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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
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Two days with the Illinois Corn Growers

Posted by Russel Higgins -

For the last two days I had the opportunity to attend the Illinois Corn Growers board meeting in Bloomington. It was very educational to hear reports from across the state, and also how the drought is affecting other areas of agriculture. One of the guest speakers shared a report of the navigability of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers for barge traffic. It was shared that currently at Memphis Tennessee the river is nearly 8 ft. below the normal level. The Corp of Engineers attempts to maintain a 9 ft. depth in the channel, increasingly challenging with the lowered water level. In several areas barge traffic is limited to a single direction.

For those who have heard about the poor crops in Southern Illinois, visit the August 23rd Southern View blog entry authored by my co-worker Robert Bellm. Robert is a commercial agriculture educator at the Brownstown Agronomy Research Center.

Not the way we want to take corn out of the field!

For those considering cover crops in the fall of 2012. Farmers will have the option of haying or grazing cover crops this fall and winter without affecting their next-season's eligibility for crop insurance. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the new policy on Wednesday, along with a modification of emergency loans that will allow livestock producers to access money earlier as they face historically high feed prices.

According to Wednesday's announcement, USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) will file special provisions statements to allow farmers to plant cover crops this fall for use as hay or forage without risking crop insurance coverage in 2013. Also, USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) will make changes to the emergency loan program that will help producers obtain loans prior to the end of the production cycle. Previously, loan eligibility was based on crop losses determined after the season, with loans based on production during normal years.

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