DANVILLE – Visitors to many Vermilion County restaurants this week will be able to learn about agriculture while they eat.
The Vermilion County Farm Bureau is distributing more than 27,000 place mats to about 30 restaurants around the county as part of its celebration of National Agriculture Week, which is March 16-22.
Vermilion County Farm Bureau spokesman Tom Fricke said diners can expect to see the special place mats on their tables starting Monday.
"These place mats feature many facts about agriculture in Vermilion County and the food products produced by Illinois farmers," Fricke said.
Fricke said that each place mat will include trivia and interesting facts about Illinois and Vermilion County agriculture.
For example, diners will learn that Illinois is the leading producer of horseradishes and pumpkins in the United States.
"They'll find out that products from Vermilion County farms are used to produce cereal, cake mixes and brewer's grits for beer," Fricke said.
Diners will learn that some of the white corn grown in Vermilion County is shipped to an elevator in rural Sidney, where Frito Lay uses it to process chips consumed across North America.
"And Vermilion County ranks fifth among Illinois Counties in most soybeans produced, with more than 9.6 million bushels," Fricke said.
Fricke said the place mats feature more than the accomplishments of Vermilion County farmers.
"The place mats also elaborate on the role of food and agribusiness in Vermilion County," he said.
Fricke said that this will mark the ninth year the Farm Bureau has produced the Agriculture Week place mats.
The place mats are sponsored by Big R Stores, Country Insurance & Financial Services, Danville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Illiana Seed, Keep Vermilion County Beautiful, Robert Dodd & Associates, University of Illinois Vermilion County Extension, WDAN radio, Birkey's Farm Store, First Midwest Bank, Illini FS, Old National Bank, Learnard Seed Service, Swires Land & Management Co., and the Vermilion County Recycling Program.