MEET AN ILLINOIS CORN FARMER: DONNA JESCHKE!

Donna is a mother, grandmother, wife and business partner. She participates in all aspects of their family farming operation and she can’t wait to share her story with you!

If you have questions for Donna about her life on the farm, her experience as a farm wife, or her interest in talking to others about agriculture, leave them in the comments!

WATCH US GROW

We haven’t talked much about it, if at all, but the Illinois Corn Marketing Board is part of a group of Illinois commodity groups that are trying harder to connect with our urban cousins.  We’ve been conducting research for a while about what non-farmers think of us and what they’d like to know more about.  We found out things about the way we talk with non-farmers (we get too technical most often) and what they’d like to know more about (namely, they’d like to know US and feel like they can trust us).

And now we’re doing something about it.

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Beef Association, the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Pork Producers Association, and the Illinois Soybean Association – who represent probably every farmer in Illinois among the six of us – have come together to reconnect with consumers.  And we’re calling ourselves “Illinois Farm Families.”  Because that’s who we are and we’re proud of it!

First, check us out at www.watchusgrow.org.  We’ve got a blog there for urbanites to read more about what we do and we’re inviting “Field Moms” to apply to visit several farms and video and blog about their experiences.

Second, if you’re a farmer that wants to get involved, let us know.  There are multiple opportunities for you to connect with your customer and we’d love to help you find just the right fit.

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

MEET BILL CHRIST, ILLINOIS CORN FARMER

You may remember seeing Bill before, but now you can truly meet him and find out what makes him tick!  Bill is currently serving as Vice Chairman for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board but he has so many interests besides just corn!  Geneology, livestock, grapes and wine … you’ll probably find that you and Bill have something in common too!

WELCOME ARON CARLSON!

Welcome to Photo Week on Corn Corps! To celebrate National Photography Month, we’re bringing you one photo every day this week that celebrates Illinois agriculture, corn production, and farm family life!

Welcome to our newest Illinois Corn Growers Association District II Director, Aron Carlson!  Aron and his five year old daughter enjoy working on the farm, raising corn and soybeans in Northern Illinois.  When Aron isn’t farming, he enjoys golfing and he looks forward to learning more about farm policy during his tenure on the ICGA Board of Directors!

Get to know more about Illinois farmers, their families, and their crops by checking out the Illinois Farm Families website!

ILLINOIS CORN FARMERS WANT TO BE UNDERSTOOD

Welcome to Photo Week on Corn Corps! To celebrate National Photography Month, we’re bringing you one photo every day this week that celebrates Illinois agriculture, corn production, and farm family life! We will still have our Friday Farm Photo so if you have a great picture you’d like to see there, send it to ilcorn@ilcorn.org.

In recent years, Illinois corn farmers have told us that public education and communications back to non-farm consumers is a priority. Illinois corn farmers want to be understood; they want non-farmers to know that they are hard-working, family men and women that grow food with pride. Illinois Corn’s venture into the world of NASCAR is doing just that, talking about ethanol and the farmers that are fueling the ethanol industry on a national stage.

Here, Scott Stirling represents Illinois Corn Marketing Board at the debut of the American Ethanol promotion at Daytona.

GET TO KNOW AN IL CORN FARMER: ERIC KUNZEMAN

IL Corn wants you to know more about our farmers and we are making an effort to introduce them to you. Get to know Eric Kunzeman, the Illinois Corn Growers Association District 8 Director and enter to win an Illinois Corn prize package!

Leave a comment telling us what you think about the video or tell us what else you’d like to know about Eric! Curious about biotechnology? Want to understand more about his pig farm? Wonder how he manages a day job and a farm too? Any comment will enter you to win!

Contest ends Wednesday, May 25.

AMERICAN ETHANOL AND NASCAR INTRODUCE E15 TO THE PUBLIC

NASCAR and American Ethanol are natural partners: NASCAR is a great American sport founded on the sands of Daytona Beach more than 60 years ago, and American Ethanol is produced on family owned farms across our country’s heartland. It’s truly a winning combination.

American Ethanol is the name given to a coalition of groups, lead by Growth Energy and supported by the National Corn Growers Association and many of its member states including the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.  The partnership between American Ethanol gives corn farmers the opportunity to showcase their product to a national audience and it was one that they simply couldn’t overlook.

  • By using American Ethanol, NASCAR will demonstrate ethanol’s superior performance not only to the NASCAR audience, but to the broader public as well. 
  • A 15% blend of ethanol uses 50% more homegrown fuel than the current E10 standard blend in the U.S. NASCAR is leading by example by utilizing Sunoco Green E15 race fuel, showing that American ethanol-blended fuel works.
  • NASCAR is going green. And ethanol is the only commercially viable alternative to gasoline. We are honored to partner with NASCAR to show Americans that ethanol is clean, green and homegrown.
  • For the first time ever, starting in 2011 in Daytona, the NASCAR Green Flag will be branded with American Ethanol, representing the continued efforts of NASCAR and its commitment to environmental responsibility.
  • Also premiering in 2011, every lap of every NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be fueled by Sunoco Green E15 -– a fuel that includes 15% renewable American Ethanol, which is produced from corn grown and harvested on family farms across our country.
  • NASCAR fans will see the same great racing they have come to expect, but powered with a new, greener fuel.

What’s interesting and even more powerful is that while American Ethanol and NASCAR talk about E15 on a national stage, Illinois Corn continues to support the movement here at home with a partnership with Kenny Wallace and an opportunity for you to become part of the Family Farmers High Performance Team on June 4. 

The two programs are separate, but integrated.  One is introducing ethanol as a green, clean, homegrown fuel to audiences in the south and on the coasts that Midwestern farmers struggled to reach, while the other teaches about the family farmers behind that ethanol.

Watch and learn more!

FARMING IS IN HIS BLOOD

Bill Christ farms in Metamora, IL.  He lives on the farm his wife’s family settled in the 1800’s and raises cattle, corn, and grapes on the farm his family settled when they arrived in IL.  This is his grandparent’s house and where he still chooses to spend many of his weekends.

Bill showed us around his farm yesterday and I was literally moved to tears at the history, the stories, and the legacy he lives out with his wife and two children.

Learn more about Bill in the coming weeks right here on Corn Corps …

THANK YOU, IL CORN BOARD MEMBERS!

Some people may not realize this, but both the Illinois Corn Growers Association Board of Directors and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board of Directors are composed of volunteers.

Our farmers are investing in the future of their business and ensuring there is a business climate that promotes agriculture by volunteering on our boards.  They are leaving behind their farms, their livestock, their wives and families to spend countless days per year together working for the benefit of corn farmers everywhere.

They are not paid by a company for the time they spend with us, because they have no company to be paid by.  They are just themselves, small business men who chose both a business and a lifestyle, and when they come to the Illinois Corn home office for a meeting they leave behind cows to feed, machinery to fix, and marketing decisions to be made.

Some of them come knowing very little about international markets, how crop insurance really works, or what’s going on in Washington, DC.  But they learn.  They sign up to have their inboxes filled with emails and to spend countless nights reading reports and fact sheets about these and hundreds of other topics.

Our board members see the future of their industry and make decisions that they feel will make it better.  They develop comraderie because it’s a tough business with gambles to be made, but they leave the office knowing they have just made the best decisions they could for their children and grandchildren.

ICMB and ICGA board members are volunteers and on this Volunteer Recognition Day, I want to let them all know how much we appreciate them.  They are full of enthusiasm and spunk, they offer friendship when warranted, and they understand how to get down to business.  We understand their sacrifice and we appreciate every minute they give to the industry we are trying to serve.

I love corn farmers.

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director