Foundation Connection

Growing Minds From the Ground Up!

In This Issue:

  • Trivia Night
  • Howl at the Moon
  • Summer Internship
  • Scholarships
  • SAVE THE DATE: Farm Camp & Junior Vet University
  • Ag in the Classroom Update
  • IAA Foundation: Truck Driving Scholarships Available
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Trivia Night Registration

Sign up early for your table at Trivia Night. This year's theme, "Game Night," will test your knowledge of everything games - board, video, sports, game shows and more!


Contact Matt Lillpop at Farm Bureau: | 815-441-8572
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Purchase tickets to attend Howl at the Moon on Friday, March 3, 2023


Purchase tickets to attend Howl at the Moon on Saturday, March 4, 2023

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Agriculture in the Classroom Update

The Gift of Agriculture Education

If you are reading this article, you probably care about agriculture. But do you talk about it? When agriculture is our livelihood, we know that the world depends on us daily for food, fiber and fuel. But do you talk about agriculture? We are surrounded by people who do not understand agriculture. Our friends, our neighbors, our extended family … do we talk with them about even the very basics of agriculture?

During the next few months, we gather with friends and family to celebrate holidays, welcome the new year and to cheer on our favorite football teams. Agriculture is central to those gatherings, but we never really talk about it. As a part of the agriculture community, make education a casual part of your conversation. Here are some fun facts to spur the conversation (and to subtly teach our friends and neighbors about the importance of today’s agriculture).

Illinois is the #1 producer of pumpkins. That’s right – without Illinois farmers, the entire United States would be without pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes. Somewhere around 95% of the canned pumpkin in the entire US, was grown on a farm right here in Illinois.

Field corn vs. sweet corn vs. popcorn vs. decorative corn – we can’t share the message enough that each type of corn has a distinct difference and purpose. Sweet corn, the vegetable we eat, is just one type of corn that is harvested in the summer, before the plant is mature. All of that brown corn is not “dead plants that are wasted,” but is field corn that is harvested when the plant has matured and is at the end of its life cycle. There are many people who have no idea what that corn is or why it has been left in the field to die. Field corn is one of Illinois’ major crops and is used mostly for fuel (ethanol) and feed for livestock but is also used for its starch and can even be made into a sweetener for our food.

Words matter – use words that are important to agriculture. As you’re driving, especially with kids, point out what you see. Make it a game to find different words that represent agriculture – field, combine, acre, soybean, field corn, dairy cow, beef cow, fence, barge, silo, barn, machine shed, tractor, Mississippi river. It’s important that we are all able to recognize different aspects of today’s agriculture and it’s even better if we know the purpose and importance of each.

When you bundle up to keep warm this winter or dress in your favorite game day jersey, you’re depending on a cotton farmer. When you’re enjoying a cup of hot cocoa, thank a dairy farmer, a sugar beet or sugar cane and a cacao farmer. When you’re watching the big game, the football or basketball is made from the leather from a cow. Agriculture is all around us. Now, it is our job to be sure that everyone around us also understands today’s agriculture.


Truck drivers are critical for transporting farm commodities, inputs and food throughout Illinois and the nation. The IAA Foundation is pleased to administer the Driving Agriculture Forward Scholarship to help offset the cost of needed commercial truck driver training and ensure more well-trained, safe drivers are available.

“We are pleased to diversify the types of scholarships available through our program,” said Jennifer Smith, Development Manager, IAA Foundation. “We are encouraged by the insightfulness of donors who choose to support all facets of agriculture.”

In late 2021, the Illinois Farm Bureau committed to funding the Driving Agriculture Forward Scholarship. This donor agreement will continue for the next five years.

Applicants enrolled, or planning to enroll, in a commercial driver training program at an Illinois Community College are encouraged to apply. Five $1,000 scholarships will be awarded every three months and are based on the Illinois Farm Bureau region where the applicant resides.

All applicants must be Illinois residents and must provide proof of enrollment in during the corresponding award cycle. Additionally, an endorsement is required from a farmer, County Farm Bureau leader, agribusiness, or food processing business.

Full eligibility guidelines and the link to apply is available on the Foundation website,

For more information, contact your County Farm Bureau, the IAA Foundation at

309-557-2232, or e-mail Jennifer Smith at

The mission of the IAA Foundation, Illinois Farm Bureau’s charitable arm, is to fund education, research, and charitable activities that benefit Illinois farm families and agriculture.

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Tractor Drive Registration Form