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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - The number of acres Illinois farmers devote to corn crops this year is expected to dip slightly amid growers' plans to plant more soybeans statewide.
   The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual forecast released Monday shows Illinois will have roughly 11.9 million acres of corn. That's down about 1 percent from the 12 million acres planted last year. In 2012, the acreage was 12.8 million.
   The USDA says soybeans will make up the difference, with the 9.5 million acres expected to be planted in Illinois coming in 1 percent higher than last year's 9.45 million acres.
   Nationwide, the USDA expects 91.7 million acres of corn to be sown this year, down about 4 percent from last year. Soybean acreage is expected to rise about 6 percent to 81.5 million acres.
 
Published in Local News

 

   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to follow through on its own proposal to reduce amounts of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline.  
   The EPA wants to reduce by billions of gallons the amount of biofuels required in gasoline sold in America.  The agency says the additive is less necessary with more fuel-efficient engines and lower fuel demand.
   Governor Quinn says lowering the requirement could hurt farmers growing renewable fuel crops, like corn.  His office says Illinois' ethanol industry is one of the nation's largest.  
   Critics say ethanol isn't as environmentally friendly as advertised.  The pressure to grow more crops for ethanol has led to planting in areas that might otherwise be set aside for conservation.  Critics also say diverting crops for fuel has contributed to rising food prices.  
   But ethanol advocates say its essential to American energy independance.
 
Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois farmers still can't begin planting their corn crops due to muddy fields caused by the heavy rains that inundated the state in recent weeks.

   The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that as of Monday there's been no significant planting done in Illinois because many fields are simply too wet for farmers to get out in them in tractors.

   The USDA says just 1 percent of the state's corn crop has been sown. This time last year, three-quarter of the state's cornfields were planted, more than double the five-year average of 36 percent.

   Nationwide among key farming states, 4 percent of the corn crop is in the ground, down from 49 percent a year ago at this time.

 
Published in Local News

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