Modern agriculture is the victim of many a misconception these days, but among the biggest: we're some kind of corporate conglomerate. In fact, a survey by the Illinois Farm Families coalition revealed that consumers think fewer than half of all Illinois farms are owned by families – just 46%, while consumers guessed 54% were corporate-owned. (Maybe you remember hearing that some even thought the seed corn signs meant the field was owned by Pioneer?! Ha!)
The truth? 95% of the farms in Illinois are owned and run by farmers. This may not be surprising to farmers – because we live it – but the sad truth is, that's new information to a lot of consumers.
So, the plan here is to spend the next month celebrating what's good in Illinois agriculture: 30 Days of Farms & Families. Every day, a new young farm family. Each from Illinois, each with a story to tell. Every day, a family I have gotten to know in my 13 years reporting on Illinois agriculture. A little like last year's Thanks & Giving, but this year: young salt-of-the-earth, hardworking farm families.
They have a story worth telling, and so, for the next month, I'll be telling it here. And if you have non-farm friends to share the link with each day, please do so. Let's spread the word about what's really happening on Illinois farms. Because nobody knows that story better than the farmers of Illinois.