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Downwind

Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Science, pie and leadership” “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Thomas Jefferson (A sentence from the Declaration of Independence) Amazing words of power…world changing words…written by a Revolutionary leader at age 33. April 13 happens to be the birthday of Thomas Jefferson. I know this because I have a “smart phone”. I have a really smart because it posted Jefferson’s birthday on my activities calendar, knowing full well that I would care! How did it know? In case you don’t remember Thomas Jefferson, let me refresh your memory. He was this guy born in 1743, third child to a wealthy plantation family, studied and read, becoming very well educated… highly successful lawyer…Governor of Virginia…author of a little document called the Declaration of Ind ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

Discrimination? I am a white male (in case you didn’t notice from my mug shot photo). It is rare for those of us in white male demographic to cry “discrimination”. In fact, in my 49+ years of life, I have never used those words in connection with something that happened with me. January 31, 2015 was the first time the word crossed my mind. That day, our church was hosting a blood drive. My wife wanted to be first in line and get “it” out of the way so she stopped by early to donate. Meanwhile, I wanted to get in some “Bobtime” so I decided to donate later if I had time. After going out for a run, enjoying coffee with a buddy, attending my son’s basketball game and chatting with my wife about her experience giving blood, I decided that I had no more excuses and would head to the church to do my civic duty. As I waited for a person to register me to donate, one of the workers from the Blood Donor Company whispered to me “ Hey…will you come over ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“In 2015, I resolve to…” So… How are your 2015 New Year’s resolutions going? Nearly half of all Americans make them. Let me guess…It’s only February and already your New Year’s resolutions are falling flat on their face…In a death spiral… Losing steam… So, you don’t want to talk about it? We all start our Resolutions with great expectations and enthusiasm… the calendar provides us with a chance at a new beginning, a fresh start and increased focus. The most popular resolutions include: “I will lose weight”…” I will eat healthier”…” I will improve my relationships”… “I will get organized”… “I will get fit”… “I will spend more time with family”…”I will quit smoking”… “I will be a nicer person”… “I will be better with my money”. We write those Resolutions down w ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“The Ground’s Grounding Effect” This was a difficult and emotional column to write this month. Who I am and what I am was influenced heavily by life growing up on a farm through age 22.  The years on the farm taught me, guided me and influenced me.  It “created” the me I am by providing: · An understanding of work ethic (didn’t always appreciate it) · a great grasp of the “birds and the bees” (farm kids see “things” early in life) · knowledge about the environment, animal behavior and influence of mother nature (sometimes friendly, sometimes angry, sometimes simply tolerant) · insight on farm families (mostly friendly/loving but sometimes angry, sometimes tolerant) · appreciation of the glory and pitfalls of agriculture (bounty, death, profit, debt, and uncertainty) · the value of the dollar (100 cents) · the importance of education that comes in multiple forms (school, church, and ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

I am about “food’ed” out… Oh no…don’t panic farmers. I still love and crave your products. I thoroughly enjoy my double cheeseburgers, all meat pizzas, ice cream, a full loaf of hot bread, steamy broccoli, Chile, tacos, heaping piles of pasta, biscuits and gravy, pie, mashed potatoes… Nope, nothing wrong with my food cravings. I’m just tired of everyone weighing in on their opinion of what I eat. I’m tired of the word “healthy”… I’m tired of the word “sustainable”... I’m tired of the word “natural”. I’m tired of the word “organic”. I’m tired of the word “local”. I’m tired of the word “processed”.  I am tired of the word “gmo”. I am tired of this movement and that movement. Just leave me be and let me eat what I want. Really, I’m tired of hypocrisy of it all. (Hypocrisy like Chipotle buying its grass fed beef from Au ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

One would think that as old as I am, I would stop experiencing “firsts” … And yet, there I was on vacation, fishing out West in mountain streams a couple weeks ago, and I experienced several “firsts”… ·        For the first time, I enjoyed a century day…catching 100 trout in a day. (highly recommended) ·        For the first time, I fished in very close proximity with a protective mother moose with a calf (not recommended unless the fishing is too good to leave) ·        For the first time, I had someone, a rancher, look me in the eyes and tell me that he would shoot me (definitely frowned upon) The latter “first” certainly gave me cause to pause…and contemplate life a bit…and think about how problems are solved differently in the West. When I think about the circumstances that led to the “I will shoot y ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

There is widespread, passionate debate going on regarding the minimum wage. There has been a lot of noise about raising it on the state and national level in recent months. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner have argued about it, making the raising of the minimum wage a campaign issue. Pres. Obama has used his magic pen to raise the minimum wage for Federal workers (The President’s executive order affects only future contracts, not existing ones, and would only apply to contract renewals if other terms of the agreement changed). The news has been filled with people protesting and demonstrating in front of Walmart and McDonald’s seeking an increase for the minimum wage. There is even a non-binding, advisory referendum on the ballot in November in Illinois asking if Illinois should raise the minimum wage to $10/hour… With all of this hub bub, it got me thinking that everybody must be earning minimum wage so I looked it up. According to the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 75.9 mill ...

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Skill & Work Ethic Aren't Taboo, Mike Rowe's S.W.E.A.T. Pledge

Mike Rowe…” The dirtiest man on TV”… Famous for the TV show Dirty Jobs, Ford Commercials, training for classical opera, his new CNN TV show (Somebody’s Gotta do it), his rugged good looks and his direct, honest manner has started a not-for-profit Foundation that provides financial scholarships to individuals. The unique aspect is that the scholarships are awarded to men and women who have demonstrated an interest in and aptitude for mastering a specific trade/work skill. Here is the kicker…Applicants must sign a pledge to be eligible for a scholarship.  Mr. Rowe developed the pledge called the S.W.E.A.T (Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo) Pledge and it is grabbing a bunch of social media attention. It seems that some scholarship applicants don’t think it’s fair that they have to sign the pledge to access to his Foundation’s scholarship money and they are willing to “post” these complaints online for the world to see&hellip ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“What bugs my stomach?” Meat and potatoes… That’s the stuff that farm boys are made of. The majority of farm meals featured a type of meat and a form of potatoes when I was growing up and that’s the way I wanted it. Thankfully, Mom was very skilled preparing a variety of flavors and styles out of meat and potatoes. That’s the way I still want food most of the time…in the form of Meat and Potatoes. Sure, attempts have been made to expand my food horizons … and I will try nearly anything.  However, I have learned that… a Portobello mushroom used in place of the hamburger patty is tasty but doesn’t quite cut it. Spaghetti squash used in place of pasta… fewer calories but you can’t trick my taste buds. Sprouts topping a salad … it’s a lot of fuss with very little payback. Quinoa…was that food? But there are limits to my food horizons.  I believe I have determined the limit… I believe that emtomo ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Organizational Personality” Farm Bureau is in the “People” business.  We have people that choose to join the Organization as members.  We have people that volunteer to lend their skills, enthusiasm, talents and strengths to further the goals of the Farm Bureau.  We have people that work for our Affiliated Companies that help provide services and protection to our member people. We have people that work as Staff serving all these other people!  We have People that spend large chunks of their free time serving as part of the Leadership Team for the Farm Bureau.   Farm Bureau People meet…FB People interact…FB People connect…FB People relate. As Manager, I am very fortunate to work with so many of these good People.  It is inevitable and right that a close bond is formed with many of these People… April 23, 2014 was a difficult day…a difficult day for Cook County Farm Bureau People and for me personally. Two long ...

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