Illinois fourth graders will get a taste of true agriculture with a new animated "Food for Thought" video.  The educational cartoon was produced with checkoff dollars from the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) through the United Soybean Board (USB), and the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA). 

 "The video explains connections between the pork and soybean industries, and is customized for Illinois with familiar geographic references.  Students can learn the truths and basic economics involved with a modern hog farm and how farmers care for their animals and the environment," says Doug Winter, soybean farmer from Mill Shoals, Ill., and vice chair for ISA Image Building.  "IPPA and ISA staff provided script and image input for the video."

 The 22-minute DVD was distributed this week free to Illinois fourth grade teachers.  An accompanying lesson plan and take-home sheet will cover Illinois core learning standards in a way that is entertaining and fun.  A seven-minute version of the video was also developed for use as a preview to pork and soybean farmers and for presentations to children. 

 "It is important to educate our future consumers about where their food comes from," says Mike Haag, hog farmer from Emington, Ill., and current IPPA president. "This video is an excellent addition to the many agricultural educational resources that are currently available to teachers."

 More than 3,800 DVDs were shipped to all fourth grade classrooms (private and public) for use during the 2011-12 school year.  To help encourage utilization of the DVD and lesson plans, IPPA also has developed a grant program.  Fourth grade teachers who show the video to their students can apply for a grant for $200 for ag education-related materials for their classroom. Information about the grant and the application form was included with the DVD mailing.

 ISA and IPPA representatives hope to share the video through other outlets as well.  For more information, contact Erin Cleary at IPPA at, or 217-529-3100.