Illinois History and Agriculture

In between Valentine's Day celebrations and longing for spring, we often dedicate time in February to learning about Illinois History and celebrating Illinois' important contributions to our country and its agriculture. In this month's blog, we will highlight some of our favorite Illinois lessons, from everyone's favorite 16th U.S. President to the history and scale of our booming agriculture industry.

Illinois History and Agriculture

Check out these fun Illinois facts:

  • Illinois' top five agriculture commodities are corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, and pumpkins.

  • Illinois is number one in the country in soybean, pumpkin, and horseradish production.

  • The average size of a farm in Illinois is 358 acres.

  • 44% of grain produced in Illinois is exported out of the state or country.

  • The first ever McDonalds opened in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois.

  • Illinois produces enough corn each year to fill a train of box cars stretching more than 7600 miles, or from here to Hong Kong.

Read More About Illinois History

Read more about Illinois History with our Illinois History Ag Mag (grades 4-8) and Ag-Venture Worksheet, and our Illinois Facts for Little Readers (grades K-1).

Read More About Illinois Agriculture

Illinois provides significant contributions to our country's agriculture! Read more about our agricultural production with our Illinois Agriculture Reader (grades 6-8). Additionally, you can find our Illinois Agriculture Reader translated into Spanish and French language.

Lessons About Lincoln

While Abraham Lincoln may not have been born in Illinois, we are still nicknamed the "Land of Lincoln" because of his important work while he lived here for 31 years. While you are celebrating Presidents Day on February 19th and Lincoln's birthday on February 12th, try out one of our lessons about Lincoln!

Lessons About Illinois Geography

Test your students' knowledge of the 102 counties in Illinois with some of our lessons about Illinois geography!

Illinois mAGic Lessons

The Illinois mAGic team is a group of county Ag Literacy Coordinators and state Ag Ed staff members who have worked together to create a total of 97 lessons and lesson kits for you and your students. This month, check out some of their Illinois lessons!

Illinois State Ag History Website

Find an extensive timeline of Illinois' state agricultural history at our recently developed Illinois State Ag History website!

Virtual Field Trip

Take a virtual tour of the courthouse in Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, to learn more about Illinois history.

Game On!

If you've made it this far, take a load off and play one of our Illinois agriculture card games!

Book Recommendations from Illinois Authors

Looking for ag-accurate books written by Illinois authors? Check out some of our favorites along with lessons to pair with each, ranging from Wheat Milling to Powder-Powered Pollination!


Rows of Resources: Corn and Soybean Activities

Thanks to April showers aplenty this year, most Illinois farmers will spend the first part of this month planting rows and rows of Illinois' top agriculture commodities: corn and soybeans, and we will follow suit by sharing rows and rows of our favorite corn and soybean resources!

STEM and Inquiry in Agriculture

Fun, hands-on activities to get students thinking and problem solving by carrying out STEM and inquiry challenges with connections to agriculture.

Everything Earth Day: Earth Day & Sustainability Resources

As the weather warms into spring, many teachers and students are antsy to start getting back outside during the school day. Over 95% of primary and secondary schools across the country do just that on April 22nd each year - Earth Day! This month on the blog, we will highlight our favorite Earth Day and Sustainability activities that you can use to help you celebrate.