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DANVILLE, Ill – Master Gardener Mary Stonecipher will lead a holiday wreath class at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at International Greenhouse Supply, 70 Eastgate, Danville. This is a great opportunity to learn how to make a live wreath. The $15 fee includes a variety of fresh greenery, a metal wreath ring, floral wire, ribbon for a bow and pine cones. Attendees can bring decorations to add their personal style.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Hoosier Beef Congress will be Dec. 6-8 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis. The judging contest features six classes of beef cattle and includes four divisions: juniors, senior non reasons, senior reasons and jackpot (for college age contestants). This contest is sponsored jointly by Purdue Extension, the Purdue Block and Bridle Club, and the Indiana Beef Cattle Association.

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FULTON, Ill. — At the end of October, it might have looked like combines, tractors and grain carts should have been fitted with skis. They weren’t, but there is one transportation tool that is gaining popularity with farmers during the 2019 harvest.

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DECATUR, Ill. — Food companies are answering customer demands by looking for better ways to collect, analyze and disseminate information on how food is produced, particularly in terms of sustainability.

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MEXICO CITY — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue led an agricultural trade mission to Mexico in an effort to forge new opportunities with the country.

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DES MOINES, Iowa — China will recover from African swine fever and rebuild its swine herd. But even as it does, there still could be a place for U.S. pork — provided the industry can get in prime position to cater to a changing Chinese consumer demand.

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ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — To help more people experience what lamb tastes like, the Indiana Sheep Association has been working tirelessly to promote the industry, including handing out hundreds of samples of lamb at an Indiana tasting event.

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MINNEAPOLIS — The newest crop production and supply and demand reports lacked any of the bombshells that many had hoped for as farmers continue their struggle to finish the harvest.

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WASHINGTON — Lower production pushed corn and wheat ending stocks down while lower use offset a drop in production to increase soybean stocks in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nov. 8 supply and demand estimates.

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture found one extra bushel per acre of soybeans and three more bushels per acre of corn in Indiana fields since last month’s crop production estimates while leaving Illinois and Iowa unchanged.

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INDIANAPOLIS — The title of the 2019 National FFA Swine Production – Placement proficiency winner was awarded to Indiana FFA member Cade Snethen during the 92nd National FFA Convention.

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NORMAL, Ill. — Illinois State University’s new organic crop production course hit the ground running this fall, sparking plenty of interest.

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. — The need for more efficient product placement and the desire to eliminate extra costly passes moved Seth Wenzel to take the leap into strip-till seven years ago and it’s paying off.

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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ill. – Learn about raising turkeys at the Talking Turkeys Workshop, 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 23 at the Lawrence County Extension office, 600 Cherry Lane, Lawrenceville. Register by calling 618-943-5018.

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GOSHEN, Ind. – Sugar often is blamed as the sole culprit in obesity and diabetes. Join the Elkhart County Extension Homemakers for the free program “How Sweet It Is – Is Sugar Addictive?” at 1 p.m. EST and again at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Elkhart County Extension office, 17746 County Road 34, Goshen.

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DECATUR, Ill. — Soil health needs and nutrient and weed management didn’t stop when farmers were unable to plant nearly 20 million acres of crops this year due to excessive moisture and flooding, including over 2.9 million acres across the ‘I’ states.

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DECATUR, Ill. — There was some switching to shorter-maturity hybrids as planting was pushed later, depending on location.

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OGLESBY, Ill. — Many people in agriculture can’t wait to put 2019 behind them. When 2019 does go down in the record books, there’s one list the year likely won’t top – and that may come as a surprise.

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COBDEN, Ill. — The long table inside the airy farm building at All Seasons Farm was lined with boxes. It could have been a packaging line at Amazon, with orders placed online being packed and quick shipped to the shopper.

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FRANKLIN, Ind. — Indiana Grown and the Indiana State Department of Health unveiled a new resource that will increase schools’ access to fresh, local food products.

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There were 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 3. Corn mature was at 95%. Corn harvested for grain was at 58%, compared to 92% last year, and 88% for the five-year average. Soybean harvest was 77% complete, compared to 91% last year, and 91% for the five-year average.

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Though good progress was made in the beginning of the week, wet and cold weather passed through on Wednesday and Thursday, slowing corn and soybean harvests for the remainder of the week. The first snowfall of the season was reported in the northern and central parts of the state on Thursday.

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INDIANAPOLIS — At the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo, FFA members and agricultural representatives from across the country helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of women being allowed to join FFA.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Downtown Indianapolis hosted thousands of FFA members from across the country for the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo.

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OPINION  Representatives of a national coalition representing almost 10,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers held a press conference earlier this fall in Washington, D.C., to announce the delivery of a letter to Congress urging support for the Green New Deal. They called on lawmakers to make agriculture policy reform a priority for addressing the climate crisis and the economic crisis facing independent family farms.

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The second set of 2019 Market Facilitation Program payments is now scheduled to be released. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Producers of Market Facilitation Program-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25 percent of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50 percent they have already received. Registration at USDA-Farm Service Agency offices will be open through Dec. 6.

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Trade agreements, as critical as they are, do not in themselves create trade. Trade happens when people connect with people, a reality five Dairy Management Inc. board members – all dairy farmers – witnessed during an Oct. 20-25 governance mission to Mexico. It was organized by the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

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MADISON, Wis. – Brad Pfaff accepted a new position with the Wisconsin government a week after being fired by the Wisconsin Senate. He was formerly the Agriculture Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

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Craig Hill has seen it happen. He has seen the breakdown in the middle of harvest, the delay as he tries to figure out what happened, the frustration as he twiddles his thumbs as the wheels do not move in the field.

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WABASHA, Minn. – Starting on a conventional Illinois farm followed by 20 years in the food industry led Mike Hunter of southeastern Minnesota to return to the farm in a very different way. He now has an organic grass-fed-beef operation that supplies quarters of Shorthorn beef to upscale Metro restaurants.

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Crop residue serves an important role in physically protecting soil from erosion during rain events or high winds, as well as enhancing soil biological activity by providing sources of organic carbon and nitrogen for its energy needs.

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Even a fresh white coating of snow could not put much of a shine on the grain markets this week, as traders reacted to the Nov. 8 USDA World Ag Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report and to continued export issues.

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SPRING GREEN, Wis. – The grassland Dick Cates manages at his family farm near Spring Green is vastly different from that of smallholders in Ethiopia. But some grassland-management concepts and tools are universal.

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After the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the White House announced the 2019 Market Facilitation program, we noted that direct government payments were set to soar in 2019. The USDA’s most recent estimate of $19.5 billion in total direct farm payments is more than $5.5 billion more than 2018. The USDA’s initial estimated 2019 direct payments were $2.5 billion less than 2018 levels. This week’s post is an updated look at direct-payment trends and farm-level implications.

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OPINION  Let there be no doubt – climate change is a real, immediate and growing threat to national security, public health and our economy. But this past week the Trump administration decided to turn our back on the rest of the world by starting the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.