The CornBelters fifth anniversary season is going in full swing now. The corn is growing strong and starting to fill the empty fields at the same time the fans are filling the empty stadium to watch the CornBelters play ball! This season, there is a lot of exciting things going on at the Corn Crib! These are the five things you do not want to miss this summer …

1. Tim-McGrawTim McGraw on Sept. 12! Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town Tour will stop at the Corn Crib on Friday, September 12. Corn Crib Alum Jana Kramer and newcomer Dakota Bradley will be the opening acts for the concert, which will be produced once again by S.A.W. Events. The gates will open at 5:30 with the show getting under way at 6 p.m. Zach Linley and the Rebel Daredevils will be performing on the side stage from 6:00-7:15! Tickets will be $60 for reserved seats and general admission field tickets. VIP pit tickets will be $105. Parking is available at the Corn Crib and will be $20 per car.

2. Ggary allanary Allan on June 20! Gary Allan will perform on Friday, June 20th for the first concert of the summer at the Corn Crib. Country star Jamey Johnson and central Illinois favorites Zach Linley & The Rebel Daredevils will complete this great lineup, which will be produced by S.A.W. Events. The gates will open at 5:30 with the show getting under way at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $44 for reserved seats and general admission field tickets. VIP pit tickets will be $59. Parking is available at the Corn Crib and will be $10 per car.

3. Thursday Night Concert Series! New for the 2014 season, every Thursday home game for the Normal CornBelters, presented by Illinois Corn Farmers, will feature post-game concerts on the new “Grieder’s Patio At The Park.” The CornBelters will play their first regular season home game of the 2014 season (“CEFCU Opening Night”) at The Corn Crib on Friday, May 16 at 7 p.m. versus the Evansville Otters. During the CornBelters 2014 season, all Thursday home games will feature some very exciting bands. In addition to the post game concerts on the new “Grieder’s Patio At The Park,” Thursdays will feature $1.00 beers and $2.00 margaritas during the game. “It’s always a great time to watch these guys perform. If you don’t know who these acts are, I invite you to give them a chance. They will not let you down,” said Jason Williams, owner of S.A.W. Events. “What’s better than baseball and great music?”

4. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Night! The Girl Scouts will fill the stadium on June 14. All Girl Scouts are encouraged to get their group together and come out for a fun night at the Corn Crib. The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of America will be in the park on July 26. After the game, all Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs in attendance will get to campout on the field.

5. kids at cornbeltersFan Appreciation Night August 28th! Aug. 28 is the final home game of the season for the CornBelters and will feature Fan Appreciation Night. This game is all about giving back to the fans that have supported the CornBelters over the season. There will be many fun surprises and prizes for fans. This is a game that fans do not want to miss. “Our 5th Anniversary is a significant marker for our organization showing the stability of our ownership and organization. We are proud of the fact that we have had a terrific 5 years here and we wanted to give our fans the very best promotional schedule we have had to date,” said Malliet. “This schedule represents a lot of affordable, summertime fun for families throughout McLean County.”

mike rainsMike Rains
Normal CornBelters


Have you ever found yourself wondering why some government decisions seem mysterious? Do you find yourself avoiding legislation because it sounds like foreign language? Contacting your representative is a great way to dispel the myths surrounding new laws and policies. Not only can they help answer your questions, but they also have access to direct you to programs that can potentially help you and your community.

8 reasons to contact your Cong

8. Issues with a state or federal agency

Do you have questions about how the EPA works? Or questions about the USDA and organic food standards? What about concerns for farm vehicle licensure? Congressional offices are able to answer questions and direct you to the appropriate officials.

7. What do You think?

Sometimes congressmen and women don’t hear much feedback from their constituents. It’s important to let them know your opinion on laws, upcoming legislation, and how you want to be represented.

corn-in-hands #7

  1. Local News is news for them, too

Are things happening in your local area that your congressman could benefit from learning about?

For example, Your County holds annual water safety training with your local Farm Bureau, and a bill is being considered to create water safety programs for each county. Let your representative know about the community activities in your area.

  1. For More Information about Legislation Changes

Want to learn more about the legislation that changes the definition of aquatic life? Or legislation that affects the cleanliness standards of local farmer’s markets?

Legislation can directly and indirectly affect your job, your industry, or where you live. This is why it’s important to contact your congressmen to learn more about the issues.

  1. To protect programs and agencies that you need

Are you a student who uses Department of Education grant funding like Pell Grants? Some programs face budget cuts or changes each year. You can’t always rely on someone else to speak for you. Call your congressman and let them know your thoughts!

  1. Make a difference

Some people don’t contact their legislatures because they think “my opinion won’t make a difference” 1. Your opinions DO make a difference. 2. Contacting your legislature does not mean you have to become a political brain. Calling or emailing is just a simple “check-in” to ask them questions and/or let them know what you think about what is happening with legislation.

  1. Share Your Story

Start small, you can use your experiences. No matter if you are a farmer, rancher, or nurse. If there is a bill that may be passed that will affect your working conditions- for better or worse, call your congressman and share your experience. You work in the industry, you have Credibility. By sharing your story you can to help lawmakers in making decisions.

#2 belted galloways

  1. Legislation Questions

Is there a piece of legislation that you don’t understand? Does it read too complicated? Is it too simple? Does it sound sketchy? Then give your congressman a call! Their office is able to answer questions, concerns, and take suggestions about pending bills.

You can find your congressman at

Morgan Doggett
ICGA Legislative Intern



Over the years, we’ve updated you quite a bit on IL Corn’s quest to update the locks and dams on the Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio Rivers.





bargeThe latest update is a sad, but true status quo.  Congress seems to understand that locks and dams should be a priority, and they pass legislation that make locks and dams a priority, but we get no funding appropriated that puts teeth behind their legislation.

The most recently passed Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) is no exception.  This bill does contain some needed reforms and authorizations, but without appropriations, honestly doesn’t mean much.

The best and most promising part of the bill changes the funding mechanism for Olmsted Lock and Dam to 85 percent from federal treasury and 15 percent from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.  Simply making a change that forces the U.S. Government to pay for their own crazy inefficiencies is significant – because it frees up money in the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to start construction on other projects.

However, the most needed reform, an increase to the barge user fee that barge companies, farmers, and other river users all support, elludes us.  This increase would put some real money back into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and help us to move lock and dam upgrades more quickly through the system.

Interesting that everyone who would be paying this fee supports it because new locks and dams would more than make the money back for them in efficiencies – but Congress still won’t pass it.

If this issue interests you, AND IT SHOULD because poor river transportation effects rock salt deliveries for icy Chicago streets and many other inputs you are used to, read our articles on this topic.

mitchell_lindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director


During a recent grocery store tour, one Chicago area mom asked, “How do hormones in milk effect growing boys and girls?” The answer might surprise you!!


This blog post by Amina Bennett Nevels is another great way to learn more about milk from the mouth of your peer instead of farmers or marketing agencies. Amina writes, “If you check out the labeling on organic milk you’ll notice big bold lettering declaring the milk to be antibiotic-free and well worth the $7 a gallon you’re prepared to pay. Well here’s news for you…ALL dairy milk sold in the U.S. is antibiotic-free! When a cow is on antibiotics, it is labeled with a bright colored leg band to alert the farmer and farm-hand that the cow’s milk should be dumped until the animal is healthy and the antibiotics are no longer in the milk.”


Illinois Corn is a partner in the Illinois Farm Families program – a program that brings moms from urban areas like Chicago to real farms to meet real farmers.  Our hope is that a program like this one can help moms and farmers understand that they really do have a ton in common and that they can learn a lot from each other about food and food production.

Our 2014 program is well underway at this point, and the group of moms we are introducing to Illinois farmers time time around are GREAT writers!  IFF field moms 2014

If you are curious about how your food is grown and the farmers who are doing the growing, you owe it to yourself to check out these amazing blog posts …

FIELD MOMS TALK ONE-ON-ONE TO FARMERS – Heather Guido is interested in learning more about GMOs.  She says, “While I’ve heard many moms talking about genetically modified food in a negative light, I’d like to know more and share what I learn. There are so few people connected to farming, especially in the Chicago area, that someone has to help educate our children about agriculture.”

DEFENDING AGRICULTURE ON CHICAGO STREETS – Holly Spangler writes a thoughtful post about Sara McGuire, a 2014 field mom from Chicago who wants to support local agriculture and connect her urban life to those who provide our food.

IT’S A HARD, BUT GREAT LIFE – Sarah Decker from Grayslake, IL, is enjoying her pen pal relationship with a farmer just as much as the visits to the farm!  Through Illinois Farm Families, she now has a farmer she can write to ask questions and learn more about the farmers growing her food.

Follow Illinois Farm Families on Facebook to get updates like these blog posts and other field mom updates!