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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

This weekend after a fundraiser, my aunt presented my three-year-old with a beautiful centerpiece complete with tinsel, ribbons, and foil.  It’s lovely… for a one-dollar centerpiece.  Defying all logic, my loud big-little boy named it “my precious” and carries it around.  It sheds leaves at will.  His cat, “Xanadau,” eats the leaves and pukes.  Then I walk in the puke. This is the same little boy who visits a pet store and after petting the bunnies is more interested in the water filtration system on the aquariums and the wheels on the hamster cages than seeing the cats, ferrets, or gerbils. This, of course, is done all while wearing one of four John Deere sweatshirts with his tape measure on his belt.  (Fortunately, he’s not allowed to take his screwdrivers in public.) His sister on the other hand still spends hours at pet stores.  Hours.  Despite her love of all things fuzzy she usually spends most of her time with the amph ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

Downwind By Bob Rohrer According to Google, there are more than 270 billion emails sent each day on this planet. Google did not report how many of those emails were spam or reply all. Sometimes I feel like most of those emails land in my inbox. Unfortunately, I can’t just let all of those emails live in cyberspace. I feel the need to print emails to actually read them. If I ever go paperless, the wood and paper industry will go into recession. One such email I received (and printed) was from the U.S. Census Field Division.  Because I printed it, I was able to find it to write this column. The email was a news release that provided projected “populations” in the United States and the world for New Year’s Day 2018.  The main message I pulled from the Census Bureau update… The Population in the World is exploding! Panic! (Don’t panic…  I added the panic part) The world population projection in January was for 4.3 births every second with 1 ...

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Ag Lit Bit By Diane Merrion

Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion, Ag in the Classroom Coordinator “Time is Flying” Time seems to fly by year after year and only after looking back at some of the inventions from the past do I really sense how fast things are changing.  It’s crazy to think of how long ago some things were invented and their continued impact today or their quick demise being replaced by another product. These inventions all occurred in April of different years:  April 21, 1782 - German educator Friedrich W.A. Frobel invented kindergarten April 21, 1828 - Noah Webster published the first American dictionary April 7, 1860 - Will Keith Kellogg was the founder of the Kellogg Company and invented a process of making flaked cereal--corn flakes--for use as a healthy breakfast cereal April 26, 1892 - Sarah Boone patented an ironing board April 21, 1899 - Alfred Moser Butts invented the game "Scrabble"  April 24, 1914 - Justin Wilson invented Wise Potato Chips I am sure each of these and all past ...

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Ag Lit Bit By Diane Merrion

As our logo stares back at me from the computer screen, I can’t help but reflect on how these three words - Food, Farm, Family - came together in a most significant way last month.  Farmers growing food, food feeding families.  Seems simple enough.  It takes a way more circuitous route when you look at it through the eyes of Food Checkout Day’s School Food Drive. Food reaching families who are facing most challenging circumstances.  The heroes of this story are too many to name, but I will take a moment to salute the schools and communities who rallied around this cause once again this year as part of our School Food Drive. Thank you. Thank you also to the Ronald McDonald Charities® whose reach extends to 64 countries and regions throughout the world.  Thank you to farmers who grow the food and to the schools who donated bag after bag, box after box of items.  And thank you to the farmers who reach families every day and not just in what we eat.  As o ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

Since 2010, Cook County Farm Bureau® has operated a Political Action Committee (PAC) designed to support candidates who are supportive of the policies, priorities and mission of the Farm Bureau while promoting the economic and social well-being of farmers and farm-related interests in Cook County. Since being created, the PAC has made 34 endorsements.  Not all incumbents.  Not all challengers.  Not all major party candidates.  But candidates who Governance Committee members felt would make the largest impact on their District and the County. Members of the Cook CFB PAC Committee are charged with making endorsements.  When considering a candidate, members consider the results of the candidates’ interviews, questionnaires, support of Farm Bureau policies, and when applicable, voting record.  This Primary, alone, Committee members spent 34 hours interviewing candidates and determining endorsements.  34 happy, unpaid, volunteer hours. Of the candidates running for ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

Downwind by Bob Rohrer “Just Text Me… Later” In 2018, I will “celebrate” the nine-year anniversary of sending my very first text message.  Cake, noisemakers, balloons, and games please… Yes, I was a late comer to this phone phenomenon that nearly everyone takes for granted today. Shockingly, I really have no desire to make up for lost time.  Even my father, the Farmer, sends text messages nowadays...pigs now fly. So, is the world a better place with texting? My children prefer text communication, so this is one way that I can “speak” with them. On the negative side, they may only respond when they get around to it or need something.  It is harder to lecture through this medium… The phone that I learned to text on was a flip phone (see pictured). I found the old phone in a file cabinet the other day… Remember when a smaller, sleeker phone was what it was all about? You’ll remember that the process of sending a simple te ...

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Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program

Applications are now available for nurse practitioner scholarships through the Illinois Farm Bureau® Rural Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program.  There will be five scholarships, worth $4,000 each, granted this year. The scholarship program, now in its twenty sixth year, helps encourage and develop the pool of rural health practitioners to help meet primary health care needs in rural Illinois.  Students who receive scholarships agree to practice for two years in an approved rural area in Illinois. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be Illinois residents and be a Registered Nurse accepted or enrolled in an accredited Nurse Practitioner Program.  Funding is provided by the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program. Applications are available at county Farm Bureaus® throughout the state, on the Rural Illinois Medical Student Assistance Program website at RIMSAP.com, or by writing Donna Gallivan, Program Manager, Illinois Farm Bureau, PO Box 2901, Bloomington, IL ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

You may know this recently popular tune: O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How dry and brittle are your branches O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How dry and brittle are your branches   O once, you were such a lovely green Fire resistant and so very clean Now presents are gone and needles fall How dry and brittle are your branches   Sure, I took some liberties with the words. Such a happy little song before Christmas becomes a little sadder after Christmas as that fresh tree becomes much less “fresh”.  For those procrastinators out there, IT IS FEBRUARY on the calendar, and that means, it’s time to take the tree down! It is always a bit sad when it becomes time for the “real” Christmas tree to come down. The green conifer “soldier” has fearlessly done its job of holding up the myriad of bright lights, sentimental decorations, keepsake items, kids’ mystery creations, expressions of the season, glitz and glamour…day after day, ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

I have a confession: I’m a “Potterhead.” Surprised? Maybe. But you should know that I’m an avid reader and not just of shoe magazines.  Since learning to read, I immersed myself in stories of Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, Goosebumps, Sweet Valley High, and The Saddle Club.  Like legions of young girls before me, I imagined myself solving mysteries while riding trails by night on my trusty steed. As I got older, my reading preferences shifted from R. L. Stine to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Michael Crichton. On rare occasion - usually when I stole one from my grandma - I’d throw in a Harlequin romance novel. But I’m more of a dinosaur-kind of girl. After college, my thrill-seeking tastes gave way to less Stephen King and more Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen, David Baldacci, and Karin Slaughter.  My farmer calls them my “body count books” and he may have a point.  But candidly, Stephen King started to scare me after I left the comfort of room ...

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Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion

Smell the Roses  This month features the holiday that some love and some loath.  Whatever way you look at it, Valentine’s Day is hard to avoid.  It’s also a huge economic boom often bringing in over $18 billion according to the National Retail Federation.  Approximately one-third of that total represents floral sales, which falls just below candy and cards.   Customs officials at airports begin working to make sure that the flowers a loved one receives contain only flowers!  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checks the millions of flowers coming into the U.S. for insects, diseases and even hidden narcotics.  Teachers who attend our Summer Ag Institutes are fascinated with the tour we receive at O’Hare Airport where we learn so much about the importance of Agriculture Customs and Border Patrol, a topic few Americans pay attention to unless they travel abroad. The majority of fresh flowers are imported - mainly from South America - and inspected a ...

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