From the monthly archives:

March, 2014

Refusing to take part in the "Food Fight"

Re-printed with permission from Michelle Aavang, author and owner of Will Lea Stock Farm, Woodstock, IL Last night a woman who I like and respect quite a bit posted a rather lengthy Facebook status.  Tammy and I met several years ago at the farmers market where I’m a vendor and she is a regular customer.  Her status bothered me so much that it’s now 3:00 AM, about 5 hours after I read the post, and I’ve given up trying to sleep, gotten out of bed, and am at the computer in our farm office, trying to regurgitate the thoughts I’ve had since the initial read. She’s a mom of two, and is making all of the food choices for her family.  Her post centered around her feelings of being torn between “seemingly opposing sides” of the “local, heirloom, organic, grass-fed, humanely raised, sustainable, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, free-range” farmers and those who farm using conventional methods. I’ve left the comfort of my warm bed to try to explai ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“Public Relations” PT Barnum once famously said… “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”! I wonder if Justin Bieber believes that… (Yes kids, I know who he is…kind of…sure, I’ll sign the petition) I wonder if Lindsay Lohan believes that… (I was a big fan during the “Parent Trap” days when she was cute, young and innocent) I wonder if O.J. Simpson believes that… (He made me root for the Buffalo Bills as a kid, unfortunately) Okay, there may be exceptions to the bad publicity rule! However, I still said to myself… “There is no such thing as bad publicity” as I hung up the phone on Thursday, March 6.  I had received a phone call from Steve Sims of the Illinois Farm Bureau.  Steve manages certain programs and events that focus around public relations for the organization. He provides information, materials and details regarding Food Checkout Day as a part of his responsibili ...

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Registration Open for Start2Farm Together Conference

A Start2Farm Together conference for beginning farmer and rancher educators and service providers will take place at the Illinois Farm Bureau in Bloomington, Ill., April 15-16. Registration is $25 and includes two lunches.  

The Start2Farm Together program brings together trainers and service providers, to share resources and best practices, as well as identify any resource gaps. This event is hosted by Start2Farm, headquartered at the Agriculture Department’s National Agricultural Library, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Illinois Farm Bureau, University of Illinois Extension and Illinois Department of Agriculture with support from Farm Credit Network. Learn more online at

Digital Food IQ Quiz Launched

A Digital IQ Food Quiz designed to raise awareness of some interesting information surrounding food and the agriculture industry was launched by MorganMyers Tuesday in conjunction with National Agriculture Day. Learn more and take the quiz at

Our friends from the Will-Cook Soil and Water Conservation District have this great program that we are pleased to assist them in promoting!

The Will/South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District is currently taking orders for the Spring 2014 Tree and Fish Sale. Order forms are available on the District Website ~ 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 ext 3. The District has a wide variety of plants, shrubs, and trees available this spring.  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, Hybrid Redear, Fathead Minnows, Bluegill, Black Crappie, Triploid Grass Carp and Albino Catfish (new).   Grass Carp must be ordered by April 18th. All other orders must be received by Monday, April 28th.  Orders are pre-paid only. Tree orders will be available for pickup on Friday, May 2nd 12:00 p.m. until 6:0 ...

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14th Annual Food Checkout Day: Cook County Farm Bureau® and Ronald McDonald House Charities® Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Celebrate Food Checkout Day

   Food Checkout Day highlights the safe and nutritious food that local farmers grow while also drawing attention to those families who struggle to find solutions to feeding their families healthy food on a tight budget.  Through Farm Bureau’s partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Farm Bureau members are able to assist families during the most difficult time of their lives, when their child is ill. Cook County Farm Bureau® members celebrate Food Checkout Day by collecting food items, hosting a scavenger hunt and shopping spree to benefit local Ronald McDonald Houses and by encouraging farmers, Country Financial Agencies, 4-H members, and students to participate in a food drive.  “Cook County and Illinois farmers are committed to growing safe and nutritious food for our families and for others,” said James Gutzmer, President of Cook County Farm Bureau®.  “Food Checkout Day allows us to recognize th ...

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National Agriculture Day Introduces City Kids To Life on the Farm

Xavier Carter, 9, just thought crayons came from a box. That changed on Thursday as the third-grade student at James Wadsworth STEM Elementary School in Woodlawn received hands-on demonstrations about the importance of farming. Xavier was one of 415 children who visited the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Mount Greenwoood just ahead of National Agriculture Day on March 25. The annual event was coordinated by the Cook County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom Program. "I learned that pigs are important, because they make food — like bacon. But they also help make toothpaste, soap, candles and crayons," Xavier said. (Pig fat is used in the making of crayons.) Mike Borgic of the Illinois Pork Producers Association shared with Xavier's class of 18 students insight on how pigs are raised and the important role the animals play in our everyday lives. Borgic, of Springfield, was one of eight presenters at the high school at 3857 W. 111th St. All of the instructors focused on a spec ...

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Farm Bill Webinar Series Conducted by the Illinois Farm Bureau coming in April

Illinois Farm Bureau will be conducting a series of Farm Bill webinars starting in April.  Here is the schedule:

1. Commodity Title Options Wednesday, April 2 at 8:00 a.m., Doug Yoder

a. Marketing Loans

b. Price Loss Coverage (PLC)

c. Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) County

d. ARC Individual

2. Crop Insurance Changes and Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) Wednesday, April 9 at 8:00 a.m., Doug Yoder

3. Dairy Provisions and Livestock Disaster Provisions Thursday, April 17 at 8:00 p.m., Jim Fraley

For more information and to register visit or  The registration process will be coming soon.  During the live webinar attendees will be able to submit questions which will be answered during the live webinar.  The webinars will also be recorded and be available for viewing afterwards as well for those that can’t attend the live event.

Board Members "Count Down" to Food Checkout Day

Cook County Farm Bureau Board Members count down the remaining day till this year's Food Checkout Day!

Zeldenrust Farm Market Helps "Countdown" to Food Checkout Day

Thank you Zeldenrust Farm Market for taking time out of spring planting to help countdown the three remaining days to Food Checkout Day! This program highlights the safe and nutritious food that local farmers, like Zeldenrust Farm Market, grow while providing needed food to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.


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