View from the Cab: A year to remember


As we say goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020, here is my annual look back at the past year in agriculture, which saw no shortage of news headlines for the industry.

In January, I caught up with the new Illinois agriculture director John Sullivan, who was excited for the future of the industry in this state. He believes those in ag must diversify and look to the future without continuing to do the same thing over and over.

A craft nano-brewery tucked among the fields of Livingston County officially debuted in February. The grand opening ticket-only event for Emancipation Brewing Co. drew an impressive crowd. The agriculture themed local brewery makes limited quantities of unique beers and sodas.

Ag communicator John Phipps brought a message of accountability and resilience to the McLean County Chamber of Commerce’s Agriculture Awareness Breakfast in March. Ag products used today, such as Dicamba herbicide, have some individuals pointing the finger at others if something goes wrong, said Phipps.

Faith is what gets many farmers through another season. Take the Rader family, for example. Even though growers faced plenty of fieldwork delays all across the Midwest last spring and summer, they remained patient.

“Our faith has kept us just waiting upon the Lord and being patient. I think that’s the secret,” said Lynn Rader, who farms with his sons near Normal.

President Trump authorized USDA to provide up to $16 billion in programs in May, which the agency says is in line with the estimated impacts of “unjustified” retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions.

The latest in agriculture was on display in Central Illinois during late August during the Farm Progress Show at Progress City U.S.A. on the north end of Decatur. Claas unveiled a new green combine color scheme which represents the move to a more unified brand.

Construction continued on the Bright Stalk Wind Farm during the summer and fall, a project from EDP Renewables North America located between Chenoa and Colfax. EDP is one of the largest owners of wind and solar projects across the United States. Bright Stalk consists of 57 Vestas brand wind turbines which are expected to generate 205 megawatts of energy.

Here’s to a great New Year!

(The View from the Cab blog is powered by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)

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