Last week, the Illinois Farm Bureau reminded folks what a crazy year 2009 was for agriculture. Here are some of the highlights.
- Despite the economic turmoil, nearly four thousand acres of farmland in Macoupin and Montgomery counties is sold for $24 million, or about $6,000 per acre.
- Illinois Senate unanimously convicts Gov. Rod Blagojevich in an impeachment trial and removes him from office. Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn becomes Governor.
- The Illinois Pork Producers celebrates a Clay County jury's decision that Bible Pork farm near Louisville is not a nuisance.
- Meadowbrooks Farms, which operates a pork processing facility in Rantoul, shuts down the plant and lays off 600 employees. The firm later in the year files for bankruptcy.
- USDA projects U.S. farmers will plant fewer crop acres and reduce livestock numbers in response to the overall downturn in the economy. Soybean market bottoms for the year at $7.84/bu.
- Spring planting gets off to a cold, wet start reminiscent of the slow planting progress the year before.
- Pekin-based ethanol producer, Aventine Renewable Energy, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- Gov. Pat Quinn declares six Southern Illinois counties state disaster areas due to a major storm. The ag facilities at SIU-Carbondale sustain at least $5 million in damage. Planting progress remains slow due to heavy rains.
- Farmers statewide finally finish corn planting, but frustration mounts as sloppy soil conditions limit fieldwork. Corn market makes yearly high of $4.73/ bu; soybeans top out at $10.99/bu.
- St. Louis-based Monsanto announces plans to eliminate 900 jobs as a result of sinking sales of Roundup herbicide.
- The IFB board of directors unanimously opposed U.S. House-approved "cap and trade" legislation that the board believes will drive up costs for Illinois farmers and consumers alike.
- Summer temperature remain cool with the coldest July on record for Illinois. USDA projects farmers will harvest the largest soybean crop and second-largest corn crop on record.
- In an effort to help pork producers fight off misconceptions about the H1N1 flu virus, Gov. Pat Quinn buys and eats a pork chop sandwich at the Illinois State Fair.
- Grain industry braces for a late and large harvest. Early harvested corn is damaged by Diplodia mold, which causes lightweight kernels that reduce yields. Corn market bottoms for the year at $3.05/bu.
- Soybean rust is confirmed in 20 Illinois counties, but the outbreak is late enough in the season to cause no yield damage.
- High moisture readings in corn and soybeans have done more than slow harvest this fall. Discounts due to high moisture have become commonplace at Illinois grain elevators.
- Nearly half of Illinois cropland was farmed with conservation tillage in 2008, according to a statewide survey released by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
- The University of Illinois announces it has developed a map of the swine genome that may produce breakthroughs in pork production, medicine and environmental protection.
- Ninety percent of Illinois corn is harvested by mid-December, but heavy snow halts progress in northern counties.