May 22, 2024

Farmers Council looks ahead to ag’s future

DECATUR, Ill. — The Illinois Corn Growers Association teamed up with agricultural organizations throughout the state on Aug. 3 to discuss emerging markets and legislation impacting the industry.

The 2023 Future of Agriculture Forum was hosted by the Illinois Farmers Council, a coalition of ag-related groups, at Richmond Community College in Decatur.

“As a united council for agriculture in Illinois, we are looking at future opportunities for our industry,” said Matt Rush, president of the Illinois Farmers Council and ICGA. “Our goal was to bring together leaders in each commodity to discuss what is affecting us now and will affect us in years to come.”

The event featured speakers on the science of carbon capture and storage, market pathways for biofuels and the Supreme Court’s decisions on the waters of the U.S. and Proposition 12.

Farmer leaders and experts evaluated the impact the Supreme Court’s ruling on the National Pork Producers Council v. Ross will have on livestock and grain production.

The case, based on a California ballot proposal titled “Prop 12,” places stricter housing requirements for eggs, veal and pork sold in California.

Central Illinois hog farmer Chad Leman, Illinois Pork Producers Association president, said to meet California’s pork demand under the new requirements, approximately 670,000 sows in the United States will need to change confinement.

“This goes far beyond hog production. It will affect corn producers and soybean producers,” Leman said.

Leman said his operation markets 110,000 pigs per year and feeds 80 million to 90 million pounds of feed.

“We know quite a bit of that is grown here, among our Illinois producers,” he said.

Leman added that as producers look to potentially downsize their herds to meet Proposition 12 requirements, it will affect pork producer’s demand for corn and soybeans.

In addition to Supreme Court discussions, panelist Sallie Greenberg updated the council on the carbon capture and storage process and its ability to positively impact the ethanol industry.

She explained the science and safety of the two CCS projects in Decatur, the Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage project and the Illinois Basin-Decatur Project.

Greenberg said in Decatur carbon dioxide is injected approximately 6,700 feet beneath the surface in a layer of shale 450 feet thick.

“Collectively between the two projects there’s about 4 million tons of carbon dioxide stored,” Greenberg said.

Archer Daniels Midland is a partner in the Illinois Basin-Decatur Project. The company began sequestering carbon in 2001 with carbon dioxide from its ethanol fermentation process.

Panelist Greg Webb, ADM vice president of state government relations, said the technology brings a bright future to agriculture.

“We have a vast opportunity in the area of agriculture to meet the carbon intensity aspirations of our consumers,” Webb said. “I believe sincerely that the carbon capture and storage holds a considerable opportunity for our agriculture industry.”

The Illinois Farmers Council is a group of agriculture-related associations from across the state representing farm families, commodities and the livestock industry.

The group is composed of the ICGA, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Milk Producers Association.