The Friday Leader
News from the Champaign County Farm Bureau
News for the Week Ending Friday, April 10th, 2015
This Week’s Hot Topics
· EQUIPMENT OUTLOOK - For 2015, dealers are now expecting sales to decline 15% year-over-year on average, down from the 11% decline forecast in February. Shortline dealers are the most optimistic, calling for a 10% decline in sales for 2015. John Deere dealers are the least optimistic and are expecting an 18% decline in sales for the year.
· DROUGHT IMPACT - California's drought has driven the prices of some fruits and vegetables up substantially, but others are actually cheaper than they were a year ago. In fact, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s forecast for produce prices predicts modest increases of 2% to 3%.
· SMARTPHONE SURVEY - According to a February 2015 Farm Journal Media survey, 69% of farmers today own smartphones. Based on plans to purchase, 87% of farmers will use smartphones by 2016.
· SOME AREA FARMLAND SAW SHARPER VALUE DROP– A recent survey of Illinois farmland values indicated a slightly sharper drop in East Central Illinois than in other parts of the state. The annual survey, conducted by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, noted a 5 to 10 percent drop in the per-acre price paid for land in the society’s seven-county Eastern Region from a year ago. The Eastern Region includes Champaign, Vermilion, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, Edgar and Coles counties. Most of the other parts of the state reported either stable prices for drop up to 5 percent.
· OFFICIALS SPLIT ON RATE HIKE TIMING – Fed officials disagreed widely last month on when they might begin lifting interest rates from record lows. Minutes of the March meeting released Wednesday reveal that several policymakers predicted a rate hike in June, while others concerned about low inflation didn’t think a rate hike would be warranted until later this year. Still others said the economy wouldn’t be strong enough for an increased until 2016.
· OIL SLIDES AS SUPPLIES SOAR– The most volatile oil market in three years was hit with another sharp swing on Wednesday, as a huge buildup in crude supplies sent U.S. prices to their biggest loss in two months. Crude oil for May delivery slid 6.6 percent after rising 3.5 percent to set a high for the year.
· DIPLOMATIC ROAD MAY BE BUMPY FOR U.S. AT PANAMA SUMMIT– President Obama arrives at a summit of the Americas this week in high standing as the U.S. leader who’s finally re-establishing relations with Cuba. But the road might be a bumpy one for Obama at the 35-member Organization of American States meeting. Cuban opposition groups are planning concerts and protest meetings to highlight Cuba’s suppression of political freedom.
· WAL-MART PAY RAISES REACH ILLINOIS WORKERS– Illinois Wal-Mart employees have begun earning at least $9 an hour, the company announced Wednesday.
· FARMERS TAKE CENTER STAGE AT ISU – A lively discussion about food and farming took place following a screening of “Farmland” on the Illinois State University campus Tuesday night. Check out stories on FarmWeekNow.com and your favorite RFD Radio Network® affiliate.
· SHELL TO BUY BRITISH NATURAL GAS PRODUCER – Royal Dutch Shell PLC has agreed to buy British gas producer BG Group PLC for $69.7 billion in cash and stock, the companies announced Wednesday. The move gives the oil giant Shell a greater stake in natural gas markets in the wake of tumbling oil prices.
· FOOD PANTRIES SPRING UP ON CAMPUSES – More than 200 colleges are opening free pantries, where students in need can stock up on groceries and basic supplies. The pantries, started cropping up on campuses in large numbers after the recession began in 2007 and are helping students wrestle with sharp tuition increases.
· CHEAPER GAS EXPECTED THIS SUMMER – The Energy Department says drivers will see the lowest summer gasoline prices in nearly 6 years. The national average price is expected to fall 32 percent from a year ago to $2.45 a gallon between April and September.
Mark Your Calendar!
· APRIL 13, 2015 FROM 09:30AM TO 12:00PM
801 N Country Fair Dr
Champaign, IL 61821
· APRIL 14, 2015 FROM 07:30AM TO 09:30AM
· APRIL 15, 2015 FROM 10:00AM TO 01:00PM
Women's Committee Spring Fling
· APRIL 16, 2015 FROM 07:00PM TO 09:00PM
Champaign, IL 61821
Today in History
· 1912 The Titanic leaves port on it's ill-fated voyage.
· 1916 The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) is created
· 1925 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is first published
· 1970 Paul McCartney announces that The Beatles have broken up.
· xxxx This is the 100th day of the year