s true, but it isn’t yet a universal opinion.   Democratic Representative-Elect Suzanne Ness (D-Crystal Lake) may have breezed past GOP Rep. Allen Skillicorn by almost 2,300 votes last month, but ...

House Democrats unveil more 'realistic' climate change plan

A group of U.S. House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a climate change plan they said featured a “more realistic” goal to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 rather than by 2030 as envisioned under the Green New Deal introduced early this year.   Solar and wind companies have criticized the Green New Deal, introduced by Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey in February, as unrealistic and politically divisive.   Representatives Frank Pallone, Paul Tonko, Bobby Rush and others said on Tuesday they would draw up legislation late this year that aimed to avoid the worst ...

House Democrats unveil more 'realistic' climate change plan

A group of U.S. House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a climate change plan they said featured a “more realistic” goal to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 rather than by 2030 as envisioned under the Green New Deal introduced early this year.   Solar and wind companies have criticized the Green New Deal, introduced by Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey in February, as unrealistic and politically divisive.   Representatives Frank Pallone, Paul Tonko, Bobby Rush and others said on Tuesday they would draw up legislation late this year that aimed to avoid the worst ...

House Dems Push for Mandatory GMO Labeling

Backed by food companies like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, House Democrats renewed their push on Capitol Hill Wednesday for the mandatory labeling of foods that contain  genetically modified organisms or GMOs.   In March, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, but to move the bill through Congress, DeFazio said there needs to be a grassroots movement to gain Republican support. Rep. Don Young (Alaska) is the bill's sole Republican co-sponsor now.   Click Here to read more.  

House GOP moves to block overtime rule

House Republicans are looking to shut down an effort by the Obama administration to raise overtime pay for millions of workers.   Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) on Thursday filled a motion of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act in an effort to repeal the Labor Department’s new overtime rule.   “Our nation’s overtime rules need to be modernized, but the Department of Labor’s extreme and partisan approach will lead to damaging consequences that the American people simply cannot afford,” Foxx said. “This resolution will protect workers, students, small business owners, ...

House GOP Tax Bill Keeps 39.6% Rate for High Earners, Cuts Corporate Rate to 20%

House Republicans’ long-awaited tax overhaul bill will keep the top individual rate at 39.6 percent for high-income earners and will immediately and permanently cut the corporate rate to 20 percent.   The legislation seeks to revamp the tax code in a major way for the first time since 1986, incorporating long-sought goals of congressional Republicans to keep more money in the pockets of individuals and families and boost incentives for businesses by closing loopholes.   The bill would collapse seven tax brackets for individuals to four brackets with rates of 12, 25, 35 and 39.6 percent.    Click Here to read more. 

House GOP voices opposition to progressive income tax

With Democrat J.B. Pritzker saying a progressive state income tax is his top priority, House Republicans are uniting behind yet another resolution pledging their opposition to the idea.   House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs and all but one of the other 50 House Republicans signed onto the resolution pledging to oppose a graduated state income tax.   Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights was the only House Republican not to sign the resolution. Harris could not be reached for comment. He was one of 10 House Republicans to split with Durkin and vote for last summer’s ...

House Moves to Halt WOTUS

On a 262-152 vote, the U.S. House yesterday has passed a bill to prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the proposed Waters of the U.S. rules.  H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act would prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps Engineers from redefining "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act.   Click Here to read more.

House names 47 to farm bill conference committee

Illinois Reps. Cheri Bustos, Rodney Davis and John Shimkus will help sort out the differences between the House and Senate farm bills.   Bustos, D-East Moline; Davis, R-Taylorville; and Shimkus, R-Collinsville, were among 29 Republican and 18 Democratic conferees announced this week by House leadership. The conferees were named after the House voted to go to conference. The Senate has yet to act.   Click Here to read more.

House Passes Bill to Fight Algae Blooms Blamed partly on Farm Runoff

With strong bipartisan support, the House has passed legislation that would give the EPA 90 days to prepare an assessment and purpose a managment plan for cyanotoxins - the toxic byproducts of algae blooms - found in drinking water.     The Drinking Water Protection Act will be the first step in preventing another Lake Erie water emergency, like the one that left 400,000 residents in and around Toledo, Ohio, without clean drinking water for days last summer, said Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, who sponsored the legislation.  The bill is a revised version of legislation originally offered by Ohio Democrat Marcy ...

House Passes Extension of Small-Business Tax Credits (Sec 179).

The House on Friday passed legislation to renew tax credits for small businesses indefinitely. Approved 272-142, the bill would extend three tax breaks, including one known as the Section 179 credit that allows businesses to write off certain expenses. Thirty-three Democrats joined all but one Republican in support. Democrats largely support renewing the tax breaks, often called "extenders" because of the need to renew them regularly. But Democrats objected the GOP proposal of doing away with the expiration dates without offsetting the cost. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the bill would cost $79 billion over 10 years.   Click Here to ...

House Passes GMO Legislation. 275 to 150. Battle Goes to the Senate.

The food industry's campaign to stop states from requiring labels on genetically engineered products faces an uncertain future in the Senate following a landmark, bipartisan victory in the House.   With support from 45 Democrats, the House voted 275-150 on Thursday to approve the  Safe and Affordable Food Labeling Act (HR 1599), which in addition to preempting state GMO labeling requirements would set up a process for labeling foods as non-biotech. Twelve Republicans opposed the bill.   “We managed to get nearly every Republican and a significant number of Democrats. It puts us on pretty good footing to go ...

House Passes One Week Stopgap Spending Bill

The House on Wednesday passed a stopgap funding bill 343-67 that would give lawmakers an additional week to come up with full-year spending legislation and avoid a government shutdown later this month.   The continuing resolution would last for one week, setting a new funding deadline of Dec. 18. The Senate must still pass the CR and President Trump must sign it by Friday to avoid a government shutdown, which both are expected to do.   Congressional leaders had expressed optimism they would have time to draft and pass an omnibus appropriations bill to set line-by-line fiscal 2021 funding for every agency ...

House Passes Pesticide Regulations Bill

The House on Thursday passed legislation to eliminate a permit requirement for pesticides already subject to federal regulations.   Passage of the bill,267-161, comes three days after it failed to win approval under suspension of the rules.   Click Here to read more.

House Plans Consideration of $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill

House Democrats plan to schedule a vote before July 4 on a comprehensive infrastructure measure that aims to modernize freight corridors, reduce traffic congestion and promote climate change resilience infrastructure.   Ahead of its floor consideration expected as soon as June 30, House floor managers are considering amendments to the 10-year, $1.5 trillion measure.   The infrastructure bill would address multiple priorities House Democrats have promoted during the congressional session. For instance, investments in infrastructure resilience would seek to ensure new projects have the capability of withstanding the impact of severe weather events as they also attempt to reduce carbon pollution.   Additionally, ...

House special committee investigating Madigan meets

The six members of a special investigative committee formed to determine if House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, should be disciplined convened for the first time at the Statehouse on Thursday.   The meeting lasted about 30 minutes, with Republicans proposing a charge against Madigan that he “engaged in conduct which is unbecoming to a legislator or which constitutes a breach of public trust.” They also presented a preliminary list of witnesses to appear.   The committee, made up of three Republicans and three Democrats, is looking into whether Madigan engaged in bribery and extortion schemes involving the utility Commonwealth ...

House to vote to kill WOTUS rule

The House will vote next week on whether to kill the Obama administration's “waters of the United States” rule, as GOP leaders seek to make a case to voters for electing a Republican president.    The disapproval resolution passed the Senate in November, 53-44, well short of the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn a certain presidential veto.   “I'm expecting a veto. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do our business in the legislative branch,” said Rep. Adrian Smith, a Nebraska Republican who introduced the House version of the resolution.   Despite ...

House Votes to Block EPA Water Rules

The Republican controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill to block the Obama administration from implementing a rule that asserts regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands - an action that critics call classic Washington overreach.   The EPA has proposed a rule that its says will clarify which streams and waterways are shields from development under the Clean Water Act, an issue that remains in dispute even after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings.   Click Here to read more.

House, Senate Lawmakers Reach Deal on $9.9B WRDA Bill

A new water resources bill has taken a big step closer to approval following a House-Senate agreement on a compromise proposal.   Under a bipartisan, bicameral deal, the legislation would authorize about $9.9 billion in federal funds for 46 Army Corps of Engineers flood control, environmental restoration, coastal protection and other projects. ENR estimates the projects’ total costs, including nonfederal shares, at $14.4 billion.   But advocates of Environmental Protection Agency water infrastructure programs, including aid for wastewater-treatment projects, were disappointed that lawmakers didn’t include any funding in the bill beyond the dollars for the Corps.   The House is ...

How 5G will change the future of farming

5G has the potential to disrupt a huge number of industries, including one of the world's oldest: Farming.   Next-generation 5G networks can be 100 times faster than 4G, making communication between devices and servers much quicker. 5G can also carry much more data than other networks.   That makes the technology ideal for transmitting information from remote sensors and drones, key tools that are being tested by farmers. 5G is also helping to automate farming processes.   Drones that use 5G are helping to improve potato production in the Netherlands. And in Japan, 5G sensors are used to monitor ...

How Ag Retailers Are Adding Value to Real-Time Data

Agricultural data, according to Ryan Humpert, has become a risk management tool that, for growers, is worth its weight in gold and pork bellies.   “We are living in a day and age where data has become a commodity in of itself,” Humpert, Senior Sales Executive with Agworld, says. “A phrase often heard is that ‘data is the new oil.’ Much like oil, data has become both powerful and useful.”   Yet there is a distinct difference between the two, Humpert adds. “There is a finite amount of oil and a presumably infinite ...

How Ag Retailer’s Concerns About COVID-19 Have Changed

During the busiest time of year for row crop agriculture, the COVID-19 pandemic threw in a completely new set of considerations for how ag retailers do business with their farmer customers.   In the last two weeks of March, an AgProfessional.com poll asked, “How concerned are you that coronavirus will impact your business?” Only 19% said not concerned or unsure.   We followed up that first poll with a second poll the last two weeks of April. We asked: “How big of an effect has COVID-19 had on your business this spring?” Of the 45 votes, 56% answered ...

How China is working hard to be less reliant on US farmers

China is looking to boost its domestic production of soybeans, potentially becoming less reliant on U.S. farmers amid a tit-for-tat trade war between the world's largest economies.   China included lifting soybean production in a five-year plan issued in 2016, but in early April it announced that soybean farmers in China's northeastern provinces would be getting higher subsidies than its corn producers this year. This notably came amid a fierce war of words between Beijing and Washington and just a day before China said it was going to slap a 25 percent levy on U.S. imports which included ...

How COVID Recovery and Climate Could Shape Ag Under Biden Administration

As President Joe Biden was sworn in on Wednesday, the 46th president made calls for unity and less divide.   “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus -- rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts,” said Biden during his inaugural address.   Swiftly after being sworn in, the president got to work, signing a series of 15 executive actions on day one and reversing his predecessor’s orders on items like immigration and climate change.   Click Here to ...

How Do You Measure Carbon?

Reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck transformed the way Tom Oswald thought about farming.   “One of the chapters talked about the difference between what we do and how we do it,” says the Cleghorn, Iowa, farmer. “For thousands of years, we’ve planted crops that harvest sunlight and use water to make something of value that people want or need.”   How farmers do it, though, echoes continuous change. “Sometimes, you have baby-step progress, and then you have leaps,” he says. “There is just some incredible stuff coming, and I ...

How Drone Applications Can Fit Into Ag Retail

Ag Partners Cooperative in Kansas is thinking about the big picture with technology advances and heading to the field with a smaller sized application technology.     Rantizo CEO Michael Ott and Ethan Noll who heads up the digital ag efforts at Ag Partners, joined The Scoop podcast recently to share more about how drone applications are a fit for ag retailers.     This season will be the first application season for Noll, who first read about Rantizo in Farm Journal and had been watching the technology.     “This is another opportunity for us to get out ...

How Gene Editing Will Boost Crop Yields

On the surface, a light switch and gene editing have as much in common as a linebacker does with a ballerina.    Dig a bit deeper, though. “In a very simple way, the main application of gene editing is like flipping a light switch on and off,” says Federico Tripodi, chief executive officer of Calyxt, a New Brighton, Minnesota, agricultural technology firm.   Gene editing is a group of technologies used to turn on or off or alter material at specific locations in a crop’s genome (an organism’s genetic material). Want to rid ...

How GMOs Help Us Reduce Food Waste & Its Environmental Impact

Producing enough food to meet the needs of a growing global population, while limiting our impact on the environment is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of our time. Reducing food loss and waste is and will continue to be a critical part of the solution.   Today, we produce more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet, but nearly 800 million people around the world still suffer from hunger. Why? One of the reasons, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is that one third of food produced for human consumption globally – approximately 2.9 trillion ...

How Illinois Department of Ag made its dicamba decision

The Illinois Department of Agriculture last month drew a line in the sand for 2020 dicamba herbicide applications, cutting them off at June 20 and 85 degrees F. But how did it land on that date? And that temperature?   “We didn’t take the decision lightly,” says Doug Owens, head of IDOA’s Bureau of Environmental Programs. “Director Sullivan ultimately had to approve that decision, and I know from observation it was very tough.”   The “why” of the decision is clear: Complaints about off-target movement were too high. Director John Sullivan was on ...

How Michael Madigan Left an Impact as Speaker of the House on the Illinois General Assembly

The man called “the Real Governor of Illinois” by Chicago Magazine is gone as speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, but Michael Madigan's impact on the institution and the state — good or bad — will remain, observers say.   The new speaker, Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, described what he saw as the Chicago Democrat's positive influence on Illinois for more than 30 years when Welch was elected Jan. 13 as the chamber's first Black speaker.   “While our state has many problems, our schools are better, more children have access to ...

How Michael Madigan left an impact as speaker of the House on the Illinois General Assembly

The man called “the Real Governor of Illinois” by Chicago Magazine is gone as speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, but Michael Madigan's impact on the institution and the state — good or bad — will remain, observers say.   The new speaker, Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, described what he saw as the Chicago Democrat's positive influence on Illinois for more than 30 years when Welch was elected Jan. 13 as the chamber's first Black speaker.   “While our state has many problems, our schools are better, more children have access to ...

How the Ag Supply Chain Has Lengthened in 2021

Think back to before COVID-19 when you were running low on some materials. You could pick up the phone and contact two or three registered suppliers. One of them would have the products, and you could get them six to eight weeks later, on average.   “Today, that same process takes three months – minimum,” explains Keith Holdsworth, a senior supply chain consultant with Perfection Limited, based in West Oxfordshire, England.   This is taking into account that one of those suppliers has the materials on hand. “Then, it’s one month before they can send ...

How the coronavirus crisis is affecting food supply

Like other parts of the global economy, food supply chains have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and empty supermarket shelves have become a symbol of the crisis.   Are we facing food shortages?   Panic buying in some countries has led to some grocery staples like pasta and flour being sold out in supermarkets in recent weeks. Retailers say they are able to replenish most products while bakery and pasta firms in Europe and North America have cranked up production.   Food firms say panic purchases are subsiding once households have stocked up and as they adjust to lockdown ...

How the Fight Over Biden's EPA Pick Highlights a Seismic Crack in the Democrats' Climate Coalition

Under President Donald Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency became an oxymoron, run by people who'd spent their careers suing or lobbying the EPA on behalf of oil and coal companies. Trump pulled out of the Paris Accords and rolled back more than 100 protections for land, air, water, wildlife and human health.   Under President-elect Joe Biden, the cabinet choices could not be more different. He's given veteran climate hawks John Kerry and Gina McCarthy new positions with more power.   With Michael Regan, the young pollution fighter from North Carolina poised to become the first Black man to ...

How the Georgia Election Results Just Raised Biden’s Climate Ambitions

Bracewell’s Scott Segal told The Washington Post that “change in Senate leadership and committee leadership will place climate change and clean energy legislation and oversight much higher on the agenda.”   With Democrats poised to take control of Congress, the prospects for President-elect Joe Biden to pursue more policies to tackle climate change and other major environmental problems have expanded overnight.   But Segal added, “Given the narrow margin of leadership in both the House and Senate, there still isn’t much in the way of open-field running for comprehensive climate change legislation.” &...

How The Non-GMO Project Is Adapting To A Gene-Edited World

Food technology is booming these days. Consumers can go to the grocery store and find apples that don’t brown. In 2019, they’ll be able to shop for plant-based burgers genetically engineered to taste like beef. It wasn’t too long ago that high tech foods were perceived as frightening, but now the public is captivated by the possibility of meatless meat grown in a lab and grapes that taste like cotton candy. At the same time, they’re also buying lots of non-GMO labeled foods and it’s not entirely clear why. If a ...

How the U.S.-China Trade War Has Reached a Turning Point

Brown Farms planted signs in their Decatur, Illinois, fields last spring. The wooden markers identifying the soybean field as non-GMO or LibertyLink were visual reminders that the crop within was sensitive to certain herbicides.   This year the farm has the option of calling on the power of digital signs, as well, said David Brown, who farms with his brother, Joe, and son, Chase.   They plan to map their sensitive fields in FieldWatch, the largest national, map-based registry of specialty crops (DriftWatch), beehives (BeeCheck), and row crops (CropCheck). The non-profit company allows farmers and beekeepers to log their property ...

How things have changed in the world of RMP Risks... Anhydrous Ammonia

There are 631 fewer RMP covered processes with Anhydrous Ammonia since 2011.  This translates to a reduction of right at 78 million pounds in anhydrous ammonia in reported RMP covered processes. This took anhydrous ammonia from a clear #1 in pounds in RMP covered processes in 2011 down to #3 in 2017 (see tables below).  What drove such a reduction?  Could it be that OSHA and EPA's process safety standards are actually having the impact they had hoped for... reducing inventories and thus reducing the severity of a catastrophic release.  It would be interesting to dig deeper and determine what drove such ...

How to find the right N rate

Two years ago, Decatur, Ill., farmer Adam Brown began dropping nitrogen rates, from 230 pounds per acre to 200 pounds.   With yield monitor data from two years of harvest, he says he’s confident the decision to reduce N rates on corn isn’t impacting his yields. In 2020, yields are averaging 226 bushels per acre — 10 bushels above his farm’s three-year average production history from 2016-18.   “I think that’s one place where my operation has thrived,” Brown says. “I’m not necessarily the best at any particular practice, but what I ...

How to rebuild the public's trust in, and connections to, modern agriculture

October conjures images of bountiful harvests here in the U.S. Heartland, where it was my privilege to participate in the 2017 World Food Prize events.    As a panelist on the topic of agricultural innovation, I discussed the challenges testing agriculture like never before: a growing population, evolving pest pressures, shifting consumer preferences and a changing climate. Fortunately, there are potential game-changing advances in digital farming, plant breeding, soil health, robotics, and satellite imagery that will help us overcome these challenges.   But innovation doesn’t do us any good if society isn’t buying what we&...

How will governor candidates tackle Illinois’ big pension problem?

What may be Illinois’ most intractable problem also happens to be its most expensive.   It’s how the state will cope with the $130 billion debt owed to the five state-funded pension systems.   The single biggest component of that debt stems from decades of underfunding the pension systems. Governors of both parties and lawmakers from both parties approved budgets that did not include enough money to cover all the required payments to the systems.   The problem is exacerbated by state Supreme Court rulings that limit what a governor and General Assembly can do to deal with ...

How Will the New USMCA Trade Deal Affect Agriculture?

For many years, the countries of North America have conducted their trade using the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as their guide. Late last year, however, President Donald Trump nixed this deal in favor of a new one – the U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA). This agreement was initially signed by all three countries back on November 30, 2018. Now, according to V.M. (Jim) DeLisi, Chief of Fanwood Chemical Inc., it rests with the various legislative bodies in each country to finalize the terms of this deal.   “Some people say that [USMCA] is NAFTA 2.0,” DeLisi said, ...

How will we heal Illinois' agri-food system?

In the midst of a global health crisis, the agri-food sector is pressing forward determined to do what it does best—feed the world. After all, empty grocery store shelves don’t simply restock themselves.   COVID-19, however, is rapidly exposing our food system’s susceptibilities and disconnects. Could this pandemic catalyze a rethinking and transformation of the current centralized model? With an outsized stake in the outcome, Illinois would be wise to consider.   Under normal circumstances, the modern-day food system operates with efficiency via a “just enough, just in time” lean inventory model ...

Hundreds of millions of dollars from legal weed will help balance budget, Pritzker says

Illinois may be able to bring in $350 million to $700 million a year in new state revenue if marijuana is legalized, says the next governor of the state.   When Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker takes office in January, the Chicago Democrat will have Democratic super-majorities in the House and Senate.   So what does that mean?   Could there be legal marijuana for recreational use? Pritzker said on the campaign trail he is for it and in an interview said it could be a revenue source to help balance the state’s budget. Speaker Mike Madigan has recently given his ...

IDNR launches sensitive site map

Dicamba product labels require applicators to check for nearby sensitive crops and sensitive areas and follow label precautions.  To help accomplish this, IFCA is recommending using Driftwatch/Fieldwatch website for the location of specialty crops and go the IDNR website to see areas designated for threatened and endangered species and other protected areas of the State.    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) this week rolled out a new initiative involving state natural areas, threatened and endangered species and agricultural pesticides.   Just ahead of spring fieldwork, IDNR posted an interactive state map that outlines areas with ...

IDOA cancels all in-person pesticide exams through December

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) canceled all in-person testing through Dec. 31 for individuals wanting an alternative for online pesticide license examinations. The state agency had planned to offer limited in-person opportunities, but cancelled those through the end of December due to COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for details.   Online examinations will be offered and administered through a commercial proctoring service with exam length and time allotment similar to in-person testing. Online testing should be available soon with online exams expected to start in late November. For basic information and an online exam schedule   Click Here to read more.

IDOA Offering limited In-Person Pesticide License Exams

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) offers online pesticide license exams and limited in-person pesticide exams. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 individuals are expected to take state license certification exams during the 2021 certification year.   Starting Jan. 1, IDOA began offering a few limited in-person testing sessions. Seating is limited due to COVID restrictions. Most locations allow only eight to 10 people with the largest site only seating up to 25. Individuals must preregister for an in-person exam, and registration closes when a class is full.   The following restrictions will apply at in-person exams:   Click Here to read more.

IDOA offering train-the-trainer sessions

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will offer three, in-person February sessions to train volunteers to teach growers and grower farm operators about anhydrous ammonia safety and help them comply with a new state requirement.   John Rebholz, director of safety education for the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA), is coordinating in-person train the trainer sessions for IDOA, IFCA and farm groups, and seeking more knowledgeable people interested training others.   “We have a lot of great folks signed up and know there are a lot of knowledgeable people out there, and we’d love to have ...

IDOA official: Preparation, Patience Needed for Online Pesticide Exam

Preparation and patience are Brad Beaver’s top recommendations for successfully completing the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)’s online pesticide certification exam. Beaver, acting chief of IDOA’s environmental program bureau, discussed needed equipment and how IDOA addressed issues with the online testing process.   Since mid-December, 780 people completed exams and another 200 exams were scheduled this week. More than 800 are enrolled in online pesticide training. IDOA expects to offer 15,000 to 20,000 certification exams during the 2021 certification year.   Beaver told FarmWeek IDOA has resolved a problem that caused individuals to be kicked off during an exam. “...

IDOA ready to field dicamba complaints

Here’s how the Illinois Department of Ag will handle misuse complaints this year, plus a look at managing planting delays with a June 30 cutoff for dicamba.   The Illinois Department of Agriculture is heading into the 2019 growing season ready to field complaints about off-target drift and damage from dicamba.   While not many complaints have been received so far in 2019, Doug Owens, chief of the Bureau of Environmental Programs, says he has a good idea where a majority of the complaints will come from this year as his bureau continues to wrap up complaints from 2018. IDOA is still ...

IDOT director calls for more reliable infrastructure funding

Gambling revenues that have failed to meet expectation show the need for a more reliable, long-term source of transportation funding, the head of the Illinois Department of Transportation said Tuesday. Acting Secretary Randy Blankenhorn was not yet prepared to say what that source might be. "At some point in the near future, something has to happen," Blankenhorn said in a phone interview with The State Journal-Register. "There's a structural issue with the way we have in the past funded infrastructure." Click Here to read more.  

IEMA director leaving for job in federal government

The director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has stepped down to take a job at the federal level, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Monday.   James Joseph, who has led IEMA since early 2015, will be replaced by Joseph Klinger of Springfield, who will serve as acting director.   Joseph has been appointed by President Donald Trump’s administration as regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region V office in Chicago. He will oversee a six-state region that includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.   Click Here to read more.

If GMO's are not the Answer, Then What it?

We live on a finite planet with a human population of 7.2 billion, a number that is increasing by almost 100,000 per day. Given that the world population is expected to increase by another 2 billion people over the next 50 years (in addition to the 1 billion who are currently undernourished), and that food will have to be produced on fewer acres of land with less water, there is a fundamental question that must be asked and answered: If agricultural technology and scientific advances including genetically engineered crops — often referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — are not the answer, then what ...

If it’s about state finances, it must be bad news

Illinois’ money situation isn’t good and there’s the possibility it could get a whole lot worse.   At least that’s the assessment of S&P Global Ratings which assesses the credit worthiness of states among others. It basically doesn’t like what it sees in Illinois.   The company said state lawmakers “placed a sizable $5 billion placeholder” in the current budget in anticipation of further federal aid for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. So far Congress hasn’t complied with anyone’s request for more aid and ...

IFB urges farmers to be aware of sensitive natural areas

Illinois Farm Bureau last week provided members information about a new Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) map denoting sensitive sites and encouraged farmers to meticulously read and follow pesticide labels.   During a webinar, Lyndsey Ramsey, IFB associate director of natural and environmental resources, warned pesticide applications will be under “a magnifying glass” after the Illinois Department of Agriculture received more than 400 pesticide misuse complaints last year.   IDNR posted an interactive map that outlines areas with unspecified threatened and endangered species, Illinois Nature Preserve Commission sites, state natural area inventory sites and IDNR owned and managed ...

IFCA & IDOA Fall Anhydrous Ammonia Safety Schools Starts Next Week.......Register Today!

With summer almost over, IFCA has posted the dates and locations for the IFCA/IDOA fall anhydrous ammonia safety classes.  This fall IFCA will host six classes, beginning on September 14.  To see the dates and locations and to register on-line, click here or visit the ammonia training icon on IFCA's hompage at www.ifca.com.  John Rebholz, IFCA's Director of Safety & Education, is always available to answer any ammonia and compliance related so don't hesitate to call us for assistance, especially as you are working to upgrade your facilities to meet the Year 2020 ...

IFCA / AG-SOLVE PAC List of Live and Silent Auction Items

IFCA convention is just a week away.  The AG-SOLVE PAC is having its annual live and silent auction at 3:30 on Wednesday on the convention floor. We have a great list of live and silent auction items. Click here to see everything that will be auctioned off. We want to thank all of the companies that donatied to this year's auction.   I would also like to invite everyone to attend the AG-SOLVE breakfast at 7:15 on Wednesday morning. Phil Bratcher with Agri-Pulse in Washington DC will speak at the breakfast.  Phil will give us the latest on what'...

IFCA Cancels Its Annual Winter Convention

The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association is cancelling their January winter convention & trade show, which was scheduled to occur on January 19-21, 2021 at the Peoria Civic Center.   “Our annual trade show has always been a well-attended, positive networking and educational experience for the members of the IFCA, and we are sad that we cannot proceed with planning and holding this important event” Jean Payne, President of the IFCA said in a news release. “The reality is that large gatherings are still not permissible or advisable, and above all else, we respect the need to continue ...

IFCA Cancels MAGIE 2020

On June 1, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association announced its board made the decision to cancel the MAGIE 2020 show, which was scheduled for August 26-27 at the McLean County Fairgrounds in Bloomington, Ill.   MAGIE is one of the biggest outdoor farm shows dedicated to the ag retail and commercial applicator market.     IFCA provided the following statement:   There are a variety of reasons for cancelling the show, all of them due to the changes brought to our lives by COVID-19. The main reason is we simply can't guarantee a safe environment for the "ride ...

IFCA Emphasizes 6 Tips For Anhydrous Transport Safety

IFCA has provided the following bulletin late last week:   With the 2019 spring season just beginning, seven ammonia releases have already occurred in the state of Illinois. The latest incident took place yesterday in Beach Park, IL. Beach Park is roughly 50 miles north of Chicago, just near the Wisconsin border. A grower was transporting two side-by-side ammonia nurse tanks behind an ammonia tool-bar with his tractor at 4:30 in the morning when the incident occurred. It was reported that 37 people were transported to the hospital, with up to 7 people listed as being in critical condition.   If the grower is in ...

IFCA encourages applicator stewardship with new dicamba deadline

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association says they preferred the original June 30th state dicamba application deadline.   “It was the number one thing our members recommended after the previous two seasons as to how to best manage the stewardship of this product. Having said that, we understand the pressure that [Illinois Department of Agriculture] Director Sullivan was under and all of the things he had to consider.”   Jean Payne says they support the Illinois Department of Agriculture and are working with the new July 15th application deadline.   She tells Brownfield they are encouraging their members ...

IFCA Gives Fall Ammonia Safety and 4R Stewardship Tips

The fall ammonia season is fast approaching. John Rebholz, IFCA's Director of Safety & Education, prepared the following points regarding safety and compliance as you prepare nurse tanks for transportation and application:   1. If you still need anhydrous ammonia safety training for new or part-time employees, IFCA offers an online NH3 training certificate that is good for 90 days. Go to http://nh3.ifca.com/form/    2. When going from field to field, liquid transfer hose(s) cannot be joined between any nurse tank and any toolbar during transport upon a public right-of-way.   Click Here to read more. &...

IFCA Gives Update On Dicamba Penalties

Not only has the number of pesticide misuse complaints with the Illinois Department of Agriculture dramatically increased each year, but there is a now shift from IDA issuing warning letters (which was mostly the case in 2017 and 2018) to IDA issuing violation notices to applicators.  Many of the violation notices include monetary penalties of $750 or $1000 for misuse findings in 2019 dicamba investigations.     For comparison, in 2018 IDA issued a total of 233 warning letters and 14 notices of fines. In 2019, there have been 62 warning letters and 98 notices of fines. Fines are pretty evenly split 50/50 between commercial applicators and private applicators.   ...

IFCA Golf Outings

Want to spend the day playing golf and interacting with fellow IFCA members?  You're in luck, as there is still plenty of time to sign up for one or both of our IFCA Golf Outings.  Mark your calendar for July 29th in Pontiac and/or August 5th in Auburn.  Click HERE for the registration form to either register just yourself or an entire foursome.  We look forward to seeing you on the course!

IFCA Golf Outings Quickly Approaching

Looking for a great summer event for a cause? Don't miss out on the 2021 IFCA Golf for Scholarships outings! Held July 29th at Elks Golf Course in Pontiac and August 5 at Edgewood Golf Club in Auburn, the outings are a great opportunity to network with peers, while also supporting the next generation of agriculturalists. The outings are open to all, and companies are encouraged to bring teams of employees or customers to support the IFCA scholarship program.  Scholarships are provided to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending the U of I, ISU, WIU, SIU and other community ...

IFCA Names Johnson Interim President

Kevin “KJ” Johnson was named interim president and CEO of the Bloomington-based Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) Thursday. Johnson succeeds Jean Payne who retired March 31.   A farm native of Champaign and Vermilion counties, Johnson will manage the organization’s overall operations and oversee regulatory and legislative issues and development of programs promoting stewardship and safety for the fertilizer and agrichemical industry.   Since 2013, Johnson served as IFCA director of government and industry relations and was responsible for legislative and regulatory policy efforts. Prior to joining IFCA, he was an agricultural liaison for former U.S. ...

IFCA preparing applicators for 20220 Illinois Dicamba Application Rules

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association is preparing applicators for safe spraying of dicamba herbicides this growing season.   President Jean Payne tells Brownfield several questions were answered about the state’s new application rules for 2020 at their spring board meeting, including the 85 degree temperature restriction.   Payne says applicators must use the weather.gov website to determine if the temperature in their area is at a safe level to spray, but they will also be able to use forecasting within 24 hours.   “Especially for commercial applicators because they want to plan out their week. If it looks ...

IFCA Releases Suggestions To EPA On Dicamba Applications On Soybeans

The IFCA Board and staff has been very engaged all year on the dicamba issue. We talk with the IDA every week regarding the misuse complaints and the IDA investigations, and we recently met with all the pesticide manufacturers to discuss the best path forward given the high number of complaints that farmers have filed with the IDA, the clear majority of which are dicamba symptoms on sensitive soybeans.   As of today, IDA has received 319 misuse complaints attributed to dicamba symptoms and the total number of pesticide misuse complaints is now at 500---a historic high and something that demands ...

IFCA Remembers Philip Mullvain

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Philip Mullvain.  Philip passed away on Friday, July, 9th in the presence of his loving family.  Phil wore many agricultural hats during his career and was one of the co-founder’s of IFCA retail member Flanagan Fertilizer in Flanagan, IL and then moved on to working for Linco Equipment before retiring.  IFCA is grateful for Phil’s contributions to our industry. Phil’s obituary, including visitation and services later this week, can be found here. IFCA extends our prayers and ...

IFCA stresses dicamba stewardship

Now that a formulation of dicamba herbicide has been approved for use in Illinois this year, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) President Jean Payne says the next step is education on proper stewardship of the technology.   “We’re going to have to do an incredible amount of training with our members and with private applicators, which would be farmers, on the proper stewardship of this, because we don’t want to lose this technology if we don’t handle it correctly,” Payne said. “It’s a huge issue and we’...

IFCA wants June 30th cutoff and other dicamba restrictions

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association wants the EPA to set a cut-off for dicamba application next year. Association president Jean Payne tells Brownfield Ag News their suggestion of June 30th is based on feedback from professional applicators, “That would still give us flexibility in replant. But, in reality, even when we have to replant soybeans, by June 30th your soybeans are up, in the post-emerge condition. And so we threw that date out for Illinois but recognize other states might have other cut-off dates.”   Payne says complaints of damage to non-tolerant soybeans in the two years ...

IFCA Webinar Regarding Entry Level Driver Training

IFCA has had many calls and in person conversations with our members regarding FMCSA's Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT).  In an effort to educate our members, we have asked Kevin Duesterhaus from the Illinois Secretary of State and Dan Meyer from FMCSA to discuss the upcoming ELDT requirement.  We are planning to hold a webinar July 13th at 9am for our members to ask both Kevin and Dan questions.  A link will be sent to IFCA members next week via email for an invite to the upcoming webinar.  

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for December

Clich Here to find IFCA's “News Under the Dome” for December.  Included in this month's article is an update on 2018 Farm Bill, the fall veto session in Springfield, funding for the LaGrange lock, a list of live auction items for the AG-SOLVE PAC auction and Former Secretary of Ag John Block speaking at the AG-SOLVE breakfast in January at the IFCA Convention and Trade Show.      

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for December

Clich Here to find IFCA's “News Under the Dome” for December.  Included in this month's article is an update on 2018 Farm Bill, the fall veto session in Springfield, funding for the LaGrange lock, a list of live auction items for the AG-SOLVE PAC auction and Former Secretary of Ag John Block speaking at the AG-SOLVE breakfast in January at the IFCA Convention and Trade Show.  

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for June.

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for June.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   -IFCA's Spring Legislative Session Wrap Up.   -Bill Removing Registration and License Plates on Anhydrous Nurse Wagons and Floaters Heads to Gov. Pritzker.   -Illinois Department of Ag Extends Dicamba Application to July 15th.   -Illinois Passes Constitutional Amendment to Allow a Progressive Income Tax.   -California Bans Chlorpyrifos.   -Illinois Set to Become 11th State to Legalize Marijuana.   -Illinois is Gearing up for Sports Betting and New Casinos.   -Illinois Lawmakers Double Gas Tax, ...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for March

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for March.  Stories in this month's newsletter: -IFCA Heads to the Hill. -Key State Legislative Issues IFCA is Watching this Spring Session. -Illinois Department of Ag Announces Special Local Needs Dicamba Labels. -Rep. Hammond and Rep. Costello Recieve IFCA/AG-SOLVE "Friend of Agrculture" Award. -Illinois Gov. Sigs Bill Raising Minimum Wage to $15 Hour. -Pritzker Unveils "Bridge Budget" that Relies on New Revenue, Calls for Graduated Income Tax. -Former U.S. Secetary of Ag John Block Speaks at AG-SOLVE PAC Breakfast. -Pesticide Registration (...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for March

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for March.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   -Jerry Costello II Appointed Illinois Director of Ag.   - IFCA Heads to Capitol Hill.   - Cong. LaHood, Sen. Anderson, and Rep Unes Receives IFCA “Friend of Ag” Award. Kessler Receives “Babe Woodyard” Leadership Award.   - Governor Pritzker Budget Lays Out $40.7B Budget Plan.   - IFCA Annual Legislative Breakfast Held in Springfield.   - State to Release First $50 Million of Broadband Expansion Funding.   - New Illinois Ammonia Rule Deadline ...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for November

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for November.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   -IDOA Issues New Dicamba Label for Soybeans in 2020   - IFCA Members Host Legislators at Their Facilities   - Illinois Announces $23.5 Billion Road Plan   - Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton to Retire   - Clean-Up Bill on Marijuana/Employer Rights Heading to the Governor   - Illinois State Rep. Luis Arroyo Accused of Bribing Senator for Bill Support   - Trump Administration Clarifying Application Exclusion Zone   - Consolidation of Suburban and Downstate Police ...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for November

Articles in this month's "News Under the Dome".   -IDOA Issues New Dicamba Label for Soybeans IN 2020 -IFCA Members Host Legislators at Their Facilities -Illinois Announces $23.5 Billion on Road Plan -Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton to Retire -Clean-Up Bill on Marijuana/Employer Rights Heading to the Governor -Illinois State Rep. Luis Arroyo Accused of Bribing Senator for Bill Support -Trump Administration Clarifying Application Exclusion Zone -Consolidation of Suburban and Downstate Police and Firefighter Pension Bill Heads to Governor -Will Impeachment Talks Delay USMCA? -USDA Rules on Hemp Lays Out Path for Producers Moving Forward -White House ...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for April

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for April.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   -Updated Key State Legislative Issues IFCA is Watching This Spring Session   -Removal of Registration and License Plates on Anhydrous  Nurse Wagons & Floaters One Step Closer to Becoming Law   -IFCA Members Educate Lawmakers on Ag Input Industry at Agribusiness Legislative Breakfast    -Measure Allowing Local Gas Tax on Top of State Gas Tax Approved in Committee   -Senate Ag Committee Members Tour Ag Retail Locations   -Share Your Position on Gov. Pritzker's ...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for April

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for April.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   -Updated Key State Legislative Issues IFCA is Watching This Spring Session   -Removal of Registration and License Plates on Anhydrous  Nurse Wagons & Floaters One Step Closer to Becoming Law   -IFCA Members Educate Lawmakers on Ag Input Industry at Agribusiness Legislative Breakfast   -Measure Allowing Local Gas Tax on Top of State Gas Tax Approved in Committee   -Senate Ag Committee Members Tour Ag Retail Locations   -Share Your Position on Gov. Pritzker's Proposed ...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for January

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for January.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   Chris Welch Elected New Speaker of the Illinois House McConchie Officially Elevated as GOP Leader in the Senate Legislation that Moved in Lame Duck Session

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for January

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for January.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   •            Chris Welch Elected New Speaker of the Illinois House •            McConchie Officially Elevated as GOP Leader in the Senate •            Legislation that Moved in Lame Duck Session

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for June

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for June.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   -IFCA's Spring Legislative Session Wrap Up.   -Bill Removing Registration and License Plates on Anhydrous Nurse Wagons and Floaters Heads to Gov. Pritzker.   -Illinois Department of Ag Extends Dicamba Application to July 15th.   -Illinois Passes Constitutional Amendment to Allow a Progressive Income Tax.   -California Bans Chlorpyrifos.   -Illinois Set to Become 11th State to Legalize Marijuana.   -Illinois is Gearing up for Sports Betting and New Casinos.   ...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for March

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for March.  Stories in this month's newsletter: -IFCA Heads to the Hill. -Key State Legislative Issues IFCA is Watching this Spring Session. -Illinois Department of Ag Announces Special Local Needs Dicamba Labels. -Rep. Hammond and Rep. Costello Recieve IFCA/AG-SOLVE "Friend of Agrculture" Award. -Illinois Gov. Sigs Bill Raising Minimum Wage to $15 Hour. -Pritzker Unveils "Bridge Budget" that Relies on New Revenue, Calls for Graduated Income Tax. -Former U.S. Secetary of Ag John Block Speaks at AG-SOLVE PAC Breakfast. -Pesticide Registration (...

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for March

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for March.  This month's newsletter breaks down legislation that IFCA is tracking for the 2021 spring session at the Illinois State Capitol.

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for March

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for March.  This month's newsletter breaks down legislation that IFCA is tracking for the 2021 spring session at the Illinois State Capitol.

IFCA's "News Under the Dome" Newsletter for November

Click Here to read this month IFCA's "News Under the Dome".  It covers Illinois election results, IFCA working Capitol Hill to pass a Farm Bill in lame duck session, and the upcoming AG-SOLVE PAC live auction at the IFCA convention.   

IFCA's Election Summary

Click Here to see IFCA’s perspective on the election and impact on our industry.

IFCA's End of Session Report for Spring 2018

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned last week after passing a $38.5 billion budget.  Also last week Gov. Rauner signed the FY19 budget into law.    The Senate and House will not be coming back to Springfield until after the November elections for fall veto session on November 13.   Click Here to read IFCA's End of Spring Session Report for 2018.   As always if you have any questions regarding national or state legislation, please don't hesitate to email or call KJ Johnson at KJ@IFCA.COM or 309-827-2774  

IFCA's Legislative Breakfast is this Thursday at the Sangamo Club in Springfield.

If the weather keeps you out of the field this Thursday, please feel free to join us for the IFCA Legislative Breakfast at the Sangamo Club in downtown Springfield.  This event is always well attended by legislators and we partner with the Grain & Feed Association and the Seed Trade Association to share agribusiness priorities with our legislators and regulatory officials.  The breakfast begins at 7:15 am.  If you would like to attend, please send KJ Johnson an email at kj@ifca.com. All IFCA members are welcome to come.  

IFCA's Legislative Breakfast Rescheduled To April 19th.

If the weather keeps you out of the field on April 19, please feel free to join us for the IFCA Legislative Breakfast at the Sangamo Club in downtown Springfield.  This event is always well attended by legislators and we partner with the Grain & Feed Association and the Seed Trade Association to share agribusiness priorities with our legislators and regulatory officials.  The breakfast begins at 7:30 am.  If you would like to attend, please send KJ Johnson an email at kj@ifca.com.  

IFCA's Payne Issues Dicamba Reminders

There is now a June 30 cutoff date for the herbicide which cannot be sprayed if there is a residential area immediately adjacent to the field or neighboring and it is down wind on the day you want to spray. The crop also cannot be sprayed if there is a sensitive soybean crop down wind.     “The cutoff date is just meant to bring closure to a season,” Jean Payne explains. “That herbicide performs better the earlier you can apply it on soybeans so I think we really want to promote early application and use of residual ...

IFCA's President Jean Payne Talks with Max Armstrong on This Week in Agribusiness

IFCA President Jean Payne talks to Max Armstrong with This Week in Agribusiness about anhydrous ammonia safety, water quality issues and climate change.  Watch the interview here.

IFCA's Springfield Legislative Update

For an overview of the Springfield legislative session this year, the good and the bad, click here.  

IFCA, GFAI and ISTA Annual "Agribusiness Breakfast and Legislative Update" is next Thursday at the Sangamo Club in Springfield.

Please join the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, and the Illinois Seed Trade Association for it's annual "Illinois Agribusiness Breakfast and Legislative Update" at the Sangamo Club on Thursday March 21 at 7:30am, with a short discussion at 7:45am.  There is still a handful of seats still available.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Leslie at Leslief@ifca.com or call 309-827-2774.  If you will be at the breakfast, we encourage you to call your State Representative and Senator and let them know you will ...

IFCA, GFAI and ISTA Annual "Agribusiness Breakfast and Legislative Update" is this Thursday at the Sangamo Club in Springfield.

Please join the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, and the Illinois Seed Trade Association for its annual "Illinois Agribusiness Breakfast and Legislative Update" at the Sangamo Club on Thursday March 21 at 7:30am, with a short discussion at 7:45am.  There are still a handful of seats still available.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Leslie at Leslief@ifca.com or call 309-827-2774.  If you will be at the breakfast, we encourage you to call your State Representative and Senator and let them know you will ...

IFCA, GFAI and ISTA Legislative Breakfast Next Thursday at the Sangamo Club in Springfield

Please join the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, and the Illinois Seed Trade Association for it's annual "Illinois Agribusiness Breakfast and Lesislative Update" at the Sangamo Club on Thursday March 21th at 7:30am, with a short discussion at 7:45am.  All IFCA members are welcome to join.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Leslie at Leslief@ifca.com or call 309-827-2774.  If you will be at the breakfast, we encourage you to call your State Representative and Senator and let them know you will be ...

IFCA’s Payne: Penalizing Dicamba Applicators a ‘Chilling Effect’

All eyes are on Illinois this season. The No. 1 soybean-producing state holds the distinction of logging the nation’s most dicamba drift complaints – doubling each year over the past three years to reach 724 in 2019 – despite strengthened label restrictions on Bayer and BASF’s dicamba formulations.   Under pressure to bring down those numbers, Illinois Department of Agriculture has introduced a bill, SB2507, that would significantly raise the fines for pesticide misuse in the state.   Applicators, maintains Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, have unfairly borne the brunt of drift fallout. This ...

IFCA’s Recap of 2021 Spring Session in Springfield

Click Here to read IFCA's "News Under the Dome" for June.  Stories in this month's newsletter include:   - Legislation IFCA Tracked this Spring Session in Springfield.   - $42.3B Illinois State Budget Passes Both Senate and House.   - Legislative District Maps Legislation Moves to Gov. Pritzker Desk.

IL General Assembly Faces Stressful Lame Duck Session

State lawmakers have several major issues to tackle in their upcoming lame duck session this week. The tenuous session could face a battle over who should lead the Illinois House, decisions on billions of dollars in budget cuts and potential tax increases, and the drawing of new legislative district maps. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office has indicated the session could last up to January 13th – the day newly elected General Assembly members are scheduled to take office.   Potential bills dealing with criminal-justice reform, police accountability, education and workforce development, economic improvements and health care and ...

IL Governor candidate Bob Daiber calls for dicamba herbicide ban

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Daiber called Thursday for Illinois to join Missouri and Arkansas in imposing a ban on the herbicide dicamba.   “I do not believe there are safeguards in place as of this day to safely use the herbicide in its current state,” said Daiber, who is himself a farmer planting corn and soybeans.   He noted bans on the herbicide’s use in Missouri and Arkansas and said he was concerned about the fact that of 430 pesticide-related complaints filed with the state Department of Agriculture last year, 246 were related to dicamba.   Daiber said ...

IL Governor Signs Voter Access Plan Making Vote by Mail Permanent, Election Day a State Holiday

Illinois' primary election will be moved from March to June next year under a voter access expansion recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.   The new law makes mail voting a permanent option, allows jail inmates awaiting trial to cast ballots and makes Election Day in November a state holiday, among other things. The move is in contrast with other states including Texas that are moving to restrict voter access.   "With attacks on voting rights on the rise in states across the nation, Illinois is proud to stand up for a strong, secure, and accessible ...

Ill. House deals Rauner setbacks, but he wins on 'right-to-work'

The Illinois House dealt Gov. Bruce Rauner a series of setbacks Wednesday by overriding vetoes of measures that represented the Republican's political, as well as policy, disputes with Democrats.   Rauner lauded one victory, a failed override of his veto of legislation banning anti-union "right-to-work" zones.   The lowest point for the governor came when the House voted 112-0 to overturn his veto of a financial reporting measure that had devolved into a political spat with Democratic state Comptroller Susana Mendoza.   The legislation would require state agencies to report to the comptroller monthly on bills they'...

Illinois "Stay at Home" Order; Ag an Essential Industry

The statewide "stay at home" order is effective 5 pm March 21 until April 7.  Essential industries and activities are exempt from the order, including agriculture.  Posted below are the the Illinois order, DHS guidance and a FAQ from the IL Sec of State on changes to driver and vehicle services.  IFCA prepared a template letter for ag activities which is not required to be carried, but can be.    We encourage everyone in the ag sector that does not have essential duties to perform ahead of planting season to follow the order to help curtail the ...

Illinois ag chief says floods, broadband priorities

Jerry Costello II has some decorating to do in his office.   The new director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture still has framed pictures stacked against a wall in his mostly empty corner office in Springfield. You could forgive him, though; he’s been on the job since just last Monday.   Among the few things on Costello’s desk are a family portrait and an old dairy cowbell passed down to him through generations.   “Agriculture is a passion of mine,” he said Wednesday. “It’s something that’s been a ...

Illinois Ag Contributes $120.9 Billion to the State Economy

A new study of agriculture in Illinois shows agriculture is a critical component of Illinois' overall economic well-being, contributing about $120.9 billion of total economic output — more than several other Illinois industries, including the financial, transportation and construction industries.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois ag department firm on dicamba deadline

The Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to keep the June 30th dicamba application cutoff deadline despite producer requests to extend it.   Doug Owens with the department says delayed planting has some farmers concerned but right now the deadline is firm.   “We are not thinking about extending that cut off date. We are monitoring the situation with the weather and we will make determinations as we go.”   Owens tells Brownfield Illinois was the leading state in the nation for dicamba misuse complaints in 2018.   He says the deadline was created to limit drift to sensitive crops ...

Illinois ag department sorting through USDA hemp regulatory framework

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is busy studying the USDA’s new hemp guidelines released last week.   Jeff Cox tells Brownfield there are 170 pages to sort through.   “There’s a few surprises. There are a few things that we don’t quite understand yet. But overall it is what it is so we will continue to determine how it is going to effect our current hemp program.”   For the first year of hemp production in Illinois, Cox says he is mainly hearing positive things from growers, but he does get frequent calls ...

Illinois Ag Department to Extend Dicamba Application Deadlin

The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced today it will extend the deadline for dicamba application on soybeans in Illinois for the 2019 growing season until July 15th.   Ag Director John Sullivan says the decision was not taken lightly but hopes it will provide relief to farmers pressured by planting decisions from extreme wet weather.   Anyone who planted before June 1st will remain subject to the original planting date plus 45 days after dicamba application. Anyone who planted after June 1st will follow the extended July 15th cutoff date.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois Ag Education Expanding Urban, Suburban Reach

Seeking to reach more students, Illinois agriculture educators see opportunity in the diverse student populations at urban and suburban schools. But that opportunity comes with challenges.   One challenge is finding curriculum for students more likely to be interested in food science than food production, and in indoor, even vertical, fields than rolling ones. The Illinois State Board of Education through the Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) is beginning steps to develop an urban-suburban ag curriculum.   The importance of getting diverse students interested in ag isn’t lost on Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside. &...

Illinois Ag Retailers Discuss Dicamba

Illinois has been a hot spot for the dicamba debate in 2018. Injury complaints to the Illinois Department of Agriculture are running 20% higher than during the same period in 2017.   With re-registration of the herbicides approved for use with the Xtend technology pending and off-target movement still being reported, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) felt a survey of custom applicators might provide some helpful clues to assess experiences with post application of dicamba on soybean.   The intent was to give feedback to registrants and other stakeholders on how this technology might be better managed, said IFCA President Jean ...

Illinois approved for $300 federal unemployment benefit

Illinois is one of the last states to apply and be approved for a federal program providing an additional $300 in unemployment assistance per week to qualifying residents.   Gov. JB Pritzker announced this week he instructed the Illinois Department of Employment Security to submit an application “despite serious concerns about the unfairness” of the program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency certified that request on Tuesday.   Funding for the Lost Wage Assistance Program was redirected by President Donald Trump from the agency’s disaster relief fund. That money is typically used to finance the federal government’...

Illinois at heart of U.S. Interstate System

Its neighbor to the east may claim “The Crossroads of America” title, but by nearly any measure, Illinois is the heart of the U.S. Interstate System.   Illinois has the third highest total of interstate routes and mileage. Only New York and California have more I-designated roadways, with 7 million and 25 million more residents, respectively. Only Texas and California routes cover more mileage, though those states are five and three times larger by territory.   And the importance of the routes — many of which were designed to pass through or near Chicago, with its access to the ...

Illinois at the Bottom in Taxpayer Study

No one likes paying taxes but finances tend to be a particularly touchy subject in Illinois. We have a gargantuan budget deficit and a governor intent on various spending cuts to ameliorate that deficit. Unfunded pension obligations mass on our horizon, not to mention a whole mess of Chicago bond debt. But on April 15, National Tax Day, Illinois has yet another reason to be fiscally glum: A new study has name the Land of Lincoln the worst place in America to be a taxpayer. Click Here to read more.  

Illinois avoids credit ‘junk’ heap — for now

Illinois has escaped the immediate pressure of its credit rating being downgraded to “junk” bond status — for now— Moody’s Investors said on Thursday.   Moody’s said the passage of a state budget for the first time in two years “alleviated liquidity pressure and moved the state closer to fiscal balance.”   Lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of a budget package earlier this month — marking the end to a historic impasse that decimated the state’s social service network and public universities. The threat of a &...

Illinois Bill Backlog Keeps Growing

Though the state of Illinois finally got a budget this summer, it still has billions of dollars in unpaid bills, and the amount keeps changing.   According to a review by the Associated Press, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office has been working to pay down the IOUs, but more of them piled up in the last three months. And an additional $9 billion worth of checks are being withheld because the state doesn’t have the money to pay them.   Mendoza’s office says the state could end up paying about $900 million in late payment fees. &...

Illinois bonds fall as budget impasse pushes rating toward junk

Illinois bond prices have dropped as Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers remain locked in two-year stalemate over the government's budget, increasing the chance that it may become the first U.S. state ever cut to junk.   Illinois's 10-year bond yields, which move in the opposite direction as price, have soared to about 5.2 percent, or 3.36 percentage points more than top-rated municipal debt, according to Bloomberg's indexes. Securities due in 2023, the most actively traded Friday, sold for an average yield of 4.3 percent, a nearly half percentage point jump since May 31, the day before S&P Global Ratings ...

Illinois borrows millions for building despite budget mess

Illinois borrowed $550 million Thursday for construction projects, taking advantage of historically low interest rates as the state approaches one full year with a budget.   Gov. Bruce Rauner's office announced the bond sale to Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a bidding process that offered Illinois a 3.74 percent interest rate — the lowest in Illinois history for similarly situated general obligation bonds, a spokeswoman said.   A bond expert noted the entire market is operating amid all-time low interest rates and Illinois could have done better were it in better fiscal shape.   What's worse, much of the ...

Illinois Business Pushes Back on Public Right to Sue Bills

The Illinois General Assembly is considering whether people should be allowed to sue to block regulatory decisions of state government. The state’s business community says that’s dangerous for the economy.   The legislation would change the rules surrounding decisions on things like construction permits. Typically, input on those decisions are limited to a state agency and a business applying for a permit. Anyone who proves they would be “adversely affected” by a project could sue to get its permit revoked.   A number of business groups argue that’ll lead to unnecessary lawsuits. ...

Illinois can follow other states’ lead to $15 minimum hourly wage

As it considers raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, Illinois has a few examples to follow.   Last Wednesday, the Illinois Senate Labor Committee had a hearing on raising Illinois’ minimum wage from $8.25 to $15. There is no agreement on how long the transition would take, or if it should be done uniformly statewide.   Legislation could be sent to the Senate floor as early as Wednesday.   Raising the minimum   This year began with 18 states having new, higher minimum wages.   Of those, eight wage increases were automatic cost-of-living adjustments. The other 10 were the result of specific ...

Illinois casinos, horse racetracks wager their financial futures on sports betting

While the grandstands are still empty at Fairmount Park, horses, with riders mounted, gallop around the dirt track, which is muddy from the previous night’s rain.   There are about 475 horses that train at any one time at the racetrack as they get ready for the 2019 season that starts on April 16. By opening day, 600 to 700 horses will be registered at the racetrack before reaching the 900-horse capacity, said Brian Zander, president of Fairmount Park.   “We should have a total of about 41 racing days, and those should be enough horses for that and we’re actually ...

Illinois Climatologist Hesitant To Mention Drought Yet

Illinois’ state climatologist says it is a little early for drought concerns even as above average heat covers the state.   Trent Ford tells Brownfield heavy spring rains have helped maintain deep layer soil moisture so far this summer.   “And because it was somewhat dry during planting I think, this year especially compared to last year, crops have really established a good rooting depth and so we really haven’t seen the crop stress yet that would come along with many days in the 90’s.”   On Thursday, the US Drought Monitor placed a ...

Illinois Congressman blasts tax hikes to pay for infrastructure plan

As Democratic lawmakers and the Biden administration explore ideas for an infrastructure plan — Rep. Rodney Davis (R., Ill.) is urging them not to raise taxes to pay for it. The White House is looking at a range of options to fund a long-term recovery package, including raising the corporate tax rate and hiking taxes on the highest-earning Americans.   "After we come out of our pandemic — where we need our economic growth to be nuclearized — they're going to open up the tax code to pay for, not just a partial amount of the $3 trillion for ...

Illinois considers applying sales taxes to more services

If you get your nails done at a salon or have your lawn mulched next spring, the service could be taxed under a plan Illinois lawmakers are considering to help fill a multibillion-dollar hole in the state budget.   The idea comes as part of a proposal to increase state revenue tied to a Senate compromise intended to break the state’s two-year stalemate over an annual spending plan. The “grand bargain” stalled last month before the revenue measure came to a vote.   But lawmakers say they’ll keep working on the plan.   Click ...

Illinois considers legalizing marijuana for a fiscal boost

Marijuana advocates are trying to lay the groundwork for Illinois to become the first state in the Midwest and the ninth nationwide to legalize recreational pot, arguing the move will help solve the state's notorious budget crisis.   Two Illinois state lawmakers introduced legislation last week that would allow residents 21 and older to possess, grow or buy up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana and license businesses to sell marijuana products subject to regulation. They say it would help fill Illinois' multibillion-dollar budget hole with $350 million to $700 million in new tax revenue   A national advocacy group, the Marijuana ...

Illinois Corn Crop Forecast 14% Lower Than 2014 Harvest

Illinois’s corn crop is forecast to come in more than 14% lower than last year, in line with the most recent federal projections, according to an average of survey results collected by scouts on a closely watched crop tour.   In Illinois, corn yields were estimated Wednesday at 171.64 bushels an acre, down from the 200 bushels an acre produced for last year, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The projection for this year is above the state’s three-year average of 163.01, and roughly equal to the USDA’s Aug. 1 forecast for the state, which estimated ...

Illinois Corn Crop Forecast 14% Lower Than 2014 Harvest

Illinois’s corn crop is forecast to come in more than 14% lower than last year, in line with the most recent federal projections, according to an average of survey results collected by scouts on a closely watched crop tour.   In Illinois, corn yields were estimated Wednesday at 171.64 bushels an acre, down from the 200 bushels an acre produced for last year, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The projection for this year is above the state’s three-year average of 163.01, and roughly equal to the USDA’s Aug. 1 forecast for the state, which estimated ...

Illinois corn, soybean planting ahead of average

Illinois farmers made expansive planting progress last week pushing both corn and soybean planting ahead of the 5-year average.   Soybeans planted reached 18%, compared to 2% last year and 4% on average. When looking at data from the last decade, this is the most progress made on soybean planting, topping 2012 by 5 percentage points.   The USDA reports as of Sunday, 37% of the Illinois corn crop is planted, compared to 7% last year and the five-year-average of 31%. One percent of the crop has emerged which is three percentage points behind average.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois corn, soybean production drops

Production of Illinois’ two most valuable crops fell by roughly one-fifth last year, according to final crop yield numbers released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   Corn and soybean growers saw production drop 18.6 percent and 20.4 percent respectively compared to 2018.   Farmers harvested just over 1.8 billion bushels of corn, down from more than 2.2 billion the year before. Soybean production decreased from around 667 million bushels to just over 532 million.   2019 was the worst year for corn since 2012, when farmers produced about 1.3 billion bushels. Soybean production had its worst year since 2013, which saw 461 million bushels.   Yield per acre ...

Illinois could lose extra congressional seat, billions of dollars if residents dodge census

The loss of two congressional seats and billions of dollars in federal funding are only two of the problems facing Illinois if it cannot get all of its residents to respond to the 2020 census.   Although the official count does not start for another year, the federal government and state and local governments are ramping up their efforts to make the next census as accurate as possible.   Activists, lawmakers and community leaders around the state, meanwhile, are fighting to address all the factors that might contribute to an undercount.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois Cover Crop Incentive Program Gains Popularity

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has set aside $400,000 for a Prevented Planting Cover Crop incentive program.   Brian Rennecker with the department tells Brownfield the program was created to encourage farmers to maintain good ground cover after a challenging planting season.    “With that you will get a $5 per acre incentive check submitted to you once it has been proven that those cover crops have been planted.”   He says the program covers 75,000 prevent plant acres in Illinois and as of Friday more than half of those acres were spoken for, so he encourages interested producers to ...

Illinois Crops Continue to Look Good

Crops in Illinois continue to look good as August begins.   USDA reporters say the state’s corn is rated 59% good and 17% excellent, with 96% of corn silking, 43% in the dough stage, and 1% already dented.  Seventy-six percent of the soybeans are either good or excellent, with 52% of the beans setting pods.   Illinois farmers are continuing to make hay, with 26% of third crop hay finished, and more than 90% of second crop now stored.  Pastures are rated 44% fair, 29% good, and only 8% excellent.   There are a few dry areas in Illinois, but statewide, topsoil moisture  is 68% adequate and 22% ...

Illinois Democrats have control, but can they get work done?

The Illinois General Assembly convenes this week, ushering in the Prairie State’s third century with historic numbers of Democrats running the show and pent-up demand for action.   Can they get any work done?   Democrats have not surrendered control of either chamber of the legislature for more than 15 years, but progress has been overshadowed by scandals that sent two successive governors to federal prison, backed-up bills and a long-overdue pension debt coming home to roost, and, in the past four years, ideological stalemate with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, which stalled even a basic annual spending plan for ...

Illinois Democrats push back on Trump immigration hard line

Democrats who control the Illinois General Assembly pushed back last spring against Republican President Donald Trump's hardline stance on immigration, aiming to protect Illinois residents regardless of their residency status and, in some cases, firing off direct repudiation of the nation's top executive.   Illinois is not alone. State-level legislation related to immigration increased 110 percent during Trump's first year in office, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures . Many directly dealt with immigrant and refugee rights as well as with compliance with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.   Here's a look at policies Illinois ...

Illinois Democrats Push for Ethics Reform as 3rd Senator Faces Federal Charges

Following the recent scandal that appears to implicate Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, a group of Illinois Democrats announced sweeping ethics reform proposals Thursday.   Democratic lawmakers from both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate believe their proposals would dramatically increase transparency and "take meaningful strides" toward restoring public trust in state government, according to a news release.   Lawmakers released a list of nine steps that relate to the activities of lobbyists, legislators, and General Assembly leadership:   Click Here to read more.

Illinois Dems Pushing for Remap Without Delayed 2020 Census Data

Area residents will get their chance this   week to speak out about how new state legislative and congressional maps are drawn this spring.   But they’ll be speaking about an amorphous concept, because there are no maps to review. There isn’t even 2020 Census data on which to base a map. That isn’t scheduled to be released by the Census Bureau until sometime in late August, the Illinois House redistricting committee was told last week. Normally, that information would be available now, but it’s been delayed because of the pandemic.   That ...

Illinois Department of Agriculture Offers Online Pesticide Training

The Illinois Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the University of Illinois Pesticide Safety Education Program is now offering the option to take pesticide applicator and operator exams online.   All exams are proctored through an exam proctoring service to be compliant with federal certification and licensing guidelines.   “In order to safely test our applicators and operators across the state following IDPH guidelines, we needed to create a mechanism to supplement limited in-person testing,” said IDOA Acting Director Jerry Costello II. “Through partnership with the University of Illinois we are able to offer a safe and ...

Illinois Department of Agriculture seeks $8 million to regulate recreational marijuana, if lawmakers approve it

While members of the General Assembly debate allowing recreational marijuana in Illinois, the state’s Department of Agriculture is preparing for legalization.   The department has asked for $8 million for the costs of regulating the cannabis industry, should lawmakers move ahead with to make drug legal for adults.   “We don’t know what the final bill would look like,” said John Sullivan, director of the Department of Agriculture.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois Department of Agriculture to Offer Free Recycling Program for Agrichemical Containers

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers and agrichemical facilities to save their empty agrichemical containers.  The department announced today it has arranged to recycle them.     Beginning at the end of July and continuing in August, sites throughout the state will collect containers.  The containers will be recycled to make shipping pallets, fence posts, drainage tubing, plastic lumber and other useful products.   Click Here to read more.  

Illinois Department of Labor urges farmers to make safety a top concern

Harvest season is always hectic, but late spring planting this year will mean an especially busy time for farmers over the next few weeks. The Illinois Department of Labor urges farmers not to forsake safety as they race to bring in the 2019 crop.   “Harvest season reminds us how important farmers are to Illinois’ economy and our way of life. But this busy time also brings additional risks to agriculture workers,” said Michael Kleinik, director of the Illinois Department of Labor. “We want farmers to head home to their families safe and sound at the end ...

Illinois Department of Transportation officials break down new gas tax

State transportation officials say this year’s 19-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase means millions more dollars to help fix aging downstate roads.   Illinois Department of Transportation engineers broke down how the money will be distributed for an audience at the Decatur Club during the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday. It was welcome information for business owners and city leaders, who have long struggled with how to pay for rapidly deteriorating roads despite increasing material costs and other budget pressures.   “I supported the gas tax, primarily because I want to see our backlog of roads fixed, ...

Illinois Dicamba Rules Set the Stage for States in 2020

With much of the 2019 soybean crop still in the field, the state of Illinois pushed the 2020 soybean season into the limelight last week.   Late on Friday afternoon, October 11, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced that it has submitted additional label restrictions for dicamba herbicides used with the Xtend cropping system in 2020. Under this Section 24(c) Special Local Need (SLN) label, Illinois growers will only have until June 20 to spray dicamba herbicides in Xtend crops, and cannot spray them when temperatures exceed 85 degrees.   The state's move here forces the EPA to solidify its position on Section 24(c) ...

Illinois DNR Issues Long-Awaited Fracking Rules

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released on Friday a long-awaited plan to regulate high-volume oil and gas drilling that supporters hope could bring an economic boost to Southern Illinois but environmentalists fear may be too lenient.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois Drone Law Extended to Private Operators

Late last week Gov Pat Quinn signed legislation to extended state drone regulations to private craft.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois drought could impact winter wheat crop

Illinois is facing a drought in some parts of the state that could impact its winter wheat crop.   Mark Schleusener, statistician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Illinois, said as of Thursday, 55 percent of the state was abnormally dry or worse.   The southern and western parts of the state have been most affected.   “The southern part of the state is where our winter wheat is grown for the most part,” Schleusener said.   The recent cold snap in the state and much of the country could potentially kill the wheat.   Click Here ...

Illinois election board to consider remapping ballot item

State election officials are expected to consider certification of a proposed ballot measure that would ask Illinois voters if an independent commission should draw Illinois' political boundaries.   The Illinois State Board of Elections is scheduled to take up the proposal Monday. Last month election officials said a group called Independent Map Amendment had enough valid signatures to be listed on November's general election ballot.   However, the proposed ballot question still faces a lawsuit in Cook County that could keep it off the ballot. Oral arguments are expected June 30.   In 2014, a judge ruled a similar effort couldn'...

Illinois Election Day Roundup

Illinois State Wide Races Democrats dominated in Illinois on Tuesday night, winning all statewide offices. J.B. Pritzker defeated Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner (by 14.5 points). Nearly 700,000 more ballots were cast in the 2018 Illinois elections compared with 2014 and J.B. Pritzker may have received nearly all of those votes. Pritzker won the 2018 Illinois governor’s race earning 675,000 more votes statewide than Gov. Pat Quinn did in his failed re-election bid in 2014.   Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul topped Republican attorney Erika Harold for the open attorney general seat. Other Democrats who won re-election statewide: Comptroller Susana ...

Illinois election results offer more evidence of urban-rural divide

Democrats did what was once unthinkable when they flipped two suburban Chicago congressional districts that had been held by Republicans pretty much since World War II. It was territory that produced GOP stalwarts such as Henry Hyde and Dennis Hastert and where, until Tuesday, incumbents had regularly won re-election by 20 percentage points or more. But the Democratic successes didn’t extend south to the farms and small towns of central and southern Illinois, where GOP congressmen held on to two other seats Democrats had targeted, including one in a blue-collar district that was reliably Democratic until just a few ...

Illinois end-of-year budget deficit to top $6B

The state’s budget deficit will top $6.2 billion for the fiscal year through June 30, forecasters for the Illinois General Assembly estimated Wednesday.   In a review requested by Rep. David McSweeney, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability said if Illinois goes a third full year without a budget agreement, the state’s leviathan of past-due bills will hit $22.7 billion. It sat at $14.9 billion Wednesday.   McSweeney, who said, “Illinois is imploding,” released the results to The Associated Press.   “The governor needs to call the General Assembly into special session every day until we ...

Illinois enters 2017 with no state budget

Illinoisans can be forgiven for having a sense of dÃjà vu. The six-month spending plan passed by the General Assembly at the end of June expired at midnight Saturday.   As of now, state lawmakers aren't due to return to Springfield until Jan. 9 for what would be a very abbreviated lame-duck session where outgoing lawmakers could still vote on a new state spending plan and elements of Gov. Bruce Rauner's pro-business "turnaround agenda" if they chose.   The 100th edition of the General Assembly will get started Jan. 11 when inauguration ceremonies are held for ...

Illinois Environmental groups push for lead testing of water in schools

A group of environmental organizations is pushing for a law that requires elementary schools in Illinois to test for high levels of lead in drinking fountains, sinks and other water sources because they say school districts aren’t likely to test without prodding.   Lead, which is particularly dangerous for young children, can cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities and other health issues.   “There’s no safe level of lead that we can give to children,” said Jennifer Walling, executive director of the umbrella organization Illinois Environmental Council and a backer of the bill. “In ...

Illinois EPA plan for $109M haul from Volkswagen emissions scandal draws fire

Rauner administration plans to divvy up a nearly $109 million anti-pollution windfall from a legal settlement with Volkswagen are taking fire from an array of critics who fear the process has been commandeered by business interests.   Environmentalists, public health groups and some state lawmakers claim the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has shut the public out of talks on how to spend the money while drafting a plan largely based on input from big industry.   Click Here to read more.

Illinois Farmer Touts Advantages of 4R Nutrient Strategy

The three Rs have long been seen as the foundation of a well-rounded education. Now some farmers are touting the four Rs as a way to achieve a well-rounded nutrient strategy.   Illinois farmer Grant Strom discussed farmer innovation in adopting the 4R nutrient strategy in a presentation during the 2017 Fertilizer Outlook and Technology Conference held last week in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Dahinda, Illinois, farmer is co-owner/operator of Strom Farms, a corn and soybean operation.   Strom was invited to speak as the 2017 The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) 4R Advocate award winner. The 4R nutrient strategy is the right ...

Illinois farmers still holding out for U.S.-Canada trade deal

There’s still no deal between the U.S. and Illinois’ largest trading partner Canada, but a deal inked with Mexico has farmers in the Land of Lincoln feeling more optimistic.   After months of trade uncertainty following the administration’s scrapping of the North American Free Trade Agreement, President Donald Trump announced late last month a deal with Mexico.   Trump said last week in Montana that he’s winning on trade.   “We have a deal we just made with Mexico that’s a fair deal,” Trump said. “It’...

Illinois Farmers to be Rewarded for Planting Cover Crops Again In 2020

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has announced the return of the “Fall Cover for Spring Savings” program for 2020.   Growers with crop insurance coverage through USDA’s Risk Management Agency are encouraged to plant acres to cover crops in the fall of 2020 followed by an insurable crop in 2021. Eligible applicants then receive a $5 per acre premium discount on verified acres on the following year’s crop insurance invoice.   Illinois Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello says the addition of cover crops though this program helps keep soil anchored, salvage nitrogen, capture carbon and create weed suppression ...

Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association Announces New Board Members

The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) could not hold its popular winter convention in Peoria, Illinois, but with an optimistic start to 2021, the Association held an on-line business meeting on January 20, 2021 and announced its newly elected and re-elected board members. In the meeting, IFCA also reported on the Association’s activities, their 2021 scholarship recipients and provided an update from the IL Dept of Agriculture on pesticide testing. A recording of the IFCA business meeting is available here.   Newly elected IFCA board members are Dustin Ehler and John Swanson. Dustin is with Ehler Brothers Company in Thomasboro, and ...

Illinois FFA fights for funding

The removal of one relatively small line item in the state's proposed fiscal 2017 budget has caused members of the Illinois General Assembly to be visited by one of the most effective lobbying organizations in the state – high school students wearing blue and gold.   “They really love to see our blue-and-gold jackets, and they know, 'Oh, those are FFA members coming through,' said Illinois FFA (which stands for Future Farmers of America) secretary Susie Thompson of Burlington. “It's really cool that we're known for that. But a lot of times all it takes is ...

Illinois General Assembly Completes third Day of Lame Duck Session

Sunday, Jan. 10, was the third day of the lame duck session for the Illinois General Assembly.   Topics on the floor of the House of Representatives at the Bank of Springfield Center included police brutality, COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and protections for frontline workers amidst the pandemic.   During open debate on the floor, Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, was seen collapsed on the ground and was taken away on a stretcher by paramedics.   "We have him in or thoughts. We have our disagreements on many issues but at the end of the day we are a family and let'...

Illinois General Assembly reconvenes for veto session

A busy second day of the Illinois legislature’s veto session, as the chambers voted to override a number of outgoing Governor Bruce Rauner’s vetoes, while dealing with an evacuation at the Capitol Complex due to a bomb threat. Among bills overridden in the Senate, one that adds additional regulations on ride-sharing companies and one that that would raise the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. Those bills now await overrides in the House. But though there’s been a lot of activity so far, experts don’t think it will keep up. Click Here ...

Illinois GOP gains 1 seat in House; Dems gain 1 in Senate

Republicans made a net gain of one seat in the Illinois House while losing one in the state Senate, according to certified official results from the Nov. 3 general election.   Friday was the deadline for the Illinois State Board of Elections to complete its statewide canvass of the election. Just under 6.1 million ballots were cast in the election for a turnout rate of 72.92%, which was about average for recent presidential elections.   In state House races, GOP candidates won four seats that had previously been held by Democrats, but also lost three seats to Democratic challengers.   Click Here to ...

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed 56 measures Friday, upping total from this session to 160

Illinois residents will soon have greater access to mental health services under measures Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law Friday.   Starting Jan. 1, most insurance companies doing business in Illinois will be required to provide their beneficiaries with timely and proximate access to treatment for mental, emotional, nervous or substance abuse disorders.   That means beneficiaries will not have to wait more than 10 bus