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