Tim Lenz and beef herd

The Illinois Corn Growers Association immediate past President, Tim Lenz, manages a beef herd in what we’d call a “conventional” way.  These cows eat grass and corn, among other things I’m sure, before they reach market weight and head off to become hamburger.

These cows do not produce organic beef – and its a good thing.  Organic products haven’t been fairing real well in terms of safety lately.  Read more about that in this LA Times article.

The point?  American’s need a little more realism in their purchasing life.  Conventional food and organic food might have their differences, but safety isn’t one of them.


January is National Soup Month! Makes sense; there couldn’t be a better time to come in out of the cold and warm up with a tantalizing bowl of comfort food!

Don’t forget to check back here every Thursday this month for a soup fact, tip and a new recipe to add to your culinary repertoire!

Today’s fact: American’s sip over 10 billion bowls of soup every year.

Today’s tip: If you need to tone down a heavy garlic flavor when cooking, place a few parsley flakes in a tea bag to soak up all the excess garlic.

Today’s recipe: Spicy Corn Chowder

corn, soup

If you need to tame down this spicy soup some to suit your taste-buds, simply substitute regular sausage for the hot and leave out the green chilies.


• 1 lb hot sausage
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 onion, diced
• 4 potatoes, diced
• 1 clove garlic, diced
• A few dashes of Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
• 4 cups fresh corn
• 1 can diced green chilies (optional)
• 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• salt and pepper, to taste


1. Slice corn kernels off cob. Or, if you’re like me, open the freezer and pull out a bag of corn from the summer when you had way too much sweet corn on your hands and let thaw.
2. Brown sausage over medium heat and drain off grease.
3. In a large pot, over medium heat, drizzle a few tablespoons of EVOO. Throw in diced onion, garlic and potatoes.
4. Add butter and melt. Add chilies and corn.  Pour in chicken broth and cream. Add salt, pepper and sausage. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.
5. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve.

Becky Finfrock
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant


The first day of the 112th Congress began at 9 a.m. with a prayer service in the House, the election of a new Speaker, John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), and the official swearing in of the new members at 2:30 p.m.  The Senate was called to order at noon and sweared in their new members around 1 p.m.

The American people turned the U.S. Congress upside down in November 2010 and now we are officially on our way to see what changes have truly been made.

In Illinois, we look forward to working with five new members of Congress and one new member in the Senate.  Again, our congratulations to Cong. Joe Walsh (R-IL-8), Cong. Bob Dold (R-IL-10), Cong. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-11), Cong. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14), Cong. Bobby Schilling (R-IL-17) and Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL).  We can’t wait to work with every single one of you!

Illinois Corn is also celebrating the committee appointments of these five new members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the leadership positions garnered by some of our more senior members of Congress.

  • Joe Walsh, House Small Business Committee
  • Bob Dold, House Financial Services Committee
  • Adam Kinzinger, House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • Randy Hultgren, House Agriculture Committee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
  • Bobby Schilling, House Agriculture Committee
  • Aaron Schock, House Ways and Means
  • John Shimkus, SubCommittee Chair of Environment and Economy, House Transportatino and Infrastructure Committee
  • Tim Johnson, SubCommittee Chair of Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, House Agriculture Committee

Next week, we’ll review any changes or additions to other Illinois House and Senate members, but this was what I had available to date.  Feel free to send a quick message to your member of Congress congratulating them on their appointments!

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director


To celebrate National Trivia Day, wow your friends with some of these incredible corn facts!

  • The U.S. produces about 40 percent of the world’s corn – using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world.
  • According to the USDA, one acre of corn removes about 8 tons of carbon dioxide from the air in a growing season and – at 180 bushels per acre – produces enough oxygen to supply a year’s needs for 131 people.
  • Corn is produced on every continent of the world, except Antarctica.
  • In 1940, one American farmer produced enough to feed 19 people, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Today, one farmer feeds over 155 people worldwide.
  • The US exported 2,047 million bushels of corn from October 2009 – September 2010.
  • One bushel of corn weighs about 56 pounds.  That means U.S. farmers produce an average of more than 9,000 pounds of corn per acre.
  • An ear of corn averages 800 kernels in 16 rows.
  • Corn farmers have reduced total fertilizer use by 10 percent since 1980.