CHICAGO MOMS LEARNING FROM FARM VISITS

Tricia Braid

May, 29, 2013  |  Today's News

It’s been a couple weeks since about 20 influential moms from the Chicagoland area visited the farm of Paul and Donna Jeschke. They haven’t forgotten the experience, and research funded in part by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board with corn checkoff dollars shows that they probably never will! Just one farm visit can influence someone’s opinions of farmers and farming for the rest of their life. What did these moms learn? 

Donna and Donna Jeschke are from Mazon, Illinois, where they farm with Donna’s family. Donna is a past chairwoman and board member of the ICMB and Paul has been recently elected to serve ICMB, as well. They volunteered to host Chicago moms as part of the Illinois Farm Families program.

Questions that day had a couple common themes: chemical use and GMOs. Each mom is asked to write a summary of her experience. Here are some examples:

“Farmers work with numerous groups to get the best crops for their farms. Sometimes they purchase seeds from as many as numerous different companies-they stated that you don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket just like investing.”

“Did you know there two types of corn? The one we chomp on is known as sweet corn which is only a small portion of what is planted. The larger crop of corn is actually field corn. Field corn can be found in corn flakes, corn meal, feed for animals and ethanol. Just like tomatoes, there are several varieties based on the needs of the farmer.”

“Another part of the GMO/non-GMO debate is the fact that when seedlings are not created to withstand certain bugs, then farmers are forced to use more chemicals and the like to counteract attacks. The methodology then becomes a trade-off. Crops made with GMOs designed to withstand the bugs or crops without GMOs that require some additional chemicals to grow. I also thought it was an interested perspective from Paul when he said that he used GMOs in part because it meant he and his family were no longer directly exposed all the time to the harmful chemicals designed to help the crops be sustainable.”

“It would seem that both GMO and non-GMO corn has its pros and cons. I don't have a problem with consuming GMO products. With GMO products the farmer uses less pesticide and/or herbicide, less diesel fuel that would be used to apply it and is an exact application of the pest control.”