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BLOOMINGTON – When Congressional leaders and the White House settle differences about farm legislation, they're likely to end up with a bill that's greener – but not leaner – than current farm programs.
EAST PEORIA – Some of the best soil in the world washes into the Illinois River every day, where it clogs shipping and recreational channels.
Elsewhere in Illinois, developers pay good money to have soil dug out and moved by trucks to their sites.
THOMASBORO – Ask horse owners how many bales of hay they have stored to get their animals through the winter, and they usually have no idea.
But they know one thing: It's never enough.
That's a huge worry this year, because a cold snap in April and dry weather last summer damaged hay crops all over the Midwest, and hay is in short supply.
SIDNEY – Ken Thurman – everyone around here calls him Kenny – lives in the only farmstead on a stretch of road locals call the Sidney-Philo blacktop.
Just look for the green-and-yellow John Deere mailbox.
URBANA – Dan Basse says he's not as optimistic about the future for corn and soybean prices as he was six months ago.
This from an analyst and president of Chicago-based AgResources who predicted a year ago that corn prices would top $4.
DEWEY – Maynard Birkey says the 2007 harvest at Fisher Farmers Grain and Coal and at other elevators went about as smoothly and quickly as possible.
BLOOMINGTON – Nearly everyone concerned calls the law that expires today "the farm bill."
SEYMOUR – What goes around comes around, and when word spread in Seymour about Bill Young's health problems, Mark and Jim Nibling knew exactly what to do.
They started organizing, and on Monday, neighbors drove combines to Young's 100-acre cornfield to take out the crop in a matter of hours.
GIBSON CITY – Farmers met under the Freehill family's trees last week to share lunch and compare notes at the start of harvest.
Jim Freehill, who farms with his father, Mike, and brother, Ken, said the family just started harvesting corn Wednesday and he has one thing to say about yields.
LeROY – Appraisers all over the state who track the value of farmland say market prices are up again, and they're in the $6,000-an-acre range in the central part of the state.
LeRoy-based farm manager Tom Wiggins said what he sees in the local market agrees with estimates recently released by the Illinois Society of Farm Manager and Rural Appraisers.