From our farms to your table, all food has a story.

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Smart phones, tablets and even drones are used on farms today

Technology helps farmers care for animals and be better stewards of the land

Farm life in the 21st century:

  • The basics of farming and raising animals haven't changed
  • Technology helps grow more with fewer resources and reduced environmental impact

GPS and high-efficiency engines aren’t just for your car:

  • Our tractors, combines and other equipment are our field offices
  • High-tech equipment helps us keep track of everything from fertilizer to harvest yields
  • GPS helps map our fields to place seeds, steer tractors and accurately fertilize
  • Modern tractors do more with less fuel, minimizing carbon footprint

Perspectives

Betsie Estes

Betsie Estes

Elk Grove Village, IL

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About me

I was raised in the Chicago area, and I'm back after spending eight years in Texas. I'm constantly trying to find new ways to cook things that will be appealing to preschoolers!

About my family

We have two children, 4-year old daughter Sophie, and 3-year old son Daniel. We love to take bike rides, go fishing, travel, and enjoy everything this amazing area has to offer. My husband and I split the cooking duties. Some of our favorite meals are our weekend breakfasts – my biscuits and gravy are to die for!

Why I'm touring farms

I worry about the hormones and antibiotics in food and how those things will affect my children down the road. I also worry about the demise of the family farm and the livelihood of the people who work so hard to keep this country healthy, happy and well-fed. Family farms are such an important part of America's heritage, and they need to be revered and preserved. I think everyone should know how much work goes into getting food from the field to the table.

How I plan my family's meals

There's a lot more planning that comes with being a mom, and especially a working mom! Not only do I have to make sure I'm cooking food my kids will eat and still offering healthy options, I have to plan every single meal well in advance to make sure the preparation will fit into our busy lives.

From a Mom

To think that farmers are able to just plant some seed and reap a profit is such a small part of it. Even the idea of farming being primarily a manual labor field is pretty far from the truth these days. Farmers have to be educated in and stay on top of so many areas - different types of technology, local and national politics, issues surrounding fuel and seed science, business decisions - and then the actual planting, nurturing, and harvesting of the crops themselves.

Janelle Floerke

Janelle Floerke

Orland Park, IL

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About Me

I recently moved to the Chicago area from St. Louis, Mo., with my husband and three children. My parents are farmers, and the farm has been in the family for more than a century. I hope my children appreciate and stay connected to this important part of our family heritage.

Why I'm touring farms

I like to support locally owned grocery stores and buy fresh, in-season food because I worry about too many chemical preservatives. I want to visit Illinois farms to learn new things about farming, and I look forward to sharing what I learn with my family, friends and others.

From a Mom

Farming of yesterday, today and tomorrow is so much more than bringing food to the table of the people of the world. Farmers do more than just put gas in their tractors and pull equipment. There is so much research and follow-up in farming, I honestly do not think people really take the time to understand the time and hard work it takes to be a farmer. The payoff is amazing and I am so thankful for farmers.

Tractors and planters today work together with GPS or computer systems on the tractors. They basically run the tractor for the farmer-they understand the soil so they know how much seed to release in what areas for the best yield. This is very beneficial for the big picture of the outcome and getting the best in the end.

Katie Grossart

Katie Grossart

Chicago, IL

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About Me

I’m a mom to three kids, ages 5, 8 and 10. Our family enjoys the outdoors, hiking, camping, swimming, gardening, composting and traveling. When I learn something new, I like to put it into practice!

Why I'm touring farms

There’s a lot that happens before food reaches our dinner table, and I want to see it firsthand. I want to educate my children about the work that it takes to grow food. I believe the best way to educate people is by developing a love of the subject yourself.

From a Mom

Farming is an amazing world that allows modern day conveniences to intersect with proud traditions at the perfect crossroads. To be a part of a harvest, riding in a combine powered by GPS, is pure magic. I was part of a community, if even for that moment, that I knew nothing about.

Mysi DeSantis

Mysi DeSantis

Crystal Lake, IL

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About Me

I’m a wife and mother of two young boys. We love playing outside and traveling across the country. As a mom who loves to cook, I’m interested in getting back to real food by supporting local farms.

Why I'm touring farms

I have many questions about food and its production. I want to learn more about food safety and pesticides, whether we should purchase organic foods, and the presence of genetically modified ingredients in things we eat.

From a Mom

Even knowing how much technology has developed over the years, I was still surprised by the integrated use of technology on the Jeschke's farm, from GIS, GPS, and even Drones!

Samantha Godden

Samantha Godden

Chicago, IL

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About Me

My family enjoys all sorts of activities; we’ve actually not found much we don’t like to do! My husband, son and daughter are all active, so walking and sports are always a hit. We are also readers and fans of history, so seeing places we’ve read about is awesome.

Why I'm visiting farms

I want to visit Illinois farmers to see what farming life is like. In the 21st century, most people are very removed from growing what they eat. I’m interested to see what a typical day in the life of a farmer looks like.

From a Mom

Illinois farmers do not use horses or oxen to plow, or pull wagons of seeds to plant. They have high-tech tractors and planters that follow GPS directions for straight and even rows. If there are seeds that tolerate drought, or resist disease, it stands to reason that farmers will choose to use those as they create a healthier growing environment.

What's your perspective?

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