ICMB promotes transportation, fuels

A Central Illinois cornfield is shown this week / CIFN photo.

River transportation is an ongoing issue for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.

ICMB chairman Dirk Rice, who covers Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties, believes Locks and dams on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers are very important to Illinois.

“We rely so heavily on export markets – whether we are exporting to other parts of the United States or out of the United States,” Rice told The Central Illinois Farm Network this week.

After several years, upgrade work continues as many 600-foot locks need to be upgraded to 1200 feet. Rice points to the environmental and economic benefits.

ICMB is also working hard on a piece of legislation known as the Next Generation Fuels Act.

“If we are able to get that in, we feel like that will give us a solid market for ethanol for the next generation anyway,” Rice said.

Efforts also continue to educate consumers on how safe ag production is and how inputs are used as safely as possible. With plenty of bad information out there about farmers, Illinois Corn is letting everyone know how farmers work.

Rice is ICMB chairman for another month before he steps down. The group administers checkoff dollars and looks for ways to invest which leads to more corn use. They also look at grinding more corn for ethanol and ways to help livestock.

Crops look good at the moment on Rice’s farm in southern Champaign County, although beans are behind on development since they haven’t totally recovered from a cooler April and May.

“The corn is starting to tassel,” Rice explained. “It is not as even as we’d like it to be but moisture-wise where I’m at, we haven’t been hurt.”

Rice certainly doesn’t need another downpour like he experienced a couple of weeks ago. While driving around his district, Rice has observed corn development which is behind schedule and visible wheel tracks where corn was planted into less-than-ideal conditions. He predicts more fungicide applications than normal this year due to higher crop prices and increased disease pressure.

For more on the efforts of ICMB, including daily updates and board member contact information, view the Illinois Corn website.

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