As we get ready to close the books on 2017, I am happy to share some of my top ag stories of the past 365 days. Here’s to a safe and happy New Year.
    Two well-known individuals in the ag industry took advantage of a rare opportunity to travel the streets of Washington, D.C., in a tractor cab as a part of the inaugural parade Jan. 20. Farm broadcaster Max Armstrong and Chad Colby, who works for a Central Illinois Case IH dealership, drove farm tractors in the event.
    A famous risk management consultant remains optimistic on the future of agriculture. Moe Russell, owner of Russell Consulting Group, addressed a group of farmers at an informational meeting held at Marchelloni’s in Fairbury. Raised in eastern Iowa, Russell worked in lending for 26 years before starting his consulting business 19 years ago.
    Dicamba drifting to other fields seems to be the talk of the farming community as of late, but the idea of this happening is nothing new. In fact, it was determined back in 1967 that soybeans were sensitive to the broad-spectrum herbicide. As of August, Illinois was number three in the United States for the number of complaints associated with dicamba application. Dr. Aaron Hager, a weed scientist from the University of Illinois, worries about dicamba being one of the only things used to kill herbicide-resistant weeds in fields.
    The vast corn and soybean fields of McLean County captivated some Australian visitors over the summer. The tour of Clayton Rosenberger’s farm near Chenoa included more than 30 clients of John Deere dealerships in western Australia, which is traditionally a large cereal cropping area. Growers in that part of the world grow mainly wheat with some barley and canola.
    U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made a brief stop at the Evergreen FS Plant in Chenoa as part of a five-state RV tour, discussing topics ranging from legislation to trade. Perdue said he wished members of the public could understand the environmental protection and safety standards those in the agriculture industry follow every day. According to Perdue, the president is working hard to ensure waterways continue to work so the fertile Mississippi Valley area can continue to feed the world.
    Farmers saw the latest ag innovations at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur. New Holland revealed a brand new methane-powered tractor. Machine performance is identical to a diesel engine, particularly in terms of maximum power and torque.
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