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8:00 am | Illinois Corn Growers Association Annual Meeting
9:30 am | Farm Assets Registration Desk Opens
10:30am | The Supply Chain Wants You - premiums & contracts
Angie Slaughter, Vice President Procurement - Anheuser-Busch InBev
Rickette Collins, Sr. Director Global Supply Chain - McDonald's Corporation
Ken Dallmier, President and COO - Clarkson Grain Company
Noon | Lunch
1:00pm | Trade, Tariffs, Grain Flow and the Farm Economy
Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois
Jonathan Coppess, University of Illinois
Bruce Sherrick, ILLINOIS TIAA Center for Farmland Research
2:00pm | Break
2:30pm | WILLAg Commodity Marketing Panel
Sue Martin, Ag and Investment Services
Pete Manhart, Bates Commodities
Bill Mayer, Strategic Farm Marketing
Merrill Crowley, Midwest Market Solutions
Wayne Nelson, L and M Commodities
Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois
As the trade conflict with China continues, prices for many agricultural commodities remain relatively low. Illinois corn and soybean prices dipped to new lows in September, coinciding with the latest rounds of tariffs.
The difference between selling an entire crop at spring forward bid prices compared to the September average cash prices makes a substantial difference in income on an average central Illinois grain farm.
University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Gary Schnitkey reviews how this plays out on a 1700 acre corn and soybean farm in Illinois this year, and what the prospects look like for next year.
Last Tuesday President Donald Trump made a campaign trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa. There he told a very excited crowd his administration would be backing corn farmers and ethanol.
The President leaned into the mic and gave corn farmers a little insider news they’ve been clamoring to hear since U.S. EPA pronounced gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol would be ok to use in all cars made since 2001, “We are a little bit early. I shouldn’t say it now, but we are going with E15 year-round.”
Mr. Trump is a little early. Today E15 can be used about 9 months out of the year in much of the nation. During those other three months, the summer months, it has been prohibited. U.S. EPA will need to write some rules about how to make the year-round use happen. Those will need to be approved, and clearly the oil industry will mount court challenges.
If all goes well more corn will be used to make ethanol for E15, but it won’t make a difference in the balance sheets for corn says University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin, “Not for this year and I am confident not for next year.”
So the E15 announcement, while a long run win for corn ethanol, rings a little hollow. The Administration’s other big farm country biofuels problem is EPA’s use of the Small Refinery Exemptions or SRE. The good news here, says Illinois’ Irwin, is that ethanol usage has been holding strong despite EPA letting some refineries out of the mandate to produce gasoline blended with a home grown fuel like ethanol made from corn.
However, there is a problem with oil pressed from soybeans to make biodiesel says Irwin, “And the total amount of biodiesel, because of the Small Refinery Exemptions, has probably gone down at least 10 percent. So, there has been real demand destruction from the Small Refinery Exemptions, but it is in biodiesel and not ethanol.”
US EPA has through November to announce its final decisions related to the volume of biofuels it will require in the nation’s gasoline supply in 2019. It may or may not include some guidance on how it expects to use the Small Refinery Exemptions going forward. So far, it has said it will make no comment on that point.