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A Publication of WTVP

The Peoria County Farm Bureau hosted a Farmers Share of the Food Dollar breakfast March 23 at the Farm Bureau building.

The cost was 45 cents, and included two pancakes, two sausage patties, two eggs, a glass of orange juice, and a glass of milk. 

The whole hog sausage was even locally grown and processed, and the 500 people attending the breakfast went home full. Along with a complete breakfast, they were also made aware of the American farmer’s ability to provide the safest and most affordable food in the world.

As of mid-April, farmers have basically been on the sidelines wanting to plant the 2002 crop. A very cool start to the Spring season and some rain showers kept Peoria County farm equipment in machine sheds.

Corn is usually the first crop planted, and soil temperatures need to reach 50 degrees before germination. Soybeans generally require higher soil temperatures of around 60 degrees for proper germination.

Most farmers prefer to get their corn crop planted by the first week of May, but will begin planting in early April if weather permits. If corn planting is delayed past the first week of May, yields can suffer.

As a general rule, a bushel of yield is lost each day planting is delayed between May 10 and 20. The yield loss per day increases after May 20, and corn planting is often abandoned if delayed past the middle of June.

Soybeans, on the other hand, have a much wider window compared to corn.

Farmers can plant their soybeans from April to June and may not see any significant yield difference.

On the legislative front, farmers have a definite interest in the next farm bill that’s been debated for several months now by Congress.

The last farm bill began in 1996 and concludes this year. The farm bill addresses issues such as commodity loan rates, counter-cyclical payments, payment limitations, and conservation programs. It covers corn and soybeans, as well as crops grown outside the cornbelt, including cotton, peanuts, and sugar beets.

The Peoria County Farm Bureau expressed an opinion in the area of ownership of livestock. A Senate amendment was proposed which would ban packer ownership of livestock. The Farm Bureau sent a letter in support of this ban. Illinois Farm Bureau policy states: "We oppose packers owning livestock before slaughter with the exception of producer-owned closed cooperatives."

The farm organization feels reasonable steps need to be taken to preserve competition in the marketplace. A ban of packers owning livestock would create opportunities in animal production.

If a new Farm Bill isn’t signed this Spring, an emergency bill will likely be passed, which would basically be a continuation of the 1996 bill. IBI

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