Tricia Braid

Oct 20, 2009  |  Today's News |  ICMB |  Public Outreach

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - A partnership between Illinois corn farmers and the Normal CornBelters has yielded a name for the state’s newest entertainment and sports venue: “The Corn Crib.”

In the multi-year naming rights agreement reached between the Normal CornBelters and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB), the organizations determined that a name that has both agricultural and pop-culture connotations would be the most appropriate.  Today’s younger generation knows the term “crib” to mean a home, or place of residence.  To older generations, a “crib” is a barn-like structure that housed ears of corn on the farm after harvest.

“The opportunity to partner with the Normal CornBelters couldn’t have come at a better time for Illinois farmers,” said Jim Rapp, ICMB chairman.  “The gap in understanding between the farm and the fork, however unfortunate, has rarely been problematic for farmers until recently.  As special interests, fancy movies and glossy articles hit pop culture and mainstream media, and then land inside the DC beltway, farmers find themselves suddenly feeling the need to correct a host of misunderstandings.”

The soon to be constructed ballpark, now known as “The Corn Crib” serves as a physical and figurative representation of this gap in understanding between farmers and their non-farm neighbors.

“Within those misunderstandings and gap in knowledge lies a huge opportunity,” said Donna Jeschke, a farmer from Mazon.  “A corn crib has certain significance within the agricultural community, while these days to most people the term ‘crib’ might mean your home.  We’re excited that this ‘crib’ will serve as the CornBelters home while at the same time showcasing information about corn and family farmers. We’re already in your communities and corn products are all around. We need to work on being more visible.”

CornBelters President Steve Malliet commented, “We feel this name and logo of the stadium will give the community, region and state a renewed understanding of how agriculture plays a quiet but essential role in their daily lives.”

The ICMB serves the interests of and is accountable to the interests of Illinois corn farmers.  Its effective coordination of research, education, public relations and market development programs is a continuing success story.