INNOVATION IS GROWING IN THE FIELDS OF ILLINOIS

The Corn Farmers Coalition is an alliance of family corn farmers from across the United States and represents tens of thousands of dues-paying farmers.

The coalition formed in 2008 to educate policy-makers in Washington about how tech-savvy, innovative farmers are growing more corn every year – for food, animal feed, ethanol and exports.

Now in our sixth year, we can’t wait to share a story of increased technological advances, close-knit family farms, and growing more with less.

Hope you enjoy this short video that shares some of our favorite modern accomplishments!

To read more about our efforts this year, click here!

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WOULD YOU PAY YOUR BOSS $6,000 TO WORK FOR ONE WEEK?

dollarsCan you imaging paying your boss around $6,000 for the opportunity to work this week?  Getting no benefits?  No paycheck?  No time off or contribution to your 401K?  That’s what farmers are doing this year …

Corn prices are right now below the cost of production.

It’s one thing to say that, and another to understand what it really means.

First, you have to realize that every farm is a small business and every farmer will opt to run his farm a different way.  Some will own their land, others will rent it, and others will crop share with their landowners.  Some farmers will get rain or drought or disease on their farms and others won’t.  For every farmer and for every farm, the production practices and input costs can vary SIGNIFICANTLY.

Still, understanding that, we can make a few assumptions.  An average cash rent price per acre is $350.  Average production costs per acre are around $500 (this includes fuel, seed, fertilizers, etc).  We can assume that for many farmers, they paid around $850 per acre to put a crop in the ground and get it to grow.

Corn prices today are around $3.50 per bushel.  A reasonable Illinois average is 180 bushels per acre so we can calculate out that a farmer could make $630 per acre if he sold his crop today for cash.

It doesn’t take a mathmetician to figure out that a farmer is losing around $220 per acre on his crop this year.

He is actually paying his farm for the privilege of farming.

Taking that a step further, if an average Illinois farmer is farming 1,500 acres, he’s losing $330,000 this year.  Money that should be going to make payments on tractors and combines.  Money that should be paying for his family’s insurance coverage.  Money that could be buying next year’s seed.

A loss like that puts a gain in previous years in perspective, doesn’t it?  Farmers must save in the good years to cover the bad.  Thus, farmers never really “get rich.”  They just try to make enough to raise their family year after year.

Lindsay MitchellLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Project Coordinator

Posted in Who are Illinois Corn Farmers? | Leave a comment

FIVE FARMS TO VISIT WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS SUMMER!

By my calculations, there are only six weeks left before school start in Illinois.  Make sure you’re fitting in these fun farm family visits before your summer is over!

 

  1. Ropp Cheese Farm

ropp cheese2676 Ropp Road
Normal, IL 61761
For more information call: (309) 452-3641
http://www.roppcheese.com/contact.html

They won 6 first place, blue ribbons at the Illinois State Fair Dairy and Cheese Competition. Visit their store and try for yourself their prize winning cheeses!

  1. Heartland Lodge

heartland lodgeRR 1 Box 8A
Nebo, IL 62355
For more information call: (800) 717-4868
http://www.heartlandlodge.com/

“This Illinois bed and breakfast & resort has become a national and international attraction, stealing the hearts of guests from across the globe.”

  1. Richardson Farm

richardson farm9407 Richardson Road
Spring Grove, IL 60081
For more information call: (815) 675-9729 http://www.richardsonadventurefarm.com

Home of the largest corn maze in the world with 5 separate maze games winding through 33 acres of live corn!!!

4. Eckert’s Orchards

eckerts20995 Eckert Orchard Rd
Grafton, IL 62037
For more information call: (618) 786-3445
-OR-
951 S. Green Mount Road
Belleville, IL 62220
For more information call: (618) 233-0513
http://www.eckerts.com/

Enjoy fresh tree-ripened Peaches at either The Country Store in Belleville or The Grafton Country Store.

  1. Fair Oaks Farms

fairoaks856 N 600 E
Fair Oaks, IN 47943
For more information call: (219) 394-2025
http://fofarms.com/

Explore the dairy industry by going on The Dairy Adventure or the swine industry by attending The Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms.

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ALWAYS ADVOCATING FOR FARMERS

grant and Rodney Davis

IL Corn just returned from Washington, DC where we got to meet with all of our Illinois delegation. Our priorities in Congress right now are protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard, advocating for a User Fee which will speed up new lock and dam delivery, and preventing EPA overreach as they attempt to regulate all the waters in the U.S.

Here, Grant Noland talks to Congressman Rodney Davis, thanking him for his support on our issues.

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HSUS CAMPAIGN RETURNS NEGATIVE 78 PERCENT

It’s been quite a while since we’ve checked in with our friends at HumaneWatch.org.  These are the folks who are holding the Humane Society of the U.S. accountable for their actions – and their actions are largely fundraising for “helping animals” and then using that money to renovate the homes of their execs or lobby to prevent farmers from raising livestock.

This story is a doozy.  The summary?  A recent fundraising campaign spent around $407,000 to raise around $229,000 for helping animals.  That means that other money raised at a different time to help animals actually had to help pay for the campaign.  Is this for real?

HSUS_money_drainRead the story for yourself …

The Humane Society of the United States has gotten poor marks from charity watchdogs for its use of donor money, and one recent telemarketing campaign shows why. In a final accounting filed by HSUS telemarketing firm Donor Care Center, a fundraising campaign that raised over $200,000 from people who thought they were helping animals had a net return of negative 78 percent over the past year.

According to filings with the North Carolina Secretary of State, DCC raised $229,325 but incurred expenses of $407,774—meaning the HSUS telemarketing campaign, which ran from March 2013 to March 2014, had a net loss of $178,449. In other words, every single penny raised in this campaign to “help animals” went into the pockets of a telemarketing company. Not only that, but other money that could have been used to help animals had to cover the expenses of the campaign.

According to the DCC script, potential donors would be told that “It is our best estimate that The HSUS will receive at least 50% of the funds raised on this campaign.” 50 percent? Not even close.

And according to the script, the campaign was designed to get donors to send letters to their friends encouraging them to donate to HSUS. Ironically, this campaign is called “Friends Helping Animals Now”—but would their money help animals “now,” or simply fund more telemarketing calls?

According to CharityWatch, HSUS spends up to 45 percent of its budget on overhead. The animal-rights newspaper Animal People has put it even higher, at 55 percent. Either way, it’s fair to say that if you’re a donor to HSUS, a lot of your money that could be “saving animals”—as you’re promised—is simply padding bank accounts.

But hey, the owners of telemarketing companies are animals, too. Won’t you help them buy a bigger house? That’s what HSUS is doing.

For even more fun, don’t forget to register to win your vacation to the Cayman Islands with Humane Watch!

HW_survey_header_v2

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FUN WAYS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT AGRICULTURE

Whether you are a homeschooling mom or just interested in teaching your kids SOMETHING over the summer, here are a few great ways to think about teaching agriculture to your kids!

father & sonANSWER THE BIG QUESTIONS

Who? What? When? Where? How? WHY?  There are some really incredible agriculture facts that you can share with your kids. But do they really mean anything if they’re unable to relate to it? Kids may asking “Well what does this have to do with me?” You can answer. “Quite a lot!” Farmers grow crops and livestock all across the country to feed their families, your families, our country, and even the world. And that’s just the start!

DIG DEEPER

So you’ve shared some fun and interesting facts, you’ve answered the “big questions”, and now…. You can tie it all together. Agriculture is so much more than farming! From transportation to accounting, agricultural engineers to food processing, veterinarians to research scientists. Dig deeper with your students to find out how agriculture affects other industries, and how other industries can affect agriculture. The Tassel to Table Activity  from Illinois Corn is just one way to show how agriculture is much more than farming.

GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY

That’s right! There are all kinds of hands on activities, that you and your kids can do to learn more about agriculture. This is a fun way to further explain topics, get the kids involved, and it can often double as snack time.

TAKE A TRIP

Verbal lessons and hands on activities can be fun, but seeing agriculture first hand is almost unbeatable. This could be as simple as taking a virtual farm tour , or maybe you could talk to a local farmer. If you’re up for an adventure you could even check out Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, IN.

WHAT ABOUT ME

Your kids will have learned so much about agriculture and its importance. Encourage them to take what they’ve learned and tell other people! If you’re a teacher, encourage them to tell their families at home. If you’re a parent doing these things at home, encourage your kids to tell their friends, their teachers, and other family members.  Even after your lesson is over, make connections from everyday life to agriculture. They’re everywhere! As kids grow older and begin to think about careers, remind them that agriculture has careers for everyone!

HAPPY (AG)EDUCATING!

Abby Marten
2014 IL Corn Summer Ag Education Inter

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LEARN MORE ABOUT ILLINOIS FARMERS AT THE CORN CRIB

An evening or afternoon at the Corn Crib can be a fun family activity. Bring your family- old and young out to see the Normal CornBelters presented by Illinois corn farmers. Manager Brooks Carey has an exciting team evidenced by the CornBelters having the most players to play in the Frontier League All-Star Game this week.

Carey was asked by Phil Warren, the manager of the Gateway Grizzlies and the coach of the West Division All-Star team, to join the coaching staff for the All-Star Game.

The Cornbelters have seven players in the All-Star Game, and they are: Cullen Babin, Santaigo Chirino, Aaron Dudley, Sam Judah, Alan Oaks, Mike Schwartz and Tyler Shover

If you have not checked out a CornBelters game in a while we invite you to com out, it’s a lot of fun, and you can teach your family about the Illinois farmers– a vital part of our community. Check out NormalBaseball.com for information on buying tickets to the games.

1. Open Your Horizons about Corn

Did you know the Illinois Corn Growers Association maintains a high profile in the legislative arena in Springfield, Ill. and Washington, DC? Some of Illinois Corn’s efforts include distribution of educational materials such as the Captain Cornelius comic books, grocery store and service station promotions, educational exhibits at state and county fair, working with the media on issues like ethanol.

corn hop scotch

2. Meet a Farmer

Your food does not just magically appear at the grocery store, and that corn-on-the cob– a staple at family barbecues in the summer is no exception. There is a farmer behind that cob of corn. Of course, we all know that corn you eat on the cob isn’t the same corn that goes into ethanol and livestock feed. Either way, there is a farm family attached to that farmer. They live in our community and support our community, and they attend Normal CornBelters baseball games, just like you do. They know you care about how your food is raised because they are families who care about the same food they grow and eat themselves.  To find out more you can check out: http://www.watchusgrow.org and get answer to your questions.

3. There are other farmers besides Corn Farmers: Find out more about locally grown beef or pork.

The Normal CornBelters hold Beef Night and Pork Night. Drop by the Corn Crib and meet a livestock farmer. Did you know that livestock animals are the biggest users (via their feed) of corn in the country?

4. Get Your Kids Involved

The Normal CornBelters have a mascot to get the kids involved. Corny is an ear of corn (he is a little bit hard of hearing because he’s only one ear– yuck yuck, ok that was corny). Corny would love to attend your upcoming event including birthday parties, classroom visits and various community events.

Also along those lines, the CornBelters players are also available for events throughout the year.  Dates are filling up so be sure to book your CornBelters appearances today. You would be surprised at how affordable it is and how much it can liven up your events.

For more information: http://www.normalbaseball.com/community/appearance-request

5. How Illinois Farmers Affect Our Lives – From http://www.agr.state.il.us/about/agfacts.html

What agricultural goods are produced in Illinois?

Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine. The state’s climate and varied soil types enable farmers to grow and raise many other agricultural commodities, including cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Illinois also produces several specialty crops, such as buckwheat, horseradish, ostriches, fish and Christmas trees.

What are the characteristics of a typical Illinois farm?

Illinois’ 76,000 farms cover more than 28 million acres — nearly 80 percent of the state’s total land area. The large number of farms, coupled with the diversity of commodities produced, makes it difficult to describe a typical operation. However, statistics provide some indication about what it means to farm in Illinois.

The average size of an Illinois farm including hobby farms is 368 acres. Most farm acreage is devoted to grain, mainly corn and soybeans. Nearly 10 percent of Illinois farms have swine. Beef cows are found on about 23 percent of farms, while about 3 percent have dairy cows. Some farms produce specialty crops and livestock, including alfalfa, canola, nursery products, emus and fish. Many farming operations also support recreational activities such as hunting and fishing.

How does agriculture benefit Illinois’ economy?

Marketing of Illinois’ agricultural commodities generates more than $9 billion annually. Corn accounts for nearly 40 percent of that total. Marketing of soybeans contributes about one-third, with the combined marketings of livestock, dairy and poultry generating about 23 percent.

Billions more dollars flow into the state’s economy from ag-related industries, such as farm machinery manufacturing, agricultural real estate, and production and sale of value-added food products. Rural Illinois benefits principally from agricultural production, while agricultural processing and manufacturing strengthen urban economies.

Mike Rains

Community Public Relations Manager, Normal CornBelters

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