Construction of eco-friendly resort in Arcola may start in spring

RCOLA – A 60-acre resort in Douglas County may begin construction this spring, more than two years after plans for the eco-friendly destination were announced.

Green Mill Village is envisioned to be a hotel/conference center/spa/retail complex located off Illinois 133 and Egyptian Trail Road, just east of the Interstate 57 interchange in Arcola.

After latest blow, a biodiesel tax credit may be months away

DANVILLE – What happens in Washington does affect Main Street, especially Danville's.

Without a tax incentive that expired at the end of 2009, production at the Blackhawk Biodiesel plant, north of Main Street in central Danville, began to slow down. Unless the subsidy is renewed soon, plant managers fear, 30 local jobs could be lost.

Last week, language to renew the subsidy was removed from Senate legislation, adding to the uncertainty that has plagued biodiesel producers since the first of the year.

State raises maximum on loans for beginner farmers

A state loan program for beginning farmers has increased the maximum loan amount available to applicants.

The Illinois Finance Authority's Beginning Farmer Bond Program now allows farmers the chance to borrow up to $470,100, up from $250,000.

Ford-Iroquois 4-H groups set auction to help pay fees

The Ford-Iroquois 4-H Youth Committee and 4-H Foundation will hold an auction next weekend in Buckley.

The auction will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday at Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley. A free pork burger meal and silent auction will start the event, and a live auction will be at 5 p.m.

Local father, son engineers plan energy-smart home

URBANA – The home Ty and Deb Newell are building in Urbana will have enough solar power to heat and cool the place – plus run the car.

Ty Newell, a retired University of Illinois professor of mechanical engineering, has always been interested in solar energy and other green technologies. So he decided to put them to work in creating the Newells' retirement home.

Two area tractors to get exposure on 2010 calendar

Machines from Mahomet, St. Joseph showcased

Meet Ms. (or Mr.) May.

The bright orange, 1960 Chamberlain Canelander hails from Welshpool, Australia, and now resides on the farm of Darius Harms of St. Joseph.

A collector of antique and classic tractors, many of them International Harvesters, Harms said the Chamberlain is one of his favorites.

Wet weather forcing farmers into timeout in the field

CHAMPAIGN – Too many rainy days are frustrating farmers and delaying the harvest this year.

But once crops are out of the field, it's possible this year's crop will be one of the biggest on record in East Central Illinois.

Farmers in area counties can get federal disaster loans

CHAMPAIGN – Farmers in several area counties may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently granted Gov. Pat Quinn's request to designate 58 Illinois counties as natural disaster areas. That designation means farmers in those counties – and 30 contiguous counties – may be able to get federal assistance, including low-interest emergency loans.

Declining dumping-fee revenue dooms recycling effort

DANVILLE – For 10 years, the Vermilion County Health Department has been providing an opportunity for county residents to "go green" through recycling, but for the county, "green" has meant spending money, not making it.

Lynn Wolgamot, Vermilion County recycling coordinator, said people often think the county makes money on recycling, but the opposite is true. In 2007, it cost the health department $207,952 to run the recycling program's seven sites in Danville, Westville, Georgetown, Catlin, Bismarck, Sidell and Kickapoo State Park. The county contracts with ABC Sanitary Hauling of Champaign to keep the bins emptied on a regular basis and process the material at its facility.

15 things to know about upcoming Farm Progress Show

DECATUR – You've been to every Farm Progress Show since you could wear overalls.

This is your first time going to one of the biggest agricultural events in the Midwest.

You're looking for something different to do.