Farmweek 03 25 2019 E Edition Page 1

Periodicals: Time Valued Monday, March 25, 2019 Two sections Volume 47, No. 12 Clint Robinson hosted a field day on his Moultrie County farm showcasing saturated buffers. page 3 High-quality Illinois farmland values remain firm, according to a new report from the ISPFMRA. page 6 Board Director David Serven urges Farm Bureau members to support the Clean Water Rule. page 9 Flooded BY DANIEL GRANT FarmWeek Farmers living near rivers and tributaries are used to spring flooding. But for those at opposite ends of Illinois, from north to south, flooding in some of those areas got off to an his- toric start this year. And it's even worse to the west. "We've had some significant flooding," Steve Fricke, presi- dent of Stephenson County Farm Bureau, told FarmWeek . "We know this happens at spring, but in the Freeport area they're saying (the severity of the flooding) is similar to 1933," he noted. "I have one farm that's 3 feet underwater." Flooding along the Pecatoni- ca River in northern Illinois forced the evacuation of nearly 200 people in Freeport last week. Fricke said conversations with USDA and the Natural Resources Conservation Serv- ice indicate 40,000 to 45,000 acres of farmland were under- water in northern Illinois last week. Elsewhere, the Rock River surrounded the town of Roscoe and the Kishwaukee River was out of its banks in the north, while the Ohio River and its tributaries inundated parts of deep southern Illi- nois, including locations near Metropolis and Cairo, in the past month. Flooding along the Missis- sippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers could intensify this month as runoff from melt- ing snow in the northern Corn Belt makes its way downstream. The situation developed from a wet fall followed by a cold, wet winter. Heavy rains and recent melting of the snow- pack then created large amounts of water runoff as wet, frozen soils lacked absorption capacity. Precipitation totals exceeded the statewide aver- age in Illinois each of the past six months, which included the 19th wettest September and 15th wettest February on record, accord- ing to the Illinois State Water Survey. And, so far this month, precipitation totals ranged from 2 to 4 inches across much of the state, with heav- ier totals in the south. "Our biggest concern this year is we're coming into spring from a very wet fall," Fricke said. "Our soils don't have the ability to take in any moisture. It's going to take longer for our soils to dry out." The worst flooding situa- tion remains west of the Mis- sissippi River in Iowa and Nebraska. A state of emergency was declared in 74 cities, 65 coun- ties and four tribal areas in Nebraska last week and in 41 counties in Iowa due to extreme flooding. 45,000 acres underwater 2019 AGRICULTURAL LEGISLATIVE DAY Value of Illinois ag highlighted Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr., right, greets Gov. J.B. Pritzker at his first Agricultural Legislative Day in Springfield. Pritzker pointed out Illinois' "agriculture industry is one of the greatest things in the state" and emphasized his administration wants "broadband in every community in the state." Additional photos from the day can be found on page 4. (Photo by Kay Shipman) BY KAY SHIPMAN FarmWeek Agriculture's intrinsic values came to the forefront Tuesday on Agricultural Legislative Day in Springfield. "I learned a lot about God, family and values being with my grandfather," Illinois House Agriculture and Conservation Chairman Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, said of childhood days spent on his grandfather's farm near Sesser. "These are the basics of life." "Agriculture provides a lifetime of memo- ries," said Senate Agriculture Committee Minor- ity Spokesman Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry. He shared a treasured memory of his twins smiling while the family picked strawberries in the rain. Agriculture's value to people - and the state - surfaced repeatedly during the legislative breakfast in Springfield. Addressing his first Ag Legislative Day crowd, Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted Illinois is home to 75,000 farms that export products across the world and 2,500 food processors that generate $180 billion in sales. Agriculture is a "huge com- ponent" of his plans, the governor noted. Pritzker raised the importance of passing a capital bill that could help expand broadband access across the state. Pointing to Acting Agri- culture Director John Sullivan sitting near the front, the governor said Sullivan and his direc- tor of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will help his administration "to make sure we have broadband in every community of the state." In addition to upgrading technology in the state, Pritzker said, "I intend to be our best chief marketing officer ... Our agriculture industry is one of the greatest things in the state." Sullivan pointed out the state's infrastructure investments need to include "roads, rail, rivers and broadband." And the state needs to invest in agriculture education, the acting ag director added. Cur- rently, 97 agriculture teaching positions are open, but the state doesn't have enough ag ed graduates to fill those jobs, he said. Along with sharing farm memories, legisla- tive leaders of the Senate and House Agricul- ture Committee encouraged farmers and others in the ag industry to share issues and concerns with them. House Agriculture and Conservation Com- mittee Minority Spokesman Charlie Meier, R- Okawville, praised the bipartisanship of his fel- low ag committee members. "We do what's best for Illinois agriculture," Meier said. He urged ag leaders to "make sure you come to us when you have an issue ... We need to know sooner rather than later." Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, advised farmers to tell about the direct impact an issue or bill would have. "We meet with lobbyists all day. A personal story how a bill will affect me, whether it's a phone call or a visit, a personal story makes an impact," Bennett told FarmWeek . See Flooded , page 2 IEMA offers tips to prepare for spring flooding Page 2

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