Plenty to watch for in 2021


BLOOMINGTON – There will likely be plenty of new conversations in agriculture during 2021 when the new Congress is seated along with the new administration.


Ag has not made headlines lately, as efforts have focused on keeping the economy going and helping those businesses facing challenges.


“There will be lots of political appointees and things like that which have to be done before the new administration can kind of hit the ground running,” Illinois Corn executive director Rodney Weinzierl told The Central Illinois Farm Network.


One positive note this fall has been increased market prices for both corn and soybeans, which is rare at harvest time. Weinzierl estimates yields at trend level or slightly above in the state with some areas not performing as well due to wind damage from summer storms. Also, more corn was sold for fall delivery this year compared to a typical fall.


“I think that’s just a good feeling about where prices are at so farmers’ attitudes are pretty good going into winter,” Weinzierl notes.


From a marketing standpoint, corn exports really seem to be doing well as are meat exports. There is not as much driving and fuel use due to COVID-19 which impacts the ethanol market. Weinzierl feels profits are back for ethanol processors but corn demand is still down based on pre-COVID marketing numbers.


Illinois Corn is hoping for additional corn demand long term with a bill introduced by Congresswoman Bustos known as the Next Generation Fuels Act. This is about moving more ethanol as a high octane fuel.


“We think that’s really where the future of ethanol demand is,” added Weinzierl.


A more efficient liquid fuel system can be a good consumer product and is something Weinzierl believes the automobile manufacturers need to be able to produce. Ethanol by far is the best priced octane out there in the world.


“We really don’t see much of a change in what liquid fuel prices will do with this technology and you’ll get better mileage.”


Another focus for the industry in 2021 includes infrastructure progress and waterway system improvements.

The annual Illinois Corn meeting is slated for next Tuesday, Nov. 24 and will be offered virtually. This will consist of a business session along with leader presentations. ICGA expects to record the sessions and will release them to the public afterward. Meeting attendees can also expect an overview on how checkoff dollars were used in the last year and marketing success highlights.

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