Ahhh, fall is finally in the air! It’s the perfect time to grab the family and find a nice pumpkin farm or somewhere to pick some apples. Don’t forget the pumpkin spice lattes and a nice warm sweater. Forget about harvest you can finish that field tomorrow! – Said no farm family EVER!

For those of you who grew up on a farm you will know exactly what I am talking about. Growing up in a farm family, like anything else, has its pros and cons but it definitely a unique experience to say the least! Hopefully this will give the “non-farmers” a little bit of insight to what it is really like.


  1. rain“Sure, we can go…. As long as it rains”

Farm kids know this one all too well. Planning family activities, attendance at Saturday tournaments, or RSVPing to a wedding invitation is next to impossible during planting and harvest seasons. If the sun is out and the sky is clear (enough) that combine or planter is moving then plans are out the window!


  1. mealsDinner is never eaten at the same time or place.

Just like the equipment, when a farmer is in the field he needs fuel to keep on keepin’ on. Some of my favorite childhood memories are taking Grandpa and the crew supper and eating it in the tractor or on a tailgate.


  1. staticThe Farmer 5

For some unexplained reason it seems every farm family grew up with the “farmer 5” TV channels. I guess what more explanation do you need than… it’s free! And besides, who needs to watch TV when there are animals to be fed and work to be done!


  1. DriveYou get your unofficial driver’s license at age 10

I hope most of you have the song “Drive” by Alan Jackson? If not look it up, I promise it is worth it. Driving for the first time at a young age (under parents supervision of course) is typically very common in rural America. As a farm kid, you can drive more than a car by then and do it on your own. By the time you get to your driver’s education course when you turn 15, you can drive an automatic, a stick, a tractor, a forklift, and more!


  1. KidsPersonal Playground

Having a farm right in your backyard makes you the hot spot for all of your friends to come over and play. You know what you can and cannot touch. You also know all the fun hidden places to play in the barn. There almost always some cute baby barn cats to pet as well! When you have this much possibility for adventure, who needs cable anyways!

Despite the constantly, undetermined schedule and the hefty amount of chores to be done the farm life is pretty sweet.  Farm families work together to live the life they love and provide for others, while still trying to lead a “normal” life. This profession is typically handed down from generation to generation so working together with your children is very important. I have not encountered many who have said they would have wanted it any other way!

Happy Harvest Farm Families!

courtney millerCourtney Miller
Illinois State University student


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While September is often associated with the end of the summer, back-to-school shopping, and football, it’s also National Chicken Month in the U.S. That’s right; for more than 20 years, thanks to the National Chicken Council, there really has been a full month devoted to one of the most versatile and affordable sources of protein!

Even though summer is coming to a close, it’s never too late to fire up the grill.  This is one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes.  It is great served with a side of pasta, garden salad and white wine!

caprese-grilled-chicken.Caprese Grilled Chicken


¾ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup water
1 tsp minced onion
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp minced garlic

Balsamic Glaze:
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
¼ cup basil, chopped


Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, water, onion, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a bowl, and pour into a gallon Ziploc bag. Add the chicken breasts, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator 30 minutes to overnight.

Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until vinegar has reduced by half.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Brush grill grates lightly with oil and pre-heat grill to medium-high heat.

Remove chicken from marinade and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer chicken to preheated grill and cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts, anywhere from 10-20 minutes.)

Top each chicken breast with one slice of fresh mozzarella and a slice of tomato.  Sprinkle chopped, fresh basil over chicken and then drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Becky FinfrockBecky Finfrock
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant

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farm quotes

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It’s the middle of September.

School has been in session for a couple of weeks now and that energy you had to wake up early and get going … well, it’s gone.

Now your mornings consist of waking up on the edge of “barely enough time” and “we’re going to be late.”  The kids run around trying to pack lunches and book bags and you’re applying make-up in the car as you wait for the school bus.

There’s no time for breakfast.  But your family still needs something healthy to get them going and keep them full until lunch.  Enter, “the better breakfast.”

I define “the better breakfast” as something that is healthy, contains protein, is made ahead of time and can be portable.  And these recipes all qualify.  WOW!

makeaheadomeletsBREAKFAST OMELETS

Make them ahead of time and throw them in the freezer for a healthy breakfast fast.  I like to add salsa and some spicy cheese to mine!






Add any fruit you want and think about freezing in a paper cup if you want portable AND disposable.  I also add a little maple syrup to mine so that the kids like it more.



oatmeal barsOATMEAL BARS

I happen to like these with some extra cinnamon and some dried apples … I just love apples and it’s hard to make apples portable (I have to cut mine and hate just biting off the core!) without ending up eating a brown apple.  Anyway, a great recipe no matter what variety you love most.

breakfast burritos 3BREAKFAST BURRITOS

These are our ultimate favorite.  I leave the salsa off here though because we find that it can make the tortilla a little soggy.  Play around with it!  They are super easy!



Spend a Sunday afternoon prepping each of these and you’ll end up with healthy breakfast options all month!  Have fun!

mitchell_lindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Project Coordinator

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Ok, quick show of hands … how many of our readers didn’t know what a “farm elevator” was?

There’s a lot more farmer terms where these came from if you look for us on YouTube!

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Whether it be in the car, at home, or (much to my roommate’s dismay) in the middle of the grocery store, I’m pretty much always down to jam out to some music. So while rocking out to some of the greatest hits, I figured I’d share my top ten greatest hits about farming.

Old McDonald
This song is a classic and a great example of how farm life works. Here a “moo.” There a “moo.” Everywhere a “moo, moo.” It really shows the farmer as many of us see him, working with his cattle.

Peterson Bros. – I’m Farming and I Grow It
This is just a farm parody of “I’m Sexy and I know it” by pop/ techno duo LMFAO. I really like this because it shows farmers hard at work but also having fun and loving what they’re doing.

Rodney Atkins- Farmer’s Daughter
While there’s always a possibility of finding that special someone while working on the farm, this song also shows the hard work put into farming and how rewarding it can be.

Kenny Chesney- She Thinks my Tractor’s Sexy
Being a farmer’s wife or girlfriend isn’t easy. Farmers work long hours and sometimes it’s hard to get in a date night. So sometimes you have to opt for date night on the tractor. Plus who doesn’t love a good ride on the tractor?

Farm Girls- The Real Deal
Some people think that farm girls are just pretty things for people to look at. Fun fact: Farm girls love to get dirt under their nails and work just as hard as everyone else.

Peterson Bros. – All I do is Farm
I like this one because it really talks about farm families and how farmers love talking about what they do. And while this one is also laugh out loud funny, it really hits home the fact that farmers are willing to answer any questions you have

Luke Bryan- Rain is a Good Thing

Rain really does make the farm life go ‘round. Plus who doesn’t love the rain? Crops grow, you can splash in mud puddles, and watching the storm can make for some great romance.

Florida Georgia Line- Dirt

Land is everything to farmers, conserving and utilizing it. So when they “build a 10% down white picket fence on this dirt” they’re also building a home. That “dirt” is everything to them and this song really shows the passion and love they have for what they do.

Jason Aldean- Amarillo Sky

This song really shows the life of the farmer. Hard work, family and determination help keep farmers doing what they love. Farming isn’t always a walk in the park but their passion drives them to just take the tractor another round, and pull the plow across the ground.

Alan Jackson- Where I Come From

While farming isn’t always glamorous, once you’re a part of the farm life, a part of you will always want to go back. Farming ingrains a lifestyle that really follows you everywhere you go.

Ellie 152Ellie Seitzinger
Illinois State University

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lowerpricedgasThis new website,, will help you find the cheapest E85 prices in your area.  Check it out!


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