dreams dont work unless you do

I enjoyed this blog post about good, old fashioned hard work and the value in that.  It inspired this image.  Do yourself a favor and go check it out.

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old corn pickerFarm Machinery has changed drastically over the past 60 years. It’s hard to believe that my grandma, Janice Dittus, not great-grandma, not great-great-grandma….grandma remembers as a child in the 1940’s picking corn by hand and throwing the corn into the wagon that was pulled by horses, taking the wagon to the corn crib at home when the corn would be combineshelled in the summer. In the 1950’s our family was fortunate enough to use a picker that would harvest the corn two rows at a time. Her grandpa had a combine in the 1960’s with no cab and she specifically remembers the dust flying back into her face. Before moving to Illinois, she lived and farmed in Platte Center, Nebraska – she was a true Nebraska Cornhusker.

The picker was shortly advanced to a more efficient machine, the combine. So, what about the combine? What exactly is with that large machine we see going through the fields?

8230 combine labeled

  • A new Case IH 8230 combine in 2014 costs on average $450,000. A used 2013 Case IH 8230 costs around $240,000.
  • It takes approximately 9,000 part numbers to build a combine
  • The cab comes equipped with AM/FM radio, heat/air, a buddy seat for a passenger (some even have a cooler under the buddy seat to store food/drinks), an option for heated leather seats
  • Bin extensions are added to the top of an older combine to hold more corn/beans/wheat; combines made in the past couple years come with an added bin extension from the factory
  • On average, a Case IH 2588 combine can hold ~180 bushels (~225 bushels with a bin extension); a Case IH 8230 combine can hold about 225 bushels
  • A combine can typically harvest 1.6 bushels of corn per second. Ryan Lepp, combine specialist with Case IH projects this number going higher as corn yields reach above 300 bu/ac and the combines grow in capacity
  • Auto Steer allows the combine to drive itself through the field by communicating with satellite signals to know where it is in the field and where it needs to be
  • Precision Planting can be installed in combines to take the data from when the field was planted to see where hybrids were changed and how they performed
  • On average, it takes 12 seconds for the combine to cut, feed, thresh, separate, clean and transfer the corn to the grain tank

I am proud to work for a Case IH dealership, Central Illinois Ag, where I am able to work alongside and support the American Farmer. As Ryan Lepp, Case IH combine specialist, says, “Case IH is leading the way in crop harvesting innovations and celebrating good old American ingenuity.”

abby coersAbby Coers
Marketing Coordinator
Central Illinois Ag

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Pop Quiz!!

Did you feel the butterflies in your stomach?  The feeling of nervousness in your muscles, the adrenaline running in your veins?  Did you start to sweat or shake?

The good thing is, the answers are all right here!  No need to be nervous.  Take our quiz and find out how much you know about Illinois corn and then leave a comment with what you scored!

corn quiz

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As a college student at a major Illinois University, I often get a second look when I tell people I’m a farm kid.  I don’t wear overalls.  And I think that city kids just don’t expect a farmer to be in college.

When I think about it, farmers are actually quite a few people, all wrapped up into one.

1. Farmers are weather men.

rainbow over farmThe weather is very important to farmers because this tells farmers how their year will be and how this will affect the farm itself. Whether it’s the hot or cold, snow or rain, farmers always must be prepared for whatever comes their way. Everybody knows that if you want to know the real forecast, just ask a farmer. Weather is their livelihood, and if they are not weathermen, they will not be too successful as a farmer.

2. Farmers are political activists.

JFK Quote about farmingPolitics is extremely important to a farmer. Spreading the word about the right candidate through the agricultural community is a big part of being a farmer. Campaigning and donating to candidates running for office is also huge for a farmer. Whether it is food policy, agricultural coalition, or farm laws, a farmer must do his best to get the right person in office, or their family may find themselves in a tough situation.

3. Farmers are business professionals.

farmers and technologyMany people do not look at farmers this way, but farmers run small businesses. From day-to-day tasks like job delegation, to the burdens of input versus output for the year, a farmer is well acquainted with is banker, his calculator, and his accountant.  His family, his employees, and every person that consumes food depends on it. Farmers need to be up to date on market prices and know when to make key business decisions to best suit the future.

4. Farmers are veterinarians.

farmer and cowsAnimal well-being is something every farmer needs to know. Farmers cannot plan when an animal will get sick or when an animal will give birth, so being a veterinarian in addition to a farmer is crucial. A farmer must know how and what to vaccinate certain animals with. A farmer also must know the best environment for their animal to thrive. A farmer must be aware on what is the healthiest and most nutritious for their animals, because animals are their income.

5. Farmers are mechanics.

farmer fixing tireEvery farmer knows about the trouble that equipment gives just before harvest or just before planting, but everyone else thinks farmers can just take their equipment to the shop. Farmers do not have the luxury when it is crunch time to get crops harvested or get crops planted, to just drop off their tractors and combines at the shop. Farmers  must know the ends and outs of their equipment and get problems fixed as soon as possible. If farmers were not supposed to be mechanics, farmers would have no use for their own shop, filled with wrenches, grease guns, buckets of miscellaneous metal, and a billion cans of either green or red spray paint.

6. Last but not least farmers are family.

farm familyWhether it mother/father, sister/brother, or grandma/grandpa, farmers never grow weary of their first purpose – being a farm family.  Farmers farm to put food on the table. Farmers never have a day off and are still around for every waking family moment. Not only do they go out of their way to be with family, they want their family with them all the time.

Garret Ess

Garret Ess
Illinois State University

Posted in Who are Illinois Corn Farmers? | 4 Comments


semi dumping corn

A few miles away from the IL Corn home office, this is happening today.  Farmers are bring their corn to Yuton Elevator, where the elevator has had to increase their amount of ground storage just to try to hold it all.

corn corn corn

Right now, Yuton has 2.3 million bushels of ground storage for the corn coming out of the field.  They have storage that is still not full, as you can see in the above photo, but our farmers are reporting that they are only about 50% finished getting their corn harvested.

corn pile with men

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.

Posted in Field Updates, Friday Farm Photo | 1 Comment


Kristie Swenson, a farmer from Trimont, Minnesota, tells us about the benefits of GMO foods and the use of biotechnology on the farm. Kristie not only helps her husband on their family farm, she also has a full-time job off the farm. Click here to find out more about Kristie.

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As was reported in today’s edition of The Pantagraph, the daily newspaper in Bloomington, IL, a traveler from Clinton, IL, spotted two Illinois corn farmers featured in a lighted display ad at the airport in Rome, Italy. You can find the original article here. (Scroll down to find the appropriate part of the article.)

Just how in the world did that happen?

Well, it started with an ad campaign placed by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board at O’Hare International Airport. The idea was to give travelers just a bit of information regarding the important role corn farmers play in the Illinois economy. To find out more, interested readers are directed to the Illinois Farm Families website,

The image is attractive. The message is not controversial. It references a not-for-profit run website.

Basically, it was the perfect choice for the company that sells ad space in airports. They had an open slot. They needed something in it. They chose the IL Corn ad.

That’s how John and Sue Adams, of Atlanta, IL, became messengers of a positive corn message in Rome.

Who’da thunk?

Here’s a picture of the ad in O’Hare. It was placed in areas travelled heavily by those going to and from Washington, DC, in the hopes of influencing those “influential people” who speak to our elected officials.

Ohare Ad, Illinois corn farmers, john and sue adams

Braid Terry_Tricia  mugshotTricia Braid
ICGA/ICMB Communications Director

Posted in Education | Tagged | 1 Comment