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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

This month’s column dedicated to those born in another century “What century were you born in, buddy?” I ask myself sometimes when I accidently write the year as 1999 on a check (Yes, I still write checks because they are like cash… that green stuff the government prints which is supposed to be like currency). Yes, I still make the mistake of not only writing the wrong year but the wrong century! For those of you who accidentally write 1899, I am impressed! As I look at the calendar, I cannot believe that we are entering the year 2018 (or is that 1918?).  I am ready to put 2017 - A year in which I experienced various injuries and body damage - behind me. 2018 promises a brand-new year full of opportunity and the potential of no emergency room visits! The other day, I received a quarterly Country Financial informational booklet. In it was an article that talked about a group of kids that will be graduating as a part of the high school class of 2018. I found it to be fascinating ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

Next to asking my kids what they want from Santa (if anyone is wondering it was a skidloader for my loud, big-little boy and an American Girl horse for my blue-eyed girl), asking people about their New Year’s resolutions is my next favorite conversation.  Each year I promise to start running.  Eat more vegetables.  And drink more water.  Occasionally, there’s an off the wall idea thrown in like starting to watch “Star Wars” movies or reading the “Lord of the Rings” series.  Each year, I make it a couple of weeks then slip back into old habits.  Walking, but no running.  Dr. Pepper over water.  And mashed potatoes rather than Brussels sprouts.  Potatoes are technically veggies just with buttery deliciousness.  Oh, and I’m more of a Harry Potter kind of gal. This year, I’d like to suggest some resolutions.  First, no more new or improved local taxes.  Let’s take a moment to remember Cook County&rs ...

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Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

New Year, New Labels With the new year often comes New Year’s resolutions.  What are the most common resolutions? Exercise more, lose weight and eat healthier are often the frontrunners. Just how does one eat healthier?  I say by reading the labels and, as one of our classroom presenters Toni teaches, eat as close to the farm as possible.  I love that saying!  If you can choose between an apple, an apple granola bar or an apple nutri-grain bar, pick the apple.  If the apple isn’t available, read the labels on your other choices.  We hear it now and we’re going to hear it a lot more as the new labels appear on packages this year.  You’d think it would be a great choice just to pick a product by its name, but that’s not always the case.  There’s been a huge surge in branding with many items containing names to suggest they are the perfect choice (which some may be).  Nature Made Vitamins, Earthbound Greens, Skinny Cow, ...

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CCFB Volunteer Award Winners & Master Member Club Volunteers Recognized

The Cook County Farm Bureau® recognized Master Club Members and Volunteers at a small ceremony on Wednesday December 13th.  The Farm Bureau Master Member Club is intended for CCFB volunteers to encourage membership recruitment and to recognize those individuals that continually give their time and effort to help increase the strength of our organization. The goal was to create a Club that provides momentum for a continuous focus and longevity in membership recruitment.   Volunteers of the CCFB were also presented with awards.  They have voluntarily chosen to undertake a service or duty and have helped make a difference in our organization. Amy Hansmann, PR and Governmental Affaris Team Member, and Julie Michaels, Member Relations Team member, both received awards.   CCFB President, Janet McCabe (far left), presented gifts to the Master Member Club Volunteers Ruth Zeldenrust, Dan Biernacki, Karen Biernacki, Jim Bloomstrand and Gerry Kopping. CCFB President, J ...

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Young Leaders Toy Drive 2017

Kristen Yunker, Coordinator of the Toys for Teens collection efforts for the Cook County Farm Bureau® Young Leaders group, said today “we have all been blessed in our lives and we appreciate the opportunity to give back to those in need during this holiday season.” The Cook County Farm Bureau Young Leaders Group exceeded their goal of collecting 100 toys for teens when Young Leader members Jessica Biernacki and Kristen Yunker delivered 193 toys and $300 in donations to the Toy Box Connection charity this afternoon. The objective was to bring smiles to youth in need, ages 12 to 19, this upcoming Christmas.  Charity director, Michelle Maxia, expressed gratitude for the efforts and generosity of the Farm Bureau members and organization. The Cook County Farm Bureau has supported charity for 10 years and the Young Leaders Group took over the benefit program efforts two years ago. Young Leader Group Chair, Jessica Biernacki, said, “I was thrilled to be a part of this effort and th ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Everyone is from somewhere” “Where are you from?”  is perhaps the most commonly asked question posed when we meet a stranger after “What’s your name?” It’s usually a way of generating safe conversation in which we seek to find common ground. Everyone is from “somewhere” right? When someone asks me where I am from, I have a tough time responding. Sure, I’m from somewhere. However, the person that asked this question doesn’t really want to hear my life story as I struggle to come up with a good answer. My parents, during my youth, farmed for various other larger farmers as they attempted to become established farmers for their “living”.  They continually sought better opportunities so that they could eventually farm for themselves (finally happening in 1983 when I was 18 years old).  This meant that we moved from farm to farm, town to town fairly frequently. Where am I from? I could say I’m from the cit ...

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NRCS Help For Cook County Urban Farms

Champaign, IL October 10, 2017— Urban agriculture is growing and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help Cook County farmers conserve and improve natural resources on their farm.  Ivan Dozier, Illinois NRCS State Conservationist explains, “Urban farms are valuable resources for neighborhoods and the people who live in them. NRCS can assist these producers with conservation solutions and offer financial assistance to install conservation practices such as hoop houses, or what NRCS calls a high tunnel, or to plant pollinator species or cover crops.”  The urban landscape has many challenges for growing healthy food.  NRCS can help with financial and technical assistance to manage natural resources like soil, water, and plants that can improve the crops urban farms grow. Financial assistance from NRCS is provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Individual growers or groups can apply to receive EQIP financial assistance ...

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Illinois Specialty Grower Survey Under Way

University of Illinois Extension is surveying Illinois fruit and vegetable growers to assess research needs for vegetable, high tunnel and fruit production. The survey will remain open through the end of October.

The survey was compiled by U of I Extension specialists Elizabeth Wahle, Nathan Johanning and Bronwyn Aly. By prioritizing and focusing on specific areas identified by specialty growers and industry professionals, the U of I can work with the industry to target research needs.

To provide input, click here.

Farm and Food Bytes

Soy-based tires hit the road (FarmWeekNow). Tires made of rubber containing soybean oil will be available from Goodyear. Through the support of the Soybean Checkoff, Goodyear unveiled its new Assurance WeatherReady tires for passenger vehicles at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur. The new soy-based tires, offered in a wide range of sizes that fit more than three-quarters of cars, minivans and sports utility vehicles, hit the road this month. Goodyear researchers found that soy oil keeps rubber more viable at lower temperatures. Governor signs law addressing ag teacher shortage (Kay Shipman, FarmWeek). A newly created state task force soon will study the challenges that have Illinois high schools scrambling to find and retain agriculture teachers. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed SB 1991, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, and Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign. Illinois Farm Bureau® supported the legislation. The state agriculture education task force will recommend ways to recruit and retain ag teach ...

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2016-2017 Annual Foundation Report

The 2016-2017 Foundation Annual Report is now available.  Click here to read.



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