Green Flag For American Ethanol 225

Illinois corn farmer Donna Jeschke got to wave the green flag for the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race tonight. Donna is ending her term on the board of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. She found the experience to be exciting and just a little scary. She says this type of promotion puts what she does as a farmer out in front of the public to help them better understand where their food comes from.

Listen to my interview with Donna here:

Listen to the race invocation and national anthem here:

Listen to Mark Marquis, Marquis Energy, make the “Drivers, start your engines” call here:

Please share and use photos from the Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Kenny Wallace and Family Farmers

Illinois Corn Growers got to hang out with “The Agvocate” Kenny Wallace at Chicagoland Speedway today. It’s NASCAR racing weekend and Kenny will be driving in the Nationwide STP 300 race.

Kenny attracted a big crowd to the exhibit area outside the grandstands this afternoon. He talked to them and signed autographs for an hour. I heard one fan say after he got an autograph that he had just had a conversation with Kenny Wallace and his day was complete. See why fans love him in the video below.

Kenny loves farmers and he loves ethanol and lets everyone know about it. He says there may be some people who disagree about using ethanol but they need to talk to him because he knows everything there is to know about the subject. I hope a lot of people talk to him!

Listen to my interview with Kenny Wallace here:

Watch Kenny in action in this video:

You can find photos from the weekend activities here: Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

JOSH FLINT TO RECEIVE ICGA’S MEDIA AWARD

Josh Flint will receive ICGA’s Media Award on November 22 in Bloomington, IL at the ICGA Annual Meeting.  The Illinois Commodity Conference will follow.  Join us!

The world of agricultural communications is filled with opportunity, but more than that it is a community of people who all share the same passion. In my experience, writing for a newspaper, discussing general issues versus writing for an agricultural audience is completely different. While I enjoy writing for the newspaper covering different news stories, I really enjoy writing about agricultural issues targeted towards the agricultural community. I feel they are so much more appreciative of your work. I’m sure anyone working in agricultural communications can relate to this as they find themselves dealing with similar issues. One such journalist, Josh Flint, who is the editor of Prairie Farmer will be honored at the Illinois Commodity Conference on November 22 as he will receive the ‘Excellence in Media Award’ distributed by the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

Flint grew up in Rolla, Missouri which is about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis. Growing up in an agricultural environment, he wasn’t expecting to end up with a career in agricultural communications. He graduated from Truman State University with a degree in journalism. Flint had dreams of writing for a large daily newspaper, but as time went on he realized he wanted to write for a more tailored audience. Farm publications seemed to be a natural place forFlintto be as he grew up around agriculture and the values/morals of that particular community have been instilled within him.

Flint really enjoys the writing and photography aspect of his job. To take a story, to interview multiple sources, to discover the different entry points for the reader, and to take the photographs to go along with it is what Flint truly enjoys about his job. He explained how he fits right into the agriculture community.

“When I got into this industry I knew it was a great opportunity, but I have really been overwhelmed with just how tremendous, not just the farmers, but everyone in this industry is. It is one big group and whether it is a seed company, commodity group, a farmer, an equipment manufacturer, everyone is so nice. There is just a sense of community. Once you get into ag communications, I can see why people have stayed in the industry for 30 years because it is hard to leave. You feel like these are your friends, they’re not just your co-worker. In news writing, you worry about burning bridges with sources, but I have never once thought about that because everyone is so nice and friendly that you’d hate to do that because you’re friends with them. It really is a great community,” Flint said.

Flint also said, for all you future journalists out there, that publications are expecting you to be able to do everything. What you’re told in class is true, editors want you to know how to write, edit, take pictures, shoot video, and utilize social media. This isn’t so much true for the larger publications as it is for smaller staffed publications, but it is still important to have experience with every aspect of communication.

Josh and his wife, Tiffany, currently live in St. Clair County. He covers the entire state of Illinois talking with farmers and attending agricultural conferences.

Listen to my interview with Josh here!

Katlyn Rumbold
ISU student

Educating Consumers About America’s Farmers

The “Professor” for the America’s Farmers Mobile Experience is Allan Ciha, pictured here with some NASCAR race fans who came out for the inaugural Nationwide Series STP 300 race. The Monsanto traveling education center was on display in Champions Park at Chicagoland Speedway.

Allan says they talk about the expansion of the world population, farming today and biotechnology that will allow farmers to feed that growing population. He says that people are surprised at the technology being used in farming today. He says that the educational effort has been very well received by both consumers and farmers themselves.

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

NASCAR Director Loves Ethanol

The director of the NASCAR Nationwide Series is Joe Balash, pictured here before the STP 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway. He’s proudly displaying the American Ethanol name around the gas coupler on this car. All the NASCAR cars display that name!

I talked with Joe before the race. He talks about how STP has “come back” to NASCAR as a major race sponsor. Then we moved to ethanol. He says that using a blend of ethanol is “part of the things we’re trying to do to become less dependent on foreign fuels.” Joe believes it’s great to partner with American Ethanol and be able to use ethanol mixed with their Sunoco racing fuel to provide a very high quality, high power fuel for the race cars. He says the fuel is performing very well for the NASCAR teams which is a comment I heard repeatedly over the race weekend.

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Promoting Ethanol With Good Research & Information

Dave Loos, Director of Research and Commercial Development for the Illinois Corn Growers was out on location during the NASCAR STP 300 race weekend.  Here he is doing some educating with race attendees. It was a little breezy when we did a short interview but I was able to talk about what Dave does and what his primary focus is right now.

I spoke with him prior to the race. He says he works to increase the use of E85, increase the number of blender pumps and strengthen the overall ethanol industry. He says Illinois now has over 220 E85 stations. He says there is a lot of interest in higher blends of ethanol than ten percent with one of the main reasons being the price advantage of ethanol right now. Dave thinks that in the future the auto industry will be able to design engines to make more efficient use of higher blends of ethanol as more and more of it is used by consumers. We also talked about other market influences for ethanol and you can learn more in my interview:

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Ethanol Good For Lung Health

We can all breathe a little easier the more we use ethanol to replace petroleum gas. And to back that up I spoke with Angela Tin (pictured on left), American Lung Association, during the NASCAR STP 300 race weekend. Angela is VP for the American Lung Association in Illinois. Angela says that clean air is good for lung health and that’s why they help promote ethanol.

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Chicagoland Speedway In Corn Country

The President of Chicagoland Speedway is Scott Paddock. He manages a beautiful racing facility. This is a bird’s eye view of the track before the NASCAR STP 300 race. I spoke with Scott who says they’re celebrating their tenth anniversary.

We talked about the fact that we were about to see the inaugural STP 300 race as well as the fact that this is the inaugural season for NASCAR to use a blend of ethanol in their fuel. He says that the partnership with American Ethanol and Illinois Corn Marketing Board allows them to do something to help protect the environment. He says that the nearby drag strip and the track were essentially started by a group of farmers. If you visit the track you’ll see that it sits right in the middle of fields of corn. I was glad to see the corn because it added a visual connection to the whole home-grown fuel concept!

You can listen to my interview with Scott here:

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Illinois Corn and Soybean Team Up For NASCAR

The Illinois Corn Growers teamed up with the Illinois Soybean Association to provide some hospitality to farmers and others attending the NASCAR STP 300 race. The hospitality area provided a meeting place to gather for some pre-race fellowship. Family Farmers/Team Marquis car driver Kenny Wallace showed up and talked about his involvement in becoming an advocate for ethanol and family farmers. Both organizations have also teamed up to form the Family Farmers coalition

While there I visited with several of the growers in attendance. They all provided their perspective on the investment in NASCAR to help educate the public about the benefits of home grown fuel.

First up is Jim Reed, Illinois Corn Growers Association President:

Next, I spoke with Kent Hodel, Iowa Soybean Association Field Promotions Coordinator:

And I also spoke with Ron Moore, Illinois Soybean Association Chairman:

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

NASCAR Nationwide Loves Ethanol and Corn Growers

The director of the NASCAR Nationwide Series is Joe Balash, pictured here before Saturday’s STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. He’s proudly displaying the American Ethanol name around the gas coupler on this car that just happened to be rolling by. That name is on all NASCAR cars.

I talked with Joe before the race. He talks about how STP has “come back” to NASCAR as a major race sponsor. Then we moved to ethanol. He says that using a blend of ethanol is “part of the things we’re trying to do to become less dependent on foreign fuels.” Joe believes it’s great to partner with American Ethanol and be able to use ethanol mixed with their Sunoco racing fuel to provide a very high quality, high power fuel for the race cars. He says the fuel is performing very well for the NASCAR teams which is a comment I heard repeatedly over the race weekend.

Joe says he grew up in Indiana corn country and has had a lot of opportunity to talk with corn growers as he travels around. He says there is a great tie between NASCAR and farmers and ethanol since Nationwide Insurance, the series sponsor, has farmers on their board of directors! He also made a great statement for why ethanol is good for America. He’s obviously done his homework. You can listen to my interview with Joe here:

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired