State Transportation Secretary Emphasizes Local Government Value to Ag

Illinois agriculture depends on a reliable infrastructure to efficiently move commodities.  But there is much uncertainty about how to pay for infrastructure, according to speakers at the 10th annual Global Logistics Summit held in Bolingbrook, Ill., and sponsored by the ISA checkoff program.  Keynote speaker and Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn told attendees the traditional system of projects being built with 80 percent federal money and 20 percent state or local dollars is likely to go away.  Local spending and alternative financing will be the way of the future.  “Local governments are investing in themselves in ways we haven’t seen before,” he says.  “If you can bring local money to the table to match federal money, that’s going to move projects forward.  It is going to take a package of funding from multiple sources.”  Contact Julie Orchard for additional information.

New Soy Education Program Seeks Young Soybean Farmers

A new American Soybean Association (ASA) educational program, sponsored by Valent, will be held July 10-13 in conjunction with the summer ASA Board Meeting and Issues Briefing in Washington, D.C.  The program will provide a new opportunity for young people interested in improving their understanding of major agricultural policy issues, the importance of advocacy and careers that can impact agricultural policy.  Class size is limited to 6-8 students, and the deadline to apply is June 9.  Students must complete an online application and be at least 18 years old to participate.  Click here for information. 

U.S. House Introduces Bipartisan Biodiesel Tax Credit Bill

A new, bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would reinstate the biodiesel and small producer’s tax credits that expired at the end of 2016 while providing credits to U.S. biodiesel producers rather than blenders.  Specifically, H.R. 2383 would convert the current blender’s credit for biodiesel to a $1-per-gallon production credit for fuels produced in the United States from 2017 through 2020, as well as provide an additional 10-cent-per-gallon credit for small U.S. biodiesel producers.  The goal is to prevent subsidization of foreign manufacturers that bring biodiesel into the United States market for blending.  Read more about the thoughts on this bill from the National Biodiesel Board.

Act Now: Ask Representative to Cosponsor Bill

Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) urges farmers to submit a letter to their representatives to cosponsor the biodiesel tax credit bill.  Visit the Voice for Soy legislative action network to take action now.

Soybean Farmers Support Act to Double Export Promotion Funding

ASA strongly supports new legislation that would double funding for the MAP and FMD programs though the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act.  MAP and FMD are two of the most effective USDA export promotion programs for soybeans, says ASA President and Illinois farmer Ron Moore.  The CREAATE Act calls for phasing in additional annual funding for MAP to reach $400 million in FY 2023, and for FMD to reach $69 million.  Proponents of the act say doubling public funding, coupled with increasing private contributions from 10 to 50 percent, would result in average annual gains in GDP of $4.5 to $6.0 billion.

Illinois Farm Families Reaches Eight Million Consumers

Illinois Farm Families reached eight million Chicago-area consumers from January through April through, social media posts and ads, and first-hand experiences with influencers with discussion centered on farm animal welfare and food labels.  That was a 15 percent increase from the previous four months.  Web traffic increased 62 percent from the same timeframe in 2016, with nearly 50,000 consumers viewing 70,900 pages.  Visit the site to view the current GMO conversation.

ISA Supports IPPA’s 2017 Pork Power Program

The Illinois Pork Producers Association has launched Pork Power for 2017.  The program encourages pig farmers to donate animals or their equivalent market value to Illinois foodbanks as ground pork.  The ISA checkoff program donates as a way to give back to Illinois communities and support top soybean meal customers.  Pigs eat 74 percent of the soybean meal fed in Illinois, according to a United Soybean Board study.  In 2016, Pork Power provided more than 65,000 pounds of ground pork, or more than 260,000 servings, to regional foodbanks.  Individual donations are accepted through July 31, 2017.

Your Best Source of Soybean Management Information continues to be your best source of soybean management information.  It provides one place to gather the latest local soybean intelligence.  The online resource includes tools, podcasts, webinars and articles with local tips and recommendations. Too busy to visit  Sign up for the weekly newsletter to get the latest updates in your inbox each Thursday.

Enter the 2017 Yield Challenge and Find Your Edge

Illinois soybean farmers are encouraged to “find their edge” with the 2017 Yield Challenge contest that kicked off this month.  Farmers can enter the 100-Bushel Challenge, Crop District Contest or Side-by-Side Contest.  New this year is a Double-Crop Yield Contest.  There is no early entry form nor entry fee for 2017.  Details can be found here.

Consider Membership Program Options

To bring farmers the most value possible, Illinois Soybean Growers 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 for more details and to join or renew. 

Become Involved: Participate in ISG’s Political Action Committee

Illinois soybean farmers are invited to participate in the Illinois Soybean Growers 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.

Tweet of the Week

Don’t learn the hard way about fungicide resistance—it can happen to anyone.  Read more from @skporter: