How do you define local food? Maryland farmer Jennifer Schmidt wants consumers to know that even some canned foods could be considered local for many people. Listen to her story in the video.
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.
It 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 start 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.
Find 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.
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.
This past week, most of our staff was in Washington, D.C. for Corn Congress.
Some Illinois farmers as well as farmers from all over the U.S. had the change to “Rally for Rural America” and to advocate on current issues that effect the agriculture industry.
Our staff was able to capture a few great moments!
Congresswoman and veteran Tammy Duckworth delivered a moving and motivating speech at the Rally for Rural America. She reminded these farmers that they are not only fighting for their own families, neighbors, and communities, but also every serviceman and woman protecting our country overseas or laying in a hospital bed right now. American bushels, not foreign barrels.
Even Captain Cornelius was in D.C. to show support. He also took a moment to pose for a picture with a few of our board members.
This post was originally posted on our blog last July and it is still very relevant today!
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are aware that farmers and ag businesses alike have begun to have more conversations with some of our more urban consumers who have questions about the food we are putting on their tables. This is somewhat of a new concept for our industry, but it presents us with an opportunity to speak to a genuinely interested audience about what we do and why we do it. Most (if not all) of the people who work in the agriculture industry are incredibly proud of what they do, so it is no surprise that many farmers seize the opportunity to teach people about the different things that happen on their farm.
One way those interested urban consumers have been able to learn about their food is through the Illinois Farm Families program. This program, which is funded in part by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, allows moms from the Chicago area (Field Moms) to go on various farm tours to experience farming first hand and have a conversation about their food with the people who are actually growing it. Paul Jeschke, the ICMB District 5 director, and his wife Donna have welcomed multiple groups of Field Moms onto their farm for a tour and discussions about the crops they grow on their farm. Watch the video below to get a glimpse of what it is Paul and Donna are doing to help spread the word about agriculture:
If you are interested in learning more about the Illinois Farm Families program, visitwww.watchusgrow.org
When learning about where babies come from, we were all told the famous “Birds and the Bees” story to help understand the complicated truth about how babies are made.
Like other things in nature, corn also has a story about how its “babies” are made. Only this story is much easier to explain and much easier to understand.
Just to clarify, corn’s “babies” are the kernels. In sweet corn, kernels are the part you eat.
Every corn plant has both male and female parts.
The male part is the tassel. The tassel is the part of the plant that emerges from the top. The tassel usually consists of several branches which have many small flowers on them.
The female part is the ear. The ear develops on the corn stalk, in which, can produce several ears but the uppermost ear becomes the largest. Before the female ear has been fertilized by the male tassel, the ear consists of a cob, eggs (that will become kernels after pollination) and silks. From each egg, a silk grows and emerges from the tip of the husk. (The husk is the group of leaves that cover the entire ear.)
(Here is where things start to heat up.)
Each male flower releases a large number of pollen grains, each of which contain the male sex cell.
Pollination occurs when pollen falls on the exposed silks. After pollination, a male sex cell grows down each silk to a single egg and then fertilization starts to take place.
Fertilization is the joining of the male and female corn sex cells.
The fertilized egg develops into a kernel and inside each kernel is a single embryo (corn baby.)
A single ear of corn can produce hundreds of kernels.
That is how corn is made. Now go tell all your friends!
We want consumers to know what is in their food and to understand what it means. But what we don’t want is consumers to fear food based on poor marketing tactics. The safety of GMOs is firmly established by the scientific community and health organizations, therefore people should not fear them.
Chuck Spencer of GROWMARK, was quoted in AgWired yesterday. Spencer says GROWMARK is supporting the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act in the House that would create a uniform national food labeling standard for products made with genetically modified organisms. “We understand that consumers want to know more about their food and we need to be increasingly transparent,” explains Spencer. “The National Organic Standard administered by the USDA is a wonderful example of a voluntary program that is nationally consistent and recognized. We feel it could be put to use in that same framework, that USDA could have a non-GMO standard, and it would be a voluntary framework just like the organic standard.”
1. Family farmers start working at sunrise and don’t stop until well after sunset.Corporate farmers work a 9 to 5 job.
2. Family farmers enjoy a family picnic in the field. Corporate farmers eat lunch with executives and other co-workers.
3. Family farmers work all summer to prepare for harvest. Corporate farmers have the time to take a vacation anywhere they desire.
4. Over half of family farmers have a full-time job and farm as a hobby because it’s their true passion. Corporate farmers make plenty “farming.”
5. Family farmers are interested in the good of the animals and the community. Corporate farmers are interested in money and profits.
6. Family farmers try to put an emphasis on conservation practices. Corporate farmers focus mainly on business practices.
7. Family farmers know that Paul Harvey was correct about why “God Made a Farmer” Corporate farmers believe that it was just a Super Bowl commercial meant to sell trucks.
8. Family farmers know the importance of FFA to allow students to develop “premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.” Corporate farmers only see a group of kids in a blue corduroy jacket.
9. Family farmers are able to diversify themselves with many crops or animals to manage the risk of the prices dropping. Corporate farmers usually deal with only one area of the market.
10. Family farmers live a lifestyle, versus corporate farmers only have a job.
As you can see there is no such thing as a corporate farmer that actually does the farming. There are corporate owned farms, but the farmers actually doing the planting, harvesting, and maintenance are the down-to-earth family farmers. According to the USDA about 93% of farming operations in the United States are family run, leaving only 7% being owned by corporations. How many times have you seen a man in a suit planning corn? If you can’t think of any you probably never have because that would be memorable!