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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Laughing, Learning, & Singing with Chili Peppers

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Laughing, Learning, & Singing with Chili Peppers
Chuck Voigt (retired), Extension Horticulture - University of Illinois Susan Belsinger, Culinary Herbalist - Brookfield, Maryland Sue Arnold, Central Indiana Herb Society - Indianapolis, Indiana

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On a bright snowy Saturday in Urbana, Illinois about 300 herb enthusiasts gathered for the 17th time. Todd Gleason has more on the annual Herb Day.

Herb Day is kind of a party lead by Chuck Voigt…
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Herb Day is kind of a party lead by Chuck Voigt. He just retired from University of Illinois Extension. He’s always smiling and singing.

Nat Sound Singing

Chuck invites his friends to come to the “party” and then gets people to pay to see them, but for oh so much more.

Voigt :15 …such a good time. That’s been the goal.

Quote Summary - I like to think that is knowledge that is presented in a way that is so much fun, that it is like you are going to school, but you don’t know it because you are just having such a good time. That’s been the goal.

This year Chuck invited culinary herbalist Susan Belsinger to heat things up…

Nat Sound Belsinger Introduction

…she writes books, and columns, and blogs about food and herbs.

Belsinger :29 …slaw with hot chili peppers and seasonings of the southwest.

Quote Summary - I’m going to teach them all about chili peppers. I’m going to tell them about growing and harvesting chili peppers. And I am going to teach them about fresh versus dried. And I am going to make two of my most favorite recipes. One is a southwestern black bean and sour cream chipotle dip. And the other one is an escabeche, which is like a cabbage slaw with hot chili peppers and seasonings of the southwest.

It’s a mesmerizing day with gardeners and aspiring chefs alike just waiting for next nugget to write down. Sue Arnold is from Indianapolis.

Arnold :12 …Always learn more and you can here.

Quote Summary - Very practical, useful herbal things. I am a diehard herby person and want to learn more. Always learn more and you can here.

Voigt :16 …the most positive light imaginable.

Quote Summary - It is such a positive experience and positive interaction with the university people, and with people I bring in. It shows my department, my college, and the whole university in, I think, the most positive light imaginable.

It is the Land Grant experience. That part of the mission that expects practical knowledge to be passed on to the people so they might use it for pleasure and commerce.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Smaller Winter Wheat Crop in 2016

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Smaller Winter Wheat Crop in 2016
Darrel Good, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

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USDA’s Winter Wheat Seedings report showed a lot fewer acres were sown last fall than most had expected. Todd Gleason has this review of the report and its potential consequences for corn and soybean acres across the nation.

Farmers in the U.S. are believed to have planted…
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Farmers in the U.S. are believed to have planted about thirty-six-point-six million acres of wheat last fall. It’s nearly two-point-three million acres less than the year earlier and second smallest number of wheat acres in the United States since 1913 says University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good. And he says it is where those acres are missing, and not missing for that matter, that will make a difference for corn and soybean farmers in the coming year. Nebraska farmers planted a record low number of hard red winter acres, while farmers in the rest of the corn belt states actually increased winter wheat seedings. First, here’s what Good thinks this will mean for the size of this year’s winter wheat crop, and then we’ll look forward to other crops.

Good :23 …be 17 million bushels larger than the 2015 crop.

Quote Summary - Assuming that winter wheat seedings are actually near the January estimate of 36.609 million acres, that 80.6 percent of the planted acreage is harvested (29.507 million acres), and the average yield is near the trend value of 47 bushels per acre, the 2016 crop would total 1.387 billion bushels. Production at that level would be 17 million bushels larger than the 2015 crop.

Obviously, actual production could differ substantially from the projected level based on current calculations. The biggest factor, says Darrel Good, will be weather conditions.

Good :29 …March 31 Prospective Plantings report.

Quote Summary - There is always uncertainty about weather conditions, but expectations that the strong El Nino event will diminish into the spring of the year increases the level of uncertainty. Based on similar conditions historically, the greater risk for unfavorable weather conditions appears to be for the summer months, after the winter wheat crop is harvested. The next estimate of winter wheat seedings will be available with the USDA’s Prospective Plantings report to be released on March 31.

The Prospective Plantings report will provide important information for spring planted crops as well.

The sharp decline in winter wheat seedings has stirred some debate about how planting decisions for spring planted crops will be influenced if prices remain low. Some argue the decline in winter wheat seedings is an indication producers will idle crop acreage in 2016. Others suggest the winter wheat acreage reduction opens the door for increased acreage of spring planted crops. Good says he’ll take up the possibilities and provide further analysis of potential crop acreage in 2016 in a forthcoming farm doc daily article. You may watch for it on the FarmdocDaily website.

Thinking Critically About How Organic Foods Sell

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Thinking Critically About How Organic Foods Sell
Brenna Ellison, Agricultural Economist - University of Illinois

Organic food products are sold widely in the United States. The context in which these products are sold give them unique attributes from the consumer perspective. Todd Gleason has more with a University of Illinois agricultural economist on virtues, vices, and shelf space of organic foods.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Transitioning to Organic Grain Production

Transitioning to Organic Grain Production -playlist

Monday, January 11, 2016

Tight Year for the Pork Industry

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Tight Year for the Pork Industry
Chris Hurt, Agricultural Economist - Purdue Univeristy Extension

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It’ll be another tight year on the farm for pig producers this year. Todd Gleason has more from Purdue University.

Profit margins last year weren’t so great…
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Profit margins last year weren’t so great for hog farmers. That’ll be the case again in 2016 thinks Purdue University Extension Agricultural Economist Christ Hurt. There are many causes for the tight margins. First and foremost, the meat case will be filled with the competition. Beef production is expected to be up by about 4 percent this year, and poultry producers are putting on an additional 3 percent over last year and that’s just in the United States says Hurt.

Hurt :17 …pork production in competitive countries.

Quote Summary - The global marketplace is also casting shadows on the U.S. pork industry with weak income growth in some countries that buy our pork and a strong U.S. dollar that encourages more pork imports and stimulates pork production in competitive countries.

There are a lot of hogs around the planet, this despite the cautious one percent growth expected in the United States. Still, the most recent USDA Hogs and Pigs report suggest some let up in the big numbers. USDA’s inventory projections point to a 5 percent market supply increase last December, but also suggests this should begin to taper off with the New Year. First quarter supplies suggested by the USDA inventory would be up about one percent, but weights are expected to be down, so total first quarter pork production may be unchanged to up one percent if USDA inventory numbers are accurate. Using the USDA inventory numbers, second quarter pork production would be down one percent for the spring months says Hurt.

Hurt :37 …unchanged to one percent higher than last year.

Quote Summary - What about summer and fall pork production? Pork producers indicated to USDA that they would reduce farrowings this winter by two percent with farrowings unchanged in the summer. If so, pork production would be down one percent in the second quarter unchanged in the third quarter and up one to two percent in the fourth quarter. Thus for 2016, production would be unchanged to one percent higher than last year.

For the year then, says Hurt, live weight hog prices may average in the upper $40 range. This is $10 lower than last 2015 and it could result in some losses.

Hurt :40 …now that is similar to what we had in 2015.

Quote Summary - My 2015 costs of production estimate for farrow-to-finish production was $51 per live hundredweight. A modest reduction to $50 cost is expected for 2016. The slight reduction is due primarily to lower soybean meal prices that will be the lowest since 2007. Margins are expected to be negative for the year with an average loss of about $4 per head. This is similar to what happened in 2015.

The bottom line is that the pork industry has already expanded enough to drive prices back below costs of production. The beef and poultry sectors are also expanding which means more abundant meat and poultry supplies in 2016. Retail meat and poultry prices will need to move lower to move these larger quantities says Hurt. He also says the strong U.S. dollar and weak non-U.S. economic outlook likely mean trade prospects could be an additional factor weakening hog and pork prices.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

MarketMaker to Connect Illinois Farmers Markets

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MarketMaker to Connect Illinois Farmers Markets
Janie Maxwell, Executive Director - Illinois Farmers Market Association
Dar Knipe, National Market Maker - Riverside Research

A University of Illinois developed online database and marketing tool for farmers has matured into an independent business. MarketMaker is now working to better connect food to consumers through the Illinois Farmers Market Association.

Ag Policy & the Bourbon Trail

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Ag Policy & the Bourbon Trail
Jonathan Coppess, Agricultural Policy Specialist - University of Illinois http://policymatters.illinois.edu/holiday-spirits-notes-from-the-bourbon-trail/ http://kybourbontrail.com

University of Illinois agricultural policy specialist Jonathan Coppess traveled the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and thought about how agricultural policy brought it into being.

Using Social Media to Market Locally Grown Foods

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Using Social Media to Market Locally Grown Foods
Andy Larson, Local Food Systems - University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension Educator Andy Larson talks about using social media like Facebook and Twitter to build a clientele base for locally grown foods and Know-Your-Farmer campaigns.

Farmer Ken Steffen Uses Social Media

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Farmer Ken Steffen Uses Social Media
Ken Steffen, Steffen Melon Farms - Tangier, Indiana

Monday, January 4, 2016

Food & Agriculture Road Map for Illinois

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Food & Agriculture Road Map for Illinois
Leland Strom, Director FARM Illinois

Up next a plan to make Illinois and the Chicago region into a leading global hub for food and agriculture innovation. We’ll learn about FARM Illinois from Todd Gleason.

The FARM part of FARM Illinois is an acronym…
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…with you and your listeners.



The FARM part of FARM Illinois is an acronym. It stands for Food and Agriculture Road Map. It is an organization chaired by the immediate past president of the University of Illinois, Bob Easter. The goal is to make Chicago, and the rest of the state into a global hub for agricultural innovation by laying out strategic recommendations for how the food and agriculture system can improve health, contribute to the economy, create jobs, employ new technologies, preserve the environment, adapt to a changing climate, and help underserved communities. Leland Strom is the director of Farm Illinois. I asked him why now…

…with you and your listeners.