Marketing: it is an important part of the world we live in. It is the way companies interact with consumers to promote and sell products and services.

Without marketing, we as consumers might be unaware of products and services, and producers wouldn’t have any buyers.

How things are marketed plays a large role into who buys the product or service.

For example:
Regular Leggings versus Maternity Leggings


Both leggings are black, made from the same material and look very similar. But the one on the left is aimed for a young woman who likes to dress up and look good doing it.

The photo on the right is aimed for a woman who is pregnant, wants to be practical, comfortable and look good doing it. If you are a young women looking for the perfect pair of leggings to wear out to a party this Saturday, you probably won’t go shopping in the maternity section to find them.

Same product, different audience.

The people creating these ads appeal to their targeted audience by choosing the right models, accessories, location of ads, etc.

These same people also use certain wording in their ads to appeal to certain people.

panera ad

Buzz words like, “all natural” and “antibiotic free” are very trendy right now and appeal to a lot of people. Because people want good quality products, especially when it comes to the food they eat… duh.

But this is where marketing crosses a line. It can be misleading or deceiving.

Let me explain: In this particular ad, what does “all natural” mean? What defines it as “all natural?” NOTHING. It is just words, to persuade you to pay more for this product versus the other product that doesn’t say it. But the advertising on the package makes you believe that it is a better product because it’s all natural and it must mean it is healthier for you and that must mean that the other product isn’t. Not true.

What about “antibiotic free?” Same thing. All meat must be antibiotic free, this is a law established by our government. All meat is inspected before ever making it to a restaurant or grocery store. But labeling it “antibiotic free” makes the average consumer believe that it must be superior or healthier for you than the meat without the label. Tricked you again.

Que the part where farmers and ranchers are sick of being put into the negative light by companies like Chipotle, Panera and now Subway. Many of their advertisements are misleading to consumers. Now consumers are demanding producers to change their ways because they think that is how they (the consumers) will get the best quality product. When in fact, the products they have been getting all along are just as healthy and safe as their “all natural” or “antibiotic free” counter parts.

If advertisements could be compared to a used car salesman, this would be the salesman convincing you to buy a car you didn’t want or need at a way too high of a price.

Producers have an obligation to make sure they are producing the best quality product possible. (Especially when it comes to food.)

But consumers have an obligation to be educated about the products they are buying to ensure purchasing decisions are based on quality instead of fancier advertisements.

Don’t be fooled by the salesman. Drive, eat, and wear, etc. the products you think are best for you based on your own scientific review.

Hannah ZellerHannah Ferguson
Communications Assistant


530collage5:30AM: Farm kid wakes up to start morning chores with the livestock animals, sometimes even earlier, allowing them able to watch the sunrise. Animals need to be fed and taken care of at the beginning and end of each day. Waking up hours before school is required to keep the animals happy.

City kid is sleeping.

7collage7:00AM: Farm kid boards the school bus to head to school. Living in the rural country means not being close to the school, so bus rides can exceed one hour at times.

City kid wakes up, or keeps snoozing and eats breakfast, gets ready for school, and heads off for school usually just a few minutes from home before 8.

schooldaycollage8:00AM to 3:00 PM: Farm kid sits through school, where their favorite class is the agriculture class, learning about the industry they know and love. They’ll share stories with friends on what happened on the farm yesterday or in the morning, and share their favorite stories about their favorite animals.

City kid sits through school, discussing what video game is currently the best, and what new episode will be on TV later that day.

4collage4:00PM: Farm kid finally gets home from school after a long bus ride. Plenty of chores are needed to be finished, so they start working with the animals, on the equipment, or whatever various thing need to be done.

City kid has been home and playing video games or watching television. They’ll work on homework before dinner in the next few hours.

6collage6:00PM: Farm kid continues their chores. At this time, they are probably milking cows, feeding animals, cleaning the pens, and making sure everything is ready for the night. This takes up a bulk of the afternoon. During harvest, kids will be busy in the field for the entire evening after school and well into the night.

City kid prepares to eat dinner with their family. The entire family sits down for dinner.

730collage7:30PM: Farm kid hopefully has chores done and heads into the house for dinner, likely alone or with a sibling and mom. Many times on the farm the entire family is busy doing different chores and doesn’t all eat together, or they wait till everyone is in the house, which can be after nine!

City kid is busy catching up on their favorite TV shows that night and finishing up homework.

10collage10:00PM: Farm kid is probably still up finishing homework. Some nights require them to be back in the barn helping with livestock births and finishing chores.

City kid is ready for bed, but probably stays up online talking to friends and checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

midnightcollageMidnight: Farm kid finally gets to sleep after finishing all chores and homework, ready to get up in a few short hours to do it all again.

City kid has been asleep and getting eight hours of sleep, ready for another day of school.

Every single kid is different. While some come from the farm, the city, and something in between, each one has their own daily routine that probably varies from above. However, the same holds true for each kid. All work hard and stay busy with school and other activities. Farm kids just happen to have a longer day with more work and chores, however, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

dakota cowgerDakota Cowger
Illinois State University Student


I personally have never raised cattle but I have been around them long enough to basically know how to raise a healthy, breathing cow. When you really think about it, it’s just like raising any other pet! They need shelter, need a well-balanced diet, water, and love and care. The only difference is they may be a tad larger than your average housedog. Although it has been proven that if you give your cow a name and treat her as an individual she will produce 500 more pints of milk a year.  So basically if you give your cows the love they deserve, it will not only benefit you it will also benefit the cattle as well. I am going to share a few different tips with you on how to raise your cattle.
Cow running

Be Ready to Work

I’m not going to tell you that raising cattle is easy because it is definitely the opposite of easy. It comes with long hour days and sometimes a lot of stress. Each day is never the same. There is always something new happening each day. One day, someone could have left the gate open and then there goes the cows, running down the street. And let me tell you that is not a fun day when that happens. You better be ready to run, and you better be ready for some very grumpy workers after. But then the next day, everything could run really smoothly. You just need to be prepared for anything when working on a cattle farm, or any farm for that matter.
Cow cuddling

Each Cow Has a Different Personality

You will immediately come to figure out which cow you absolutely love and which one you cannot stand.  Every cow is very different. They are literally like people. You could have the nosey cow, the stubborn cow, the loving cow, the dumb cow, etc. The list could go on and on. I still remember this cow that I could not stand.  Every time I tried to get her to move, she would just turn around and look at me and not move an inch. That doesn’t sound so bad but it’s a problem when you are on a tight schedule, and you are busy yelling at a cow for 10 minutes. And one thing you should definitely know is the older the cow gets, the grumpier she is.  I would always want to work with the younger cows over the old ones.  Nobody likes to be around a grumpy old cow.

In The End, You Will Fall in Love

No matter what kind of cow you are raising, you will end up falling in love with them. Cows just start to become a part of your lifestyle. You almost become addicted to being around them. You cannot be away from them for too long. They definitely need your love every day, but you also will get love from them in return. Everyone says that cows are stupid and are dumber than a box of rocks. But in reality, they are actually very smart. They know when they are being treated the right way, and they know when someone really does care for them. So basically all you need to really do is just care for you cow.

samanthaSamantha Wagner
Illinois State University


I’m not a scientist and I would never pretend to be one.  But, I do have a science degree and I do work in a particularly science-heavy industry, so I feel like I know a few basic things about common science and science.

Which is why it angers me and saddens me that our world today consists of millions of people who will believe anything they read as law without questioning it first.  They could be reading the opinions of a five-year old on nuclear weapons and suddenly, that five-year old should be the next Secretary of State – or at least the head of the U.S. Army.  Or maybe a housewife with too much time on her hands has created the next fad diet that will melt away the weight with only toilet paper and kosher meals as seen on Orange is the New Black – and suddenly everyone is eating kosher and pretending to be Jewish.

Either way, I’ve come up with a few questions to ask yourself when you’re reading something new.  These are meant to simply help you question the validity of everything you read and to get the thoughts flowing – they will not determine fact and fiction for you.  Only your amazing God-given brain will do that.

  1. Who is the author of this article/research/data?

Anything that you read that causes you to consider changing any aspect of your life bears some amount of research into the author.

who is the authorIs the author an honest-to-goodness expert in this area with an advanced degree?  Is the advanced degree in a related field to the information they are sharing?  (Don’t listen to a Ph.D. in Journalism tell you about Engineering and think she’s an authority!)  Does the author work for someone other than themselves?  Is their employer a reputable source?

Before you cut all red fruits and veggies from your diet, google the name of the person telling you to do that.  If that person isn’t a registered dietitian for a reputable company or a food scientist from a serious university, you probably need to investigate further.

2. Does the article/advice make sense given what you already know?

This particular pointer falls into the “Is it too good to be true” category.  No one is going to lose 50 pounds in 1 week using this quick and easy tip.  No one is going to single-handedly change the course of human history by eliminating this from their schedule.

does the article make senseIf the lifestyle changes you’re considering making don’t fit within the framework of what you already remember from grade school science, then you should probably look further.

As an example, there is a movement supporting raw milk these days.  The folks that feed their families only raw milk are ignoring basic science and history that I know they learned in fourth grade.  Heating milk to kill pathogens is healthy.  The end.  If drinking raw milk promises you all sorts of health benefits with none of the risks of Listeria, then it’s too good to be true.  It just is.

3. What does the rest of the industry say about this advice/information?

If you’re reading about vaccines, what do all other medical professionals say about this advice?  If you’re considering a new exercise plan, what do other personal trainers and physical therapists say about this plan?  If you’re worried about the latest food borne illness scare and considering swearing off fruits and veggies, what does the ag industry and the nutritionists and dietitians say about this food borne illness occurrence?

I understand that those of you with a tendency to believe everything you read have a natural hesitation to accept the advice of the industries you’re reading about.  You have a natural inclination to be skeptical.  But be skeptical of what you read too.

If farmers, who have been farming for decades and whose families have been farming for a century, tell you that an article is not true, it probably isn’t.  If a doctor with a real medical degree advises you that the medical community agrees on this course of treatment, trust that to a certain degree.

Even if you don’t 100% believe what the related industry is telling you, hearing their opinion is important to developing a more rounded view of the data you’re considering.

At the end of the day, just use your brain.

keep calm use your brainI know that reading and understanding scientific articles can be difficult and no fun.  Scientists are not skilled journalists and their writing is not always easily understood or very clearly written.  But you don’t have to dig through research journals to figure everything out.

Use your brain.  You know what sounds too good to be true.  You know what seems like complete medical quackery.  Listen to the body of experts around you.  Do a little research.  Remember, not everything on the internet is true.

Mitchell_LindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Manager

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Where has the year gone?!?! I can’t believe it is October already.

I think we can all agree that with October comes a lot of other really great things, like the Fall! It is the best time of year, the temperatures are cooler (but it’s not freezing yet), the leaves are changing and the landscape is beautiful, and we can’t forget there is PUMPKIN SPICE FLAVORED EVERYTHING!

Fun Fact: Did you know Illinois was the number one producing state of pumpkins? Remember that next time you get your pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks.

October also has, football, bonfires, s’mores, start of hunting season, my birthday, Halloween, haunted houses, many other favorite things… and of course HARVEST TIME!

In the spirit of October, I have gone back and selected my favorite posts in October from previous years.

Here are the posts I think deserve another look. Click on each title to read the full post.


““It’s harvest time in this little town, time to bring it on in, pay the loans down.”  Luke Bryan’s new song “Harvest Time” explains this time of year perfectly.  However, not so long ago, harvest was done completely different around here.  Instead of the combines, tractors, grain carts and the semi-trucks we use today, farmers harvested with much simpler tools.  Farming has seen numerous changes over the years, but none of them have been as impactful as the mechanization of harvest equipment.”Threshing Machine

This article is a fun little story about the history of farm equipment, and it has a great picture.


“Most of the corn grown in Illinois is genetically modified corn.  It’s genetically altered to withstand insect attack or to live through certain herbicide applications.  New varieties are genetically altered to perform under stressful conditions like last year’s drought.

Although this technology makes some customers skeptical, hybridization of crops has been happening for years and years.  In fact, the history of the Illinois Corn Growers Association starts before 1900 sometime when groups of farmers would come together for a fall meeting to trade their best ears of corn.  Those kernels from other parts of the state would grow and pollinate with kernels the farmer already had to continually produce the best corn – ear size, stalk quality, performance under stress were all factors when farmers selected their very best ears.

Years later, we shorten the process by choosing genes that we know are insect resistant, herbicide resistant, drought resistant and inserting them into our plants.  And some remain unsure that the research has been done to prove these foods safe.”

I cannot believe the amount is misinformation is out there about GMOs. Don’t be a fool, stay in school… and get the facts about GMOs. They are safe, science says so.


“Women have always been a part of the agriculture industry, but most the time have been overlooked. However, this trend is changing, and women are becoming more prevalent on farms today. Do you know any women in agriculture, either on farms or in the industry?

In early American history, a woman’s job on the farm typically meant bookkeeping for the farming operation. Women also tended to the family garden, which was most likely a major food supply for the farm family. Even though women did contribute to the farm, their work was never recorded by the Department of Agriculture, thus making women seem non-existent in the agriculture world.”


“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.”corn pile with men

Making sure our farmers have a demand for their crop is what we are all about!


“Ethanol is always a good choice if you are concerned about the environment, energy security, and even buying local!

Illinois grows it, you should use it!”


indian corn“A symbol of harvest season, they crop up every fall— those ears of corn with multicolored kernels that adorn doors and grace centerpieces. So how does this decorative corn, known in America as flint corn or Indian corn, differ from other types of corn? How long has it been around? Also, is it grown solely to look good next to pumpkins, gourds and scarecrows in those seasonal displays, or can you actually eat it?

Corn does not grow wild anywhere in the world. Instead, this domesticated plant evolved sometime in the last 10,000 years, through human intervention, from teosinte, a form of wild Mexican grass. Originally cultivated in the Americas, corn was brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus in the late 1400s; thanks to other explorers and traders, it soon made its way to much of the rest of the globe. In America, the early colonists learned how to cultivate it from the Indians, for whom it was a dietary staple.”

When you think of Fall decorations, you think of Indian corn, so obviously this one is a staple. I even learned something new when I read this post, and that is a good reason to have it in my number two spot on this countdown.


“Pop Quiz!! Take our quiz and find out how much you know about Illinois corn and then leave a comment with what you scored!”corn quiz

This post was my number one favorite post from all previous October posts. It is a fun interactive quiz to test your knowledge of how much you know about corn. I took the quiz and on my first try scored a 9,683. No big deal. (*Brushes shoulder off*)


Hannah ZellerHannah Ferguson
Communications Assistant





Harvest has just begun at my house! For our family farm, that means Dad’s in the combine, Hubs is running the grain trucks, Mom’s occasionally helping in the grain cart, and I’m… in the kitchen. I wasn’t raised on a farm – I married into it. I can’t move the trailer, dump the truck, shift the 4455 or herd the calves that are grazing my front lawn while the rest of the family is shelling corn at the field furthest away. But I can give rides… and I can cook!

“Field Meals” are my way of contributing to the harvest effort. As a farm wife who’s got a nine-to-five (or 7:30 to 4:00) in town, I don’t have time to pack the folding table, crock pot, and picnic basket full of gourmet goodies requiring full table service to eat supper. My family likes to “eat with one hand and shift with the other,” as my farmer would tell you! In order to keep up with the fast pace whirlwind of the season, I have developed a strategic game plan to conquer harvest hunger:

  1. Plan ahead.

    I’m a meal planner. I’ve always sat down on Sunday afternoon with my calendar, recipe book and shopping list — Harvest is no different. I have an idea list of main dishes, sides, snacks, drinks and desserts to keep stocked at the house. Drinks are chilling in the fridge, ground beef is browned the night before. That way when I get home from work I already know what’s going in their supper sacks – which leads me to my next tip…

  2. Make it disposable.

    I learned early on that stuff that gets sent out to the field doesn’t often make it back to the house – and if it does, three days later, it’s extra gross and moldy. To save time and sanity (and dishsoap!) I package everything in baggies, plastic sauce cups with lids, tin foil and plastic grocery sacks. The guys get plastic cutlery when required (which isn’t often) and in recent years I’ve invested in those Styrofoam take out boxes which have been a huge help. Once everything is individually wrapped, I do my best to split it out into Dad’s bag and Hub’s bag. I’ll pack a thermal bag with the hot food and a cold cooler with drinks to put together at the last minute in the back of my vehicle.

  3. It must be 1-handed.

    Some farm families I know take the time to sit down and eat in the car with regular dishes and silverware. Not us. This is where you have to know your farmer… As I mentioned before, my husband likes to eat while he drives, therefore it can’t be anything too complicated (no spaghetti, no chilli, no packets of mayo and mustard to put on his own sandwich). He’s running the grain trucks to the bins and can barely keep up with the combine. His dad, on the other hand, doesn’t mind taking a break from combining to sit in the car with me and eat “like a civilized human being.”
    I’ve come up with some pretty creative one-handed meals – some more successful than others. You’ve got your classic, hamburgers & brats, to the more contemporary pigs in blankets, pork chop on the bone, and grilled ham & cheese with a tomato Soup-At-Hand. Fresh fruit is always a win and veggie sticks with dip works out well. Some epic fails include Salad wraps (think: veggies wrapped up in lettuce leaves with dressing inside), go-gurt, and those kid-friendly applesauce pouches. Apparently food packaged in tubes is inappropriate for anyone over the age of 12.

  4. Keep it clean.

    Don’t forget to pack plenty of napkins, paper towels, and something to wipe their hands on before eating. My mother-in-law always sends out a wet rag in a plastic baggie for the guys to wipe their greasy, dirty hands with. (She too has learned the hard way not to send out her good washcloths – they won’t come back). I’ve tried to substitute the cloth for a wet-wipe but they just can’t withstand the rough, farmer, man-hands. Trust me on this one, just send an old sock or chunk of t-shirt.

  5. Don’t forget Dessert.

    This may or may not go noticed by my farmer, but I always try to include a treasure at the bottom of the bag. Whether it’s homemade chocolate chip cookie, a couple Reese’s peanut butter cups, or a cold silver bullet, it’s my way of making him smile as he works late into the evening.

So what’s on my upcoming menu, you ask?

  • Stuffed French Bread sandwiches with carrot and celery sticks, ranch dip, grapes, and a pudding cup. Tea/water/soda
  • Bratwurst on the grill, individual bags of chips, steamed veggies, apple slices, and banana chocolate chip muffins. Tea/water/soda
  • Breakfast sandwiches (fried eggs with bacon and cheese between buttered English muffin halves) Rosemary roasted potatoes & onions, orange slices. Tea/water/soda… chocolate milk?
  • Corn dogs, French fries, fruit cup, steamed veggies, drinks
  • Aaaaaand probably a fast food run to Arby’s or Subway a couple times in between!

If you have any recipes that fit my criteria, I’d love to hear from you.

Ashley Family pic


Deal_AshleyAshley Deal
Membership Administrative Assistant


When it comes to the agriculture world, there are some phrases that we say that are a little different to the general public.
1. It WILL rain on the day you hold an important outdoor event.
1 outdoor event
2. Bad hair day for an important interview
2 bad hair day
3. Car problems right after you get the last problem fixed
3 car problems
4. Missing the store’s sale by one day.
4 coupons
5. Taking someone out to eat to a place they don’t like but they never tell you.
5 dinner
6. That pain that everyone feels when they hit their thumb with a hammer.
6 hammer
7. Traffic.
7 traffic
8. Morning Alarms.
8 chicken wake up
9. Truck commercials that assume I know what the word “torque” means.
9 torque
10. Things that require a battery size that isn’t AA.
10 battery
11. People who point out tiny errors or mistakes that make no real different whatsoever.
11 tractor
12. Sweating sucks… Unless you are Chris Soules!
12 chris
13. If it CAN break, it WILL break.
13 broken

14. WD-40 and duct tape fix everything.
14 duct tape

perryPerry Harlow
Illinois State University Student


Today, some of our staff and board members had the chance to visit the Illinois State Fair for Ag Day.

They spent the day visiting and discussing current ag issues, and even sitting down with Congresswoman Bustos.

8-18-15 Bustos

Illinois Corn Marketing Board Chairman, Lou Lamoreux, discussing Cuba.8-18-15 Lou talking Cuba

Illinois Corn Growers Association Board President, Kenny Hartman, discussing general issues. Kenny on general issues


Gpa working on planterIt is very easy to get caught up in the rat race of life. Don’t be afraid to step off that wheel and set your own pace. That is your best chance a living a happy, successful life. Here are a few ways to live a life that isn’t more complicated than it has to be.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If something works well, but isn’t perfect, don’t Kids looking at chickensstart from scratch. Just try to improve what you already have. You’ll save yourself a lot of time, energy, and stress.

Remember that you are working hard for the next generation. Show them who you are by your actions. They will follow your example; set a good one.

Farmer tending to cattleFind a job that you love and it will never feel like work. If you manage that, no matter how much you make at the end of the day; you’re rich.

Don’t ever stop learning or trying to be your best. Even if you fail, you’ll know what you can improve on for the next time. Challenges build character and will make you a better individual.kid showing cattle

Never stop appreciating the beauty of your life. Not everyone has the chance to spend their day working with their hands and following their dreams. Plus, you get to spend a lot of time with chicks.

Don’t worry about going fast. There is nothing chickwrong with taking it slow. Ask any farm kid and they will tell you that this is the best ride they have ever been on. 

Kids in tractor






nicole yorkNicole York
Southern Illinois University Carbondale