I’ve been thinking about yields. Actually I’ve been thinking about St. Johns, corn, soybeans, moisture, real estate assessments, property taxes, Kishwaukee College, campaign signs, Illinois Governor Candidate Brady, and Christopher Columbus. This was quite a past week and weekend. I was inundated with so much information, even more than usual. Most of it was good news for a change. Some was not so good, but the subjects were diverse. Some of the items were completely unexpected, then again, we do live in “interesting” times.
You see after church on Sunday a group from St. Johns went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant in nearby DeKalb. We started talking about what we needed to do to get some new members. There were several ideas which were good because this is a truly great congregation. It was as ye sow, so ye reap. The subject soon shifted to the current harvest as several of the members were farmers. I was amazed, but I should not have been. This was a near perfect summer for growing in our area. The crops got in on time, there was ample rain, then it turned hot and sunny when that was what was needed, things grew (and grew, and grew), the crops developed to near perfection, the corn and soybeans began to dry naturally, and the harvest began a couple of weeks earlier than usual. Field activity has been 24/7.
In recent days, field by field began to be transferred to trucks and hauled to the grain elevators for sale or storage. The results were staggering --- staggeringly good, that is. Most farmers got at least 30 to 40% bigger harvests per acre, several got 50 to 60% bigger harvests per acre, and some even got 70 to 80% more output per acre. This is shaping up to be a record setting year. We live in one the richest farmland areas in the world. This was great news! As the crops were hauled in for sale (or storage), and were tested, the moisture content has run about 15%. This means that a minimal amount of drying would be necessary. What a difference over last year! The energy cost of drying can run $1 to a $1.50 a bushel (or more) when the crops are picked “wet” and natural gas is expensive. News on the local farming front could literally not get any better!
Last week the Rochelle News Leader published the property re- assessments for the local townships. There were across-the-board reductions by at least TEN PER CENT. This was unheard of in my lifetime. The assessed valuations traditionally went up and your property tax bills increased year after year after year. The downward adjustment was made to reflect the drop housing prices and glut of properties up for sale. Creston now has a record 26 properties on the market, add to this 4 more in foreclosure, and six sitting empty and offered for rental and you have 36 parcels out of a total inventory of 195 properties. WHOA!!! If the local taxing bodies do not raise their % taxing rates, this will equate to an across-the-board 10% reduction yield in real estate taxes payable in 2011.
On a related matter, Kishwaukee College is seeking an expansion referendum which would INCREASE the taxes paid for the community college by roughly $200, or $6,000 over the thirty year life! I have not heard one person who favors this even though I’ve seen several “Vote YES for Kish...” yard signs in nearby Malta. It will be interesting to learn the outcome since our area normally supports all education referendums. This one, however, I don’t see it passing.
The campaigning for the coming November elections has stepped up in pace. Yard signs are popping up everywhere. Sunday afternoon, I drove into Chicago to visit friends and took the Lincoln Highway (Route #38) through the intervening communities instead of breezing along on the toll road (Route #88). I was amazed by all the campaigning being done at the local, county, and state level. There were literally THOUSANDS of signs and TV and radio ads are almost crowding out the regular programming now This is shaping up to be the most costly election in US history, and we are not even electing a president!
A week ago Monday, I drove to Dixon to attend a rally for Republican Governor Candidate Brady. It was a beautiful day and the crowd was large in park along the Rock River by the statue of favorite son, Ronald Reagan. Brady was a powerful speaker, but when he stated he would have a balanced budget for Illinois in his first year as governor, the crowd laughed!!! You have to realize that this state basically stopped paying almost all bills a year ago. Brady surprised everyone by getting mad at the crowd for their reaction. He said: “This is SERIOUS for all of us, we HAVE to do this right NOW... I am not kidding... this has to be DONE!!!” Will he be able to deliver on this promise?
518 years ago on October 12th, 1492, Christopher Columbus knew where he wanted to go, but he didn’t know how to get there. He defied consensus by sailing West to reach the East. When he got there, he didn’t know he was in the wrong place. When he returned home, didn’t know where he had been. He told people the complete opposite about what had happened, and they believed him. Finally, he did it all with borrowed money!!! I have a feeling that ALL candidates from both major political parties (and the Tea Party Patriots as well) have more than a little Christopher Columbus in them today in 2010.
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2010 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on October 11, 2010.