The Friday Leader
News from the Champaign County Farm Bureau
News for the Week Ending Friday, March 27th, 2015
Thank you to everyone who came out last week during the Coffee Shop Tour and supported Earth Partners’ and Ag in the Classroom. All pledges and donations were greatly appreciated and will be a benefit to the program.
This Week’s Hot Topics
THE RUSH TO CUBA – Bookings to Cuba jumped 57 percent for one New York tour operator in the weeks after Washington said it would renew ties with Havana. In February, they were up 187 percent; and so far this month, nearly 250 percent. Tourism, a $2.6 billion-plus industry, is one of the main engines that has kept Cuba’s economy sputtering along.
SENATE ON CLOCK AFTER HOUSE OKS MEDICARE FEE FIX– The House of Representatives easily passed bi-partisan legislation Thursday to update the way Medicare pays physicians and extend federal funding for a popular children’s health insurance program, putting pressure on the Senate to act before Congress recesses Friday.
RAUNER OKS BUDGET FIX – Just hours after the Illinois Senate approved a hard-fought, short-term fix for the state’s tattered budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure into law Thursday. The proposal gives Rauner the power to use $1.3 billion in funds dedicated for special purposes to patch holes in the budget.
BALANCE OF POWER SHIFTS IN GROCERIES - Orders for organic burritos, Thai stir-fry and other frozen products from Amy’s Kitchen Inc. have been growing so quickly that late last year the company bought a second factory—an Idaho plant that H.J. Heinz Co. had just shut amid shrinking demand for its frozen food. Amy’s and other smaller companies focused on natural and organic foods are feasting on shifts in tastes among consumers distrustful of established food giants’ products and ingredients.
MOBILE BANKING CATCHES ON– Instead of going to the bank, customers are increasingly bringing the bank to themselves. More people with bank accounts in the U.S. are relying on their mobile phones to conduct transactions and access their account information, according to a survey released on Thursday by the Federal Reserve.
ESTATE TAX VOTE - In a message-sending vote, the Senate endorsed killing the estate tax, but the Republican majority could attract the support of just one Democrat. The 54-46 vote came on one of a series of non-binding amendments to the Senate budget resolution. Ending the death tax was among the messages the IFB Leaders to Washington group brought to Capitol Hill this week.
BUDGET FIX - The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) share of the current state budget solution totals $14.6 million, according to IDOA officials. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure shortly after it passed Thursday. The General Assembly approved a plan to resolve a $1.6 billion shortfall in the fiscal year 2015 budget. Details on FarmWeekNow.com.
SIGNUP EXTENSION – USDA announced this morning that it’s extending the farm program signup for ARC/PLC another week. New deadline in April 7.
CHINESE DEMAND – The overwhelming demand for soybeans by China shows up in a pair of maps recently updated by FarmdocDaily. It indicates how important China is to Illinois soybean farmers.
BILL WOULD CREATE GMO FOOD LABELS– House Republicans are proposing a new government certification for foods free of genetically modified ingredients. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., says a government-certified label would allow companies that want to advertise their goods as GMO-free to do so, but it would not be mandatory for others. The food industry which backs Pompeo’s bill, has strongly opposed individual state efforts to require labeling, saying the labels would be misleading because GMOs are safe.
MONSANTO SEEKS RETRACTION FOR REPORT LINKING HERBICIDE TO CANCER– Monsanto Co., maker of the world’s most widely used herbicide, Roundup, wants the World Health Organization to retract a report linking the chief ingredient in Roundup to cancer. The company said the report was biased and contradicts regulatory findings that the ingredient, glyphosate, is safe when used as labeled.
DOW FALLS BACK IN THE RED FOR 2015– Stocks fell for a third consecutive day Wednesday as the Dow plunged 293 points and turned negative for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.6 percent to 17,718.54. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 1.5 percent to 2061.05.
WOODFORD TOPS COUNTY HEALTH RANKINGS, MCLEAN 30TH– Woodford County remained the healthiest of Illinois’ 102 counties – and McLean County ranked 30th – according to a nationwide measure that ranks the health of residents by county. The County Health Rankings allow counties to determine how well they’re doing on 30 factors that influence health.
AMTRAK OFFICIAL DETAILS EFFECTS OF RAUNER PLAN– A top Amtrak official says Illinois would be on the hook to repay more than a billion dollars in federal aid if service is reduced on the Chicago-St. Louis passenger rail corridor. In testimony before a House panel Wednesday, Ray Lang, senior director of national state relations for Amtrak, said the cuts being proposed by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration would have a significant impact on other passenger rail routes in Illinois.
Mark Your Calendar!
APRIL 2, 2015 FROM 06:30PM TO 08:30PM
Young Ag Leaders
801 N Country Fair Dr
Champaign, IL 61821
APRIL 6, 2015 FROM 07:00PM TO 09:00PM
Marketing Club - Merrill Crowley of Crowley commodities
APRIL 9, 2015 FROM 10:00AM TO 12:00PM
Prime Timers – John and Carole Mitchell (Festive Tour of Germany)
Champaign , IL 61821
APRIL 15, 2015 FROM 10:00AM TO 01:00PM
Women's Committee Spring Fling
APRIL 20, 2015 FROM 09:30AM TO 11:00AM
Lady Landowners -
801 N Country Fair Dr
Champaign, IL 61821