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CCFB News» August 2019

Downwind"The 1%"

08/01/2019 @ 3:00 am | By Bob Rohrer, CAE,FBCM,Manager

There are people that have accomplished something extraordinary that the other 99% of the population does not, cannot or will not accomplish. I like to call these overachievers “The 1%”.


  • Under 1% of the American population will run a marathon during their lifetime. Why? It takes training, focus, commitment, time and a bit of luck (Some people would add it takes a bit of “stupid”). Marathon finishers are “The 1%”.
  • According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), earning a minimum of $421,926 per year is necessary to be considered in the top 1% of wage earners. These driven, creative, talented, hardworking folks are “The 1%”.
  • About 1% of college basketball players are drafted for a chance go to the next level, the National Basketball Association. Why? Speed, height, strength, quickness makes them the greatest players in the world. These skilled players are “The 1%”.
  • Roughly 1% of the American population holds a PhD. Wishing I could understand what they are saying, these smart folks are “The 1%”.
  • The percentage of the US population that farms has fallen to under 2%, leaving the remainder farmers to be the wisest, smartest, toughest, and most skilled...I’m proud to know many of these hard-working survivors. Farmers are “The 1%”.


My wife and I enjoyed a wonderful vacation recently in the Rocky Mountains in Glacier (northern Montana) and Banff (Alberta Canada) National Parks. There are so many spectacular views that can be seen from the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier and Lake Louise in Banff and we enjoyed them all.  However, the rest of the throngs of visitors in those National Parks saw the same views.


Seeking much more elbow room, my wife and I sought trails less traveled.  Armed with bear spray and enthusiasm, we spent time, energy and willpower trekking up mountain trails at elevation in search of remote glaciers and waterfalls.


Many of our hikes stretched to 13 to 14-mile roundtrips and took us to amazing places and beautiful sights. Despite tourism season going in full swing in these Parks, we encountered very few people beyond a mile from the parking lot. I’m convinced that very few people have or will see and experience the stunning views, landscapes, waterfalls, and mountain vistas that we were able to encounter simply using our boots and packs.


It was during one of these long, far-reaching hikes that I declared to my wife that she is one of The 1% (Trust me, I knew this well before we hiked together during our vacation).


                 My Wife – 1%’er


All members will be pleased to know that Cook County Farm Bureau is one of The 1%. Less than ½ of 1 percent of companies in the United States have made it to 100 years of age. In March 2020, you can add Cook County Farm Bureau to the list of “The 1%”!


Our everyday Farm Bureau goal is to deliver top 1% service, information, support, benefits, and programs for members. We thank you for your input, thoughts and feedback that helps us continue to draw closer to fulfilling the 1% goal.  For nearly 100 years, the Cook County Farm Bureau has been on the quest to be one of The 1%.


We continue to work our way through the archives as we gear up for the 100 - year celebration. This month we look through the Farm Bureau history lens of the decade 1970 through 79. Enjoy!


1970 – 79 sidebar



  • 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 and calling out Jewel for joining in the boycott.
  • 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 donation. 864 members attended! Former farm advisor CA Hughes flew in from Florida to make remarks and a guest appearance.



  • The Cook County Farm Bureau Marketing Committee planned a Roadside Stand marketing conference with 110 members attending.
  • The Board provided $2500 to support research at the Agricultural Experimental Research Station on the cost to produce vegetable crops in northeastern Illinois.
  • The Farm Bureau played host to 44 State Representatives and Senators at a legislative reception in Springfield.
  • 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.
  • The Board of Directors voted to raise membership dues from $24 to $30 annually for all members. The previous increase was also $6 nine years earlier.
  • William Kuhfuss, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the members attended by 615 people.



  • Five new directors, Elwood Goebbert, Edward Tracy, Carl Bormet, Erwin Geils, and Howard Paarlberg were appointed to the Board of Directors.
  • 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.
  • The Farm Bureau published concerns regarding urban sprawl, soil loss and urban pollution that follows.
  • 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.
  • Cook County participated in a nationwide effort by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) to link Farm Bureaus together using a network of tele-typewriters connected to a minicomputer at the AFBF headquarters in an effort to provide two-way high-speed communications. Farm Bureau “Speedline” was born.
  • 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.
  • Marketline, a farm market advisory service, was offered through the Farm Bureau.
  • 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.
  • The United States’ Bicentennial celebration was in full swing with parades and recognitions.
  • Don Murphy, Cook County Farm Bureau member, won the Illinois Farm Bureau Sports Festival state golf tournament.
  • 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.



Pres. Norman Strassenberg announced that the Board of Directors approved a $6 increase in membership dues from $30-$36.



  • 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.


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