Enjoy this throwback post from February 7, 2012. Conservation practices never get stale!

energy conservation, wildlife habitat, reduce soil erosion, farm, farming, agriculture

Reminder: It’s Green Week.  Are you recycling more?  Refusing to throw away any food?  Considering every single drive across town to make sure it is completely necessary?

That’s what Illinois farmers are doing.  Every single trip across the field is given thoughtful consideration because farmers realize that every trip means more fossil fuels used and more air pollution in their neighborhood.

Remember the no-till practice that we talked about yesterday?  Its adoption has meant many fewer trips over the field to till the soil  resulting in

309 million gallons of fuel being conserved each year.

That’s progress.

Additionally, farmers now have GPS systems in almost every tractor.  Yes, non-farmers and farmers alike joke that they don’t even have to steer the tractors anymore, but that isn’t what GPS systems are about.

GPS within tractors means that while tilling the soil, applying chemicals, planting the seeds or harvesting, the tractor is traveling exactly where it needs to go with NO OVERLAP.

This probably sounds minor, but no overlap actually ends up meaning fewer trips over the field.  When you consider even 6 inches of overlap times every trip back and forth over the field, that’s potentially one or two trips saved if you can minimize the overlap.  That’s the technology farmers are using today.

Saving energy and using fewer fossil fuels is important to farmers.

And THAT’S how Illinois farmers celebrate Green Week.

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director


After summarizing the new proposed laws on GMO labeling on Tuesday, today I’m challenging you to learn about a new way scientists are making our food safer and looking ahead to helping manage food allergens. This technology could even help us cure cancer.

CRISPER stands for Clustered Regularly Inter-paced Short Palindromic Repeats. It sounds super complicated, but check out this video which makes it look pretty simple.


This article originally posted at

You may recall, in 2017 the government passed a national Genetically Modified Foods (GMO) labeling law to have one uniform standard for labeling GMOs, also referred to as BE (bioengineered).

Congress passed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard in 2016. This required the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a labeling standard for GM food. These requirements were originally set to take effect by July 2018. But the USDA extended the implementation two years after a public comment period. On December 20, the USDA released the official law, which they will implement at the beginning of 2020 and require food companies to comply by January 1, 2022. You can read the entire current proposal here.


In the near future, you’ll start to see GMO/BE foods labeled in a variety of ways. While companies aren’t required to use the label until January 1, 2022, you might start seeing the new labels sooner. Many companies have already started labeling their products and support this national labeling standard. The rule states, “bioengineered food … shall not be treated as safer than, or not as safe as, a non-bioengineered counterpart.” That’s because research has proven that bioengineered foods are safe. These new food labels are simply informative for the consumer, not indicative of safety or nutrition.


Once put into law, you will see three different labeling methods:

  1. Text on food packaging (example: Partially produced with genetic engineering)
  2. A symbol that represents bioengineering
  3. An electronic or digital link that can be scanned

Pictured here are the symbols the USDA will require on GMO foods packaging.

Bioengineered Food Labels

Smaller food manufacturers with limited resources may also choose to label their GM foods using a telephone number that can provide additional information or an internet URL.

The law requires labeling only on bioengineered foods intended for human consumption that contain more than five percent GMO ingredients. Instances where GMOs do not have to be labeled include:

  • Foods derived from animals, such as eggs, meat and milk
  • Refined ingredients like oils and sugars
  • Food served in a restaurant
  • Foods manufactured and sold by very small manufacturers (local shops, etc.)
  • Any non-food products

While food labels may be changing, the safety of our food isn’t. Just as before, food labels should guide to make the right choice for you and your family – not scare you into making a more expensive purchase. Farmers, parents and experts have shared their thoughts on GMOs and making the best choice for their family. Read their perspectives here.