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Eichelberger to enter National 4-H Hall of Fame for lifelong dedication

Published June 28, 2016
Lila Jeanne Eichelberger
Lila Jeanne Eichelberger

Sometimes greatness comes in a very small package, wrapped in humility and gentleness.

An Illinois 4-H supporter will be honored with the nation’s top 4-H award, the National 4-H Hall of Fame Award which recognizes individuals who have made a signification impact on the 4-H program and 4-H members through their contribution of time, talent, energy, and financial resources.

Lila Jeanne Eichelberger will be inducted into the 2016 Hall of Fame class at a ceremony Oct. 7 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  Known as “Shorty” around the University of Illinois campus because of her 5-foot frame, Eichelberger stands as a giant among her peers for her philanthropic efforts to support 4-H and the university.

Her 4-H background traces back to her mother’s volunteer 4-H leadership and continues to this day as a member emeritus of the Illinois 4-H Foundation board of directors and supporter of several 4-H endeavors.

“Rarely has Illinois 4-H seen an individual make such a lifelong impact on the lives of young people as has Lila Jeanne,” says Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director. “A woman of remarkable grace, Lila Jeanne tirelessly campaigns with her time, energy, and financial resources for the advancement of Illinois 4-H, 4-H Memorial Camp, 4-H House, University of Illinois, and Illini sports.”

Eichelberger credits 4-H with shaping her career choices and leading her to U of I where she received two degrees and an advanced certificate. She taught home economics for 40 years. She married the late Paul Eichelberger.

"Paul was the love of my life; we shared so many interests—one key one being Fighting Illini sports," Eichelberger says. "Neither of us would be the person we became if it had not been for sports, 4-H, or the University of Illinois."

For more than 80 years, Eichelberger has proudly worn her flagship 4-H green and paid it forward for the advancement of youth, Barnard says. “She has been a constant inspiration to the Illinois 4-H Foundation board of directors for the past 33 years, first as a board member, and continuing as a lifetime member-emeritus.”

Eichelberger knows U of I and knows how to get things done. Today, at 88, she actively participates in each Foundation board meeting and arranges donor meetings in conjunction with the executive director and 4-H advancement officer, using her influence to encourage private donations to Illinois 4-H.

She has made financial gifts to U of I and to Illinois 4-H every year for 50 years. In total, her giving to 4-H alone exceeds $2 million. In 2000, she created an endowment to honor her late mother, a 50-year 4-H leader. Today, she continues to add value with an estate commitment to endow the Margarette E. Athey 4-H Adult Volunteer Leader Development Fund at over a quarter-million dollars.

As a student, Lila Jeanne thrived at U of I and as a member of 4-H House. Today, she actively supports 4-H college scholarships for youth to learn. A permanent endowment of more than $25,000 will support 4-H Legacy of Leadership youth scholarships in perpetuity. She continues to stay involved with the 4-H House Alumni Association as a 10-plus year member of the board, volunteer property manager, and mentor to girls who strive to further their 4-H leadership skills in a cooperative living environment during college.

In 1998, she played an integral role as the key liaison moving the Foundation from an independent organization to the umbrella of the U of I. “She challenges fellow board members to ask, and answer, the hard questions of fundraising,” Barnard says.

Of her many accomplishments, Eichelberger served on the steering committee for the Illinois 4-H Memorial Camp “Remember CAMPaign” where she not only made her own generous commitment, but helped to raise funds to renovate the historic dining hall facility at 4-H Memorial Camp. An 11-year Mason County 4-H member, Eichelberger served as one of the first camp counselors at Western Illinois 4-H Camp. 4-H Memorial Camp will be the beneficiary of a $75,000 gift from her estate to further the arts activities at camp. A $30,000 donation funded two new cabins named to honor her late husband and mother.

“The instant you meet Lila Jeanne Eichelberger your personal definition of genuineness is shattered and the bar is raised higher than you had it before,” says Curt Sinclair, 4-H Memorial Camp director. “Nothing in the mile-long list of her accomplishments is self-serving. 

“My personal experience with her is entwined by our common belief in the incredible power 4-H camping programs can have in the lives of young people, both campers and counselors,” Sinclair says. “Her purely genuine spirit of the 4-H pledge; that of head, heart, hands, and health, mentors us all.”    

Eichelberger is a strong supporter of Illini athletics. Her most recent contribution of $2 million provided funding to build Eichelberger Field, the women’s softball complex. She also supports baseball, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and actively mentors student athletes.

Eichelberger served youth throughout her 40-year teaching career. She was named Illinois Home Economics Teacher of the Year in 1974 and served as Illinois Future Homemakers of America State Advisor in 1956-57. Along with an active professional career, she has been an engaged member of the community. Among her memberships are U of I Alumni Association, U of I President’s Council, Fighting Illini Scholarship Fund Tribal Council, U of I Courtsiders, Fighting Illini Dugout Club, Phi Upsilon Omicron Pi Alumni Association, Beta Mu of Delta Kappa Gamma, and Kappa Delta Pi.

In addition, Eichelberger serves as an election judge, volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and active member of her church.  She has a remarkable commitment to generating funds for organizations closest to her heart. She continues to devote her life to the betterment of all Illinois youth today and into the future through her sustained philanthropy.

Always a visionary, Eichelberger actively spoke out in support of increasing local tax-base funding for local Extension programs. In recognition of her tireless service, she received the Illinois 4-H Foundation Friend of Illinois 4-H Award in 1999 and Hall of Fame award in 2005.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I bleed Illini orange and blue and 4-H green," Eichelberger says. "It is an honor to have Paul's and my legacy live on through a gift from our estate. If we are remembered for just one thing, I hope it will be a commitment to the development of the next generation of young people."

The award is sponsored by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, National 4-H Council, and National 4-H Headquarters. Since its inception in 2002, only 322 people have received the national recognition.




News Source:

Angie Barnard, 217-333-0333

News Writer:

University of Illinois Extension

Donations provide stopgap funding for U of I autism program

Published June 27, 2016
child walking alone

URBANA, Ill. - The Autism Program (TAP) at the University of Illinois was about to become another casualty of the state budget crisis. The program had already made serious cuts to stay afloat this summer.  It was announced June 24 that a significant gift from a private donor to the U of I College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences will help fund The Autism Program for the coming year.

“Although this is very good news indeed, there is still a need for funding,” says Linda Tortorelli, director of The Autism Program. “Although the amount contributed allows us to stay open, it is only a stopgap, the need still exists. State funding is still critical.”

Tortorelli took a sizeable cut in her own salary so that the program could continue. She has been working for half of her salary and was planning to go to 25-percent pay July 1.

 “We greatly appreciate the collection of donors, including Carle Foundation, Christie Foundation, grateful parents, and U of I partners, that made it possible for the program to continue this year. We’ll be working diligently to create a sustainable funding plan for the future,” adds Tortorelli.

The Urbana-based program remained open since last July without a contract or state grant funding, partly by making cuts and with some donation boosts, but announced last month it was about out of money.

The Autism Program provides statewide services. In fact, in fiscal year 2014, TAP served residents of each of Illinois’s 102 counties.  The program provides hundreds of screenings and full diagnostic procedures; trains thousands of parents, educators, health care professionals, day care providers and first responders; and provides services such as social skills groups, ABA therapy, and sibling groups that help children with autism better relate to their families, their peers, and others.

The TAP network of families and partners has worked to obtain millions of dollars in additional grant funding. 

For more information about the program, visit the website.


Modest pork expansion, but Brexit casts shadow

Published June 27, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – In the June Hogs and Pigs survey, pork producers told USDA they had increased the size of the breeding herd by 1 percent relative to year-ago levels. The breeding herd began to increase in the fall of 2014 after producers had record profitability due to reduced production, a consequence of the PED virus. According to a Purdue University Extension economist, the industry has been in a slow expansion since that time. Declining feed prices were also a stimulus to expansion until this spring when feed prices began to rise once more.

“The latest inventory report also found somewhat more young pigs than had been expected,” says Chris Hurt. “The spring pig crop was 2.5 percent larger as a result of 1.5 percent more farrowings and 1 percent more pigs per litter. This means a bit higher pork supplies later this year than had been anticipated.”

Several states had a large increase in their breeding herd numbers over the last year. These included Illinois with an increase of 40,000 animals; Oklahoma up 30,000; and South Dakota up 20,000. The percentage increases for those three states were Illinois up 8 percent; Oklahoma up 7 percent; and South Dakota up 12 percent.

“Although they are expanding the breeding herd, pork producers also indicated they intend to reduce farrowings by 2 percent this summer and by 1 percent in the fall,” Hurt continues. “Pork supplies in the last half of 2016 are expected to be up about 2 percent. However, pork supplies in the first half of 2017 are expected to be near unchanged.”

Prices of hogs averaged about $55.50 in the second quarter of 2016 on a live-weight basis. Prices are expected to average $55 to $58 in the third quarter and then fall sharply in the final quarter to an average of $45 to $48. First-quarter 2017 prices are expected to be modestly higher compared to late 2016. Prices for the second quarter of 2017 are expected to average in a range from $52 to $56.

“Feed costs have become more volatile with weather uncertainties and will likely be important to the overall profits or losses for the industry in the coming year,” Hurt says. “Using current futures prices to estimate cash feed prices suggests that the industry will operate with a profit of about $8 per head in the third quarter, but lower fourth-quarter hog prices will mean losses of about $19 per head. Losses would prevail at about the same level in the first quarter of 2017 and then move close to breakeven prices in the second quarter. Estimated losses for farrow-to-finish operations last year was a modest $3 per head. Current estimates for 2016 are for losses of $4 per head.

“Turning to pork demand, two events seem likely to have some impact,” Hurt says. “The first is the question of how much pork the Chinese will purchase this summer and how long their internal pork shortage will continue. The second event regards the impact of Brexit on the U.S. pork markets. The U.S. exports little pork to the EU28 trading block. In 2015, only 0.2 percent of U.S. pork exports were destined for EU28 countries. However, Brexit has strengthened the U.S. dollar making U.S. pork more expensive around the globe. This will tend to increase prices for U.S.-origin pork and reduce U.S. exports from what they would have been.”

Hurt says that since the Brexit announcement, the dollar has increased by about 3.5 percent relative to the Euro. The 28 member countries in the European Union have been the largest exporters of pork in the world for the last two years. This has given the 19 countries in the EU28 that use the Euro an immediate price advantage over U.S. pork.

“Said another way, Brexit gives our biggest global pork competitor a sizable and immediate price advantage,” Hurt says. “The longer-term economic implications of Brexit may be the most important and could reduce the rate of world economic growth. If Brexit does slow world income growth, it could be negative for global sales of pork and other U.S. agricultural products.”

Agronomy Day 2016 field tour topics announced

Published June 27, 2016
agronomy day location
New location of 2016 Agronomy Day at 4202 S. 1st St., Savoy IL

URBANA, Ill. – Have questions about pest resistance or curious about the use of drones in agriculture? Plan to hear more on these and other topics related to crop sciences at the 59th annual Agronomy Day at the University of Illinois on August 18.

Field tour topics and speakers for Agronomy Day 2016 were recently announced. Topics include:

TOUR A      

  • Cataloging the weapons arsenal of the Fusarium head blight pathogen
  • Genetic resistance for northern leaf blight and Goss’ wilt in corn
  • Stripe rust and scab resistance in wheat
  • Bt resistance in corn rootworm beetles
  • Nematodes: How does the worm turn?


  • Nitrogen management: Balancing profitability with sustainability
  • Economics of nutrient management
  • Land values
  • Six weed management predictions to keep you up at night
  • Investigating low crop emergence in edamame


  • The show must go on: Balancing water use under continuously changing environmental conditions
  • Cover crops for soybean and corn rotation
  • Soybean planting date and variety maturity
  • Managing soybeans for high yields
  • Drone information and demonstration


*Offered at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (tentative) with limited availability, as attendees will be transported offsite to SoyFACE. Attendees will need to sign up in advance at the registration table. Tours will last one hour.

  • What is SoyFACE?
  • Improving maize tolerance in air pollution
  • CO2
  • Improving drought tolerance and water use efficiency in C4 crops

For a full list of this year’s speakers and topics, visit

Agronomy Day attracts more than 1,000 people each year seeking the latest information on technology and techniques to improve food and fuel production. This year, agronomy day will be held in a new location at 4202 South 1st Street in Savoy, Illinois. For more information on speakers, displays, and location, join Agronomy Day 2016 on Facebook or visit the Agronomy Day website.


News Source:

Bob Dunker, 217-244-5444

ACE Departmental Seminar - Dr. Ron Alquist

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
426-428 Mumford Hall

The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Seminar Series is proud to present

Dr. Ron Alquist
Chief Economist
Kings Peak Asset Management

Title:  Commodity-Price Comovement and Global Economic Activity (joins with O. Coibion)

Friday, September 16, 2016
12:00-1:00 p.m.
426-428 Mumford Hall

If you are interested in visiting with Dr. Alquist, please contact Melissa Warmbier at

Pizza will be served.

Latest NRES Bulletin Available

Published June 24, 2016
Alma Mater in Illini cap and gown
NRES Congratulates all 2016 Graduates!

View the latest edition of the NRES Bulletin e-newsletter online.

If you have content or ideas for future issues (next due out in early Fall Semester 2016), submit them to Lezli Cline at

News Source:

Lezli Cline, 217-244-6254

Childhood binge eating: Families, feeding, and feelings

Published June 23, 2016
  • Binge eating is the most prevalent type of eating disorder among all races, ethnic groups, genders, and ages.
  • Binge eating has been reported in children as young as 5 years old.
  • Parents may be able to reduce risk of childhood binge eating through responsive parenting and avoiding weight-related teasing in the family.
  • Parent weight, education, economic situation, race, or ethnicity, are not correlated with childhood binge eating.

URBANA, Ill. – Binge eating is the most prevalent type of eating disorder across races, ethnic groups, ages, and genders. Surprisingly, binge eating has even been reported in children as young as 5 years old.

In order to put childhood binge eating into context, a new systematic review from the University of Illinois identifies two potential risk factors for binge eating in children under the age of 12. With family being the most proximal and influential setting affecting behaviors and attitudes in children, the study reports that parental non-involvement or emotional unresponsiveness and weight-related teasing in the family are behaviors consistently associated with childhood binge eating.

Jaclyn Saltzman, a doctoral researcher in human development and family studies, and a scholar in the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program, explains that childhood binge eating can lead to many weight and eating behavior problems as the child grows and in to adulthood. “Intervening early to address binge eating may not only help prevent an eating disorder from emerging but also prevent lifetime habits of unhealthy weight-related behaviors,” she says.

Saltzman stresses that binge eating is not the same as feeling you have had too much dessert at dinner. “Binge eating is feeling like you are not in control when you are eating. You are eating past the point of fullness and to the point of discomfort. You are experiencing a lot of emotional distress because of it,” she explains.

She adds that binge eating is associated with depression and obesity.

Saltzman and Janet M. Liechty, a professor of medicine and of social work at U of I, reviewed studies on childhood binge eating spanning the last 35 years. They found that very few studies had been done over the last decade on kids and binge eating in the family context.

“We quickly found out that we had to focus specifically on family correlates and risk factors for childhood binge eating, because we were struck by how little research had explored contextual influences, especially in comparison to a much larger body of literature on individual psychological, behavioral, and biological influences. We thought there was a need for a more nuanced understanding of the context in which childhood binge eating develops,” Saltzman says.  

Initially, the researchers identified over 700 studies, to which they applied strict inclusion criteria to locate studies that looked at outcomes in children under age 12, using reliable instruments, and assessing the constructs of interest. “That left us with 15 studies, which we screened with a tool to assess risk for bias so that we could comment on the strengths and limitations in the studies,” she adds.

In their review, the researchers focused on binge eating and loss-of-control eating behavior. Loss of control is traditionally considered a symptom of binge eating in adults, but Saltzman explains that, according to recent research in the field, loss of control is used as a proxy for binge eating in young children, although this is not yet officially recognized in diagnostic manuals.

“Loss of control is something that researchers have used to describe binge eating in young children,” she says. “The idea is that the size of the binge—the amount of food they eat—is less important than the feelings of being out of control or the stress about that eating behavior, especially in young kids, because they don’t have all that much control over the food that they have access to. But they do have control of their emotions around eating and how much they eat and the sense of being out of control.”

Although they found parent ignoring, under-involvement, emotional non-responsiveness and weight-related teasing in the family to be associated with childhood binge eating, Saltzman says that parent weight, education, economic situation, race, or ethnicity, are not correlated. “Actually, no studies found any association between these constructs and childhood binge eating,” she says.

“This study found that childhood binge eating is really associated with parents’ weight-related beliefs, but not their actual weight, and their emotional availability but not necessarily the income availability,” she adds.  

Weight teasing is being made fun of, mocked, or “kidded with” about one’s weight, usually for being perceived as being overweight, Saltzman explains. “Family-based weight teasing would be any of those behaviors perpetrated by a family member, like a parent or a sibling.”

Despite finding that behavior in the family is an important context for childhood binge eating, Saltzman stresses that this does not indicate that parents are to blame for children’s binge eating behaviors. “Even though weight-related teasing was a correlate of childhood binge eating, it would be counterproductive and incorrect to blame parents for childhood binge eating behavior. In light of these findings, the large body of literature linking childhood binge eating to psychological factors such as negative affect, and other research studies our lab has done, we want to stress the importance of shifting the paradigm from focusing on weight alone—which is what weight teasing does—to addressing beliefs about weight and emotional coping strategies in the family.” 

This study was limited in that it focused only on peer-reviewed, English-language articles, and that it could not use meta-analytic techniques to identify the magnitude of associations between the identified correlates and childhood binge eating. Despite these limitations, the review finds evidence to suggest that focus on the emotional context of eating is critical to understanding childhood binge eating.    

“We want to emphasize to parents that weight isn’t the ‘be all end all,’ and that focusing on weight too much can be damaging. Instead, focusing on giving kids the tools they need to manage their emotions, particularly emotions around eating and weight, can help strengthen children’s coping skills so they are less likely to need binge eating.” Saltzman says.

“Family correlates of childhood binge eating: A systematic review” is published in the journal Eating Behaviors and is available online at doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2016.03.027. Co-authors are Jaclyn A. Saltzman and Janet M. Liechty of the University of Illinois.

The research was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program grant (2011-67001-30101) to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois.

News Source:

Jaclyn Saltzman