Bona Heinsohn, CAEDirector of Government Affairs & Public Relations
What is your favorite job within the Cook County Farm Bureau?
The Cook County Farm Bureau® Political Action Committee (PAC) was created in 2009 shortly before my blue-eyed girl arrived on the scene. As a newer Farm Bureau employee, I was incredibly proud of our Board of Directors for their forward thinking and their willingness to engage in the political process. Throughout the year, the PAC files routine reports with the State Board of Elections but the real work happens during election years. It’s the candidate interviews, discussions, and endorsement process that remains one of my favorite responsibilities within the Farm Bureau. This year, especially, will likely be a great year for the PAC because all 17 county commissioners are up for election.
What is your least favorite job within the Cook County Farm Bureau?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I prefer to text or email rather than talk on the phone. Anyone who also knows my mom will tell you the same about her. Cook County Farm Bureau is a people organization. We’re a membership organization and we’re a volunteer-based organization, which means that we spend a lot of time on the phone speaking with members. My least favorite role at the Farm Bureau is talking on the phone. Now that doesn’t mean that I won’t return your call or chat. But don’t be surprised if I email first.
When you are not working on Farm Bureau business, what is something you like to spend time doing?
When not working on CCFB business, I spend most of my time on the farm or with our animals. My daughter and I are avid riders and spend most of our summers at barrel races, drill competitions, and riding with a rodeo company. Our first performance for this year is in March in Springfield at Illinois Horse Fair.
What is your favorite tractor?
My grandparents relied on Case IH tractors on their dairy farm in rural McHenry County. When I met my farmer, his third-generation family farm relied on White, now AGCO tractors for their DeKalb County dairy farm. As we returned from college, my farmer and I purchased a John Deere 8300 tractor. It was our first John Deere. It was the first tractor that I used to chisel plow alone. Even though we sold that particular 8300 several years ago, John Deere 8300 tractors remain my all-time favorite tractors.
What did you want to be growing up?
Growing up I wavered between a healthcare professional like my mom and aunt or a lawyer. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I had lunch with a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture who told me that to accomplish real change for the agricultural industry that I needed to work first with the legislature and then transition to a state or federal agency. While I still haven’t worked at a state or federal agency, I firmly believe that we effect real change every day at Farm Bureau.
Photo: Bona with her horse, Makoa