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If we don't count horses, do horses count?

It is easy to overlook horses in the agricultural landscape now that we don't depend on them for power, but their importance remains. The American Horse Council (AHC) is taking a national survey of the economic impact of U.S. horses in which Illinois will participate as a focus state. Horse owners have until July 17 to participate. Why is it important to participate? Horses are big creatures – it’s hard to hide a horse. Yet as an agriculturally important economic entity, horses are essentially hidden. It is easy to overlook horses in the agricultural landscape now that we don’t depend on them for power. Horses are unique among large farm animals in that they routinely reside in the suburbs and even in cities. Horses may be the only large farm animal an average American ever encounters, thus horses act to bridge a widening gap between the nonfarm life and agriculture. But since they are not used for food or fiber, horses do not funnel through a common marketplace where they can be ...

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Join the Conversation & Win Free Groceries

Our 4th giveaway of the summer is: a $150 grocery store/farmstand gift card AND a $100 food pantry donation to the food pantry of the winner's choice.  The only thing you have to do is LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE and COMMENT ON or SHARE the post below to enter to win.  The winner will be chosen on August 17!  Official contest rules are available here.

Forest Preserve District Seeking Farmers




Bids are currently being accepted for row crops on the following Forest Preserve sites: Janura Preserve (486 acres) , Tampier (25 acres), and Sauk Village Addition (28.8 acres).  Bids are also being accepted for hay mowing on the following forest preserve sites: Penny Road (87 acres), Paul Douglas (130 acres), Janura Preserve (162 acres), Ned Brown Meadow (90 acres), Morrill Meadow (25 acres), Duffy Preserve (50 acres), Tinley Creek (227 acres), Zander Woods /Jurgensen (51 acres), Lansing Woods/North Creek Meadow (130 acres), King's Grove (35 acres), Plum Creek (117 acres), Holy Family Villa (33 acres), and Horizon Farm (271 acres).  Bid information is available at: http://fpdcc.com/about/departments/finance-administration.

Farm Bureau Presents Book Barns to Local Culver's Resturants

Four south suburban Culver’s have partnered with the Cook County Farm Bureau to help guests of all ages make the connection between farm to table dining through reading.

On July 18, the Farm Bureau delivered “book barns” filled with reading materials for children as young as 4 years old to Culver’s restaurants in Tinley Park, Orland Park, Homewood and Matteson.

As part of Culver’s nationwide “Thank You Farmers” initiative, the book barns are filled with books that bring agricultural learning to a child’s perspective, while teaching them where the food they are enjoying comes from.



More to Monarch Situation Than Milkweeds...by Kay Shipman

Other factors also contribute to population declines of the important pollinator.  By Kay Shipman, FarmWeek   The nutrition needs of a monarch butterfly are different from those of a caterpillar. Monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants that serve as a larvae food source. (Photo courtesy of USDA) Monarch butterflies need milkweeds, but other plants also play important roles in the insects’ complex life cycle, said an Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) scientist. Plant ecologist Greg Spyreas, along with fellow INHS plant ecologist David Zaya, studies vegetation changes and potential impacts. While decreased milkweeds, especially those in farm fields, contributed to monarch losses, “I don’t think that is the complete picture,” Spyreas told FarmWeek.     Illinois is developing two monarch strategies. One will become part of a multistate monarch flyway plan, which will be submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife; the other will be an Illinois pl ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

My First “Ride”  Most Americans hold great nostalgia about the first car they owned.  Your first “ride” usually wasn’t the best, flashiest, nicest, or coolest. Many times, it reflected a piece of one’s personality: “how fast it would go, how cheap it was, how great it cornered, how practical it was, how ugly it was, how many times it broke down, how many people could fit in it, etc.” Perhaps it was a true “classic”…a Gremlin, A big boat, a Ford Pinto, a Chevy Chevette, a VW bug, a station wagon, or the a perfect color for a rattletrap.  That first ride provided a great feeling of independence; you didn’t have to ask your parents to borrow the car any longer! Prior to my “first ride”, I was fortunate to have access to farm vehicles of various types and sizes. I remember the Farmer’s (my father) 1976 F 100 Ford pickup truck that my brothers and I borrowed for several years. This truck was really attractiv ...

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Expanded Menu: New Sectors Adding Fresh Produce Choices

Three new ways for consumers to buy fresh foods highlighted at Chicago food show. By Kay Shipman, FarmWeek Legislative Affairs Editor Consumers buying fresh produce and other healthy foods from more businesses will continue finding new options, according to an industry panel at the United Fresh Market Expo in Chicago’s McCormick Place. The panelists, representing convenience stores, drug stores and a meal kit delivery service, discussed consumers’ desire for convenient fresh foods. Convenience stores Jeff Lenard, a vice president with the National Association of Convenience Stores, noted his members’ 154,000 stores conduct 160 million transactions daily. Fresh foods, only 21 percent of in-store sales, accounted more than one third of the profits, according to Lenard. “Fresh is where the action is happening inside our stores,” he said. “There is demand for healthy.” His association and the United Fresh Produce Association are working to increase fresh produc ...

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Ag Lit Bit ... By Brittany Nash

SAI Reflections There was a lot for me to do over the course of this month, but prepping for Summer Ag Institute was the most important. When I would tell people that I was an intern at the Cook County Farm Bureau, everyone would always ask me what that meant. The typical response that I would get was, “So you make copies of farm articles?” I would have to hold back my laughter because for some time, the preparation did consist of me doing that! The joke is surely on them because I have learned so much; not only how many pieces of paper come in each ream, but I had the time to read all of the information I was putting together for the teachers who signed up to take this course. Once the “dirty work” of prepping for SAI was done, it was time for me to take a seat among the rest of the teachers. Since being an alumna of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, I had some background knowledge in agriculture. I have never lived on a farm and I don’t know anyone who live ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

Earlier this year, my blue-eyed girl learned about our local food pantry.  Along with 20 of her closest friends, they learned about how they and their families can help families in need in our community.  They learned about collecting, dividing, and repacking food.  They learned about their community and the families in that community.  Volunteering is not something new to her.  She travels with me to various activities and gives freely of her time.  Last year, she gave a Saturday to help raise money for her traveling softball team.  This year, she spent a Saturday helping to raise money for scholarships and her Sunday helping with an event to raise money for our conservation projects throughout the county. However, the food pantry was the first time she’s picked a cause to volunteer with.  As a parent, her excitement in choosing a cause simply made my heart swell.  No longer does she have to be prodded along, instead she’s the one prodding me along ...

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IDOA Cost Share Funding Available

The Will-South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) has announced the availability of funding to support agricultural and urban landowners interested in participating in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS). 

Practices include cover crops, grassed waterways, grade stabilization structures and rain gardens among others.   

Funds are being targeted to specific townships and will be based upon a 60 percent cost share program.  

Interested individuals should contact the SWCD at (815) 462-3106 x3 or info@will-scooksecd.org for additional information.