corn harvestWe had a great response to my article, “Are Farmers Rich?” from last month.  And then today, I read this article from the University of Illinois’ Farm Doc Daily that more or less confirms what I said.

“Corn returns in 2014 likely will be negative on many farms, with losses near $100 per acre on cash rent farmland in northern Illinois”

And if you’re even more interested in farmers, farming decisions, and whether or not farmers are rich, this is an interesting point:

“Average cash rent in central Illinois is near $300 per acre. At a $300 cash rent, farmers receive a return for corn equal to -$90 per acre ($210 operator and land return – $300 cash rent). The farmer return for soybeans equal $28 per acre ($328 operator and land return – $300 cash rent).

A 50% corn and 50% soybean is a common division of land between corn and soybeans. At a 50% corn and 50% soybeans, operator and land return equals $269 per acre (see Table 1). Overall, a $31 loss occurs for a farmer given a $300 cash rent. Without soybeans, the return would have been much larger.”


Most of the time, farmers make more money on corn.  That their soybean crop will actually buffer their losses this year is unusual, but a welcome surprise for farmers losing $31 per acre in 2014.

For those of you that will click through and try to read the University of Illinois’ article, I realize that it can be complicated for non-farmers to understand.  Ask your questions in the comments and I will happily answer and explain anything I can!

Lindsaymitchell_lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

If you liked this article, you’ll love ARE FARMERS RICH?


Harvest is the time of year I look forward to the most, and I think most farmers will agree. As a farmer’s daughter, I watch my dad literally work day in and day out all year round in preparation for harvest. Whether it be making repairs on equipment late at night, tearing up the fields and planting seed, spraying the crops for pests and diseases, or walking through the fields to check how the crops are progressing through the season – it all leads up to what we are here for… harvest.

It’s the time of year where a farmer can physically see if his or her hard work has paid off; where you watch the grain fill the hopper, and know you are supplying feed for livestock, food for millions of people, and many more products worldwide.

harvest image

It’s the time of year when the air smells of freshly cut fields.

combine harvest

It’s the time of year when you use a walkie-talkie radio instead of a cell phone.

harvest radio

It’s the time of year when you wear boots EVERYWHERE.

harvest boots

It’s the time of year when you don’t eat as a family at the dinner table, but instead eat sack lunches in the field.

illinois harvest

It’s the time of year when you drink out of more water jugs than cups.

water harvest

It’s the time of year when you still see headlights out in the field at 9:00 at night.

nighttime harvest

It’s the time of year when you work together as a team and a family.

harvest auger

Harvest time holds some of my fondest memories. Despite how much everything has changed over the years, whether it be the technology, equipment, or seed, the things that I have listed of what makes harvest, harvest have always been the same. As a child, the voices of my dad and uncle talking on the radio echoed in our kitchen, and I would fall asleep to the sound of grain falling into our metal bin outside my window. The fact that these memories are still happening to this day 20 odd years later, is heartwarming… and, in a way, I relive my childhood every harvest.

family harvest

Kelsey FritscheKelsey Fritsche
Southern IL University student


“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

–Stephen R. Covey

Think about that for a minute.

(Okay, has it been a minute? Did you think about it? Good.)

Aren’t we all guilty of this in one way or another? During arguments or heated discussions, most of us have a tendency to get defensive- and when we are being defensive, we are no longer participating in a discussion to try to better understand the opposing viewpoints. We come by it honestly. Heck, even kids are guilty of this! Have you ever tried to argue with a stubborn 5-year-old? They will come up with the craziest excuses to prove that they aren’t wrong or guilty.

I think all adults are equally as guilty of this when it comes to discussions about GMO crops, organic versus non-organic, food additives, etc. I have had countless conversations with people who have differing views from me and many of those conversations end with me just giving up. I enjoy having conversations in order to better understand where people are coming from, and I would like for them to learn a little something about my viewpoints in return. But some people are just impossible; they are only listening to what you have to say in order to come up with a response to prove that you are wrong. To me, that is a pointless conversation.

Once in a while, I get to have a real conversation with someone who genuinely wants to learn more about these topics and hear about my experiences and opinions. And in turn, I want to know what their concerns are and where those concerns came from. AND IT IS MAGICAL. Both people always walk away from those conversations with a better understanding and a little something to mull over.

You may be asking yourself, “Hmmm… I wonder what brought this topic up for Rosie today.” I am so glad you asked!

The Food Babe visited the University of Florida last week and gave a speech to the students and faculty about “how to avoid bad foods” based on her opinions. Keep in mind this woman is not a scientist, nor does she have any experience in the food industry whatsoever. She has made a living for herself by using fear mongering on social media to build an army of scared and angry consumers who attack various companies and get them to change the ingredients they use in their food. A professor from the horticulture department on campus wrote a blog in response to her visit, and I think it is wonderful. You can read it here.

Okay, I’m getting off my soapbox. Just do me a favor and take a moment before your next discussion about food to remind yourself to listen to understand, not just to reply. Please and thank you!

rsanderson1Rosalie Sanderson
Membership Administrative Assistant



old corn pickerFarm Machinery has changed drastically over the past 60 years. It’s hard to believe that my grandma, Janice Dittus, not great-grandma, not great-great-grandma….grandma remembers as a child in the 1940’s picking corn by hand and throwing the corn into the wagon that was pulled by horses, taking the wagon to the corn crib at home when the corn would be combineshelled in the summer. In the 1950’s our family was fortunate enough to use a picker that would harvest the corn two rows at a time. Her grandpa had a combine in the 1960’s with no cab and she specifically remembers the dust flying back into her face. Before moving to Illinois, she lived and farmed in Platte Center, Nebraska – she was a true Nebraska Cornhusker.

The picker was shortly advanced to a more efficient machine, the combine. So, what about the combine? What exactly is with that large machine we see going through the fields?

8230 combine labeled

  • A new Case IH 8230 combine in 2014 costs on average $450,000. A used 2013 Case IH 8230 costs around $240,000.
  • It takes approximately 9,000 part numbers to build a combine
  • The cab comes equipped with AM/FM radio, heat/air, a buddy seat for a passenger (some even have a cooler under the buddy seat to store food/drinks), an option for heated leather seats
  • Bin extensions are added to the top of an older combine to hold more corn/beans/wheat; combines made in the past couple years come with an added bin extension from the factory
  • On average, a Case IH 2588 combine can hold ~180 bushels (~225 bushels with a bin extension); a Case IH 8230 combine can hold about 225 bushels
  • A combine can typically harvest 1.6 bushels of corn per second. Ryan Lepp, combine specialist with Case IH projects this number going higher as corn yields reach above 300 bu/ac and the combines grow in capacity
  • Auto Steer allows the combine to drive itself through the field by communicating with satellite signals to know where it is in the field and where it needs to be
  • Precision Planting can be installed in combines to take the data from when the field was planted to see where hybrids were changed and how they performed
  • On average, it takes 12 seconds for the combine to cut, feed, thresh, separate, clean and transfer the corn to the grain tank

I am proud to work for a Case IH dealership, Central Illinois Ag, where I am able to work alongside and support the American Farmer. As Ryan Lepp, Case IH combine specialist, says, “Case IH is leading the way in crop harvesting innovations and celebrating good old American ingenuity.”

abby coersAbby Coers
Marketing Coordinator
Central Illinois Ag


As a college student at a major Illinois University, I often get a second look when I tell people I’m a farm kid.  I don’t wear overalls.  And I think that city kids just don’t expect a farmer to be in college.

When I think about it, farmers are actually quite a few people, all wrapped up into one.

1. Farmers are weathermen.

rainbow over farmThe weather is very important to farmers because this tells farmers how their year will be and how this will affect the farm itself. Whether it’s the hot or cold, snow or rain, farmers always must be prepared for whatever comes their way. Everybody knows that if you want to know the real forecast, just ask a farmer. Weather is their livelihood, and if they are not weathermen, they will not be too successful as a farmer.

2. Farmers are political activists.

Politics is extremely important to a farmer. Spreading the word about the right candidate through the agricultural community is a big part of being a farmer. Campaigning and donating to candidates running for office is also huge for a farmer. Whether it is food policy, agricultural coalition, or farm laws, a farmer must do his best to get the right person in office, or their family may find themselves in a tough situation.

3. Farmers are business professionals.

Many people do not look at farmers this way, but farmers run small businesses. From day-to-day tasks like job delegation, to the burdens of input versus output for the year, a farmer is well acquainted with is banker, his calculator, and his accountant.  His family, his employees, and every person that consumes food depends on it. Farmers need to be up to date on market prices and know when to make key business decisions to best suit the future.

4. Farmers are veterinarians.

farmer and cowsAnimal well-being is something every farmer needs to know. Farmers cannot plan when an animal will get sick or when an animal will give birth, so being a veterinarian in addition to a farmer is crucial. A farmer must know how and what to vaccinate certain animals with. A farmer also must know the best environment for their animal to thrive. A farmer must be aware on what is the healthiest and most nutritious for their animals, because animals are their income.

5. Farmers are mechanics.

farmer fixing tireEvery farmer knows about the trouble that equipment gives just before harvest or just before planting, but everyone else thinks farmers can just take their equipment to the shop. Farmers do not have the luxury when it is crunch time to get crops harvested or get crops planted, to just drop off their tractors and combines at the shop. Farmers  must know the ends and outs of their equipment and get problems fixed as soon as possible. If farmers were not supposed to be mechanics, farmers would have no use for their own shop, filled with wrenches, grease guns, buckets of miscellaneous metal, and a billion cans of either green or red spray paint.

6. Last but not least farmers are family.

farm familyWhether it mother/father, sister/brother, or grandma/grandpa, farmers never grow weary of their first purpose – being a farm family.  Farmers farm to put food on the table. Farmers never have a day off and are still around for every waking family moment. Not only do they go out of their way to be with family, they want their family with them all the time.

Garret Ess

Garret Ess
Illinois State University


semi dumping corn

A few miles away from the IL Corn home office, this is happening today.  Farmers are bring their corn to Yuton Elevator, where the elevator has had to increase their amount of ground storage just to try to hold it all.

corn corn corn

Right now, Yuton has 2.3 million bushels of ground storage for the corn coming out of the field.  They have storage that is still not full, as you can see in the above photo, but our farmers are reporting that they are only about 50% finished getting their corn harvested.

corn pile with men

We have SO MUCH CORN right now all over the Midwest.  These piles are the reason we work for increased ethanol markets and upgraded locks and dams.

Although non-farmers think that we don’t have enough corn to feed all our markets, WE DO!  These piles are proof!  We need ethanol as a growing market to use up all this corn.  We need locks and dams to get our corn to international markets.


As was reported in today’s edition of The Pantagraph, the daily newspaper in Bloomington, IL, a traveler from Clinton, IL, spotted two Illinois corn farmers featured in a lighted display ad at the airport in Rome, Italy. You can find the original article here. (Scroll down to find the appropriate part of the article.)

Just how in the world did that happen?

Well, it started with an ad campaign placed by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board at O’Hare International Airport. The idea was to give travelers just a bit of information regarding the important role corn farmers play in the Illinois economy. To find out more, interested readers are directed to the Illinois Farm Families website, www.watchusgrow.org.

The image is attractive. The message is not controversial. It references a not-for-profit run website.

Basically, it was the perfect choice for the company that sells ad space in airports. They had an open slot. They needed something in it. They chose the IL Corn ad.

That’s how John and Sue Adams, of Atlanta, IL, became messengers of a positive corn message in Rome.

Who’da thunk?

Here’s a picture of the ad in O’Hare. It was placed in areas travelled heavily by those going to and from Washington, DC, in the hopes of influencing those “influential people” who speak to our elected officials.

Ohare Ad, Illinois corn farmers, john and sue adams

Braid Terry_Tricia  mugshotTricia Braid
ICGA/ICMB Communications Director


October in my book, is one of the best months of the year.  And with the help of our Pinterest page, here is why:

  1. Pumpkins – This seems to be one of those things that people either love or hate.  I’m on the love side here.  Pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cheddar mac & cheese, the list goes on and on and on.  How could you NOT like pumpkin, it’s so versatile!  More on this tomorrow…
  2. Pumpkin farms – We are lucky to have an amazing pumpkin farm right down the road from our office and I take my daughter there every year.  Rader Family Farms is fun for all ages, it’s especially great for those families that aren’t from farm.  They get a chance to spend the day on a farm and learn a few things while having fun.
  3. Cooler Temperatures – While I love summer, it’s just not as great as fall.  When the temperature drops and you can wear jeans and a sweatshirt while sitting around a campfire – nothing beats it.
  4. smoreS’mores and Cookouts – Cooking over a campfire makes some of the best food and it’s just downright fun.  Kids can even get involved by roasting hot dogs and s’mores!  What kid doesn’t love a s’more?
  5. Soup – What goes great with lower temps?  Soup of course.  It’s not very appetizing to me to eat a blazing hot bowl of soup when it’s also blazing hot outside.  But when it’s nice and cool out?  Oh yes, bring on the soups!
  6. Fall Decorations – Indian corn, burlap, pumpkins, squash, acorns, pine cones, the list goes on of great decorations.
  7. Halloween – It doesn’t matter how old you are, get dressed up and have fun on Halloween!  Who needs a costume party?  Put on your best mummy or witch makeup and scare the neighborhood kids as they come to your front door for treats!  And I would be remiss if I left out Halloween candy here.  Eat as much as you want, it’s the one time of year that candy is fat and calorie free… right?
  8. Bow-hunterBow season – October 1st marks the beginning of bow season!  There really is no way to feel closer to nature than sitting in a tree stand as the sun rises and waiting for the perfect deer to come across your path.  Filling your freezer with enough meat to get you through the year is a nice perk as well.
  9. Piles of Leaves – Come on, do I even have to explain this one?
  10. 1Harvest – Of course, I saved the best for last…. Such a great feeling comes with harvest.  It’s the time when all of a farmer’s hard work is coming to fruition.  The sights and smells of harvest are the best of the year.

Did I leave one of your favorites off?  Tell me what you love most about October!

Becky FinfrockBecky Finfrock
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant