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Bring Your Classroom Alive! Cook County Teacher PD Workshop 2/27/18

Join the fun at our hands-on educator PD featuring the topics of seeds, eggs and embryology.  Learn new ways to bring science, math and language arts to your curriculum using agriculture resources.  Attendees will walk away with free resources and lesson plans.  Pre-registration required by emailing aitc2@cookcfb.org or calling us at 708-354-3276.  

Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

You may know this recently popular tune: O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How dry and brittle are your branches O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How dry and brittle are your branches   O once, you were such a lovely green Fire resistant and so very clean Now presents are gone and needles fall How dry and brittle are your branches   Sure, I took some liberties with the words. Such a happy little song before Christmas becomes a little sadder after Christmas as that fresh tree becomes much less “fresh”.  For those procrastinators out there, IT IS FEBRUARY on the calendar, and that means, it’s time to take the tree down! It is always a bit sad when it becomes time for the “real” Christmas tree to come down. The green conifer “soldier” has fearlessly done its job of holding up the myriad of bright lights, sentimental decorations, keepsake items, kids’ mystery creations, expressions of the season, glitz and glamour…day after day, ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

I have a confession: I’m a “Potterhead.” Surprised? Maybe. But you should know that I’m an avid reader and not just of shoe magazines.  Since learning to read, I immersed myself in stories of Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, Goosebumps, Sweet Valley High, and The Saddle Club.  Like legions of young girls before me, I imagined myself solving mysteries while riding trails by night on my trusty steed. As I got older, my reading preferences shifted from R. L. Stine to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Michael Crichton. On rare occasion - usually when I stole one from my grandma - I’d throw in a Harlequin romance novel. But I’m more of a dinosaur-kind of girl. After college, my thrill-seeking tastes gave way to less Stephen King and more Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen, David Baldacci, and Karin Slaughter.  My farmer calls them my “body count books” and he may have a point.  But candidly, Stephen King started to scare me after I left the comfort of room ...

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Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

Smell the Roses  This month features the holiday that some love and some loath.  Whatever way you look at it, Valentine’s Day is hard to avoid.  It’s also a huge economic boom often bringing in over $18 billion according to the National Retail Federation.  Approximately one-third of that total represents floral sales, which falls just below candy and cards.   Customs officials at airports begin working to make sure that the flowers a loved one receives contain only flowers!  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checks the millions of flowers coming into the U.S. for insects, diseases and even hidden narcotics.  Teachers who attend our Summer Ag Institutes are fascinated with the tour we receive at O’Hare Airport where we learn so much about the importance of Agriculture Customs and Border Patrol, a topic few Americans pay attention to unless they travel abroad. The majority of fresh flowers are imported - mainly from South America - and inspected a ...

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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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