Being a video editing intern at the Illinois Corn Marketing Board has been a fruitful experience. Being born and raised in Chicago, I didn’t have a clue about agriculture or farming. On the contrary, most of the Corn Board employees were raised on farms, own farms, or have relatives that are farmers. Although I didn’t have any knowledge of farming, I was eager to learn and felt that my urban perspective was valued by the Corn Board.
During the few months I spent visiting Illinois Corn Board farmers, I learned that farmers have quite a bit in common with city folk. The biggest thing we have in common with each other is family values. Just like most people, farmers have an obligation to provide for their families. Harvest after harvest, the farm is not only the home to crops but it’s home for the farmer, his parents, wife, children, grandchildren…and dog. So whether you live in an urban city surrounded by trains and buses, or in a rural town with a population of 500, you have a place to call home and a family to care for.
Also, I learned about the various uses for corn. Before I interned, I was under the impression that all corn was grown to be eaten by humans. However, after visiting and speaking with several farmers, I learned that corn can be used to make ethanol, feed livestock, and be used in other products as corn starch, corn syrup, etc. Most people immediately assume that corn is grown for consumption. Although this is true in some cases, it doesn’t mean that all corn growers are producing the kind of corn that will sit on your table.
The farmers on the Illinois Corn Marketing Board are passionate about their work. They take good care of their crops and treat them like their own children. Just like you, farmers want to protect their children, not harm them. The chemicals and fertilizers used when planting are safe and government approved. Not all chemicals are harmful – it’s no different than when people take medicine or get vaccines to prevent illness – crops need pesticides and fertilizer so they can grow healthy.
I am thankful for the opportunity to work with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. Lastly, this internship has given me a new respect for farmers. I didn’t know that farming was such a gamble. It takes a lot of guts to take out loans, buy expensive equipment, plant seeds, and pray that rain falls out of the sky. Agriculture is a risky business. You have to be passionate in order to be in this career, otherwise it’s not worth the effort. My advice for consumers and people who thought like me before I interned at the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, is to trust your farmer. They wouldn’t be in this profession if they didn’t have passion and dedication; and since this work is so risky and expensive, farmers can’t afford to harm their crop, which would consequently be harming themselves.