After a rough and delayed planting season, Illinois’ agriculture industry received good news this week with a Taiwanese delegation committing to purchasing over $2 billion in Illinois soy and corn over the next two years. Meanwhile, Illinois motorists are encouraged to do their part to keep farmers safe as they head back into the fields and hit the roadways for the 2019 harvest season.
Also happening this week, The Illinois Department of Human Services launched a video campaign dedicated to raising awareness for the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances.
In other news, September 22 through the 28 has been designated as Illinois Rail Safety Week, promoting railroad safety throughout the state. World Heart Day is also recognized this month, raising awareness about the causes and risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
Taiwanese delegation Commits to buying billions in Illinois Soy and Corn
Demonstrating a firm commitment to Illinois’ vast agricultural industry, a Taiwanese delegation recently announced their intention to purchase $2.2 billion in Illinois corn and soybeans over the next two years.
On September 24 representatives from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Soy Bean Association, the Taiwan Feed Industry Association and the Governor came together to sign letters of intent to purchase $1.1 billion in soy and $1.1 billion in corn.
Taiwan, currently Illinois’ third largest trading partner of agricultural products, committed to purchase 197 million bushels of corn and up to 97 million bushels of soybeans produced by Illinois’ farmers.
According to the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois is the number one soybean producing state and produced approximately 611.9 million bushels in 2017. Meanwhile, Illinois ranks second in the country in corn production.
The letters of intent were signed in a ceremony at the Thompson Center in Chicago on Tuesday.
Harvest season underway
With harvest season beginning and an uptake of agricultural equipment on the roadways, Illinois’ motorists are encouraged to be extra cautious while traveling.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 26 percent of Illinois corn is now considered mature. Meanwhile, soybean coloring is at 53 percent, which means heavy farm equipment traffic is expected to increase on roadways.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transportation incidents were the leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers in 2016. Motorists are encouraged to slow down and be aware of farmers on the roadways.
To help keep harvest season safe for everyone, motorists can follow these simple safety steps.
- Find the lights on farm vehicles. Farm vehicles are required to have amber and red rear lights. The amber lights should be visible to the front and rear. They should flash as a warning to other motorists.
- Slow down as soon as you see a farm vehicle. Most farm equipment only travels 15 to 20 miles per hour, so it is crucial to slow down before it is too late.
- Be cognizant of the time of year. Harvest season typically runs from September through November. Drivers should expect to see farm vehicles on the road during this time.
Rail Safety Week Underway
Raising awareness about the importance of rail safety throughout the state, September 22 through the 28 has been designated Illinois Rail Safety Week.
Illinois has the second largest rail system of any state in the nation, with more than 7,400 miles of railroad track. According to the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois has historically ranked high in rail-related tragedies. In 2018, Illinois ranked third in the nation in grade crossing fatalities and fifth in the nation in trespass fatalities.
Follow these ten tips to promote rail safety and prevent tragedies:
- Walking or playing on train tracks is dangerous and illegal.
- Be prepared to stop at crossings.
- Cross train tracks at designated highway/railroad crossings.
- Look for the crossbuck sign, lights or gates at crossings.
- Listen for warning bells and whistles.
- Obey the signals.
- If one train passes, make sure a second train is not approaching on another track in the same or opposite direction.
- Obey the instructions of a police officer or member of a train crew directing traffic at a crossing.
- Cross the tracks in low gear; do not change gears while crossing.
- If your vehicle stalls on the tracks, get out quickly, and move away from the vehicle and tracks; call the emergency number posted at or near the crossing and call 911.
If you would like more information about Illinois Rail Safety Week, please visit www.illinoisrailsafetyweek.org
Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances Receives New Platform
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) recently announced the launch of a statewide video campaign aimed at raising awareness for the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances.
In an effort to encourage individuals struggling with substance abuse to seek help, utilize their helpline and pursue recovery, IDHS announced the launch of a video campaign series on September 25. The videos will feature individuals who share stories of recovery and organizations from across the state who are providing treatment and recovery services for opioid and other substance use disorders.
According to IDHS, videos will be featured in TV spots, transit posters, social media advertisements, and billboard postings across major media markets in Illinois. Videos in the campaign will also be posted on the IDHS YouTube page.
The Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances number is 1-833-2FINDHELP and their website with further information can be found at HelplineIL.org.
World Heart Day
Promoting awareness about the causes and risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD), September 29 is recognized as World Heart Day.
According to the World Health Organization, CVD is the world’s leading cause of death. Despite most cardiovascular disease being preventable, CVD claims the lives of over 17 million people each year.
World Heart Day seeks to educate the public on CVD prevention and control by raising awareness and encouraging heart-healthy living. Some helpful tips to combat and prevent CDV include:
- Being active
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Managing stress
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Changing your lifestyle
- Not using tobacco
- Maintaining a heart-healthy weight
More information on World Heart Day can be found at https://www.world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day.