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Eye on agriculture: Costs of doing business | Agriculture

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BLOOMINGTON — As a farmer himself, Richard Guebert Jr. stays in tune with the problems on the minds of Illinois farmers.

As president of the Bloomington-based Illinois Farm Bureau, it’s his job to search for options.

“I am hearing loud and clear from our members about the increased input costs,” he mentioned. “That could mean fertilizer or crop protectants or any one of a number of other issues. But it is not only the increased costs. It’s the availability of those products that we are going to need when it comes time to plant. We are concerned about that, and we are in conversations with industry folks, finding out what those challenges are, and what can be done to alleviate some of those challenges moving forward.”

Guebert was re-elected as president for a two-year time period on the IFB annual assembly in Chicago on Dec. 6.

“Can we have any impact on the costs?” he requested. “Probably not. But that falls back on supply and demand. There are shipping challenges, whether it is in containers shipped from here in the states or coming here from abroad and is sitting waiting to be unloaded. There is a shortage of truck drivers and a lot of transportation issues.”

‘A lot of questions’

The Illinois Production Cost Report, a publication of the Agricultural Marketing Service, estimates fertilizer prices in 2022 can be about $100 per acre larger for corn and roughly $50 larger for soybeans, in comparison with 2021.

Guebert, a Randolph County farmer, mentioned IFB officers have talked with state legislators concerning the problem and are taking a more in-depth take a look at fertilizer manufacturing within the United States.

Guebert was elected for his fifth two-year time period in December, the utmost allowed beneath the IFB’s by-laws.

Renewable vitality, the 2023 Farm Bill and concrete agriculture have been three key points additionally on the minds of farmers, he mentioned.

The Farm Bill is a package deal of laws that has an amazing impression on farming. It was enacted into regulation in December 2018 and expires in 2023.

Climate change and crop insurance coverage are two issues of concern throughout negotiations on the 2023 Farm Bill, he added.

Concerns concerning the therapy of farmers by contractors and subcontractors by wind and photo voltaic firms was additionally an enormous problem on the assembly, mentioned Adam Nielsen, the director of nationwide laws and coverage growth for the IFB.

“There’s a push for statewide standards because right now, each county determines those standards,” he mentioned.

The spotlight of the assembly, Guebert mentioned, was the truth that greater than 1,200 IFB members and workers met in particular person in Chicago. Last yr’s occasion was held nearly over Zoom.

“Everybody was elated to be back and visit and talk about the issues and policies that are important to our members,” he mentioned. “I think just to go back to Chicago was necessary. We accomplished what we needed to in 2021, but our members still like the face-to-face contact, talking about the issues in person.”

The ag trade realized loads throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and remains to be studying, Guebert mentioned. The IFB’s first mission when the pandemic hit throughout the spring of 2020 was to ensure that the agriculture trade was named as an important business.

“Our members had a lot of questions, and we were able to continue to function, even if we were at home,” he mentioned. “There were a lot of questions at the beginning having to deal with infrastructure and transportation needs. We did it all, and it worked very well. I really applaud the Department of Agriculture here in the state of Illinois who worked with us to make sure that we could not only get our products that we grow on the farm to the consumer, but to get the input that we needed to get a crop out last spring.”

‘A decent year’

Overall, farmers in Illinois had a fairly good yr, he mentioned and sit up for one other good yr in 2022.

“I think farmers have always been optimistic, and we look forward to putting another crop in the ground in a few months,” he mentioned. “We have been very blessed this past year with pretty decent yields and good prices, which provided an opportunity for many to get ahead and pay down some debt and to get ready for the upcoming growing season.”

The United States Department of Agriculture reported the 2021 state soybean yield was estimated at 64 bushels per acre, as of Nov. 1, with complete bean manufacturing on tempo to succeed in 675 million bushels, up 10 % from 2020.

As for corn, USDA estimated the common yield in Illinois at 207 bushels per acre, which was up 16 bushels from 2020. Corn manufacturing in Illinois is forecast at 2.24 billion bushels, up 5 % from final yr. Final figures can be launched early subsequent yr.

“It was a decent year, but with the virus, nothing seemed to be for certain,” mentioned Champaign County farmer Mike Shank, who farms corn and soybeans close to Mahomet. “The weather was about as good as you could get, but there was just so much uncertainty about planning for the future. We are hoping for a more stable year in 2022, but I am concerned about the fertilizer costs.”