STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE: WHY WATER IS IMPORTANT

Farmers use all sorts of different practices to protect the water we all use and drink. This farmer brought her water to a local farmers market to help her community understand what’s she’s doing and why she takes keeping the water clean so seriously.

Watch more farmers explain how they grow food and why here!

EXPORTS TO FTA MARKETS ACCOUNTS FOR 54 PERCENT OF IL EXPORTS

Free trade agreements are super important to the entire country, but perhaps more important to Illinois farmers than farmers in other states.

We’ve discussed that Illinois exports more of its grain (and other goods) out of the state because we have the competitive advantage of the Illinois and Mississippi River.  Now see how much we benefit when the U.S. works with other countries so we can sell our grain and compete on a level playing field internationally.

In 2017, exports to FTA markets accounted for 54% of Illinois exports.  Wow!

source: https://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/statereports/states/il.pdf

U.S. ETHANOL FUELS OUR WORLD

And these days, keeping our world safe with trade means that everyone has a safe supply of fuel as well!  Did you realize how much U.S. ethanol is fueling the vehicles all over the world?

We are already shipping ethanol to Brazil, China, Japan, and to our best friends, Canada and Mexico.  But we’re growing in other markets like the EU, and many countries in Central and South America.

American farmers and ethanol producers are seeing major growth in this area!  And we’re proud to supply a cleaner burning, renewable fuel!

WHEN TRADE WORKS, THE WORLD WINS

I learned something this week about the history of trade that I never knew before.

After World War II, our world got together and tried to figure out how to prevent more world wars.  Making sure that everyone had access to food and that all the countries were relying on each other was a part of that solution.

Since WWII, the United States has negotiated trade agreements with 20 countries.  Other countries have many, many more trade agreements.  And guess what?  It’s working!

Surely trade isn’t the only reason we haven’t had global wars, but it isn’t hurting.

You know what they say: if you don’t remember history, you are doomed to repeat it!

TELL ME MORE ABOUT FARMERS AND RECYCLING

On Tuesday, we talked about how the leftovers from ethanol production are left to livestock.  But if you don’t understand ethanol production, that might sound sort of … iffy.

Read how this mom began to understand how farmers are amazing recyclers!

WHAT EXACTLY IS THAT BYPRODUCT?

by ANITA MANN Naperville, IL

cattle, eating, byproductI don’t know about you, but I have to admit that when I heard that farmers feed their cattle byproducts I really didn’t understand what that meant. All I knew was that it didn’t sound good to me, especially if that byproduct came from an ethanol plant!

When I hear the word ethanol, I think of gasoline so I was really confused on what the byproduct was.  However, while on a tour at the Adams Farm in Sandwich, IL, I was pleasantly surprised to learn what these byproducts actually are and how they were used to feed cattle. 

The byproduct from ethanol distilleries is known as distillers grains (often referred to as DDGS). When the corn is used to make ethanol they only use the starch portion of the grain, so the byproduct is the corn germ, oil, and the outer seed shell.

The fermentation of the grain in the ethanol production process makes the byproduct a high-protein, high-fat and high-fiber product that cattle like. The farmer uses this much like we put sugar on cereal. 

Another byproduct used in feed is from a local Del Monte vegetable plant and a seed corn plant. After the sweet corn is harvested and the kennels are removed, both the cob and the husk are left over. This sweet corn byproduct is mixed with the leftover husks from a seed corn plant and then it ferments in a bunker silo. This fermented mixture is used as part of the cattle’s feed ration.

A third type of byproduct used in cattle feeding comes from a sugar refinery in the form of molasses, which is mixed with a vitamin/mineral supplement that the cattle receive. 

All of these byproducts would normally just go to waste, but the cow’s unique digestive system allows a farmer to utilize it for feed in addition to the grass that the cattle graze on in the pasture. With the human population increasing and the amount of land available for grazing decreasing, I think this is a clever way of utilizing the resources that are available.

Read this article as it was originally posted here.