It may take some time for area farmers to get the grins off their faces this fall as a perfect storm has hit the Kankakee County region.
This storm has little to do with high winds or heavy rain. Rather, it is a collision of abundant corn and soybean harvests and high grain prices. It will mean a highly profitable year for farmers and the agriculture industry as a whole.
“I’m very happy,” said Jason Zimmer, president of the Kankakee County Corn Growers’ Association and a farmer in the Reddick and Essex regions.
Like so many area farmers, Zimmer, 58, is experiencing strong per-acre yields with corn and soybeans. And, to top it off, harvest began a little earlier than normal, meaning much of the fall’s harvest will be under roof before costumed youngsters knock on their doors in search of candy.
“The corn I’ve seen, I don’t know if it’s the best we’ve ever had, but it’s very good,” he said. “I’m certainly happy with our yields.”
Countywide, corn is projected to yield in the mid-190 per-acre range. For soybeans, farmers are expecting yields of 60 to 80 bushels per acre. Some farmers are even posting yields up to 90 bushels per acre for soybeans.
Timely summer rains led to a nearly perfect growing season here. The region was only hit once with a hot, dry spell in late August to early September.
Kankakee County Farm Bureau Director Chad Miller noted that as of the Oct. 3 state farm report, 41 percent of the Illinois corn crop has been harvested and 32 percent of soybeans were under roof. Those numbers compare to 24 percent of corn and 23 percent of soybeans in 2020.
“Harvest is moving along much quicker,” Miller said, nothing that farmers are overjoyed in getting their products to market as prices are running high as well.
Miller noted per-bushel prices are in the $5 range for corn and soybeans are in the $12 to $12.50 per-bushel range.
“That spells profit,” Miller said. “It’s a bumper crop. This could rank as one of the better crops seen in Kankakee County. And with better prices as well, this could be a very profitable year.”
That is certainly good news as farming is king in Illinois, where agriculture is the top industry in terms of economic input. It contributes more than $8.85 billion to the state’s economy annually, according to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
Here in Kankakee County, agriculture is a major economic driver as well. That means the profitable harvest will have a trickle-down effect resulting in increased revenues for many.
According to data from Miller, 17 percent of all economic output within the county is related to agriculture. Some 72 percent of all Kankakee County land is dedicated to farming. The county is comprised of 432,997 acres. Of that, nearly 313,000 acres are devoted to farmland, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
Greg St. Aubin, a Manteno farmer and president of the Kankakee County Farm Bureau, is still pinching himself as he watches the grain being piled into his combine’s grain tank.
Farming some 3,000 acres with two other farmers, he is seeing yields that could be as high as 20 percent above 2020’s harvest.
“It’s been just a great growing season,” he said, noting that he’s already at least one-third of the way finished with harvest.
“We needed a win,” he said. “We had been on the lower end of state yields the past couple years, so this is good. It’s like walking into Las Vegas and getting that big win.”
KANKAKEE — A COVID-19 testing center has opened in downtown Kankakee.
After its opening on Sunday, Oct. 3, the Center for COVID Control at 275 S. Schuyler Ave. will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
“It’s walk-in testing all day,” said Kathy Cintora, site manager.
There’s no charge for the testing, and no insurance is required. Cintora said the testing site is fully funded by the federal government through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.
Two tests will be taken, one is the rapid test and the other is the PCR (polymerase chain reaction), where results are usually returned within 72 hours.
“It’s absolutely free,” Cintora said. “There would be a charge if they wanted the results expedited the next day for the PCR. Everything is free. No insurance is required.”
The facility has two testers on site at all times, and additional personnel can be called in if needed.
Cintora said pre-registration is available online at dcltesting.com to make the process run more smoothly. When registering, Cintora said to select “Other” for location, as the Kankakee site hasn’t yet been added to the database. Also, select “Other” in the required insurance field so the registration will be processed.
The district manager is Ayaz Shirazee, of Schaumberg, and the center has sites throughout Illinois. Shirazee said the Center for COVID Control site in Kankakee will be operational on a temporary basis, depending on how long the services are needed.
To reach the Kankakee location, call 217-597-7625.
Daily Journal staff report
MAZON — A Grundy County sheriff deputy who was shot Thursday evening during a traffic stop near Mazon was released Friday from Morris Hospital, according to the sheriff’s department.
Demarcus Denwiddie, 18, of Joliet, shot Deputy Tyler Post three times during a foot chase following a 5:10 p.m. traffic stop according to the sheriff’s department. Two of the shots were stopped by a vest, and the third shot struck Post in the arm, according to the sheriff’s department.
Sheriff Kenneth Briley conducted a press conference Thursday evening after Denwiddie had been arrested following a manhunt.
“The deputy is in good spirits,” Briley said Thursday night of Post. “... He’s in very good shape. We’re very lucky that the ballistic vest stopped the bullets.”
The sheriff’s department reported that at 5:10 p.m. Thursday, Post was conducting a traffic stop on Illinois Route 47 at DuPont Road near Mazon, which is located 36 miles northwest of Kankakee. The vehicle that had been pulled over fled from the scene and the deputy followed it.
During Post’s pursuit of the vehicle, the car went into a ditch, came back on to Illinois Route 47 and then crashed on the other side of the railroad tracks just south of Grand Ridge Road, Briley said.
Briley said once the vehicle stopped, Denwiddie exited and ran, with Post continuing in pursuit. It was during that foot chase that Denwiddie fired multiple shots at Post, Briley said.
Post was able to give a description over the radio of Denwiddie (who wasn’t identified until later), allowing police to respond immediately. The deputy was able to put a tourniquet on his arm to stop the bleeding, and was then assisted by Mazon Fire Chief Mark Brookman II.
“I assisted the deputy on tightening [the tourniquet] to stop the bleeding further,” Brookman said. “At that point, we removed the deputy from the scene, put him in an ambulance and got him transported to Morris Hospital. He was in good spirits and talking to us the whole time.”
Denwiddie ran into a nearby apartment complex, according to the sheriff’s department. Briley said it’s unknown whether he knew someone there or if he had broken into an apartment.
A Will County SWAT hostage negotiator arrived on the scene and talked Denwiddie into giving himself up, the sheriff’s department said. Denwiddie reportedly told the negotiator that he was injured.
“I don’t know what [Denwiddie’s] connection to Mazon is,” Briley said. “... The suspect told the negotiator that he was injured and said that he was shot.”
Briley said Post did not fire any shots at Denwiddie during the foot chase. Briley said the Illinois State Police department is handling the investigation.
Briley said Denwiddie was apprehended at approximately 7:55 p.m. Thursday.
“Hundreds of police officers responded,” he said. “... We’re glad that we were able to end this peacefully, and none of our residents got hurt.”
ST. ANNE — The search for Katelynn Marie Contreras, of St. Anne, ended Thursday night when she was found by a St. Anne police officer in a wooded area near St. Anne Community High School, Police Chief Henry David said.
The 25-year-old Contreras was transported to a Kankakee hospital to be checked out, David said.
“We will talk to her after she is released, but she has been found,” he said Thursday evening.
The community and Contreras’ family had joined police in the search since she was last seen on Sept. 29 in the home she shares with her father and stepmother. Multiple agencies and personnel also took part in the search effort. On Sunday, a Will County sheriff’s bloodhound used to track Contreras’ movements picked up her scent within two blocks of her residence.