From the monthly archives:

October, 2015

Farm Bureau Helps Members "Get-Away"

Farm Bureau Helps Members “Get-Away” Whether it’s keeping up with kids’ activities, getting ready for the holidays, or planning dinners for the family, who couldn’t use a little time to get away and relax? That’s why the Farm Bureau is offering members a chance to win a “Giveaway-To-Get-Away,” to a Magnolia Hotel property of their choice. Four winners will each receive a $500 gift certificate to be used towards their hotel stay. The contest kicks off November 2 and runs through December 31, 2015. The hotel stay must be completed by December 31, 2016. The Magnolia Hotel has properties in St. Louis, MO; Omaha, NE; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; and Dallas, TX. Go to to enter. (You’ll need your membership number.) There is a limit of one entry per person. The winners will be chosen the week of January 4, 2016 and notified by email. What better time than now to start thinking about a nice, relaxing getaway… but you have to enter t ...

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Children's Book Authors Sought for January Program

Children's book authors sought for January program Know a children's book author looking for an agricultural training experience? Published on: Oct 25, 2015 in FarmWeek The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture plans an On the Farm Author Experience Jan. 7-10 in Orlando, Fla. Ten applicants will be selected to receive a $1,500 stipend plus room, meals, tour transportation, event registration and all materials to attend the event. Authors can complete an application by Nov. 15 at {}. Authors do not need to have agricultural experience to participate in the training. The focus of the training will be life on cattle ranches. Authors will tour farms and ranches, engaging in conversation and discussion panels with real farmers and ranchers. The experience will also provide an excellent opportunity to connect AFBF members attending their annual convention. Authors will learn how to enrich their storytelling with the history and heritage of food production. The Bee ...

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Farm Bureau Captures National Spotlight

Cook County Farm Bureau’s Grocery Giveaway Program will receive the national spotlight at this year’s American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting.

The Grocery Giveaway Program utilized Facebook to feature local faces of farming. Through paid and organic social media advertising, urban consumers learned about farming, food, and the shared values of local farmers and urban families. Five Facebook ads featured a local farm family, family recipe, message about the shared values of local farmers and urban families, and instructions to enter to win a $250 grocery store gift cards. Consumers were asked to "like" the Farm Bureau’s Facebook page and comment or share the post to be entered into a drawing for the grocery store gift cards. Gift cards were awarded in June, July, and August. At the conclusion of this project, Farm Bureau continued to engage Facebook users through positive consumer trust messages.

Farm Bureau is one of 20 counties nationwide being recognized.

Hops Production, More on Top at Food Summit

Hops production, more on tap at Food Summit Published on: Oct 20, 2015 (In FarmWeek) The craft beer industry explosion escalated demand for hops, resulting in an acreage upsurge, according to J. Robert Sirrine, a Michigan State University (MSU) hops expert. Sirrine, a Ph.D. with MSU’s Center for Regional Food Systems, will discuss the crop he calls “grapes on steroids” Nov. 12 at the Local and Regional Food Summit in Heartland Community College’s Astroth Community Education Center, Normal. The Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Department of Agriculture and Heartland are hosting the summit. Sirrine noted Michigan’s hop acres grew from a half acre in 2008 to 800 acres this year, and that expansion shows no signs of slowing. Currently, Michigan claims more than 200 craft breweries, and Michigan growers find them as a welcome market for locally grown hops. Craft beer drives expansion of hop production, Sirrine said, adding without that catalyst he would expect hop production to ...

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Cubs' Success Good for 'Da Burger'

Cubs' success good for Da Burger

The Chicago Cubs' extended post-season run was bad for Cardinal fans, but good for pork promotions in the state.

Published on: Oct 19, 2015

The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) this season teamed up with the Cubs to sell and promote Da Burger, a half-pound pork burger topped with ham, bacon and Swiss cheese, during games at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs’ success thus far in the post season, which includes a Wild Card win over Pittsburgh and a Division Series win in the first-ever post-season meeting with arch-rival St. Louis, extends the pork promotions through the playoffs.

“Hopefully with the (extension) of the Cubs’ promotion, there will be additional folks exposed to Da Burger,” said Mike Borgic, IPPA director of marketing and outreach.


Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation Introduces Students to Ag Careers

Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation introduces students to ag careers Students participating in Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation’s Agriculture Leadership Academy tour the garden displays at Ball Horticulture Co., West Chicago. (Photo courtesy Cook County Farm Bureau)Published on: Oct 14, 2015 The Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation recently hosted its Agriculture Leadership Academy for students who attend high schools with an approved agricultural program. Twenty-three students were selected for the program and a fully funded trip based on their leadership potential. The program’s goal was to give urban students an opportunity to learn about careers related to agriculture outside of the city. Students and teachers from Chicago Vocational High School, John Marshall High School and Chicago High School for Ag Sciences participated. Students toured Ball Horticultural Co., West Chicago, and learned about research, breeding, production and marketing of ornamental crops. The group obse ...

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EPA’s Waters of the US rule delayed by Court

Farmers and others concerned about the change in definition of Waters of the United States rule received some good news on Friday, October 9th  as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit based in Cincinnati issued a TEMPORARY Stay of the WOTUS rule NATIONWIDE.  The stay will remain in effect until the appellate court rules on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case.  The new WOTUS rule cannot be enforced by the Corps or USEPA during that time.  Puddles, ponds, ditches, ephemerals (land that looks like a small stream during heavy rain but isn’t wet most of the time) and isolated wetlands dot the nation’s farmland. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) on June 29 finalized a rule that expand its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to these types of land features and waters, giving the agencies the power to dictate land-use decisions and farming practices in or near them. On August 28, t ...

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Fall Food Prices Drop

Fall retail food prices inched slightly lower with whole milk, cheddar cheese, bacon and apples leading the way.  That's according to the American Farm Bureau Federation's  Fall harvest Marketbasket Survey.   The informal survey last week showed the total cost of 16 food items at $54.14, down 12 cents or less than 1 percent compared o a survey conducted a year ago.  of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price. Higher milk and pork production this year contributed to the decrease in prices on some key foods.  Lower energy prices accounted for much of the drop. "Energy prices, which affect everything in the market basket, have been quite a bit lower compared to a year ago. Processing, packaging, transportation and retail operations are all fairly energy-intensive," said John Anderson, AFBF's deputy chief economist. Whole milk showed the biggest decrease, down 17 percent.  Bacon prices fell 11 percent; apples, 7 percent; shredded cheddar cheese, 5 p ...

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Farm Bureau Policy Opposing Funding Stream Advances

Earlier this year, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) laid out a funding stream for its Go To 2040 plan.  To fund the priorities set forth in the plan, CMAP has proposed a quarter-cent sales tax on purchases made in the Chicago metropolitan area, which is defined as the counties in the Regional Transportation Authority service area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will).  CMAP estimates that the quarter-cent sales tax would raise $300 million.  CMAP’s proposal sets a precedent for other regional planning commissions including: the Bi-State Regional Commission (Rock Island), Greater Egypt Regional Planning and Development Commission (Marion), North Central Illinois Council of Governments (Ottawa), South Central Illinois Regional Planning and Development Commission (Harrisburg), and the Western Illinois Regional Council (Macomb) to propose a sales tax on purchases made in the planning area to fund projects.  There are 20 planning commissions in Illinois. Farm ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Bona Heinsohn

Imagine if Senate Bill 734 (Senator David Koehler) was approved by the General Assembly.  The bill creates the Genetically Engineering Food Labeling Act, which would require food containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled "GE" if it is sold in Illinois.  If the General Assembly had approved Koehler's bill, Mondelez Global LLC, which makes Honey Maid Grahamfuls would have to label the product "GE" if it contained genetically modified ingredients and was sold in Illinois.   To ensure that they were in compliance with the law, for every product that was not exempt under the law, Mondelez would have to determine if they were going to continue selling in Illinois and if so, re-label or alter the product's ingredients.  If Mondelez chose to remake the product they would have to do so with specially handled, higher-priced ingredients thus increasing grocery prices.  On the other hand, if Mondelez chose to label the product, new labels would have to be designed and purchased. ...

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