Corn Growers Association Pleased with New Trade Agreement

Corn Growers Association Pleased with New Trade Agreement

October 7 – Illinois corn farmers are reacting positively to new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The new North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and its neighbors Canada and Mexico should be finalized next month.

Illinois Corn Grower Association President and corn farmer Aron Carlson says corn farmers send more than half of their crop out of state and that Mexico is an important market. “A lot of our exports that actually come out of Illinois do go to Mexico, so it’s important to keep those outlets or options or customer in play,” Carlson said.

He said the reaction from Illinois corn growers has been very positive and that news of the new deal delighted farmers. “It’s definitely going to be a positive,” Carlson said. “The market did react in a positive way for both corn and soybeans as soon as the deal was done.”

It’s been a tough year for Illinois corn growers. The weather has been soggy all summer leaving fields muddy during this fall harvest. Corn prices have dropped 13 percent this year and so have corn exports to China. Carlson said news of this deal has him hopeful that movement on trade with China could be next. “Yeah, we really would love to have the trade agreement worked out with China,” he said. “It gives you a little hope that maybe we can get something done on China, too, as we move forward that there is an honest effort going on.”

Last year, Canada and Mexico imported $3.2 billion of U.S. corn products, and Mexico is the leading importer of American corn. The new deal eliminates the worry that Mexico would go elsewhere to buy corn. Details of the pact were finalized by the White House and could be signed by all parties by the end of November.

Harvest Off to a Healthy Start in Illinois

Harvest Off to a Healthy Start in Illinois

September 23 – Crops are maturing more quickly in Illinois this year compared to 2017, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The agency’s most recent Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report estimates that 75 percent of the corn crop was mature by Sept. 16, compared to 37 percent last year. The average over the last five years was 47 percent.

The report estimates that 87 percent of soybeans had begun turning color by Sept. 16, while 67 percent started changing color by that time last year. The average over the last five years was 62 percent.

About 12 percent of corn and 4 percent of soybeans have been harvested so far, above the seasonal average, the agency said.

“There’s not much harvested in the southern part of the county, the Glasford and Elmwood areas — they’re just getting started,” said Patrick Kirchofer, manager of the Peoria County Farm Bureau. “They’ve probably been running for a week or so in the Brimfield and Princeville areas.”

The recent hot and dry weather is perfect for harvesting, Kirchofer said. A naturally dried crop is more profitable because it doesn’t need to be heated at a grain elevator.

“Ideally we want those soybeans to dry down to 13 percent moisture, that’s the perfect moisture it will harvest,” said farmer John Ackerman. “The corn depends on what the value of the crop is. When it gets down to around 20 percent it’s time to drop the flag and start going.”

Ackerman said he believes farmers are going to have a good yield this year.

“I think we are way ahead of the game,” he said. “I think we are a week ahead of where we should be.”


Illinois Department of Ag Helps Veterans and Active Military get in to Agriculture

Illinois Department of Ag Helps Veterans and Active Military get in to Agriculture

November 10 – The Illinois Department of Agriculture is inviting veterans or current active duty service members to participate in the Homegrown by Heroes program, which is for veterans who are interested in a second career in Illinois’ number one industry, agriculture.

The Homegrown by Heroes program allows Illinois farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and producers who have served or are still serving in any branch of the U.S. military to use a special logo on the agricultural products they sell to the public.  This special designation sets these farmers apart in the market, allowing these heroes’ products to be visible to consumers while giving them the chance to tell their story.

“There are great job opportunities in Illinois agriculture.  If someone dreams of being a farmer, rancher, or producer, we want to help fulfill those dreams,” says Agriculture Director Raymond Poe.  “Various statewide organizations work together to provide a unique opportunity that assists veterans interested in pursuing a second career in agriculture.”

“Since 2011, almost 5 million of our military’s servicemen and servicewomen have come from rural communities throughout the USA.  As these veterans return home, they bring with them an opportunity to employ their discipline, passion and sense of service to revitalize America’s small farms and rural communities.  We commend the Illinois Department of Agriculture for continuing this wonderful program and assisting our Illinois Heroes,” said Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Erica Jeffries.

The Homegrown by Heroes program is a free program for veterans.  Participants must renew their certification annually at no cost.  To be eligible for the program, the veteran must provide proof of service, a letter of support from their commanding officer or a designated representative, and must maintain 50-percent or greater ownership in the business or operation.

For those who qualify, the Homegrown by Heroes Illinois Product logo can be used to identify and market their Illinois grown and Illinois made products on packaging, signage, websites, and social media or wherever their items are being sold.

The Department of Ag’s partnership with various agencies and organization, such as the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Farmer Veteran Coalition, the Illinois National Guard, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Illinois Farmer Veterans Alliance, training and education also are components of the initiative, which will make informational resources available to veterans who want to begin farming in the state.  These programs will, among other things, develop mentorships between experienced farmers and veterans and identify community land access that benefits beginning farmers and saves municipalities’ maintenance costs. It also helps them locate farmers’ market opportunities and partnerships, assist veterans in developing value-added products, and foster relationships with retailers and food service organizations.


To Apply:

o  Step 1:  Register with the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)
Apply for FVC Membership;
Register with FVC Homegrown by Heroes

o  Step 2: Register with the Illinois Department of Agriculture
Complete the Homegrown By Heroes Products Logo Application

Veterans can provide their certificate or certification letter from Farmer Veteran
Coalition to the IDOA as verification that they have been certified as a veteran to
use the HBH label.

ADM, COFCO Sign Agreement to Export Soybeans to China

ADM, COFCO Sign Agreement to Export Soybeans to China

November 9 – A statement released Thursday says that Archer Daniels Midland Company and the COFCO Group participated in a signing ceremony that was witnessed by President Donald Trump, and President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, on Thursday in Beijing, China.

This memorandum of understanding, which was signed by both ADM and the COFCO Group, which is China’s largest food processor, manufacturer and trader, for the export of U.S. soybeans into China, is a strong example of the two countries’ increasingly productive and mutually beneficial trade relationship. The U.S. and China are the world’s two largest producers and consumers of food, and together, both countries play a key role in helping to achieve food security not only for their respective populations, but for the globe.

ADM and COFCO are pleased to continue advancing agriculture as a basis for ongoing cooperation and collaboration between our two countries, and creating a foundation for a stronger overall bilateral relationship in the years ahead.

ADM to expand sweetener and starch footprint in Western Europe

ADM to expand sweetener and starch footprint in Western Europe

March 27 – Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) announced today that it has been granted exclusivity in relation to the proposed purchase of Chamtor, a French producer of wheat-based sweeteners and starches.


“After adding to our sweetener and starch capabilities in Eastern Europe, we are continuing to execute our strategy by expanding in Western Europe,” said Pierre Duprat, president, ADM Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Seventy percent of the European starch and derivatives market is in Western Europe. Chamtor is located in the heart of the European wheat belt, and is perfectly positioned to efficiently serve Western European sweetener and starch customers, particularly in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.”


Chamtor, founded in 1992, produces glucose, starch and proteins from wheat. The company, which is currently owned by Vivescia Industries, is located in Reims, France, and has about 210 employees.


In 2015, ADM purchased full ownership of corn wet mills in Bulgaria and Turkey, and a 50 percent stake in a wet mill in Hungary. Last year, the company acquired a sweetener and starch facility in Morocco, and announced expansion plans for the Turkey and Bulgaria plants.


“One of the key elements of our strategy to grow shareholder value is the expansion and diversification of our global sweetener and starch capabilities,” said Chris Cuddy, president of ADM’s Corn Processing business. “With our significant and growing footprint, we are looking forward to efficiently serving sweetener and starch customers throughout Europe.”


Under French law, the signing of an acquisition agreement is contingent upon informing and consulting with relevant employee representative bodies. Subject to that process, ADM is targeting completion of the sale, which requires regulatory approvals, by this summer.


Source: Business Wire

Luciano says U.S. Grain Industry can continue to lead in feeding the world

Luciano says U.S. Grain Industry can continue to lead in feeding the world

March 20 – U.S. agriculture can continue to feed a growing world and meet consumer demand for healthy, nutritious foods by leveraging new technologies, expanding research and development, attracting top talent, and working with governments to shore up critical infrastructure.


This was the message Juan Luciano, chairman and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM), brought to the National Grain and Feed Association in a keynote address Monday in New Orleans.


Luciano said his confidence stemmed from the central role U.S. agriculture has played in improving the human condition in recent decades. “Led by the U.S., the world has been able not only to feed a population that has increased by 5 billion since 1950, but also to feed the world a better diet,” he said.


He noted that global poverty had fallen faster in the past 20 years than at any time in history, and that the global infant mortality rate in 2015 was about half the 1990 rate.


He cited several global trends with broad implications for the agriculture and food industries: the emergence of China and India as economic forces rivaling the U.S.; growth in consumer demand for nutritious foods; and rapid technological innovation, which has led to the widespread use of sensors and satellite imagery in precision farming.


Luciano proceeded to suggest several ways the industry could help feed a global population of 9.6 billion people by 2050 and serve as a provider of nutrition and health, and not just as a supplier of consumer goods.


Expanding research into yields and drought resistance; deploying emerging technologies; and investing in inland waterways, bridges, roadways and other infrastructure would help meet the need for greater crop volumes, Luciano said.


He added that the industry would need to continue innovating to develop new products that meet consumer demand for foods that promote health and wellness. Ongoing technological advances—including increases in computing capacity and cloud storage—may ultimately usher in a new era of “personalized nutrition” as the food industry develops better functional ingredients that target specific health issues, Luciano said.


In terms of public policy, Luciano noted that the industry must make the case that trade in agricultural products is not a zero-sum game. “Climates, crop seasonality, and the impact of weather patterns make trade essential for feeding the world, for the health of global economy, and for farmers worldwide,” Luciano said.


Finally, he noted that continued investment in innovation, research and development, and young talent were essential for the industry’s long-term success.


“Working together, we can ensure that U.S. agriculture will continue the transformational, life-altering gains that have made our world a better place, a more humane place—a place of hope, promise and shared prosperity,” he concluded.


Source: Business Wire

ADM expands animal nutrition capabilities with new Chinese facilities

ADM expands animal nutrition capabilities with new Chinese facilities

March 13 – Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) announced today that it is continuing to expand its Animal Nutrition footprint in China with the construction of a new feed-premix facility in Xiangtan, in Hunan Province, central China, and the addition of aquaculture feed production lines at its existing Nanjing complex in Jiangsu Province, eastern China.


“One of the main pillars of our strategy to increase shareholder value is enhancing our footprint in areas of growing demand,” said Brent Fenton, president, ADM Animal Nutrition. “Population growth and higher disposable incomes are continuing to support increased animal protein—and thus animal feed—demand in China. Our new Xiangtan feed-premix facility—our fifth animal feed plant in the country—will position us to continue meeting this increased demand in the central part of the country, and the addition of four aquaculture feed lines at our Nanjing plant will offer us entry into the growing Chinese high value specialty aquafeed market.”


The Xiangtan plant will have the capacity to produce 120,000 metric tons annually of premix, concentrate, animal-complete, and fish-complete feeds. It will be strategically located to supply products to customers in three provinces in central China: Hunan, Hubei and Guangxi. The facility will employ about 120 people. The aquaculture lines in Nanjing will be capable of producing 50,000 metric tons of extruded and pelleted feeds during the six-month aquaculture season that runs from April to September. ADM is targeting completion of both projects in early 2019.


The new plants will add to ADM’s network of animal nutrition facilities in China; the company operates premix facilities in Dalian and Tianjin in the northern part of the country, as well as the Nanjing facility in eastern China and the company’s new plant in Zhangzhou, in southern China, which is expected to be complete by summer 2017.


Source: Business Wire

Rose: Central Illinois can be bioprocessing world leader

Rose: Central Illinois can be bioprocessing world leader

March 13 – State Senator Chapin Rose knows about central Illinois’ potential to grow jobs and be an industry leader and now he is sharing that potential with state leaders.


Rose invited Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Sean McCarthy, and local chamber and economic leaders for a tour of ADM’s James R. Randall Research Lab, the Midwest Inland Port, and the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Lab (IBRL) in at the University of Illinois Monday afternoon.


Rose says it’s important to let state and city leaders know what the I-72 corridor has to offer so they can spread the word about the potential.


“Having the two directors here today is a big deal; the goal here is to raise the profile so when they travel all over the world – to trade shows or anything else – they are thinking of the I-72 corridor,” Rose says.  “They need to be thinking about what’s here in Decatur already, but also what the IBRL in Champaign can mean to this industry.”


Rose says the bioprocessing sector has the potential of creating up to 20,000 jobs and it’s important that central Illinois competes for them.  Rose says Decatur and Champaign have their own advantages with the IBRL lab in Champaign and the production and shipping capacity in Decatur.  Putting them together is a greater benefit.


“When put all of the resources together you have something that no one else in the world has,” Rose says.  “I want these guys to know what we have on I-72.”


“Chapin is on the right track and this is definitely something the Department of Ag is really interested in,” Poe said.


“We are always interested in growing jobs within the state so I’m excited to see what this area has to offer,” McCarthy added.


The group heard from ADM Vice President of Process and Chemical Research Dr. Paul Bloom about some the company’s research into renewable materials and bioproducts.  Recently, ADM and DuPont created a new monomer called FDME, which can be used in a number of packaging products.


Rose and State Senator Andy Manar have filed legislation in Springfield that would provide tax credits for companies who invest in the bioprocessing industry in Illinois.


“I’m taking every chance I can get to show off what we have here,” Rose said.

UPDATE: Law Enforcement searching Caterpillar Peoria offices

UPDATE: Law Enforcement searching Caterpillar Peoria offices

March 2 – UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: CAT has released the following statement:


“On March 2, 2017, law enforcement authorities entered three Peoria-area Caterpillar Inc. facilities, including the corporate headquarters, to execute a search and seizure warrant. The warrant is focused on the collection of documents and electronic information. Caterpillar is cooperating with law enforcement.


While the warrant is broadly drafted, we believe the execution of this search warrant is regarding, among other things, export filings that relate to the CSARL matter first disclosed in Caterpillar’s Form 10-K filed on February 17, 2015, and updated in Caterpillar’s most recent Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 15, 2017.”


2 p.m. update: Law enforcement has been ordered to seize any financial documents related to the Caterpillar’s Switzerland business, CSARL.


According to a warrant signed by a Central District of Illinois Judge, law enforcement was ordered to seize any documents “regarding the movement of any products between the United States and Switzerland and/or CSARL or any other foreign country.”  The warrant also called for seizure of documents related to sales outside of the U.S., and any documents related to CSARL.


Law enforcement is searching the downtown Peoria AB building, the East Peoria AD building, and an office in Morton, IL.


The Peoria Journal Star reports this investigation “appears” to stem from revelations about the company’s tax strategy in a lawsuit filed in 2009.  A CAT employee alleged the company sold and shipped spare parts globally from its warehouse in Morton while attributing more than $5 billion of those profits to a unit in Switzerland.


Original: Law enforcement officials are searching various Peoria-are Caterpillar facilities this morning.


Information is limited at this time, but CAT is acknowledging the presence of law enforcement.


“Law enforcement is present in various Peoria-area Caterpillar facilities executing a search warrant,” CAT U.S. Media Relations Manager Corrie Scott stated.  “Caterpillar is cooperating.”


Sources say Internal Revenue Service special agents were seen entering the building and another law enforcement vehicle on scene belongs to the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security Office of Export Enforcement.


This story will be updated.

Uncertainly looms in Illinois ethanol industry

Uncertainly looms in Illinois ethanol industry

February 26 – Ethanol production in the United States is at record levels right now, with billions of gallons being produced annually, according to David Loos, Director of Research and Business Development for the Illinois Corn Growers Association.


However, despite gains in the industry, there’s still uncertainty in its future.


Loos said the ethanol industry is producing about 16 billion gallons per year; and in the state of Illinois, production capacity has increased the last three years.  Right now, there’s almost two billion gallons of ethanol capacity in the state, Loos said.


Ethanol exports are becoming increasingly important in the industry.


Loos said that’s where the uncertainty lies.


“What’s China going to do? What’s Mexico going to do with potential ethanol exports, and obviously with the new administration in D.C.? That’s presenting some opportunities and uncertainty,” Loos said.


President Donald Trump has spoken harsh words about both China and Mexico publicly in terms of trade, but Loos said many people in his industry remain optimistic about the administration.


“He said everything that we wanted him to say during the campaign when he was in Iowa, that he would support ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard and we feel there is a lot of opportunities with this new administration,” Loos said.


Loos said ethanol has a total economic impact of $5 billion a year in Illinois.


“It’s a strong economic engine in Illinois, it’s very important in agriculture and very important to corn growers in Illinois,” he said.


Source: IRN News