Big harvest counteracts low crop prices

October 20, 2017 GMT

Farmers represent less than 2 percent of Kankakee County’s population, but the agriculture industry here equates to $1.5 billion of economic activity, noted Kankakee County Farm Bureau director Chad Miller.

And in midst of the 2017 harvest, Miller reported Wednesday that area farmers are once again bringing in a bountiful harvest.

With about 75 percent of soybeans harvested, Miller said yields are coming in between 50 to 70 bushels per acre. In the harvest of 2016, Kankakee County farmers’ produced an average of 55.8 bushels for a total harvest of 7.7 million bushels.

He said with about one-third of corn crop completed, yields typically are coming in at 180 to more than 200 bushels per acre. Last year, the corn yield here was 195.5 bushels per acre for a total of 35.7 million bushels.

While the production is very good, Miller noted, the prices for the crops are not.

He noted the cost of producing one bushel of corn ranges from $3.70 to $4. The local cash price for corn this week is about $3.15. Soybeans cost between $9 and $10 per bushel to produce and the market price is in the $9.60 range.

Farmers will need a big harvest to generate a profit.

“Using those farm economics, it looks like soybeans may produce a very narrow profit this year, and corn won’t produce a profit at all unless our local farmers can make up for that margin in the number of bushels they’re able to bring in,” Miller said.

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The Save-A-Lot grocery store, 370 S. Schuyler Ave., Kankakee, is no longer part of that store’s chain, but according to store personnel, a new operator will be taking over the site.

The Save-A-Lot sign has been removed from the store, but the remaining product on site is from that chain. An announcement as to the location’s future is expected next week. The location remains open.

It appeared there would be a change, as in recent weeks the store’s shelves had become considerably more bare.

The location was purchased by Tri City Illinois Investments Inc., of Bloomington, in September 2013 for $130,000. The Save-A-Lot was soon announced as the tenant.

Save-A-Lot, based in St. Louis, opened the nearly 8,000-square-foot store in October 2014. The site had largely been vacant since the former tenant, Aldi’s, moved out in November 2009 when its new store at 2705 S. Schuyler Ave., opened.

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A $53.3 million project announced in 2010 has been completed and 12 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters already are on site at the Army National Guard Readiness Center and Army Aviation Support Facility in south Kankakee.

The keys to the 182,444-square-foot property along Airport Road officially were turned over to the Illinois National Guard units that now call the location home. Construction at the site did not begin until late October 2014.

The support facility is where soldiers will conduct simulated combat flight training, weapons simulator training and will maintain storage of the Blackhawks.

The location will be the hub of Blackhawk training in Illinois.

The units are: Company B, 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation; Company B, 935th Aviation Support Battalion; and a Medivac unit.

These three units had been assigned to Chicago’s Midway Airport, but were forced to find a new home because of the expanding commercial airline business.

The complex is made up of 118,536 square feet for the Army Aviation Support Facility and the 63,908 square feet for the readiness center.

The complex designed by Bailey Edwards Design Inc., a Chicago-based firm, will be the training hub for about 200 National Guard men and women. Personnel have been on site since Sept. 28. Five helicopters arrived on Oct. 5. Several others are expected.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Nov. 4.