Illinois Farm Families Field Moms Get Soybeans in the Suburbs

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Ron and Deb Moore

As a child, Deb Moore retrieved balls from the cornfield near her suburban Chicago school. The playtime represented her only encounter with farming. That is, until she married a farmer she met while attending Western Illinois University in Macomb.

Today, she grows corn and soybeans on 2,000 acres with her husband, Ron, and his brother, Larry. She and Ron also raise 250 beef calves annually. And the farm family invites Chicago-area moms to share their experiences.

“The field moms this year apologized several times for not knowing anything about agriculture,” Moore says. “I had to remind them that I didn’t know anything either growing up in the suburbs.” (Related: Want to be an Illinois Field Mom?)

Yet she surprises most in farm country. Deb and Ron share a lengthy list of volunteer activities for the agriculture industry. In fact, Deb testified at a hearing for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. In recent years, Ron served as president of the state’s soybean association.

So it seemed appropriate for Ron and Deb to take a soybean project to the suburbs. Field moms (a group sponsored by the Illinois Farm Families program) planted soybeans in their suburban backyards. Meanwhile, the Moores planted the same seeds on their farm in Western Illinois.

Ron and Deb Moore

Called the Field Moms’ Acre, the plot included 150,000 seeds in 13 rows a quarter-mile long. The Moores shared videos, photos and notes of the crop’s progress, which can be found in the Field Moms’ Acre section of watchusgrow.com. The field moms traveled downstate in summer 2012 to view their acre, the produce from which benefited charity.

The moms also toured the family’s farm, where they learned most of its soybeans are exported to foreign countries for use as animal feed and soybean oil for human consumption.

The Moores live on the same farmstead where Ron grew up near Roseville, located between the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. They raised three sons there, Steve and twins Mike and Brian. In 2013, the family will apply for the state’s Centennial Farm designation. The Moore family has continually operated one of the farms for 100 years.

“Preserving the land and taking care of what we’ve been blessed to manage has been our philosophy,” Ron says.

The lifelong, third-generation farmer lovingly welcomed Deb to the farm when they married in 1980. Deb laughs that the farm’s tractors then needed a “student driver” sign mounted atop the cab, but Ron says she adapted well. In fact, she helps plant fields such as those from her childhood memories.

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