Cook County Board Approves Resolution Celebrating the Importance of Agriculture in Cook County
WHEREAS, Illinois is home to more than 71,000 farms, 96 percent of which are family-owned; and
WHEREAS, Illinois agriculture and related industries support nearly 482,000 jobs and generates nearly $51 billion; and
WHEREAS, Agriculture includes the growing, raising, and harvesting of crops for both human and animal consumption as well as the raising of livestock; and
WHEREAS, Cook County is home to more than 12,000 acres of farmland; and
WHEREAS, Agriculture contributes nearly $20 million to Cook County economy; and
WHEREAS, Over four percent of Cook County’s total workforce is employed in an agricultural-related job including food handling and processing; and
WHEREAS, Cook County agriculture includes vegetable, floriculture, grain, nursery, and row crop production as well as livestock; and
WHEREAS, Cook County’s agricultural landscape includes horses, ponies, mules, burros, and donkeys; and
WHEREAS, According to the United States Department of Agriculture 2017 Census of Agriculture, Cook County is ranked second in the state for equine production with a sales volume of over $1.5 million; and
WHEREAS, Cook County ranks twelfth in the state for nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod production; and
WHEREAS, Cook County is home to numerous examples of urban agriculture including the raising, cultivation, processing, marketing, and distribution of food in urban and suburban settings; and
WHEREAS, Urban agriculture generally involves outdoor and indoor vertical production, indoor warehouse farms, greenhouses, rooftop farms, hydroponic and aquaponic facilities; and
WHEREAS, Over two percent of Cook County farms are certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture; and
WHEREAS, Over 15 percent of Cook County farmers sell directly to consumers at farmstands, roadside markets, farmers markets and through community support agriculture; and
WHEREAS, Cook and Illinois farmers grow healthy and nutritious food; and
WHEREAS, Cook County farmers recognize that too many individuals suffer from food insecurity and encourage farmers to partner with food banks, food recovery organizations, and other food distribution organizations; and
WHEREAS, Cook County Farm Bureau developed a program to purchase and deliver food and member donations to partner food pantries; to encourage online engagement to raise awareness of area food pantries, their needs, and service areas; and a grant program for local food pantries to expand their food offerings or facility in light of the unprecedented need due to the pandemic; and
WHEREAS, Farm Bureau volunteers partnered with over 70 community partners to assist over 7,400 individuals with their food needs; and
WHEREAS, Cook and Illinois farmers have made meaningful contributions toward water quality improvements; and
WHEREAS, Through the science-based framework provided by the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, Cook County and Illinois farmers are using research, technology and industry experience to assess and reduce nutrient loss to Illinois waters and to the Gulf of Mexico; and
WHEREAS, Using tools and technology to better manage soil nutrients, field time and air quality, farmers are using fewer natural resources and reducing their carbon footprint while producing food; and
WHEREAS, Farmland is a finite resource that is vital to agriculture, food production, and the economic well-being of Cook County; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Cook County Board of Commissioners recognize the value agriculture contributes to the local economy and support agriculture within the county; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be tendered to the Cook County Farm Bureau®.
(Approved at the March 16, 2023 Cook County Board Meeting)
Actively work to repeal the one percent sales tax approved by the Cook County Board in July of 2015 and will actively oppose future additional tax increases.
Work to ensure that hay and row crop farming opportunities remain available to local farmers interested in pursuing rental agreements with the Cook County Forest Preserve District. If requested, Farm Bureau will provide assistance with advertising available parcels, the rental process, paperwork and deadlines.
Work to ensure that agriculture is protected during incorporation discussions. Unincorporated Cook County is home to most of the county’s production agriculture industry.
Work to ensure that urban agriculture, including but not limited to urban farms, community gardens and school gardens, remain permissible under municipal and county ordinances. Farm Bureau will work with those groups and organizations engaged in urban farming, community gardens and school gardens when feasible.
Ensure that farmland in Cook County is assessed in a fair and reasonable manner. Additionally, CCFB® will work with the Cook County Assessor’s Office to further streamline the farmland affidavit process.
Work with the Cook County Department of Building and Zoning regarding local farms, farm buildings and the farm exemption process in unincorporated Cook County.
Actively work to ensure that modern farming practices are not deemed a nuisance under Cook County ordinances.