young corn in field
SOIL MANAGEMENT COURSE: Forty high school and community college ag teachers will receive soil evaluation supplies and a comprehensive soil management curriculum from the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.

Quick Take: New soils class, pork donation, canning reminder

WIU and ICMB offer new high school soil management course. Borgic Farms donates 5,000 pounds of pork to Central Illinois Foodbank. Test your pressure canner at local Extension office.

New soil management curriculum for high school ag classes

The Western Illinois University School of Agriculture has partnered with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board to develop a program for high school agriculture classes.

Forty high school and community college ag teachers will receive a Soil Health Bucket with soil evaluation supplies and a comprehensive soil management curriculum. Topics include water filtering and storage, nutrient provision and cycling, and crop residue conversion into soil organic matter.

In June, Joel Gruver, associate professor of agriculture, will present program details at the Soil Health Workshop held during the 2018 Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers Conference in Decatur. Gruver says the long-term project goal is to provide every secondary and postsecondary agriculture program in Illinois with a bucket and to foster a science-informed and youth-led dialogue within agricultural communities about soil health enhancement practices and benefits.

Teachers are encouraged to share their experiences with the new curriculum by using #soilmatters.

Food bank receives 5,000 pounds of pork

The Central Illinois Foodbank received over 5,000 pounds of ground pork from Borgic Farms, owned by Phil and Karen Borgic, at the end of May. The donation will provide over 22,000 meals to people in central and southern Illinois and is part of the Illinois Pork Producers Association’s Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign.  

The Central Illinois Foodbank will distribute ground pork to eight agencies throughout the month of June. Donations will be allocated to the Borgic Grower Partners’ home communities, including Carlinville, Gillespie, Hillsboro, Litchfield, Palmyra, Raymond, Morrisonville and Nokomis.

IPPA launched Pork Power in 2008, and the campaign has generated over 625,000 pounds of pork — enough for nearly 2.4 million meals — for Illinois families.

Time for pressure canner testing

Preserving foods at home by canning is a great way to have fruits, vegetables and meats year-round. A pressure canner is needed to process low-acid foods. Over time, dial gauge calibration on pressure canners can become inaccurate.

“If your pressure canner dial gauges are inaccurate, your foods may not reach the recommended pressure to be safely preserved,” says Caitlin Huth, a University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator.

Testing of dial gauge pressure canner lids and gauges is recommended once a year for safety in the canning and preserving process. Before you start canning, have your pressure canner tested at an Extension office near you. For more information, visit

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