You have to love Illinois weather.  It was 50 degrees last week then barely made it out of the teens. In the last week, we’ve seen sun, snow, extreme wind, cold, and later this week perhaps lightning and thunderstorms?

Of course it was only 5 months ago that we recorded record heat in the state.  Makes you stop and wonder–if it is hard on people being outside in both extremes–what does it mean for livestock?

In the latest Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Ag Mag– LIVESTOCK–we address the issues of how Illinois Farmers take care of their animals.   Bob Ebbesmeyer, DVM discusses on the front page how farmers work to keep their animals clean, dry and comfortable.  This is followed up with farmers who specialize in raising beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, chickens and horses.   There is a common theme that we saw interviewing all of these farmers.  It isn’t rocket science, but they all care deeply about their animals.  The animals are more than their livelihood.  The care that farmers we feature in our Ag Mag is typical of those farmers across the state. 

In addition to housing and physical care for animals, our new Ag Mag also features the care that goes into animal nutrition.  We worked with Tom Deters of Effingham-Clay FS Total Livestock Services to talk about Animal Nutrition. 

What he shared amazes teachers that we work with.  They are shocked to find out how animal diets and rations are properly balanced, designed to provide the optimum diet for each animal.   Animal nutrition is a key to growth and good health, providing healthier, safer food for grocery shoppers, as well as promoting health, safety and well-being of animals. 

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board is a sponsor of our latest Ag Mag, now available in print.  It will be available on our website as an interactive on-line resource shortly.  We are proud of our collaboration with Illinois Corn, and our teacher audience learns more about the feed produced by Illinois corn farmers.   One thing teachers realize is that even if a farmer doesn’t have livestock–they are an important part of the food system for the livestock.  

Thanks to Illinois Corn Farmers for not only producing the great product that you do—but for also helping educate teachers and students about what your Corn does!

Kevin Daugherty
Education Director
Illinois Ag in the Classroom


Next week, the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board will meet in Metropolis, IL where visiting the Olmstead Lock and Dam is convenient.  The Olmstead Lock was designed to replace one lock of many along the Illinois, Mississippi, and Ohio River systems that are broken down and in need of repair.  But years of work and millions of dollars later, the Olmstead Lock still isn’t operational and what work has been done is already in need of repair before the lock has even been used!  Does this interest you?  Read on …

In October, President Barack Obama said “We’ve lost our ambition, our imagination and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country.”

Throughout our nation’s history, our country has never lacked willingness to unleash its vast potential, but rather seems to have lost its willpower to bolster the foundations that made us who we are in the world, chief among them our nation’s transportation infrastructure. And the locks and dams on our nation’s rivers, many of the most important of which are in the Upper Mississippi River Basin, are critically important for creating jobs and expanding exports.

It took from 1933 to 1937 to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction on the Hoover Dam began in 1930, and the last concrete was poured in 1935, at a cost of $49 million. But today, lock and dam projects costs have soared out of control. For example, Olmsted Locks and Dam on the Ohio River was initially estimated to cost $775 million but now has ballooned to more than $2.1 billion. This additional cost is passed on to all consumers from food to electricity to oil prices.

Some of the oldest locks and dams on the inland system are in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Age deterioration, inefficient federal infrastructure funding and more than $400 million in backlogged critical maintenance are pushing that part of the waterways system toward catastrophe.

The US’s rivers and its infrastructure serve as an important partner to its industry, as the state’s steel, ore, coal, chemicals and aggregate materials are transported on the rivers to their destination within the state, throughout the United States and abroad for export. Its rivers also provide other benefits such as stable pools of water behind the dams that offer drinking water, irrigation and vast recreation opportunities.

The state’s and nation’s agricultural sector — the only sector of the U.S. economy that consistently posts a positive trade balance — simply could not compete and sell its products worldwide if not for the presence of the waterways that allow more than 60 percent of grain products to be transported to export ports in the most competitive way.

And we can’t discount the other commodities that move on the waterways: 20 percent of the coal that is used to power our nation’s electricity (much of it from Pennsylvania coal mines) and 22 percent of our petroleum products. Moving these products on the waterways keep prices low for consumers and the other modes, like rail and truck, competitive.

This is no more important than today in tough economic conditions. But these commodities and the shippers who grow and produce them are in danger of losing their competitive edge unless we give needed focus on and proper funding for the lock and dam infrastructure that allows their transport.

In this country, with unemployment stubbornly holding steady at 9 percent and the number even higher in the construction industry, jobs are another commodity that we cannot afford not to invest in.

Building locks and dams on the waterways system will create and sustain American, family-wage jobs in Pennsylvania. There is a road map for modernizing our lock and dam system, growing our exports, keeping the positive balance of trade in the agriculture industry and adding jobs to the U.S. economy known as the Inland Waterways Capital Development Plan or CDP.

The CDP is a consensus-based plan developed by the navigation industry and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The idea is to nationally prioritize navigation projects through objective criteria such as economic benefit and project condition; efficiently fund and complete 25 navigation projects in 20 years versus just six projects under the current broken model; better utilize taxpayer dollars and complete projects by American workers on time and on budget; seek standardization and design centers of expertise; and enable exports to increase.

Jim Tarmann, Illinois Corn membership Jim Tarmann
ICGA/ICMB Field Services Director


Sometimes, they are debating the merit of proposed farm policy and whether or not their organization should support such policy!

Illinois, farmers, debate, discuss, policy, issues, meeting

farmer, Illinois, meetings, debate, discussion, policy

Kent Kleinschmidt, Emden (top), and Jeff Scates, Shawneetown (bottom), are both in St. Louis today at the National Corn Growers Association Policy and Priority meeting.  They are among the hundreds of other farmer leaders from other states who are reviewing potential ideas on farm policy and determining whether or not each is a good idea.

Sounds daunting!


On July 28, 2010 in the small town of Mt. Carroll, IL, fourteen year old Wyatt Whitebread and nineteen year old Alex Pacas were killed working in a grain bin.  Out of this tragedy and the efforts of family members to bring awareness to the dangers of working in and around stored grain, the Grain Handling Safety Coalition (GHSC) was born.

The coalition includes ag associations like Illinois Corn, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, and others as well as Universities, family members, private citizens, and government agencies.  Together, they plan to develop curriculum and train volunteers to reach into communities and educate farmers, fire departments, rescue teams and others on grain bin safety.

Illinois Corn is excited about this project and appreciates the chance to educate farmers and rural communities about these issues.  As an example, Illinois Corn’s home office is in Bloomington, IL right in the middle of McLean County which is largest corn producing county in the U.S.  Still, Bloomington is somewhat of a urban area with local rescue teams and fire departments potentially having no education on how to save someone trapped in a grain bin.  This project has the potential to save lives due to swift and educated action when an accident occurs.

GHSC’s mission is to prevent and reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities across the grain industry spectrum through safety education, prevention and outreach.

We look forward to aiding in that mission.

Phil Thornton
ICGA/ICMB Value Enhanced Project Director


If you have an interest in politics (given that you have an interest in agriculture since you’re reading an IL Corn blog), you might be interested in how the candidates for President scored concerning agricultural issues like Farm Policy, Ethanol Policy and Trade.

Primary election for president 2012Lucky for you, IL Corn has just posted an election guide on  Initially, this will just be a guide to the Illinois Primaries and later, a guide to the actual election.  We anticipate being able to help Illinois farmers decide who would best represent them in the offices of President and Congressman for the state.

Click here to find out more.Primary elections for President 2012




Are you tired of playing the same board games with your kids?  How many times can one adult really hear “Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!” without losing their mind?  And if this is a normal saying around your house; “Moooooom, I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”  Well, I think it might be time to break out something new to occupy the kids this winter.  Why not try out some fun corn art!   

Edible Corn Flour Paint


2 cups of corn flour
1 cup of cold water
4.5 cups of boiling water
Liquid food coloring


Mix the corn flour and cold water together.

Pour in the boiling water one cup at a time, stirring between each one.  Keep stirring until it turns into a custardy consistency.  

Then separate the mixture into different jars/boxes before adding your colors.

Refrigerate after using and it will keep for a few days.

Check out the Corny Recipes section of IL Corn’s website for more fun ideas!


The question has been posed to the IL Corn office and farmer leaders on more than one occasion…”Why is it a good idea to get involved in a NASCAR sponsorship?”

Fair question.  The answer may seem obvious if you’re one of NASCAR’s more than 80 million fans in this country. Or maybe you’re a fan, but you’re not really sure of the answer, either.

It’s a pretty simple answer. NASCAR delivers an audience unlike any other.

NASCAR fans are more likely than any other sports fans to support sponsor messages.

NASCAR fans are more likely to purchase the products that are responsible for their sport’s sponsorship.

NASCAR fans are more likely to influence their friends to do the same thing.

The bottom line to this story is the Start/Finish line at a NASCAR race. It’s all about the fans.

Take a look at this chart. Not only do NASCAR fans deliver on their promise to support race sponsors, but the sport itself generates media coverage that can’t be bought.

In the case of ethanol, NASCAR was responsible for a huge portion of the news coverage that included ethanol, much more than what the ethanol industry or corn farmer organizations could have generated themselves.

2011 brought E15 to NASCAR race cars and trucks. 2012 will bring it to a gas pump near you. And for the NASCAR fan, they’ll be chomping at the bit to fuel up with the same high-performance fuel that their favorite driver uses.

Tricia Braid
ICGA/ICMB Communications Director


It’s trivia day here in the U.S. and to celebrate, brush up on your corn trivia!

  • American family farmers produce 20 percent more corn per acre than any other country in the world.
  • 95% of all corn farms in America are family owned.
  • The largest corn yields in history all occurred in the last eight years.  Consequently, eight of the largest crops in history also occurred over the last eight years.
  • Researchers estimate that a national average of 300 bushels per acre is aIllinois, farm, field, farmer, country, sceniccheivable by 2030.  The 2010 national average was 153.
  • Less than 1 percent of the country’s corn crop is sweet corn – the kind we eat frozen, from a can, or fresh off the cob.
  • An acre of corn removes 8 tons of harmful greenhouse gas, more than that produced by your car annually.
  • America’s corn farmers have cut soil erosion 44 percent by using innovative conservation tillage methods.
  • America’s corn farmers grow 87% more corn per ounce of fertilizer applied thanks to innovative farming practices.
  • Only about 11% of corn acreage was irrigated in 2010.
  • Illinois’ number one market for corn is exporting it to other countries.
  • The number one U.S. market for corn is livestock.
  • Agriculture helps feed our economy with nearly $100 billion in exports and over 24 million jobs here at home.
  • Agricultural productivity has increased 200 percent from 1948 to 1994, with no increase in overall inputs.
  • The value of the corn in a standard box of corn flakes is approximately 5 cents.



Although we’re sad to see the Christmas season go, that only means one thing – BASEBALL SEASON IS AROUND THE CORNER! That’s right – before you know it, the Normal CornBelters will be back in action at the Corn Crib! Here’s a quick list of what to look for in 2012:


  • SUNDAY: Frontier Family Funday featuring the Frontier Family Four Pack – four hot dogs, four sodas, and four Box seats for just $40! Some Sundays will feature post-game autographs by the players and coaches, while fans are invited to play catch on the field before the game on other Sundays.
  • MONDAY: Illinois Corn Growers Association Night – Half-priced tickets for those presenting an Illinois Corn Growers Association membership card!
  • TUESDAY: Rosati’s of Normal Reading Program Night – kids who meet reading goals are rewarded with free tickets to Tuesday night games! It’s also “Two for Tuesdays” – two hot dogs and two sodas for the price of one! Post-game kids can run the bases!
  • WEDNESDAY: Dog Day Wednesdays – Bring your furry friends to the ballpark and enjoy $1 hot dogs too! The best dog trick will win $100!
  • THURSDAY: Thirst Quenching Thursdays – Select $1 draft beers and $1 Beer Nuts Peanuts and Bar Mix!
  • FRIDAY: CEFCU Fantastic Fridays – Various performances including Dave the Horn Guy (May 25), Anna Jack (June 15), America’s Best Frisbee Dogs (July 20), and a few fireworks shows too!
  • SATURDAY: State Farm Super Saturdays will include phenomenal in-game entertainment by Reggy the Purple Party Dude!

Cornbelters, Illinois, Normal Baseball, Illinois Corn, farmersOther special nights include Cancer Survivors Night presented by Community Cancer Center (May 27), Ag Week presented by Illinois Corn Farmers (June 11-16), Hometown Heroes Night with a special jersey auction benefiting Special Olympics (July 21), 80’s Tribute Night (July 23), Armed Forces Tribute Night (August 22), and Cram the Crib/Fan Appreciation Night (September 2).

Game times have changed just slightly, with Monday-Saturday games beginning at 6:30pm and Sunday games beginning at 5pm.

Last, but certainly not least, the Corn Crib will be home to the 2012 Frontier League All-Star Game, presented by State Farm, and the State Farm Home Run Derby. The All-Star Autograph Session and the State Farm Home Run Derby will be Tuesday, July 10. The night will also feature Reggy the Purple Party Dude, post-game fireworks, and a mascot kickball game. The Frontier League All-Star Game presented by State Farm will be Wednesday, July 11 and will feature Reggy the Purple Party Dude and a phenomenal post-game fireworks show!

Stay tuned to for upcoming information about concerts at the Corn Crib!

We wish you and yours a happy & healthy 2012! We look forward to seeing you at the Corn Crib!

Ashlynne Solvie

Public/Media Relations Manager for Normal CornBelters