US EPA APPROVES E15 FOR MOST CARS!

“The Environmental Protection Agency announced that E15 — consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline — is safe for engines in cars, light trucks and sport-utility vehicles from model years 2001 through 2006.”

This is a exciting day for corn growers and ethanol manufacturers alike!  Today, our photo is a nighttime shot of Adkins Energy, LLC in Lena, IL which we can see here is beautiful as well as good for the environment and great for national security.  Corn-based ethanol is truly a win-win product.

Read more about the EPA’s recent E15 decisions:

EPA APPROVES E15 FOR 2007 MODEL YEAR CARS AND NEWER 
USEPA LABEL CAUSES UNNECESSARY FEAR
ETHANOL BY-PRODUCT: GREAT FOR LIVESTOCK

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI RECIPE

Brrrr … 70 percent of our nation  has seen snow this month!  I can’t think of a better time to celebrate National Soup Month with some warm and toasty, hearty soups.  Join us on Thursdays in January for more recipes! 

Today’s fact: Did you know that soup originated as the first “fast food”?  In ancient Greece, it was sold on the street using lentils, beans and peas as the chief ingredients. 

Today’s tip: For an easy treat when making stews, take a stack of tortillas and cut into long thin pieces.  Add to the stew during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  Corn tortillas are lower in fat that flour tortillas.

Today’s recipe: White Chicken Chili

soup chili chicken

This is a soup that works well both on the stovetop or in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours.  A very hearty meal that will warm you up AND fill you up!     

Ingredients:

2 TBLS Vegetable Oil
6 6oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into bite size chunks
Salt and Pepper
1 medium yellow or white onion
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 TBLS ground coriander
2 TBLS ground cumin
1 cup of mild or hot tomatillo, green salsa
4 cups of chicken stock or broth
2 cans (15 oz) cannellini or Great Northern white beans
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
Juice of one lime
Shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
White Rice (optional)
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat medium soup pot over medium-high heat with the vegetable oil.
2. Add the chicken to the hot oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Cook 2 or 3 minutes, stirring frequently. 
4. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, coriander and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. 
5. Continue to stir. 
6. Add the tomatillo salsa, Tabasco sauce and the chicken stock. 
7. Bring the chili up to a simmer and add half of the beans. 
8. With a fork, thoroughly mash the other half and then add to the chili.  This will help thicken the chili. 
9. Add rice for added thickness if desired. 
10. Simmer the chili for 10 minutes, remove from heat and add the cilantro, parsley and lime juice. 

Becky Finfrock
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant

If you missed them:
Spicy Corn Chowder
Zuppa Toscana

IF YOU NEED A FEW NEW BLOGS TO CHECK OUT …

What a fun project!  Consider sending Ryan a postcard!

An interesting take on humane horse slaughter by HumaneWatch. 

Mike Rowe was a featured speaker at this month’s American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Atlanta.  Spend a few minutes checking out his website, Mike Rowe Works.

And this new blog seems interesting with a great new post on EPA regulating dust!

PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL AVOID EXCESSIVE, INCONSISTENT AND REDUNDANT REGULATION

Do you need to see it to believe it?  

The Wall Street Journal published an article in the opinion pages from President Obama that said he intends to focus on rules that “stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.”  According to the Journal, he also suggests that future regulations must do their job while promoting economic growth. 

Surely he’s talking about reigning in the EPA that is trying to cost farmers a collective bundle of money and time with their proposed NPDES permits, review of atrazine, stifling of the ethanol industry with the bifurcation of the higher blends rules, and the general pursuit of an environmental agenda without regard to the U.S. economy and what’s good for the consumer.

Addressing the unnecessary and overburdensome rulemaking by the U.S. EPA remains a priority for the Illinois Corn Growers Association during this 112th Congress and we are elated to see that Mr. Obama is on the same page.  Making rules that both protect the environment AND allow farmers the freedom to farm will certainly stimulate the economy, as agriculture is a top driver of the economy in the U.S.

Other highlights of the Wall Street Journal article:

  • Companies are currently sitting on nearly $2 trillion in cash and liquid assets, the most since WWII, due to a reluctance to invest because of additional regulations.
  • Within the article, Obama also acknowledged the cost of regulation and said that sometimes “rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.”

Rodney M Weinzierl
ICGA/ICMB Executive Director

ETHANOL BY-PRODUCT : GREAT FOR LIVESTOCK

Ethanol receives a lot of criticism from consumers who don’t always understand how the renewable fuel is produced and that is it not displacing the corn that we eat (because it is made from field corn, not sweet corn).

Most also don’t understand that a byproduct of ethanol is distillers grains which are a valuable livestock feed.  Even livestock producers don’t always grasp how important this option can be, especially when corn and soybean prices are high.

To help livestock farmers better incorporate distillers grains into their livestock diets, the IL Corn Marketing Board funds Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at WIU to analyze distillers grains from ethanol plants across the state.  This information makes the byproduct easier for livestock farmers to use because they can balance their feed rations to provide their herds the best possible nutrition.

Illinois livestock farmers AND Illinois grain farmers care about the health and well-being of Illinois livestock.  Illinois Corn Farmers also care about options for consumers.   Ethanol production represents both.

Visit www.value-added.org/renewableenergy/ethanol/ddgs/ to learn more about Illinois produced distillers grains.

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

ZUPPA TOSCANA RECIPE

For the month of January (National Soup Month), Thursdays are our days to feature yummy, hearty soup recipes!  Today you can plan to warm up with a bowl of Zuppa Toscana, almost exactly like the Olive Garden makes!

Today’s fact:  The most popular theory of where the word “soup” originated is that it stems from the word “sop”. People would pour broth over a slice of bread which would “sop” up the broth.

Today’s tip:  To make soups or stews thicker, try adding a tablespoon or more of instant potatoes or one-half cup rolled oats or wheat flakes.

Today’s recipeZuppa Toscana Soup

zuppa toscana, soup, potatoes, kale(This is a rip-off recipe from the Olive Garden’s delicious soup.) 

Ingredients:

1 lb Hot Italian Sausage, crumbled
4 strips bacon, crumbled
3 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
4 large potatoes, cubed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage.  Drain and set aside.
2. In same skillet brown bacon.  Drain and set aside.
3. Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot.  Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
4. Add sausage and bacon to pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add kale and cream to pot, season with salt and pepper, heat through.
6. Add parmesan to individual servings.

Becky Finfrock
ICGA/ICMB Communications Assistant

If you liked this recipe, check out my soup recipe from last week!
SPICY CORN CHOWDER RECIPE

US EPA LABEL CAUSES UNNECESSARY FEAR

I’ll start this post off with a quick recap:

  • The US corn-based ethanol industry is currently arbitrarily capped at 15 billon gallons.  This is interesting since I think most of us think domestic renewable fuel is a good idea.
  • The US corn-based ethanol industry sought an increase in the amount of ethanol allowed per gallon of gasoline.  We typically call this “higher blends” and the EPA approved a higher blend of E15 for SOME cars back in October. 
  • The EPA is now considering what sort of label to stick on the E15 pump so that consumers understand that they are getting E15 instead of E10, E85, or diesel.

When the option for public comment on the proposed E15 label opened up, Illinois Corn Growers Association was right in line to offer our thoughts on the proposal.  If you’d like to read the comments in their entirety, you can download them here.

But to summarize, ICGA first and foremost believes the label to be unnecessarily alarming and misleading.  There is no “CAUTION!” label or skull and crossbones on diesel pumps, yet misfueling your car with diesel instead of E10 or E15 would have extremely more harmful effects than a misfueling with E15 when you intended E10.  We are proposing an informational label instead of a fear tactic.

We are also suggesting that the size, color, shape, and exact location of the label be flexible.  Illinois Corn recognizes that for higher blends of ethanol to work, the regulations need to be flexible so that petroleum marketers are not disadvantaged.  We also suggest that the US EPA and the Federal Trade Commission coordinate a label so that two versions aren’t floating around to make things more confusing than they already are.

Interestingly enough, many of the industries affected by the limited approval of E15 agree with us.  I recently attended a meeting of the Illinois Petroleum Council where we discussed the US EPA’s limited approval, the burdens it places on petroleum marketers and engine manufacturers, and the unnecessarily scary label. 

Funny how the pursuit of an agenda over science can bring industries together.

Dave Loos
ICGA/ICMB Ethanol Guru

SUZANNE SOMERS LATEST ROLE: ACTING AS AN EXPERT

I wouldn’t have been one single bit surprised to hear that Suzanne Somers was a plastic surgery expert.  But now, she’s acting as a nutritionist and an animal biologist and THAT surprises the heck out of me.

What exactly is she thinking?

Check out her interview on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly here (the interesting parts start just before 5 minutes in and get even better at 5:30 minutes) and then come on back so I can calm you down.

LIVE!, Somers, corn, grass-fed

Very obviously, she’s watched Food, Inc with their claims that cows get infections from eating corn.  Also just as obvious to me is that she has absolutely no biological education if she honestly thinks that eating corn causes e.coli in the gut.  I thought it was general knowledge that e.coli is spread in feces, but evidentally that’s one of those things that you learn by osmosis growing up on the farm.

Also, just as obviously, she doesn’t read our blog.  Why, just last week, I covered the fact that organic and conventionally produced foods have a lot of differences, but safety isn’t one of them!

The bottom line is, what will you do with this information?  All the housewives and stay at home moms in your town just got a dose of “corn is bad” this morning on their television sets.  Will you step out into your community with the facts?

Consider it a challenge.

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

SAGEBRUSH MEATBALLS

Please enjoy this new recipe from Beef on a Budget’s Anna-Lisa!

When Illinois Corn asked if I might like to contribute to their blog, I wanted to include corn in my recipe.  I thought about all of the ways that corn could be used and all the ways we use it most often.  I realized that there is one completely underused and underestimated corn product… corn flakes.  More than just a cereal they can be used in feed lot rations, desserts, potato casseroles, and most recently I discovered they are wonderful in meat balls! 

I thought why not grind them up and use them as bread crumbs in meat balls; they are the same consistency as bread crumbs right?  Well I tried it out and with a ranchy twist let me tell you they are the best meatballs I have ever fixed.  Give this non traditional use of corn a try and enjoy some delicious pasta too!

Sagebrush Meatballs

beef, pasta, corn
From the Ice Box:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 C Parmesan Cheese
3 Broccoli Crowns
From the Pantry:
2 C corn flakes
Equivalent of 1 Packet Ranch Seasoning
Spray Oil
Pasta
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Tomato Sauce
 
Pour the corn flakes into a zip lock bag. Crush the corn flakes until they are as fine as bread crumbs.  An easy way to tell if they are fine enough is to pour them into a colander, if they can fit through those wholes keep crushing.
 
crush corn flakes

Combine the ground beef, milk, eggs, cheese, corn flake crumbs & ranch seasoning in a bowl.  Kneed until the mixture is blended.

beef, ranch, meatballs

Spray your baking stone with spray oil.  Roll the ground beef mixture into 1 inch balls.  Place on the cookie sheet and bake them at 350 for 30 minutes.

beef, meatballs

During this time boil the pasta water, and combine the chopped onion, garlic, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Let simmer the entire time the meatballs are baking.

 meatballs, beef, sauce, tomato

Once the pasta  water is boiling add a T olive oil.  This will keep the pasta from sticking together.  Next, break your favorite pasta into the boiling water.  Let me tell you a little secret about boiling pasta… it doesn’t take as long as you think and there is nothing worse than over cooked pasta. Boil just until it is tender then drain it.

I also served this with broccoli so I steamed the broccoli during this time as well.  If you have a broccoli steamer use that!  Other wise place the broccoli in a microwave safe bowl, add an inch of water, cover with saran wrap and put in the microwave for 6 minutes.

 broccoli, steamed

Once the meatballs are done, put them in a bowl and pour the tomato sauce over them.

meatballs, beef, budget

Let them sit for a few minutes and serve over pasta.

 meatballs, beef, budget meals

This meal is delicious, unique and a great way to use beef and corn together to make a wonderful meal.  I hope you enjoy!

beef, pasta, corn

Sagebrush Meatballs Cost

1 lb ground beef – $4.30
1/2 cup milk- $0.40
2 eggs- $0.30
1 C Parmesan Cheese- $0.30
2 C corn flakes – $0.40
Equivalent of 1 Packet Ranch Seasoning- $.100
Pasta- $1.00
1 Can Diced Tomatoes- $0.76
1 Can Tomato Sauce- $0.65
Broccoli- $1.20
Total Cost- $10.31 (Serves 5)
Cost Per Plate- $2.06

Anna-Lisa Giannini
Student