China by far biggest buyer of U.S. beans in 2012-13

A roundup of agricultural news:

ST. LOUIS — The results are in, and China was by far the biggest buyer of U.S. soybeans during the 2012-13 marketing year, the United Soybean Board reported this week.

China bought 772 million bushels of beans, far outstripping second-place Mexico, at 98 million bushels, and Japan, at 63 million bushels.

China also was the top buyer of U.S. soybean oil, accounting for another 37 million bushels of beans.

China narrowly edged Mexico in that category, with India ranking third.

Mexico, however, was the top buyer of soybean meal.

The Philippines and Canada ranked second and third, respectively, in that category.

Altogether, the U.S. exported 1.7 billion bushels of soy, valued at more than $28 billion. The value was up 19 percent from the previous marketing year.

The exports represented 56 percent of U.S. soybean production from last year.

Vice president to replace departing state farm bureau president

CHICAGO — Illinois Farm Bureau delegates have elected southern Illinois farmer Richard Guebert Jr. to succeed the organization's longtime president, Philip Nelson.

Guebert, from the Randolph County community of Ellis Grove, has served as vice president for the last 10 years.

Nelson served a decade as president, and the Illinois Farm Bureau limits office holders to five consecutive two-year terms.

Chosen as the new vice president was David Erickson from the Knox County community of Altona in western Illinois.

He's no stranger to ag policy, having served as president of both the Illinois Soybean Association and American Soybean Association.

Acreage applications for USDA program due Jan. 17

CHAMPAIGN — Farmers interested in enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program have until Jan. 17 to submit applications, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Those taking part in the program make conservation enhancements to improve soil quality, soil erosion, water quality and air quality, among other things.

Popular enhancements used by Illinois farmers include:

— Planting of cover crops to break up soil compaction.

— Plant tissue testing and analysis to improve nitrogen management.

— Use of drift-reducing nozzles and lower boom heights to reduce pesticide drift.

Information about the program is available at the service's website, http://www.il.nrcs.usda.gov, or by contacting teams at the local field office.

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