Week 12 of our growing season observations is basically more of the same. Corn and soybeans are still progressing very well. As I stated last week, I spent the past week in Washington, D.C., and I basically got this week’s update from one of my neighbors. He was very positive on the corn development. The ears that he looked at were much above average in kernels around and kernels long. That observation was backed up by area seed representatives. My neighbor is not going to make any public yield projections at this point as Mother Nature has too many things up her sleeve before we get this crop in the bin.

The soybean progression was very noticeable over the past week. I would guess that the drier conditions played a role. We had only about 0.5 inches of rain over the past two weeks. There is more rain due to come in early this week. It is still too early to make any soybean yield projections. Fungicide spraying of soybeans has started in my area. As in our corn, there seems to be very little bothering the soybeans. We will be making that spraying decision very soon.

Reflecting on Illinois Corn’s trip to Washington, D.C., it was interesting as usual. After talking with many corn growers from around the nation, it sounded like Illinois for the most part is the “Garden Spot” for corn in the United States. On Wednesday and Thursday after Corn Congress, we all made Capitol Hill visits. My group met with Senator Durbin and Representative Shock and staffers from Senator Kirk’s and Representative Foster’s office. We were urging support for three measures: User fees for the Inland Water Trust Fund; Preservation of the Renewable Fuel Standard; and support for legislation to clarify the Clean Water Act.

The good news is that support for these concerns seems to be increasing. We thanked them and encouraged them to promote their stand on these issues with their colleagues. We also attended Corn Congress, at which we acted on policy updating and revisions and heard speakers such as a representative from the Environmental Protection Agency who tried to reassure the group that there will be clarifications in the Clean Water Act. This is your corn checkoff money at work. Have a great week.