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Did you know that 80% of strokes are preventable? In the US, strokes are the 3rd leading cause of death. You’re probably asking yourself…am I at risk? Well, if you have 2 or more of the conditions listed below, unfortunately you are at risk. Factors such as age and smoking can double your chances of stroke, PAD, and other conditions. If you have two or more of the risk factors listed below, we recommend you participate in the screenings. Here are a few of the common risk factors for stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysms, peripheral vascular disease, and osteoporosis: • Over 40 yrs. old • More than 20 lbs. overweight • Family history • High cholesterol • Cigarette smoking (past and current) • Diabetes • High blood pressure • Inactive lifestyle • Heart disease • TIAs (minor strokes) • History of broken bones • Women close to or in menopause On Tuesday, May 15th and Wednesday, May 16th CCFB is hosting stroke detection screenings for members to detect your risk for stroke in less than 10 minutes. Call 1-877 ...

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Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

A couple of weekends ago, my husband hosted a tour group at his farm. As his dad was walking the group of about 50 through the history of our third generation dairy farm, I leaned over to my husband to say “Steve needs to keep the natural disasters on the down low.” (Yes, I said natural disasters.) Shortly after my husband and I announced our engagement, a fire consumed our 120-cow stanchion milking barn immediately prior to the evening milk shift. Along with our friends and family, we relocated our entire dairy herd to an empty farm several miles down the road. As ashes settled and embers cooled, we opted to continue our family’s legacy with some minor changes. We added a parallel-double-eight milking parlor and a 150-cow barn with the best technology we could afford at the time. With more time came more cows. And with more cows came wrinkles and more buildings until one hot evening in 2005. As the summer drought continued to crispy-fy lawns, mine included, one tractor backfire started a stack of ha ...

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Happy Anniversary

February and March were special months at the Farm Bureau and especially for Ag in the Classroom.  During February we witnessed the generosity of our school children, teachers and communities during our Food Checkout Day Gear Up toGive School Food Drive.  Giving is alive and well inCookCounty! Just as that event was wrapping up, we began to get ready for our 25th Anniversary celebration of our Ag in the Classroom Program.  In some ways 25 years doesn’t seem like a long time, but in planning for this event I realize just how long ago 25 years is. First of all, I didn’t have any children 25 years ago.  Actually, I wasn’t even married 25 years ago.  I was a carefree gal living in the city and not envisioning where I would be in 25 years.  While I was going to Cubs games (no, not White Sox games) I wasn’t really thinking about the turf or who decided what turf would work best in Wrigley Field. I didn’t think there was a job focusing on that subject, but I sure did admire how the grass looked!  I was often walki ...

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Life Lessons - Part 2

April 2012 Last month, I “regaled” the members of the Farm Bureau with my first installment of the life lessons I've experienced that now guide my life.  In last month's column, I reported to the world that I had been doing some thinking about my life lessons as some of my children “are building their own” these days! “Life Lessons” are powerful and lasting experiences that have a way of shaping the actions, reactions, decisions, viewpoints, and direction of an individual from that point forward. I also confessed to being a self-declared parent of “vast” wisdom. I am pleased to see my children roll their eyes when I shared in an unsolicited fashion the life lessons I've gained growing up. I've concluded that the eye rolling is a sign of vast respect and utter agreement. Perhaps, I will begin using the eye rolling technique to show others my vast respect and utter agreement for their viewpoints. I hear that eye rolling is the latest in business etiquette ...

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Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

At the end of February, I was given a tremendous opportunity. An opportunity I had fretted over. Prepared for. Saved for. Converted currency for. An opportunity I had under packed for. (Yes, I said under packed.) And what an opportunity it was. On a bleak Saturday afternoon in Chicago, I and thirty of my closest friends boarded the first of what would be many flights over thirteen days. Despite a sixteen hour flight halfway around the globe very few things could dampen our excitement and ultimately our desire to get out and explore. Even though we spent five days between Hong Kong, mainland China and Beijing it wasn’t China and its expansive roads, rolling power outages, death defying drivers, or boned-in delicacies that touched me but India. India which is home to about fifteen percent of the world’s population- second only to China- in a space a third of the size of the United States. India, whose terrain ranges from the Himalayan Mountains in the north, to flat river valleys to deserts and whose climate ...

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Life Lessons - Part 1

March 2012 Life Lessons. 2 short words and yet powerful enough that we can live our entire lives based on them. Sometimes, life lessons result from a “positive” occurrence but (unscientifically) my life demonstrates the power of “negative” in teaching a person.    Cause and Effect   Truth and Consequences   Action and Reaction       Cord and Discord These are the “Essence” of Life Lessons As a parent of a bunch of teenager boys and girls, I’ve been recently reminded of the power and impact of life lessons. And, being a self-declared parent of vast wisdom, I frequently share in an unsolicited fashion the “life lessons” I gained growing up (in an obvious and fruitless effort to turn teaching moments into “don’t repeat my mistakes” parables.) I’ve noticed, when presenting “case” scenarios,  the most powerful life lessons I ...

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Make the Connection

It’s hard to believe March is here. The days are getting longer and there is much to look forward to this month including National Ag Day (3/8), The Chicago Flower and Garden Show (3/10-3/18) and St. Patrick’s Day! So, what is Ag Day and Why Celebrate Agriculture? Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in a horticulture or foods class or happen upon a teacher with a passion for it.  Through Ag Day, the Agriculture Council of America is encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in agriculture and providing a special day to think about the role ag plays in all of our lives.  The Cook County Farm Bureau will be hosting over 1,000 students in honor of Ag Day at both Wagner Farm in Glenview and Chicago High School for Ag Sciences at our Ag Day events in March and April (see next month’s Cooperato ...

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Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

I like details.  Order.  Advance planning.  Control.  And right now I don't seem to have it. In the very near future I will hop on a plane and fly half around the world.  For a semi-farm girl from the little town of Harvard, it will be a whole new world.  And after 12 days I will hop another plane and fly the rest of the way around the world and back to home.  Looking at the agenda, there's about four other fights ranging in three hours to a lot more that I'm choosing to ignore at this point in time. As the count down to departure continues despite my adamant protests, I've realized that every scrap of paper I own is filled with random notes.  Reminders to make copies.  Reminders to send out materials.  Projects still on the burner.  Items that still need to be located (... um ... passport, where I did I put you for safe keeping?).  Lists that still need to be made.  A single, 44 pound suitcase that still needs to be packed (yes, a single 44 pound suitcase for 14 days). Despite my propensity for control I ...

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My Kids, Agriculture and Ag Tourism

Did you know that cows can eat around 40 pounds of food each day?  Can you believe that as pigs grow, they can eat up to 9 pounds of feed per day?  Isn’t it amazing that horses drink 10-12 gallons of fresh water every day!  If I didn’t know any better I would think we were talking about my three boys, not three animals.  These facts are directly from the Illinois Ag in the Classroom 2011-2012 School Calendar.  When my two college age boys were home for a month this winter break, I felt as though I was feeding a farm full of growing animals.  My grocery bills suddenly tripled each week and my recycling was spilling over the top of the bins.  Yes, it seemed as though I was buying 40 pounds of food and 10 gallons of milk, juice and other refreshments each week.  The similarities struck me as fascinating so back to the calendar I went looking for other interesting facts I might relate to. Horses have sharp ears, keen eyes and a good sense of smell (wow, my boys said the same thing about me during their time ho ...

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Downwind

John Gierach is an American author. He is not in the mega-block buster thriller, mystery writer or fiction novelist category. In fact, his genre has what can be considered a fairly small market…fly fishing. However, he is probably the best known fly-fishing writer of today’s era. You can gain a sense of his books simply by reading a few of the titles…Trout Bum; Sex, Death and Fly Fishing; Dances with Trout; and Standing in a River Waving a Stick. The books consists of essays that focus on fishing experiences, locations, unique conditions, people, humor, and unusual thoughts of random or connected tangents. His audience, while a comparatively small target marketing group, is quite passionate about the craft and has helped Mr. Gierach make a living doing what he loves doing, fly-fishing. So many people wish they could make a living doing what they love instead of what they have to do. I’ve been reading, essay by essay, Gierach’s book entitled “No Shortage of Good Days”. The book highlights the fact that the m ...

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