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Happy slow, quiet, dull New Year

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day was wonderfully different than every other week of the year on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth. Overall, it was the slowest, quietest, and-especially for my hardworking parents-dullest week of the year. Most post-Christmas weeks, ...

Midwest Marketing Solutions

COVID-19 relief package The latest COVID-19 relief package provides $284.5 billion to reopen and strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program for first time and second time borrowers. PPP loans are reserved for businesses with fewer than 300 employees that sustained a 25 percent loss in ...

New Year’s resolution

Enrollment for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program for the 2021 crop year runs through March 15, 2021. Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices are encouraging producers to evaluate their ARC/PLC program decisions for the 2021 crop year as soon as possible. ...

Scoping out the sky

Winter has well and truly arrived, much to the disappointment of those (such as me) who had hoped that global warming would spare us from this season of freezing blizzards and stinging snowstorms. Winter is actually a gift. Without winter, we wouldn’t fully appreciate spring and summer. A ...

Dear County Agent Guy

Farmer of the Year With a wintertime pandemic raging outside our windows, many of us have opted to hunker down. Watching a movie in the comfort and the safety of your living room has gone from being an unhealthy way to avoid exercise to a good way to stay healthy. A series of random ...

Crop watch

The last month of the year is nearing the end and then it’s on to 2021. We will be glad to see it over with. From the drought and the derecho that hurt many towns, buildings, crops and trees, not seeing another big windstorm like that in our lifetimes could be okay. As to the drought, it was ...

Midwest Marketing Solutions

Tom Vilsack to lead USDA The next agriculture secretary is the former agriculture secretary. President-elect Joe Biden has picked Tom Vilsack to lead USDA. During an event in Delaware, Biden said Vilsack “wasn’t anxious to come back, but I was persistent.” Biden said Vilsack’s first ...

Weekly market review

Officials in China claim that pork production is back to 90% of the levels prior to ASF decimating their swine herds. They expect pork production to have made a full recovery by the middle of 2021. This has helped increase the demand of U.S. corn exports into China. With many farmers having ...

Farm and Food File

Howard’s priceless gift of simple giving The Christmas tree was a scrub cedar hacked from the edge of the woods that bordered the farm. Big-bulbed lights, strung in barber pole fashion, generated almost as much heat as the nearby wood stove. Yellowed Christmas cards, saved over the years ...