It's a passion for farmers to raise these animals with as much care as they would any animal.

Chicago-area moms are getting a taste of farming with Illinois farmers Donna. The moms are following the growth of an acre of soybeans and an acre of corn at Donna's farm. Feel free to follow along with your family or students! Featured Video

Watch soybean and corn crops grow with us

If you garden, you know how one pest or weed can ruin your healthy, growing produce, and how Mother Nature can determine the final outcome of your tomatoes, green peppers and carrots. All that work and all those important decisions can be gone with the wind (or hail, or bugs) in no time at all. Now, multiply your garden thousands of times over, like a farmer who grows acres of corn and soybeans – acres that grow food for all our families.  


For the third consecutive year, Field Moms will take part in growing an acre of soybeans and an acre of corn. Moms will follow along with the crops’ growth and hear how our host farmers, Donna and Paul Jeschke, make decisions about caring for the acres. Moms will learn when and why pesticides are used, and how the weather is affecting crop performance and potential yields. As in years past, profits from the Field Moms’ corn and soybean acres will be donated to a local food pantry.   


Check back for videos, photos and updates throughout the season. Or, subscribe to the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen RSS feed to get updates directly. Stay up-to-date with the Field Moms through Facebook –  photos are posted after each tour, or read their blogs here.

Perspectives

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Mazon, IL

Full Profile

About our family

I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

About our food

As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

About our farm

Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

Donna & Paul on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

The best thing about being a farmer

Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


From the Acre

November 12, 2014 - Hi again! We have been truly blessed with another great harvest! We set a new record on our soybean yields of 68 bushels per acre. And, our corn yields will match last year's record yield of over 200 bushels per acre. 

We finished harvesting Monday, November 3. Now we focus on soil testing, applying fall fertilizer, chisel plowing corn fields that will return to corn in 2015, and purchasing inputs (such as seed) for the 2015 crop. Paul just began applying nitrogen to some of the bean fields that will be planted to corn next spring. All living things need nitrogen to grow and corn is no exception. We are also applying other nutrients to the fields based upon the results of the field soil tests. Crops remove nutrients from the soil as they grow. Being a steward of the soil means that we must replace these nutrients regularly. 

Marketing or selling our crop is another crucial activity. Usually the price for corn and soybeans is lowest during the harvest season. But, the Chicago Board of Trade, together with our local grain buyers, allow farmers the opportunity to begin marketing a crop before it is planted. Simply, we look at our cost of producing a bushel of soybeans or corn. When the price reaches or is greater than our cost of production, we begin selling. Because of the bountiful harvest across the Midwest, prices are currently just at or below the cost of production. Therefore, you can see that the opportunity to spread out the marketing of the crops is a very important part to having a sustainable family farm. Thank you for being a Field Mom. You are always welcome to come by for a visit.

Also, on November 11, the Field Moms donated 1,000 pounds of ground pork to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. 

Helping grandma with fall yard cleanup!When soil temperatures are below 50 degrees, we begin applying nitrogen fertilizer to some of the bean acres that will become corn fields next spring.Although we began selling our 2014 crops last year, we watch the grain markets daily to determine when to make additional sales.Field Moms donate 1,000 pounds of pork to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
Field Moms donate 1,000 pounds of pork to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.Field Moms donate 1,000 pounds of pork to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.Field Moms donate 1,000 pounds of pork to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Mazon, IL

Full Profile

About our family

I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

About our food

As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

About our farm

Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

Donna & Paul on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

The best thing about being a farmer

Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


From the Acre

October 9, 2014 - On Monday, September 22nd the 2014 harvest began on our farm. The first corn field we harvested was the Mom's Acre. The Mom's Acre is part of a 25-acre field by our house. It was the corn field you observed when you visited the farm in May. The field averaged 225 bushels per acre. That is 15 bushel per acre better than the average of our total corn acres last year. So, we are off to a great start! In one week we have harvested about 25 percent of our corn crop.

This week we began combining our soybeans. The beans on the Mom's Acre are not ready to harvest yet, but we were able to harvest the beans in the adjacent field. In the pictures you see the auger cart and tractor in the  foreground. The tractor driver waits for the combine driver to signal him when the combine tank is full of harvested beans. Then the tractor travels along side of the combine as the harvested soybeans are dumped into the auger cart. After that, the tractor and auger cart head to the waiting truck. The truck driver will then take the beans to a bin to be stored on the farm or to a grain elevator if the beans are sold. The beans we harvested today are all sold. Therefore, the truck driver delivered all the beans harvested this week to one of the local elevators. The soybean yields are also very good this year. So far the beans are yielding around 70 bushels per acre which is 10 bushel per acre better than our best beans in 2013. My final picture shows our 3-year-old granddaughter riding in the combine with Paul. From inside the cab you get a great view of all the action. In the November newsletter we will discuss the economics of yield and price. We will also calculate the profit you Moms made on your acre of corn and your acre of beans! Looking forward to visiting again soon!

Harvesting the Field Moms' Acre of cornAuger cart and tractorHarvested soybeans are dumped into the truck.Our 3-year-old granddaughter riding in the combine with Paul.

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Mazon, IL

Full Profile

About our family

I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

About our food

As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

About our farm

Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

Donna & Paul on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

The best thing about being a farmer

Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


From the Acre

September 9, 2014 - The past month has been full of activities. I drove to Indiana with friends to get blueberries to freeze for winter, spent a day with college friends at Miss Effie's in Donahue, IA, and hosted a group of farmers from Argentina. With the help of some very good neighbors and a one-row picker we harvested over 80,000 ears of sweet corn for the Chicago Food Depository last week. Also, Paul has been working on the machinery to prepare it for the busy corn and soybean harvest season ahead. Here you see Paul making final adjustments on our 8-row corn head in the farm shop.

In August we have had almost 8 inches of rain. That means we are looking forward to harvesting a bumper crop of soybeans and corn. We expect to begin corn harvest in September. We broke an ear of corn in half to show you where the "milk line" is. The location of the milk line tells us how close to physiological maturity the corn kernels are. When this line moves down to the tip of the kernel, it means that the kernel is mature and no more nutrients can enter the kernel. At this point, the corn contains about 32-35% water. Good warm September weather will cause the kernels to lose about .75% of water per day. We will begin harvest when the corn is about 25% water. The soybeans are still growing. The plants are a healthy green color and pods are filling. Soybean harvest will begin for us in October. Our next update will include pictures of combining and a report on just how well the Moms' Acres yielded!

The Field Moms' soybeans continue to grow.The milk line in an ear of corn.Paul working on machinery for harvest season.Friends and neighbors helped harvest our 3-acre sweet corn patch. Monsanto's Grow It Forward Program donated the seed, which resulted in more than 80,000 ears of sweet corn.
All of the sweet corn we harvested was donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Mazon, IL

Full Profile

About our family

I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

About our food

As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

About our farm

Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

Donna & Paul on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

The best thing about being a farmer

Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


From the Acre

August 15, 2014 - The State Fair, back-to-school shopping trips, and high school football practice all mean it's August in Illinois! On the farm we are getting the combines and other equipment ready for harvest which should begin in six weeks. The corn has all pollinated. This week we did some yield estimates on the corn by counting kernels on randomly selected ears from the plants. If we continue to get adequate rain and moderate temperatures, it looks like we could have excellent corn yields. The soybeans are flowering and setting pods. The bean fields are looking good but they need the August rains to reach their full potential. We are still "scouting" fields for insects and diseases. In the soybeans we have noticed a few Japanese beetles. These are the same beetles that devour the leaves of rose bushes and linden trees. So far the leaf feeding has been minimal so it has not been necessary to apply any insecticide to control the beetles. In addition to the typical farm activities, we will have the opportunity to host folks from China and Argentina in August. Just as Paul and I enjoyed visiting with each of you in May, we look forward to welcoming new friends, sharing information and learning about farming around the globe.

Paul checks corn for pollination and kernel development.Here you can see the soybean pods as they begin to grow. Each pod contains three soybeans.We continue to scout fields for pests. This Japanese beetle is feeding on the soybean leaves.
Each purple flower is a potential soybean pod.

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Mazon, IL

Full Profile

About our family

I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

About our food

As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

About our farm

Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

Donna & Paul on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

The best thing about being a farmer

Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


From the Acre
July 14, 2014 - Hi! Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! It has been a very busy month on the farm. Paul has been "scouting" the fields for weeds, diseases and insects that compete with the rapidly growing corn and soybeans. Corn planting was delayed this spring, but almost perfect growing weather has caused those plants to grow and develop. The corn plants are now ahead of an average year. The soybeans are a bit behind due to late planting, but the forecast for July is looking excellent for the bean crop! The soybeans are glyphosate-resistant so that means Paul could use a product called Roundup to control the weeds while not affecting the soybeans. As we say on the farm, the June/July weather makes the corn crop and the July/August weather makes the bean crop. We have finished applying herbicides where needed in the corn and soybean fields on July 5th. You can see a wilted weed in one of the soybean pictures. Many of you have probably seen Roundup in your local hardware store or WalMart. You may have even used it in your yard. So far we have seen very little disease or insect pressure in the corn and soybean fields, which means Paul has applied no fungicides or insecticides to the fields. He will continue to scout the fields and we will let you know what we find, if anything, in the the Moms' corn and beans. Please let me know if you have any questions about our update. We look forward to continuing our conversation!  Hope everyone gets time for a bit of fun in the sun!

Granddaughter Tess helps Grandpa check on the Moms' corn field on a windy Sunday afternoon. The corn is now between seven and eight feet tall!The beans are growing too! Due to a lot of rain in May and June, the Moms' bean field was our last field planted. But warm weather and sunshine are helping them catch up!The Moms' bean field is no-tilled, which means that the soybeans are planted directly into the standing corn residue from the previous year. No-till planting has many benefits including to help conserve moisture.Just in time for July 4th, tassels (on top of the plants), ears, and silks (on the end of the developing ears) appeared on the Field Moms' Corn!
The warm weather and good rains in June have made pollination conditions excellent for the Moms' acre.



Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Mazon, IL

Full Profile

About our family

I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

About our food

As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

About our farm

Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

Donna & Paul on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

The best thing about being a farmer

Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


From the Acre
June 19, 2014 - Hello, Field Moms! 

Thank you for visiting our farm in May! We especially enjoyed the great questions and discussions throughout the day! Now for a quick crop update. We finished planting beans the first week of June. The Field Moms’ soybean acre was planted on Tuesday, June 3. As you can see in the picture below, the beans are growing quickly due to timely rains and warm temperatures this past week. The beans are no-tilled, which means we planted them directly into the corn stalks from last year’s crop. The corn is also off to a great start! My grandparents used to say that the corn should be knee-high by the Fourth of July to ensure a bountiful harvest. The Field Moms’ corn is already past our knees! Paul is busy “scouting” the fields for  insects and diseases that could damage the young plants, as well as for weeds that could compete with plants for the nutrients and moisture in the soil. We are also delivering the last of our 2013 corn crop to the river elevators in Morris. This past week we had a couple little helpers on the farm for four days! Our granddaughters, ages 3 and 1-1/2, enjoy walking/running along the creek, looking at the corn with Grandpa, and getting on a tractor or two. And they never miss an opportunity to visit the neighbors cows and young calves

Throughout the summer, we will keep you posted on the progress of your corn and bean acres. And, of course, if you have any questions about what we write or about what you saw on your visit, let us know.  We are excited to continue the conversations that began on May 19th!

 

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

Mazon, IL

Full Profile

About our family

I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

About our food

As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

About our farm

Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

Donna & Paul on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

The best thing about being a farmer

Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


From the Acre
Nov. 14, 2013 - Harvest of our Field Moms’ Acre of both corn and soybeans is done and yields this year were amazing! The corn acre was combined September 25 and yielded 223 bushels per acre. The soybeans, harvested on October 9, averaged 60 bushels per acre. 

The corn was sold and delivered to Ingredion, a food ingredients producer located just off the Stephenson Expressway south of Chicago. The beans are being stored on the farm for now and being tested for oil and protein content. Read the “Field Moms’ Acre Recap” to see which corn products you can find in your corn pantry and find out where the beans may travel. 

Profits from the sale of the corn and beans (along with the profits from the pigs) were used to purchase 780 pounds of ground pork which was donated to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Read about the Field Moms’ donation and day volunteering at the food bank. 
A combine harvests the Fields Moms' AcreSoybeans ready for harvestField Moms donate ground pork to the Northern Illinois Food Bank

Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

Lanark, IL

Full Profile

About our family

We’re a fifth-generation Illinois farm family. Currently, three generations work together at Sturtevant Hog Farms. The youngest generation, our sons Bryson and Jaxson, loves to help on the farm. Their favorite part is springtime when we’re prepping and planting the fields. While I (Jen) grew up on a farm, I swore that I wasn’t going to marry a farmer. But, guess what? I followed my heart right back to the life I loved as a child. When Brian and I were married in 1997, we started farming with his father and brother. From helping my mother-in-law with the bookwork, to working with the piglets and helping with the harvest, farming is a group effort and family affair every day!

About our food

We are a wean-to-finish hog farm, which means we raise the young piglets that come to our farm when they are about 3 weeks old. Each year we raise 65,000 hogs. See more about how pigs grow on our farm on the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen page. In addition, we grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 3,150 acres. It’s a good combination for us because we can use manure from the pigs as fertilizer for our crops.

About our farm

We farm in Carroll County in northwest Illinois, about 30 miles from the Mississippi River. We grain farm with my husband’s father, brother, uncle and two cousins. One of our farms has had the family name for 150 years. We have seven full-time employees and five part-time employees, depending on seasonal work. 

Brian & Jen on...

Our farming philosophy

Farming is a chosen lifestyle for our family. We work very hard to provide the best product available to consumers. Our goal is to raise pork and crops that are healthy, nutritious and, most importantly, efficient and safe. We also want to preserve the land we farm so we may pass it down to generations to come. 

The best thing about being a farmer

It is nice to be CEO of a business that you love. As the seasons change, so do the duties on the farm. It is something new and different every day. Plus, the best sight for us is a field of crops that we’ve planted, reaching high into the blue sky, waving in the breeze.

From the Pen
Sept. 25, 2013 — The Field Moms’ Pen pigs reached their market weight of between 270 and 280 pounds, and they went to Farmland in Monmouth, Ill., for processing. Each pig will produce about 200 pounds of meat.

Now we find out if we made a profit. Fortunately, right now the price for pigs is good. You’ll see more about how we figure our costs and profits in the video to the right. And, check out more photos and a simple cost analysis in this PowerPoint:
  • Field Moms' Pen Update Field Moms' Pen Update



  • Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Lanark, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    We’re a fifth-generation Illinois farm family. Currently, three generations work together at Sturtevant Hog Farms. The youngest generation, our sons Bryson and Jaxson, loves to help on the farm. Their favorite part is springtime when we’re prepping and planting the fields. While I (Jen) grew up on a farm, I swore that I wasn’t going to marry a farmer. But, guess what? I followed my heart right back to the life I loved as a child. When Brian and I were married in 1997, we started farming with his father and brother. From helping my mother-in-law with the bookwork, to working with the piglets and helping with the harvest, farming is a group effort and family affair every day!

    About our food

    We are a wean-to-finish hog farm, which means we raise the young piglets that come to our farm when they are about 3 weeks old. Each year we raise 65,000 hogs. See more about how pigs grow on our farm on the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen page. In addition, we grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 3,150 acres. It’s a good combination for us because we can use manure from the pigs as fertilizer for our crops.

    About our farm

    We farm in Carroll County in northwest Illinois, about 30 miles from the Mississippi River. We grain farm with my husband’s father, brother, uncle and two cousins. One of our farms has had the family name for 150 years. We have seven full-time employees and five part-time employees, depending on seasonal work. 

    Brian & Jen on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is a chosen lifestyle for our family. We work very hard to provide the best product available to consumers. Our goal is to raise pork and crops that are healthy, nutritious and, most importantly, efficient and safe. We also want to preserve the land we farm so we may pass it down to generations to come. 

    The best thing about being a farmer

    It is nice to be CEO of a business that you love. As the seasons change, so do the duties on the farm. It is something new and different every day. Plus, the best sight for us is a field of crops that we’ve planted, reaching high into the blue sky, waving in the breeze.

    From the Pen

    July 11, 2013 — The Field Moms’ Pen pigs are still growing! They aren’t quite as cute as they were three months ago. The new video to the right shows how living on the same land as some of our hog buildings allows us to keep a watchful eye our pigs. You will see in the photos below how big the pigs have grown, our manure pit and a wheat field nearly ready for harvest.

    Our sons, Bryson and Jaxson, next to the Field Moms' Pen.Our pigs are fed a balanced, nutritious diet of soybean meal, corn, vitamins and minerals.This healthy pig has gained more than 80 pounds since first arriving at Sturtevant Farms.The manure in this 1.7 million gallon pit will be used to fertilize our fields.
    Bryson and Jaxson in our wheat field. The wheat will be harvested in about two weeks, and then the field can be fertilized with manure from our pit to benefit crops next year.

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Mazon, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

    About our food

    As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

    About our farm

    Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

    Donna & Paul on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

    The best thing about being a farmer

    Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


    From the Acre
    July 10, 2013 — Timely rains, warm temperatures and lots of sunshine all are helping to give our crops the potential for a very good yield come harvest. Everything is growing well, and these photos show just what that looks like! 

    Our decision not to treat for the insect feeding on the young soybeans in late May and early June turned out to be the correct decision. Warmer temperatures and sunshine drove the insects deeper into the soil, and the plants were able to grow quickly.   

    Paul and I hope everyone had a good 4th of July.  Early that week we enjoyed several days with Erin, Stephen and the granddaughters!  On the 4th, we took my 90-year-old Mom and 100-year-old Aunt to my sister's home for a cookout north of Chicago. Hope you enjoyed time with family and friends, as well.
    Knee-high by the 4th of July. Not the Field Moms' Acre! The corn in your field is over 6 feet tall. Paul is standing just where you did when you visited us in May.The beans are about 18 inches tall! Notice you can't see any of the stalk residue from last year's corn crop.If you look closely, you can see a few flowers on the bean plant. Notice how green and healthy the new leaves on the soybean plants are.


    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Lanark, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    We’re a fifth-generation Illinois farm family. Currently, three generations work together at Sturtevant Hog Farms. The youngest generation, our sons Bryson and Jaxson, loves to help on the farm. Their favorite part is springtime when we’re prepping and planting the fields. While I (Jen) grew up on a farm, I swore that I wasn’t going to marry a farmer. But, guess what? I followed my heart right back to the life I loved as a child. When Brian and I were married in 1997, we started farming with his father and brother. From helping my mother-in-law with the bookwork, to working with the piglets and helping with the harvest, farming is a group effort and family affair every day!

    About our food

    We are a wean-to-finish hog farm, which means we raise the young piglets that come to our farm when they are about 3 weeks old. Each year we raise 65,000 hogs. See more about how pigs grow on our farm on the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen page. In addition, we grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 3,150 acres. It’s a good combination for us because we can use manure from the pigs as fertilizer for our crops.

    About our farm

    We farm in Carroll County in northwest Illinois, about 30 miles from the Mississippi River. We grain farm with my husband’s father, brother, uncle and two cousins. One of our farms has had the family name for 150 years. We have seven full-time employees and five part-time employees, depending on seasonal work. 

    Brian & Jen on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is a chosen lifestyle for our family. We work very hard to provide the best product available to consumers. Our goal is to raise pork and crops that are healthy, nutritious and, most importantly, efficient and safe. We also want to preserve the land we farm so we may pass it down to generations to come. 

    The best thing about being a farmer

    It is nice to be CEO of a business that you love. As the seasons change, so do the duties on the farm. It is something new and different every day. Plus, the best sight for us is a field of crops that we’ve planted, reaching high into the blue sky, waving in the breeze.

    From the Pen

    June 19, 2013 -- See the photos below to see how big your pigs are growing! 

    This is the sign that sits outside of the pigs new home, our main farmstead.Your pigs weigh about 80-90 pounds at this point, but they still have plenty of room in their new pen.But sometimes they still like to play together. Pigs will still pile together like they did when they were newborn.

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Mazon, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

    About our food

    As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

    About our farm

    Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

    Donna & Paul on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

    The best thing about being a farmer

    Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


    From the Acre
    June 12, 2013 — In the 3+ weeks since the Field Moms visited our farm, we’ve had lots of rain and cool weather. But last weekend we finally got warmer temperatures and sunshine, and the corn and soybeans that have been planted are growing well. 

    See the crop growth in this PowerPoint. These photos show the progress both the corn and soybeans are making, along with some of the challenges the fields have seen already. Please ask any questions in the comments below.


    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Mazon, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

    About our food

    As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

    About our farm

    Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

    Donna & Paul on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

    The best thing about being a farmer

    Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


    From the Acre
    May 24, 2013 —We’ve made good progress planting the Field Moms’ Acre of corn was planted on May 6, and the Field Moms’ Acre of soybeans was planted on May 9. The corn is emerging, and we expect soybeans to not be too far behind. We enjoyed having the Field Moms see these acres for themselves. You’ll see what they learned on the blog.

     

    We dug up a few germinating soybean seeds with the Field Moms. 
    Ron & Deb Moore Family

    Ron & Deb Moore Family

    Roseville, IL

    Full Profile
     

    About our family

    We married in 1980 (which is how Deb, raised in suburban Chicago, became a farmer). We have three sons: Steve, and twins Mike and Brian.  Steve is a graduate of Butler University, and works and lives in Chicago. Mike is a graduate of Illinois State University and is working in Vernon Hills.  Brian graduated from St. Ambrose University and is  attending graduate school at West Virginia University.

    About our food

    We raise corn and soybeans on 1,000 acres in Warren County. We also have 250 acres of pasture and a cattle building that we use for our feeder cattle (cattle that are typically between the ages of one and two years old).


    About our farm

    Ron realized during his senior year in college that he’d rather be a farmer and work outside producing food for people to eat than work in an office every day. Ron also wanted the opportunity to work with his father and brothers on the family farm. We've been farming for more than 30 years.


     

    Ron & Deb on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Leave the land in better condition than when we first started farming it by increasing productivity while using fewer natural resources. We’re only here for a short time and we must preserve our land for the farmers who will follow in our footsteps.

    The best thing about being a farmer

    We get to work with family, and we had the opportunity to raise our children with rural values and teach them a strong work ethic. We grow and raise food for others while being our own boss. As a bonus, we work with good people in agriculture.

    From a Farmer

    May 13, 2013 — As last year’s host for the Field Moms’ Acre, I helped deliver a donation of more than 150 pounds of fresh pork to the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. Amy Hansmann, one of the 2012 Field Moms, is a volunteer at this pantry, and she (and her son Kyle) joined Ron and I in presenting the donation and filling their freezer. The executive director for the pantry, Michelle Zurakowski, accepted the donation and shared with us how they help local families.

    I look forward to seeing how this year’s pigs, corn and soybeans do!



    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Mazon, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

    About our food

    As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

    About our farm

    Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

    Donna & Paul on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

    The best thing about being a farmer

    Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


    From the Acre

    May 3, 2013 – We (finally) just began planting corn yesterday. We headed to the field at 7:30 a.m., but a little rain shower delayed us for a couple hours. Last year, we began planting corn on April 5 and soybeans on April 23. No two years are the same on the farm! 

    Enjoy these pictures as we start planting and get ready for a visit from the Field Moms in a couple weeks, and please share any questions.

    Grandpa Paul and Tess have been getting the yard all cleaned up for the Chicago Field Moms visit.Grandpa Paul and Tess check the weather to be sure we can get into the field.Checking air pressure on the planter tires before heading to field.The tractor and planter head to field.
    Planting begins -- finally!90-year-old Great Grandma and 7-month-old granddaughter Reagan welcome the Chicago Field Moms, too!

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Lanark, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    We’re a fifth-generation Illinois farm family. Currently, three generations work together at Sturtevant Hog Farms. The youngest generation, our sons Bryson and Jaxson, loves to help on the farm. Their favorite part is springtime when we’re prepping and planting the fields. While I (Jen) grew up on a farm, I swore that I wasn’t going to marry a farmer. But, guess what? I followed my heart right back to the life I loved as a child. When Brian and I were married in 1997, we started farming with his father and brother. From helping my mother-in-law with the bookwork, to working with the piglets and helping with the harvest, farming is a group effort and family affair every day!

    About our food

    We are a wean-to-finish hog farm, which means we raise the young piglets that come to our farm when they are about 3 weeks old. Each year we raise 65,000 hogs. See more about how pigs grow on our farm on the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen page. In addition, we grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 3,150 acres. It’s a good combination for us because we can use manure from the pigs as fertilizer for our crops.

    About our farm

    We farm in Carroll County in northwest Illinois, about 30 miles from the Mississippi River. We grain farm with my husband’s father, brother, uncle and two cousins. One of our farms has had the family name for 150 years. We have seven full-time employees and five part-time employees, depending on seasonal work. 

    Brian & Jen on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is a chosen lifestyle for our family. We work very hard to provide the best product available to consumers. Our goal is to raise pork and crops that are healthy, nutritious and, most importantly, efficient and safe. We also want to preserve the land we farm so we may pass it down to generations to come. 

    The best thing about being a farmer

    It is nice to be CEO of a business that you love. As the seasons change, so do the duties on the farm. It is something new and different every day. Plus, the best sight for us is a field of crops that we’ve planted, reaching high into the blue sky, waving in the breeze.

    From the Pen
    May 2, 2013 — The Field Moms’ Pen pigs are growing quickly! They now weigh between 30 and 40 pounds, and we will soon move them to another building. They eat a lot, so we are glad we finally were able to start planting corn that will eventually feed our pigs. 

    Here are some current pictures of both the pigs and planting. Have more questions? Please ask!
    The pigs in the Field Moms' Pen weigh about 30 to 40 pounds now.They are growing fast!Our pen will be moved to new building in about a week.Planting has started! We are planting our corn crop to feed our pigs.
    This is how we use our iPad.  It is graphing our planting pattern into our fields so we can get the best yields out of our corn crop.

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Lanark, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    We’re a fifth-generation Illinois farm family. Currently, three generations work together at Sturtevant Hog Farms. The youngest generation, our sons Bryson and Jaxson, loves to help on the farm. Their favorite part is springtime when we’re prepping and planting the fields. While I (Jen) grew up on a farm, I swore that I wasn’t going to marry a farmer. But, guess what? I followed my heart right back to the life I loved as a child. When Brian and I were married in 1997, we started farming with his father and brother. From helping my mother-in-law with the bookwork, to working with the piglets and helping with the harvest, farming is a group effort and family affair every day!

    About our food

    We are a wean-to-finish hog farm, which means we raise the young piglets that come to our farm when they are about 3 weeks old. Each year we raise 65,000 hogs. See more about how pigs grow on our farm on the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen page. In addition, we grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 3,150 acres. It’s a good combination for us because we can use manure from the pigs as fertilizer for our crops.

    About our farm

    We farm in Carroll County in northwest Illinois, about 30 miles from the Mississippi River. We grain farm with my husband’s father, brother, uncle and two cousins. One of our farms has had the family name for 150 years. We have seven full-time employees and five part-time employees, depending on seasonal work. 

    Brian & Jen on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is a chosen lifestyle for our family. We work very hard to provide the best product available to consumers. Our goal is to raise pork and crops that are healthy, nutritious and, most importantly, efficient and safe. We also want to preserve the land we farm so we may pass it down to generations to come. 

    The best thing about being a farmer

    It is nice to be CEO of a business that you love. As the seasons change, so do the duties on the farm. It is something new and different every day. Plus, the best sight for us is a field of crops that we’ve planted, reaching high into the blue sky, waving in the breeze.

    From the Pen
    April 23, 2013 — The Field Moms’ Pen pigs have arrived at our farms and settled in. I’ve got some photos from when the arrived, and then from a little over a week later, so you can see how they are growing.

    The videos to the right will give you a good idea of how the young pigs behave, how we feed them, and the work that goes into making sure they are healthy and comfortable. 

    I’ll continue to keep a close eye on these pigs as they grow, so check back here for updates. In the meantime, please share any questions or comments on this page, and I’ll keep answering your questions.

    See photos from my visit in this PowerPoint: Pig Nursery - Apr. 23, 2013


    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Lanark, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    We’re a fifth-generation Illinois farm family. Currently, three generations work together at Sturtevant Hog Farms. The youngest generation, our sons Bryson and Jaxson, loves to help on the farm. Their favorite part is springtime when we’re prepping and planting the fields. While I (Jen) grew up on a farm, I swore that I wasn’t going to marry a farmer. But, guess what? I followed my heart right back to the life I loved as a child. When Brian and I were married in 1997, we started farming with his father and brother. From helping my mother-in-law with the bookwork, to working with the piglets and helping with the harvest, farming is a group effort and family affair every day!

    About our food

    We are a wean-to-finish hog farm, which means we raise the young piglets that come to our farm when they are about 3 weeks old. Each year we raise 65,000 hogs. See more about how pigs grow on our farm on the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen page. In addition, we grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 3,150 acres. It’s a good combination for us because we can use manure from the pigs as fertilizer for our crops.

    About our farm

    We farm in Carroll County in northwest Illinois, about 30 miles from the Mississippi River. We grain farm with my husband’s father, brother, uncle and two cousins. One of our farms has had the family name for 150 years. We have seven full-time employees and five part-time employees, depending on seasonal work. 

    Brian & Jen on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is a chosen lifestyle for our family. We work very hard to provide the best product available to consumers. Our goal is to raise pork and crops that are healthy, nutritious and, most importantly, efficient and safe. We also want to preserve the land we farm so we may pass it down to generations to come. 

    The best thing about being a farmer

    It is nice to be CEO of a business that you love. As the seasons change, so do the duties on the farm. It is something new and different every day. Plus, the best sight for us is a field of crops that we’ve planted, reaching high into the blue sky, waving in the breeze.

    From the Pen
    April 2, 2013 — The pigs raised on our farm are born at sow farms that care specifically for mother pigs and their newborn piglets. My husband and I recently visited the farm where the Field Moms’ Pen pigs were born, and here are some photos I took and shared with the Field Moms. There are also a few videos from that visit to the left. (Note – I’m not a professional, but you’ll get a feel for what we saw and learned.)

    This was our first visit to this farm, in part because of biosecurity – the need to protect these sows and baby pigs from diseases. We weren’t even about to get out of our car without putting protective coverings on our shoes. And we had to shower before we entered the building. 

    The Field Moms’ Pen pigs will soon arrive on our farm at about 3 weeks old, and I’ll have more photos and videos to share. Please share any questions or comments below. 

    See photos from my visit in this PowerPoint: Farrowing - Apr. 2, 2013
    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Brian & Jen Sturtevant Family

    Lanark, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    We’re a fifth-generation Illinois farm family. Currently, three generations work together at Sturtevant Hog Farms. The youngest generation, our sons Bryson and Jaxson, loves to help on the farm. Their favorite part is springtime when we’re prepping and planting the fields. While I (Jen) grew up on a farm, I swore that I wasn’t going to marry a farmer. But, guess what? I followed my heart right back to the life I loved as a child. When Brian and I were married in 1997, we started farming with his father and brother. From helping my mother-in-law with the bookwork, to working with the piglets and helping with the harvest, farming is a group effort and family affair every day!

    About our food

    We are a wean-to-finish hog farm, which means we raise the young piglets that come to our farm when they are about 3 weeks old. Each year we raise 65,000 hogs. See more about how pigs grow on our farm on the Field Moms’ Acre and Pen page. In addition, we grow corn, soybeans and wheat on 3,150 acres. It’s a good combination for us because we can use manure from the pigs as fertilizer for our crops.

    About our farm

    We farm in Carroll County in northwest Illinois, about 30 miles from the Mississippi River. We grain farm with my husband’s father, brother, uncle and two cousins. One of our farms has had the family name for 150 years. We have seven full-time employees and five part-time employees, depending on seasonal work. 

    Brian & Jen on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is a chosen lifestyle for our family. We work very hard to provide the best product available to consumers. Our goal is to raise pork and crops that are healthy, nutritious and, most importantly, efficient and safe. We also want to preserve the land we farm so we may pass it down to generations to come. 

    The best thing about being a farmer

    It is nice to be CEO of a business that you love. As the seasons change, so do the duties on the farm. It is something new and different every day. Plus, the best sight for us is a field of crops that we’ve planted, reaching high into the blue sky, waving in the breeze.

    From the Pen

    March 12, 2013 — I’m excited to host the Field Moms’ Pen! Although our pigs don’t come to our farm until they are about three weeks old, my husband and I are going to visit the sows that will have the litters for the Field Moms’ Pen. It’s like visiting the maternity ward at the hospital – only a bit more intense. For example, we’ll have to shower before we can go see the moms and their new babies.

    I’ll share more about this visit after we get back. In the meantime, please share any questions below.

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Donna & Paul Jeschke Family

    Mazon, IL

    Full Profile

    About our family

    I met my husband, Paul, at the University of Illinois when we were studying agriculture. Today, we farm together with my brother’s family. Our son, Stephen, is involved in the farm too, but he also has a full-time off-farm job. Stephen, our daughter-in-law Erin, and our two granddaughters live in the Lincoln Park area. Our families have been farmers for generations. My farming ancestors immigrated to Illinois from Germany in the 1840s. Paul’s family started farming in northwestern Illinois in the early 1900s. 

    About our food

    As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a farmer, I am most concerned with feeding my family food that is healthy and nutritious. We are so fortunate to live in a country where food is abundant, safe and, compared to other nations, reasonably priced.

    About our farm

    Our farm is located near Mazon in Grundy County, about 75 miles southwest of Chicago. Our fertile soils grow corn and soybeans. Because of the location of our farm, some of the grain we grow is exported to feed families around the world. Watch our crops grow this season by following the Field Moms' Acre and Pen page

    Donna & Paul on...

    Our farming philosophy

    Farming is our lifestyle and our business. We work diligently to grow the crops that help put food on your family’s table.

    The best thing about being a farmer

    Nurturing the planted seeds throughout the growing season and then harvesting the mature grain in the fall . . . and getting to experience this together with my husband and our family!


    From the Acre

    March 12, 2013 — I look forward to hosting the Field Moms’ Acre this year! The Field Moms will see their field when they visit my farm in May, around planting.

    Even though planting is likely a month or two away, we’ve already been planning. We know what fields will have soybeans and what fields will have corn this season. The Field Moms’ Acre will be part of an 80-acre field near our house. We’ve also chosen the seed we’ll plant and we have a plan to control weeds and bugs that might attack our crops. Do you have questions about the work we’ve already done? Please share them below.

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