From the monthly archives:

December, 2012

Exploring, seeking ag career? Now there's an app for that!

Seeking an ag career? Now there’s an app for that!...The ever-present smartphone is the latest tool used to interest students in agricultural careers. A new free application, Ag Career Finder, offers information about 58 careers in agriculture, food, and natural resources along with real-time job posting in those fields. The app was developed by FCAE in partnership with “We’re trying communicate to the students of today,” Jess Smithers, FCAE coordinator, told FarmWeek. “Viewing information on phones and iPads is the way to go.” The new ag career app "provides them (students) information in a way they are accustomed to getting information," Smithers added. Information profiles are provided for each of the 58 careers along with recommended high school courses, degrees required, salary ranges, potential employers, and other information. The app allows students to search for additional information and take an interest assessment that would direct them t ...

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Trim the Tree Contest - We have a WINNER!

The 1st Place winner of the 2012 Trim the Tree Contest for $250 is Memories, decorated by Larry and Dorothy Biernacki. Tree purchased from BIG JOHNS FARM STAND & GREENHOUSE in Chicago Heights will also receive $250.  A donation of $250 will go to St Matthias Church Food pantry.   Photo:  Winners Larry & Dorothy Biernacki, and Kevin of Big John's Farm Stand were presented checks by  Commodities/Marketing Team Vice Chair, Dan Biernacki (no relation to the winner, just coincidence) on Saturday December 22nd. The runner up of the 2012 Trim the Tree Contest for $100 is Light Bright decorated by Natalie Mitchell.  Tree purchased from PUCKERVILLE FARMS in Lemont will also receive $100.  A donation of $100 will go to the Lockport Fish Food Pantry, the designated food assistance charity by the Mitchell family.  Photo:  Kayla (daughter) Mitchell, runner up "Master Tree Trimmer" Natalie Mitchell, Rick Homerding, owner of Puckerville Farms, ...

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Summer AITC Internship

Cook County Ag in the Classroom is offering a summer internship to a college student majoring in Ag Communications or Ag Education.  Visit our website under "Foundation" to see details about the internship and application process. 

Students gain Insights from Farm Bureau Leaders during Science Fair

Cook County President Jim Gutzmer along with Cook CFB staff assisted with judging student projects during the 2012 Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Science Fair.  Freshmen through seniors compete in a variety of categories including: aerospace science, botany, zoology, physics and environmental science.  Over 150 students competed.

Volunteers "Spruce up" Ronald McDonald House Rooftop Garden

Dan, Karen and Jessica Biernacki again generously donated their time to "spruce up" the rooftop garden on the world's largest Ronald McDonald House ahead of a tree lighting ceremony.  The Biernacki's along with Ted's Greenhouse in Tinley Park donated the greens and plant materials. 

Cook County Farm Bureau Receives Recognition For Quality

The Cook County Farm Bureau topped off a great programming year in 2011-12 by being awarded several awards at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting this past weekend, December 1-3rd. The President's Award for the largest size County Farm Bureaus was presented for the best overall programming and activities in the areas of Ag Literacy, Commodities/Marketing, Health/Safety, Legislative/Political Process, Local Affairs, Communications/Promotion, Member Relations, Policy Development and Membership Quota.               The organization also received the Liberty Bell Award for its efforts in Legislative, Local Issues, Political Action and Policy Implementation.   In addition, a “most outstanding project” for the Local Affairs area, the County Staff Exchange, was recognized by the Illinois Farm Bureau and was selected by the American Farm Bureau Federation in their county Activities of Excellent competition. The Board of Directors ...

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County Farm Bureaus "Share" their Ideas

The Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting is an ideal time for county Farm Bureau's (CFB) to exchange ideas. Three CFBs - Cook, Grundy, and Livingston - are sharing their innovative program ideas, which have each won the American Farm Bureau Federation County Activities of Excellence Award.

Cook County Farm Bureau's "County Staff Exchange"
This program helps County government official's tour farms and agribusinesses in the County to illustrate the impact of farming has on the County's economy.

For more information visit

Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

I have been writing for most of this year about Life Lessons, the things taught to me growing up on a farm which affected me throughout my life.  I have been able to cover a lot of ground. As you know, Life Lessons become the essence of a person and influence the choices, decisions, personalities, and relationships one has for the rest of his or her life. This month, the star of the show will be of the cold-blooded variety (insert lawyer or ex-wife joke)… I'm talking about “Reptiles”. Lesson 13: Reptile Fascination … I have previously emphasized the magnetic attraction “water” had on me and my siblings while we were growing up. Water, of course, is the home to a number of interesting creatures and I tried to meet them all as a kid.  We had smaller stream/ditch that ran along the southern edge of the farm. It was probably a half a mile or so from the house. As youngsters, we acted as if we had the run of the place roaming the area, discovering new things, and ...

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Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

Not gonna lie, I’m not proud right now.  Yes, voter turnout was over seventy percent, which is tremendous.  Yes, voter turnout rivaled 2008 levels.  For the first time in at least 20 years, according to exit polls more Independents voted than Republicans.  Yes, our country now knows who will be inaugurated in January.  And yes, Illinois voters again made history, this time for electing an absentee lawmakers and a former lawmaker who was removed from the Illinois House after being indicting by the Feds for allegedly taking cash bribes.   Perhaps the Federal charges aren’t the shocking point.  Perhaps the shocking point is that Derrick Smith was in office for less than a year (yes, less than a year) before being brought up on charges by the Feds for offenses that happened while serving as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives (for less than a year).  Do note that Smith is innocent until proven guilty and is more than happy to proclaim is his inn ...

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We Got the Dirt, Er Mud, on a New Chicago Park! Steve Dwyer

  In mid October, 60 barge loads of sediment dredged from the Illinois River at East Peoria were shipped 163 miles to the former U.S. Steel (USX) Chicago South Works site—all part of an initiative that will provide 90,000 tons of rich soil for green space and a community recreational park along the south shores of Lake Michigan. The program, known as Mud-to-Parks and begun about eight years ago, is designed to return soil to the land while boosting recreational opportunities and habitat. It's a no brainer really: The Peoria Lake region of the Illinois River boasts some of the richest soil on the continent. Some years ago, the state began to extract sediment that was clogging the Illinois River in central Illinois and apply it for various uses. The latest use: The park that will be constructed on 80 acres of land on the USX footprint. Native grasses and small trees are now sprouting on property that was largely steel mill slag. John C. Marlin, PhD, research affiliate for the Illinois Sustainable ...

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