From the monthly archives:

July, 2017

Expanded Menu: New Sectors Adding Fresh Produce Choices

Three new ways for consumers to buy fresh foods highlighted at Chicago food show. By Kay Shipman, FarmWeek Legislative Affairs Editor Consumers buying fresh produce and other healthy foods from more businesses will continue finding new options, according to an industry panel at the United Fresh Market Expo in Chicago’s McCormick Place. The panelists, representing convenience stores, drug stores and a meal kit delivery service, discussed consumers’ desire for convenient fresh foods. Convenience stores Jeff Lenard, a vice president with the National Association of Convenience Stores, noted his members’ 154,000 stores conduct 160 million transactions daily. Fresh foods, only 21 percent of in-store sales, accounted more than one third of the profits, according to Lenard. “Fresh is where the action is happening inside our stores,” he said. “There is demand for healthy.” His association and the United Fresh Produce Association are working to increase fresh produc ...

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More to Monarch Situation Than Kay Shipman

Other factors also contribute to population declines of the important pollinator.  By Kay Shipman, FarmWeek   The nutrition needs of a monarch butterfly are different from those of a caterpillar. Monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants that serve as a larvae food source. (Photo courtesy of USDA) Monarch butterflies need milkweeds, but other plants also play important roles in the insects’ complex life cycle, said an Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) scientist. Plant ecologist Greg Spyreas, along with fellow INHS plant ecologist David Zaya, studies vegetation changes and potential impacts. While decreased milkweeds, especially those in farm fields, contributed to monarch losses, “I don’t think that is the complete picture,” Spyreas told FarmWeek.     Illinois is developing two monarch strategies. One will become part of a multistate monarch flyway plan, which will be submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife; the other will be an Illinois pl ...

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Farm Bureau Presents Book Barns to Local Culver's Resturants

Four south suburban Culver’s have partnered with the Cook County Farm Bureau to help guests of all ages make the connection between farm to table dining through reading.

On July 18, the Farm Bureau delivered “book barns” filled with reading materials for children as young as 4 years old to Culver’s restaurants in Tinley Park, Orland Park, Homewood and Matteson.

As part of Culver’s nationwide “Thank You Farmers” initiative, the book barns are filled with books that bring agricultural learning to a child’s perspective, while teaching them where the food they are enjoying comes from.

Forest Preserve District Seeking Farmers

Bids are currently being accepted for row crops on the following Forest Preserve sites: Janura Preserve (486 acres) , Tampier (25 acres), and Sauk Village Addition (28.8 acres).  Bids are also being accepted for hay mowing on the following forest preserve sites: Penny Road (87 acres), Paul Douglas (130 acres), Janura Preserve (162 acres), Ned Brown Meadow (90 acres), Morrill Meadow (25 acres), Duffy Preserve (50 acres), Tinley Creek (227 acres), Zander Woods /Jurgensen (51 acres), Lansing Woods/North Creek Meadow (130 acres), King's Grove (35 acres), Plum Creek (117 acres), Holy Family Villa (33 acres), and Horizon Farm (271 acres).  Bid information is available at:

If we don't count horses, do horses count?

It is easy to overlook horses in the agricultural landscape now that we don't depend on them for power, but their importance remains. The American Horse Council (AHC) is taking a national survey of the economic impact of U.S. horses in which Illinois will participate as a focus state. Horse owners have until July 17 to participate. Why is it important to participate? Horses are big creatures – it’s hard to hide a horse. Yet as an agriculturally important economic entity, horses are essentially hidden. It is easy to overlook horses in the agricultural landscape now that we don’t depend on them for power. Horses are unique among large farm animals in that they routinely reside in the suburbs and even in cities. Horses may be the only large farm animal an average American ever encounters, thus horses act to bridge a widening gap between the nonfarm life and agriculture. But since they are not used for food or fiber, horses do not funnel through a common marketplace where they can be ...

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**New App/Web Platform Expands Member Benefits - Save even more!**

More than 300,000 discounts for hotels, restaurants, theme parks, movie theaters, prescriptions and more await Farm Bureau members.  Thanks to a new membership benefit web platform, there’s something for every member to enjoy! This new benefit platform provides access to member discounts while on the go. To access the new web platform, visit Members must create an account and provide their three digit county code (Cook’s is 016) and dash followed by their membership ID number. Members can also go to the iPhone App Store, search ‘IL Farm Bureau Membership Benefits’ and download the app on their iPhone or iPad. Once downloaded, members may customize the app to include frequently used offers; search offers by business name, location and category; and provide instant in-store discounts at nearby restaurants and retailers. Members who have questions about the app or additional member benefits may contact the Cook County Farm Bureau at 708-354-3276 or the IF ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

DIY a Farm Attitude  “Do It Yourself” (DIY) TV shows flood the cable networks. My father, The Farmer, would probably say that farming is just one huge, never-ending DIY project.  Building, repairing, fixing, constructing, and creating is every day on the farm. Being part of the unpaid labor (I was worth it) on the farm, I was fortunate to be involved with many DIY projects during the years. A special thank you goes to the sharing nature of the Farmer. Here are a few quick DIY examples that I still carry skills (scars) from today… ·        We took a massive section of roof off of a confinement chicken grower building, hauled it 5 miles using a tractor and to jack it up 14 feet to set it on top of telephone poles that we had stuck in the ground. A DIY machine shed! ·        We tore down a barn and saved the wood and the roofing tin to construct a new shop (to complete DIY projects in comfort and s ...

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Manifolds, Manolos & Bona Heinsohn

Five short years ago, I sat before a county committee to plead my case.  In 15 short minutes, I explained why I wanted to serve as a trustee for my local conservation district.  I didn’t want to become a trustee for the glamour or the pay (it’s a volunteer position after all) but because one of my earliest memories is of my mom chaperoning a school field trip to the Festival of the Sugar Maples, a site famous for its maple trees and delicious maple syrup.  I want my children to have those memories-of their grandma chaperoning school field trips-and the opportunity to explore the trails, fens, groves, savannahs, and bogs.  I want them to embrace open space and treasure the sacrifices that past generations have made to ensure that public open space is preserved into perpetuity.     Over the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a highly skilled, professional, and innovative staff.  From the individuals who maintain the sites to the ecol ...

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Ag Lit Bit By Brittany Nash (Ag In the Classroom Intern)

Ag is in Session! For the past few weeks I have been part of the Cook County Farm Bureau® Ag in the Classroom as Diane Merrion’s intern. Despite school being out for summer, agriculture never takes a break and is always in session! I was able to accompany Diane to various programs that voice the importance of agriculture to the younger population that is engaging and eye-opening to our food’s future. My favorite part of teaching these lessons to our students is describing the process of how a bag of chips started on the farm and ends in our hands. This discussion leads to the realization of how many jobs agriculture can provide and emphasizes the types of careers that can be filled in between the farm and consumers! The kids are not the only ones asking the questions. The other adults in the room are equally as interested in what the Farm Bureau has to offer and the new knowledge we bring to them. It is important that we keep informing one another about agriculture so that we can be more co ...

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