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Our History

Our History

During the winter of 1920, interested farmers from all over the county met in several different locations to discuss the organizing of a Cook County Farm Bureau®. Meetings were held at Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and Blue Island. Later in the year, another meeting was held to officially launch the Cook County Farm Bureau and elect a Board of Directors. Mr. H.A. Dooley was elected President; Gust Termunde, Vice President; Louis Wetterman, Secretary; George Henke, Treasurer; and Adam Schilling, G. Ruff, Frank Dickman, Herman Schwake, and Dan C. Gilly made up the rest of the Board of Directors.


These are the farmers that met in a Chicago hotel room and decided to proceed with the organizing of a Farm Bureau in Cook County.

Left to Right, front row sitting: Sam Powers, A.A. Fulton, Fred Hamann, Second Row: Louis Wetterman, Adam Schilling, Arnold Huber, H.A. Dooley, J. D. Bilsborrow, Fred Schroeder, George Henke, Fred Bachman. Third row: Herman Schwake, Gust Termunde, W.E. Meier, Dan Gilly, John Welinske, Harvey Adair, (man unidentified), Dave Thompson, H.L. Bingham, Ezra McClaughry, Hugh Breyfogle, Edward Fogge, Albert Heine.


Over nearly 100 years, the organization grew in terms of members, programming and influence. Office hours and several different buildings have been established over the years in Arlington Heights, Blue Island, Lemont, Rolling Meadows, Tinley Park, and Countryside.


Here are a few key organizational activities impacting members throughout the century.



Two hundred and fifty farmers from throughout Cook County ventured to the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago on March 15, 1920 to participate in the formation of an organization.


HA Dooley was nominated and unanimously elected the 1st president of the Cook County Farm Bureau because “Mr. Dooley had led the organization committee along successful lines”. “All Mr. Dooley asked in response was the wholehearted support of the committee to make the Cook County Farm Bureau second to none in the state”.


On May 13, 1920, the organization bought a Ford touring car for Mr. C.E. Durst, newly hired farm advisor, to use and discussed car insurance for the vehicle (5 years before the Illinois Farm Bureau created an insurance company that would become Country Financial!) Mr. Durst (salary $4,000) spent a lot of time in that first year getting out trying to meet with farmers through a series of evening meetings.


An audit committee was formed in 1921 to review the finances and accounting practices of the organization.


The Board created office hours for the Farm Advisor C.E. Durst- Thursdays at Blue Island and Saturdays in Arlington Heights. He requested that a motion or sliding picture machine would greatly aid him in making educational lectures.


1920's issues addressed by the Cook County Farm Bureau included:

  • Cooperating with the University of Illinois on insect control
  • Supporting a livestock survey statewide
  • Creating Boys and Girls Pig clubs
  • Passage of a law to exempt farmers from having to pay a license to sell their own produce
  • Seeking reduced freight rates for shipping line stone and farm commodities
  • Establishing a relief fund for children in Europe
  • Investigating trucking conditions in Cook County
  • Manure handling and garbage burning on Cook County truck gardens
  • Improving Cook County railroad crossings
  • Investigating the development of a Cook County Fair
  • Seeking improved Cook County taxes and farm assessment for area farmers
  • Creation of membership picnics and field days for members
  • Requesting for financial assistance from the Cook County Board to provide education regarding the destructive nature of the European corn borer
  • Lobbying from the state $30,000 as a part of an Illinois bill to establish a truck garden experimental station in Cook County
  • Cooperative buying of boxes of asparagus
  • Local dairy production and marketing improvements
  • Cleaning up Thorn Creek which was badly polluted
  • The eradication of tuberculosis in cattle in Cook County
  • Working on control of the onion maggot to save onion growers money
  • The organization of spray rings for fruit trees to grow more and better apples



O. G. Barrett was the Farm Advisor. In order to support and grow the 4-H club program, the CCFB Board hired M. E. Tascher as assistant Farm Advisor (salary was $2,000 plus automobile). The Farm Bureau created a tax committee (Mr. Watson, Mr. Kirkpatrick, Mr. Verduin) to address high farm property taxes in the county. The board approved action to begin publishing a newsletter to go out to members; the first issue Country Side went out on December 3, 1930.


Membership dues were $10 with half the dollars going to the IAA. The board went on record as opposing a proposal to abolish the County Assessor. The Farm Bureau created a new company, Gardener’s Supply, to sell truck farmers’ seeds and insecticides. The 5 County Farm Bureau employees offered to withhold their wages during May until sufficient funds were available in the treasury.


The Farm Bureau sought additional information on the creation of a Cook County Fair and also looked to create a vegetable grower’s market. The Farm Bureau began distributing Illinois Farm Bureau calendars to members. The Farm Bureau leased office space to Gardener’s Supply in Blue Island for a storefront and established a Farm Bureau office. The 1931 Annual Meeting featured a Country Life/Farm Bureau beauty contest with 12 contestants (Miss Laura Schoenbeck finished 1st).


The Farm Bureau developed a committee to meet with the National Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association for development of a more suitable market in the Chicago area. The Farm Bureau worked closely with a new affiliate Gardner’s Supply, providing administrative services. The concept of an associate member was created (applied to Cook County Farm Bureau staff). The board recommended that the organization’s women organize a program focused on foods, clothing, shelter, and child welfare (Home Bureau).


Mr. Barrett and Ms. Towne volunteered to reduce expenses/wages to help balance the budget of the Farm Bureau. The board voted to cut their expense reimbursement in half. Committees were created including publicity and advertising, 4-H club, property and equipment, insurance, Gardner’s Supply, markets, picnics and entertainment, farm supply, taxation and legislation, projects, membership, and finance.


The board supported a merger of Gardner’s Supply with Lake-Cook Farm Supply Company. C.H. Mills was hired as County Organization Director (a new position in conjunction with the IFB). The Farm Bureau created a plan for the purchase and distribution of straw and hay. The board bought the building in Blue Island for $7000 for office space. A study by the marketing committee to improve conditions for all growers of truck crops was approved. What…The CCFB had a baseball team?


After a very deliberate discussion as to the sale of beer and other intoxicating liquors at meetings sponsored by the Farm Bureau, a vote was taken in support. However, alcohol would not be allowed in any Farm Bureau business or educational meetings. There were 4,025 farmers listed in Cook County according to the Census of Agriculture with nearly 2,400 practicing intensive methods of farming, truck farming, greenhouse, mushroom growing, and poultry, with the remaining 1,600 working as dairy farmers and/or grain farmers. A piano was purchased for $5 for the Farm Bureau building hall.


The board approved action to buy signs for the members with their names printed on them. Soil PH testing equipment was purchased. M. E. Tascher resigned as assistant farm advisor to assume the duties of farm advisor at the Grundy County Farm Bureau. Mr. Chas Glover of Chicago Heights was selected as his replacement. The Illinois Farm Bureau established a quota for Cook County of 250 new members. The Cook County Farm Bureau board encouraged the Illinois Farm Bureau to hold their annual meeting in Chicago (which it did).  The board contacted WLS Radio regarding holding the Barn Dance Show in La Grange. The organization continued to work to improve the U.S. Agriculture Adjustment Act as it related to truck gardening and onion sets.


The board approved action to purchase the Arlington Heights State Bank building for offices for $12,000. The Farm Bureau rented space to the Soil Conservation Association. The Farm Bureau became a distributor for DeKalb Hybrid seed corn. O. G. Barrett, farm advisor, submitted his letter of resignation to open a farm advisory service following 11 years of service (C. A. Hughes from Waterloo, Illinois was hired as his replacement).


The first record of a budget being approved was recorded. Accepting teachers as members was discussed for those seeking auto insurance. The Farm Bureau sponsored a meeting of horseradish growers.


A resolution was approved that expressed appreciation to Cook County Assessor, John S. Clark, for his impartial attitude in bringing about a better balance between city and rural real estate valuations. The change in valuation saved Cook County farmers an estimated $100,000. The organization also expressed appreciation to the Chicago Mayor for reforms made on the Randolph Street market for a better market for vegetable growers of Cook County and adjoining counties. A request was made for the state highway department to cut weeds before they go to seed.




This was the 20th anniversary of the Cook County Farm Bureau. The original foundation on which Farm Bureau was organized back in 1920 was to bring the findings of our state agricultural College on soil and crop improvement to the farmers of Cook County. Over the 20 years, many additional services were added including dairy herd improvement, 4-H club support, automobile insurance, farm supply company, tax work, marketing services, farm accounting, representing local farmer interests and more.


The Farm Bureau began soliciting interest from members regarding the setup of a meat locker plant in Arlington Heights. The Farm Bureau worked with officials to make improvements to the hours and delivery process to the Randolph Street produce market. Formation began of a “Home Bureau” to serve homemakers of the organization. Information was provided about a new Cook County zoning ordinance and its effects on local farmers.


The Cook County onion crop was especially good.


The Board sent Farm Bureau leaders to Springfield to get information regarding income taxes and then held meetings on the north and south ends of the county to share that information with local farmers. At the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Baltimore, Maryland, Cook County Farm Bureau was awarded a bronze bell as a trophy for having the largest membership in the Midwest region.


WW II: The Farm Bureau received a telegram from Mr. Earl Smith, Illinois Farm Bureau Pres., requesting information on the farm labor situation due to the draft. Farmers were concerned about farm prices, inflation and government policies to control the future farm economy in light of the “disastrous result following World War I”. The Farm Bureau passed a resolution that said, “resolved that the Cook County Farm Bureau support our government in its request for increase production of certain farm products for defense during this war emergency”.


A new mimeograph machine was purchased for the Blue Island office for $98 and a small Kodak camera was purchased so that Farm Bureau staff could take pictures at night. The European corn borer and Japanese beetle insect pest had grabbed the attention of local farmers and state entomologists.


WWII: Farm labor was a challenge, especially in light of increased production demands, as the draft took key men from the farm. The Farm Bureau set up employment agencies in the offices to bring labor from suburbs and cities to help on the farm, especially with vegetable production. A farmer’s war board was set up by Cook County (chaired by Carl Bormet from Tinley Park) to help work with local farmers to collect scrap iron, farm labor, collection of paper, substitute options for rubber and to increase farm production. The “front line” was in Cook County’s backyard. In response to the government’s call for more sugar, farmers in Cook County increased their sugar beet acreage 40% which added nearly 9 million pounds of sugar, enough to fulfill the ration cards of 360,000 people per year for “Food for Victory”.


Experimental trials with local sweetcorn producers were held to “ice” corn in the field and to sell it under a special tradename in hopes of higher prices. The Farm Bureau spent $2,000 to put a new roof and tuck pointing the Arlington Heights building and insulating the Tinley Park building and invested $4,000 for future organizational needs.


WWII: Two rounds of war meetings were held around Cook County for farmers to discuss their part in the nation’s war effort. War Savings Bonds were promoted as a way to help both the country and as future insurance against the next financial depression for a farmer’s future. The Farm Supply Committee reported the situation as to the supply of feed and gasoline both critical. Also, they indicated that there was a need for additional employees of the company to replace those lost to service and other changes. Victory gardens were promoted as an American symbol of our determination to beat the Axis and basic guidance was provided to members on how to grow vegetables.


Attorneys Edward Fritz of Arlington Heights and Robert Gilson of Blue Island were contracted to provide members with legal consultation for a fee of $2 for a verbal legal opinion. A goal of having 3,000 Farm Bureau members was set by the Cook County Farm Bureau Board.


WWII: The Farm Bureau held discussion meetings about probable increases in the creation of cheap subdivisions in Cook County following the war. Concerns included sewage handling, farm drain tile protection, water quality, pressure on school districts, road traffic, farm trespassing, and the changing farmland values that affect taxes.


Call back phone numbers in the Cooperator classified ads looked like this… Oaklawn 1523 – J – 2, Chicago Heights 5123 – Y – 3, Harvey 2754 – R, Orland Park 230 – W. The Insect Control Guide from circular 522, U of I College of Agriculture, was annually reprinted for members.


The Farm Bureau provided information to farmers regarding the Federal Farm Census to be completed every 5 years. An income tax bookkeeping school was held for members on both the north and south side of the county. Cook County Farm Bureau set up a soil lab to serve vegetable, dairy and the general farmer.


2 pieces of legislation were introduced in the state legislature to address difficulties that farmers were experiencing with cheap subdivisions. The legislation gave the county board authority to set up standards for streets, drainage, building materials and water supplies.


Post-WWII: Information was provided to local veterans for farm on-the-job training programs, vegetable experimental station field trips and field meetings. With the market generated by the government purchasing large volumes of vegetables to be shipped abroad and delivered for the military no longer available, and farmers producing at record levels as a result of the ramp-up for the war, overproduction and oversupply was hurting local producers.


Information about the general post war farm outlook for 1946 was provided to members.


An Illinois constitutional amendment to allow the changing of old tax laws was supported by the organization. On Farm Bureau’s Fire and Auto insurance companies changed their official names so as to include the word “Country” in them.


The Farm Bureau lead efforts to create a Soil Conservation District for Cook County which required an affirmative vote by over half the farms in the county. Robert Benck of Worth and Robert Knoll of Glenview provided weekly vegetable crop reports for a radio programs carried by radio stations WILL, WMAQ, WCFL and WGN.


Cook County farmers donated a 30 - ton carload of flour and grain as well as over $4000 to give to the Abraham Lincoln Friendship Train to provide charity relief for the suffering of the poor people of Europe.  The board asked Mr. Chas E. Sauers, General Manager of the Cook County Forest Preserve to meet with the board regarding concerns by farm residents of Bremen Township about expansion of the forest preserve properties and wild animals, dogs and weeds.


The Farm Bureau joined a suit to restrain extension on taxes for the tuberculosis hospital district and employed a full-time employee, John O’Brien, on taxes to assist members. Members paid their proportionate tax share under protest and members also filed tax rate objections at the same time. The Board of Directors purchased $4,000 in class C stock for the Chicago Irondale terminal elevator owned by the Illinois Agricultural Association and provided information for members to purchase stock as an investment opportunity. Fly control on the farm was an increased focus. Farm Advisor Hughes reported on the likelihood of legislation separating the Extension Service and Farm Organizations.


The Farm Bureau challenged members to guess the prices of farm commodities 10 years previously.


This Cook County Exhibit was pronounced the outstanding display at the County Fair at Soldier's Field. It showed the two major farm interests- dairying and vegetable farming close to Chicago.  In the wings Chicago people  were surprised to learn there were "3,700 dairy, vegetable, and  general Farms" and "Gross Farm sales of 25,000,000". The exhibit was placed by "Cook County Vegetable Growers" and "Cook County Farm Bureau".





The board approved a resolution that provided for the tax objection service through the Farm Bureau for members and nonmembers.


Seven townships in northern Cook formed a Soil Conservation District.


The board approved a committee to meet with Campbell and Libby regarding farmer vegetable production contracts.


Federal legislation (the Brannan plan) was being considered to create a separation between the Farm Bureaus and the

Farm Advisers that are a part of the Extension Service.


Mr. C.F. Mees was hired to serve as farm advisor beginning January 1, 1951 to replace Mr. C.A. Hughes.


Charles Erickson was elected President, taking over from L.W. Pohlman.


It was announced that farmworkers can now be covered by Social Security. The CCFB provided guidance to farmers to help in the understanding and administration of the new rules.


The CCFB soil technician, H.L. Cletcher, reported that his lab had between 4,000 and 5000 soil samples to analyze in 3 weeks.


The CCFB board announced the purchase of 2 unimproved lots in Tinley Park for the purpose of building a new Farm Bureau building.


The CCFB encouraged farmers to vaccinate their hogs with hog serum to prevent deadly cholera.


Details were provided to members on new truck license fees and rules in Illinois. At one point, the new trucking regulations were ruled unconstitutional. Then they went into effect. Then, a judge granted an injunction to prevent the Secretary of State from enacting. The state police began arresting truckers that were not properly licensed. Farmers were in a state of flux not knowing what to do. 


The CCFB provided members with plans about the "basic farmhouse" no. 480 which featured conveniences and and economical layout.


The board went on record as opposing the South Cook Mosquito Abatement District due to the tax burden it would place on members and universal military training for all young men due to the duration and labor challenges it would provide on the farm.

Farmers in Rich and Bremen townships protested a proposal to take 6,000 acres to develop a military airfield.


The CCFB announced completion and held an open house for members to view the new Farm Bureau building built in Tinley Park area because it was more rural and agricultural than the Blue Island location.


The CCFB concluded a tax service as the costs were exceeding the benefits of providing for members.


The Board of Directors went on record as opposing the Cook County Forest Reserve in purchasing food agricultural land for forest preserve purposes.


FB members Donald Doctor, Oil and Park; James Heatherwick, Orland Park; Cornelius Rietveld, Chicago Heights; and William Stelter, Tinley Park were elected as charter directors to the South Cook Soil Conservation District.


A livestock outlook meeting was held to provide information about how the Korean war truce would affect farm prices, how the drought in the Southwest would impact cattle and sheep markets, and how raising the federal debt ceiling would impact farmers.


The CCFB Vegetable Marketing Committee met with officials from Campbell Soup and Libby Companies to discuss the upcoming growing season canning contracts for farmers.


Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson spoke to the members at the IAA Annual meeting in Chicago at the Sherman Hotel.


Representatives from CCFB and other area County Farm Bureau’s met with the Illinois Tollway commission on several Tollway proposals and communicated to members about the projects.


The CCFB announced it would assist members in filing property tax protests.


The board went on record of opposing the extension of the Chicago sanitary sewer system resulting in the formation of a new drainage district.


The Organization conducted a field study and report of Michigan specialty production and marketing seeking ways to help local farmers sell and market to consumers.


Informational workshops and meetings on the topics of wills/estates, policy development, property taxation and beautifying the landscape of homes were held for members.


Information was provided to farmers on the new federal “Soil Bank” program that was making its way through Congress.


The CCFB helped over 50 vegetable growers in the North Cook area organize a new vegetable marketing cooperative, the Arlington Valley Growers, Inc.


The CCFB assisted members in reclaiming federal gas taxes paid that were used on the farm.


The CCFB provided information regarding the potential of incorporating farms to limit liability, simplify transfer of ownership, continuity in in case of death, increase efficiency and tax impact.


A new group, the Cook County Women of Farm Bureau Committee, was formed with 20 members (chaired by Mrs. Clarence Heinkel). Mrs. Harold Bergman served on the Illinois Farm Bureau committee.


Henry Eichholz was elected as the new President of the CCFB.


The IAA delegates approved moving the organization’s state headquarters from their building at 43 E. Ohio in Chicago to 1701 Towanda Ave. in Bloomington. The Illinois Farm Bureau headquarters had been in Chicago for the first 43 years of the organization’s existence. CCFB was opposed to the proposal.


A University of Illinois farm economist reported that the average farm family of five needs $7,000 of net income for an adequate standard of living.


G.W. Blanchard was named Sec. of Organization for the Cook County Farm Bureau, succeeding G. H. Mills.


Jim Fizzell, assistant farm advisor, provided information to members about Dutch Elm disease, trees, horticulture and lawncare.


The Arlington Valley Growers met with Chicago Mayor Daley regarding making improvements to the Randolph Street Market.


The CCFB opposed subsidy to the Chicago Transit Authority based on the need for new and increased taxes.


Cook County farmers were up in arms regarding a hearing on amending the Cook County zoning ordinance that would eliminate farm property as a classification.


The end of an era… Armour and company announced it would discontinue slaughter of hogs in Chicago, the last national packer to operate a facility in the city.


The organization provided members with discounted pricing on “no trespassing” and “no hunting” signs.


Illinois Farm Bureau Pres., William Kuhfuss, served as the keynote speaker for the County annual meeting attended by a record-setting 1,000+ members.


Country Mutual and Country Life Insurance Companies offered a drawing for a new Jeep and many other prizes for member feedback regarding new trademark logo.



Secretary of Organization, G. W. Blanchard, submitted his resignation and Melvin Hayenga was hired to succeed him.


The topic of migrant labor headlined a policy development meeting held in La Grange by the Cook County Farm Bureau.


The University of Illinois reported that a farmer needed $12,500 of gross income and $5000 of net income to earn a quality living, up substantially from the previous decade.


The USDA announced a research project to create a fuel additive, ethanol, using surplus corn.


Lake Cook Farm Supply announced it would start selling lawnmowers to members and friends.


Orion Samuelson was named farm director for WGN radio.


The Board of Directors began meeting at various locations within Cook County including the buildings as the IAA offices moved to Bloomington.


Cook County Farm Bureau farmers and staff met with area legislators on farm issues.


The Co-Operator ran a guest editorial by Ronald Reagan entitled “Encroaching Government Control”.


 The Cook County Farm Bureau young adult husband and wife team captured their second straight Illlinois Farm Sports Fesitval bowling crown at the state finals in Springfield, March 10. Lynn and Pat Landmeier, Des Plaines, set a new record in this event with a combined 1,130 series.


The Illinois Sports Festival (bowling, softball, trapshoot, etc.) gained tremendous popularity amongst Cook County Farm Bureau members. Pictured is a CCFB bowling team that won state!


The Farm Bureau held a petition drive to show that vegetable stands were a necessary business to serve the public as the Cook County Zoning Board considered a proposal to amend the zoning ordinance to put vegetable stands out of business.


The Slow-Moving-Vehicle emblem was adopted and began being sold through Lake-Cook Service.


A property appeal and tax assessment meeting was held for members in regards to the rising property taxes for farmers in the county.


It was reported that the Illinois Tollway Authority broke all records for revenue, profit and volume of passenger cars and that the Tollway would begin the retirement of bonds in accordance with Gov. Kerner’s directive to return the roads to the public as a freeway as soon as possible.


The Cook County Farm Bureau sponsored a meeting of 180 farm men and women and representatives of food processing and distributing firms to help individuals get acquainted and to learn more about the industry.


Farm Bureau president, Henry Eichholz, announced the resignation of Melvin Hayenga to become manager of the Quality Vegetable Growers Association. Larry Miller was selected as the new Secretary of Organization.


FB members attended a Senate hearing supporting a bill that would protect members of a producers’ co-operative association from discriminatory practices solely because he is a member of such association.


Farm Bureau manager, Larry Miller, began writing a column entitled “Looking Up” in The Co-Operator to keep members up-to-date.


The Farm Bureau lobbied support for Illinois Revenue Reform on the November ballot to amend the state constitution to enact an income tax and force elimination of the personal property tax.


County Farm Bureau leaders were fighting state legislation that would create more financial authority within Cook County including allowing a county to shift funds from motor fuel tax receipts and allowing the county to create a wheel tax.


The Cook County Farm Bureau Softball Team led by pitcher Harry Stuenkel finished 3rd in the state!


A column pointed out the concern of imitation milk products, wheat flour replacement, plant-based meat products and soybean oil substitutes.


CCFB Board member, Leonard Schultz, joined other farmers from across the country in Washington, D.C. to advocate for the Farm Bureau’s national policy positions.

Larry Miller announced his resignation as Executive Secretary of Organization to become part of the field staff for the American Medical Association. IAA District Fieldman, Gordon Fox, was selected to replace Miller.


The Cook County Farm Bureau Marketing Committee held a Roadside Stand Marketing Conference attended by 127 members.


The Women’s Committee planned a Defensive Driving Course through Country Companies and the National Safety Council.


Gov. Ogilvie announced that the State of Illinois was on the brink of bankruptcy.


Cook County Farm Bureau hosted 49 State Representatives and Senators in Springfield at a reception to get better acquainted and to discuss farm issues.


The CCFB sent correspondence to all candidates for the Con Con (Constitutional Convention) and provided information to members, encouraging them to vote.



With the Constitutional Convention underway, Farm Bureau provided input and thoughts upon suggestions and proposals.


The Women’s Committee conducted a Jewel in-store promotion of yogurt, a new food to many people.


Cook County Farm Bureau participated in an organizational effort to fight a nationwide grape boycott by powerful labor unions which impacted small California farmers.


The Cook County Farm Bureau celebrated its 50-year anniversary and featured a speech by Orion Samuelson, entertainment by Capt. Stubby and the Buccaneers, a 50-year history booklet and family-style dinner for a one dollar  864 members attended!


The Board provided $2500 to support research at the Agricultural Experimental Research Station on the cost to produce vegetable crops in northeastern Illinois.


The American Farm Bureau Federation opened a new headquarters facility at 225 W. Touhy Ave. in Park Ridge marking the first time in 50 years that the national organization headquarters had been outside the city limits of Chicago.


1318 bushels of citrus were sold to members as a part of the fresh grapefruit and orange program from Florida.


Country Companies announced that they would cosponsor the television coverage of the class A high school boys basketball tournament in Illinois.


Cook County Farm Bureau board member, Cornelius Rietfeld, was honored as a Master Farmer by Prairie Farmer Magazine.


155 members participated in the County Bowling Tournament.


55 State Senators and Representatives joined the Cook County Farm Bureau at a reception in Springfield to discuss agriculturally related issues in the General Assembly.


A great deal of effort was being made at the local, state and national level to explain to consumers about high food prices and that farmers were not responsible for inflation.


Future president Howard Paarlberg was appointed to the Board.


The Farm Bureau asked members to vote “no” on a Regional Transportation Authority referendum, providing concerns for members to consider.


Farm Bureau president and a Glenview farmer, Leonard Schultz, was elected to the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors representing District 5.


The energy crisis impacts the nation (including area farmers), taking over public concerns and focus on rising food prices.


Cook County Farm Bureau helped led the creation of a “Consumer Information Committee” made up of local County Farm Bureaus of Cook, DuPage, McHenry, Lake, Kane, and DeKalb. The group was designed to communicate to people who buy food about agricultural production and information. The Consumer Information Committee sponsored Farm for a Day in the Chicago Loop (Civic Center Plaza).


The Farm Bureau reminded landowners in certain townships (land use for farming greater than 10 acres) of a new law passed by the Gen. Assembly that land was assessed as a farm rather than residential or commercial use.


The Farm Bureau promoted the five-acre Farm in the Zoo at Lincoln Park in Chicago.


Leonard Schultz, president of the organization, received on behalf of the Farm Bureau, a special “Citation for Outstanding Service to 4-H”.


The Consumer Information Committee took farm animals to Yorktown Shopping Center, Randhurst  Shopping Center and the Chicago Flower and Garden Show with the Farm-For-A-Day exhibit.


Cook County Farm Bureau hosted 57 legislators in Springfield for a legislative reception to discuss agricultural issues and legislation.


The Women’s Committee sponsored high school Meat and Dairy grants to promote early cooking skills and habits in classrooms.


Future Cook County Farm Bureau president, Ray Nykaza, was appointed to the Board of Directors.


Norman Strassenburg, Mokena, was elected President of the Board of Directors


The Women’s Committee sponsored an Estate Planning seminar in LaGrange.


The Farm Bureau helped promote the opening of two new suburban farmers market’s in Oak Park and Elmhurst.


Illinois farmland was the highest priced farmland in the country with an average value of $1,184 per acre, up 24% from March 1975.


Affiliated company Lake–Cook Farm Service Company celebrated its 50th anniversary.


The Marketing Committee held a Roadside Stand Marketing Conference in LaGrange.


The Farm Bureau worked on a statewide legislative effort to develop a property tax rate that was fair for farmland.


The Farm Bureau brought in a mobile test unit to provide members with physicals including hearing tests, vision tests, urinalysis, chest x-rays, lung tests, pap smears, electrocardiograph, and much more.


With a sharp rise in beef prices in the grocery store, Farm Bureau communicated to members about some of the reasons why.


Farm Bureau editorials called for the United States to seek additional grain trade with the Soviet Union to help market prices.


Jim Goebbert, South Barrington, was elected president of the Cook County Farm Bureau by the Board of Directors.


Farm Bureau leader, Leonard Schultz pledged a portion of his corn crop to WGN radio personality Wally Phillips as a part of the Neediest Children’s Christmas fund. Other area farmers joined in support with donations.


The Farm Bureau Countryculture exhibit at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show earned the most popular display award as well as the public service teacher award.



The Board of Directors donated $12,000 to provide fencing in support of Lincoln Park’s Farm in the Zoo.


Mr. Gordon Fox, Manager, retired and Mr. Alden Kilian was hired as his replacement.


The Carter administration’s grain embargo with Russia damaged local and United States agricultural markets.


Conversations were held with the DuPage County Farm Bureau regarding a potential merger of the organizations.


New membership benefits offered to the organization included Censible Life Insurance and the IAA Federal Credit Union.






A retirement party was held for retiring Country Agency that manager James Drake who served in the position for 34 years. Mr. Jerry Anderson was hired to serve as North Cook Agency Manager for Country Companies Insurance.







The Board of Directors donated $250 to the Illinois Specialty Growers Association to assist in programming.


Don Zeldenrust participated in the Farm Bureau leaders to Washington DC program.


Howard Paarlberg was elected president of the organization replacing Jim Goebbert.


Ray Nykaza and Leonard Schultz were selected to represent the Cook County Farm Bureau on the Food for Thought committee.


$7500 was donated to the Northern Illinois Horticulture Research Center in St. Charles to support efforts for research to improve vegetable production in northern Illinois.


The Marketing committee developed a roadside stand/U-pick directory to distribute to the public to enhance marketing and access to local farm products.

The organization worked with the Soil and Water Conservation District to sell bare root trees to members.


The Women's Committee and the Marketing Committee led organizational discussions about creation of a new "Ag in the Classroom" program to teach kids about agriculture.



The Board of Directors approved offering bail bond cards to members through a new Illinois Farm Bureau program.


The Board of Directors approved a resolution supporting an Illinois Farm Bureau proposal to create differential dues for Voting and Associate members.


$3500 was provided to the Northern Illinois Research Center to purchase a 2- row planter to assist in research on vegetable production in northern Illinois.



The Board of Directors approved signing a resolution for the Illinois Farm Bureau statewide effort to Change How Illinois Education is Financed program (CHIEF).


Member involvement in the bowling activities as a part of the Illinois Farm Bureau Sports  Festival continued to be very popular.


The Ag in the Classroom program reached 3083 students.


New membership benefits offered included an Encyclopedia Britannica discount, family photo portraits, and County Dental plan. Cook County

Farm Bureau implemented a “no smoking” policy in its buildings.


The Board of Directors organized a bus tour to Washington DC.


Plans were underway for a New CCFB headquarters building in the village Countryside.


Max Armstrong, WGN Radio and TV personality spoke to the Farm Bureau Food for Thought Committee.


The Ag in the Classroom program reached 3083 students.


Fourth grade students at Forest School in DesPlaines participated in Ag in the Classroom.





Farm Bureau holds the groundbreaking ceremony for its location on Joliet Road.


Famed farm broadcaster, Max Armstrong meets with Farm Bureau leaders to discuss he importance of speaking with consumers about farming.


Farm Bureau hosts open house to celebrate the grand opening of its new headquarters in Countryside.


Agriculture in the Classroom reaches 3,555 students and 139 classrooms during its third year.



Cook County Farm Bureau hosts a Legislative Pig Roast at Lloyd Brandau's Farm.


Farm Bureau is "all ears" during the Chicago Heights Centennial Parade.


Pat Horcher becomes Cook County Farm Bureau’s first Agricultural Leader of Tomorrow (ALOT) graduate. ALOT is a seven-week program designed to develop and hone leadership skills.


Farm Bureau, along with a 1952 Farmall Tractor, helps Lansing, IL celebrate its 100th anniversary during Lansing’s Centennial parade.  


Farm Bureau launches its discounted movie ticket program for members.


Farm Bureau board member, Pat Horcher, becomes the first Cook County Farm Bureau® member to receive an ALOT II Certificate of Completion after completing the “How to Lead Winning Campaigns” program.  This three-day program was designed to help select Farm Bureau leaders to become experts in political campaign management in order to provide support to candidates and issues favorable to agriculture.


Corey Flournoy, graduate of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Chicago is elected President of the National FFA Organization.


Agriculture in the Classroom reaches over 12,000 students and more than 500 classrooms during its sixth year.


Farm Bureau launches its “Teachers’ Agricultural Institute” and graduates eight area teachers during the four-and-half day program.  This program later becomes Farm Bureau’s “Summer Agricultural Institute”.


Cook County Farm Bureau unveils the Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation which is targeted at raising funds to support agricultural literacy and leadership. The Board of Directors approved the creation of the Foundation in 1996.

The Foundation hosts its first Silent Auction to raise funds to support agricultural literacy.


Farm Bureau launches its “member-to-member” discount program enabling Cook County members to receive exclusive discounts at local partners.


Volunteer Bernadine Horcher received the IFB "Apple for the Teacher" Award.


Agriculture Adventures for Families” page, a favorite of local families is unveiled.


The Agriculture in the Classroom program reaches 15,780 students in is 12th year of programming.


The Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation awards its first two scholarships for students pursuing an agricultural field of study.


Fifty-four members enjoyed a bowling banquet at the William Tell wrap-up during the 1999 Sports Festival Activity.

Then President, Howard Paarlberg, joined then Illinois Farm Bureau President, Ron Warfield, and then American Farm Bureau Federation President, Dean Kleckner, and other leaders in a meeting with Chinese Premier, Zhu Rongii, to encourage enhance U.S.-Chinese trade.


Partners for Agricultural Literacy launches to improve agricultural literacy through teacher training and in-services, statewide coordination, special projects, and promotional activities.


Current Manager, Bob Rohrer, joins the Cook County Farm Bureau.



The early twenty-first century included years of tremendous membership growth, especially in associate members.


Farm Bureau awards $2,000 in scholarships for students pursuing an agricultural degree.


Howard Paarlberg retires as President of the Cook County Farm Bureau® after 16 years of service as President.  Under his leadership, Farm Bureau launched the roadside vegetable marketing service, Agriculture in the Classroom program, created the CCFB Foundation® and chaired the Farm Bureau’s 75th anniversary celebration.


“The Farm” at the Museum of Science & Industry opens in Chicago.


Farm Bureau launches Food Checkout Day and a partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana® to support families calling the Chicagoland houses their temporary “home” while their child is

receiving treatment.


The Giant Pumpkin Contest is established with a winning pumpkin maxing out the scale at 186.75 pounds!


Farm Bureau creates a “Landowners Group” to assist agricultural property owners.


Farm Bureau names Kim Morton as the first Northeast Legislative Coordinator.  This position provided additional focus and resources in the area of northeastern Illinois legislative relations.


Cook County Farm Bureau places first in total percentage membership gain in Illinois (110.88%).


The Cook County Farm Bureau website launches and provides members with an additional source of news, information, and benefit access.


Former Illinois Senator Debbie Halvorson and Illinois Representative Cynthia Soto were named “Legislator of the Year” for their outstanding voting records and efforts on pertinent agricultural issues.


Kim Morton presents Friend of Ag to Illinois Senator Barak Obama.


Renee Stranski joins the Farm Bureau team as the first summer intern.


The Agriculture in the Classroom program expands into Chicago Public Schools fourth grade classrooms.


The Board of Directors approves the creation of the Public Relations Committee.  In 2005, the committee integrated into the Agricultural Literacy Committee until 2013 when it became a standalone committee.


Thanks to a net gain of 3,337 members during the 2002-2003 membership year, the Cook County Farm Bureau reached an all-time high for total members.  The net gain was the highest member gain in the state.


Farm Bureau places second in total percentage membership gain in Illinois (114.62%).


Ray Nykaza retires as Cook County Farm Bureau President.  He is succeeded by Harry Stuenkel.


Kathy Lesser, a current Agriculture in the Classroom presenter for Cook County Farm Bureau, is named “National AITC Teacher of the Year” in recognition of her efforts to integrate agriculture into her classroom.


Farm Bureau names former Illinois Senator Wendell Jones “Legislator of the Year” for his efforts on agricultural issues and outstanding voting records on pertinent issues.


Farm Bureau joins Wagner Farm in Glenview for the Dairy Breakfast, an event still enjoyed by Farm Bureau families and urban consumers.


Agriculture in the Classroom reaches over 20,515 students during in-classroom presentations.


Former Farm Bureau President Jim Goebbert retires from the Board of Directors after 30 years on the Board.


Farm Bureau transitions to a new committee structure to streamline volunteer involvement and time.


The Co-Operator transitions from an eight-page black and white publication to a twelve-page full color publication.


Happy 85th birthday Cook County Farm Bureau!


Glenview’s Wagner Farm, a frequent CCFB partner in ag literacy, opens its “Heritage Center” to educate the general public about agriculture.


Glenview Country Insurance agents enthusiastically volunteered at the Wagner Farm Dairy Breakfast on Saturday, July 18th. Mike Gross, Agency Manager (1) along with Bob Sitkiewicz and Mike Salerno helped out with the activities that Cook County Farm Bureau provided for the attendees of the farm breakfast. Also pictured is Jim Bloomstrand, Ag in the Classroom presenter.



Illinois State Senator Susan Garrett is named “Legislator of the Year” by the Cook County Farm Bureau for her leadership on legislation to revise Illinois’ eminent domain statute.


Farm Bureau’s affiliated company, COUNTRY® Financial enters into the insurance and financial services market in the City of Chicago.


Farm Bureau launches its first annual Family Celebration Picnic at the Children’s Farm at the Center in Palos Park.


Cook County Farm Bureau again places first in total percentage membership gain in Illinois (103.72%).


Annette Schaeffer, a teacher of over 40 years, is name a finalist for Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year.


Farm Bureau approves an organic and food labeling policy drafted by Cook County Farm Bureau.


Cook County Farm Bureau joins Facebook!  The page now boosts over 6,400 fans.


The E-Cooperator publication launches saving members time and saving the environment!


Cook County Farm Bureau Political Action Committee (Cook CFB PAC) is created to endorse candidates favorable of Farm Bureau policies and positions.

The Board of Directors overwhelmingly approve a local resolution to reduce the number of votes needed to override a Presidential veto in Cook County to a three-fifths rather than a four-fifths majority.


Local Farm Products website is created to serve consumers interested in finding local farm products, farm stands, greenhouses, etc.  The website is now fully integrated into Cook County Farm Bureau’s website



Cook County Farm Bureau places first in total percentage membership gain in Illinois (106.75%).


Cook County Farm Bureau Political Action Committee (Cook CFB PAC) endorses its first round of candidates.


Cook CFB PAC names eight Cook County Commissioners “Friends of the Farm Bureau” in recognition of their voting record on pertinent Farm Bureau issues.


Farm Bureau members receive the first installment of the Voters Guide, an eight-page insert in The Co-Operator providing an overview of the candidates and offices up for election.


Cook County teacher Debbie Jimenez, is named Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom “Teacher of the Year”.


Farm Bureau celebrates the 10th anniversary of Food Checkout Day and its partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.


Beth Christian, former board member, is awarded the 2010 Illinois Agricultural Education Advocacy Award from the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education/Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education.


Cook County Farm Bureau Agriculture in the Classroom program celebrates 25 years of educating local students about agriculture in their everyday lives.


Farm Bureau introduces the “Illinois Farm Families” program and Cook County Farm Bureau takes an active role in recruiting field moms and participating in the tours, spokespeople training, and television commercials.


Members and future farmers participate in a ‘Farming Fundamentals Workshop,’ a one-day program discussing setting up a farming operation.


Janet McCabe, now Cook County Farm Bureau President, becomes the first women elected to the Farm Bureau Board of Directors.


Sarah Fine-Koukol from St. Vincent Ferrer School in River Forest is named “Teacher of the Year” by Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom.


Farm Bureau’s Commodity and Marketing Team launches an urban garden grant program.  Cookfresh® aids urban gardens with the purchase of supplies, including plants, seeds, raised bed construction materials, soil, compost, fencing, and more.


Cook County Farm Bureau receives the Summit Award for Food Checkout Day from the American Society of Association Executives.  This award recognizes the outstanding contributions to society that occur when non-profit organizations partner.


Farm Bureau upgrades its website to improve member relations and communications.


Cook CFB PAC names seven Cook County Commissioners “Friends of the Farm Bureau” and endorses four candidates for office in Cook County.


Cook County Farm Bureau receives the President’s Award and Liberty Bell from the Illinois Farm Bureau® in recognition of outstanding and innovative programing.


Farm Bureau launches a ‘Speakers Bureau’ designed to connect groups, organizations, and clubs with local experts in the field of modern farming, roadside marketing, greenhouse production and farm related information/issues.


The ‘Cook County Staff Exchange Program’ is named a County Activity of Excellence by the American Farm Bureau Federation®.


The Master Gardener Resource Center opens in the Cook County Farm Bureau office to aid members in search of information on soil testing recommendations, plant disease issues and treatments, horticulture related questions, and pest identification and treatment.


Farm Bureau launches a Young Leader/Ag Professional Group in an effort to attract and engage younger individuals in the agricultural industry.


Farm Bureau’s “Passport to the Farm Camp” for children ages 7-11 is named a County Activities of Excellence by the American Farm Bureau Federation.


Cook County Farm Bureau hosts the county’s first “Meet the Buyers” event designed to help farmers connect with buyers.


Farm Bureau rebrands and relaunches Local Farm Products, consumers one stop shop for local farmstands, greenhouses, and agri-businesses.



Cook County Farm Bureau receives the President’s Award from the Illinois Farm Bureau for outstanding programing in the areas of Agricultural Literacy, Commodities/Marketing, Communications/Promotions, Health/Safety, Legislative/Political Process, Local Affairs, Member Relations, Policy Development, and Membership Quota.


Farm Bureau partners with Ted’s Greenhouse and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana to re-create the rooftop garden at the Lurie House for the Flower and Garden Show.


Farm Bureau launches the “Farming Forum” program designed to explore new ways to produce food, creatively market and launch value-added programs.


Cook County Farm Bureau’s “Grocery Giveaway” program is named a County Activities of Excellence by the American Farm Bureau Federation.  The program connected urban consumers to local farmers through social media.


Farm Bureau submits the state’s first policy on Community Support Agriculture programs.  The policy is later considered by delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.


Farm Bureau launches “Farm Bureau Cares Day” in which Farm Bureau leadership and staff assist local charities.


Farm Bureau launches the “Master Member Club” to recognize Farm Bureau members’ new member recruitment efforts.


Cook County Farm Bureau Board members approved a bylaw change to provide for a new classification of member, the Professional Member (PM).  The PM classification is for individuals who are employed in farm and agricultural related occupations but do not directly earn their income from farming.


Janet McCabe assumes the role as Cook County Farm Bureau President, making her Cook County Farm Bureau’s first female President.


Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation hosts its first annual “Farming for our Future” gala and raises over $25,000 to support Farm Bureau’s agricultural literacy efforts.

Farm Bureau partners with Ted’s Greenhouse and COUNTRY Financial for a display at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.


Farm Bureau hosts its first annual Farm Crawl.


Farm Bureau in partnership with Fairway Farms in Lemont, host a magical farm-to-table dinner at Cog Hill.


Cook County Farm Bureau launches its latest website to better serve members and to communicate more effectively to the general public.


Farm Bureau spearheads a District 5 Sense of the Delegate Resolution calling on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board to seek out solutions for farmer member families and small businesses on the devasting impact of rising health insurance costs.


Cathy Malloy, Family and Consumer Science teacher at Westchester Middle School is named a finalist for “Teacher of the Year” by the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom program.


Farm Bureau introduces policy revising and updating the state’s Government Assisted Nutrition Program and Organic Agriculture policies.


Farm Bureau launches the “Food Pantry Challenge” and financially supports 14 local food pantries.


The Foundation’s Gala transitions to a Fun’raiser and plants the seeds of farm and food literacy.


Membership Milestones

1920: 1,689

1930: 826

1940: 2,124

1950: 4,877

1960: 6,253

1970: 7,399

1980: 16,850

1990: 27,808

2000: 27,670

2010: 47,236



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