The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois.
The boys spotted practically a full page picture of a good Christian Burnside farmer neighbor on the front page of June 2011 Prairie Farmer.
Congratulations Terry, you deserve the good publicity you are receive'n.
The information provided by Josh Flint touched off quite a debate as he expounded on his views pertaining to water quality, as well as quotes from Mark David a biogeochemist with the U of I Department of natural resources and Environmental Sciences.
Mark David is quoted as sayin' "We've pushed a system that encourages yield, but we don't want to pay for any other benefits".
The boys asked when you talk about "we" aren't you really talkin' about the farmer and/or land owner?
If'n yields are forced down, due to unprove'n theoretical restrictions placed on the land, does the "we" include college professors?
It's easy, accord'n to the boys, for Mark David to make a bunch of assumptions when part or all of his salary is not at risk.
As for Mark David push'n for spring-applied nitrogen, wouldn't this wet spring be a fine year to be try'n to sidedress all of your NH3 needs before the crops grows too tall.
Hopefully, they don't outlaw it first. Then you will have an additional "advantage" of loosen a lower cost source of nitrogen.
The professional fertilizer salesfolk sez if'n everyone wants to spring apply their nitrogen, a terrible logistic problem would exist.
Get'n it to where it was needed on time would be a nightmare. Add some spring floods to the river transportation system and somebodies gonna get the opportunity to explore corn yields without proper nitrogen.
It is somewhat aggravatin' read'n Mr. David being quoted with several opinions, however, the reader was not give'n any facts or studies to back up those opinions.
What part of water quality is Mr. David propose'n to protect and what are the consequences?
Mr. David seems to be critical of the "agricultural system we've created".
And yes, much of our present system came out of U of I research and was faithfully applied on today's farms.
Now, he attacks that approach and seems to be invite'n farmers to heavily invest with capital expenditure in his new theories from the same university.
Why not put a tax on U of I professors' salaries see'n as how they are the ones partially responsible for the problem Mr. David perceives.
He could have real skin in the game, rather than push'n the expense of his theories onto producers, landowners, and rural communities.
Mark David feels over fertilizing lawns and golf courses are just a distraction.
Fertilizer applied on lawns and golf courses generally is not removed by a harvested crop sent to market.
Corn and soybeans are sold into the marketplace with nutrients removed from the soil.
That is the reason why folk like Christine Gillispie, a general manager for Crop Production Services, keeps sell'n more fertilizer to farmers every year. Gillispie thinks "The time is ripe for employing new technologies and practices".
That quote holds interestin' possibilities as to whom would foot the bill for those expenses and who would profit.
Crop Production Services could easily solve the problem as they relate to it. Simply no NH3 sales or tank deliveries when temperatures are 80 degrees F or higher.
Limit their NH3 sales to no more per acre per farmer than 160 pounds of N per acre.
Let a similar goal on P and K or better yet, Mike Plumer, coordinator for The Illinois Council of Best Management practices, is confident in No-Till or strip till in fightin' nutrient loss.
Maybe Christina Gillispie might suggest to her corporate headquarters, they only sell to farmers who no-till or strip till. And, then place limits on what they will sell per acre to those farmers.
The market place will then decide who they believe and where their profits are best utilized thru their purchases.
If'n F.S. or Twomey Co.'s fertilizer business increases and CPS's decreases, as the result of CPS's new policy on fertilizer, the vote will be in.
Why place all the untested burden on the producer or land owner. Leave it to the market place to decide.
Control'n another person's land and his ability to use it by legislative and administrative processes seems against the grain in all that has made the U.S. the most productive in the world.
As for Josh Flint applaud'n the efforts in regard to Senate Bill 2010, it is questionable if'n he has thought it through completely.
Upper limits of taxes last for only a little while. Startin' out at 50 cents per ton and going to $3 per ton probably will happen very quickly.
Look how easy it was to go from 12.5 cents per ton for FREC to $.50-$3.00 per ton now proposed.
Do you really think it will stop there? As more uses are found for the funds and perhaps new ways found for robbing the fund, the tax could increase. $3 per ton on N and what about P and K? Figure it out per acre and see what it costs you.
Then, why don't you add in the thoughts that budget constraints on the Federal Budget will disallow farm program payments that have been paid in the past.
Now, think back to June of 2010 when corn was selling below cost of production.
Does anyone think $7 corn is here forever? If a good crop were to develop, one of these years, you could be selling corn at one dollar or more loss per bushel.
Now, tack onto those losses a legislative additional fertilizer tax per ton and consequently per acre adding to your "economic" misery.
There are other arguments, Josh, you may have overlooked.
Once the precedent has been set, new areas of taxation for farm inputs will be found.
Maybe, farm magazines should be taxed for promoting some of those bad farm'n practices?
Maybe, Prairie Farmers' guarantee will cover the loss of farmer income if the theories on increasin' taxation, you promote, fail.
In travelin' around western Illinois over the weekend, I saw many fields with huge ponds smotherin' out corn and beans from recent rains.
How long would those fields look like a sorry drowned out mess if'n you forced the farmer to render his drainage tile useless?
What useful data can you provide at this time to merit some of your assumptions?
Or is it just "your opinion with somebody else's nickel at risk"?
Josh, you are a good man and me and the boys value your magazine, but on this particular matter we feel you are sell'n the farmer short.
But, you know that's the beauty of a free press.
You have the right to advocate more taxes on the farmer, and me and the boys have the right to strongly disagree with you.
We can still be friends.
My, but that Terry Pope does make for a mighty fine picture. I'm proud to call him a friend and right happy he's doing his thing right here in Western Illinois.
Thank you Josh for bringing his abilities to the front page of your magazine.
And by the way, the boys and I do business with CPS, F.S., Twomey's as well as others.
But, please just be careful of what it might appear you are tactfully advocating, which might ultimately be harmful to their customers. How about standin' up for us farmers on this one?
Why tax the farmers more, simply because the state "borrowed" $280,000 from FREC's $500,000 budget.
Isn't that punishing the farmer for the states mismanagement?
Thank's Josh for bringin' this potential problem to our attention. Now farmers can address this tax before it becomes a new law.
Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya later