USDA Forecasts Record Soybean Production for 2016

Illinois is expected to be the highest-producing soybean state this year, with an average yield of 60 bushels per acre.  That is significantly higher than the average national yield forecast of 50.6 bushels per acre.  USDA estimates total US soybean production will reach 4.2 billion bushels, which is an increase of 141 million bushels from August predictions.  Illinois production is estimated at about 600 million bushels.
 

ISG Supports Congressional Discussion about Cuban Trade

The Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is pleased the U.S. House of Representatives Ag Committee actively discussed trade, credit and finance issues with Cuba during a recent public hearing in Washington, D.C.   Opening up trade with Cuba remains a priority for ISG, who will continue to support efforts that encourage dialogue about the important market for Illinois soybeans and the poultry that consume protein-rich soybean meal.  While significant progress has been made, requirements for cash in advance for ag commodity sales to Cuba have deterred transactions between the two countries.  ISG believes improved economic trade relations are the foundation for future success between the two countries.  ISG staff and board members have visited Cuba to meet with top officials eight times, with future visits planned. Their insight has been shared with Illinois legislative and business leaders.
 

U.S. Government Files Trade Complaint Against China

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a complaint this week with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China for its excessive government support provided for wheat, rice and corn production.   China must accept or reject this request for consultation within approximately 60 days.  If rejected, the U.S. could request a dispute settlement panel, which could take one to two years to finish.  Soybean producers could be affected if trade relations are compromised because of the trade complaint.
 

ISA Participates in International Trade Team Activities

It's harvest time, and a busy time for international trade teams who want to view U.S. soybean production.  Last week, a Chinese crop tour team was in Illinois visiting farmers and the ISA office.  This is a team that comes every year to scout out the potential harvest as well as ask best practice and risk management questions.  Another team from Latin America representing seven countries also was in Illinois to discuss biotech traits and the advantages and disadvantages of growing non-GMO soybeans.
 

ASA to Review Bayer/Monsanto Deal for Potential Impact

ASA responded to an announcement this week that Bayer and Monsanto have signed an acquisition agreement for Bayer to purchase Monsanto.  ASA President Richard Wilkins, soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del., noted, “With respect to any merger and acquisition affecting soybean farmers, ASA is concerned primarily with how these affect the farm input costs, as well as how they impact innovation, research and competition in the marketplace.  ASA intends to closely analyze the potential impacts to provide comments to the companies and U.S. regulatory authorities that must approve any acquisition, including the Justice Department.  ASA will evaluate how the acquisition would impact research and product development, innovation, offerings to farmers and competition.  If our analysis identifies concern, ASA would urge divestiture where competition is significantly impacted or disapprove of the merger.”
 

Poultry Export Investments Build Markets

Because chickens and turkeys eat more than half the soybean meal produced in the U.S., the ISA checkoff program invests in key export markets through the U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).  ISA-supported projects target markets with the most growth potential and fewer restrictions on U.S. poultry exports, including Mexico, Peru, United Arab Emirates, Korea and Singapore.  Supporting technical programs and promotions increases U.S. exports.  For example, USDA data show U.S. poultry exports to Mexico have increased about 68 percent since 2010.
 

Voice for Soy Advocacy Engagement Doubles

The ISG Voice for Soy legislative action network is making a difference in 2016.  Compared to previous years, advocacy engagement has nearly doubled. That means more letters and calls are being made to legislators and regulators about issues important to Illinois soybean farmers – from the Renewable Fuel Standard to GMO labeling.  New text message action alerts have made it easier for farmers to make their voices heard.  ISG Voice for Soy Advocacy Champions – a group of standout farmers who personally encourage others to take action - ramped up engagement on key action alerts to more than 40 percent.  If you haven’t done so, register here to start taking action with Voice for Soy.
                                                           

Help Turn up the Volume with ISGPAC

As the 2016 general election season is in full swing, Illinois soybean farmers are invited to turn up the volume with the Illinois Soybean Growers Political Action Committee (ISGPAC).  ISGPAC provides farmers with strong involvement in political races, and a direct pipeline to tell senators and representatives about the issues that matter most to Illinois farmers:  transportation efficiency, expanding animal agriculture, worldwide market access support, plus biodiesel, trade, energy, taxes and agricultural research.  Farmers can directly 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.  To contribute, click here or contact Judy Smith at 309-808-3612 or smithj@ilsoy.org.
 

Ammonia Safety Certification Classes Begin Next Week

Illinois law requires anyone who handles ammonia or works on ammonia equipment to be trained at least once every three years by attending an Illinois Department of Agriculture approved training program.  The course schedule includes Sept. 19 in Bloomington, Sept. 20 in Rock Falls, Sept. 21 in Galesburg, Sept. 22 in Springfield, Sept. in Charleston and Oct. 12 in Bloomington.  The course will cover the properties of ammonia, proper use of personal protective equipment, how to safely transfer product, safe transportation on the road, emergency response and first aid.  On-line registration is no longer available, but you can download the registration form and more details by going to the IFCA website or by calling 309-827-2774 to register.  All classes begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude with lunch at noon.  Free ammonia equipment workshops to supplement the training will be held Oct. 4 in Effingham, Oct. 5 in Bloomington and Oct. 6 in Mendota.  Please call 217-782-3817 to reserve a seat. 
 

ASA Seeks Scholarship Candidates

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is looking for applicants for its Soy Scholarship.  The $5,000, one-time award is presented to a high school senior who plans to pursue agriculture at any accredited college or university in the 2017-18 academic year.  The scholarship is managed by ASA and made possible through a grant by BASF Corporation.  High school seniors may apply online now through Nov. 21, 2016.  The student must be a child or grandchild of a current state affiliate and ASA member, maintain successful academic progress and be in good standing with the college or university to receive the full amount of the scholarship.  Final selection will be made in December during the ASA Board meeting.  The student will be notified prior to an official announcement made during Commodity Classic in San Antonio, March 2-4, 2017.  More information is available here.
 

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Tweet of the Week

#SoyEnvoy Adam Day explains the value of tissue testing: http://ilsoy.co/2bVzb0a