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Farm Facts

What’s that Thing? – Ear Tags

Driving past a pasture you see cattle grazing in the distance. You notice that each animal has something colorful hanging from one or both ears. Wait a minute. Do cows wear earrings? Yes—sort of. Cattle and other livestock including goats and sheep commonly wear ear tags. These colorful plastic tags are ...read more

DeKalb County Ag by the Numbers – Plunging Temperatures

There are some records not worth breaking. That’s the case with record low temperatures throughout Illinois this winter. According to the National Weather Service, DeKalb County reached -26° F  in January. This was one degree warmer than the county record of -27° F set in 1985. This winter’s temperatures have made DeKalb County ...read more

BQA: A commitment to food safety

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their market cattle. BQA reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and ...read more

Challenging Year Expected for Farmers

2019 farm incomes could average negative for many farmers if corn and soybean prices remain stagnant. Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois Extension farm management specialist, urges farmers to save up now as he predicts this year will be a challenging one. “For 2019, incomes could average negative for many farms if corn ...read more

Fitbits for Cows?

Some dairy farms are turning to fitness trackers, similar to Fitbits, to monitor cows’ health and wellness. Instead of counting steps and tracking fitness goals, these precision dairy cattle monitoring systems are able to detect when a cow may become ill. The technology can also evaluate cow comfort by monitoring activity, ...read more

Farm & Food Talk – Food Expiration Dates

Most people think the various dates on food packaging refer to when a food will “go bad” or is “spoiled,” but sometimes the dates are simply an indication of quality and not food safety. Clear definitions and guidelines can help people make more informed choices about when to discard food. Key Terms ...read more

What is That? – Corn Cribs

Some of the structures we see in our rural landscape give glimpses into farm practices of the past. Old barns, either repurposed for new uses or falling into disrepair, are one example. Corn cribs are another. Before the invention of combines, corn was harvested by picking the entire ear. After harvest, the ...read more

DeKalb County Ag by the Numbers – Where’s the Beef?

Beef cattle are raised locally in feedlots and on farms. Market cattle are fed in feedlots and sold for meat consumption. Smaller cow-calf herds are raised on farms for breeding, show cattle, and for meat. There are 33,000 beef animals marketed annually in DeKalb County.

The New Farm Bill – A Food Security Program

The 2018 Farm Bill isn't just for farmers. It's for urban, suburban and rural America. About every four to five years a new Farm Bill is adopted. Most think it’s primarily for farmers but in all actuality it impacts more than just two percent of the farm population. The Farm Bill ...read more

DeKalb County Ag by the Numbers – Pine Cones

More Than Décor Pine cones are common household décor this time of year. We tend to call all cones “pine” but they are actually different for every type of evergreen tree… spruce cones, fir cones, etc. The cones grow on evergreens to protect the tree’s seeds within their scaly, wood exterior. ...read more