POTOMAC – Maris Huls grew up in the livestock business, but she has questions about a beef cattle operation that is set to be built near her property in Middlefork Township.
"I think it's going to devalue my property," Huls said. "I agree that agriculture and the beef industry has taken a hit, but I think there needs to be some questions (answered)."
ROYAL – When Walker Filbert and other Pike County leaders started making plans to build an ethanol plant at Griggsville, the fuel enhancer made from corn was selling for less than $1 a gallon.
But four and a half years later, that price has nearly quadrupled, ethanol is the talk of the market, the Pike County project has expanded to a site at Royal in Champaign County and planners are ready to break ground this spring, after they wrap up a few details, at a 62-acre site just north of the JBS United elevator .
BLOOMINGTON – University of Illinois scientists who know farmers will plant more corn next year are touring the state to talk about that and other issues they face.
URBANA – A popular Iowa State University agricultural meteorologist says the Midwest is overdue for a serious drought.
But Doane Advisory Services market economists say corn prices, which got a substantial boost last year from the hot ethanol market, will remain relatively high even if that drought doesn't materialize and yields are high in 2007.
URBANA – Potential prices of both corn and soybeans depend heavily on what farmers do in their fields this spring.
Illinois Farm Bureau analyst Jim Gill, speaking to farmers attending the 95th annual Champaign County Farm Bureau meeting, linked planted acreage directly to market prices that got a jolt Friday when government crop counters reduced both the size of the 2006 crop and the size of corn stocks on hand in the country.
SPRINGFIELD – A new Illinois law requires state agencies to buy vehicles that can run on environment-friendly fuels.
"This bill will help further the progress we've made in recent years in building one of the largest green fleets in the nation," said a statement from Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who signed the measure on Friday. "By using biofuels to fuel our state cars and trucks, we're helping the environment and supporting our farmers."
CHAMPAIGN – A final government harvest report Friday sent corn markets into a frenzy.
"Markets have gone crazy," said Brian Stark, a grain buyer at The Andersons, who was right in the middle of the action at the elevator northwest of Champaign. "They're up the limit."
RANTOUL – The village of Rantoul has selected an engineering firm to conduct an independent environmental audit of the former Chanute Air Force Base.
Village Administrator David Johnston said a committee of department heads selected Burns & McDonnell, of Downers Grove, to study the conditions of the property since the base closed in 1993.
ELLSWORTH – Corn is finally out of the fields on top of the Bloomington moraine, and residents can see how dramatically their horizon is changing.
ROSSVILLE – Brian Andrews parked his moldboard plow in 1978, and he hasn't used it since.
Andrews, who farms near Rossville, was one of the first farmers in Vermilion County to try no-tilling corn and soybeans to help save the soil and money spent on fuel.