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Charlie Coleman with daughter Peyton and wife Regan Rita Frazer, RFD Radio Network
HOG FACILITY: Charlie Coleman, daughter Peyton and wife Regan cut a ribbon to signify the opening of their new 2,480-head pig barn.

Quick Take: Coleman hog barn, ag innovations, pork ambassador, weather recap

Colemans of Donnellson, Ill., build pig barn. Applications open for pork ambassador internship. Illinois Soybean Association hires ag innovator. October weather a mixed bag.

Coleman family brings livestock back to farm

The Coleman family recently built a 2,480-head pig barn outside of Donnellson, Ill. Friends, family and the local community were invited to the barn for an open house and meal to celebrate the addition to the Coleman farm on Nov. 1. The meal was prepared by the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

The open house allowed visitors to look inside a modern pig barn before the pigs moved in. The barn would be washed and sanitized before the pigs arrived in the following weeks.

Charlie Coleman is the fifth generation in the Coleman family to farm in the area. He and his wife, Regan, and their two young children love spending time together on the farm. The farm has consisted of corn and soybeans for the past 13 years, and they are now ready to bring livestock back into the equation.

“My family is excited for the new opportunities this will bring to our farm, helping to feed and fuel the world,” Coleman says.

In one year, the pigs in this barn will consume about 40,000 bushels of corn and 6,000 bushels of soybeans, grown by local farmers. This pig farm will produce more than 320,000 pork chops (5 to 7 ounces) and more than 5 million slices of bacon per year.

The Illinois Pork Producers Association and the Illinois Livestock Development Group hosted the event. ILDG is a coalition of Illinois ag groups committed to expanding and growing the livestock industry. Members include: Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Milk Producers’ Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, and Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

Other sponsors of the event were: A.J. O’Mara, Bank of Springfield, Frank and West Environmental Engineers, Hog Slat, Maximum Ag Technologies, and The Maschhoffs.

Illinois Soybean Association fills new position

A new role has been created at the Illinois Soybean Association for state, regional and national project coordination, farm enterprise profitability programs, and emerging technology adoption.

Megan Miller recently started as ISA’s new ag innovations and tech transfer manager, where she will also be essential to developing programs for soybean value and composition, certified crop advisers and the Yield Challenge competition. Miller was most recently a small-grains associate with North Carolina State University Extension.

“Illinois’ soybean producers are operating in a dynamic global marketplace with the reality that it’s always changing. It will require fresh innovation and adoption of new technologies and tools to flex with those changes,” Miller says. “I look forward to working with both industry and producers to move the soybean industry ahead.” 

Miller is an Illinois native with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in plant pathology from North Carolina State University-Raleigh. Her employment was effective Nov. 1.

Applications open for state pork ambassador internship

The Illinois Pork Producers Association recently announced that applications are open for its 2019 state ambassador internship, where youths between 18 and 23 gain experience representing the association and the pork industry.

Whomever is chosen will hold the title of State Ambassador for a full year and will work from the Springfield office during summer 2019.

Main duties of the intern include managing the birthing center during the Illinois State Fair, attending summer ag institutes, conducting a project of his or her choosing, and doing various other tasks. The internship is education- and communication-focused.

A $4,500 scholarship will be provided to the intern upon successful completion of the internship. Start date will depend on the student’s school schedule, and end date will be the last day of the Illinois State Fair.

• must be an Illinois resident between the ages of 18 and 23 at time of application
• must exhibit strong communication, organization and leadership skills
• must exhibit a genuine interest in the Illinois pork industry and be able to speak on behalf of it
• recommended to have attended the Illinois Pork Leadership Institute
• must be a member (or become a member) of the Illinois Pork Producers Association
• must have reliable transportation and be willing to travel to out-of-state training and functions
• may only serve one year

Bone-chilling weather changes in October

The weather in October dished up a mixed bag of conditions, with temperatures in the ’90s, the first fall frost, the first snow of the season and widespread heavy rains, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey.

The statewide average temperature departure for the first nine days of October was 11.5 degrees above normal. Many stations reported temperatures in the ’90s during this period, including a high of 94 degrees F in Fairfield on Oct. 7.

After the passage of a strong cold front, temperatures dropped and remained much cooler for the rest of the month. The temperature departure from Oct. 10 to 31 was 5.7 degrees below normal. The warm and cold periods balanced out, leaving the statewide average temperature for the month at 54 degrees, or only 0.4 degree below normal.

The first snow of the season fell on Oct. 12. Across Illinois, stations reported traces of snow, meaning it melted as it fell. A few areas reported a small amount of accumulation, including Moline and Bloomington with 0.2 inch. 

“We do not always see snowfall in October in Illinois, but it does show up in the records from time to time,” Angel says. “However, it is not a reliable indicator of the upcoming winter.” 

Precipitation was widespread across Illinois in October. The statewide average was 3.81 inches, 0.57 inch above normal. Amounts of 4 to 7 inches or more were common in the northern half of the state, which is well above normal.

Meanwhile, most of the southern half of the state was drier, with amounts in the 2- to 4-inch range, which is much closer to normal for October.

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