Using genetically modified organisms allows farmers to use less pesticides than they use on non-GMO crops.

For more fun facts like this, you’ll definitely want to check us out on our Instagram account!

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It’s almost time for the Super Bowl and these little appetizers might make the perfect dish for your party – featuring some corn tortillas and your favorite pork or beef mini weenies!


Photo: Greg Dupree; Styling: Claire Spollen

Cheesy Sausage Roll-Ups

(originally posted here)


2 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded Mexican-blend cheese
8 cocktail sausages
8 thin jalapeño slices

What to Do

Preheat oven to 375°. Wrap tortillas in slightly dampened paper towels; microwave at HIGH for 20 seconds. Coat warm tortillas on both sides with cooking spray; cut each into 5 strips. Divide cheese evenly among 8 of the strips (discard remaining 2 strips). Roll up 1 sausage in each strip. Place a thin jalapeño slice on top, and secure with a toothpick. Arrange roll-ups on a baking sheet; bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until golden.

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Are you concerned about antibiotic residue showing up in your meat at the grocery store?

Fear not! Dr. Jeff Bender, University of Minnesota, explains why consumers need not worry about the food they buy in this Best Food Facts video.

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This silly blog of ours has been around for six years this month.

On my end, that’s six years of monthly blog calendars.  Six years of coming up with fun topics that non-farmers might enjoy.  Six years of editing and proofreading and photographing agriculture.

are farmers richIt’s also six years of helping non-farmers understand agriculture a little bit better.

That might include facts and data, like this popular post on how much farmers might make in a year.


Or maybe it’s more about who farmers are as people and what sorts of ideals and value systems they have.


We’ve been pretty successful sharing information about the business of farming …

growing up in a farm familyFARMING FOR DUMMIES: CASH RENT VS. CROP SHARE

And about the joys and sorrows of farm life.


We’ve even tried to help you understand your food and food labeling,


food labels you shouldn't pay forWhile helping you teach your kids more about farming, food and agriculture.


No matter what you’ve gotten out of it, I hope you can safely say that you have learned at least one thing from this blog over the course of six years!

Stick around – there’s lots more learning, fun, and investigation of our industry coming up!

Mitchell_LindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Manager

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crop insurance info

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We know non-farmers have a lot of questions about pesticides.  They are confusing and scary and the fear and concern you might have completely makes sense.

This mom went to out to talk to other moms about pesticides and how she uses them on her own fields.  If you’re nervous about pesticides in food, you’ll definitely want to watch this one.

And then you’ll want to find out more about food, farming, and feeding your family.

Check out this article specifically on pesticides, or visit Common Ground to learn more about a host of other food issues.

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Farmers understand that non-farmers have questions about GMOs.

You’ve heard scary things.  You don’t understand what a genetically modified organism is.  you might even believe that farmers are forced to plant GM seeds!

This perspective from a farmer (found on GMO Answers) is a great one.  Read on to better understand why Brian Scott, a farmer from IN, plants genetically modified crops.

On our farm we used GMO crops for two reasons:

  •  We use Bt traits in our corn to control below ground pests that like to eat corn roots, and to protect the plant above ground as well.
  • The second reason is to expand the range of tools available to us for weed control via herbicide tolerance traits.

Allow me to explain further.

GMO seedsWith Bt corn traits our crop is protected from infestations of particular corn pests. These pests must munch on a corn plant to be affected. One great benefit of this technology is that if an economically damaging level of corn rootworm or earworm comes along our crop will be protected.

We won’t have to come in during the growing season to make a blanket pesticide treatment across the entire field. This means a sprayer is kept out of the field — meaning it didn’t need fuel to power the sprayer or water to carry the chemical. Fewer passes across a field also mean less soil compaction in the wheel tracks. And don’t forget I didn’t buy any chemical or pay an application fee to a custom sprayer. Because Bt targets specific pests, we are not spraying insecticide on the beneficial insects in our fields.

Lately we haven’t had a great deal of corn pest pressure so we’ve been backing off on buying Bt traits to save money. We do still use seed treatments to ward off pests and disease early in the season. We stopped using soil applied insecticide in 2012, and that has been working out well for us so far. I attribute cutting that out of our management program to the success of Bt crops and weather patterns keeping the pest population below economic levels. This is working in our favor right now as corn prices are about half of what they were two years ago.

Herbicide tolerance is a great tool. There are several different traits on the market, but right now we are only using RoundUp Ready technology. All of our soybeans are Roundup Ready (RR). Some of our corn is RR and some is not.

For 2015, about half of our corn crop is non-GMO. Why? Because the facility we sell waxy corn to wants all non-GMO for the 2015 crop. Growing waxy is just like growing regular dent corn, but we get a $.55/bu premium. We grow popcorn too, and since there is no GMO popcorn it also is not RR. That being said, we generally do not spray any Roundup, also known as glyphosate, on our corn crop even on the RR acres. We rely on it for weed control in our soybeans, but we like to rotate to different modes of action to manage weeds in corn. Not relying solely on RoundUp in both crops is one way we can stave off herbicide resistance forming in our fields.

Corn has more and better chemical weed control options than non-GMO soybeans do. RoundUp works really well for us in soybeans. Marestail can be a little tough in our beans sometimes, but that’s why we spray something else when we rotate to corn every other year. Yes, the marestail is resistant to glyphosate these days. There are other herbicide tolerant traits in soybeans like Liberty Link and Enlist is coming soon. So the tools available to kill weeds in soybeans are expanding, and that is a good thing.

Before RR soybeans came along we used to till the soil multiple times before the planter even put seed in the ground. Now we till one time or even zero times because we manage our weeds very effectively with RoundUp and sometimes we use a burndown before planting with residual activity that will capture newly emerging weeds early in the growing season before we make a post-emergent glyphosate application.  Reducing our tillage passes greatly reduces our need for fuel. Tillage is our most fuel intensive operation on the farm. Reducing tillage also improves our soil structure which has a number of benefits including improved water infiltration and retention and reduced erosion.

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