FIGHTING AIR POLLUTION WITH ETHANOL

In just one day, you will breathe in over 3,000 gallons of air. You know there are a few things your lungs are taking in like oxygen and nitrogen. But have you ever considered the dangerous pollutants that force themselves into your lungs from the vehicles we drive?

May is Clean Air Month, shedding light on the air pollution issues that threaten U.S. communities and how you can help improve our air quality. But at the American Lung Association in Illinois, every month is Clean Air Month. We have been working with the Illinois Corn Growers Association/Illinois Corn Marketing Board for years to eliminate toxic air pollutants coming from the nation’s leading cause of outdoor air pollution: vehicles.

kenny wallaceOur work together helps gas stations convert their pumps from regular gasoline to E85 (15% gasoline, 85% ethanol) and other ethanol blends. This conversion helps bring ethanol blends into areas across Illinois heavily affected by air pollution issues. Recent research by Argonne National Laboratory showed a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions when using E85 compared with regular gasoline, and corn-based ethanol is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 31%. A pump conversion project currently under development will eliminate over 760 tons of carbon dioxide being released into the air annually.

By providing cleaner-burning alternative fuel choices to consumers, we can all work together to improve air quality and lung health, and support local farmers too! If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you’re equipped to pump E85 into your car, and if you drive a vehicle Cleanairchoicelogo.alaINilthat is model year 2001 or newer you can run it on E15. By simply selecting a different fuel, you can help to make sure that less pollutants go into the 3,000 breaths you take every day.

To find an E85 station near you or to see if your vehicle is Flex Fuel please visit www.CleanAirChoice.org.

JordanJordan Goebig
American Lung Association of Illinois

 

TILING OFFERS QUICK RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Many farmers have been putting in tile this spring – check out this oldie, but goodie post and learn more about tiling!

Two years ago when the a 42 inch natural gas pipeline was installed running across some of my acreage, I had no idea I had a problem. In fact, I watched and watched that field hoping not to notice even a hint of standing water. And I didn’t for a while.

But you may remember that we’ve had three pretty wet seasons – last spring the crop was very late getting into the ground because of rain and we were even later getting it out of the ground because of rain. This year, the past couple of weeks have been filled with one downpour after another.

All that rain revealed a tiling problem. And since the rain still isn’t showing any signs of stopping, I’ve been two years trying to get it fixed. Finally, this month I was able to secure both the tiling company AND a dry enough day to get it done.

We didn’t figure this out until nearly the end of the process, but here is the problem. When the natural gas pipeline was installed, this section of older clay tile was broken and was not reconnected to the tiling system in this field.

So we started in to fix it, essentially digging a trench that would hold the tile to drain water from the field. Next to fertilizer, tiling a field is one of the most profitable things you can do and will quickly earn you complete return on your investment. In fact, the absence of this particular section of tile yielded me two complete acres of drowned crops, five acres that were two wet to apply fertilizer, and reduced yield on about twenty acres surrounding it all because of excess moisture.

We are installing five inch, black plastic tile because it is quicker and cheaper. The alternative is the clay tile that you saw in the picture above and it must be hand placed in the ground as opposed to the black plastic tile that comes on a large roll and just flows right into the trench that we dug. The tile is about three feet deep, and most tiles are set between 75 and 90 feet apart parallel throughout a field depending on soil type.

In the end, this is what I have. I lost a sixteen foot swath of emerging corn through my field that I won’t be able to replace. Typically, farmers don’t tile in the middle of the growing season and disrupt their crops, but the losses I’ve sustained over the past two years made the timing this year necessary.

Bring on the rain!

former ICGA Board member
current NCGA Board member

SALAD MONTH: AVOCADO TOMATO SALAD

Summer is quickly approaching, which means the fresh produce at the grocery store is about to start looking a lot better! There is nothing like a fresh salad during the summer months, but sometimes it’s nice to switch things up from your typical lettuce salads. This is a recipe that uses some of my favorite summertime veggies: avocados and tomatoes!

avocadotomatosalad

Avocado Tomato Salad: 

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 large ripe beefsteak tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Rosie Sanderson
ICGA/ICMB Membership Administrative Assistant

 

WHAT’S THE YELLOW GAS CAP MEAN?

fuel cap

If your gas cap is yellow like this one, you can fill up with any blend of ethanol you like! E85 (85 percent ethanol) is usually cheaper than regular gasoline so it’s a great option if you’re looking to save money immediately at the pump. For a great balance of saving money and preserving fuel economy, consider a flex fuel pump and E30.

Find a flex fuel pump near you and try out different blends to see what works best for your driving habits. Save money! Save the environment! Save local jobs! Buy ethanol blends!

CORNBELTERS OPENING NIGHT, FRIDAY MARCH 16

There is a lot going on at the Corn Crib and around town surrounding the Normal CornBelters presented by Illinois Corn Growers. There are a lot of new additions in the stadium and to the players’ roster this season.

There are many promotional nights scheduled and we’ll have fireworks nights every Friday night! Check out all of our great promotions HERE.

Play BallThis week we’ve been playing exhibition games and the 2014 CornBelters baseball season gets underway on Friday, March 16 at the Corn Crib in Normal, Ill. The Corn Crib and the CornBelters are entering their fifth anniversary season in Normal. The CornBelters will take on the Evansville Otters at 7 p.m. in the opener of what promises to be an exciting season.

Our manager Brooks Carey has really been excited about all the new players we have added to this team. We have lots of players here with experience playing in affiliated baseball at the Double A and Triple A levels. He says this is by far one of the best and most experienced teams we have had on the field in all his years of coaching.

One of the things I enjoy doing is meeting people when I take Corny, our mascot, out into the community. We recently went to Saybrook, IL for their annual balloon flyaway. It’s great to get out in front of the smaller surrounding communities to show and teach them about the CornBelters.

We are really looking forward to the DuPont-Pioneer Summer Concert Series this year, starting with Gary Allen June 20 and later this summer Tim McGraw on September 12.

It is our mission to be the number one summer sports entertainment choice in Illinois. We strive each year to achieve this by building trust with our fans and partners, providing professional baseball, superb customer service and a fun and affordable experience every time they come to the ballpark.

Over the past our seasons, we have come a long way by consistently keeping this statement in mind. This season we look forward to continuing to build upon the relationships we’ve built with our fans and partners.

Brooks Carey has built a team will be competitive in the Frontier League and we will once again provide outstanding customer service; focusing on fun and affordability.

Hopefully you have your tickets for the home opener this Friday night and the home stand already but if not there are still some available. They start at only $6 each! Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office, or by phone at (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours. They can also be purchased online anytime by visiting http://www.normalbasball.com.

This will be my first season with the CornBelters and I am excited to get the games started. I hope to meet any of you and if you have an idea for a partnership I’d love to talk to you, come on up and introduce yourself.

See you at The Corn Crib this summer!

mike rainsMike Rains
CornBelters

 

SALAD MONTH: POTATO SALAD

potatoesMay is Salad Month and while potato salad is generally more of a side dish, I think it deserves some recognition as well!  It’s basically a mixture of cold cooked potatoes, chopped and mixed with a dressing and seasonings.  Very versatile, you can make it to anyone’s liking… unless they don’t like potatoes at all, and then you may have a problem.  Actually, THEY may have the problem, because who doesn’t like potatoes??

If you’ve never made a potato salad before, I’d suggest starting off with the classic variety: boil, peel and cube 2 pounds russet potatoes; toss with 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix 2 cups mayonnaise, 2 chopped scallions, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard and vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt. Toss with the potatoes.

Once you have that mastered, mix it up!  Substitute red potatoes for russet, pickle juice for vinegar, onions for celery… whatever your taste buds prefer, try it out.  In fact, I don’t ever use a recipe when making potato salad.  I’m always experimenting with it.  I start with the basics and let my creative juices flow, letting my mood determine what the end result will be.  These concoctions are some of my favorites:

Bacon-Ranch
Mix 2/3 cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup ranch dressing, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 chopped scallions, 3 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon, 1 teaspoon sugar, and salt and pepper. Toss with 2 pounds boiled, cubed red potatoes.

Chipotle Ranch
Make Bacon-Ranch Potato Salad. Add 2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce (or use chipotle ranch instead of regular ranch dressing) and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

Avocado-Shrimp
Blend 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mixed parsley and basil, 1 scallion, 1 teaspoon sugar, and some lemon juice and salt. Toss with 2 pounds boiled, halved fingerlings. Top with halved cooked shrimp and diced avocado.

Pico De Gallo
Toss 2 pounds boiled, cubed Yukon golds, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 3 cups fresh salsa and salt to taste.

Ham and Cheese
Mix 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons mustard, 8 ounces cubed ham, 6 ounces shredded cheddar, 1/2 cup each diced red onion and pickles, and 2 tablespoons chopped pickled green chiles. Toss with 2 pounds boiled, cubed Yukon golds.

Grilled
Boil 2 pounds sliced russets 5 minutes. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary. Grill the potatoes, 1/2 lemon and 1 sliced red onion. Chop the potatoes and onion; toss with olive oil, parsley, salt, and juice from the grilled lemon.

Comment and let me know what your favorite version of potato salad is, I’d love to try out new varieties!

Becky FinfrockBecky Finfrock
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant

SALAD MONTH: MEXICAN SALAD

May is Salad Month! And why not – with all those spring barbeques and Memorial day cookouts to go to?

Every Monday in May we’re featuring a different salad that just might be the next hit for your family gathering.  Don’t forget to tune in!

MEXICAN SALAD – to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  Why not?

mexican salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb hamburger – browned & drained
  • 1 pack taco seasoning – added to meat
  • 1 head lettuce – chopped
  • 2 tomatoes – diced
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 large can black olives – drained
  • 1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large bottle Western dressing
  • 1 bag regular Doritos – smashed

Directions:

Mix all ingredients except Doritos.

Add Doritos right before serving.

mitchell_lindsayLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director