CAUTION: MEN AT WORK

The Illinois Corn home office is under construction this week. We’re trying to prepare for our June board meetings by repairing some massive pot holes in our parking lot and driveway. What that means for those of us in the office is parking a little further away and doing a bit of a hopscotch move to get into the front door of the building without stepping in drying cement.


Inside the office, we’re under construction too. In fact, there’s a host of issues and events that we’re working on! Some have short deadlines, some have been in progress for decades, but much like the men outside pouring cement, we’re dedicated and can’t wait to see these projects to completion.

It’s just that we’re going to do so with our shirts ON.

Locks and Dams

If you take a look at our website and visit the locks and dams section, we boast that this just might be the year that Illinois corn farmers finally see funding for lock and dam upgrades. What led us to that conclusion is partly that industry and the Army Corps of Engineers have come to an agreement on how to fund the upgrades AND complete them efficiency. We’ve been taking this message to Congress and have found that they are particularly receptive to groups that have their own funding streams to partner with federal dollars! But we also know that if we don’t get lock and dam funding this year, we might have to wait a few more before we push it again. So … 2010 is the year in our minds because the timing just won’t be right next year. Call your Congressman and ask that they fund lock and dam upgrades!

CornBelters

Opening day is June 1! That means that the rest of the week and Tuesday, we’ll be hard at work preparing messaging, coordinating media, assigning tickets, outfitting our suite, and doing all the other miscellaneous work that accompanies our CornBelters partnership. Please join us for opening day when our ICMB Chairman, Jim Rapp, will throw the first pitch! If this is something that interests you, you might check out our recent podcast.

Ethanol

Now that we finally have the first blender pump operating in Sullivan, IL, we can return to other ethanol issues that are close at hand. The EPA indicates that they will issue a decision on higher ethanol blends this summer and we continue to press our Illinois Delegation to co-sponsor HR 4940, the Renewable Fuels Reinvestment Act. This act would extend the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit among other things and will help ethanol remain a valuable partner in developing rural communities, lessoning our environmental impact, and accomplishing energy security. Kuddos to the Illinois Congressman that have already co-sponsored this important bill – if your Congressman doesn’t appear here, give him or her a call today!

Social Media

We have hired several interns for the summer that will start next week working on social media projects and helping us continue to gear up our social media presence. As you’ve obviously noticed, our blog posts and content are improving daily, but we can’t wait for them to arrive, helping us populate our youtube channel with valuable information and maybe even getting more facts and data our on facebook and twitter. If you aren’t already following us on all of these important outlets, I’d encourage you to check into them!

There are a million other “projects under construction” in our office but this definitely gives you a flavor for what the Illinois Corn staff and boards are up to right now. Please notice that we can’t complete many of these projects without your help! Consider contacting your Congressman on the above issues to thank him and ask for his help on the things that matter to you. Consider partnering with us on the social media front by following us on twitter, Facebook, youtube, or the blog and forward our messaging to your friends and family.

As they say, it takes a village. And I could sure use your help as I traverse the construction area outside our door! That’s one construction project that can’t be done soon enough.

By: Lindsay Mitchell

ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP A BRIDGE BETWEEN FARMERS AND COMMUNITIES

Perhaps you’ve seen it in previous news outlets, or perhaps you haven’t. Either way, the gist of the message is that the Illinois Corn Marketing Board believes in our own version of “If you build it, they will come.”

In October of last year, ICMB and the Normal CornBelters entered into a partnership – a partnership that is actually quite rare as far as sports teams and not-for-profit associations go.

The thing is, Illinois corn farmers know that what they do is confusing for everyone outside the agricultural industry. They understand that others just don’t get the dynamics of tillage, huge machinery, chemical applications, and export markets. They realize that everyone wants to know more about our nation’s food production systems, but doesn’t personally know a farmer to ask. And Illinois corn farmers want to change that.

There are parents, teachers, ministers, and policemen in Bloomington-Normal that live five minutes from a corn field, and even right in the middle of the largest corn producing county in the nation, that believe myths about corn production and the safety or efficiency of corn products. Farmers want to encourage the one-on-one dialogue that will improve understanding and build trust between farmers and consumers, even in their own communities.

A partnership with the CornBelters will help us do this. A partnership with the CornBelters makes us more visible and provides us the opportunity to stand in front of you and explain who we are, what we do, what’s important to us, and that we love our jobs.

So please consider joining us for a game at the Corn Crib and don’t be surprised to see us rooting for the home team with our families while we enjoy a cold beer and a ballpark hot dog. We are your neighbors and we are proud to be doing a job that we love while serving your needs and the needs of folks all over the world.

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director