From the category archives:

Programs- Ag Literacy

Teacher Professional Development

Calling all teachers! There are a few seats left for both our Summer Ag Institutes. Join us to learn about the farm to table process, including food, fiber and fuel. Walk away with knowledge to develop new ideas and curriculum for your classroom based on a wide variety of topics. Speakers will provide you with possibilities on using agriculture in your math, reading. science, and social studies CORE lesson planning. Earn CPDUs or graduate credit as well!


2013 Cook County Farm Bureau Bookmark Contest

Pick up an Ag book this summer and…Travel into the world of agriculture!   Design a bookmark showing how agriculture is a part of your life, every day.  Whether it’s milk from a cow, ethanol to fill your gas tank, cereal made with wheat, corn fresh from the field, or soy ink on your newspaper, we want to see how Ag is a part of your life!   Enter our bookmark contest and have people from all over Cook County use it during their summer reading.    First and Second Place prizes will be awarded in two age groups: 6-8 year olds & 9-12 year olds.  First Place winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, Second Place winners will receive a $15 Amazon gift card.  All four will receive an Ag themed book.  The winning bookmarks will be duplicated for distribution this summer at local libraries and at the Cook County Farm Bureau.   Entries must be received by 5/15/13 via email or mail.  Judging will be completed by 6/1 ...

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What's For Lunch?

First there was the food pyramid and now there is the USDA My Plate.  Every time you watch TV or listen to the radio, you hear new things about what you should eat or shouldn’t even think about putting into your body. The “good” list and “bad” list seem to change regularly. We’re also hearing about childhood obesity and how it is skyrocketing.  Everyone who can be blamed is being blamed: parents, schools, food companies, and farmers to name a few.  I could fill this whole newspaper with differing theories on why this is happening and whose fault it is.  New programs are created every day to solve this problem, yet the problem continues to grow.  Much of the limelight the past few years has focused on schools and how schools can be the key to solving this problem.  Funding for schools can now be tied to the food they serve in schools or the food they don’t serve in schools.  Schools who join initiatives such as becoming ...

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Ag Day a Great Day

Over 400 third grade students, teachers and chaperones attended our first Ag Day event for 2013 at Chicago High School for Ag Sciences.  Rotating through eight stations in 15 minute increments, the students learned about Illinois agriculture including specialty crops, horticulture/worms, soybeans, corn, animals, dairy, pork and how food goes from the farm to the table.  Students walked away with their own beanie babies, butterflies in a bag, cow hats and a new understanding of how important agriculture is to all of our lives.  Two more Ag Days are scheduled for April 11th and April 18th at different locations.                                                                 & ...

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Youth of today, LEADER of tomorrow!

Have you ever met a young person that immediately impresses you?  One who you listen to for a few minutes and you know they’ll be doing great things in life?  Let me introduce you to one of these individuals whom I met two years ago and haven’t forgotten about.  Meet Robert Schabes. Robert grew up in Orland Park, IL and graduated from Carl Sandburg High School.  He is one of six children (the only son) in a family who have no connection to farming or agriculture.  The only recollection Robert has of a farm is when his mother stopped by a farm once when he was a small boy to watch a farmer put seeds into his planter.  He vividly remembers that moment as he was amazed by this piece of machinery. Other than that, farming was not a regular part of his life growing up in Orland Park.  As Robert was preparing to attend college, his cousin told him about a place called Joliet Jr. College (JJC) and how people could actually major in agriculture.  He attended one se ...

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Students Learn about Food, Fiber and Fuel

Forth grade students in Cook County learn more about the extraordinary uses of corn during an Ag in the Classroom "In School Field Trip".  This free program teaches students about agriculture's connections to food, fiber and fuel.  Teachers or school administrators interested in scheduling an "In School Field Trip" for their school should contact (708) 354-3276 and ask for the Ag in the Classroom department or email

Cook County Legislator visits Ag Literacy Presentation

State Representative Will Davis along with a small group of elementary school students matches grains, such as corn and soybeans with their more unknown end products such as fireworks and clothing during an Ag in the Classroom presentation in Cook County.

Ag in the Classroom visits Palatine Public Library

Over 50 parents and children participated in a dairy program hosted by Cook County Ag in the Classroom at the Palatine Public Library on December 28th.  After reading the book, Clarabelle by Cris Peterson, the children did some experiments with milk including making a milk "explosion" and making ice cream in a bag. Despite the cold weather outside, the cold ice cream was a big hit.  If your local library would like to host a free visit from Ag in the Classroom, contact us to select a date and topic.


Ag Lit Bit

I am confident 2013 will be a year filled with more new and exciting advancements in technology, but I challenge you to practice some ‘old fashioned’ living without the use of technology. Instead of waiting for National “Turn off the TV Week” (now known as “No Screen Week”) or “National School Lights Out Day” (now known as “Earth Hour”), pick your own time and day to walk away from technology.  One of the reasons our 4th Grade In-School visits remain so popular isn’t because of our high tech delivery, but due to the hands-on nature of our visits.  It isn’t often that children get to see and feel real corn and soybeans or play a matching game with actual farm seeds.  So much learning is computer-based that it’s nice to take a break from looking at a screen and actually seeing something in real life, such as straw, wheat and oats.   The same holds true for reading.  Now I admit I got ...

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Harvest Time - A Bounty of Ideas Teacher Workshop

Join us on October 17th from our Countryside Office to learn ideas to bring into your K-8 classrooms.  Follow the journey from farm to table and explore the connections between history and the harvest.  Special speaker from the Illinois Soybean Association will share free resources and ideas. Earn 2 CPDU's and walk away materials, examples and giveaways!
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