If they build it, field will succumb

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school district will wait for the results of an April 7 referendum on a new high school before deciding whether to plant crops on that land, district spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said.

Illinois offers grants to help raise specialty crops

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture is accepting proposals for federal crop grants to help farmers grow fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Reflections of leaders

We asked our past Farm Leaders about what they intend to plant, what they've learned from their decades of work and how they implement new technology.

Here's what they had to say, starting with our earliest leaders, some of whom have retired:

Kenneth Kesler (1973)

Forward thinker: Farm Leader of the Year Rick Nelson

Growing up on a farm, Rick Nelson came to realize what he liked — and didn't like — about farming.

"I knew I didn't like chores," he said. "I don't like redundant tasks. I don't want to do the same thing today as yesterday."

The daily demands of caring for livestock weren't for him.

Survey: Farmland prices dropped slightly in '14

BLOOMINGTON — A survey indicates Illinois farmland values dropped an average of 1 percent to 3 percent in 2014, and some analysts are expressing surprise they didn’t go down by more.

Farmers not springing into planting yet

PENFIELD — The sun is shining, the snow is melting, but don't look for farmers in this area to start planting for at least another month.

Corn typically gets planted in late April, and soybean planting generally follows in May, said Eric Suits, who farms in northeastern Champaign County.

Villa Grove to add ag education curriculum

VILLA GROVE — A new agricultural education curriculum will be introduced at Villa Grove High School next school year.

Farm bill affecting funding, acreage for conservation

Editor's note: CU-CitizenAccess operates under the

Lower gas prices = more driving = more ethanol needed

DEWEY — Good news at the gas pump is good news to farmers as well.

Darrel Good told those attending the Dewey Bank Annual Farm Seminar Wednesday that government projections forecast an increase of 2 percent to 3 percent in fuel use among U.S. drivers this year. That would mean more corn-based ethanol consumption.

Quite a year for state FFA chief

CHAMPAIGN — Cody Morris spoke at 66 Illinois schools last fall in his capacity as state FFA president.

But nothing on his speaking tour prepared him for the response he got from one high school freshman.