GET READY FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER WITH AG MAGS!

Repost from ilcorn.org

Illinois Ag in the Classroom provides teachers important, interesting and even fun classroom curriculum on agriculture for free!  Make sure the teachers in your life have incorporated an Ag Mag into their spring 2018 curriculum and get those requests to your county ag literacy coordinator today!

Ag Mags are 4-page, colorful agricultural magazines for kids. They contain information about agriculture, bright pictures, classroom activities and agricultural careers.

Many Ag Mags are interactive.  They are set up for smart board usage in the classroom and give teachers opportunities to engage their students with various videos, online articles, and real-world applications to help students understand how what they are learning in the classroom makes a difference in real-world discussions.

Best of all, Ag Mags are designed to meet specific learning standards.  As an example, the Corn Ag Mag includes the following note:

This Ag Mag complements, and can be connected to, the following educational standards:

Common Core State Standards:

  • ELA-Literacy – RI.4.2; RI.4.4; RI4.7; RI.4:10; W.4.7-4.9; SL.4.1; SL.4.4; L4.1; L4.6
  • Mathematics – 4.MD; 5.MD
  • Next Generation Science Standards:
  • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 3-LS4-3; Energy: 4-ESS3-1; Structure,
  • Function, and Information Processing: 4-LS1; Structure and Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-3;
  • Structure and Properties of Matter: 5-PS1-4

IL Social Science Standards:

  • Human-Environment Interaction: Place, Regions and Culture: SS.G.3.4; Human Population: SS.G.3.4;
  • Exchange and Markets: SS.EC.2.4; Causation and Argumentation: SS.H.3.4

There are tons of other free resources available to teachers to incorporate agriculture education into their classrooms AND meet state learning standards.  For more information, check out the Ag in the Classroom website here.

ILLINOIS FARM FAMILIES: LEARN THE LABEL LINGO

Originally published on Illinois Farm Families

In a world filled with choice, a food label can be like a beacon of fluorescent light in the middle of a grocery aisle. Nutritional content, ingredients – this is information that helps. But then there are labels that mislead or confuse rather than clarify, hindering your ability to pick out healthy, nutritious food for you and your family – no matter the claim.

We want to help you wade through the words. So when labels lie, you know the facts behind how your food is grown and raised.

TOP POSTS OF 2017 #1: TO THE FARM KID DURING HARVEST

[Originally published: September 19, 2017]

That time of year is quickly approaching. You know the time of year where the air becomes colder, the food you eat becomes warmer, and the sunset comes sooner. It’s the time of the year that you look forward to every year because you get to finally see the combine going in fields nearby and maybe just maybe you get to ride in the tractor to the elevator to drop off some freshly harvested grain. But what no one really tells you is that sometimes these can be really hard because you might not get to see your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa like you are used to because they have to get the crops out of the field. Take it from me, a farm kid whose dad not only farms but also runs multiple grain elevators. During harvest, I barely see my dad for around six to eight weeks. My dad has missed endless amounts of concerts, sporting events, birthdays, and literally any event during the months of September through November. Having a dad that would go to literally everything you had to him not being there all the time was and is still super hard to deal with. But this is what I have learned through all of the harvests that I have been through:

When you get the chance to ride/drive in combine or tractor with them, do it!

Though this might be a “well duh” moment to you, remember that this might be the only time during the week that you get to see them. Enjoy the ride. Stay off your phone. And actually, talk to them. I have found that some of my conversations ever have happened in either a combine or tractor.

It hurts them not being able to see you as much as it hurts you!

Though they may not come out and say it, they miss you as much as you miss them. Though they might like harvest, the endless hours can sometimes get to be too much for them. Know that they miss not being at every event that you have in life. They really do. But know that they want to be there cheering you on and even though they might not be there physically they are still cheering you on.

Help make a meal to take to them in the field.

Okay, this isn’t harvest, but come on. THIS IS ADORABLE

Nothing. And I mean nothing (okay maybe no equipment breaking down) is better during harvest than a home-cooked meal. If you know or are able to, make something for that someone that you miss that you can take to them in the field or wherever they are. The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach (I think that’s how that saying goes, LOL) and I am sure they will get the hint loud and clear that you love them, miss them, and care for them.

Remember this doesn’t last forever.

Harvest (hopefully) only lasts between six to eight weeks. Though it can, and sometimes does feel like a long time, know that it will end. Life will go back to how it normally was. They will be found on the sidelines of your games, sitting in the auditorium waiting for your performance, and tucking you into bed like they normally do.

You are not alone

It’s going to seem like you are alone. Like no one else is going through this. But that is not true. Even though people around you might not be saying all the time that they miss _____ because of harvest, they really do. Know that there are so many people, people you might not even know that are going through this time of missing someone because of harvest, but like I said earlier harvest does not last forever.

To all of the Farm Kids and Farm Families gearing up for harvest, I wish you nothing but a successful and smooth harvest season. Always remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that harvest does not last forever. Enjoy this season!

Abby Jacobs
Illinois State University

YOUNG PERSON IN AG: KATIE BURNS

If you see Katie she probably has a camera in hand ready to snap that great candid photo of FFA members livestock judging or giving a speech. See, that’s her passion. Telling the story of agriculture and all it entails. Connecting the producers to consumers. Her passion for agriculture started pretty much at birth, coming from an agriculture community and family. Which makes her a great Young Person in Ag.

  1. What is your ag background?

I am originally from Coulterville, Illinois in Randolph County. There, along with my family, we grew corn, soybeans, wheat, as well as registered Polled Herefords. I was able to show those Herefords at the local, state, and national level.

  1. What were some of your high school experiences/involvement in ag?

I was a 10 year 4-H member and a 4 year FFA member. I attended Sparta High School. I was an officer for both my chapter and section in FFA. I was fortunate enough to receive both my State and American FFA Degree there. I was also very involved in the Illinois Junior Hereford Association and was the 2013 Illinois Hereford queen and went on to compete for National Queen and I received 2nd runner-up in Miss Congeniality.

  1. What college did you attend and what is your major?

I first attended Lake Land College where I was on the Livestock Judging team. After LLC I went on to the University of Illinois where I was on the judging team there as well. I majored in Agriculture Science and Leadership Education.

  1. What was your involvement at the U of I?

The Livestock Judging team kept me pretty busy, but I was also on the Meat Evaluation team. I also was a part of Sigma Alpha as the Ag in the Classroom Chair, Ag Ed Club, and Hoof and Horn Club.

  1. What were some of your internships?

For the first two years of college, I went back to the family farm and worked because that was where I was needed. In between my junior and senior year, I interned for Gale Cunningham at WYXY Classic 99.1 as a farm broadcasting intern.

  1. What is your current job?

I am the Communications Specialists for the Illinois FFA Center. I wear a lot of hats with that position. Not only do I work with the Illinois Association FFA, but I also work with FFA Alumni, FFA Foundation, IACCAI, PAS, IAVAT, ILCAE, and ICAE. With that, I have learned to wear many hats. I am responsible for the communications and promotion of all those organizations.  That is anything from up keeping their websites, posting for their social media pages, and designing graphics for them. Another part of my job is for the Foundation. The Foundation helps pay for all those entities I mentioned and fund things that we do. I work with businesses in Illinois and surrounding areas to establish relationships that are then used for donations to help fund all the different leadership and CDE events that we do for FFA members.

  1. What is your dream job?

I can’t pinpoint one dream job that I want to do for the rest of my life. However, my dream is to tell the story of agriculture and the people involved in it. I was very lucky that I was born into this industry and surrounded with people in the agriculture industry. But I want to tell those stories and experiences to other people who maybe aren’t in the industry and connect them to what we are trying to accomplish.

  1. Do you have any mentors?

Growing up my parents and grandparents had a big impact on my life. They allowed me to have many opportunities like go and showing all over the nation in cattle shows. In college, I had different people who were always there with advice and encouragement. My judging coach at Lake Land, Ryan Orrick really believed in me. A small-town girl from Southern Illinois who had never given reasons before. I really credit Livestock Judging to much of my success. At the U of I, Dr. Korte and Dr. Keating were both two people who really helped me develop my leadership skills.

  1. Do you remember anything that has really changed in the agriculture industry?

There are two things that instantly come to mind whenever I hear that question. When I was little riding in the tractor with my dad and grandpa, we didn’t have GPS in the combines and tractors. The technology movement has been amazing. I am so excited to see what it will continue to do. More at home in Illinois, I think one thing that changed many farmers was the drought of 2012. It didn’t rain the entire month of July. I remember digging out ponds and our corn that year didn’t make anything. It was really a hard thing to overcome. But it is so good to see the bounce back that our industry can and has made. 

  1. You work for and advocate for FFA members every day, do you have any advice for them to become more involved or those who are thinking of going into the agriculture industry as a career?

I know it is so cliché and obvious, but get out of your comfort zone. You don’t know if you like something until you try. Take advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to you. There were many times I could have said no to an opportunity, but if I had they would not have helped me become the person I am today.

  1. What do you think sets the agriculture industry apart from other industries?

We as an industry can network and make connections, which will only make our industry better. Meeting those people at conferences and workshops and exchanging ideas is what is going to keep our industry thriving.

Lacie Butler
Lake Land College

YOUNG PERSON IN AG: HAYDEN KINCADE

Balancing is part of becoming an adult. Learning to properly allocate time to each specific task can be challenging. Hayden has had to learn to do that. Being an Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor is basically the definition of balancing. Going from being a student himself to teaching students every day has been something that Hayden is ecstatic about. Being excited about teaching the youth is something we all can admire, which makes him a great Young Person in Ag.

  1. What is your agriculture background?

I don’t really have a huge agriculture background. I come from a small town of Noble, Illinois and I guess my agriculture was helping my dad in the oil fields. I took the introduction to agriculture class because ag was really the only elective my school offered.

  1. What was some of your high school experiences/involvement in ag?

If I had to pinpoint one thing that really got me interested in agriculture and FFA it would have to be the 212 conference my sophomore year of high school. My ag teacher drug me along and really made me step out of my comfort zone. I was a very quiet guy and meeting new people was different. After that experience I began to really enjoy talking and meeting other students with the same passion as me. I was then able to become involved in leadership positions within my chapter and was even a Section President.

  1. What college did you attend and what was your major?

I attend a junior college my freshman and sophomore year of college and that was at Wabash Valley College in Mt. Carmel, Illinois and was an Agriculture Transfer major. I didn’t start college with a goal of becoming an agriculture teacher. I was going to go into agriculture business. My sophomore year I decided that Agriculture Education was where I wanted to go. After Wabash Valley I transferred to the University of Illinois and was a Agriculture Science Education major.

  1. What was your involvement at the U of I?

I was part of a couple different clubs on campus including the Agriculture Education club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Collegiate FFA. I also loved being a part of Block-I and Orange Crush, both spirit sections for football and basketball. I also was fortunate to do some observations at the Oblong and Nokomis FFA Chapter and do my student teaching at Mt. Pulaski.

  1. What were your internships experiences like?

For five summers, I interned for Wabash Valley Service Company in Olney, Illinois as well as Growmark. I did different things like helping farmers with seed and chemical application. Talking with farmers and building relationships for the company. It was a great way to learn to be a better ag teacher.

  1. What is your dream job or would you say you’re in it now?

I am currently the Agriculture Teacher and FFA advisor at Red Hill High School in Bridgeport, IL. I would say that being an ag teacher is my dream job. I was to be a teacher for as long as I can be. I guess you could say more goals I would have would be that the chapter and enrollment in agriculture classes goes up. As well as the chapter becomes more and more successful.

  1. What is the hardest part about being a teacher?

Balancing all the different things we do. Teaching for 7 class periods a day, preparing for the next 2-3 contests, with students handling alumni, grading homework, and so on are just some of the things I do every day. Being able to wear many hats and switch those on and off it something that I am finding takes work but I love it. No day is the same.

  1. What is the easiest part about being a teacher?

Waking up every day and coming to work. The students are great to work with. I hope in some way I am making a positive impact on their lives and teaching them something that they can use in the future.

  1. Do you remember anything that has really changed in the agriculture industry?

I say this now that I am in a job that I manage three shops and teach shop classes. But I have seen a huge shift in students don’t know how to work with their hands. They have become very good at working on a computer or phone and being productive, but if you ask them to go change a tire or weld something, the majority don’t know how to do so and find it harder to learn to. While I was only in high school about 5 years ago, it seemed like more of my classmates could do that type of stuff. I’m sure if you look back even further the shift is huge.

  1. How do you see the agriculture industry changing in the next 5-10 years?

The same trend as we are seeing now. Technology will get bigger and bigger and more important in our daily lives. We have to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050. Technology will play a huge role in that. Having it be efficient and use it to the best we can will make a big impact. 

  1. What do you think sets the agriculture industry apart from other industries?

It is an enormous field. There is a wide array of pathways that people can take within. Take my classroom for example. I currently offer and teach 12 different agriculture classes. That’s 12 different pathways and opportunities that students would have, and that’s just at one school. I also think about the sheer importance of the agriculture industry compared to other industries and how we have to work hard at feeding and clothing this world.

Lacie Butler
Lake Land College

ON #GIVINGTUESDAY, HERE’S WHO IL CORN GIVES TO …

Today is known as #GivingTuesday, a day where people are reminded of the importance of charitable giving. Yet, it can also be a good time to understand where money goes into any organization. That’s why IL Corn is using today to talk about where member contributions go.

Here’s the article: 

To celebrate #givingtuesday, we’re offering a bit of a different take on the idea.

Who does IL Corn give money to?

Granted, these are not charitable organizations and farmers do not invest their money in the Illinois corn checkoff because they want us to do charitable work (though we do SOME charitable work!).  These are the organizations we partner with and provide funds to, to help accomplish our mission of improving corn farmers’ profitability.

U.S. GRAINS COUNCIL: The U.S. Grains Council works all over the world to increase the amount of corn and corn co-products we can sell overseas.  USGC has offices in 10 different countries and enjoy working within those countries promoting U.S. corn, U.S. ethanol, and U.S barley and sorghum.  They encourage buyers to consider U.S. corn, they help settle trade disputes, and they create new markets overseas.  Overall, they build export market demand for Illinois corn which impacts your bottom line.

U.S. MEAT EXPORT FEDERATION: USMEF has a very similar mission to the U.S. Grains Council, only they specialize in marketing red meat overseas.  They also have many country offices, where USMEF employees pay attention to food trends and determine how U.S. beef and pork can fit into those trends.  They simply try to sell more U.S. red meat overseas and add value to each carcass.  With one out of every four hogs exported out of the U.S., this is a huge value opportunity.

U.S.A. POULTRY AND EGG EXPORT COUNCIL:  Ditto everything for U.S. Grains Council and USMEF, only for poultry and egg products.  Did you know that poultry consumes more corn than pork or beef?

NATIONAL CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION: Certainly, IL Corn is interested in funding their national organization fully so that the corn industry can have a united voice nationwide.  NCGA represents the corn industry in marketing and PR efforts like Common Ground and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, they conduct research that benefits the industry, and they are active in Washington, D.C.

ILLINOIS PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION & ILLINOIS BEEF ASSOCIATION: Corn farmers are best served when their markets are vibrant and healthy.  IL Corn partners with IPPA and IBA on a myriad of projects and member service opportunities to support the livestock industry in Illinois.

AG IN THE CLASSROOM: The best way to impact the future is to educate future voters today when they are still young.  Ag in the Classroom partners with IL Corn to provide ag education to rural and non-rural schools through programs and presentations to students, free curriculum, and continuing education for teachers.  Because a vast majority of Americans are removed from the farm, this effort becomes increasingly important.

WATERWAYS COUNCIL INC: Years and years later, IL Corn is still working to get funding for upgraded locks and dams on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.  Waterways Council Inc is a coalition of all interested industries who want to build new locks and dams working together to obtain funding.  Investing in transportation is important for farmers who will save considerable money when efficiencies are realized.

IL Corn gives to other groups, organizations, and partnerships too!  These are but a sampling of the work that we are involved in, helping to make the corn industry in Illinois as profitable as possible for our farmers.

Thank you for the opportunity to work on your behalf!

YOUNG PERSON IN AG: KADE HILL

If you would have told Kade when he was a freshman, enrolling in his first Introduction to Agriculture class that he would eventually pursue a career within the agriculture industry and even get to spend a year promoting it and speaking with all kinds of people serving as the Illinois FFA State President, he would have most likely called you crazy. Kade’s passion for agriculture and educating people about it is something that is truly commendable. Kade is already doing great things as a Young Person in Ag.

  1. What is your ag background?

My agriculture background is fairly limited. My mom works in healthcare and my dad owns a small painting business, so I really didn’t grow up around production agriculture at all.

  1. What were some of your high school experiences/involvement in ag?

I would say I got my start in agriculture when I enrolled in an introduction to agriculture class as a freshman at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School. Honestly, the main reason I signed up was that two of my good friends were going to take the class and I wanted to take a class with my friends. I had no idea that taking that class would give me such a passion and appreciation for agriculture. As far as one specific experience, it’s hard to nail one down. However, one huge thing I pursued was running to FFA National Office in 2016 and 2017. Even though I was not elected, I think it truly made me learn about myself, my strengths, weaknesses, the National FFA Organization, and agriculture as a whole.

  1. What college do you attend and what is your major?

I am currently a sophomore at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Agriculture Science Education program.

  1. What is your involvement at U of I?

Probably the biggest thing I am involved with at the U of I is the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. There I do a lot of different things, but I hold the Recruitment Chair position. I am also involved with the Agriculture Education club, collegiate farm bureau, and a couple other organizations.

  1. Have you had internships/involvement?

This past summer I interned for WYXY Classic 99.1 as a farm broadcaster intern, and I worked under Gale Cunningham in Champaign, IL at the Illini Radio Group. It was a really great way to get agriculture information from a 1st hand point of view. Anywhere from county fairs, to agriculture expo, to even working in the studio I could talk to all sorts of people and hear their stories. As a non-traditional person in agriculture, it was a great way for me to also learn more about production agriculture.

  1. What is your dream job?

As of now becoming a high school Agriculture Education Teacher and FFA Advisor within the state of Illinois is the dream job. Right now, I see the best place for me and where I can make the biggest impact is in the classroom.

  1. Do you have any mentors?

I have always been a strong believer in the saying “It takes a village to raise someone up,” and I truly have had a village who have guided me and helped me in so many aspects of my life. Two big influential people would have Mike White and Doug Anderson, they were my Agriculture Teachers and FFA Advisors. They have invested a lot within me and were always there to advise me when needed, but also to be a supporter as well. If I had to choose someone else, it would have to be my mom. I know that I can go to her for anything, good or bad, and she will in some way help.

  1. Do you remember anything that has really changed while you have been active in the agriculture industry?

Something that I have paid attention to quite a bit has been food labeling. Whether companies put if it is organic or has Genetically Modified Organisms. As a freshman in high school getting into agriculture for the first time this was a hot topic. There were a lot of people that were advocating either for or against it. And now it has transitioned into something that is still very important, but not as on the forefront as it was at first.

  1. How do you see the agriculture industry changing in the next 5-10 years?

Agriculture is an ever-evolving industry and we are always trying to find the best ways to do things. Something that I think people have tried to push or advocate for is inclusiveness of people. I have found that inclusiveness is a very broad term, meaning anything from minorities to non-traditional agriculturists, to religion. So, how do we involve all types of people within the industry and make it welcoming and accepting to those who want to play a part? I am interested to see what steps we as an industry take to become more diverse and inclusive.

  1. Do you have any advice for younger people in agriculture/FFA or thinking about agriculture as a career?

If you’re thinking about trying something, like taking an ag class or competing in a contest, and there is something that is holding you back, just try it. You will never know if you like or dislike something until you have tried it at least once. A lot of things I tried while in FFA were not in my comfort zone, however trying them and finding out that I like them allowed me to broaden my knowledge. Getting out of your comfort zone is difficult, but once you take that leap of faith you will find your passion.

  1. What do you think sets the agriculture industry apart from other industries?

The best way I could describe it would be the unknown of the industry. There are many people who do not truly understand what all agriculture is about. No, we are not all farmers. We, as an industry, are so broad including, research, communications, education, business, as well as production agriculture. Because many people do not know what all it involved it does set ourselves apart. But in a way that is a good thing too.

Lacie Butler
Lake Land College

YOUNG PERSON IN AG: MAZI WALKER

Mazi can make friends anywhere she goes. On a bus going to Washington D.C. or at a conference for an organization, she loves meeting new people. Don’t talk about sheep too close to her or she will talk your ear off about how much she loves sheep and its industry. Her passion for meeting new people, sheep, and leadership is what makes her a great young person in ag.

  1. What is your ag background?

I am the fourth-generation agriculturists where in the past we farmed corn and soybeans, but know we are only focused on the sheep industry. We currently run about 20 breeding ewes with alternating breeding rams every two years. The lambs will be born between January 1st and March 31st. The lambs that don’t meet show quality will be sold to local consumers and sale barns. The sheep industry has opened many doors for me and is something I am happy to be a part of and teach others about it.

  1. What college do you attend and what is your major?

I am a freshman at Lake Land College in Mattoon, IL in the Agriculture Transfer program. After Lake Land, I will transfer to a four-year university and double major in agriculture business and animal science.

  1. What is your involvement at Lake Land?

I am a Freshman Delegate in the Student Government Association that represents the student body. I am also a part of our Agriculture Transfer Club and the Inaugural Colligate Farm Bureau here on campus.

  1. What were some of your high school experiences/involvement in ag?

I was a part of many organizations including serving on the 2016-2017 state FFA officer team as the Section 13 President. I also served as the District III student director. In 4-H I have been the president of my club for the past 4 years. My senior year I was able to start my own agricultural business, Black Sheep Photography. I traveled to different livestock shows and farms to take photos of livestock that was then used as promotional tools.

  1. What is your dream job?

I really hope to one day open up my own feed mill to supply livestock producers with feed as well as help them with supplements for their animals.

  1. Do you have any mentors?

My main mentor would have to be my mom. She has never relied on anybody, even in terms of a job. She has opened two successful businesses.

  1. Do you remember anything that has really changed in agriculture?

I have seen more and more involvement with the youth in the agriculture industry. Youth are becoming involved earlier in 4-H and learning about where their food comes from. However, there is still a large gap between those children and other children who do not know where their food comes from.

  1. How do you see the agriculture industry changing in the next 5-10 years?

I see technology becoming bigger and better. I also see GMO’s becoming bigger and better. Hopefully with that comes, even more, education about where our food comes from so consumers can be well educated.

  1. Do you have any advice for younger people in agriculture/FFA or thinking about agriculture as a career?

Don’t sell yourself short, even if you don’t come from an agriculture background. Agriculture is getting bigger, never smaller. If you think you can play a part in this industry or have a new idea then go for it.

  1. Have you ever been looked down on because you’re a young woman in the agriculture industry?

Women in the livestock industry/ show industry are supposed to know their place which is usually just along the fence or alongside the show ring and aren’t supposed to do anything. When they do step up they are looked at as bossy or rude when really, they just want the same opportunities as everyone else. I would say that I have experienced this and have learned how to deal with it.

Lacie Butler
Lake Land College