AG IN THE CLASSROOM INTERN SHARES HER STORY

My name is Danielle Brown, the current Ag in the Classroom intern for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board/Illinois Corn Growers Association.  So far this summer during my internship I have had some of the most rewarding experiences while traveling around the state of Illinois.  I have reached out to over 200 educators around the state, sharing my passion of agriculture and corn production at various summer agriculture institutes.

teachers learning ag in the classroom

As a small town farm kid and student studying Agricultural Leadership Education, I understand the impact the agricultural industry has on our daily lives.  Although many schools do not have agriculture classes, there are ways to incorporate agriculture into classrooms.  I was fortunate to benefit from agricultural classes in my high school, and I love that I am able to share ways for educators to give their students those opportunities as well.

Corn Activities ag in the classroom

I have met some tremendous educators this summer who have been very eager to learn more about the corn industry and agriculture as a whole.  As an intern for IL Corn, my focus of each presentation is giving teachers a brief background of the corn industry, ways we use corn daily, and also where to find corn lessons and activities to use in the classroom.  With this presentation I allow a lot of time for questions from educators.  Common questions thus far relate to high fructose corn syrup, ethanol, and how corn travels from farm to table. Sometimes remarks are not always positive misconceptions, but often teachers are leaving my presentation with positive outlooks on the industry after hearing the facts about each topic presented.

Summer Ag Institute Illinois ag in the classroom

With a passion for teaching and agriculture I have enjoyed the opportunity to share facts and information about the corn industry to educators around the state. Listed below are some links you may find interesting or helpful when teaching an agriculture lesson.  Each website has a variety of agricultural facts, videos, activities, and lessons that can be used to teach about agriculture and corn production.

IL Corn Growers Association/IL Corn Marketing Board – www.ilcorn.org
Illinois Corn Videos- www.youtube.com/user/ilcorn
Illinois Farm Families- www.watchusgrow.org
Illinois Ag in the Classroom- www.agintheclassroom.org
High Fructose Corn Syrup Facts- www.sweetsurprise.com

As the summer continues, I look forward to the educators I will meet around the state.  I am anxious to continue spreading the positive role corn production plays in our state.  I strongly believe that by sharing facts and information about corn and agriculture, people will in return have a better understanding of corn production and its positive impact in our lives.

Danielle BrownDanielle Brown
IL Corn Ag in the Classroom Intern

HUMANITY CAN HANDLE E15

In case you missed it last week, here is the latest video from our office:

This video is the perfect marriage of entertaining and effective. Making E-15 available to consumers at gas stations does not put motorcyclists at a higher risk for misfueling… as long as they can read a label, that is.

But this brings up a far-reaching issue that goes beyond ethanol: accountability. At what point are we all going to take a little responsibility for ourselves? We are living in a world of making $1 million for spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing beer companies for the lack of beautiful women that surround you when you drink their product.

Sooner or later, we are all going to have to be responsible adults who can make a decision based on the information we are given. If we spill hot coffee on ourselves, we put a Band-Aid on it and chalk it up to a bad case of “The Monday’s.” If we pull up to a gas station pump in a car that is not compatible with higher blends of ethanol, we push the button that says “regular unleaded” before fueling.

As consumers, we want choices. We want the option to buy organic or conventionally grown produce at the grocery store. We want the option to buy milk that is 2%, fat free, Vitamin D fortified, or skim. So it is hard for me to understand why people are against making E-15 available at gas stations. It would be an option for those individuals that want it, and the regular unleaded gasoline (which is typically a 10% ethanol blend anyway) is still available to those of you who would prefer that option.

So let’s make E-15 available at all gas stations. “Humanity can handle it.”

ImageRosalie Sanderson

Membership Administrative Assistant ICGA/ICMB

FIELD CORN? SWEET CORN? WHAT!?

CornFieldPicture yourself on a nice cool night driving down the interstate when you get a sudden rumble in your stomach. You’ve just realized that you forgot to eat dinner before you endured on your journey.  However, you are surrounded by cornfields so you’ll just pull over and grab an ear, right?

Wrong.

This corn that you so commonly see if referred to as “field corn.” Field corn is used for livestock feed, ethanol production, manufactured goods and as a food ingredient in the form of corn cereal, corn starch, corn oil and corn syrup.  It is not edible to humans in its current form.  It is also known as “dent corn,” because each kernel has a small dent on the end of it. Field corn accounts for more than 99 percent of the corn acreage in the United States. This corn is the type that you will see in bins or flats and most often stored at grain elevators. As far as the geography of corn goes Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota account for over 50 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. Other major corn growing states are Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky. Also, Corn is produced on every continent of the world with the exception of Antarctica.

sweet corn field cornThe delicious salted buttery corn you are thinking of is most commonly called “sweet corn.” Sweet corn is consumed as a vegetable and makes up less than 1 percent of all corn grown in the U.S. each year. This corn has more of an “about to pop” look to it and is not dented at all. It is usually boiled or grilled and then lathered with butter and salt, and is a notorious Midwestern summer snack.  Sweet corn is said to be most delicious eaten straight off the cob, (which I agree with) but is also cut and bagged or canned a good amount of the time. Over 700,000 acres of sweet corn are grown in the United States each year for both fresh market and for processing. This may seem may seem like a lot of corn but it is less than 1% of all corn grown in the U.S. each year!

As far as the history of corn goes, it is native to the Americas. The earliest known evidence of domesticated corn is 8000 B.C. in what is now the Rio Balsas region of Mexico, grown by ancient Indians. Indirect evidence suggests corn may have been domesticated even earlier, perhaps 10,000 years ago! It makes me happy to know people have been enjoying this scrumptious snack for this long.

Next time you’re driving down the road next to a big open cornfield, remember the difference between what you’re seeing (field corn) and what you’re eating (sweet corn) ..

Happy Eating!

Nick Rumbold
ICMB social media intern

BONUS VIDEO!! – Differences between sweet corn and field corn

MAKE YOUR OWN YOGURT!

June is Dairy Month!

June-Dairy-Month-Bessie[2]Perhaps you could celebrate in your family by making your own yogurt.  This particular blogger claims that she saves around $600 a year on yogurt by making her own!  But even if you aren’t after the significant cost savings, making yogurt at home with your kids can be a really fun way to learn to measure, read a recipe, and (of course) find out more about where milk really comes from.

yogurt

Homemade Yogurt (makes 4 quarts, which will keep for at least a month in the fridge)

For vanilla yogurt directions, see the bottom of the recipe.

Ingredients

1 gallon of milk 1 cup yogurt starter(you can use a small cup of plain Dannon or Yoplait yogurt, or you can use a cup from your previous batch.)

1. Place four quart glass canning jars, four lids, and four screw-tops in a large pot. Fill with an inch of water; cover with lid and heat to boiling. Boil for ten minutes. Leave the lid on the pot and move it off the heat until you are ready to use the jars.

2. Pour one gallon of milk into a large, heavy bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven. Heat the milk to 185-190 degrees Farenheit(90-90 Celcius).

3. Place the pot in a sink filled with cold water and let the milk cool to 120 degrees fahrenheit(50-55 degrees celsius)

4. Stir one cup of yogurt starter into the cooled milk, using a whisk. Stir well to ensure that the starter is thoroughly incorporated into the milk.

5. Pour the milk into jars, and put the lids and bands on. Place them into a cooler.

6. Heat one gallon of water to 120 degrees F(50-55 degrees C) and pour into cooler.

7. Shut cooler lid and leave in a warm place for three hours. When the three hours are up, place the yogurt in the refrigerator.

To make a delicious vanilla version of this yogurt, add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar to the four quarts of milk when it’s cooling in the sink. Then stir in 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla, depending on your preference, and proceed as usual with the recipe.

FLAG DAY ON THE FARM

case tractor flag paint job

We’ve been holding a Flag Day photo contest on IL Corn’s FACEBOOK page and the photo above is the winner! With 65 “likes,” RJ Yearton’s 1933 Farmall F-30 wearing a special decal kit to celebrate 200 years of history for Case IH got the most people talking on FACEBOOK.

farm wedding with flag

Coming in second was Jenny Jackson and her hubby on their wedding day. What a sweet way to celebrate flag day on the farm!

How will you celebrate flag day today?  Start out by “liking” IL Corn on FACEBOOK so you can participate in fun contests like these!

THE 2013 NORMAL CORNBELTERS SEASON IS IN FULL STRIDE!

normal cornbelters logoThe 2013 Normal CornBelters season has officially begun!  Despite dealing with “Mother Nature” at times, we have played all 22 regular-season games scheduled to date, boast a 15-7 record and are averaging just under 2,300 fans per-game at The Corn Crib.  Through the first month of our season, a few things are very apparent…

For starters, I think it is safe to say our 29-67 record from last season is a distant memory!  Although we do have a lot of baseball yet to be played this season, we currently sit atop the Frontier League West Division by a half-game over the Gateway Grizzlies.  Even more impressive, we are 10-3 at home!  Outfielder Romulo Ruiz leads the league with 20 RBI, and shortstop Pat McKenna is tied for the league-lead in home runs with five.  Led by McKenna’s .341 batting average, our team average is .247 (eighth in the Frontier League).  Led by right-handed relief pitcher Alan Oaks’ 0.58 ERA, our team ERA is 3.05 (third in the Frontier League).  It is clear our new coaching staff, along with a talented cast of players, have turned things around on the field!

Besides the team’s fantastic start, it is also evident we have some of the best fans in the Frontier League!  Although the wet weather has forced us to postpone a game (Saturday, May 25), and suspend a game (Saturday, June 1), we have sold over 27,000 tickets for our 12 openings this season (seventh in the Frontier League).  Thanks to the backing of our package ticket holders, we have already far exceeded our full season ticket goal, will soon surpass our mini-plan package goal and expect to achieve our group outing goal before the season comes to an end.  Based on the incredible support we have received so far, it is obvious The Corn Crib is the place to be in Bloomington-Normal this summer!

Our current home stand continues tonight at 7 p.m., as we take on the Washington Wild Things in the second game of a three-game series at The Corn Crib.  It is “Dog Night / Meijer Wednesday / Web Wednesday.”  Gates open at 6 p.m., parking is just $2 per-car and tickets start at only $5 each!  If you cannot make it out to the ballpark tonight, please check out our entire remaining schedule at:  http://www.normalbaseball.com/schedule/.

To purchase tickets, simply visit the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib, or call (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.).  You can also purchase tickets on-line anytime at:  https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/team.asp?SponsorID=4098#.UbjDC_lQFid.

kylekreger

Kyle Kreger
General Manager
Normal CornBelters Professional Baseball Team