Lindsay Mitchell

May 17, 2013  |  Today's News

You probably already know that Illinois Corn and our counterparts for other commodities are diligently working to reintroduce modern farmers to the non-farming public. Through programs like Illinois Farm Families, we are offering virtual farming experiences to urban customers, which is a very important link to help them feel more comfortable about their food and how it is grown.

This weekend, we will go above and beyond virtual tours, by offering the Illinois Farm Families “ Chicago Moms” a chance to explore corn planting at Paul and Donna Jeschke’s farm in Mazon.

Non-farmers who are concerned about their food have questions about how crops are grown. They want to understand things like fertilizer applications, chemical selections, genetically modified crops, and preserving soil and water. Paul and Donna Jeschke will answer those questions, and probably a ton of others, as they host 20 moms from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs on their farm.

Following these sorts of visits to a real farm, with real farmers, where moms can receive real answers, we get these sorts of real reactions:

“I was surprised at how small of an amount (fertilizer chemicals) is being used. It one example given, it was 45 gallons dispersed per acre. After doing all the math, it comes out to 0.134 oz per square foot. Literally, it is one tenth of an aounce being distributed via a fine spray. It definitely contradicted my assumption of mass amounts of chemicals being applied,” said Amy Hansmann of River Forrest, Illinois.

“When you ship the corn out to the ethanol plant, you ship 56 lbs. of corn and get 30 lbs. back in useable feed components for the cattle. Not much lost in producing ethanol. My mind was changed or at least better educated on ethanol!” said Jennifer Weiss of Chicago, Illinois.

Clearly the program is making a difference in the lives of the moms that have visited our Illinois farms. And the moms were chosen because of their opportunities to share information with peers so we understand that the program is affecting all the urbanites in each mom’s sphere as well.

To learn more about the Illinois Farm Families program and see your checkoff dollars at work, visit You might also consider paying special attention to Donna Jeschke’s “ Field Mom Acre” where she is growing an acre of corn online for non-farmers to watch and learn.

To learn a little more about Donna, watch this video: