Illinois Corn and other commodity groups have a new and improved presence at the state fair. Aimed at occupying the little ones while educating families, the Farmer’s Little Helper exhibit walks visitors thru barns about corn, soybeans, cattle, pigs, horses, poultry, farm safety and more.
I spent the day in the Commodity Pavilion and the Director’s Lawn for Ag Day festivities, but made it a point to visit the Farmer’s Little Helper exhibit. Families were learning about Illinois agriculture, both that it’s supplying a safe and abundant food supply and the hard work, time and energy that it takes for farmers to produce food for our state as well as the world. This is an important connection between farm families and the citizens of Illinois encouraging an open and understanding relationship between the two.
Indeed it is.
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant
Kristie: My county fair was the McLean County fair, the biggest 4-H fair in the country, and I was a member of the Blue Ribbon Kids 4-H group from Colfax. Although I grew up on a farm, I never showed any animals at the fair. All of my friends had cattle, swine, goats, or chickens, but the biggest animal that I ever showed was my cat Buttercup, who was not the most cooperative of all animals.
Kristie: My 4-H experience was much different from my friends’, but I would never say that I missed out on anything. I learned many different skills that I continue to use today, and 4-H allowed me to try out as many skills and ideas that I wanted so that I could figure out which things I was good at and what I liked the most. If it weren’t for 4-H, I wouldn’t have been able to make the decorative throw pillows and oil paintings for my new apartment, I never would have found my passion for cooking or learned how to wire a trouble light or turn a wood lathe, and my stressed out cat probably wouldn’t have lost as many years off of his life.
Kelsey: I can imagine that showing a cat is considerably harder than showing a cow. You have my sympathies.
Kristie: Thanks, but I don’t envy you walking around the fairgrounds in heels.
Kelsey: Still, 4-H is such a valuable program because it has something to offer every kid in every walk of life. Like Kristie said, these are experiences you always remember, family memories that you would never want to forget, and life skills that you take with you when you grow up.
Kristie: The fair is the culmination of all those activities. When you bring your hard work from the fields or the sewing machine and have it evaluated, you feel a sense of accomplishment, but you also learn to appreciate constructive criticism.
Kelsey: So from two farmer’s daughters that spent the afternoon at the fair yesterday and can’t wait to get back, get involved in 4-H and participate in your county fair. You’ll never be sorry that you did.
ICGA/ICMB Summer Intern
Illinois State University student
I find it interesting that this is “breaking National news.”
Are there any readers that were under the assumption that food was just going to magically appear in your refrigerator? Did any of you think that world population was decreasing?
Of course farmers need to work smarter in order to grow safe, affordable, wholesome food for a world population that is growing exponentially. That’s why growing more with less is exactly what we’re doing.
“Maintaining adequate food production levels in light of increasing population, climate change impacts, increasing costs of energy, constraints on carbon, land degradation and the finite supply of productive soils is a major challenge,” said Dr. Neil MacKenzie says in the article.
That’s why corn farmers are facing that challenge head on.
They’ve decreased the amount of land needed to produce one bushel of corn, the amount of soil lost per bushel of corn, the amount of energy used to produce one bushel of corn, and the emissions per bushel of corn.
The article also quotes Ms. Wensley, a former Australian ambassador for the environment, who said scientists have an important public advocacy role in the face of “growing disconnect between food production and consumption on our heavily and increasingly urbanized planet.”
And I guess that statement is exactly why the fact that we need to grow more food with less is breaking National news. It’s not that farmers aren’t able to meet the challenge. It’s not that corn farmers aren’t ALREADY meeting the challenge. It’s that consumers don’t understand what actions corn farmers are taking and that we actually have a challenge in the first place.
That’s where you come in.
Have you connected with important ag media outlets to get good tidbits of information to share with your friends? Have you made an effort to connect your friends with those same outlets? Check out Agricultural Everyday on Facebook. Encourage your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to do the same.
Start talking about agriculture. Let’s make the awesome job that farmers are doing the next national headline.
ICGA/ICMB Field Services Director
“We respect efforts for a clean and healthy environment, but not at the expense of common sense.”
If we had an awards show for things elected officials say, (why not? Everyone else has an awards show!) this quote about the EPA would win in my book, hands down.
And to what issue is the quote referring? The EPA is now considering regulating dust as a harmful pollutant. If this isn’t some sort of indication that we’ve let the EPA go a little too far, I don’t know what is.
I leave it to you to figure out how exactly the EPA will regulate farm dust … perhaps they will fund replacing all those dirt roads and driveways with pavement? Perhaps they will loosen the reins on our water supply so that we can spray everything down? Perhaps they will just decide that they would rather go hungry?
When did common sense become … well … less common?
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant