Central Illinois Daily Life Feb. 4 - Feb. 11

Images of events and every day life in Central Illinois as seen through the lenses of News-Gazette photographers.

Homer delays vote on contract with coal mine

HOMER — Village board members will not be voting on a water and sewer agreement with Sunrise Coal tonight, according to Mayor David Lucas.

The special meeting was canceled because work on the contract had not been completed in time to provide adequate opportunity for review by board members and the public, Lucas said in an email.

Illinois Farm Bureau chief warns of threats to agriculture

URBANA — Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson said the farming community must be creative and determined to remain successful despite threats from outside.

Speaking at the Champaign County Farm Bureau's annual meeting Monday at the Holiday Inn in Urbana, Nelson warned that lobbyists representing groups outside agriculture are having an oversized impact on agriculture.

Fair queens compete for state title

The Farmer City, Fisher, Champaign County, Ford, Georgetown, Piatt, Vermilion and Iroquois fair queens are among those competing for the title of 2013 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen this weekend.

The 54th annual Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs state queen pageant runs at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield through Sunday.

Illini Farm Toy Show set to begin Friday in Urbana

URBANA — An annual farm toy show sponsored by young farmers in the area will be held next week.

$5.7 million grant to UI to find ozone-resistant corn

CHAMPAIGN — On an ozone action day, when air quality levels are unhealthy, especially for people with conditions like asthma, even plants feel the stress.

UI prof: Ethanol boom over; biodiesel ramping up

CHAMPAIGN — A University of Illinois professor says the ethanol boom is over, but farmers may soon enjoy the benefits of a boom in biodiesel.

Scott Irwin, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics, said the U.S. will likely need to boost production of biodiesel sharply in order to meet Environmental Protection Agency mandates.

Gates Foundation gives UI $25 million for photosynthesis research

URBANA — In what has been described as a "game-changing" grant, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the University of Illinois a five-year, $25 million grant to fund photosynthesis-focused research that could address global food security challenges in the future.

Andersons completes purchase of grain, agronomy assets

CHAMPAIGN— The Andersons Inc. announced on Monday it has completed the purchase of most of the grain and agronomy assets of Green Plains Grain Co.

The Andersons, based in Maumee, Ohio, already has grain terminals in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Nebraska. Locally, it has grain handling and storage facilities in Champaign and Mansfield.

Corn, soybean prices falling

DEWEY — Corn and soybean prices, which hit record highs in August, have been dropping since then and may fall further, a commodity research analyst said.

"There is still risk downside in prices," Brian Basting of Bloomington-based Advance Trading told about 50 farmers Tuesday at an agricultural seminar sponsored by the Dewey Bank.