Midwest Briefs: Butterball to close packing plant

Wisconsin State Farmer
Midwest briefs



Purdue global trade conference draws 200+ economists

A global trade conference that Purdue University will host next month is expected to attract more than 200 economists.

The 20th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis is set for June 7-9 at the West Lafayette campus. The gathering is expected to include representatives from the World Trade Organization and various United Nations and government offices.

The conference comes ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Global Trade Analysis Project, a collaboration of more than 15,000 researchers in 170 countries that revolutionized the analysis of trade policies and their global impact.

Purdue agricultural economics professor Thomas Hertel founded the Global Trade Analysis Project in 1992 in response to a need to create a global database.


Heavy rainfall has farmers worried about crops

Heavy rainfall across much of Illinois late last month has left many corn farmers wondering what will become of their crops.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan (http://bit.ly/2rGKWJJ ) reports that most of the corn has been planted around the state but there is a concern that the flooding of some fields caused by more than a foot of rain — particularly in southern Illinois — will force them to replant their fields.

Monsanto agronomist Jared Webb says a quarter of the corn fields that have already been planted might have to be replanted. He says that about 20 percent of the soybeans have been planted and some of them may also need replanting.


Butterball to close IL packing plant

Butterball will shutter its Gusto meatpacking plant in Montgomery, IL, where it employs about 600 full-time workers, marking another painful loss of jobs in the Aurora area.

The North Carolina-based company's announcement comes after Caterpillar said last month it would close its manufacturing plant in Montgomery by the end of 2018, resulting in a loss of 800 jobs.

Butterball acquired Gusto Packing Co. in 2013.


DOT changes mowing routes to protect butterflies

Officials say they're changing mowing routes along interstates to help protect dwindling populations of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators.

Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says the agency is one of the state's biggest landowners and has a responsibility to "act as steward of the environment."

Starting this month, IDOT will reduce the amount of land being mowed. The idea is to encourage the growth of critical plant species like milkweed, which is a food source for monarch caterpillars. State officials will also monitor to see if the approach works.

Pollinators play a key role in agriculture and Illinois' ecosystem by fertilizing and helping the reproduction of vegetables, fruits, flowers and seeds.

The monarch butterfly has been Illinois' official state insect since 1975.


Company to invest $36M in ethanol plant

A Danish bioscience business plans to invest $36 million in its eastern Nebraska plant, saying the company is counting on the ethanol industry's continued growth.

Half a dozen new hires could be added to the workforce of about 125 people as a result of the expansion, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Kyle Nixon, general manager of Novozymes' Blair plant, said that within a few weeks the plant will increase by half fermentation capacity of enzymes that ethanol plants use to squeeze more starch from each kernel of corn.

Success in the ethanol industry has made Blair something of a bio-agriculture hub after Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc. built an ethanol plant in the city about two decades ago. The town has about 8,000 residents.


IL to collect, recycle agrichemical containers

The state of Illinois is urging farmers and others who use or produce pesticides and other agrichemicals to save the containers to be recycled.

The Department of Agriculture says it plans to collect the containers in July and August. They will be recycled to make products such as fence posts, shipping pallets and plastic lumber.

State agriculture director Raymond Poe says it's an opportunity for people to "demonstrate their environmental stewardship" in a convenient way.

Metal containers and those used for household pesticides aren't eligible for the recycling program.