My name is Danielle Brown, the current Ag in the Classroom intern for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board/Illinois Corn Growers Association.  So far this summer during my internship I have had some of the most rewarding experiences while traveling around the state of Illinois.  I have reached out to over 200 educators around the state, sharing my passion of agriculture and corn production at various summer agriculture institutes.

teachers learning ag in the classroom

As a small town farm kid and student studying Agricultural Leadership Education, I understand the impact the agricultural industry has on our daily lives.  Although many schools do not have agriculture classes, there are ways to incorporate agriculture into classrooms.  I was fortunate to benefit from agricultural classes in my high school, and I love that I am able to share ways for educators to give their students those opportunities as well.

Corn Activities ag in the classroom

I have met some tremendous educators this summer who have been very eager to learn more about the corn industry and agriculture as a whole.  As an intern for IL Corn, my focus of each presentation is giving teachers a brief background of the corn industry, ways we use corn daily, and also where to find corn lessons and activities to use in the classroom.  With this presentation, I allow a lot of time for questions from educators.  Common questions thus far relate to high fructose corn syrup, ethanol, and how corn travels from farm to table. Sometimes remarks are not always positive misconceptions, but often teachers are leaving my presentation with positive outlooks on the industry after hearing the facts about each topic presented.

Summer Ag Institute Illinois ag in the classroom

With a passion for teaching and agriculture, I have enjoyed the opportunity to share facts and information about the corn industry to educators around the state. Listed below are some links you may find interesting or helpful when teaching an agriculture lesson.  Each website has a variety of agricultural facts, videos, activities, and lessons that can be used to teach about agriculture and corn production.

IL Corn Growers Association/IL Corn Marketing Board –
Illinois Farm Families-
Illinois Ag in the Classroom-

As the summer continues, I look forward to the educators I will meet around the state.  I am anxious to continue spreading the positive role corn production plays in our state.  I strongly believe that by sharing facts and information about corn and agriculture, people will in return have a better understanding of corn production and its positive impact in our lives.

Danielle BrownDanielle Brown
IL Corn Ag in the Classroom Intern


June is Dairy Month!

June-Dairy-Month-Bessie[2]Perhaps you could celebrate in your family by making your own yogurt.  This particular blogger claims that she saves around $600 a year on yogurt by making her own!  But even if you aren’t after the significant cost savings, making yogurt at home with your kids can be a really fun way to learn to measure, read a recipe, and (of course) find out more about where milk really comes from.


Homemade Yogurt (makes 4 quarts, which will keep for at least a month in the fridge)

For vanilla yogurt directions, see the bottom of the recipe.


1 gallon of milk 1 cup yogurt starter(you can use a small cup of plain Dannon or Yoplait yogurt, or you can use a cup from your previous batch.)

1. Place four quart glass canning jars, four lids, and four screw-tops in a large pot. Fill with an inch of water; cover with lid and heat to boiling. Boil for ten minutes. Leave the lid on the pot and move it off the heat until you are ready to use the jars.

2. Pour one gallon of milk into a large, heavy bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven. Heat the milk to 185-190 degrees Farenheit(90-90 Celcius).

3. Place the pot in a sink filled with cold water and let the milk cool to 120 degrees fahrenheit(50-55 degrees celsius)

4. Stir one cup of yogurt starter into the cooled milk, using a whisk. Stir well to ensure that the starter is thoroughly incorporated into the milk.

5. Pour the milk into jars, and put the lids and bands on. Place them into a cooler.

6. Heat one gallon of water to 120 degrees F(50-55 degrees C) and pour into cooler.

7. Shut cooler lid and leave in a warm place for three hours. When the three hours are up, place the yogurt in the refrigerator.

To make a delicious vanilla version of this yogurt, add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar to the four quarts of milk when it’s cooling in the sink. Then stir in 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla, depending on your preference, and proceed as usual with the recipe.


case tractor flag paint job

We’ve been holding a Flag Day photo contest on IL Corn’s FACEBOOK page and the photo above is the winner! With 65 “likes,” RJ Yearton’s 1933 Farmall F-30 wearing a special decal kit to celebrate 200 years of history for Case IH got the most people talking on FACEBOOK.

farm wedding with flag

Coming in second was Jenny Jackson and her hubby on their wedding day. What a sweet way to celebrate flag day on the farm!

How will you celebrate flag day today?  Start out by “liking” IL Corn on FACEBOOK so you can participate in fun contests like these!


June-Dairy-Month-Bessie[2]Are you interested in meeting a dairy farmer?  You can definitely get a better look at dairy farming during Wagner Farms Annual Dairy Breakfast this Saturday!

Step back in time to farm life from decades past.

  • Milk a cow
  • Feed a chicken
  • Attend a barn dance
  • Tour a restored farmhouse
  • Take a hayride in a horse-drawn wagon
  • Watch corn being planted
  • Learn about where the food we eat comes from

milk chugging contestThe Glenview Park District’s 18.6 acre Wagner Farm is one of the last working dairy farms in Cook County and is open to the public for recreation and learning. The farm provides a unique opportunity for families to learn about our farming heritage and experience first hand “the way things used to be.”

In addition to the cows in the pasture, Wagner Farm has chickens, draft horses, and pigs as well as a restored farmhouse and barn and the award-winning Wagner Farm Heritage Center. The Heritage Center contains interactive exhibits where you can learn about farming from the early 20th century through the present, “shop through history” at our 1930′s Grocery Store or purchase a souvenir of your visit from our Museum Store.

If your kids think that milk comes in a carton, corn comes in a can and chicken comes in a cellophane wrapped package, it’s time for a visit to Wagner Farm.

8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
1510 Wagner Road
Glenview, IL  60025
Breakfast served of pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, milk and coffee.  Adults $10, youth 3-10 $5.00  under 3 free.  Food by Egg harbor Café.
Try your hand at milking a cow.  Lots of crafts. Games for the kids.
For More Information:


niemeyer field 2012

The above photo is Garry Niemeyer’s field in Auburn, IL on June 4, 2012 and the photo below is the same field on the same day in 2013. Though last year’s drought made growing conditions impossible for our crops, at this point in the spring we were off to a good start! Just goes to show that there is considerable variation from the beginning of the growing season to the end – and the amount of faith that farmers put in God and Mother Nature when they invest thousands of dollars into planting a crop is unfathomable to those not in agriculture.

niemeyer field 2013

There is also considerable variation from year to year. Though planting has been off to a slow start, we can take a lesson from the 2009 crop year that a late start does not always equal poor yields. In 2009, rain delayed our planting, but we still harvested a record setting crop!

Thanks to Garry Niemeyer for sharing his photos.