University of Illinois Extension

Illini Farm Report


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Illini Farm Report

Todd E. Gleason

1301 W. Gregory Dr., Rm 75 MC710

Urbana, Illinois 61801

217-333-9697 or


November 21, 2014


Dear Broadcaster:


The Illini Farm Report is for use in your agricultural radio programming slots. You are welcome to run each story "as is," or to lift actualities from it. For your editing convenience, the scripts used for each story are included in this document. If you have any problems with the audio, story ideas, or suggestions for improvements, please call me at 217-3339697.


1          Diesel Mechanics Class Learns to Plow


2          Illinois Land Auctions


3          U.S. EPA Delays 2014 RFS Rulemaking to 2015


4          Turkey Facts (self contained for Thanksgiving Day)



The opinions expressed on the Illini Farm Report are not necessarily those of the program producer, the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences or U of I Extension. Our programs feature a wide range of viewpoints in the interest of promoting awareness and discussion of issues that are important to the agricultural community.


CUT 1 Diesel Mechanics Class Learns to Plow

Chuck Ehler, farmer – Champaign, Illinois

Mark Zigler, Diesel Mechanics Parkland Community College – Champaign, Illinois


A bunch of old farmers had some fun this fall plowing with their old tractors. They also took time to teach a few aspiring diesel mechanics about the art of plowing and how to set up a tractor to do it.


For the better part of a decade Champaign County Farmer Chuck Ehler…



For the better part of a decade Champaign County Farmer Chuck Ehler has invited a few trusted friends to his farm each fall to plow under corn stalks. They bring their old tractors and there old plows.


Ehler :23  This is our annual plow day. Kind of a plowing fever situation…

…and how it is supposed to work.


Or maybe it is better to say, how it used to work. The tractors in the field were at least 40 years old. Some of them twice that age. The plows were in the same range. Ehler says he has been inviting farmers and their machinery to his farm for nearly a decade to turn under the corn stalks.


Ehler :21  They are here to plow and they are here to do the best work…

…old person with them to really educate them.


On that note, the bodies around the farm were a lot younger than the tractors and the plows. That’s because Ehler works with the local community college to give students of diesel mechanics a unique hands on experience. Mark Zigler is the director of that program at Parkland Community College. He says the students learn an important lesson in the history of diesel mechanics.


Zigler :42  They learn the way we used to do things…

…use in their career at some point.


Careers that will have these young men and women cross paths with many farmers and all types of equipment. There is still a lot of old iron out on the farm and it needs to be maintained. Even if it is sometimes for fun as much as for work.



CUT 2  Illinois Land Auctions

Murray Wise, Murray Wise Associates – Champaign, Illinois


There have been many farm land auctions this fall across the corn belt. Todd Gleason has this update on three parcels that sold last week in Illinois (week ending Sat Nov 22).


Farmers are bracing for a break in the price of land…



Farmers are bracing for a break in the price of land. There are serious consequences when the whole of an asset class is devalued. They’ve been watching closing farm auctions this month. Murray Wise has made a living auctioning farm land and held three Illinois sales the third full week of November.


Murray Wise :16  760 acres down in Flora in Clay County…

…and 105 acres in McLean County in Saybrook today.


The McLean County farm brought just over $7000 an acre, but it was apparently not great farm land. Still it is in the middle of central Illinois. Another McLean County sale the same day in the same area auctioned an 80 and a 40. Those brought in the neighborhood of 11 and 13 thousand dollars per acre.


Moving south in Illinois Murray Wise Associates sold 760 acres for about five-point-five million dollars.


Murray Wise :22  The Flora farm had some really exceptional tracts on it…

…just a little over $8000 an acre.


The combination of all these sales tells the CEO of the land auction company that farms are still valuable though only holding their own in a changing market.


Murray Wise :31  The land market in my opinion remains steady…

…but not bubbling with enthusiasm.


There are many more farm auctions this fall, and really it remains to be seen how strong the bidding will be across the Midwest. It may be important to note one of the fund investors present at the Saybrook sale opted not to make a bid.



CUT 3             U.S. EPA Delays 2014 RFS Rulemaking to 2015

Scott Irwin, Ag Economist – University of Illinois


Friday U.S. EPA announced it would further delay rulemaking meant to set usage levels for biofuels in the United States this calendar year. Todd Gleason has more on the announcement and the implications.


U.S. EPA’s Janet McCabe - she’s an Acting Assistant…



U.S. EPA’s Janet McCabe - she’s an Acting Assistant Administrator – Friday signed a document and submitted it for publication in the Federal Register… that’s the paper of record in Washington, D.C. The document says U.S. EPA will not finalize rule making for the 2014 RFS before the end of the calendar year. The agency was supposed to wrap that up at the beginning of the calendar year, but became mired in policy and technical issues related to changes proposed about a year ago.


It now says the 2014 rules will be made before or in conjunction with the 2015 announcement. This delay has implications for the commodity markets – oil, corn, soybeans – says University of Illinois Ag Economist Scott Irwin.


Irwin :16  And what that means is that there will be more pressure on higher ethanol blends...

…or additional bio-diesel or maybe some of both.


This would push the energy sector as a whole to use more corn and soybeans to produce bio-fuels at statutory levels.


Irwin :23  It could mean up to maybe a billion and half to two billion bushels…

…to fulfill those statutory obligations.


Irwin’s personal view is EPA’s decision signals a move by the agency to back away from its attempt to lessen the use of some biofuels through regulatory powers. This would set it on the path towards using the congressionally mandated defaults, the statutory obligations


Logistically, the Friday announcement creates some immediate log jams. RINs certificates related to ethanol produced in 2012 for instance are set to expire. EPA says it will extend the expiration, but that the certificates will be in limbo until a new way to move them can be developed.


So, again the big news    is related to ethanol. U.S. EPA has decided it will not make an RFS announcement for compliance and usage numbers until sometime in 2015.



CUT 4 Turkey Facts (self contained for Thanksgiving Day)


Running Time – 2:02


For University of Illinois Extension I’m Todd Gleason. Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s a list of turkey facts, you might find of interest.


Ben Franklin, in a letter to his daughter, proposed the turkey as the official United States bird.


In 2012, the average American ate 16 pounds of turkey.


The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.


A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.


The male turkey is called a tom.


The female turkey is called a hen.


The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.


Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour.


Wild turkeys can run 20 miles per hour.


Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.


Most of the turkeys raised for commercial production are White Hollands.


It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.


A domesticated male turkey can reach a weight of 30 pounds within 18 weeks after hatching.


Forty-five million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving.


Twenty-two million turkeys are eaten each Christmas.


Nineteen million turkeys are eaten each Easter.


Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clicking noise.


Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attacks.


The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, stew, chili or soup, casseroles, or as a burger.


Have a great Thanksgiving. If you’d like to see more odd Turkey facts visit the University of Illinois Urban Extension’s website at I’m Todd Gleason.