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A Diversity of Crops
Farm News

A Diversity of Crops

Although Illinois is known for being a leading producer in corn and soybeans, the state has a larger diversity in the crops grown than just those two crops. The climate and soil types that vary throughout the state allow for farmers to grow wheat, oats, grain sorghum, fruits, and many vegetables. Some specialty crops that are able to grow include buckwheat, horseradish, and Christmas trees. Illinois is able to grow such a wide variety because our state extends 400 miles from the northern border to the most southern part of the state. Within the 400-mile range, temperatures can vary 10 to 12 degrees, allowing for different growing seasons. For the soil, 89% of the state’s farmland is considered prime farmland according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. McLean County has soil known as “drummer soil”, and it is some of the best soil in the world.   READ MORE...

Farm News  |  October 10, 2021
Get to Know the National FFA

Get to Know the National FFA

FFA is a youth organization focused on agriculture and leadership. There are local FFA chapters (like the Olympia High School FFA Chapter), state FFA associations (which are made up of the local chapters), and the National FFA Organization. The National FFA Organization is led by a board of directors and six student national officers. There are just above 735,000 National FFA members. Before we dig deeper into the National FFA Organization, it is important to understand and appreciate how the organization is able to do what it does today. 
Farm News  |  October 3, 2021
Harvest 2021 Update

Harvest 2021 Update

Since the first day the combines were able to get into the field this season, there has been almost a non-stop flow of work to be done. Harvest 2021 is moving fast this year, especially for farmers who have corn to harvest. The corn has dried down really fast. Some farmers are finishing up harvesting their corn already. Soybeans aren’t moving at quite the same pace as corn is and are actually in need of a little bit of rain. September was a dry month for Central IL in terms of rainfall. A lot of soybeans are too dry right now, causing many farmers to hope for rain. 
Current News/Happenings  |  September 26, 2021
Hurricane Ida's Agricultural Damage

Hurricane Ida's Agricultural Damage

Although we are roughly 850 miles away from where Hurricane Ida struck land, the effects on agriculture from the hurricane can be felt across the nation. While the damage is more detrimental to Louisiana residents, we will highlight a few of the areas where we could feel the effect here in Central IL. First, it is important to look at what damage has been done to Louisiana agriculture to understand the effects that it could have on us. 
Agriculture at Home  |  September 19, 2021
Fall Vegetable Garden

Fall Vegetable Garden

Gardening season is here yet again! This phrase seems “wrong” to say at this time of year with fall harvest occurring, but it is possible to plant a fall vegetable garden outside despite the declining temperatures. To harvest your crop in time you will want to begin soon. This is dependent on what you choose to plant, but a great rule of thumb is to take the average first fall frost date and work backwards with the amount of time the vegetable needs to grow. If possible, you will want to add a little extra time because of the shorter amount of sunlight than in the spring. Frost typically begins in our area mid-October, so this would be a good year for vegetables with a short harvest season. However, knowing that a fall vegetable garden can be planted is useful information for all future fall seasons! If you do want to try to plant something that takes longer to grow, it is not impossible. Crops can be covered with an old sheet, blanket, or tarp when frost is in the forecast and some vegetables you may choose to plant can withstand a frost that stays at 32℉. Spinach, cabbage, radishes, and broccoli can survive frost temperatures down to 28℉.
Farm News  |  September 12, 2021
Farm Progress Show

Farm Progress Show

Decatur, IL welcomed the Farm Progress Show to their town August 31st through September 2nd. The annual event alternates between the Decatur location, on odd-numbered years, and a location in Boone, Iowa, who hosts on even-numbered years. The first Farm Progress Show made its appearance as an event on October 2, 1953. It was held at the Earl Bass Farm in Armstrong, IL and had over 75,000 visitors in attendance. The purpose of the event is to display progress that is currently being made in equipment, seed varieties, and chemicals. The Farm Progress Show website summarizes the show’s history into three sentences. They state, “Every day, agribusinesses and manufacturers are hard at work designing and building products. If you want a better glimpse of what tomorrow’s agriculture will look like, the Farm Progress Show is a must-stop. After all, this has been the legacy since the show began.” The show first arrived in Decatur in 2005. The Decatur location can now host over 600 exhibitors and more visitors than ever. The Farm Progress show is sponsored by Grinnell Mutual, John Deer, and Syngenta. 
Farm News  |  September 5, 2021
Harvest Safety Tips

Harvest Safety Tips

Harvest is right around the corner, and it is critical to know about safety on the road, safety for the field, and equipment safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevent, often referred to as the CDC, agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. The CDC states, “Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries; and farming is one of the few industries in which family members (who often share the work and live on the premises) are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.” Everyday about 100 workers in the agriculture industry will suffer an injury that will take them out of work for any given amount of time. This information doesn’t take into account rural residents that don’t work in the industry and have encounters with farmers during harvest. 
Farm News  |  August 29, 2021
Armyworms Invasion

Armyworms Invasion

Armyworms have invaded hay fields all across Central Illinois, and many local farmers took action against the insect this past week. The armyworms, which are fall armyworms or scientifically named spodoptera frugiperda, invade in late summer or early fall. They are unable to survive the cold winter months. The fall armyworm prefers drought-like conditions. They are usually most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. 
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