ISA Helps U.S. Hams Lead Exports to Mexico

The ISA checkoff program investments in U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) efforts in Mexico helps keep U.S. pork in a dominant position.  U.S. hams were the highest-volume export item to Mexico through 2016.  Company-specific marketing strategies by USMEF have increased pork sales.  For example, BAFAR, Mexico’s third-largest processor, promoted U.S. hams in 17 regions.  And, new products like U.S. pork bacon-ham, skirt from brisket and U.S. “pork wings” – a new product made from pork shank that competes with chicken wings – also drive sales growth.  In Illinois, pigs consume 74 percent of the soybean meal fed.  Growing demand for U.S. pork also grows soybean demand.
 

ISB Seeks Soybean Farmers Intererested in United Soybean Board Nominations

The Illinois Soybean Board (ISB) is looking for farmers interested in filling one of Illinois' four director positions with the United Soybean Board (USB).  Gary Berg, soybean farmer from St. Elmo, Ill., is eligible for another term.  Any soybean farmer who is affected by the soybean checkoff is eligible to serve. 
To be considered for the national leadership position, famers must complete the required application and "Agreement to Serve" statement and return them to the ISA office by Feb. 20.  The ISB Board of Directors will submit to USDA a "first preferred choice nominee" and "first choice alternate nominee”
for the open position.  The Secretary of Agriculture will make final appointments, and the chosen individual will begin serving a three-year term in December 2017.  Each individual appointed is eligible to serve a total of three terms.   For more information about USB, visit www.ams.usda.gov/lsmarketingprograms. To download the application and "Agreement to Serve," visit www.ilsoy.org/_data/files/isa/USB/USB%20Forms.pdf. 
 

B20 Club on Stage at 2017 National Biodiesel Conference

A panel discussion highlighting B20 Club successes will take place Jan. 17 during the National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego.  Conference attendees will learn how this partnership between the ISA checkoff program and the American Lung Association of Illinois creates champions for B20 biodiesel blends.  Panelists include representatives from Chicago Parks District Department of Natural Resources, Indigenous Energy, City of Moline, American Lung Association of Illinois and ISA.
 

Register to Attend Seminar Featuring National Record Yield Breaker

Randy Dowdy, U.S. record yield breaker for corn and soybeans, will lead a free seminar in Bloomington, Ill., Jan. 20, hosted by the ISA checkoff program and sponsored by the Illinois Corn Growers Association, FS InVISION and FS HiSOY.  The seminar is titled “Maximizing Yield while Optimizing ROI: Randy Dowdy Shows How.”  Dowdy is the 2016 national soybean yield record holder at 171.8 bushels per acre.  In 2014, he was the national corn yield record holder at 504 bushels per acre.  In 2016, Dowdy placed first in the no-till/strip-till irrigated corn category with a yield of 521 bushels per acre. The seminar will be held at the Parke Regency Hotel & Conference Center from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. with lunch.  Growers may talk with Dowdy and ask questions about approaches he takes to increase yield.  To register for the event, please click here or call 888-826-4011. All attendees will be registered for the day-long seminar and lunch.  Space is limited to the first 200 registrants, so register today.
 

2017 See for Yourself Application Period Open

The 2017 See for Yourself application period is open through April 1.  The United Soybean Board is looking for applicants for this year's program.  Ideal candidates must be at least 18 years of age and relatively unfamiliar with the state and national soy checkoff programs, but eager to learn more.   Interested farmers can apply here.  Contact Jillian Baker with any questions at 314-746-1902.
 

Soybean Summits Bring Latest Tools and Tips to Farmers

The ILSoyAdvisor.com Soybean Summits will bring valuable management resources to local farmers this winter.  Funded in part by the ISA checkoff program, the 2017 Soybean Summits will be held Feb. 3 in Effingham at the Thelma Keller Convention Center and Feb. 16 at the Peoria Civic Center, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.  These free events will update soybean farmers and others about the latest management techniques that can lead to higher soybean yields and greater profitability, while also protecting the environment through sustainable practices.  Full agendas for the Effingham Summit and the Peoria Summit are available.  Seating at each location is limited, so register online today at ilsoy.org/summit or call 888-826-4011. The registration deadline for Effingham is Jan. 20 and for Peoria is Feb. 2.
 

ISG Members Invited to Annual Meeting Next Month

All ISG members are invited to attend the ISG Policy Session, Feb. 10, at the ISA office in Bloomington, Ill., from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.  The purpose is to allow ISG members and the ISG Board of Directors to review current American Soybean Association (ASA) resolutions for changes and amendments that will be presented at Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, in March.  The resolutions are available for viewing at www.ilsoygrowers.com by clicking on "Download 2016 ASA Resolutions" at the top of the home page.  You also may contact Judy Smith at 309-808-3612 and she will email you the file.  Also pursuant to Article 3, Section 3, of the ISG Bylaws, notice is hereby given that the annual meeting will be held Feb. 10 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the ISA office.  The purpose is to provide reports on association activities, approve the acts and deeds of the directors and staff, and to transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting.  ISG members are invited to attend lunch from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.  RSVP to Dustin Scott at 309-808-3603 by Feb. 1 if you plan to attend. 
 

Commodity Classic Registration Discount Ends Next Week

Only a few days remain to take advantage of early registration discounts for the 2017 Commodity Classic, March 2-4, in San Antonio.  Jan. 12 is the last day discounts will be in effect.  Registration fees vary depending on number of days attended.  Full registration covers all three days of the event.  One-day registrations also are available.  All registration and housing reservations should be made online at www.commodityclassic.com.  A detailed schedule of events is also available on the website.
 

USDA Simplifies Cover Crop Reporting

The Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are simplifying cover crop reporting with shared guidelines and a common form.  Previously, cover crops fell into an awkward situation with USDA considering them a farmer’s primary crop and the following corn or soybean crop a double crop.  FSA’s new cover-crop-reporting system offers farmers four choices: cereal/grasses, legumes, brassicas or mixes.  Also new for 2017, farmers may have livestock graze cover crops or harvest them for forage without FSA counting that as a crop.  Farmers need to report cover crops by one of the applicable reporting deadlines: July 15 for spring-planted crops and Dec. 15 for fall-season crops.  Contact local FSA, RMA or NRCS offices for details.
 

Conservation Stewardship Program Offers New Funding

USDA currently is accepting initial applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a national program that rewards farmers for protecting and enhancing natural resources on their working lands.  CSP funding includes expanded options for conservation activities and an increased minimum payment to help smaller-scale producers.  Interested farmers should visit their local NRCS office and fill out ashort form by Feb. 3 to take advantage of this opportunity.
 

Conservation Cropping Seminars Offer Soil Health, Nutrient Management Tips

Illinois farmers may attend one of three Illinois Department of Agriculture seminars this month to learn more about innovative soil and water conservation practices.  The one-day seminars will feature local producers and resource experts who will share information and personal experiences on soil health improvement options, cover crop success and nutrient management techniques.  The events will be held Jan. 24 in Rockford, Jan. 25 in Jacksonville and Jan. 26 in Carbondale.  The cost to attend each seminar is $20 per person or $10 per student, and lunch will be provided.  The deadline to register is Jan. 10.  Online registration is available at http://www.ccswcd.com/.
 

NREC Nutrient Workshop Coming to IFCA Annual Convention

The IFCA annual convention and trade show will be held Jan. 17–19 at the Peoria Civic Center.   Convention highlights include training for certified crop advisers (CCAs), a regulatory workshop, weed management tips and lessons learned and more.  The Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) will host a workshop Jan. 17 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  The $35 registration fee includes lunch.  Join other farmers and retailers to hear the latest updates on farmer-funded nutrient research and how Illinois farmers are moving the needle on water quality. CCA credits are available.  More details and registration information is found at www.illinoisnrec.org and here.
 

ILSoyAdvisor to Host Webinars This Month

The ISA checkoff program's ILSoyAdvisor will host a webinar, Jan. 24, from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.  Join Chris Kamienski, Monsanto technology development representative, and Lance Tarochione, Monsanto technical agronomist, to discuss the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System for soybeans.  The webinar will review seed and herbicide product use and stewardship and weed control options in soybeans.  One continuing education unit (CEU) in pest management is available. Sign up here.  Another webinar will be held Jan. 25, from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.  Fred Below, professor of crop sciences at the University of Illinois, will review “The Six Secrets of Soybean Success," a concept for producing high-yield soybeans he evaluated from 2012 to 2016.  Six Secrets demonstrates how farmers can put technologies together for increasing yields through intensive crop management.  Below will review his supplemental nitrogen in soybeans research as well.  One CEU in crop management is available.  Sign up here.
 

Crop Sciences Scholarship Applications Due Feb. 1

Students entering their junior year of college in Illinois next fall and studying crop sciences or a related major are encouraged to apply for the ISA checkoff program crop sciences scholarship. The scholarship is offered each year in coordination with the Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA) Foundation, and is open to students studying at one of the state's four agriculture universities: Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, University of Illinois and Western Illinois University.  For more information, visit www.iaafoundation.org/Scholarships or contact Angel Terrell at 309-808-3600.
 

Nominate a CCA for Soybean Master Adviser Award

Do you know an experienced Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) who focuses on soybean management? Nominate him or her for the first Soybean Master Adviser award, presented by the ISA checkoff program.  The award is part of ISA’s effort to recognize CCAs for their contribution to soybean production in Illinois.  Any Illinois CCA whose certification is active and who is interested and involved in soybean management can be nominated. The award will be presented at the ILSoyAdvisor.com Soybean Summit in Peoria, Feb. 16.  Nominees will be reviewed by a panel of ISA board members, Illinois CCA board members and university professionals.  Nominations are open until Jan. 15.  Visit ilsoy.org/master_adviser to learn more and fill out the nomination. 
 

Help Turn up the Volume with ISGPAC

Illinois soybean farmers are invited to turn up the volume with the ISG Political Action Committee (ISGPAC).  ISGPAC provides farmers with strong involvement in political races, and a direct pipeline to tell legislators about the issues that matter most to Illinois farmers:  transportation efficiency, expanding animal agriculture, worldwide market access support, biodiesel, trade, energy, taxes and ag research.  Farmers directly can support legislators who take a leadership role on soybean priorities and policies.  ISGPAC helps nurture those relationships and keeps key contacts in office where they work for the industry's best interests.  Visit ISGPAC or contact Judy Smith at 309-808-3612.
 

Consider New Membership Program Options

To bring farmers the most value possible, ISG now has two membership options: policy membership and informational membership.  Membership in ASA is included with both options.  Contact Judy Smith at 309-808-3612 or 888-826-4011 to join or renew.  Policy membership keeps farmers informed and involved with added discounts and benefits.  A one-year membership is $150 and a three-year membership is $300.  ISG informational members simply supply name and email address to receive the Soybean Weekly Update sent via email and the Illinois Field & Bean magazine.  
 

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Tweet of the Week

Record yield breaker Randy Dowdy is giving a seminar in Bloomington Jan 20, join us! http://ilsoy.co/2hImrKI