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Illinois announces hemp summit. Eastern Illinois Foodbank seeks donations. Swine Day on Dec. 13 to focus on ASF.

November 18, 2019

4 Min Read
dried hemp
SUMMIT: The Illinois Department of Agriculture is hosting a hemp summit on Dec. 17 following the release of federal rules on hemp.

Illinois Hemp Summit scheduled for Dec. 17

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will host a hemp summit on Dec. 17 at the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The summit follows the release of USDA’s 2019 hemp rules that have raised questions and concerns among Illinois farmers and advocacy groups. 

“We’ve heard from the hemp farming community and understand their concerns related to the USDA rules,” says Jeff Cox, IDOA bureau chief for medicinal plants. “The summit will provide a great opportunity to provide an in-depth presentation on the USDA’s rules and the implications for Illinois’ emerging hemp industry.”

The summit will have three panels, each consisting of three to four presenters.

“We’ve assembled grower, processor and university researcher panels to share their unique perspectives, contributions, lessons learned and visions for the future of the hemp industry in Illinois,” Cox says.

Hemp Benchmarks, a leading provider of financial, business and industry data for the North American hemp markets, will be the final presenter of the day.

Tickets for the Illinois Hemp Summit are $25 and include lunch. Those interested in attending can register online.

Former ADM exec to match donations to Eastern Illinois Foodbank

East-central Illinois has five counties with higher rates of child food insecurity than the state average: Vermillion, Ford, Clark, Edgar and Coles.

That’s why the Eastern Illinois Foodbank is opening a capital campaign, with former ADM executive Steven Mills and his wife, Betsy, pledging to match up to $100,000 in donations from the agricultural community for the food bank.

The food bank needs funds to expand from its current 39,000-square-foot facility in Urbana, as its current size has reached its limit, while food insecurity in the area rises.

“As the primary resource of food for local pantries, shelters and soup kitchens, the food bank feeds 58,000 people a month. This meets less than half the current need,” says Mills, noting research from the University of Illinois has identified 138,000 food-insecure people in the 18 counties served by the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

To donate to the cause, members of the ag community can contact Molly Delaney, vice president of development at the food bank, at 217-328-3663 or [email protected].

Swine Day to focus on ASF prevention

Pork producers looking to prepare their farm for African swine fever can attend Swine Day on Dec. 13 at the Illinois Department of Agriculture in Springfield. Department staff, the Illinois Pork Producers Association and University of Illinois Extension will share knowledge of ASF and plans to prevent its spread.

Experts who have been on the ground in Asia and Europe will share actionable take-home tips that producers can implement on the farm right away. There is no cost to attend for IPPA members, and lunch will be provided.

Swine Day runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register on the Illinois Pork Producers Association website by Dec. 9.

Tar spot survey seeks samples

Last year, the University of Illinois started a project focusing on determining origins of Phyllachora maydis, the causal agent of tar spot in corn in the U.S. As part of the project, Extension plant pathologist Nathan Kleczewski needs to collect Phyllachora species from different hosts and areas. 

He’s asking for samples of Phyllachora spotted on grasses and seed to be sent to the U of I plant diagnostic lab.

Kleczewski says samples should have somewhat raised stroma that follow the veins of a leaf, on most occasions. They can have halos around them as well. If you are walking fields, gardens or parks and happen to come across any putative Phyllachora, please send leaves and seed heads to the clinic at S-417 Turner Hall, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801. Include “ATTN tar spot survey.” 

grass with tar spot

FOLLOW THE VEIN: Phyllachora can be spotted on grasses when there’s raised stroma that follow the veins of a leaf. They can have halos around them as well.

Gov. Pitzker announces state fair improvements

Illinois is paving several main roads at the state fairgrounds in Springfield. The $3 million multiple-year road improvement project funded by the Capital Development Board will take place in two phases.

“I committed millions of dollars to make long overdue road improvements at both fairgrounds [Springfield and DuQuoin] to demonstrate our commitment, and we’ve seen huge strides for both state fairs in grandstand ticket sales, attendance and revenue,” says Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “With these improvements, the state fair will remain a popular attraction for generations to come.”

The first phase will resurface roads at the fairgrounds beginning at the 8th Street intersection with Sangamon Avenue and continuing north to the sheep barn. It also includes 4-H Lane from 8th Street west alongside the junior livestock and Orr buildings to Gate 9.

Additionally, portions of Illinois and Central avenues, as well as roads around the Emerson Building and the goat barn will be repaved.

“Over the years, the heavy traffic volume and the weight of trucks and trailers delivering livestock have worn out these roads,” says John Sullivan, IDOA director.

Phase one of the road improvements is estimated to cost $500,000 and wrap up before Thanksgiving, weather permitting. Phase two will begin in the spring and cost about $2.5 million.

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