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New corn disease identified in DeKalb County

Published August 26, 2016
bacterial leaf streak
Foliar symptoms of bacterial leaf streak showing long lesions with wavy margins and halo visible with backlighting. Photo courtesy of Scott Schirmer Illinois Department of Agriculture, State Plant Regulatory Official.

URBANA, Ill. One positive sample of bacterial leaf streak was found in a corn field in DeKalb County, Illinois, its identification verified yesterday by the USDA. With this presence in Illinois, bacterial leaf streak has been identified in 9 states:  Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas.  DeKalb is the only county in Illinois that has been verified to have the disease. 

“Because this is a bacterial disease, fungicides cannot be expected to control or suppress it,” says Suzanne Bissonnette, University of Illinois plant clinic director and assistant dean for agriculture and natural resources with U of I Extension.

U of I Extension commercial agriculture educator Dennis Bowman adds, “Crop rotation and tillage are the best short-term management strategies if the disease is present in a field.” 

Bissonnette says if growers suspect bacterial leaf streak in their field, they can submit a sample to the U of I Plant Clinic.

“We’d like to get a comprehensive idea of distribution in the state,” Bissonnette says. “Although there are currently no known methods to prevent it, differences in varietal susceptibility may point the way to sources of resistance.”

Bacterial leaf streak is caused by the pathogen Xanthomonas vasicola pv. vasculorum. The disease causes the formation of linear lesions between the veins on a corn leaf. The lesions look similar to gray leaf spot symptoms – although GLS lesions tend to be shorter, more rectangular, and to stay within their veinal borders.

“Bacterial leaf streak lesions are more irregular, often thinner and longer,  will ‘bleed’ over the veinal border, and may have a halo when held up to the light,” Bowman explains.

In many Great Plains states where the disease has been found, symptoms first appear on the lower leaves and infection progresses up the plant. Typically these fields have been under pivot irrigation.  Later infections may occur and show up primarily in the upper canopy. This was the case for the positive DeKalb County sample found in the survey of approximately 340 randomly selected fields in transects across 68 of Illinois’s 102 counties. The survey was conducted by APHIS-PPQ (Animal Plant Health Inspection Service), IDA (Illinois Department of Agriculture), CAPS (Illinois Natural History Survey’s Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey) and U of I Extension.

Bissonnette says there is currently very little known about this disease. Further research is needed to develop a complete understanding of this disease, its impact, and strategies for long term management.  However, APHIS notes it is not believed to present a health risk to people or animals.

For information about the biology, symptoms, or management of Xvv, visit or





Geiger family honored for 50 years of 4-H membership

Published August 25, 2016
The 4-H Spirit Family Award goes to the Joseph and Ida Geiger family. The Geigers have had a family member in 4-H for 50 consecutive years.

URBANA, Ill. - Since 1965, there has been a descendant of the Joseph and Ida Geiger family in 4-H. This achievement was recognized Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds when the Illinois 4-H Foundation honored the Madison County family with the Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award.

In that 50 years of consecutive membership, there have been 62 family members and spouses with 4-H affiliation for a total of 411 years of 4-H membership. Nine of the family members have served as 4-H club leaders, totaling 123 years.

The Illinois 4-H Foundation created the Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award in 2002 to annually recognize an Illinois family who has substantially benefited from and who has been an advocate for the Illinois 4-H program over multiple generations.

“There is no doubt as to this family’s involvement, passion, and dedication for 4-H,” said Barbara Rundquist Clark, past chair of the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board of Directors. The many accomplishments include over 50 project areas of study and exhibition, 4-H camps, leadership conferences and National 4-H Congress Award trips, Clark said, as well as serving as host for a Japanese 4-H exchange student.

“Each family member has their own special memories of how 4-H benefitted them, be that developing a hobby, choosing a profession, serving as a community leader, or even in finding a spouse,” Clark said. “As diverse as each of these accounts are, there were two commonalities which run through each of their stories; 4-H was fun, and the skills learned during their years in 4-H are still used daily.”

In accepting the award, family spokesman Margaret Weis said the award application process was a “trip down memory lane, reminding us of our cherished 4-H days.”

4-H softball games hold a special fondness for the family, Weis said. In the mid-1940s, Joseph and Ida Geiger donated land which became a practice field for 4-H youth of Highland where fathers of the members would coach and practice in what once was a cattle pasture.

“I do not think my grandfather realized that patch of dirt was actually a stage where character and dreams were created,” Weis said. “Simply put 4-H prepared us for life.”

The Illinois 4-H Foundation’s mission is to build relationship to generate financial resources for Illinois 4-H. Funding from individual donors, our Illinois 4-H Project Partners, companies, and friends of Illinois 4-H help the Foundation support statewide programming initiatives along with scholarships, assistance to National events, grant opportunities, Teens as Teachers and assists us in filling funding gaps.


About 4-H: Illinois 4-H strives to help youth learn skills for living. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois. Illinois 4-H aims to impact the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.

About Illinois 4-H Foundation: The Illinois 4-H Foundation’s mission is to build relationship to generate financial resources for Illinois 4-H. Funding from individual donors, our Illinois 4-H Project Partners, companies, and friends of Illinois 4-H help the Foundation support statewide programming initiatives along with scholarships, assistance to National events, grant opportunities, Teens as Teachers and assists us in filling funding gaps.

News Source:

Angie Barnard, 217-333-9295

Workshop and field day will raise awareness of local grains and local markets

Published August 25, 2016

URBANA, Ill. - The potential for regionally adapted grains to serve growing local and regional markets is the topic of an upcoming workshop at the University of Illinois. Illinois Extension, along with the departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Crop Sciences, and Food Science and Human Nutrition will host “Illinois Local Grains and Local Markets” on Sept. 9 in the Monsanto Room of the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center.

The workshop runs from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., with presentations starting at 8:30 a.m. Speakers include Bill Davison from Illinois Extension, Allison Krill-Brown from the Department of Crop Sciences, Harold Wilken from Janie’s Farm, Frank Kutka from the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, and Julie Dawson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Presentations by Kutka and Dawson will showcase participatory breeding efforts taking place in other regions. This event will be of interest to researchers, breeders in the region, bakers, and brewers who want to source locally produced grains, and farmers interested in conducting trials.

Kutka is a plant breeder and the co-coordinator of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Farm Breeding Club. In his current work, he is developing a yellow dent corn that has the ability to prevent cross-pollination with GMO corn. This work builds on approximately 20 years of experience with corn breeding for the organic farming sector.

Dawson is an assistant professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin. Dawson’s background is in organic wheat breeding and participatory research. She has conducted research on value-added grains for regional food systems at Cornell University, and she helped create a participatory wheat breeding program with an association of organic farmer-bakers in France.

A field day will be held on Sept. 10 at Janie’s Farm in Danforth, Illinois. Presentations will be given by Harold and Ross Wilken on their experience with on-farm selection and milling at Janie’s Farm. Fred Kolb and Allison Krill-Brown will speak on U of I efforts to develop wheat varieties suitable for Illinois. A discussion on participatory crop breeding will be led by Frank Kutka.

Lunch will be prepared by chefs from Hendrick House Catering with foods made from locally sourced grains. The cost is $12 for pre-registered participants. A limited number of lunches will be available for $15 for on-site participants.

The Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program at the University of Illinois, and the Illinois Organic Growers Association are also co-sponsors for these events. For more information about the workshop, contact Carmen Ugarte at or Bill Davison at You may consider participating in one or both events; registration is required for the field day.


News Source:

Carmen Ugarte

News Writer:

Leanne Lucas, 217-244-9085

Illinois young beef producers win scholarships

Published August 24, 2016
L to R- Travis Meteer, U of I Beef Extension Educator , Lindsey Decker of Philo, Devan White of Iuka, Eric Schafer of Owaneco, Lucas Wisnefski of Wyoming, and Easton Beard of Dahinda.

URBANA, Ill. - Five youth from across Illinois were each awarded $1,000 scholarships at the 2016 Illinois Superior Young Beef Producers contest. The contest, sponsored by Archer Daniels Midland of Decatur and the Illinois State Fair, was held on August 10th in conjunction with the Illinois State Fair. Twenty 4-H and FFA members from Illinois competed in this three-phase competition challenging their knowledge of beef production.

The scholarships, presented to the highest-scoring individuals overall, went to Lindsey Decker of Philo, Devan White of Iuka, Eric Schafer of Owaneco, Lucas Wisnefski of Wyoming, and Easton Beard of Dahinda. The Land of Lincoln Purebred Livestock Breeders Association supplied the individual plaques presented to the scholarship and phase winners.

In the beef management test, Decker, White and Schafer sorted themselves to the top and received plaques for their achievements. In the skill-a-thon phase, Wisnefski and Schafer received honors. White took home the top spot. In the judging competition, Blake Hennefent of Gilson, Wisnefski, and Easton Beard made up the top three.

Travis Meteer, University of Illinois Beef Extension Educator, said, “This contest allows young producers to showcase their knowledge of the beef industry and provides them with assistance through scholarships to pursue further educational opportunities.”  

This year marked the 18th consecutive year for the Superior Young Beef Producers contest which has provided participating youth the opportunity to compete for $95,000 in college scholarships since its inception. The purpose of the contest is to create an educational activity that promotes youth development, career development, and personal growth through increased knowledge of the beef industry.

News Source:

Travis Meteer, 217-236-4961

News Writer:

Leanne Lucas, 217-244-9085

Parents’ binge eating and emotional responsiveness may be intertwined with feeding practices

Published August 22, 2016
Jaclyn Saltzman, University of Illinois

URBANA, Ill. - During the last 30 years, childhood obesity has become an increasingly significant challenge for many families in the U.S. But the issue isn’t a simple one—excessive weight gain is the result of many different factors interacting over time—and it’s important for those working with issues around weight and family health to consider all the variables that are in play with this complex issue.

In a study recently published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers at the University of Illinois have been looking at how emotional responsiveness can affect the feeding practices that parents use and how they relate to parents’ emotions.

What are feeding practices?

Feeding practices are defined as the ways in which children are socialized around food, eating, and mealtimes. Healthy feeding practices include providing a variety of foods, establishing routines around eating, and responding to a child’s cues of hunger or fullness. Unhealthy feeding practices, or non-responsive feeding, include pressuring children to eat and restricting the types or amount of food they have access to. Parents who use these unhealthy feeding practices may be increasing their child’s risk for obesity over time.

The study explores how parents’ emotional responsiveness and their use of certain feeding practices relate to child weight gain. Generally, supportive emotional responsiveness can have a positive effect on a child’s ability to regulate their emotions. Lead researcher Jaclyn Saltzman, a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois says, “A good example of this is when a child is panicky and can’t sleep after watching something scary on TV. If a parent encourages a child to talk about their fear, comforts them, or does something fun with the child to distract them—those are supportive practices.”  But if a parent gets angry or feels upset themselves—because their child is upset—Saltzman says that would be considered unsupportive emotion responsiveness. It indicates that there might be something going on with the parent’s ability to regulate his or her negative emotions.

Tied into this are parents’ unhealthy eating behaviors. Binge eating—or eating past the point of fullness and to the point of distress—is related to poor emotion regulation. Binge eating may also negatively affect parents’ emotional responsiveness to the child, because their capacity to regulate their own emotions effectively is compromised. Saltzman’s research shows these unsupportive emotional responsiveness strategies lead to the use of unhealthy feeding practices, and to increased child weight gain over time.

To determine this, Saltzman’s team studied approximately 250 moms and preschool-aged children at two stages: the first when children were 36 months and the second at 51 months old. At the first stage, mothers were asked about their height and weight, if they engaged in binge eating, the frequency of that eating behavior, their emotional responsiveness strategies, and the feeding practices they used. At the second stage, emotional responsiveness strategies and feeding practices were measured again for any changes over time. Additionally, height and weight were measured directly for children, and mothers’ height and weight were self-reported.

Based on the data, Saltzman finds a link between maternal binge eating and the use of more unsupportive emotional responsiveness strategies. “Parents who binge eat are more likely to get upset when their kids are upset, because they’re already at capacity trying to cope with their own negative emotions,” says Saltzman. “It might be harder for them to try to respond by helping the child sift through their emotions and express themselves effectively, because they might be struggling with that skill already.”

Those unsupportive emotional responsiveness strategies then lead to more unhealthy feeding practices, like pressuring a child to clean their plate. Or as Saltzman says, “Parents were then more likely to restrict children’s access to types or amounts of food, and push their kids past the point of fullness. Saying things like ‘One more bite, two more bites, or clean your plate.’ They were also more likely to use food as a reward for desired behavior.” After a prolonged period, these unhealthy feeding practices increased the risk for weight gain among children.

So what does this all mean for parents?

First, Saltzman stresses that parents shouldn’t be blamed. “We don’t want to use these results and say that parents are to blame for increased child weight,” Saltzman points out. “We have to consider how parents’ emotions are being brought to the table, especially for those parents who may be struggling with eating and emotion regulation themselves.” Blaming parents for excessive weight gain in kids would only make it harder for them to regulate their emotions, their eating behavior, and how they feed their children.

One of the main takeaways from the study is that parents are people who need care too, just like their children. As Saltzman says, “We know that people who binge experience a lot of distress because of those binge eating behaviors, and so we think this emotional overload may bleed out into the parent-child relationship.” Obesity prevention programs that focus only on children are leaving parents out of the equation, and may not be supporting them.

Saltzman’s research further suggests that in order for parents to help their children develop healthy habits, parents have to be cared for as well. “To parents,” Saltzman suggests. “I would say that, in order to care for your child, it’s important to care for yourself. It’s really hard to focus on your child during a meal if you’re feeling overwhelmed around food or negative emotion.” Parents who engage in binge eating or overeating might want to consider seeking help from a clinician who practices with attention toward developing healthy emotion regulation strategies.

“In the end,” says Saltzman, “caring for parents’ emotions is going to have a positive effect on children, and working with parents instead of blaming them is clearly where we need to go.”

“Eating, feeding, and feeling: emotional responsiveness mediates longitudinal associations between maternal binge eating, feeding practices, and child weight” is published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, and is available online at Co-authors are Jaclyn A. Saltzman, Maria Pineros-Leano, Janet M. Liechty, Kelly K. Bost, Barbara H. Fiese and the STRONG Kids Team.

News Source:

Jaclyn Saltzman

News Writer:

Tyler Wolpert