By Scott Docherty
the elections are over!!! Hopefully we can all pull together to reduce spending
and spur the economy as we have been promised. The negative ads really turn me off
when I just want to hear how tough decisions will be made to get our state and
union in good fiscal order. The
positives that I witnessed from this year's elections are the number of people
that voted and the number of young people that came out and voted!!
have had to make some difficult decisions here at Topflight Grain Cooperative,
Inc. also. The 2012 crop was hurt by dry weather and this year Topflight
received 4.5 million bushels of soybeans and 17.3 million bushels of corn. Our
five year average for corn harvest receipts is 23.8 million bushels and our
five year average for soybean harvest receipts is 4.9 million bushels. We also
know that there were very few farm bins used this fall, so we received 90% of
our total grain receipts at harvest. There will be very little farm receipts
post-harvest for 2012-13. Our drying revenue was better than projected because
we started dumping corn about August 20th when the market was trying
to bridge the gap between old crop and new crop. Yes, those customers were paying more for
drying with the corn coming in at 25% moisture, but they were also selling 85%
across the scale at a price of $8.25 to $8.40 per bushel. You can see that with
Topflight Grain buying 75-85% across the scale and being down 7 million in
harvest receipts and down another 4 million post-harvest receipts, this fiscal
year will be very difficult to keep from showing a lot of red ink. You just cannot generate revenue handling and
storing sail boat fuel!!!
with dealing with a short crop, most of the grain industry has had to educate themselves on Aflatoxin. Aflatoxin (Aspergillus fungus) is a fungus that grows on corn in high
heat and drought conditions. It also can be difficult to test, store and move
into the appropriate markets. So dealing with the short crop and now having to
deal with Aflatoxin is like pouring salt into an open wound.
I look forward to another planting season, I am grateful for the 8-12 inches of
rain we have received since Labor Day weekend. I have noticed some drainage
tiles starting to flow again; we will need continued rainfall into the spring
of 2013 for a good crop next year. I
assume we will see more of a 50/50 corn-bean rotation as we move forward as the
corn yields took another big hit this fall. The spring crop insurance guarantee
will play a major role in maintaining or expanding corn acres next spring.
have some good news and bad news with my family update. First the bad news,
Lindsey Docherty, our daughter-in-law, was diagnosed in September with Acute
Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Lindsey spent 4
weeks in Rush Medical Center in Chicago on chemotherapy and now is home, but
still on a chemo treatment program which will last into the New Year. Lindsey's
doctor has been pleased with her labs since her chemo treatments have started
and she keeps battling one day at a time.
Many of you already know that my son, Serge, is on dialysis and now
having to deal with this has been a great blow to our family. Serge and Lindsey
have a beautiful 7 month old baby boy and our family has really rallied around
them to keep our grandson Blaine, Serge and Lindsey going in this trying time.
Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming!
a more positive note, Dillon has one more semester at Monmouth College before
graduation and moving into the workforce; Dillon and his girlfriend were both
on the homecoming court at Monmouth this fall. Annie has had a really busy fall
with running on the cross country team that placed 2nd in State! Annie also was
on the color guard with the high school marching band and art club. Annie is a
high school senior; she has been visiting colleges trying to figure out where
and what she wants to study and pursue in college. Denise had a terrible bout
with poison ivy and hives in September, but it has finally started to clear up.
Both Denise and I are looking forward to spending time with family at
Thanksgiving and Christmas. We fully realize how special and fragile life can
be when you don't have your health. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas
and a healthy new year!
By Vanessa Stinson
fall of 2012 was just as different as the summer. Corn harvest came fast and
furious and bean harvest took forever. Mother Nature decided to let it rain
during that time making it much longer than expected. Your Laplace facility ended up taking 641,000
bushels of beans, one of our best bean years and 2,033,000 bushels of corn,
just making projections. I do not have
to tell you what kind of year it has been; you all are going through it just
like we are. May next year be a good one.
would like to thank Mary, Renee, Kevin, Tiny, Jaemon
and Ryan for all of your dedication this fall.
We could not have done it without all of you.
Stinson family will be growing in early summer. Our daughter Gretchen will be
marrying Jason Hendricks of Taylorville. Along with a new son-in-law, we will
be gaining a new granddaughter, Chloe, Jason’s daughter. We are so happy for
the three of them. Our granddaughter, Brynnan, is keeping Ashley
and Wade on their toes as she is running
everywhere now. Nicolle and Kyle are busy with teaching and coaching. We are
all looking forward to the holidays and wish all of you Happy Holidays.
AN UNUSUAL HARVEST
By Stason Kopps
As the harvest of 2012 winds
down, I have to say this has been a very different harvest. After a summer with very little rain we had a
harvest where it rained too much.
Almost every week during harvest we had rain. All this rain stretched what should have been
a short harvest in to a normal length harvest.
This harvest, the Monticello area
had the same outside staff as last year.
Chris Frye was in Monticello.
Steve Schoonover was at Seymour.
Kris Mills was at Lodge. Rob Dick
was doing maintenance. Due to the lack
of trains and ground piles, I dumped more trucks than I had for several years.
On the home front, my wife and I
have been working with a new business.
We hope this business will help us in our retirement many years from
now. It has also been a hard time trying
to keep up with the yard. After not
mowing most of the summer, now the yard is growing quicker than I can keep up
I hope everyone has a nice and safe Holiday
By Denny Hill
Harvest got going around Maroa the last
week of August for a few farmers, but the majority of them waited till after
Labor Day to allow the corn to dry down some more, as it was testing from 23%
to 27% at the start.
Most everyone expected a harvest where the
corn would come in dry, considering the weather conditions we faced all summer,
but as we got started, we learned this was not going to be the case. As we
moved into the middle of September, the corn was still running around 20% and
by the time we finished corn harvest at the end of the month, it was still
carrying some moisture.
Like the previous year, the yields were
all over the board depending upon soil type and the lay of the land. Fields
that usually had ponds with nothing in them were producing the best, and we saw
a range of 60 bushel an acre up to 160 bushel in our area. When corn harvest
came to a close, we were 750,000 bushels short of what we expect to take in a
normal year. With the short crop, we didn't need our bunker for temporary
storage for the third year in the last four, and we also only hired one
part-timer for fall, when we usually have 3 or 4.
The bean harvest was like another season
from corn, as it didn't pick up any speed until the calendar turned to October,
and we finally finished up the first week of November due to off-and-on rain
events. The yields varied considerably with beans also, as we had a range from
30 to 70 bushels an acre and some fields hit by hail in September made less. It
was obvious that Hurricane Isaac bringing rain to Central Illinois in late
August played a big role in salvaging the bean crop.
The outside crew of Dan Greer, Gary
Liggett, Aaron Hill and Kenny Ross did a good job of taking in the crop with
just one extra man onboard this fall. We were able to fill our Waller facility
with grain from Emery, and we ended up filling both of our flats at the binsite with soybeans.
Nothing has changed in the Hill family as
my wife is still teaching 8th grade Math for the Meridian Schools, Jessica is
in her 4th year at Argenta-Oreana as the school's Social
Worker, and Meghan is finishing her first semester of teaching 7th grade Math
in Richmond, Kentucky.
By Mikki Burns
the harvest of 2012 will be one to remember!!
Everyone said it would be a short one - and here it is, November 1st and
we still have some beans to come in to finish up. The corn harvest was fairly quick but the
late rains just prolonged the beans. I
guess it made the yields better but it sure made the bean harvest drag
out. We were expecting lines at the bin
site but that didn't happen. That is a
took 2,644,592 bushels of corn, which was about 200,000 bushels over
projections. And we took a little over
512,000 bushels of soybeans, which was over projections also.
We would like
to thank all of our part time help this year.
Without them, things just wouldn't run as smooth as they do. Thanks to Ellen Coon, Jon Sago, Dave Mills,
Justin McCabe, Robert Phillips, and Anthony Swaim for their fine work and
have been shipping trains since corn harvest ended. We had 3 in October, 3 in November and will
have 1 in December. We're getting our
bins cored early and really watching the temperatures since the grain is so
susceptible this year.
the grandchildren are doing great. J.D.
is in karate and really liking it. Audrey is in Girl Scouts. Blaine is
seriously considering starting drum lessons. Lastly, Cooper still loves riding
his 4-wheeler or in the RTV with Papa Jim.
the next thing on the agenda is the "Holidays". It's a busy time, but a fun time.
All of us at
Cisco wish you and yours a very Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Safe and
Prosperous New Year!!
FAST START, SLOW FINISH FOR THE 2012 HARVEST
By Jason Goodner
This was the year of the
fastest harvest ever!!! Well, that was
somewhat right. We have ended up with
more rain in the last 8 weeks than we did from April on. While corn harvest was pretty well done
before we hit October, soybeans, on the other hand, were still coming in
mid-November. This year's corn harvest
was the worst since 1936, but something was better than nothing.
I hope that everyone that hauled in
this fall noticed the new scale deck. It
was pealed, poured, and ready to go within 9 days. I would like to say thank you to all of the
customers for not slamming on the brakes when they pulled on. Slow and steady on the scale will make it
last a long time. Looking back at our
crop tour numbers in August with 129 bu/acre corn, and 24 pods/plant on beans,
it doesn't look like we were far off on corn.
Our average yield around the area was right around the 130 bu/acre
mark. However, with the late rains from
August on through early October, the soybean crop was dramatically better than
expected. Soybeans are so hard to get
right, and the late rains improved what would have been maybe 30 bu/acre on
beans up to past 40 for an average.
Needless to say, we are always short bean room in Seymour, so we've shipped
quite a few beans out to make room for more.
While the corn crop this summer was
burning up, aflatoxin was just getting started.
Aflatoxin is a mold/fungus that is present in corn; however, in a normal
precipitation year, you would never hear of it.
This year was the exception to that.
We have all heard about what and how aflatoxin happens. Years of excessive heat and lack of moisture
that bring on drought conditions like we had this summer provide the breeding
ground for aflatoxin to appear. This was
not just a local problem for only Topflight customers, but regional for almost
all elevators in central Illinois. We
tested every inbound load of grain under the black light to check initially for
aflatoxin, and then a quantitative test strip to see if it would be over 20
parts per billion(ppb). Small amounts of
aflatoxin are manageable to deal with, however anything over the 20 ppb is not
acceptable for human consumption. This
year with the volume of aflatoxin found in the corn crop we were forced to
discount heavily, as any number above 20 ppb to 300ppb came with a discount up
to $1.50 per bushel. As your
cooperative, we have scrutinized the bushels delivered to give us the best
product to deliver to market and protect our shareholder’s interest in
Topflight. We appreciate all of your
diligence as customers to check your samples from the field and while putting
any corn in bins to assure your quality when hauling back out.
While aflatoxin weighed on all of us
this year, the time away from family also takes its toll too. Since the last newsletter Kolby's
CIYFL Mahomet Bulldogs Pee-Wee team won the league with a 9-1 record. I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of
the Sunday afternoon games a few times after harvest started. Dad and Mom are pretty proud of him and all
of his accomplishments. He is now in 4th
grade and is doing great! Addi is now a big 1st grader, and is becoming such a big
girl. She was at every game cheering on
her brother, and playing with friends too.
She loves the 1st grade, and it's
so exciting to see all the new things she's learning. The littlest guy, Jaron,
is now 9 months old. He is getting big, and so much fun. He is such a combination of his brother and
sister. Big Bro and Big Sis think he's
pretty alright, so much so that we are adding maybe one or two more. Well one for sure. That's right, we are pregnant again! The newest little Goodner is supposed to
arrive June 2, 2013. Kari is doing well,
and worked with me again this harvest. I
really love and appreciate everything she does for our family. She was definitely shocked when we found out
we were expecting again. Not that we
hadn't talked about it, but maybe not as soon.
God always has a plan; just sometimes he should text first.
Speaking of help; a big thanks to
our harvest help Josh Cozad, Kari, James Johnson, and Steve Shofner. Thanks for all the help, and harvest wouldn't
have gone this smooth without you. Steve
Schoonover did a great job outside this year.
This was Steve's second year running harvest outside, and I haven't ever
seen Seymour this clean and in good shape for a while. I appreciate Steve's attention to detail and
making sure that everything is where it is supposed to be. He makes my job easier when I know the
outside is taken care of completely.
Well it's late in the afternoon, and
I looked outside and it's dark at 5 PM.
So I hope that everyone is doing well.
I hope to see plenty of you over the winter, we always have coffee
on. I hope that everyone has a happy and
safe holiday season. Hopefully we see
you at our Open House coming in December.
One last note - Winter hours will be 7am to 4 pm.
GREETINGS TO ALL
. . .
By Jeremy Welch
the last newsletter, there have been many events worthy of discussion from the
drought impact to welcomed Autumn rains, harvest has
come and gone, the election, successful football seasons by our local schools,
the upcoming Rajah basketball season, and of course the fast approaching
I would like to share with you the Veteran’s Day program I attended at the
Atwood-Hammond High School on November 9th.
The program was well organized and presented flawlessly by the members
of American Legion James Reeder Post 770, students, faculty, and speakers. All service branches were well represented by
veterans in attendance as students and members of our community took in
presentations, music, and song.
the end, I found myself trying to comprehend what they faced as members of our military
in extremely difficult situations. Their
stories provided a glimpse into what they faced as young Americans, however, I
will truly never know without having been in their shoes. There are no words I
can put on paper that will ever express the level of gratitude and appreciation
I have for the past, present and fallen for their service, dedication, and
close with my sincerest “Thank You” to our veterans, and all involved for a
successful program to honor our heroes.
By Eric Clements
The harvest of 2012 was probably one of my easiest
harvests in quite some time with no ground piles and very few trains to
load. Unfortunately, an easy harvest for
me is not the most profitable harvest for Topflight. We need a harvest where I am worried about
filling ground piles before it rains, getting enough help to load the trains
and keeping up with all the daily repairs that need to be completed. Hopefully next year will be a better year for
The harvest ran
pretty smooth with all the repairs that the maintenance team and the elevator
operators made prior to harvest. We did
have a couple of dryers that gave us fits, but luckily, between Atchison
Electric and the maintenance team, we were able to get the dryers running as
soon as we could without any delays for our customers.
staff is working on widening out the bean dump doors at Monticello to make it
easier to enter that pit. They have also
been inspecting our reclaim conveyors to make sure they are in good working
order as we start to ship out this year's crop.
The elevator operators have been busy cleaning their elevators and grain
dryers since harvest is finally finished.
hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
FAD OR FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE?
By Amy Brammer
In my August 2010
newsletter, I discussed “Social Media” and how it was changing the way the
world communicates. Only at that time, I don’t think I fully grasped what was
going on around me. Topflight Grain was e-mailing and texting out information;
however, I was still hesitant about Facebook and Twitter and wasn’t really sure
it was all that useful. Fast forward two short years and these types of
platforms have simply changed the way the world does business. It’s not a fad
folks, it’s for real and we are witnessing a shift in our communication
paradigm. Erik Qualman (social media guru) says “It’s not if a company is doing
social media…it’s how well are they doing it!” and he
is correct. Have you heard of “Socialnomics”?
Basically, there has been a fundamental shift on how society finds information.
Consumers go online to get peer opinions and for product research. Companies
are finding that having a social media presence is not optional…it’s becoming
imperative. If I want to know about a product, all I have to do is ask the
question on Facebook or Twitter and I will get 20+ peer opinions and real life
recommendations. It is how consumer decisions are being made more and more
frequently these days.
There once was an unknown senator from Illinois
who became the 44th President of the United States using social
media to gain access to voters for free
in a way that no one before him did and would have cost almost $50 million
through traditional advertising. Simply put, it was/is unlimited access to
voters. Look at this year’s election, HUGE change from 2008 in how candidates
communicated with voters. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube…this is how a huge portion
of voters were getting information. Over 50% of the world’s population is under
30 years old. (1) 96% of “Millennials” (born 1980-2000) are using social media as
their base information source. The Millennials even think e-mail is becoming
passé. Want to contact them…text or Facebook. However, for business use, e-mail
is still crucial, albeit slow if you aren’t paying attention. Therefore,
Instant Messaging (IM) is very strong. It is another way to get instant
Let’s move it back
toward Agriculture. In 1988, there was a historical drought. In 2012, there was
a historical drought. The major difference was now we have instant information flow.
Market prices react instantly to information coming across the wires every few
seconds. Daily, Twitter gives me instant access to
production/yield/rain information from around the country with only minimal
effort on my part. This summer’s Pro Farmer report was at our fingertips the
minute they discovered the information. No more waiting for the news to be
reported at night or in the papers or even online. It was simply instantaneous.
And…it’s not just from the US. Via Twitter, I have daily access to information
from around the globe. I get South American and European updates throughout the
day! Granted, we have lost the quality of conversation (and that’s a whole
other discussion), but the quantity of information, instant information, is
simply amazing. It’s globally connecting anyone on the planet with a common
interest. You don’t have to put much effort into searching out information, it
literally finds you and is only a fingertip away.
2010, I wrote that if Facebook were a country it would be the 4th
largest in the world. Now, it would be the 3rd largest! Years to
reach 50 million users: Radio-38 years, TV-13 years, Internet-4 years, IPod-3
years, Facebook-200 million users in less than a year.(2) The fastest growing
segment on Facebook is 45-55 year olds! They start by getting connected to
their kids/relatives and then it explodes from there. People
Ever heard of Pinterest?
It is a “pin board” style social photo sharing website that has everything from
recipes, crafts, clothes, events, hobbies, and more. Pinterest's mission is to
"connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find
interesting" (2) via a global platform of inspiration and idea
sharing. It’s the fastest growing search engine in history. 10.4
million users, most of which are in the Midwest! It is
experiencing a 400% growth month-over-month. (3) (There are some GREAT recipes
on there!! I personally love it!)
What happens in Vegas
stays in Vegas??? You must be kidding. What happens in Vegas stays on Facebook,
Twitter, and YouTube! YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in
the world! (Google is #1). It’s where I found most of my research for this
article. Video! Generation X and Y do not want to read advertising. Show them a
1 minute clip of as much information as you cram into a fun little video.
That’s how to catch attention. Statistics show people will click on a video
before reading an entire article. Instant gratification is the current motto of
today’s society! (Good or bad – again a whole other discussion!) E-readers out
sell old fashion books every day, just download the book you want instantly. (I
actually prefer to hold the physical book in my hand as I read. I’m practically
may not be ready to jump in with both feet, but maybe put a toe in the water
and see what all the fuss is about. Facebook isn’t for TFG, but it is doing
wonders for many other industries. Personally, Facebook is a fun way to keep in
touch with people I don’t communicate with regularly. If you are not interested
in Facebook, I have the Topflight Twitter Feed on our Bids Webpage. It links
right into the Bids Page. Check it out without signing up!
The family is doing
great! Check out my little munchkins in their October school picture. Brenden
will be “5” in February and Cooper (left) & Brody (right) will be “1” on
December 29th! I can’t believe a year has gone by already. For the Brammer family, 2012 came in roaring
like a lion…I’m looking forward to it going out like a lamb! I
wish you all many Christmas Blessings and a Safe & Happy New Year!!
Mission". Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/about/.
seems like it was just a few days ago that I wrote my article for the harvest
High Flyer newsletter. By golly it's that time again. So here goes. Harvest got
underway the middle of August. With the short crop that was out there, we all
thought that it would be a fast and not so yielding crop. The corn harvest was
quick and to the point, ending by the end of September. When we did our crop
yield forecast for the Atwood area, we thought there would be an average of 124
bpa. After the corn was all harvested, we did average 125-150 bpa, a little
better than expected. There were some fields that were below average, while
there were several fields way above, again depending on the rains. Some areas
had decent rainfall while others didn't.
the corn was completed, we waited several days, and waited some more, for the
beans to ripen. A lot of beans that were harvested still had the leaves and
green stems, however the beans were ripe. So we waited a few more days. However
the rains that usually come our way in the summer finally arrived. After a few
decent rains the bean harvest FINALLY got under way. We finished the last day
of October, so much for a quick and early harvest. The beans yielded better than was expected;
the early beans not so good, but after these nice rains, 50-55 bpa wasn't
unheard of. Your Atwood facility took in
116% over projections on beans and 114% over projections on corn. A big THANK
YOU goes out to the wonderful harvest help. Wesley Eckart,
Chris Icenogle, Jay Blackburn, and Bill Dirks kept
the line of trucks moving and the dryer drying corn. Susan Harshbarger kept the
trucks weighed and graded.
the winter months are almost upon us, but there is still work to be done,
checking bins and shipping out. I want
to thank all Topflight patrons for doing business with us. Without our great
customers, Topflight wouldn't be a great company to work for. Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
WEDDINGS AT HARVEST TIME???
By Pam Jarboe
you have any idea how difficult it is to sit here, trying to write a newsletter
article, knowing that I’m sharing my side of the office with a little furry
creature of the season? Yes, despite our
best efforts, occasionally a mouse finds its way into our office!
Bement harvest was similar to all of the other facilities. We started early, anticipating a quick, short
harvest, but it drug out into a long, short harvest. Paul & Ryan were in
charge of filling the bean flat this year.
Ryan was also our night-time dryer man, that job ending just about the
time the beans went to the flat. Jim & Brad ran the elevators, with the
help of Terry York and Chris Pierce. We
sent Brian to Shacks to handle the non-gmo
beans. Roger, Andy and Henry were
everywhere that needed help. Martin continues to implement safety structures at
each elevator. Steve was everywhere with the semi, hauling to the processors,
transferring grain, or hauling in from the farm. Eric kept all the facilities
running and manpower where it needed to be.
Brock dispatched trucks, ran supplies and assisted with manpower when
needed. Amy & I tried to keep up
with the bookwork and marketing questions. We were delighted to have Karrie
Harper back at the scales, with the assistance of Crystal Burch and Paul
harvest slowed down just a little in mid-October, Amy & Karrie covered the
office while Dan & I made a quick trip to Hickory, North Carolina, for
Dan’s son’s (Eric’s) wedding. It was a
beautiful wedding; Erin was a beautiful bride; and we gained a grandson! And somehow, we snuck out in September for my
niece’s (Chelsea Chenoweth) wedding reception at Scovill
Zoo in Decatur. It was a busy fall,
filled with the normal harvest activities and a few family events.
summer, I received a big brown envelope that was actually addressed to the
manager of Topflight Grain, and then found its way to me. It contained many wonderful pages of history
and stories of the people in the Maroa community. The envelope came from Martha Query, who had
compiled the information of family trees and prairie survival. Mrs. Query probably had no idea that the
envelope would land up on my desk, a student of hers when she first taught at
Maroa-Forsyth High School. I have read
through her stories at least twice, with lots of interest. We plan to include some of those stories in
our next newsletter. I may be calling some of you near Maroa, for some pictures
to put with the stories. Even if you’re not from Maroa, I think you’ll enjoy
the stories because they represent so much of human nature, and life on the
Illinois prairie, a few generations ago. Maybe it, too, will bring to mind some
stories that you would like to share with us in future newsletters. That newsletter will probably be out early
Once we finish our harvest
paperwork, and enjoy the holidays, we have several projects to work on through
the winter, and as always, we enjoy your visits in the Bement office!
WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR
By Jon Carr
a common saying among Chicago Cubs fans, 'wait until next year’,' that never
seems to work out for them. Hopefully this won't become a common saying in
Milmine as we wait for a harvest that will really test the new elevator here.
This was only my second harvest in Milmine and everyone tells me that every
harvest is different. Well, I hope they’re right because we don't want to have
another one like this year for a while! With yields down and the threat of
aflatoxin throughout harvest, it was tough to put a positive spin on anything.
We started early in Milmine, taking in our first load of corn on August 20th,
our last load came in on October 10th. Remnants of Hurricane Isaac put a stop
to the early harvest around Labor Day weekend. The following week was really
the only busy week we had this harvest. From September 10th through the 16th we
took in a little over 1 million dry bushels of corn, this accounted for just
over 43% of Milmine’s total corn receipts this year.
The high threat of aflatoxin didn't emerge until a little later in harvest; the
longer the corn stayed in the field, the more of a problem it became. I had the
task of running one of Topflight's two quantitative aflatoxin testing machines
which made for a very busy last few weeks of corn harvest for me. Everyone
started calling me the 'Mad Scientist' as I was always working away in the old
post office that I had converted into a testing lab!
We loaded out
two trains in mid-September, one 75 car and one 50 car. Both trains went fairly smooth with very
little aflatoxin detected. We also transferred around 200,000 bushels of corn
to the flat at Shacks. This combined with the lower yields meant Rick and Chris
didn't fill our ground pile this year, the only good thing about a down year!
than expected yields for beans alleviated some tensions. I believe many
averaged between 45 and 50 bushels an acre on beans. Overall, harvest bean
receipts here were higher than last year, but I don't believe we'll be getting
nearly as many out of the farmers bin as we did post-harvest last year.
again our harvest help did an excellent job this year! A big
thanks to Becky Durbin for putting in some long days in the office. Daren
Benson was the first hired outside and last to leave. His schedule was constantly in flux as he
went back and forth from days to nights. Steve Hamm and Matt Cheek joined us
again this fall and Brandon Durbin came on and did a great job towards the end
of harvest when everyone seemed to be getting sick.
is ready to put this year behind them and looking forward to next year now.
Hopefully we will get some much needed rain/snow to help replenish the subsoil
moisture needed for a good crop. As one our customers keeps saying
"There's still no tile a runnin'!"
From your crew in Milmine, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
By Rodd Runyen
the holidays, one of the traditions during this time of year is football. I
want to reflect back on a football team from this year, the Cerro Gordo –
Bement Broncos. My son, Bailey, was on this team. As a senior at Cerro Gordo
High School, he was one of the captains. And boy, what a year they had!
going into much detail, most people know that the South Piatt co-op was
dissolved and Atwood-Hammond went on to play football with Arthur –Lovington
while Bement became part of a co-op with Cerro Gordo and Deland – Weldon to
form the Cerro Gordo – Bement Broncos. This co-op would prove to be very
the co-op began, I remember talking to my son about it. As a member of the
Cerro Gordo school board, I was involved with the discussions from the
beginning. I asked Bailey what he thought about the idea. “No
way, Dad! We will never get along!” My heart sank because I knew that it
was what was best for the kids. A few days later, he came back to me and said,
“I really don’t care if we co-op. It doesn’t matter to me.” I was encouraged,
for at least he was off the negative and more open-minded about it. Then a
great thing happened, the Bement Bulldogs girls’ basketball team traveled to
Cerro Gordo to play the Lady Broncos. One of the fans from Bement that came
that night was Steve Isbell. Bailey took this future teammate on a tour of the
Cerro Gordo weight room. This allowed Bailey to meet him and get to know one of
the Bement guys. After the game, Bailey came home and told me, “I can’t wait
for the co-op to happen!” He was now excited at the prospects of a Cerro Gordo
– Bement Broncos football team!
he had every right to be excited! The young men from Cerro Gordo and Bement
would come together to form a great football team. As their season started,
there were still some adults who were against the co-op. But with each victory,
the opposition would be less and less. It was wonderful to go to football games
and see the bleachers full of spectators and people standing 4 and 5 deep on
the sidelines! The support the team was getting was phenomenal! It was also
great as parents to meet all the parents from Bement and start new friendships
with them. We had fun tailgating and decorating the towns for the Broncos!
team bonded and kept winning week after week. It was amazing to watch as the
Bronco fans outnumbered the Villa Grove fans on their homecoming and knock them
off 21-14 to become the only undefeated team left in the conference. It was
also fun to see all the fans that traveled 2 hours south to Bunker Hill to
tailgate and watch the game there. At Bunker Hill, one of my hopes and dreams
for my son was answered as he picked up a blocked punt and ran it back for a
touchdown! This would be his first, and last, as a Bronco. As a lineman, the
chances of you scoring during your career are very small, so to watch my son
score was an awesome thing! I know it was a highlight for him too!
the wins kept coming. They beat Arcola in the final week to become 9-0. This
win brought them the Little Okaw Valley Conference
championship. It was also the first time in 40 years that a team from Cerro
Gordo had gone undefeated, the first time in Bement’s
history since 1899, and Deland-Weldon’s first time. It also meant a trip to the
IHSA 2A playoffs with a game against Lawrenceville.
the playoffs begin, as a parent, you realize that the next game may be the last
you get to watch your son play in high school. But the Broncos would go on and
get victory number 10 over Lawrenceville with a score of 42-14. This moved their
record to 10-0, the first time any of the three
schools has ever had a team that was 10-0. This victory meant they moved on to
the Sweet 16 in 2A against Camp Point Central.
a win against Camp Point would not come. The Broncos had 3 turnovers that all
led to Panther scores. The Broncos would make it a game, but would end up
falling 33-13. As the final minutes ticked away on the clock, the emotions as a
parent to watching your child’s career coming to an end are huge. And after
every game, the Cerro Gordo – Bement Broncos have a team meeting on the field.
They then form a single-file line and high-five all the fans along the
sidelines and thank them for coming to the game. It is an awesome display that
I truly like to see them do. And as the line came through after this Camp Point
game, the tears were not only there from the players but also the parents and
fans. It was very emotional hugging my son and high-fiving the senior players
for the last time. It was also sad that a great season had come to an end. For
this team was special, I heard that from so many people.
was this team so special? Because they were the inaugural
team of the Cerro Gordo – Bement Broncos. They had come together so
quickly when many adults thought they couldn’t. They achieved huge success when
many doubted them. They were the ambassadors of change for several schools –
and they showed how great this change can be. My only regret for this team is
the question of what success could this team have accomplished if they had
played a couple more years together. They were so fun to watch.
I congratulate the 2012 Cerro Gordo – Bement Broncos on their season and all
that they accomplished. They can hold their heads up high and realize that they
were not only successful on the football field, but their play and winning were
successful in bringing about positive change in their communities. They truly
By Dana Shull
Every harvest since I
started at the Maroa location has been very different. This past mild winter, early spring, record
high temperatures, devastating drought, and the hail during the Maroa
homecoming parade makes 2012 one I will never forget! I thought harvest would be over shortly after
it started, but it ended up lasting until the first week of November.
Now that harvest is
finished, I am looking forward to spending the extra time with my family. All of my children are doing well. Zane and Ceara
continue to be busy with their jobs. I
couldn't be more proud of them. Holden
is a junior this year at Cumberland High school in Toledo, Illinois. The Cumberland Pirates football team made it
to the playoffs again. Holden is also
trying wrestling this year for the first time.
I guess football, basketball, baseball, and hunting were not quite
enough sports for him. Looks like some
more drive time will be in my future. I
love to watch his events as much as possible.
Tristan is in 8th grade and is doing well in school. He played football for Washington. Paige is in 3rd grade at Maroa-Forsyth. She really enjoyed her first year as a JFL
cheerleader this year. Paige is excited
about the start of her second year of Girl Scouts. She loves to participate in the fundraisers,
especially when it comes to selling cookies!
Speaking of good things to eat, the holidays will be here before we know
it! I already put up our Christmas
tree. I like to enjoy the decorations
for as long as possible. It just makes
you feel warm & cozy. My
family and I would like to wish you and yours a safe and blessed holiday season.
LA NIÑA, GIVE US
BACK EL NIÑO
By Haley Wade
think we all can agree that a drought year isn't very fun. When elevators get 75% of the corn for 2012
in about a week’s time that says something.
Between Aflatoxin and low yields, no one wants to talk about corn. We can, however, talk about beans! We can thank Hurricane Isaac for the timely
rain. After filling up all of the bean
bins, Emery ended up using all of the small bins at Waller, a corn holding tank
used for drying corn, and Maroa and Cisco also took around 70,000 bushels to
help with space. Yields were all over
the place from 30-70 bushel per acre.
Our projected intake for beans this year was a little over 350,000. We ended up taking in around 530,000.
of Hurricane Isaac, fall colors really came out thanks to the late rain. Last year, once the drought started
mid-summer, we never really saw the beautiful colors in trees and bushes around
the area. This year the colors were
bright and fall flowers also came back to life with full force. It seemed they didn't last long but that is
probably thanks to the heavy winds from the next hurricane. The mums and roses planted around the Topflight
Emery sign bloomed like crazy and even though a black and white picture does no
justice, it brought some color to an otherwise bland landscape.
we are stepping back into our post-harvest routines and I look forward to
seeing all of you for the Christmas Open House.
As so many of you have made sure I don't forget- I will do my best NOT
to run out of chili this year! I think a
smaller ladle is in order. In the
meantime, please stop by to pick up your TFG calendars and eat these peanuts! Happy Holidays everyone!
120 Picture – emery flowers
By Adam Jackson
harvest is in the books. Monticello took 1,552,598 bushels of corn and 447,959
bushels of beans. Both of these are higher than we projected, 7 percent higher
on corn and 27 percent higher on beans. Unfortunately, our expectations for
this year were very low to begin with, and these figures are still much lower
than a normal year. I am glad this one is over!
harvest, I decided to go on a short fishing trip to Bull Shoals, Arkansas. I
stayed in a cabin at Copper John’s Resort which is located right next to the
White River. I had originally planned to spend most of my time fishing at Bull
Shoals Lake, but being right next to the crystal clear, trout-filled waters of
the White River changed my mind in a hurry. I had never fished for trout
before, but there were plenty of people willing to show me the ropes. As luck
would have it, I was there at one of the best times of the year for trout
fishing and was able to catch brown and rainbow trout until my arms got tired!
With the exception of getting 40 degree water in my waders once and having a
stringer of trout come lose and swim away, it was a great trip. I would highly
recommend it to anyone who likes to fish. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!
By Derrick Bruhn
the crop tour last summer, we presented our tour results of 122 bpa on
corn. It is a little difficult to tell
with the wide variation in our draw territory, but we think the estimate was
very close. During those meetings, we
discussed the concerns with water levels in Decatur and the potential shortage
of corn in Central Illinois. The water
levels of Lake Decatur are a little better and most water restrictions have
been lifted, but the shortage of corn in Central Illinois still exists. There is even a bigger shortage of quality
corn that will work directly into a processor.
Aflatoxin in our area was minimal when testing for 20 ppb (parts per
billion), but processing needs corn to be 7 ppb or below to have a finished
product that will meet grade. During the
process of taking corn from a raw stage to the end product, the aflatoxin
levels commonly are multiplied by 3.
Therefore, to have an ending product that meets 20 ppb requirements the
raw corn needs to be 7 ppb or lower. Many of the processors have to buy corn with
very low aflatoxin levels to mix with the Central Illinois corn to make a
product that meets grade. Effective
October 1st, the BN railroad published a rate to bring corn from
North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin into Peoria and Streator, Illinois. From Peoria, the CN railroad has a rate into
Decatur IL. This is the first time these
rates have been available. The western
corn and bean crop was very good this year, and much of that area had the only
excess corn in the US, and the corn has very little aflatoxin. This was a very good thing for the Central
Illinois corn processor, but changed the markets for the corn that remains in
this area. The rate expires from the BN
on Dec 31, 2012. There are no
indications at this time if the rate will be extended, but with the activity
that the new move has had, I think it will.
Illinois processor bids have become a discount to rail markets. As time progresses, the market will define
what corn with low aflatoxin readings is worth, and
the corn that can meet the low readings will be worth a premium. We have already seen this in some of the rail
markets and I think it will continue to expand as inventories dwindle.
Insurance will be a very important part of most operations this year and will
be a lengthy process. The policy holders
that want paid this year will be handled first.
We are currently seeing most of the 3 year reviews being completed. Policy holders that want to defer their claim
will get paid after the first of the year.
Depending on time these deferred claims may not be worked on until the
first of the year and payment will be made after the completion of the
production worksheet by the adjuster. If
you need any proof of yields or help with production evidence, feel free to
home Lynne and the girls are very busy with school. Lynne loves her little kindergarten friends,
Mabry loves her 2nd grade year with Mrs. Annie Walsh, and Mylin
loves her Pre -K year with Mrs. Nayonis. Mabry has finished soccer for the year and is
concentrating on Spanish classes and piano lessons. Mylin can't wait to
start an activity. We have enjoyed the
fall and the girls are getting ready for Christmas. With winter approaching, the truck project
will gain some attention and hopefully be completed by spring.
We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!
By Gloria Litwiller
Where-oh-where has the year
gone? I cannot believe we are through
the planting season, harvest season and the holidays are upon us. I remember my
parents and grandparents telling me," as you get
older the time goes by faster". I'm
finding how true that is.
This year's hot/ dry growing season sure
caused an early harvest. Corn harvest
started in Pierson on August 17 with a small load, but the real push started on
August 20th. I don't think harvest has ever started that early. Our bean
harvest started on September 10th. Our last load was October 29th,
and it was corn. So, it really was a long corn harvest, while most thought it
would be a fast harvest. Aflatoxin did become a problem towards the end of
Thanks to all of our part timers, Kelly,
Pat, Ashley, Caleb, Zach, Aaron, Jake and, of course, Willard, for another
successful harvest. I don't want to forget the people who run and maintain this
elevator every day, Randy and Chris. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have a
harvest. The new wet leg and conveyor system went well, even though we didn't
have the volume of grain to push the system to the max. This harvest was the
smoothest and the most orderly I've ever seen. However, the lower volume of
grain had a lot to do with that. NO LINES. NO HUSTLING back to the field to
grab that next load.
the home fronts:
a lot of new news
and Betsy married on November 2, 2012. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
and Andrew love their new schools in Bloomington. They have started their
fall/winter hockey sessions. I enjoy my weekends watching them play and I mean
my weekend. Their games are never the same day, so I spend a lot of time in
the end of the year and the Holiday Seasons are upon us. We would like to send our best wishes to you
and yours. Have a Safe and HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!!! GOD BLESS
post-harvest newsletter article is a little less post-harvest than usual. The
drawn out bean harvest has pushed the finish back to early November when most
thought we would be wrapping things up some time mid-October. The drag-on-completion has had a couple
contributing factors, those being several much needed rains that are hopefully
replenishing some of the sub soil moisture lost in this year's drought, and
with those rains, higher bean moistures across the scales resulting in
producers waiting for the right times to go out and get those remaining acres.
year’s crop will be one of those that we will get through, and may go down in
the record books in some form or another, but most importantly, it will be the
new start to a lot of stories that start something like this; "This is the
driest I have seen things since 2012 when we had that drought year". Up
until this year you could replace 2012 with 1988. On the bright side of things,
for us younger guys that vaguely remember 1988, we have our drought year story.
Let’s just hope we don't go for two in a row, and it takes another 24 plus
years before we talk about drought again. Keep your fingers crossed, and you
now know what to ask Santa for; yes, precipitation.
this time of the year I always like to talk about farm bin storage. So here it
goes for you guys that have bins full on the farm. Along with the usual trials
and tribulations of storing grain, this year as in each year, has its own
unique problems that may rear their ugly head. For corn, the biggest problem
seems to be aflatoxin, which can grow inside of a bin with favorable growth
conditions. The long tail of a short corn crop may
very well come down to this subject. In
the bean arena, the two perceived problems may include the moisture of the
beans in the bin, and the number of pods in the bin to plug up center
draw-offs. Moisture on most, but not all, later beans was higher than usual,
anywhere from 13-17%. This may cause sweating problems in bins as fans run with
the extra moisture and some of the warmer temperatures early on. Be sure to check bin roofs for condensation,
and/or sweat on the outside or inside walls as a sign you may be creating heat,
or pushing an overly cool front of air through a grain mass. The second problem
of pods may have occurred throughout bean harvest as it seemed many fields did
not mature uniformly and green pods may have found a spot in bins. These pods
pose a couple problems; probably the most prevalent will come at the time to
unload the bin causing problems with plugged draw-off sumps. Be sure you do not enter a bin with running
equipment. This can be a recipe for disaster with you being the main
finished pulling season as harvest was getting into full swing, and after
fighting a fairly dismal season, I managed to sneak in a win at the right time
at the Illinois State fair. This is something I have come close to in the past
and just missed out on, so it was nice to finally get a win in my class over at
Springfield. Morgan is growing like crazy, and keeps Dad on his toes. My wife,
Erica, is settling in nicely in her role at Friendship Hill as the facility
administrator there. I would like to wish everyone a safe and
happy holiday season.
Our sympathies to the families of Dave Ammann,
Mary Beery, Don Braden, June Chesnut, Gene Dailey,
Mae Davis, Margaret Ducey, Bill Dumbauld, Evalyn Fish Glazebrook, Teri
Hogan, Elmer Jacoby, William Jordan, Harold “Cotton” Kaufman, Dorothea Rogers
Kingsbury, Dale Leggett, Virginia Lehn, Caroline Limes, Joyce Lux, Catherine
McHale, Helen Muse, Geraldine Myerscough, Mary
Nelson, Leetta Redfern,
Phyllis Rittenhouse, Gerald Roberts, Clarence Runyen, Bill Stoerger,
Albert Suhl, Ronald Sutton, Chuck Tabaka, Floyd Veteto Sr, Jerry Whalen, Vel Wickstrom, Donald Wolfe, and all others who have lost loved ones.
Our congratulations to . . .
Chuck & Mara Endoy-Slagle, proud parents of Nilan Olga. Proud grandparents are Roy & Reva Slagle; proud aunt is Karrie Harper; Shalynn Conner, 2012 Atwood-Hammond Homecoming
queen; Lillian Kate, born to Blake
& Maggie Martin; proud grandparents are George & Mary Riley and Mike
& Linda Martin; proud great-grandparents are Dean & Carol Riley; Dan & Brooke Larson, married in
November; Robert & Hester Kingston,
married 50 years on August 5; Eagle
Scout Robert Raycraft, earning all 132 badges
that were available during his 10 years of scouting. Robert is the son of Tim
& Tina Raycraft, and grandson of Joan Hendrix,
and Mike Raycraft and Irma Raycraft; Sierra Day, first place winner in the
intermediate division of team sales at the 2012 National Junior Angus Show in
July; Emerson & Maxine Chapman,
married 70 years on July 23; Mallory Brittenahm, top female winner in the 2nd
Annual Apple Dumpling 5K Run/Walk; Zakk & Julie Kerr,
proud parents of twin daughters, Joanna & Kaitlyn;
proud great-grandparents are Dwight & Mary Miner; Dick & Patti Evans, married 50 years on September 1; Chris Karr, winner of his 8th
title at the Illinois State Fair hog calling contest; Graham & Jeannette Bradley, married 60 years on September 13; Fred Wentworth, celebrating his 90th
birthday on September 12;, married 60 years, in October; Annie Docherty, member of the Monticello Sages Color Guard, which
took 1st place in Class 3A at the Morton Marching Band Invitational
in September; Gladys Baker, who
celebrated her 100th birthday on September 22; Helen Ayers, who celebrated her 90th birthday on October
15; Suzanne Shambaugh,
recognized as a 50-year member of the Cerro Gordo Women’s Club; Amanda Romine, awarded Master of
Science Education, from Eastern Illinois University; Gerald & Barbara Reedy, married 50 years on October 17; Sabrina Hinton & Chris Kocher,
Bement High School Homecoming Queen & King; Ray Ahlrich, who celebrated his 90th birthday on October
24; Britny Heinzelmann,
chosen as Miss Atwood 2012. Britny is the daughter of Susan Harshbarger, who works in
the Atwood office during harvest, and assists in other offices throughout the
year; Bernie Whalen, promoted to
Regional Business Director for Monsanto in Illinois; 1970 – 2000 BHS Royalty, honored during Homecoming activities this
year (thanks to Peggy Wells for sharing the photograph!); Brock Casteel, first place winner in his division of the tractor
pull at the Illinois State Fair; Eric
& Erin Jarboe, married on October 13 in Hickory, North Carolina; Chelsea Chenoweth & Robert Goess, married on August 18 in South Africa!; Scott Docherty, who (we’re sure!)
enjoyed a special birthday celebration on September 25; Gretchen Stinson & Jason Hendricks, engaged to be married; The “Cisco Kids”, class of 1962, who
attended all 12 years of school together – Lucia Coon Wilkin, Deanna Barnhart
Metzger, Linda Craig Jordan, Betty Hardwick Harper, Janet Tarter Burton,
Kathleen Roy Wong, Joyce Norfleet Dyson, Mike
McCartney, Janet Sago Felts, and Valera Edwards Doerr; Jordan Klein, youngest alumnus (class
of 2012)attending the Cerro Gordo High School Alumni Banquet, and Ruby Robinson Hendrix, oldest alumus (class of
1937) attending the banquet; Paul &
Helen Lilly, proud great-grandparents of Wyatt Andrew Lawhead,
born on August 27; April Day, whose
fashion designs were published in “Model Citizen Magazine”; Tim Hughes, new general manager of
United Prairie LLC; Todd Schunk, new sales manager of United Prairie LLC;
Maroa-Forsyth Trojans, Cerro Gordo-Bement Broncos,
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond Knights, Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs, Monticello
Sages, and Argenta-Oreana Bombers football teams, as they progressed into the
State playoffs; Dan & Brooke Larson,
proud parents of a new daughter, Audrey; proud grandparents are Lynn &
Vicki Larson and Steve & Jodi Shonkwiler; proud great-grandparents are Gene
& Joann Bentley, Georgia Larson Jim & Ruth Williams, Joan Randell and Edna
Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental
hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool
jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the
pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She
swam to the bottom and pulled him out. When the Head Nurse Director
became aware of Edna's heroic act
she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now
considered her to be mentally stable.
When she went to tell Edna the news she said, 'Edna, I have good news
and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged, since you were
able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the
person you love. I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness.
The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom
with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's
Edna replied, 'He didn't hang
himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?'
HOW MUCH DO
YOU KNOW ABOUT AMERICA’S FARMERS?
1. How many
farms in the US are family owned and operated?
2. A bale of
cotton weighs 50 pounds.
3. How many
farms in the US are headed up by women?
a. 145 farms
b. 2,500 farms
4. US farm
families produce 40% of the world’s corn.
5. Today, the
average US farmer produces enough crops to feed 26 people.
6. How much
does one bushel of corn weigh?
a. 5 pounds
b. 112 pounds
c. 56 pounds
d. 23 pounds
7. A majority
of the soybeans grown in the US are green when they are harvested and can be
consumed immediately (such as edamame).
8. Farmers use
environmentally friendly farming practices that have reduced their greenhouse
9. What is
a. When a
farmer leaves the residue from a previous year’s crop in the field
b. When a
farmer uses the plant residue from a field in a compost pile
c. It’s a made
up word that no one uses
farmers till their field with a mule
10. If US
farmers used crop production practices from 1931 to produce an amount of corn
equivalent to the 2008 crop, how many more acres would be needed?
a. 129 million
additional acres would be needed
c. 490 million
d. 27 million
We realize this quiz is “preaching to the choir”. Please share it with your friends and
neighbors who are less informed about your business. We found the quiz at www.americasfarmers.com.
Answers listed at the end of the newsletter.
TOPFLIGHT . . .
the Bement office, we’ve worked through some changes with our phone service and
Internet service. At one time, we had “bundled” the phone, Internet & TV
together for a better rate. The phone
service became poor, and the Internet service was unreliable, and we completely
lost our TV service. Jeremy shopped
around, and we switched the phone service, upgraded the Internet and discovered
that the mice had eaten through the TV cable!
In the interim of switching, we were without a “bid line” through much of
harvest. The bid line is back on, and we
continue to learn new features of the system.
facility work included dryer preparation, grain transfers, safety items,
pot-hole filling and driveway oiling, bin cleaning and consolidation of grain,
grain probe maintenance, leg & conveyor inspections and maintenance, as
well as many other duties of the operations staff.
you read in many of our articles, alflatoxin has been
a big problem this year. Some of our
corn will be be sold to the
Southeast market, where it can be fed to animals. This corn will be loaded out of Pierson, on
the CSX rail line. Gloria says it’s been
at least 7 years since we loaded cars out of Pierson!
looking for new markets, some of this year’s corn was shipped to a pet food
company and to One Earth Energy for ethanol production, as well as our
traditional markets of Tate & Lyle and ADM in Decatur. Soybeans are also
shipped to ADM, sometimes to Central Soya in Gibson City, some are sold for
export in the container markets and a few are sold locally to a niche-market
Thanks to all
who fed us during harvest – State Bank of Bement, Cerro Gordo/Bement FFA,
Maroa-Forsyth FFA, 95Q, and Farm Credit.
of the 75-car trains loaded at Milmine consisted of all NS cars, all identical
By Jack Warren
It was a long and hot season for the” boys of summer”
this year. Our team was in a good position at the half way mark and was looking
to pick up some momentum to finish the season in the top three. Three games
from the end of the season, we were in position to compete for first place. But
with injuries, contract disputes, and off the field legalities (just kidding),
we fell short. We tied for third, but lost the tie breaker so that put us in
fourth. In our defense, we face some
teams that have and could go to the state tournament, so we have a very
competitive league. But I would not have it any other way.
Thanks to Scott Docherty for co-sponsoring the team,
hope to have a chance next year to take the league.
AT THE PUMPKIN PATCH
was a glorious day on October 25th, when Scott treated the ladies to
a day out, after the busy days of harvest.
Technically, it was a belated Administrative Assistant’s Day. A delicious lunch was enjoyed at Yoder’s
Kitchen in Arthur, then a visit to the Great Pumpkin Patch, south of town. Lots
of pumpkins, gourds, fall flowers, and creative decorations were on display.
The girls stocked up on pumpkins and gourds for the Halloween season.
Each year, we “adopt” the 2nd
grade class in Bement. It’s always fun and we always meet many young
enthusiastic students. This year, Mrs.
Kinsella has a class of about 25 students.
We met them for the first time on October 19, when they came to visit us
at the elevator. We told them that our
jobs include taking in the corn & beans that the farmers harvest, storing
that grain till it is shipped out, and assisting with bookkeeping and market
decisions. We also explained that corn
and soybeans are used for many things including soft drink sweeteners,
livestock and pet food, gasoline/ethanol, paints, inks, and even most of our
candy bars have corn or soybean products.
The office tour included the
computer used to record grain information, the grain probe that collects a
sample, and the testing equipment to measure the collected sample. Outside, in
the elevator, Brad showed their “office” to the class, which includes a “map”
of the bins and what grain they contain, monitors of the bearings and bin
temperatures, and testing equipment.
As always, the tour concluded with a
big bowl of popcorn for all!
2, we took our annual trek to Curtis Orchard.
We had about an hour to play, feeding the goats, driving the “tractor”,
“riding” the train, and lots more fun in their Play Yard. Then, Judy, our hostess and teacher, led us
into the classroom. She told us that they grow apples and pumpkins at the
Orchard and that honey bees are very important to production. She described the worker bee, the drone and
the queen bee and she demonstrated the clothing and equipment used to gather
honey from the bee hive. Then Bailee, another orchard worker, showed us the basket used
to collect apples from the Orchard, and the special picker used to reach the
high-up apples. Then the apples are washed and sorted, and the smaller apples
are used for cider, as she described the cider press to us. The tour finished with Curtis Orchard’s delicious
apple cider and apple donuts. As always, it was a great tour. We learned a lot, and it’s always a treat to
see Mrs. Curtis, who also grew up and went to school in Bement.
Grain began winter hours of operation on November 4. All elevators will be open from 7 am – 4
pm. These hours will be in effect till
Grain weather, bids, futures and comments are now available on our mobile
website. This link provides quicker
access to the information from your mobile communication device:
you, from Topflight Grain - - - -
cash bids & CBOT quotes via text message on your cell phone!!
free!!! Cash bids are free to Topflight Grain customers; a small fee is charged
to receive the CBOT quotes.
your local Topflight office to subscribe to the free
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you prefer a phone call about market reports, etc,
you can sign up for the voice blast service. Calls can be made to your home
phone or your cell phone when important news occurs. No fee for this service!!!
Call Amy in the Bement office @ 217-678-2261, for more information or to sign
DENMARK TOUR, NORWEGIAN TOUR, & BRAZILIAN TOUR
No, we didn’t take a trip
to Denmark, Norway, or Brazil, but we hosted Danish journalists, Norwegian
broadcasters and a group from Brazil.
It was a long-awaited,
and much-planned, trip for the Danish group, who came to the US, mostly through
the efforts of an exchange student who stayed with Dick & Bonnie Thomas in
1978-79. Through the years, Gitte has stayed in touch with Dick & Bonnie. Back home in Denmark, she is a journalist,
and planned the trip for the other 15 participants, prior to our November
elections, to better understand American politics and our way of life. The group toured the Bement sights, including
Bryant Cottage and Topflight Grain, and later visited Springfield, Peoria and
Chicago. During their overnight stay in Bement, they spent the night with
“host” families, which provided a great exchange of knowledge and information
for the journalists and for the hosts.
During the tour at
Topflight Grain, Dick explained the history of the company and the cooperative
form of business. He provided much
information about the company, including the many methods of communication,
especially important to the group.
Following the tour at Topflight, most of the writers visited the Hinton
Farm to see all the equipment and people required for bean harvest in central
In August, Anders Tvegar, Norwegian broadcaster, visited with people from the
University of Illinois and Scott about the effects of the drought on crop
production. After learning from them,
Anders saw the actual devastation in the fields as he toured Roger Hendrix’s
farm. Roger, Kyle, and Andy took Anders
into the field to see the short ears and poorly pollinated ears.
And from Jason :
Brazilian Tour Comes to Seymour
Back in April of this year, I received a call from the
Champaign Co. Convention and Visitor's Bureau asking if we would be willing to
host 45-50 Brazilian farmers and show them a local cooperative elevator. So on August 28th, a bus load of
Brazilian farmers stopped at Seymour for a tour and question- answer
session. The vast majority of farmers
were from the Mato Grosso
and Sao Paulo states in Brazil. We
started off with what happens when trucks show up, describing how we weigh,
probe, grade, and dump the grain. We
discussed how we grade the grain, and how shrink is figured on wet bushels
versus dry bushels. We were asked
numerous questions on how to grade green beans, and what kind of bean shrink
the customer ends up with on wet beans.
We gave them a short tour around the elevator to show them where we dump
and how we bin corn and soybeans. We
gave out a few hats to the first few farmers whom had questions.
FARM SAFETY WEEK
To emphasis farm safety,
during Farm Safety week of September 16-22, 11 Topflight Grain producers were
chosen to receive a first aid kit. One producer was chosen from each of the 10
full-time Topflight Grain facilities, plus one winner from the weekly Trivia
Winners included Steve Postlewait,
Ron Meece, Clark Foss, Mike Day, Louie Stoerger, Rick Beauchamp, Dick
Brelsfoard, Mark Yoder, Ron OConnor, Chris Oldweiler and Adam Sleeth.
LARGEST SOYBEAN CROP IN HISTORY
this interesting picture caption in the Decatur Herald:
“1938: One of
Central Illinois’ largest soybean crops in history now is in the process of
being harvested . . . The heavy crop has
necessitated the addition of extra trains on the Baltimore & Ohio and
Wabash railroads, while forces of the federal grain inspection office have been
A little bit of research --- the earliest
annual soybean records we could find were from 1940. The American farmer harvested 4,779,000 acres
of soybeans, at an average yield of 16.1 bu/acre,
producing a total crop of 77,375,000 bushels.
Average price for those beans was 90 cents/bushel. Compare those numbers
to the November USDA report, showing 2012 soybean acreage at 75,700,000,
average yield at 39.3 bu/acre, producing at total crop
of 2,971,000,000 bushels. Average price
is predicted to be $13.90 - $15.90.
Pricing (DP) rates were changed as the harvest of 2012 began. The minimum charge was dropped, and all grain
on DP is charged 1/10 cent/bushel/day, which equates to 3 cents/bushel/month.
check-off rate increased to 5/8 cents/bushel (from 3/8 cents/bushel) on October
1, 2012. This fee is deducted from your
grain check, then remitted to the Illinois Corn
Marketing Board. The money collected is
used for marketing, research, promotion and education, as determined by the
elected board of directors. Growers may
request a refund of their corn check-off, within 60 days after the deduction or
within 60 days after the first purchaser (Topflight Grain) has made remittance.
“How much do you know about American’s Farmers?” quiz:
1. A. 98% of
the US farms are family farms. Family farms vary in size and structure and
account for the vast majority of crop production.
2. False. A
bale of cotton weighs 500 pounds. That’s
enough cotton to produce 215 pairs of jeans!
3. D. 145,200
farms are actually operated by women, and that number has been growing. The 2007 census counted nearly 30% more women
as principal farm operators!
4. True. US
farm families produce 40% of the world’s corn using only 20% of the total area
harvested. That’s pretty impressive!
Today, the average US farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed just 26
6. C. One
bushel of corn is 56 pounds. That means
US farmers produce an average of more than 9,000 pounds of corn per acre.
7. False. The
majority of soybeans grown in the US are golden brown when harvested and are
grown as a grain product. The grain is processed into different forms, such as
soybean meal and soybean oil, used in millions of products including granola
bars, soy milk and cereal. In fact, one bushel of soybeans produces 48 pounds
of protein-rich meal and 11 pounds of oil.
Farmers have been using advanced technology and agronomic practices to apply
fewer chemicals and make fewer trips across the field in the tractor. In 2007, farmers reduced CO2 emissions by
14.2 kg, that’s the equivalent to taking 6,300,000 cars off the road a year!
Conservation tillage means the farmer either doesn’t till the land or uses
reduced tillage, leaving much of the residue from the previous year’s crop in
the field. The plant residue increase
organic matter in the soil, reduces erosion, and helps the soil retain
10. C. It would
require 490 million acres to produce the amount of corn from 2008 using
practices from 1931. To give you an
idea, that’s 120 million more acres than the state of Alaska, which is the largest state in the United States. Farmers are continuously looking for ways to
feed the world with more efficient and environmentally friendly practices.
**** Information from www.americansfamers.com