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Ag Reports: Farmers Intend to Plant More Corn, Less Beans in 2012

American farmers intend to plant nearly 96 million acres of corn this year, according to the USDA Prospective Plantings report released Friday morning.

If realized, it would be the highest acreage planted to corn since 1937.  That number is up four percent from 2011.  Last year not all of the intended acres were planted because of weather challenges and delays.

Illinois is the only major corn producing state where farmers intend to plant fewer corn acres than they did in 2011. The National Agriculture Statistics Service shows intentions for planting corn in Illinois down 100,000 acres from last year.

Acres planted to wheat are also projected to be higher by three percent over last year at nearly 56 million acres.  Soybean numbers came in lower by one percent, with farmer planning to seed just under 74 million acres to soybeans.

The USDA also released its quarterly grain stocks report, which held few surprises.

As of March 1, corn stocks stood at around 6 billion bushels, which is eight percent less than this time last year. That shows the largest ever use of corn during the December-February quarter.

Soybean numbers were in line with expectations at 1.37 billion bushels, up 10 percent over 2011.

Wheat stocks are down 16 percent from 2011 at 1.2 billion bushels.

Markets for corn, soybeans and wheat opened stronger on Friday based on the report.

  • Parent Category: News

Ford County Among Healthiest in Illinois

Ford and Vermilion counties in Illinois show marked improvement when it comes to the health of the people living there. The counties rank among the top 20 of Illinois’ 102 counties in a third annual measurement of the health of residents.

Ford county placed 11th, McLean was 18th.  But Iroquois County actually went from 28th place in 2011 to 43rd this year.  .

County Health Rankings is a nationwide report released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. It ranks counties using a formula measuring the health of residents and how long they live.

Among factors measured were: the rate of people dying before age 75; the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health; physical inactivity; the rate of low-birthrate infants; smoking and obesity rates; excessive drinking; and teenage births.

Also measured were: the number of uninsured residents; availability of primary care doctors; preventable hospital stays; levels of education; children in poverty; community safety; access to healthful foods; and air pollution levels.

“One thing I like about this is it doesn’t look strictly at medical factors,” said Walt Howe, director of the McLean County Health Department. Socio-economic factors impact health and the rankings consider that.

“The underlying message is ‘Health is everyone’s responsibility,’” Howe said.

McLean County slipped slightly from its ranking of No. 13 last year. But Howe said McLean County was consistent with last year while some other counties improved.

Lowest among area counties in central-Illinois was Livingston at No. 84. But Linda Rhodes, Livingston County Health Department health education and marketing director, noted that unemployment, poverty and education rates were better in some other counties compared to Livingston. But smoking rates and people reporting being in poor health declined in her county.


A report of the overall health of residents of Illinois’ 102 counties was released Tuesday. Here’s how area counties rank compared with last year:

County    2012    2011

Woodford    2    3

Ford    11    11

McLean    18    13

Piatt    20    15

Tazewell    34    43

Iroquois    43    28

Logan    60    45

LaSalle    66    65

DeWitt    78    75

Livingston    84    79


SOURCE: County Health Rankings



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Iroquois Management Committee Moves Forward on Phone System Upgrade

It’s labeled a $70,000 cost, but could lead to a savings of $1,300 a month.  Iroquois County appears to be geared for a county-wide telephone system upgrade.

The County Board’s Management committee (Tues) OK’d Ruder Communication Technologies to work up specs for a project that’ll call for re-wiring and equipment.  Consolidating equipment data is expected to eliminate an archaic phone system that’s led to mis-labeled phone lines and billing problems.

Ford-Iroquois Public Health Administrator Doug Corbett has identified mislabeled connections have resulted in about $19,000 in overbilling.

The phone upgrade would provide for a single county phone bill instead of individual department vouchers.  An inter-office system would also link courthouse, administrative center office and other county offices in separate buildings.

Specs for the work may be ready by mid-April.  Bids would be due April 30th.


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Two Weekend Fatalities in Iroquois County >

Two separate traffic accidents claimed lives in Iroquois County Sunday.

30-year-old Dustin Nichols of Onarga was pronounced dead at the scene of a collision between his truck and an SUV Sunday morning.

39-year-old John Michael Worthey of Cissna Park died when his motorcycle collided with a deer.

The fatal accidents came on a  day when Iroquois County emergency responders were also participating in mock-disasters to hone their skills in a search and rescue operation.

Iroquois County Sheriff’s Police report Nichols died when his pickup was involved in a wreck at County Roads 1800 N and 500 E.  Nichols’ pickup collided with an SUV driven by 73-year-old Nancy Zachgo of Onarga.  Police report passengers in both vehicles were either treated and released at the scene or taken by ambulance to area hospitals.

Gilman Fire and Iroquois Memorial and Riverside Ambulance answered the call.

Worthey died in a collision between his motorcycle and a deer at County Road 1980 E and 1300 N. Sunday afternoon.

Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene by the Iroquois County Coroner’s Office.


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Iroquois County Emergency Responders Test Search & Rescue Operations

WATSEKA --- While emergency responders answered the calls to two REAL events Sunday….other fire, police, ambulance and emergency management personnel were practicing for what could be an actual event.

 mock drill involved a Search & Rescue.

The driver of the car in the mock-accident informed ambulance personnel that four other occupants were in the car.  That triggered an “open area search” by the fire and auxiliary police responders.

The exercise participants tested emergency management protocol, including paging, communication, mutual aide, incident command operations, and functions in the emergency operations center.

Watseka Auxiliary Police and Watseka Fire set-up the exercise involving a single-car rollover accident and the four missing occupants of the vehicle.  The mock-disaster scene was southeast of Watseka.

Emergency responders set up a staging area at the Iroquois County Courthouse.  After a dispatch from the county 9-1-1 Center, a MABAS 37 box alarm activated several participating fire departments.  The Mutual Aide Box Alarm brought responders from the Watseka, Milford, Martinton, Ashkum, Crescent-Iroquois, Stockland, and Woodland fire departments.  

Communication dispatch service from 9-1-1 and the Emergency Services & Disaster Agency were active participants as well.

River Valley Recycling and Pence Oil also provided assistance with the exercise.


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