The Illinois State Board of Education has awarded four and half million dollars to University of Illinois Extension. The money will be used to help with the state’s school lunch program. The Board will use Extension to provide foodservice training and education to about 4000 school lunchrooms. Family & Consumer Sciences educators will create and deliver training on child nutrition standards and the cafeteria environment. The $4.5 million, three year effort starts in January with a monthly webinar series. A web training portal will follow in March. Schools interested in training can also contact Extension for onsite customized sessions and technical assistance says University of Illinois’ Jennifer McCaffrey.
Commodity traders are generally thinking last week’s EPA RFS rule making will cause more bushels of corn to be turned into ethanol next year. Todd Gleason reports University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good is more doubtful.
Since the 1960’s farmers have been using herbicides to control weeds. Frankly, herbicide formulations haven’t changed that much and the weeds have managed to find ways to adapt. Todd Gleason has this four step plan from the Univesity of Illinois to control them in corn or soybeans.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to comply with the letter of the law as it pertains to biofuels. Todd Gleason reports this could be a boon for biodiesel made from soybeans.
EPA this week announced it would force oil companies to find more ways to use renewable fuels. This is something the oil industry has resisted saying it was too difficult to use much more than the ten percent ethanol blend already found in gasoline. This is called the blend wall and is actually less than the total number of gallons of renewable fuels congress mandated be used in 2016 when it originally wrote the law.
Since not all cars can burn greater than 10 percent ethanol in gasoline, and the amount of gasoline used in the United States is less than the renewable fuels mandate required by law, there is a renewable fuels gap left…something like a billion and half gallons. EPA hasn’t moved to force oil companies, yet, to find a new ways to fill that whole gap, but it closed it up big time and that’ll leave companies scrambling says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin.
Quote Summary - And so, the really interesting question is what will fill the gap. Will it be higher ethanol blends, E15 or E85 or biodiesel.
There’s an easy answer to this question says Irwin.
Quote Summary - At least for the next couple of years, biodiesel. Soybean oil prices since the low last August are up 25% and soybean prices are up just 3%. And meal has tanked over that same time period. One way or another it is beneficial to ag. Either I’m wrong and you get more ethanol in the form of E85 or you get more biodiesel with soybean oil and other animal fats.
The market is and has been for sometime forecasting the next winner in the biofuels industry and it appears at this point to be biodiesel made mostly from the soybean.
Farmers and their bankers can get a jump on just how much income to expect from the ARC County program next fall. Todd Gleason has more on how NASS county yields can be used to anticipate the payments.
Farm income is down dramatically. It means farmers will be going to bankers for production loans this winter. Those loans will be used to plant next season’s crops. The bankers will be looking for every clue they can to help them make solid lending decisions. One source of income they’ll want to calculate comes from the farm programs. However, the ARC County payments won’t be figured until the fall.
It is possible to estimate these payments by substituting NASS county yields for the FSA computed yields says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey, "So, there are likely to be 2015 ARC County payments, but this will depend upon county yield levels. FSA calculates those yields, but not until the autumn of 2016. However, we can use NASS yields to come up with a pretty good estimate of the FSA county yields. NASS will release its yields in February of this year. This will give us a pretty good feel for the 2015 ARC County payments because we’ll have a pretty good ideas of what the FSA county yields will look like."
NASS county yields do vary from the FSA numbers, but not by much. NASS calculates yields by dividing production by harvested acres. These are both numbers the agency collects via a statistical estimate. FSA uses a different calculation. FSA adds to acres the RMA failed acres. Therefore, FSA yields will most always be less than NASS yields. NASS county yields, then, will provide a conservative estimate of the ARC County payment.
Monday the United States Environmental Protection Agency put forward the rules mandating how much of each type of renewable energy can be used in the nation’s liquid fuel supply. Just a few minutes after the announcement Todd Gleason spoke with University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin about the new numbers.
Scott Irwin believes the U.S. EPA in this rule making is moving swiftly towards the congressional mandated volumes for ethanol and other renewable fuels.
Six commodity groups and the administrator of the USDA FAS took the stage in Kansas City last week in support of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Use the the three stripes in the upper left hand corner of the video above to choose a statement to watch.
Farmers battling herbicide resistant weeds are running out of control options. University of Illinois Extension Weed Scientist Aaron Hager has this four step recommendation. You may read detailed information of his four step weed control plan online.
Darrel Good - March 2016 corn futures have traded in a sideways pattern, with a range of about $0.95 over the past year, about $0.40 over the past four months, and about $0.15 over the past three weeks. The current price is near the low end of that range. A broad sideways price pattern is expected to continue through the winter months. A test of the high side of the price range will likely require a threat on the supply side, either in South America this year or the U.S. next year.
USDA will update corn supply and demand figures next Tuesday (November 10, 2015). Reports on ethanol usage are due this month, and the Grain Stocks report in January will provide a feed usage guidepost for demand.
There are some big differences between the farm crisis of the 1980’s and the current situation in middle America. Then, as now, commodity price had slumped after soaring for a few years. The price of farmland had skyrocketed, too, just like now. However, unlike today interest rates were high and farmers were deep in debt when the price of farmland finally bottomed 42 percent below its high. Gary Schnitkey wanted to know what would happen today in that kind of worst case scenario. So he ran the numbers.