Grocery List1.Plan Ahead

Looking ahead to what you have planned for the coming week can make meal preparation a breeze. Be sure to plan meals that will fit your schedule, lifestyle, and health goals accordingly.

Below is a link to a printable list with common items needed on a grocery store visit.

2.Create Your List to Fit Your Grocery Store

This may take some time to get the hang of if you have recently switched a new store. Once you are familiar with the layout of your go to grocery store, arrange your list so that your first few items will be found first and your last items are towards the back of the store. This can not only save time, but also keeps you from getting distracted by unneeded items and can keep you within your budget!

3.Check The Local Paper For Coupons and Sales

Taking a few short minutes to go through your local paper in order to find sales and coupons for your favorite grocery store can help you stick to your budget however you should be sure to stick to only the necessary items to avoid overspending!

bag of money4.Set A Budget For The Weekly Groceries

Setting a budget for the necessities and a few treats can help you from overspending and also helps you stick to your dietary goals without adding unnecessary junk foods.

The link below gives 10 great tips to sticking to your grocery budget!

5.Skip The Organic

With today’s media hype and fast food chains such as Chipotle capitalizing on Non-GMO or Organic Only advertisement, it is easy to assume that these foods are healthier. Organic foods have never been proven to be healthier or more environmentally safe. In fact, many GMO foods have added nutritional value and use fewer pesticides than their organic counterparts. Skip, the organic and take the savings by buying GM foods!

The link below helps bust some of the common myths surrounding organic foods and is a great quick read!

6.Plan Your Grocery Store Trip On A Specific Day and Time

Looking over shopping cart at motion-blurred supermarket aisleThe link below has some great tips and tricks on when to plan your trip to the grocery store. Finding out when fresh items are brought in, going when the best deals are available, and going after a meal are just a few examples in this great post!

derek rappDerek Rapp
Illinois State University


1. Wake up and never complain.farmer-winter-working

Every farmer that I know wake up at 4:30 in the morning to feed their cattle or milk their cows and I never hear them complain.  They know their life could be a lot worst but they are optimistic about life.  The farmers are happy to have their cattle and family so they continue to be joyous everyday.

2.Volunteer in the local community.

Local firefighter.  School board member.  Farm Bureau board member.  4-H club leader.  These are all of the hats that a farmer wears plus being a full time farmer.  Farmers love giving back to their community.  They were raised to be polite, well mannered people, and always give back.  One way a farmer gives back is by donating their time and money back into the community that they live in.

3.Take environmental safety very seriously.

There are many groups believing that farmers are dumping gallons of pesticides and herbicide on their land just because they can.  This video proves that wrong.

The video shows much glyphosate is applied to 1 acre of land.  That video puts it into a real life perspective. Let’s put the cost of applying fertilizer and pesticide to a real world example.  Let’s say that a farmer has an 80-acre field.  1 acre is the size of a football field without the end zones attached.  The cost to apply 1 acre of pesticides is $60 and 1 acre of fertilizer is $148.  That is $208 an acre.  If you multiple 80 acres by $208, that is $16,640!  A farmer does not want to apply anymore fertilizer than they have to because would have to spend more money.  Farmers care for the land.  They want to preserve it because they need to use it year after year.  The farmer wants to make sure that the land with be healthy

for themselves, their children, and their grand children.

straight vs curved rows4.Use the safest modern techniques to provide food for the world.

If you every see a field with straight rows, we can thank GPS for that.  Many old farmers claim that their rows will always be straighter but GPS helps farmers be more productive.  With the use of a GPS, farmers that spray pesticides on crops use the technology to apply the accurate amount pesticide on the crop.  The technology allows the farmers to drive through the field and allow them not to over apply the spray on the crops.  This saves time and money for the farmer.  The picture shows a corn field before and after GPS technology.

JMcArthur_DairyVealFarm_-99395.Bring life into the world everyday.

Farmers get the opportunity to watch cows, ewes, and sows give birth on a daily basis.  The farmers assist them if they need help with the birth process and love them everyday after they are born!  There are some that believe that farmers beat their animals and treat them inhumanly.  This is absolutely incorrect.  If a farmer wants their animals to grow big and strong, they need to treat them with tender, love, and care and THEY DO!

6.Feed us everyday.

From the orange juice you drink in the morning to the beeryou have at the bar, you can thank a farmer for that.  Farmers allow you to eat everyday and at anytime of day.  Next time you see a farmer, say thank you!beer and orange juice

7.Educate everyone on their farming practices

One of the greatest things farmers do is educate consumers about their farming practices and tell them how their food starts at the farm gate and ends at the dinner plate.  There is a lot of confusion on the agriculture practices that farmers use but if someone has a questions about it, GO ASK A FARMER! Most farmers are willing to take someone on their farm and and show them around.  I have even seen farmers advocate about their practices on the streets in Downtown Chicago.  They are willing to educate consumers really about anywhere.farmer talking to consumers


Harlow_Perry 1 edit[2] copyPerry Harlow
Illinois State University


“American” defined by Webster’s Dictionary as relating to, or characteristic of the United States.

patriotism_-_rooseveltThe definition is a broad statement of what an “American” can be defined as.  People from America sometimes don’t full understand the concept of what an “American” may resemble.  I came up with a short list of what an American should focus on when they say claim to be “American”.

#1 Patriotism: Being proud of where you came from should be a #1 focus for Americans. We should be proud of where we came from and the people that live on this great land we call “Home”.

your_vote_counts#2 Freedom: Freedom is what America was founded on.  Without freedom our country would be forced to surrender the rights that we sometimes take for granted. Many countries today are not free to practice voting, religion, or speak. —-I wouldn’t be able to write this blog if those freedoms weren’t in place.
#3 Voting: Having the right to participate in an election is a key way to exercise being American. Many don’t participate in this right and are missing out. We forget that we are in charge of making America great for generations to come and this is how we can do it!


#4 Military: Americans should invest in serving others. By serving others we can join the military, celebrate military holidays, and welcome home soldiers.  Those serving are giving their lives to provide us with Freedom and we should show our gratitude for that privilege.

#5 Equality: Having equal rights is another focus for Americans. We should others the way we want to be treated. By treating others equally we can achieve this focus throughout America.

download (1)#6 Progress: As Americans, we should always strive to be progressive. Progress can be a broad term for many but as long as we are continuing to better ourselves and learn from the past ..we can progress.

And Finally….

#7 Buying:  Buying to support our American companies is a main focus that can be achieved each day.  Going to the grocery store and investing in American made products is way to buy American. The American consumer is keeping jobs in America and keeping money in American pockets by keeping it in our country.

Another example is fuel selection… 145

Buying ethanol is a simple way to be American. We drive to many places; grocery store, school, work, etc…. We have a choice to what fuel type we choose to pick.  Buying ethanol fuel is environmental friendly, less dependent on foreign oil, and keeps money in America. It’s overall a Win, Win for everybody!

If you keep these seven focuses as an American, you will have a good idea of what a true American resembles.  These simple focuses can help show your patriotism and ultimately be American Made!

THEAThea Fruhling
Illinois State University


The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, is becoming extremely popular. With the holiday season coming up odds are there will be a lot more of these remote-controlled aircraft taking the skies. Along with this increase will be regulations though. Due to recent incidents of drones coming within an unsafe distance of aircraft and airports, the government and FAA have stepped in. By the start of the New Year there are plans to put new rules as well as a registration process in place for drone owners and operators.

FAA sign

The Regulations and Farming

A quadcopter similar to what the students would be using

You might wonder how this regulation affects you if you don’t even own a drone. Both existing farms and students planning on farming are embracing this new technology to improve their crops. For farmers who use precision agriculture techniques, drones can be an amazing tool. Precision agriculture itself is the improved efficiency of how farms use resources. Everything from seed and fertilizer to fuel and herbicides, all is accounted for and used as efficiently as possible. Drones fit into this because they can be used to scout fields and find problem areas. A high school in Brooksville, FL is offering an opportunity for students to learn how to use drones for this purpose. The students will use the drones to find areas effected by insects, fungus, or drought and report their findings to farm so that they can fix the problem. Knowing exactly where the problem areas are farmers can use the minimum necessary resources. To this end those who live out in the country might see drones buzzing around their house moving from field to field. Knowing these regulations is a good idea so that you can warn UAV operators if they drift somewhere they shouldn’t be.


These regulations came about because of safety concerns. The FAA, and a lot of pilots, want these drones registered to ensure operators are accountable for their actions. During the wildfires in California, firefighter helicopters were unable to put out a blaze due to drones hovering over burning cars. There have also been two cases over the summer of drones crashing into sporting events. Safety and caution are the utmost importance as these regulations are developed. If you are an operator a general rule of thumb is if your drone is somewhere you aren’t allowed to go, then it should not be there either.

derekDerek DeVries
Illinois State University student


I think that there are a lot of things that can separate a good farmer from a bad farmer. When it comes to raising livestock, there are so many things that you need to be able to do to have an efficient farm. Every farmer has their own opinion when it comes to raising livestock but I think these two questions are ones that should really be followed and questioned.

How to do you maintain the cleanliness of your farm?

The first thing many people think of when it comes to livestock is manure. Manure is everywhere. It doesn’t matter what type of livestock you have, you will always have a lot of manure.

Keeping a clean farm is something you really have to keep up on. It is not something that you can only do once a month. You need to be able to maintain it daily. It doesn’t take long for an animal to make a room extremely dirty. It is really a struggle to keep the smell maintained but it is very important to try to control this.

mucking stallsWhen you have people coming to visit your farm, the first thing they notice is the smell. If it is an overpowering smell then usually people will assume that you are not keeping your farm clean. Yes, I do know that it takes a lot of work to be able to keep a livestock farm clean but it is worth it. I have been on my fair share of farms that are not clean at all. It is not exactly pleasant to be walking through manure that is about ready to go over your rubber boot. I also don’t think it would be pleasant for any animal to live in that.

Are your animals being fed a well-balanced diet?

Every animal is different when it comes to what they eat. If one animal is sick, they might have to be fed a diet that has different nutrients in it. That is something that you really have to watch for. You always need to look over your livestock to look for signs of sickness. You don’t want your animals to be underweight or over weight. You want them to be a healthy animal with a balanced diet.

cattle eatingWhen it comes to feeding animals, you need to make sure they are being fed a very uniform diet as well. Which means, they need to be fed the exact feed every time, at the same time of day, and the same amount each time. If you were to miss a feeding and then feed them three hours later, they will eat so fast like they are starving and that is not good for the animal. It can be very difficult sometimes when it comes to feeding but if you love what you do, you will make time for it.


There are so many more questions that you could ask to see the difference between good and bad farmers.  I know that each farmer sees things differently but there are some things that do need to be followed. Raising livestock does not come easy but those in the livestock business love it. It is a lot of work but it can be very rewarding in the end.

Ssamanthaamantha Wagner
Illinois State University student