NASCAR HAS DRIVEN 6 MILLION MILES ON E15 FUEL

NASCAR Has Driven 6 Million Miles on E15 Fuel

NASCAR 6 million milesFor more than three years, NASCAR has run on a race fuel blended with 15 percent American Ethanol, Sunoco Green E15. Last Sunday at the Brickyard in Indianapolis, one of the world’s most historically significant tracks, NASCAR reached a fittingly historic milestone — 6 million miles of competitive racing on the biofuel.

The 6-million mile mark is especially significant because it mirrors the 6 million miles of testing conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy to initially approve E15 for use in all light duty cars and trucks, model year 2001 and newer. When this milestone is reached, E15 will have been proven as a high performance fuel on both the road and the track. With another 6 million miles of NASCAR real-world racing under its belt, E15 will be definitively established as a reliable, dependable and safe fuel that is environmentally friendly, high performance and a less expensive option for consumers.

In 2011, NASCAR and American Ethanol partnered to bring E15 to the sport. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, Sunoco Green E15 has fueled every car and every truck in each of NASCAR’s national race series. The introduction of Sunoco Green E15 has been a pivotal part of the NASCAR Green initiative, and has successfully increased horsepower and decreased emissions for the sport.

“NASCAR conducted an exhaustive analysis before making the seamless transition to Sunoco Green E15, a race fuel blended with 15 percent American Ethanol,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “As we eclipse 6 million tough competition miles across our three national series, we can definitively say this renewable fuel stands up to our rigorous racing conditions while significantly reducing our impact on the environment. We are proud to celebrate this milestone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with our partners at the National Corn Growers Association and Growth Energy.”

GRILLED GUAC WITH SWEET CORN … YUM!

Sgrilled guacweet corn is ready and coming out of fields and gardens in bucketfuls!  We had sweet corn twice last week, but I think this week, I’m trying this grilled avocado guacamole with sweet corn.  Sounds just yum!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • Juice of 1 lime, divided
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat grill to medium high heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together corn oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic powder and paprika.
  • Brush avocados, cut sides up, with corn oil mixture and add to grill, cut sides down. Cook until lightly browned and grill marks appear, about 3-4 minutes; let cool.
  • In a small bowl, gently mash avocados using a potato masher. Add corn, red onion, goat cheese, cilantro, remaining lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately.

LIFE LESSONS FROM THE CATTLE BARN

The McLean County Fair starts this week, and I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic about the whole thing. Like most other farm kids, I was in 4-H and spent a good chunk of my summers living at those county fairs where I showed cattle. Corn dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, tractor pulls, rigging up hammocks in the cattle chutes for an afternoon nap, being equally as intrigued by the city folks walking through the cattle barn as they were by the cattle themselves… gotta love it! While my friends were busy sleeping until noon and spending the rest of the day in the pool, we were living it up in the beef barn at the county fairs! But I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
227302_1017763249277_5428_nYou can learn so many life lessons from those kinds of experiences. For one thing, no one can teach you respect like a 1,400 lb steer. If the sheer size and strength of that animal isn’t motivation to pay attention and have respect, I don’t know what is! You also learn about responsibility. If you think you are eating breakfast before those cattle are fed, washed and watered… think again. You can eat as soon as those animals are taken care of and content in their stalls.

One of the greatest lessons I learned through the 4-H shows, however, is selflessness. You see, livestock shows can be ruthless just like any other competition. But, at least in my experience, that is what you see at the open shows where anyone and everyone can enter into the competition. The 4-H fairs are different. Each and every one of the kids in the show ring has worked hard to train, feed and groom their animal properly. Some of the kids in the show ring are more experienced than others, but regardless, everyone is learning. At a 4-H fair, I rarely saw an exhibitor or parent hesitate to help someone else with their animal. Whether it be grooming tips, helping with water buckets, or getting a rowdy animal under control, everyone steps in to help those who need it.

These lessons are, of course, relevant in the cattle barn at the county fairs. But they also extend to every other aspect of life. There will always be a need for respect and responsibility no matter what profession those kids choose to be in. And even beyond the workplace, there will always be people who need a helping hand. So many people these days would choose to look the other way; they only help others if they see some sort of personal gain. So often, though, it is people like all those 4-H kids I grew up with that are the ones to step in and help without a second thought.

There are so many different ways to grow up and spend your summer vacations, and I don’t think any of them are wrong. Heck, on those hot summer days I was so jealous of my friends playing video games in the air conditioning & swimming in their pools! But looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I loved those smelly, dusty, sweaty cattle barns… and I learned so many things that some of my peers still haven’t figured out. So I hope all those 4-H kids are going to enjoy themselves at the fair this week! Because I miss it like crazy!

rsandersonRosalie Sanderson
Membership Administrative Assistant

WALKING BEANS – NOW JUST A MOMENT IN HISTORY

walking beansA belated Throwback Thursday to a time when walking beans was what every farm family did from 6 am til noon in the month of July.

Before genetically modified soybeans came on the market, farmers would plow in between the rows to keep the weeds down.  Then, when the soybeans got big enough that the plow couldn’t get through, families would walk the rows with a weed hook, pulling weeds from the field.

Your pant legs would be soaked through from the dew on the leaves.  Your back and neck would be sunburned from the direct sun.  You would ache after a week of this sort of work and you’d know that you had several more weeks in store.

But the laughs and the conversation made the trip *almost* worth it.

INNOVATION IS GROWING IN THE FIELDS OF ILLINOIS

The Corn Farmers Coalition is an alliance of family corn farmers from across the United States and represents tens of thousands of dues-paying farmers.

The coalition formed in 2008 to educate policy-makers in Washington about how tech-savvy, innovative farmers are growing more corn every year – for food, animal feed, ethanol and exports.

Now in our sixth year, we can’t wait to share a story of increased technological advances, close-knit family farms, and growing more with less.

Hope you enjoy this short video that shares some of our favorite modern accomplishments!

To read more about our efforts this year, click here!

WOULD YOU PAY YOUR BOSS $6,000 TO WORK FOR ONE WEEK?

dollarsCan you imaging paying your boss around $6,000 for the opportunity to work this week?  Getting no benefits?  No paycheck?  No time off or contribution to your 401K?  That’s what farmers are doing this year …

Corn prices are right now below the cost of production.

It’s one thing to say that, and another to understand what it really means.

First, you have to realize that every farm is a small business and every farmer will opt to run his farm a different way.  Some will own their land, others will rent it, and others will crop share with their landowners.  Some farmers will get rain or drought or disease on their farms and others won’t.  For every farmer and for every farm, the production practices and input costs can vary SIGNIFICANTLY.

Still, understanding that, we can make a few assumptions.  An average cash rent price per acre is $350.  Average production costs per acre are around $500 (this includes fuel, seed, fertilizers, etc).  We can assume that for many farmers, they paid around $850 per acre to put a crop in the ground and get it to grow.

Corn prices today are around $3.50 per bushel.  A reasonable Illinois average is 180 bushels per acre so we can calculate out that a farmer could make $630 per acre if he sold his crop today for cash.

It doesn’t take a mathmetician to figure out that a farmer is losing around $220 per acre on his crop this year.

He is actually paying his farm for the privilege of farming.

Taking that a step further, if an average Illinois farmer is farming 1,500 acres, he’s losing $330,000 this year.  Money that should be going to make payments on tractors and combines.  Money that should be paying for his family’s insurance coverage.  Money that could be buying next year’s seed.

A loss like that puts a gain in previous years in perspective, doesn’t it?  Farmers must save in the good years to cover the bad.  Thus, farmers never really “get rich.”  They just try to make enough to raise their family year after year.

Lindsay MitchellLindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director

FIVE FARMS TO VISIT WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS SUMMER!

By my calculations, there are only six weeks left before school start in Illinois.  Make sure you’re fitting in these fun farm family visits before your summer is over!

 

  1. Ropp Cheese Farm

ropp cheese2676 Ropp Road
Normal, IL 61761
For more information call: (309) 452-3641
http://www.roppcheese.com/contact.html

They won 6 first place, blue ribbons at the Illinois State Fair Dairy and Cheese Competition. Visit their store and try for yourself their prize winning cheeses!

  1. Heartland Lodge

heartland lodgeRR 1 Box 8A
Nebo, IL 62355
For more information call: (800) 717-4868
http://www.heartlandlodge.com/

“This Illinois bed and breakfast & resort has become a national and international attraction, stealing the hearts of guests from across the globe.”

  1. Richardson Farm

richardson farm9407 Richardson Road
Spring Grove, IL 60081
For more information call: (815) 675-9729 http://www.richardsonadventurefarm.com

Home of the largest corn maze in the world with 5 separate maze games winding through 33 acres of live corn!!!

4. Eckert’s Orchards

eckerts20995 Eckert Orchard Rd
Grafton, IL 62037
For more information call: (618) 786-3445
-OR-
951 S. Green Mount Road
Belleville, IL 62220
For more information call: (618) 233-0513
http://www.eckerts.com/

Enjoy fresh tree-ripened Peaches at either The Country Store in Belleville or The Grafton Country Store.

  1. Fair Oaks Farms

fairoaks856 N 600 E
Fair Oaks, IN 47943
For more information call: (219) 394-2025
http://fofarms.com/

Explore the dairy industry by going on The Dairy Adventure or the swine industry by attending The Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms.

ALWAYS ADVOCATING FOR FARMERS

grant and Rodney Davis

IL Corn just returned from Washington, DC where we got to meet with all of our Illinois delegation. Our priorities in Congress right now are protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard, advocating for a User Fee which will speed up new lock and dam delivery, and preventing EPA overreach as they attempt to regulate all the waters in the U.S.

Here, Grant Noland talks to Congressman Rodney Davis, thanking him for his support on our issues.

HSUS CAMPAIGN RETURNS NEGATIVE 78 PERCENT

It’s been quite a while since we’ve checked in with our friends at HumaneWatch.org.  These are the folks who are holding the Humane Society of the U.S. accountable for their actions – and their actions are largely fundraising for “helping animals” and then using that money to renovate the homes of their execs or lobby to prevent farmers from raising livestock.

This story is a doozy.  The summary?  A recent fundraising campaign spent around $407,000 to raise around $229,000 for helping animals.  That means that other money raised at a different time to help animals actually had to help pay for the campaign.  Is this for real?

HSUS_money_drainRead the story for yourself …

The Humane Society of the United States has gotten poor marks from charity watchdogs for its use of donor money, and one recent telemarketing campaign shows why. In a final accounting filed by HSUS telemarketing firm Donor Care Center, a fundraising campaign that raised over $200,000 from people who thought they were helping animals had a net return of negative 78 percent over the past year.

According to filings with the North Carolina Secretary of State, DCC raised $229,325 but incurred expenses of $407,774—meaning the HSUS telemarketing campaign, which ran from March 2013 to March 2014, had a net loss of $178,449. In other words, every single penny raised in this campaign to “help animals” went into the pockets of a telemarketing company. Not only that, but other money that could have been used to help animals had to cover the expenses of the campaign.

According to the DCC script, potential donors would be told that “It is our best estimate that The HSUS will receive at least 50% of the funds raised on this campaign.” 50 percent? Not even close.

And according to the script, the campaign was designed to get donors to send letters to their friends encouraging them to donate to HSUS. Ironically, this campaign is called “Friends Helping Animals Now”—but would their money help animals “now,” or simply fund more telemarketing calls?

According to CharityWatch, HSUS spends up to 45 percent of its budget on overhead. The animal-rights newspaper Animal People has put it even higher, at 55 percent. Either way, it’s fair to say that if you’re a donor to HSUS, a lot of your money that could be “saving animals”—as you’re promised—is simply padding bank accounts.

But hey, the owners of telemarketing companies are animals, too. Won’t you help them buy a bigger house? That’s what HSUS is doing.

For even more fun, don’t forget to register to win your vacation to the Cayman Islands with Humane Watch!

HW_survey_header_v2

FUN WAYS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT AGRICULTURE

Whether you are a homeschooling mom or just interested in teaching your kids SOMETHING over the summer, here are a few great ways to think about teaching agriculture to your kids!

father & sonANSWER THE BIG QUESTIONS

Who? What? When? Where? How? WHY?  There are some really incredible agriculture facts that you can share with your kids. But do they really mean anything if they’re unable to relate to it? Kids may asking “Well what does this have to do with me?” You can answer. “Quite a lot!” Farmers grow crops and livestock all across the country to feed their families, your families, our country, and even the world. And that’s just the start!

DIG DEEPER

So you’ve shared some fun and interesting facts, you’ve answered the “big questions”, and now…. You can tie it all together. Agriculture is so much more than farming! From transportation to accounting, agricultural engineers to food processing, veterinarians to research scientists. Dig deeper with your students to find out how agriculture affects other industries, and how other industries can affect agriculture. The Tassel to Table Activity  from Illinois Corn is just one way to show how agriculture is much more than farming.

GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY

That’s right! There are all kinds of hands on activities, that you and your kids can do to learn more about agriculture. This is a fun way to further explain topics, get the kids involved, and it can often double as snack time.

TAKE A TRIP

Verbal lessons and hands on activities can be fun, but seeing agriculture first hand is almost unbeatable. This could be as simple as taking a virtual farm tour , or maybe you could talk to a local farmer. If you’re up for an adventure you could even check out Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, IN.

WHAT ABOUT ME

Your kids will have learned so much about agriculture and its importance. Encourage them to take what they’ve learned and tell other people! If you’re a teacher, encourage them to tell their families at home. If you’re a parent doing these things at home, encourage your kids to tell their friends, their teachers, and other family members.  Even after your lesson is over, make connections from everyday life to agriculture. They’re everywhere! As kids grow older and begin to think about careers, remind them that agriculture has careers for everyone!

HAPPY (AG)EDUCATING!

Abby Marten
2014 IL Corn Summer Ag Education Inter