FRIDAY FARM PHOTO: A REAL CHICK MAGNET

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Haha! Happy Friday!

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A LITTLE FARM POETRY …

Farming is not a job that just anyone can do
In fact it’s a job that is done by few

About 2% of people claim farming as their occupation
But 2.2 million farms is a good foundation

FAMILY PETSThere’s always work to be done; rain or shine
Oh, you need a nap? There is no time!

Throwing hay bales in the summer’s heat
Or doing chores in the rain, snow, or sleet

Manual labor isn’t always fun
But farmers do what they have to, to get the job done

Mechanics and farmers go hand-in-hand
Because farming is unpredictable and doesn’t always go as planned

Hogs, cattle, chickens, goats, and sheep
It’s never quiet on the farm; there’s always a peep

sunset plantingWhen do farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall?
They rely on Mother Nature to help make that call

An acre is about the size of a football field
The more you produce, the better the yield

Corn is grown in every state in the United States
That’s a fun fact to remember when it’s on your plate

Alfalfa is the oldest plant known that is used for livestock feed
A nutritious choice that is a supply in need

Farming could not improve without science
Together they have quite the alliance

Illinois farmers, farmKeeping equipment and genetics up to speed
Technology helps the farming industry succeed

National Poetry month happens to be April
Enjoy reading this farm poem around the kitchen table

Ali Seys
Illinois State University Student

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25 WAYS TO BE MORE INVOLVED WITH YOUR FOOD

Everybody needs food to survive so why not learn more about where your food comes from and experiment with making some things at home!

1. Talk to your local butcher.

Ask them if they prefer grass or grain fed beef. You could even ask what their favorite cut of meat is and how they prepare it.

farmers markets2. Head to farmers’ markets.

This is a great way to get fresh produce and interact with area farmers.

3. Contact a farmer association in your state.

Some examples of these associations would be farm bureau, extension offices, commodity groups, etc. You could ask about meeting a local farmer or tour a local farm.

4. Investigate nutrition labels on the USDA website.

This is an easy way to figure out what is really in your food and decipher some of those words you may not understand.

5. Start buying fresh fruits and veggies whenever possible.

The fresher the better!

6. If you have the space, raise your own chickens.

Typical hens lay daily, making a reliable source for eggs.

herbs7. Grow herbs inside during the winter.

Basil, chives, cilantro, and parsley are commonly used herbs. Being able to get them from your own kitchen instead of the store is a much more convenient way to boost the flavor of some dishes.

8. Make your own butter.

Who doesn’t love butter? Making your own at home would be a great way to teach your kids about everything that we get from cows: butter, yogurt, ice cream, milk, etc.

9. Bake your own bread.

There is nothing better than warm, fresh-baked bread coming out of the oven. You could even spread some of your homemade butter on it as toast!

10. Make your own peanut butter.

Peanut butter is surprisingly easy to make, by making your own you know exactly what you are eating. If you eat enough of it, it would definitely be worth your while in terms of money.

11. Start gardening to grow your own vegetables.

Green beans, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, and tomatoes are all common vegetables to garden. If you don’t have a yard big enough for a traditional garden tomatoes can be grown on the patio!

12. Can your own pickles.

You can make some of your own pickles with cucumbers out of the garden. Most stores sell pre-packaged mixes so don’t worry if you don’t have any recipes.

13. Make your own salsa.

If there is something that you don’t like about restaurant or store bought salsa this gives you the opportunity to make it exactly how you and your family like it!

14. Order less takeout.

Takeout usually has more sodium and fat than home-cooked meals. Try making your own fried rice or pizza.

15. If you have a new baby make your own baby food.

Not only is it healthier and fresher, but it can also be easily tailored to what your baby likes.

16. Invite your kids to cook with you.

Kids can help you wash produce, stir the pot, season the food, and even help you taste test. Getting them cooking gets them interested in food and may make them more adventurous eaters.

apple orchard17. Go pick apples, pumpkins, peaches, berries, etc. at a local orchard when they’re in season.

This is a great way to get your whole family outside and spend some quality time together!

18. Make your own applesauce.

Kids love applesauce and by making it at home you can control how much sugar goes into it.

19. Make some homemade grape juice.

Grape juice is the beverage of choice for most kids and if they can help make it they will be even more excited to drink it.

20. Check out nutrition.gov.

This page has a lot of helpful information about nutrition, meal planning, and food assistance programs.

21. Learn about different kinds of sugars.

Not all sugars are the same, some sugars work better in certain recipes.

22. Research the My Plate Program with your kids.

Teaching your kids about healthy eating can help reduce the risk of childhood obesity.

23. Pop your own popcorn instead of buying it in the grocery store.

Popcorn that you pop yourself tastes 100 times better than the microwaveable bags…well unless you burn it!

sausage24. Make your own sausage.

My family does this every year and it is a blast! It can also be scaled down to fit individual needs.

25. Research GMOs from reliable sources such as http://watchusgrow.com/.

GMOs are a huge controversy in today’s society, by educating yourself you will be able to sort fact from fiction.

 

Jessica Probst

Jessica Probst
Missouri State University Student

 

 

 

 

 

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SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS IN MY MEAT AND MILK?

AntibioticFreeMeatCould there be antibiotics in this meat? What about this gallon of milk? These may be questions that run through your mind frequently while shopping at your grocery store. If you want to know the answer, the person to ask is your local farmer.

Let’s look at this one step at a time.

Why do farmers use antibiotics?

Just like when your children get sick, farmers want to keep their animals healthy. The first step for your children and for animals is very similar, farmers call the Veterinarian just like you would call the Doctor. Antibiotics are quite expensive for animals, so they are only used when necessary not as a preventive measure.  Farmers claim their animals as family, if they don’t take good care of their animals, then the animals won’t produce and the farmer will lose their profit.

Meat

The USDA requires all beef, pork, poultry or milk headed for grocery store shelves or restaurants be tested and inspected by the Food Safety Inspection Service to guarantee no antibiotic residues are in the meat. Farmers follow firm withdrawal policies for animals that were given antibiotics. This means that there is a certain amount of days after being treated with antibiotics before the animal can be harvested. When a farmer has been given the prescription from the Veterinarian, he follows the instructions just like you do at home. The farmer keeps records of when the animal was treated and keeps track of any symptoms the animal may still have.

Milk

Dairy cows have a different challenge than beef cows, when a dairy cow is treated with antibiotics it is expelled through her milk. Dairy farmers have to keep very good records of when a cow was treated. When a milk cow is treated most producers put colored ankle bands on the cow to ensure that they remember that she has been treated.

Once a treated cow comes into the parlor to be milked, a dump milk bucket is hooked up so that her milk will be completely separate from the milk that will be sold. Her milk all goes into the bucket and once she is finished milking, the milker unit is sanitized thoroughly. The bucket full of milk is then disposed of so that it doesn’t contaminate any other milk. The dump bucket is then sanitized so that it is clean.

After the antibiotics have left the cows system, the farmer takes a milk sample and has it tested to make sure that she has no antibiotics left in her system. When the milk truck comes to a farm to pick up their milk, they also take a sample to make sure no antibiotics are present.

antibiotic milk

As it turns out humans and their pets use TEN times more antibiotics than the Nation’s livestock. Farmers wouldn’t want to eat meat or drink milk with antibiotics in them, so they won’t sell antibiotic treated products to you!

jessica tJessica Telgmann
University of Illinois student

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FRIDAY FARM PHOTO: SPRING CALVING HAS BEGUN!

first calves 2015

 

Spring calving started earlier that usual on this farm in northern Illinois! -10 degree temps and these three cows decided to go into labor. All three mamma’s and babies are happy and healthy; a good start to spring calving season!

Photo Credit: Sanderson Ag

 

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QUESTIONS FROM A CITY GIRL

Greetings from a Chicago city girl! I’m a 20-year-old college girl from a suburb north of the great city of Chicago. Which probably makes you wonder what is this girl doing writing a blog post for Il Corn. Well I am here in the hopes of getting some help from you! I have always lived in a city atmosphere and that’s why I need your help. I love food and animals but I want to do more than just love it, I want to understand what goes into the food I eat and how it’s made! So here are my questions for you!

#1.  What do the animals eat?

Are there certain types of foods you feed different types of animals?  How many times a day do you have to feed the animals. I obviously understand that not all animals eat the same thing, but are there similarities or ways that you can go about incorporating the food one animal eats to others to save?

baby-lamb-chick-duck-cute-animal-pictures-pics

#2. Can you give more background to GMO’s?

I know GMO’s are genetically modified organisms, but I don’t really have background information on them and I believe other people have this same question. I know this is a common topic throughout the farming communities around the world and I have never gotten involved because I don’t have enough information.

#3. How did you get into farming?

I know this may be an obvious question but is this something that you just decided to do or was it a family tradition. Is farming the only occupation you have or do you just farm for fun?

farm pic

#4. What crops go with each season?

I am always wondering what fruits and vegetables go which each season. Is there a specific reason certain crops go with certain seasons and why? What happens if the weather isn’t in the favor for that season, will there be issues for your farm?

#5.  How do you manage pests and diseases on your farm?

It must be hard trying to control everything on a farm. One cannot control the weather or Mother Nature and that can be a problem when it comes to animals and plants. How do you manage to keep things under control and how do you handle problems with your animals catching diseases and plants and crops being infected with pests.

Hope you can answer some of my questions! Thanking you in advance.

nikkiNicole Faber
Illinois State University Student

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8 QUOTES THAT CELEBRATE AGRICULTURE!

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”do what you can with what you have where you are

I believe that this quote applies to all of life and not just to agriculture but it really speaks to those who have to work on a farm day in and day out. Growing up on an animal farm and growing popcorn my family has never been well off. As some of you may know that animals drain your wallet and most of the time do not fill it back up. I am also one of eight children, so my parents’ main goal was to provide their kids with what they not and not what they want. My farm is not the ideal farm to live on. We have old machinery, broken fences, and not enough land. My family works harder than anyone I know and we are very close. We do not have nice things or everything that we need but we make do. I feel that this has brought my family closer, just because we do what we can with what we have and we enjoy it. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I love who I am because of it!

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”agriculture is our wisest pursuit

Thomas Jefferson knew what he was saying about agriculture when he presented this quote. Do you every see a grumpy farmer? No, you always see them chatting with everyone about their job because they love it and not just because of the money. Yes farmers may be doing pretty well today but that is not the only reason they keep farming. They do it for you and everyone else in the world. They know that if we didn’t have farmers we would not have three meals a day. When Jefferson said this he didn’t mean real wealth, as in money, he meant that it will bring you the wealth of pride in your industry because you are doing something fulfilling.

“Farming is not just a job, it’s a way of life.”

Many people today believe that farmers just farm because they chose that as a profession. In many cases that is not true, some farmers have other jobs but they farm because they know that that is the only way that we will be able to feed the world in the future. To put in into perspective, when you go to work you work from 8am to 5pm and then you go home and take the night off. Well a farmer does not have a day off, If you are a farmer “you punch in at 5, and never punch out.” They never leave the farm or take a break because there is always something to do and people to feed.

“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds.”I believe in the future of agriculture with a faith born not of words but of deeds

This quote from E.M. Tiffany was written with a purpose, and that purpose was to encourage FFA members to keep believing in what the future holds for them. To me, it holds a special place in my heart. Not only because of my love for the FFA organization, but also because of how much it encourages me to stand up for what I believe in and to also keep sharing my passion of agriculture. I have learned that agriculture is the largest industry in the world but if you are not willing to work for it, it will fall. My dad also told me “you have to work hard for what you want.” I have lived by his words for many years. My family farm lives by this quote every day, as my dad pushes us to work every day on the farm, whether its cleaning out the barns, picking corn, or even just mowing the grass, all of those things play into the agriculture industry.

“It’s not about how bad you want it….it’s about how hard you are willing to work for it.”Its not about how badly you want it ...

Living on a regular farm or even just a hobby farm is never easy. No everything will go your way, especially the weather. You can’t just sit in the house and wish you had the perfect field or the perfect yield, you have to go out into the field and work with it. My dad always told me, “you get out of it what you put into it.” If you are not willing to put the time and money into your crop, when fall comes around and it’s time to harvest, you are not going to have the bumper crop that you wished for. Farmers work harder than anybody I know because they take pride in the land that they have and the people that they are going to feed from their bushels of corn or soybeans.

“Some of us grew up playing with tractors, the lucky ones still do”some of us grew up playing with tractors

This is one of my favorite agriculture quotes because it is true to anyone who grew up playing farm and still farms. I grew up with an older brother, so those of you who have an older brother know what that’s like. I never got to play with babies or Barbie’s, I was always playing farm with him. We would play farm everywhere, in the sandbox, on our living room floor, in the barn, and on our cement pad. We had more farm toys than you could imagine. As I got older farming got more exciting because I didn’t have to play with the fake farm toys anymore, I was able to drive the real things. I would be the one driving the tractor down the field, as my dad and brother picked the corn or I would be the one driving the truck hauling whatever out to my dad. It was way more exciting than just driving little toys around on the living room floor. If you grew up playing with farm toys, then it was inevitable that you still play with tractors, and tucks just at a larger scale

“To most people, this is just dirt. To a farmer, it is potential.”to a farmer, it is potential

Agriculture is more than dirt, plows, and tractors. Agriculture is the largest industry in the world and employs the majority of the workers in the United States. Where I’m from the soil is what keeps my family alive. We not only grow popcorn, but produce, which we eat and sell. Most people just think that fields are just “dirt,” which isn’t even the right term. Do you know the difference between dirt and soil? Soil is what farmers grow their crops in, dirt is what you sweep up off your kitchen floor. There are many uses for soil in growing the crops that produce your food. Soil provides the nutrients, holds the water that keep the cops alive, provide aeration for the cops, and provides that minerals that the cops need to grow. When my dad looks across his field of soil, he dreams about what he can do to make his crop bigger and more profitable for the next year. Many farmers look at it this way too. The soil in the fields is what makes the crops prosperous or not, so the next time you look at a field think about the potential that it might hold for the next year.

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven….a time to be born & a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.”

Agriculture is all wrapped up in the quote. Living on a farm you know that not everything happens all at once. My family farm has baby piglets born in the winter, we planted our gardens and popcorn fields in the spring, we harvest our garden throughout the summer, and we harvest our popcorn in the fall. When you live on a farm you realize that there is a time and a place for everything, and during every season there is something different going on.

See more photos like these on our Instagram account!

Mallory Blunier mallory
Illinois State University student

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