From the category archives:



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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Kids Against Hunger Event

Chicago High School for Ag Sciences FFA held  a "Kids Against Hunger" food packaging event in conjunction with Outreach International on 11/27/12.  Each student who participated raised at least $25.  Every $25 raised provides a meal for approximately 600 people.  In 2011, CHSAS packaged 26,000 meals that were sent to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.  Witnessing this large-scale event with these dedicated students was truly inspirational! Congrat's to CHSAS students on their hard work and dedication.  The Cook County Farm Bureau Board of Directors contributed funds for 4,800 meals to support these student's efforts!

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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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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Enter to win the 2012 Trim the Tree Contest~calling all trimmers!

December is almost here and that means Christmas, and trees, and presents.  As the weather looks to be warmer this weekend why not take advantage and purchase your tree from a member farm stand or greenhouse and enter it into this year's Trim the Tree Contest.  It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3...  1.  Buy it! (Purchase a fresh Christmas tree from a participating CCFB Member farm stand - go to the Farm stand Directory in the Buy Local tab for a list ) 2.  Trim it! (Decorate it – pick a theme, favorite tradition and make it unique) 3.  Photograph & email it!   (Send an electronic photo along with the entry form to; entry forms are found in the Buy Local/Programs tab) Winners of the popular vote will receive:  First Prize: $250  Runner Up:$100; a matching donation will be made to the farm stand and Food Pantry selected. Entries for the Trim the Tree Contest will be posted on for voting by the ...

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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

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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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. 

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.

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.