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Board of Directors Approves New Membership Classification

The Cook County Farm Bureau® (CCFB) Board of Directors, during the April meeting, took action to approve a bylaw change that provides for a new classification of member, the Professional Member (PM). The PM classification is for individuals who are employed in farm and agricultural related occupations but do not directly earn their income from farming. The PM will have voting rights as a member, is eligible to serve on the local Board of Directors and as an officer of the CCFB, and can represent CCFB as a delegate at the state annual meeting. The PM should have a passion for agriculture and farming and be seeking a strong industry in the Cook County area. With the adoption of this new membership classification, the CCFB features three main membership classifications: ·        MM (Farmer Member) - for individuals that are farming and earned $2500 or more annually ·        PM (Professional Member) - for individuals that ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

March Madness In the farm circles, the preparation for the planting season can be described as “March Madness”. Think of it as a giant collaborative project with many moving parts… making sure farm equipment is repaired, greased, and ready to roll, suppliers in tune with the supply orders, seed in stock, deliveries of products received, advisory services in place, hired help on the payroll, weather cooperating, time available, and so much more. When I was growing up, I did not fully comprehend that these many moving parts were being managed by my father as he prepared to move into planting season.  I was in the mindset of “Just tell me where and when to drive the tractor, Dad”.  I guess I thought planting season just happened magically, with the turn of the calendar.  Admittedly, I was more concerned about that other March Madness: high school and college basketball. While I enjoy the spring planting season, basketball’s March Madness has always been a m ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

In March, Farm Bureau leaders from throughout Illinois traveled to the nation’s capital.  Leaders spent the week meeting with U.S. Congressmen, agency staff, and trade groups in an effort to learn more about issues impacting agriculture and to lobby for priority issues. During conversations with the Canadian embassy, leaders learned that under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. agricultural and food exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled.  The trading partnership has created between five and six million American jobs.  Locally, the food grown on two out of every ten acres on Illinois farms is used to feed livestock in Canada and Mexico.  Farmers remain concerned about the future of NAFTA after President Trump pulled the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).  Leaders also traversed “Embassy row” in route to the Embassy of Ireland in Washington D.C.  Like Canada, Ireland is a trading partner of the U.S.  ...

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Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

Spring Sounds After spending time at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show last month, my mind is exploding with the possibilities that exist to fill my garden this summer.  It was a wonderful departure from our snowy and rather cool March and great preparation for the sights, smells and sounds of spring.  Using bushel baskets for pots, cinder blocks for benches and large rocks for garden accents, the sights at the show makes me think outside of the box and realize the creativity involved in the horticulture industry. The smell of the tulips, roses and herbs in full bloom made me anxious for July and August when we will experience the same explosion of smells in our own backyards.  The only thing missing from the show was a sound I so enjoy, those of the returning birds to our area.  I recently was introduced to Paula Levy and Alyse Burman, co-owners of The Wildbird Shack, Ltd. located in Mt. Prospect.  The store sells feed/seed and a host of bird-related items and also has programs ...

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On-the-Road Seminar: Motor Vehicle Regulations for Illinois Farmers

Trucking regulations are complicated, and farm exemptions compound that complexity.  Seems everyone has a different answer to your question.  We have worked with our friends at Will County Farm Bureau for members to attend a session to sort truth from conjecture and fact from rumor. Come join us at 6:00 pm at Will County Farm Bureau, 100 Manhatten Road in Joliet on March 30, 2017. The program is a two-hour seminar that focuses on trucking laws—both new and well-worn—specifically for farmers.  We’ll take a special look at the latest rules and you'll have the chance to ask those farm trucking questions for which for which answers are so elusive. Laws have been reshaped in the past 24 months with more changes scheduled for 2017!  Rules recently affected include:  the medical card, equipment inspection requirements, out-of-state CDL use, the USDOT Number, post-trip inspections, and something called the URS.  New for 2017 is the MSCR‑1, Process Agents and Electroni ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Sticks for Dinner? No. Thank you.” Today (2/16/17), as I write this month’s column, the local and national news is abuzz with the “Day without Immigrants” protests in which a number of restaurants and businesses across the country closed to demonstrate the importance of immigrant labor and immigrant people in the United States. Farming and agriculture in the United States depends on labor in order to provide food for this nation’s people…immigrant labor is an important part, especially in certain types of farms. What would happen if farmers decided to hold a similar event… a Day without Agriculture? What would that day look like? Would anyone care? Would anyone know? Would there be marches on Washington DC? Would there be Riots on the street? I don’t think so. Our food, fiber, and fuel system (fortunately) comes with plenty of bulk handling, warehouse storage, and freezer space…one day of “no farming/no agriculture” may have litt ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

Growing up, I was what you would call the misguided teen.  I wore my hair in my face.  Maybe I had one too many ear piercings.  And let’s not forget the attitude and the eye rolling!  As a teen looking to the future, I career jumped (in my head) a lot. My family was (and still is) in health care so obviously, I was going to be a doctor.  But I'm horrible at math. I loved books, so clearly, I'd be a writer.  But I had a deep-rooted love affair with commas.  To the point that no editor would ever think it’s cute or clever. Maybe I'd be a cop and investigate the crimes committed against in my community. But I'm afraid of the dark (just ask the corgi mix puppy we just house trained).  I was yearbook editor my senior year (despite my affinity for commas) so clearly, I'd go into the newspaper business. But despite my curiosity the newspaper business just wasn’t for me. I interned in radio, so I'd be a drive time host. But I hate mornings and I&rsquo ...

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Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

For Sale I bet you have had occasion to spend some time on Craigslist or perusing your local Classified Ads to find a deal on a new table, chair, car or collectible.  If you’re like me you start with the Chicago listings and then fine tune it down to your local suburb or area.  If there is one couch, there are hundreds.  Same for most things I’ve searched.  We recently moved and experienced the mad rush when you list something for “FREE”.  Interesting experience and great way to reinforce the concept that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.  There are other classifieds to explore such as the ones in this monthly Cooperator, the classifieds in FarmWeek and hundreds of online forums.  I recently pulled out the FarmWeek classifieds and realized how stark the difference is between the ag-related “For Sale” listings and those in my local ads.  Angus crossbred heifers, hog feeders, bales of hay, wheat straw, used John D ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

Downwind by Bob Rohrer Hey James Bond fans… Do you remember the opening scene of the 2006 movie Casino Royale (with Daniel Craig as 007)? Bond chases a man through a construction zone /building in Madagascar.  (Nothing unusual about Bond chasing a guy in a movie)  However this chase scene is more unusual…the man who Bond is chasing is an expert Parkour-ist with wonderful agility and speed. Amazing! Parkour is the sport of running, jumping, climbing, balancing, flipping and rolling rapidly, usually through an urban environment.  When you see someone with extreme parkour skills, like the man that Bond was chasing, it seems as if the person glides and flies through areas that a normal person would have trouble walking and climbing through (like a lead footed Bob Rohrer for example).  People with this ability to Parkour seem to be able to defy gravity. How do they do that? Parkour requires extraordinary skill and the trade-off is seemingly broken bones, a smashed face, and se ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

Soon families and college-aged students will prepare for the annual exodus to warmer climates, vacation rentals, and hotels situated along cascading currents of water.  Chlorinated and otherwise.  Spring also ushers in the every two-year trek of new Illinois General Assembly members.  As well as the exodus of experienced legislators. This year’s trek will be led by Representative Theresa Mah who claimed the second House district.  Mah who was on faculty at the University of Chicago will represent the Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, McKinley Park, Brighton Park and Back of the Yards neighborhoods.  Mah’s service record includes rallying the Chinese American community to push for a single district in 2012.  In Springfield, she’ll continue her work for working families, education, job growth, and immigration reform.  Mah was endorsed by Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia among others. Mah will be joined by Representative Juliana Stratt ...

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