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2016-2017 Annual Foundation Report

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam Where the deer in the antelope play Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day  Home, home on the range… A few months ago, I was out in the Big Horn Mountains fishing with some buddies. I marveled, as we traversed through and around the low-lying ranches of the country, about how much wildlife is fed high quality, irrigated alfalfa and hay grasses grown by the ranchers.  Of course, those crops in the form of hay are intended to go to the gullets of cows and sheep during the cold winter months. The lush valleys of hay crops, nestled between mountains, attract hundreds of deer and antelope, especially in the evening hours, to gorge on the finest product the rancher has to offer. I often wonder if the ranchers get upset with these natural grass thieves. I snapped these photos of deer and antelope “playing” in the hay fields in August as we drove through one of these valleys.   ...

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Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

aMAZE-ing Ag!  Corn and Cubs are not the most likely topics to combine, but this combination is proving to be a huge hit at a corn maze in Illinois.  Ever since I read the articles about local corn mazes, I just couldn’t stop myself from investigating if this could possibly involve another career in ag.  The answer is a resounding YES!  In fact, corn mazes have become such a popular supplemental income option for farmers that there are now businesses that exist solely to help farmers build and run mazes. A few I ran across include Corn Mazes, Maze Play, Precision Mazes and The MAiZE.  There are a few basic steps to creating the end product which include the use of technology. One example of the process is described as follows. GPS tracking is used to create a path for the corn maze to be cut. It starts by creating a grid plot, either on graph paper or digitally. Then a vehicle is fitted with a GPS tracking device which is driven around the land where ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

Let me tell you a story about my blue-eyed girl’s blue-eyed rabbit.  A little over a month ago we brought home this teeny-tiny New Holland Lop bunny.  He’s nothing but ears and a fluffy tail.  In a flurry of activity, we bought a hutch (we couldn’t find our old one), food, water bottle, and shavings.  Everything you’d need to bring a bunny home.  About a week later, we bought him a litter box since bunnies supposedly can be litter box trained.  Our blue-eyed bunny decided that the litter box is just not for him and instead opted to use it as his new bed and proceeded to sleep in it.  So, we bought a second litter box thinking that he could sleep in one and use the second one for its intended purposes.  Negative.  He naps in one then moves to the other.  You can guess what he does in the remaining corners of his hutch.  What you’d might have guessed about me by this time is that I’m a little picky about things.&nbs ...

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Tree and Pond Stocking Sale

The Will-South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District is currently taking orders for the fall Tree and Fish Sale. Order forms are available on the District Website ~ https://will-scookswcd.org and can be picked up at the Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District office during business hours.   U.S. Mail, email and fax copies can also be requested by calling (815) 462-3106 x 3. The District has a wide variety of plants, shrubs, and trees available this fall.  Stock ranges in size from 8 inches to 6-foot linear stock, and one, two and three gallon potted stock. Fish varieties for sale include Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Redear, Hybrid Sunfish, Fathead Minnows, Bluegill, Black Crappie, Triploid Grass Carp and Albino Catfish (new).  Grass Carp must be ordered by September 22nd. All other orders must be received by Monday, October 2nd.  Orders are pre-paid only. Tree orders will be available for pickup on Friday, October 6th, 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Satur ...

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Beanie Baby Travels to D.C.

Congratulations to Sandridge Elementary School in Lynwood, Illinois who was named the Illinois Elementary School of the Year by The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project for their outstanding energy education project: The Power of Wind. We asked 4th grade teacher, Ms. Alice Miller, about the project and process leading up to their recognition.   “I work for Sandridge Elementary, a small, one school district located in Lynwood, Illinois.  We may not have the financial resources many other schools enjoy but our students are a smart, scrappy, can-do kind of group.  Hoping to open new doors for them several years ago, I began to research opportunities that would bring materials and support to assist our students in their learning of science and the world around them.  I was fortunate to find the Cook County Farm Bureau as well as NEED.  Ag in the Classroom, through summer field trips, teacher education, and workshops has done much to further our knowledge and e ...

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“Food Evolution” the Movie Coming to Chicago in October


Have a non-farmer friend, relative, your doctor, lawyer, dietitian, kid’s teachers or other influencers in the Chicagoland area that could be enlightened and entertained about today’s agriculture? Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), Cook County Farm Bureau, Illinois Farm Families (IFF), Illinois Science Council and the Chicago chapter of the Institute of Food Technologists will host a public screening of "Food Evolution" on Tuesday, October 3, 7:00 p.m. at the Arc Light Theater in Chicago.

Tickets are available at https://foodevolutionfilm.eventbrite.com

An early bird discount is available for tickets purchased prior to Sept. 18.  Tickets are $15 if purchased after Sept. 18 but prior to Oct. 3 or $20 at the door.  Seats are limited.

To learn more about “Food Evolution” and to view the trailer visit: https://www.foodevolutionmovie.com/

Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Democracy is Not Easy” Courage. Patriotism. Heroism. Bravery. Right over wrong. Liberty. My wife and I love going to Washington, D.C. to soak in history, learn more about the famous, not-so-famous and the infamous figures that have influenced the course of our great country. We go from landmark to historic marker, from tribute to memorial absorbing the moments, times and people of impact. History captured in granite, marble, quotes, and photos. The words, phrases, images and quotes etched into stone and metal transcend the centuries and generations, bringing tears and smiles, inspiration and humbleness, sadness and pride.  I marvel at the situations in which ordinary men and women rise to occasions. I marvel at the circumstances that lift and elevate the average to historic proportions.  Our son recently began his service to the United States of America through the Army and has been assigned to 3rd US Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard” stationed at Fort Myer next to Ar ...

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Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

The Power of the Beanie Baby Nothing draws more comments and praise than the infamous beanie baby.  No I’m not talking about those beanie babies that TY popularized when my kids were small.  The ones that had parents crazy when a “new” one came on the market or the ones that McDonalds were offering in Happy Meals that had us eating those meals just to get a mini-version of those babies.  I’m talking about the Ag in the Classroom make and take project that involves a small bag, Soil Moist, water and the #2 crop grown in Illinois, soybeans.  This month we are highlighting a school that used the beanie baby to bring attention to the soybean and its importance in our state.  Farmers will soon be out in their fields harvesting this crop which will be shipped via road, river and rail throughout the USA and the world. About half of Illinois soybeans are exported. Luckily, we’re uniquely situated when it comes to shipping soybeans. We have:​ • Semis  ...

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