Well, much more than one week later, but we finally have some new leadership positions and appointments to report from the Illinois Congressional Delegation.  A big congratulations goes out to the following members of the Illinois delegation on their new committee appointments and leadership positions.

Bobby Rush (IL-1): House Energy & Commerce Committee
Jesse Jackson, Jr (IL-2): House Appropriations Committee
Dan Lipinski (IL-3): House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
Luis Gutierrez (IL-4): House Committee on Financial Services
Mike Quigley (IL-5): House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Peter Roskam (IL-6): House Ways and Means Committee
Danny Davis (IL-7): House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Joe Walsh (IL-8): House Small Business Committee – Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access Subcommittee Chair, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Jan Schakowsky (IL-9): House Energy & Commerce Committee
Robert Dold (IL-10): House Committee on Financial Services
Adam Kinzinger (IL-11): House Energy & Commerce Committee
Jerry Costello (IL -12): House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
Judy Biggert (IL-13): House Committee on Financial Services – Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee Chair
Randy Hultgren (IL-14): House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, House Agriculture Committee
Tim Johnson (IL-15): House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, House Agriculture Committee – Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Ag Subcommittee Chair
Don Manzullo (IL-16): House Committee on Financial Services
Bobby Schilling (IL-17): House Agriculture Committee
Aaron Schock (IL-18): House Ways and Means Committee
John Shimkus (IL-19): House Energy & Commerce Committee – Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chair

Richard Durbin: Senate Appropriations Committee
Mark Kirk: Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Illinois Corn Growers Association leadership will travel to Washington, DC in mid-March to meet some of the newest members of the delegation and continue our friendship with the rest.  We’re looking forward to it!


One day every year we allow the fate of our weather for the upcoming months to be determined by the fears of a woodland rodent.  People’s reliance on this fuzzy creature’s prediction dates back to the 1840s.  Even with advanced weather technology to warn us of upcoming blizzards days in advance, thousands still come to see Punxsutawney Phil each year. Weather plays an important role in both agriculture and the environment.  

As a little girl I dreamed of one day standing in front of a weather map telling the world what to expect.  However, as I grew older I began to develop an interest for learning about the interaction between humans and the environment.  Coming from a suburban background, my education never included the effects that an altered environment would have on agriculture.  

Now, as an agricultural and environmental communications student at the University of Illinois, I’ve come to learn that the environment and agriculture are not two separate issues.  Instead, they are revolve in an endless cycle.  Last week I sat in a lecture and learned about climate change and how it can affect agriculture.  Agriculture faces long term challenges from heat stress, water stress, pests and diseases.  If carbon dioxide concentrations continue to double, the North American climate average is estimated to warm by 5 to 11 degrees Farenheit.  This might not seem like such a drastic change but that would make Illinois’ climate similar to that of Mississippi.  

Learning about the current issues agriculture and the environment face is important if we want conditions to remain the same.  Although I was never able to deliver the weather to thousands of viewers or give Punxsutawney Phil’s annual report, I was able to expand my knowledge and learn how agriculture is part of everyone’s daily lives.  

Hope you are staying warm today, despite the nasty conditions out there today!  Be safe!

Ashley LaVela
University of Illinois student