2024 Spring Farm Magazine

Page 2 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024

Page 3 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Table of Contents 04: A new day, a new season... What lies ahead for Logan County farms 08: Farm Bureau Ag Scholarships help shape the future of young agricultural leaders 12: Understanding El Niño and La Niña Phenomena and Their Impact on Central Illinois Weather 18: Producers will need a watchful eye on budgets and costs in 2024 20: SB 2668 an important strategy for protecting Illinois farms 26: Another Year, Another Crop: What’s in store in 2024 for soybean farmers 32: Logan County native Reagen Tibbs joins local University of Illinois Extension Extension preparing for a Needs Assessment Survey for area producers 38: Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy in 2024 44: 2023 Crop Yields Report

Page 4 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Continued -- A new day, a new season... What lies ahead for Logan County farms As the 2024 planting season approaches, things look drastically different than they have in the past few years. Dry fertilizer prices have declined further and are at times approaching half of what they were at their pinnacle. Anhydrous prices were decreased, then increased again as the spring season loomed. Farm equipment became a bit easier to acquire, just like cars and trucks. Also, commodity prices are reduced from what we have seen at the high years of the current cycle. Weather will once again be one of the top stories for the season. We continue with the overall warming pattern, and moisture availability will be crucial to raising a good crop. We are entering spring with relatively dry conditions. Some areas received substantial rains during the mid to late winter months which helped alleviate extremely dry conditions. Relatively dry fall conditions allowed for fall field work to be done where desired. Weather conditions will be the overriding factor in markets as we get into the summer, and many are hoping for a weather rebound for markets in the early summer to price some grain. Logan County producers continue to look for alternative crops to increase income on available acres. Most of these crops such as canning pumpkins or popcorn are contracted with companies or processors. Acreage has increased for these two crops, and a few others such as white corn and specialty soybeans. Producing seed for next year’s crop is also an important crop grown in the county. Crop yields from the fall of 2023 harvest dropped slightly from the prior year, according to numbers from the Agriculture Statistics Service. The 2022 corn and soybean yields were 229.1 for corn and 71.8 bushels per acre for soybeans. The 2023 corn yield was pegged at 211.1 and soybeans were at 68.4. That placed corn yields slightly less than their 10 year average, and soybean yields 2.4 bushels per acre over the average from the eight reported yields from the last 10 years for Logan County. With some county level 2022 ag census data available, it is interesting to look at the size of farms and the number of farms in Logan County. Farm numbers continue to decrease. The 2022 number is 623 while the 2017

Page 5 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 number was 683, for almost a nine percent decrease over the five-year period. The average farm size is now 610 acres, up from 518 and over a 17 percent increase. The largest farm number increases were in the 10 – 49 acres category and in the 1000 to 1099 acres category. The trends continue to show larger farms for commercial farms, and an increasing number of small specialty growers with specialty crops, livestock, or rural dwellings with a smaller acreage associated with their home. Agriculture remains a vibrant, important industry in Logan County. The 2022 Ag Census reports the market value of ag products sold for Logan County at $435,962,000, or almost $700,000 per farm. Remember agriculture is a low margin business on average, so expenses take up a large portion of that revenue. In fact, income projections from Gary Schnitkey and Nick Paulson at the University of Illinois are projected for losses in both 2023 and 2024. The 2024 growing season is ahead of us, and there remains optimism for raising a good crop and producing a good income for the family. That is the way it has always been for those in agriculture, and the coming year is no exception. March 19 has been designated Ag Day to celebrate those who produce the abundance of food we in our country have become accustomed to. Remember to celebrate those who help produce and deliver the bounty to our table. [John Fulton Agriculture Consultant Lincoln Daily News]

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Page 8 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Scholarship is defined as financial support awarded to a student, based on academic excellence and financial need, for the purpose of higher education, but it is so much more. It is acknowledgement of hard work and dedication, it is the promise of a bright future, it is the support of the community, the pride of family, and the ability to fulfill dreams. The Logan County Farm Bureau sees the importance of scholarships and invests in the future of agriculture by awarding deserving high school seniors in Logan County pursuing an education in Agriculture or AgTech that financial acknowledgement. Scholarship criteria includes: must be a senior in high Farm Bureau Ag Scholarships help shape the future of young agricultural leaders school, from Logan County, must be pursuing an education in agriculture or its related sciences. Each year dozens of students from several schools in Logan County submit their applications. Heartland Community College Foundation judges the scholarship applications and determines the awardees. The committee has no knowledge of the applicant, their family, or their ties to the community, making their decision nonbiased. At the Logan County Farm Bureau Ag Breakfast, an awards ceremony is held to honor the recipients and their parents and to provide encouragement to them as they set out on the course to agricultural success. The ceremony is traditionally held during National Agriculture Week in March. Year after year hundreds of members of Logan County’s ag community as well as local and state legislators attend the 7 a.m. event to find out who the scholarship recipients are and to hear the address of the keynote speaker. Past speakers include several past scholarship recipients, senators, and agriculture icons. This year’s breakfast is March 21, 2024, at the American Legion with Scott Betzelberger as the keynote speaker. To date there have been 30 scholarships awarded totaling an amazing $127,500.00. Continued --

Page 9 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 This is the seventh year the Logan County Farm Bureau has sponsored the awards. The scholarships are entirely funded by the generosity of donors. The program strives to ensure that the awards are of significant value, and that 100 percent of the funds raised go to the students. Lincoln Daily News caught up with a few past recipients of the scholarship to find out how receiving the scholarship impacted them and if they accomplished their ag education goals. Jake Kirgan, a 2018 LCHS graduate, and recipient of the scholarship specifically remembers the scholarship because of the event that was held to recognize the recipients. Jake said that receiving the award enabled him to make it through all four years at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is currently still in AG, working as the Sales Development Manager for WinField United. Jake is the son of Rich and Melissa Kirgan. He is working on becoming more active in the Farm Bureau so that he can help students have the opportunities he did. Cierra Crowell, the daughter of Jerry and Lotis Crowell, is a 2018 scholarship recipient and a 2018 graduate of Lincoln Community High School. She said receiving the scholarship allowed her to be more active in school by helping to alleviate the financial burden. She was able to be more studious which resulted in her receiving her Continued --

Page 10 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science with an Equine Science Specialization, her Master’s Degree in Animal Science with a focus on Equine Palatability, and now pursuing her PhD in Agricultural Science with a focus on Canine Gastrointestinal Health. Cierra is currently living in Vienna, IL and working at McKinney’s Western Store. She has several publications because of the work she was able to do and is continuing to do within the Ag community. Clay Aylesworth, a 2023 graduate and recipient of the scholarship is grateful that he was able to focus on school and not on finances. Clay is currently coming to the end of his first year at Lincoln Land Community College where he will complete his general education courses before transferring to the University of Illinois to major in Crop Science. Clay is active in 4-H and in 2023 at the Logan County Fair he received the award for Grand Champion Steer. Griffin Jodlowski, the son of Ed and Colleen Jodlowsk, is a 2018 scholarship recipient, and a 2018 graduate of Olympia High School graduated from Iowa State University in 2022 with a degree in Ag Communication and then started a supply chain with DHL where he currently works with customers to deliver seed to farms. Griffin said that receiving the scholarship allowed him to pursue his passion and continue his knowledge about the agricultural field. The scholarship program was originally started in 1999 by the Ag Committee of the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce. At that time the scholarships were sponsored by Monsanto and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. The award was $1,500.00. Continued --

Page 11 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Elizabeth Stoll Wrage was a 2001 recipient of the scholarship and today that scholarship has brought her full circle. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Plant Biology from Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Crop Science from the University of Illinois Elizabeth now works for Innovative Seed Solutions, a joint venture global sorghum company between Bayer Crop Sciences (formerly known as Monsanto) and Remington Seeds. She and her husband Jason are raising their family in the community that raised both of them in agriculture. Jim Drew is in his 46th year with the Logan County Farm Bureau and has worked tirelessly to ensure the maintenance and growth of the program. In 2023 six scholarships were awarded totaling $22,000.00. Just as the agriculture industry is constantly evolving, so is education. As the cost of education rises, the number of college students declines, and therefore the work force is affected. Scholarships are an excellent way to ensure the future of agriculture in Logan County. Students majoring in agriculture and its related sciences are exploring the ever-changing challenges of the ecosphere and how humans interact with the environment. Agriculture is an important part of society in many ways; it supports livelihood through habitat, food, and jobs; building a strong economy through trade; and providing raw materials for food, products, and daily living. [Lesleigh Bennett Lincoln Daily News]

Page 12 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 The weather patterns across central Illinois can be unpredictable, influenced by various atmospheric and oceanic phenomena. Among these, El Niño and La Niña stand out as significant drivers of weather variability worldwide. Understanding their mechanisms and how they affect central Illinois can provide valuable insights for residents, farmers, and policymakers alike. El Niño and La Niña: A Brief Overview: El Niño and La Niña are opposite phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, a natural climate phenomenon originating in the tropical Pacific Ocean. El Niño occurs when sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean become unusually warm, while La Niña involves cooler-than-average SSTs in the same region. These phenomena can exert profound impacts on global weather patterns, altering precipitation, temperature, and atmospheric circulation. Understanding El Niño and La Niña Phenomena and Their Impact on Central Illinois Weather El Niño and Illinois Weather: During an El Niño event, central Illinois typically will experience shifts in its weather patterns. One of the prominent effects is a Image Credit: NOAA Climate.gov Continued --

Page 13 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 decrease in winter precipitation, often resulting in warmer and drier conditions across the state. This can lead to diminished snowfall for our area. El Niño tends to suppress the development of severe weather, including tornadoes, during the spring and summer months in Illinois. The warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Pacific alter the position of the jet stream, resulting in more stable atmospheric conditions over the region. However, it's essential to note that while El Niño generally brings milder conditions, it does not eliminate the risk entirely, and severe weather can still occur. It’s worth noting that El Niño events vary in size, intensity, and duration. As a result, the impacts can vary from one event to the next. In addition, there may be other factors that influence Illinois weather during these events. ● Summers tend to be slightly cooler and wetter than average ● Falls tend to be wetter and cooler than average ● Winters tend to be warmer and drier ● Springs tend to be drier than average ● Snowfall tends to be below average ● Heating degree days tend to be below average, which means lower heating bills. Image Credit: NOAA Climate.gov La Niña and Illinois Weather: Generally, La Niña impacts on Illinois weather are not as clear-cut because there have been fewer strong ones in recent years, with the last strong La Nina occurring in 1988-89. However, in general these are the observed weather trends in Illinois during a La Niña: ● Summers have a tendency to be warmer and drier in Illinois ● Falls have a tendency to be cooler in the north and wetter in the southeast ● Winters are typically warmer and wetter than average with more snow and winter storms ● Springs tend to be cooler across most of the state and drier in the west Continued --

Page 14 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 This winter season's very strong El Nino appears to have followed the typical El Nino temperature pattern of warmer than normal conditions, as Lincoln was 5 degrees above normal for the months of December to February. Precipitation, however, did not follow the El Nino pattern, as the winter months had slightly above normal precipitation due to a much above normal January and a slightly above normal December. Despite above normal precipitation, Logan County ended up with below normal snowfall, by about 6 inches. The lack of a frost depth for any length of time allowed the precipitation this winter to filter into the ground, helping to improve our drought conditions across the area through December and January. We ended the winter with February drier than normal, so we did see a slight return to abnormally dry conditions in Logan County according to the U.S. drought monitor. Where we are now: The El Nino is weakening and shifting toward ENSO Neutral conditions. We will likely see a shift toward La Nina conditions by June-JulyAugust time frame, and remain La Nina into next Winter. Impacts on Agriculture: Since the ENSO trends are moving toward La Niña conditions this summer, that would tend to influence the weather across central Illinois towards warmer and drier conditions. That could pose challenges for farmers, especially during critical growth stages. Reduced precipitation can lead to soil moisture deficits, affecting crop germination, development, and yields. Additionally, the elevated risk of heat stress during La Niña summers can further impact crop productivity, particularly for heatsensitive crops like corn and soybeans. To counteract that potential trend, farmers can employ strategies such as implementing drought-resistant crop varieties, optimizing irrigation practices, and diversifying crop portfolios to mitigate risks associated with varying precipitation patterns. Looking ahead: The current monthly and seasonal outlooks from the Continued --

Page 15 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Climate Prediction Center show above normal temperature trends throughout this Spring, Summer and Fall. That could lead to more rapid drying conditions between periods of rainfall. The Precipitation outlook calls for above normal precipitation trends for MarchApril-May as well as June-July-August. That is a good sign toward hopefully preventing long term drought, or even flash drought conditions this summer. [Ed Shimon National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service Lincoln Illinois]

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Page 18 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Most people involved in agriculture will testify to the fact the tide has turned, and not in a good way. Looking at historical information compiled by Gary Schnitkey and Nick Paulson of the University of Illinois, their farmer returns in the “Revenue and Costs for Illinois Grain Crops” bulletin show estimated negative farmer returns in 2023 for the first time since 2017 for corn and even longer ago for soybeans. The stark reality of corn net income decline is shown in estimated corn prices. In 2021 the average was $5.79 per bushel, 2022 averaged $6.40, and the estimated 2023 average is $4.80. The estimated 2024 average is $4.50. Soybean prices in 2021 averaged $13.40, 2022 averaged $14.00, and the estimates for 2023 sit at $12.90 and see a projected drop to $11.50 for the 2024 year. Elevator bids at the Producers will need a watchful eye on budgets and costs in 2024 end of February were substantially below the estimates for 2024 for both commodities. Turning to another publication from Schnitkey and Paulson on 2024 Illinois Crop Budgets, looking at Central Illinois High Productivity Farmland similar numbers are found. Slightly higher corn yields are used with corn at 230 bushels per acre after a soybean crop the prior season. Soybean estimates remain the same at 72 bushels per acre after a corn crop the preceding season. We will delve a bit further into costs, but the corn bottom line is $223. However, that also needs to cover the land costs in this publication. Estimated land costs are $363 per acre, leaving a potential deficit of $140 per acre. Soybeans fare better with $311 estimated return. Deducting the land cost still leaves a deficit of $52 per acre. Continued --

Page 19 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Costs are broken down into categories including one of direct costs such as seed, chemicals, seed, drying, storage, and crop insurance. Power costs are another area including machine hire, repair, depreciation, fuel and oil, utilities, and a small charge for a light vehicle. The last area is overhead costs consisting of hired labor, building costs of depreciation and repair and rent, insurance, and interest costs. The financial goal is to pay for all costs and have enough left to continue investing in the business and be able to cover family living expenses. Some expenses are not encountered by various growers, while others have additional costs. One of the largest variables is the percentage of land owned by the producer. Owning significant percentages of the ground you are farming allows for production at a lower cost, compared to another producer who farms mostly rented ground. Of course, this also assumes the rented ground costs significantly more than the ground owned. Like many business owners, farmers will make decisions to help the bottom line as their economic situation turns. Maximizing income and minimizing costs are the goals. The trick is to accomplish this without harming your long-term earning potential. Not applying needed fertilizer will save money in the short term but will affect income negatively in coming years. Delaying major purchases will save money now, but if the tractor you were going to replace needs major repairs during a critical time such as planting, it could be a very expensive decision. Each operator will make the decisions best for their operation. There is always hope for increased income as well, particularly if there are widespread weather concerns. We are in a true global market, so concerns can be at home or abroad. This isn’t the first dip in the farm economy, and producers have dealt with similar situations before and will deal with the present situation as well. [John Fulton Agriculture Consultant Lincoln Daily News]

Page 20 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 To respond to mounting concerns about the increasing trend of foreign ownership of Illinois land, State Senator Sally Turner (R-Beason) recently introduced new legislation to protect the state’s critical farmland by prohibiting property ownership within Illinois by noncitizens from nations that have been deemed hostile by the federal government. This bill, known as Senate Bill 2668, amends the “Property Owned by Noncitizens Act.” A synopsis of the bill found online shares the details. The proposed bill provides that: “a prohibited foreign-party-controlled business shall not acquire by grant, purchase, devise, descent, or otherwise any interest in public or private land in the State. SB 2668 an important strategy for protecting Illinois farms “a prohibited foreign-party controlled business entity in violation of the provisions has 2 years to divest of the public or private land, and if a prohibited foreign-party-controlled business entity does not divest the public or private land, the Attorney General shall commence an action in the circuit court within the jurisdiction of the public or private land. “a prohibited foreign party shall not acquire by grant, purchase, devise, descent, or otherwise any interest in agricultural land in the State regardless of whether the prohibited foreign party intends to use the agricultural land for nonfarming purposes. “a prohibited foreign party who is a resident alien of the United States shall have the right to acquire and hold agricultural land in the State upon the same terms as a citizen of the United States during the continuance of his or her residence in the State, but if a prohibited foreign party is no longer a resident alien, he or she shall have 2 years to divest of the agricultural land, and that if the prohibited foreign party does not divest of the agricultural land as required, the Attorney General shall commence an action in circuit court within the jurisdiction of the agricultural land. “violation of the provisions by either a prohibited foreign-party-controlled business Continued --

Page 21 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 entity or a prohibited foreign party owning agricultural land shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class 4 felony punishable by not more than 2 years imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections or a $15,000 fine, or both. Creates the Office of Agricultural Intelligence within the Department of Agriculture to collect and analyze information concerning the unlawful sale or possession of agricultural land by prohibited foreign parties and administer and enforce the provisions of the Act.” In a January 18, 2024, Lincoln Daily News press release, Senator Turner said, “The agricultural industry is the backbone of our state’s economy, and we must take decisive steps to ensure its sustainability.” Additionally, Senator Turner said, “Those steps begin with my new legislation, which directly addresses legitimate concerns surrounding ownership of farmland by individuals from a hostile nation and the impact of that ownership has on our national security.” Senate Bill 2668 has drawn inspiration from “successful bipartisan laws in California and Arkansas [and] aims to alleviate farmers fears that land acquisitions by foreign nations and investors may inflate farmland prices and pose a potential threat to national security.” Currently, there are 24 other states which “have passed similar legislation to mitigate the risks associated with the purchase of farmland by foreign entities that may jeopardize national security.” The bill is a measure that Senator Turner said, “safeguards our crucial agricultural resources.” She added, “Failing to implement policies to conserve our state’s greatest asset now could leave us vulnerable to potential threats in the future.” Senator Turner hopes her legislation will spark a broad and constructive discussion among lawmakers regarding the state’s commitment to the welfare of its agricultural industry and the overall security of the nation. Where the bill is at now Senator Turner said currently, the legislation has been referred to Senate Assignments. The next step would be for the bill to be assigned to a Senate Committee for a future hearing. The initial deadline for Senate Bills to get out of Committee was Friday, March 15. If the legislation did not passed out of Committee by that deadline, [the senators] have the option to file an extension. Though the legislation is still in its early stages, Senator Turner said, “I am hopeful that this legislation will be taken up for consideration this spring. It should be a bipartisan issue.” This legislation has been passed in several other states already. Senator Turner notes, “Nearly half the states in the nation have Continued --

Page 22 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 passed similar types of legislation over the last few years, and I can’t think of any reason Illinois shouldn’t do the same.” An article about Foreign Ownership of Agriculture on the National Law Agricultural Center website provides more information about the issue. In answer to the question about what states have recently proposed laws, the website said, “Approximately twenty-four states have laws that seek to restrict to some degree foreign ownership or investments in private agricultural land within the boundaries of their state.” The article said, “in 2023, the majority of states [had] proposed at least one piece of legislation that seeks to prohibit or restrict foreign investments and landholdings in land—specifically private farmland—located within their state to some degree.” In the first few months of 2024, “state level proposals have been or are expected to be formally introduced in the majority of states. Some states that are considering legislation do not have a law that restricts foreign ownership of land in their state while other states are considering proposals that would amend their current foreign ownership law.” Why it is important the bill is passed. To Senator Turner, it is important that Senate Bil 2668 get passed. She said, “Our state’s current and future economic success relies on our agricultural industry. Our state’s farmland is one of our greatest assets and we must do everything we can to protect that asset from potentially hostile foreign entities.” [Angela Reiners Lincoln Daily News] Resources: Durrett, Marcus. “Sen. Sally Turner introduces legislation to protect agricultural land and national security.” 18 January 2024. lincolndailynews.com Foreign Ownership of Agriculture National Law Agriculture Center https://nationalaglawcenter.org/foreigninvestments-in-ag/ LegiScan. Illinois Senate Bill 2668. https:// legiscan.com/IL/bill/SB2668/2023 Senator Sally J. Turner 44th Senate District Stratton Bldg. Sec. B Rm A Springfield, IL 62706 Ph: 217-782-6216

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Page 26 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Situated in the center of the state – Logan County is home to Chestnut, the geographical center of Illinois – our county is prime agricultural real estate of flat ground and black soils. Logan County has nearly 700 farms and more than 350,000 acres devoted to agricultural production – with nearly half of those 350,000 acres claimed by soybean production. An economic driver for the state for 100 years, the soybeans I grow right here in Atlanta support a number of industries, including livestock production and renewable fuels, and are a mainstay in the state’s global exports. But what does that mean for Logan County farmers like me, especially with spring planting just around the corner? And how can farmers here in Logan County further the county’s production and export of soybeans? Illinois Leads the Nation For 100 years, Illinois has been a leader in soybean production. Beginning in 1924, just Another Year, Another Crop: What’s in store in 2024 for soybean farmers Continued -- as soybean production was beginning to take hold in the U.S., Illinois took the lead and never looked back. Through most of the 1930s, Illinois produced more than 50% of the nation’s soybeans. This is due in large part to leading research from the University of Illinois Extension. Suitability of the soybean to the climate and changing cropping systems in Illinois also played a key role as well as leadership in soybean crushing, particularly by Staley Manufacturing in Decatur. Development of combines for harvesting soybeans, and an ongoing commitment to research and development of soybeans and soybean varieties by various departments at the University of Illinois, further increased soybean acres in Illinois. Today, Illinois still leads the nation, ranking as the top soybean-producing state in nine of the last 10 years. In fact, Illinois leads the nation in acres planted to soybeans – averaging 9.8 million acres – in the last 20 years. Here at home, Logan County is ranked no. 13

Page 27 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Continued -- among the state’s 102 counties for soybean production. The soybeans grown in Logan County – nearly 11 million bushels’ worth – and throughout Illinois feed livestock, create biofuels and are exported overseas, maintaining demand for farmers like me. 2024 Soybean Outlook Still, despite our ability to grow more soybeans than ever before, I’m still faced with a number of complications and challenges to deliver high-quality soybeans on the global market. Changing weather patterns have played a large role in past growing seasons – from wet springs to prolonged drought. Weed pressures and chemical control have been difficult to navigate as options become less effective. Markets have taken a hit recently and drive many decisions for crops to be planted this spring. Across the board, evaluating environmental and market outlooks for this upcoming growing season, it will be interesting to see how many soybeans acres will be planted. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2024 Commodity Outlook calls for a reduction in commodity crop acres this year, due in part to lower commodity prices and increasing interest rates. Specific to soybeans, the USDA’s outlook calls for higher use, ending stocks, and supplies –in fact, supplies are forecast to climb to 4.5 billion bushels, up 8% from the 2023 crop year – a recipe for lower prices for farmers.

Page 28 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Here in Logan County, I’m expecting a slight increase in soybean acres due to soybeans offering a better net return per acre when compared to corn. I think the increase will be minimal because crop rotation is extremely important to Logan County farmers, and spreading out our risk while decreasing potential pest problems in our crops is a big plus. Driving Demand Roller coaster markets are nothing new. And, despite lower prices, demand for soybeans and soybean products remains high. The U.S. crush capacity – the process of making soybean meal for livestock feeds and other products – is going up, driving demand both domestically and internationally. And lower prices will likely further international demand for U.S. soybeans. Renewable biodiesel also will continue to drive soybean oil demand, with that market growing by 8% to 14 billion pounds. Additionally, Illinois will send around half of the soybean oil the state produces into the food industry – a vital market for continued demand. Despite higher supplies and dipping prices, growth in these areas of the soybean market are bright spots – and potential opportunities – for farmers looking at the stability and potential growth of the soybean market. 2024 and Beyond I’ve farmed in Logan County for more than 44 years and I can say, without a doubt, the only thing constant in farming is change. As a long-time member of the Illinois Soybean Association – and now, as board chair – I’ve gotten a firsthand look at how we change. Instead of adhering to the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mantra, farmers like me have chosen to embrace and champion changes in consumer tastes by adding sustainability programs and higher efficiency and higher quality products as we modernize our farms and look for new ways to drive demand and profit. Paying attention to a few key factors can help farmers stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of the rapidly changing soybean market: Focus on Quality For most farmers, potential yield is the determining factor when choosing seed and Continued --

Page 29 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 other parameters. And while yield is definitely still important, the global marketplace continues to place increasing importance on soybean meal and oil quality. In fact, soybean oil quality will be an important production grade to stay competitive in the marketplace. As consumer demand grows, research will continue to develop studies examining soybean production return on investment, with a focus on quality alongside yield. Regional opportunities could be available for farmers to take advantage of this space. Growth of Biofuels Biodiesel has been around for a while and will continue to drive demand in the renewable fuels market. But the latest entrant to this space – sustainable aviation fuel – will likely add to soy demand for biofuels’ strong upward trend. Consumers Want More Protein The world’s growing population needs additional protein, and I’m not just talking about animal protein. While animal protein will likely remain a mainstay, of which soybeans are an important feed source (here in Illinois, livestock are the no. 1 consumer of soybeans), alternative proteins for human consumption are on the rise. Soybeans are uniquely poised to answer the call for both. The U.S. Needs Global Buyers Illinois’ soybean growers have long delivered a high-quality product to our global buyers. To continue to build these important relationships, Continued --

Page 30 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 the Illinois Soybean Association invites global buyers to Illinois farms annually, showing them how farmers like me raise soybeans in environmentally conscious ways. Here to Stay A less-than-positive outlook on commodity prices is never pleasant, especially heading into planting. Still, for soybean farmers like me, there’s still much to appreciate about the role soybeans play in our local, state, regional and global economies. As farmers, we work to raise high-quality products that feed and fuel the world and organizations like the Illinois Soybean Association work to ensure we have places to sell our products, ensuring soybeans are here to stay, supporting families like mine this year and for many years to come. [Ron Kindred Board Chair, Illinois Soybean Association Logan County Agricultural Producer] Ron Kindred, from Atlanta, Ill., is Chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA). He farms with his wife, Jayne, and son Jay, raising soybeans and corn. Kindred is a previous ISA director, having served the association for 13 years, including time as vice president, secretary and legislative chairman and participation in several committees. He was also a past chairman of Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) SoyPac and a Soy Advocate for ISG’s Voice for Soy program. Kindred also represented Illinois on the American Soybean Association board and was both vice president and secretary for that group. He is active with Illinois Farm Bureau and has served as President of East Lincoln Farmers Grain Co-op and Atlanta Township Trustee.

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Page 32 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Logan County native Reagen Tibbs joins local University of Illinois Extension Extension preparing for a Needs Assessment Survey for area producers I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share my vision for my role with the University of Illinois Extension. I am Reagen Tibbs. In January, I started as the Commercial Agriculture Educator serving Logan, Menard, and Sangamon counties. The need for this position and the resources through Extension have been made clear. Logan County depends on agriculture, and our farmers and producers need information and programming opportunities to ensure we can continue the mission of feeding the world. My family has been farming in Logan County for almost 100 years, and we have been raising purebred Shorthorn cattle for around 58 years. I have a Master’s Degree in Agribusiness from Illinois State University. If you would like to know about me and my background, please feel free to visit my bio located at https:// extension.illinois.edu/lms/staff. What does agricultural production look like for Logan County? The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is still working to finalize the data from the 2023 harvest year but has recently published estimates of yields for Logan County and statewide. NASS estimates that over 11 million acres of corn for grain were harvested in Illinois, with the estimated statewide average yield being 206 bushels/ acre. For soybeans, NASS places total planted acres at slightly above ten million with an estimated statewide average yield of 63 bushels/acre. For Logan County, estimated yields were slightly higher than the statewide averages, with an estimated corn yield of 211.1 Continued --

Page 33 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 bushels/acre and an estimated soybean yield of 68.4 bushels/acre. It will take some time for NASS to complete their work, but what we all recognize is the lower yield numbers than we see in a regular growing season (if such a one exists). We know that 2023 was a difficult year for crop growth, but what does this mean for 2024? The University of Illinois Extension’s Ag Economics team released the projected 2024 crop budgets for Illinois in January. The budgets for central Illinois estimate yield at 227 bushels/acre for corn and 72/bushels/ acre for soybeans for high productivity farm ground, with estimates for low productivity ground at 214 bushels/acre for corn and 67 bushels/acre for soybeans. These projected yields seem to be a return to what we could expect in central Illinois based on historical trends, but the same cannot be said for market prices. The 2024 crop budgets project prices of $4.50/bushel for corn and $11.50/bushel for soybeans, which differs from their August 2023 estimates of $4.80/bushel for corn and $12.80 for soybeans. While non-land production costs in 2023 sored to over $800 per acre in 2023, it is projected that nonland costs in 2024 will return to the $800 per acre mark, partially due to lower costs for fertilizers. Total costs per acre (non-land costs plus cash rent) are expected to be around the 2022 total cost of $1,166 per acre, after total costs soared past $1,200 per acre in 2023. The breakeven price for total costs in central Illinois is above $5/bushel for corn, and anywhere from $11.79/bushel to $12.22/bushel for soybeans depending on the productivity of the ground. While we experienced higher income levels for 2021 and 2022 thanks to high prices for corn and soybeans, it is expected that margins are going to be much tighter due to the lower market prices and relatively inflated costs of production. But what about our livestock producers? Afterall, there are over 3,000 head of beef and dairy cattle and approximately 71,000 hogs in Logan County. Recent USDA cattle and calf inventory numbers show the national cattle inventory is at its lowest since 1951 at approximately 87 million head. This reduced number of cattle across the U.S. will likely lead to a 3.2% reduction in beef production in 2024, which is projected to cause a reduction in domestic consumption to 56.5 lbs. per person (down from 58.1 lbs. per person in 2023) and a 7.6% decrease in exports. There is some good news for cattle producers, as the market price for beef is expected to continue its upward trend. A smaller than expected calf crop and fewer feeders under 500 lbs. will continue to drive the price for Continued --

Page 34 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 feeders higher than the records set during 2023. Additionally, cheaper corn prices could provide additional relief for feeding costs. Much of the success of the beef industry this year will continue to depend on the economy, inflation, and how much consumers are willing to spend for beef. How can we help? Extension prepares for a needs assessment survey Since I started in January, I have been telling farmers and other stakeholders across Logan, Menard, and Sangamon counties that we are in an interesting time in agriculture. Farmers and producers are facing pressures and challenges on many different fronts. Whether it be economic challenges, environmental pressures, government policies, or something else, the job of feeding the world is certainly not getting any easier. I like to use the analogy of a tightrope walker with no balance beam. So, what can I and Extension do to help? My role as an educator is to be a resource and provide information to farmers and other stakeholders across our three counties. Whether it be through farm visits to help you diagnose a pest or disease in your crops, hosting educational programs with experts from campus and the local area, or offering other resources through our website, we are here to provide you with information and resources to navigate these interesting times. Extension can be a balancing beam, a tool that you can utilize to make informed decisions for the future of your operations. Continued --

Page 35 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 Soon, I will be conducting a needs assessment across the three counties to fully understand the challenges you are facing, and the educational opportunities we can provide. This will consist of one-on-one conversations throughout the three counties, and a survey that will help us understand how Illinois Extension can best serve you. I am extremely excited for the opportunity to be a resource and to give back to the community that I have called home for my entire life. You can reach me by calling the Logan County Extension office at (217)7328289, or by emailing me at rgtibbs@illinois. edu. Have a safe and successful Spring! [Reagen Tibbs Commercial Ag Educator Logan, Menard & Sangamon Counties University of Illinois Extension]

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Page 38 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 It can be confidently stated with little disagreement that pollution is a bad thing. If only it were so easy to also put a stop to pollution. There are many types of pollution and hundreds, if not thousands, of initiatives set up to reduce or end pollution of all different kinds. Back in 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan. This plan calls on all twelve states along the Mississippi River Basin to create plans to reduce the amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen being introduced to the waterway. When these two nutrients make their way into the Mississippi River, they are carried south all the way to the Gulf of Mexico where they are introduced to that ecosystem. Once these pollutants enter the Gulf of Mexico, they can cause algae to bloom. Algae may not seem like a huge deal, but it can become a bigger issue when it blooms in larger amounts. According to the EPA, “harmful algal blooms release toxins that contaminate Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy in 2024 drinking water, causing illness for animals and humans.” How could this be a problem in the Gulf of Mexico? The Gulf is a body of saltwater, and therefore cannot be consumed by people. This is a process that the United States Geological Survey (USGS) calls eutrophication. What many may not have considered is what happens to algae when it dies. Bacteria come in and begin to decompose the dead algae. According to the USGS, “When the algae die, they are decomposed by bacteria—this process consumes the oxygen dissolved in the water and needed by fish and other aquatic life to ‘breathe’.” The USGS goes on to state that if a significant enough amount of oxygen is removed from the water, it becomes hypoxic, and becomes what is known as a “dead zone,” where life cannot be sustained. At this point, you may be beginning to see where this is going. As any farmer worth their salt knows, phosphorus and nitrogen are two of the most abundant nutrients in soil by Continued --

Page 39 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 nature and by fertilization. These nutrients have been finding their way from the soil into waterways. This is why Illinois established the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) in 2015. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, “The Illinois NLRS was developed by a policy working group that includes representatives from local, state and federal agencies, the agricultural industry, and nonprofit organizations as well as scientists, academics, and wastewater treatment professionals.” The short-term goal of the NLRS is to reduce the phosphorus load by 25 percent and the nitrogen load levels by 15 percent by the year 2025. The more long-term goal is to reduce the loss of these two nutrients to the Mississippi River by 45 percent. There are two general areas that the NLRS targets, these being point sources and nonpoint sources. The EPA defines a point source as “any single identifiable source of pollution from which pollutants are discharged, such as a pipe, ditch, ship or factory smokestack.” In the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report 2023 (from here out this report shall be referred to as the 2023 report), the point sources listed are mostly water treatment facilities all over the state. These sources are implementing strategies such as improving existing equipment and upgrading wastewater treatment facilities. The 2023 report also shared that both phosphorus levels were down 34 percent from this source since 2011, surpassing its 2025 goal of a 25 percent reduction. Considering that phosphorus was the biggest concern of all pollutants being measured when the NLRS was adopted, this seems to be a pretty big win. While the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen from point sources is decreasing, the levels of these nutrients in waterways are actually on the rise. A five-year average from 2017-2021 showed that nitrogen levels rose by 4.8 percent and phosphorus levels by a whopping 35 percent. This rise in phosphorus and nitrogen levels is due to nonpoint sources, such as farmland. The Illinois NLRS provides many outreach activities throughout the year to help farmers learn about the ways they can contribute to nutrient loss reduction. In fact, between the years 2021-22, they put on 940 events including presentations, field days, workshops, and conferences. Their education includes practices such as cover cropping. Continued --

Page 40 2024 Logan County Spring Farm Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS March 2024 For those who may not know, cover cropping is a practice where farmers replace their summer crops with new crops to help keep the soil covered during the fall and winter seasons. According to Ohio State University, cover cropping can help to reduce nutrient loss in topsoil. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Illinois Extension website has something they call their “Cover Crop Decision Support Tool.” This can be used to help farmers decide what cover crops to plant. You can find that tool for yourself by going to https://covercrop.ncsa. illinois.edu/. Another strategy farmers can implement to help reduce nutrient loss is what is called “edge-of-field” practices. These practices include the establishing of wetlands, prairie strips, two-stage ditches, drainage water management, and vegetated riparian buffers. The Illinois Sustainable AG Partnership has what they describe as a “roadmap” to help farmers learn about and implement these “edge-of-field” practices. You can read more about their initiative by going to https:// ilsustainableag.org/edge-of-field-roadmap/. These best management practices, or BMPs, are not free. They require not only a monetary commitment from farmers, but a time commitment as well. Luckily for farmers, the first can be taken care of via grants. One of these grants is called the Illinois Farm Bureau Nutrient Stewardship Grant. This grant allows farmers to apply for grants for projects that align with the Illinois NLRS’s goals. The process of applying for this grant is a bit involved, but has one major benefit. By the end of the process, the farmer will be connected with local partners who will help keep the project operational. Rather than having a state or national organization run the program, local farmers and partners are the ones able to make the decisions and call the shots. Lincoln Daily News also reached out to Reagen Tibbs, Commercial Agriculture Educator at the U of I Extension in Lincoln. Tibbs referred farmers to page 60 of the 2023 report for information on additional programs farmers can get involved with to help further the goal of nutrient loss reduction. In addition to referring farmers to the 2023 report, Tibbs included ways farmers can keep up to date about the Illinois NLRS. He encouraged farmers to visit the Illinois EPA’s website to view up to date information about Continued --