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CCFB News» August 2019

Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure

08/01/2019 @ 5:15 am | By Bona Heinsohn, CAE

Let’s set the record straight.  Great statement.  Great thought.  So, let’s set the record straight.


I like shoes.  A lot of them.  I prefer boots and I have a rockin’ pair of Ariat that I save for special occasions.  They’ll return when the weather is cooler.  During the summer I wear mainly running shoes.  I do chase pre-teen girls around the softball diamond after all.  I also scream (nicely) at them to keep moving.  To not look at the ball.  And to slide.  Just the other day I had to remind one to keep her eyes open while batting. 


I also like animals.  Basically, anything with fur but, in particular, bunnies.  We have a beautiful senior New Holland Lop buck.  “Hedwig” is an underperforming 4H bunny who my daughter dotes on.  “Hedwig” spends most of his day kicked back asleep unless he’s eating.  He prefers papayas.   


Let’s continue to set the record straight.  Illinois is home to over 72,000 farms.  Of which over 97 percent are family-owned.  Many of those farms are multi-generational. Many of those farms grow corn, soybeans, winter wheat, and hay. In 2014, Illinois was home to 74,500 farms.


Cook County, on the other hand, is home to nearly 12,000 acres of farmland.  The most common crops growing on those farms include vegetables, hay, soybeans, orchards, and greenhouses.  Cook County top livestock include bees, chickens, horses, and cattle.  Many Cook County farmers have been farming for less than five years.


Speaking of animals.  Farmers provide around-the-clock care for their livestock.  My farmer and I raise dairy cattle.  We’re third generation family farmers.  We want nothing more than for our children to farm.  Our animals are our future.  Our animals’ health and well-being is our most important priority.  We give them good care and treat them humanely.  We also use experts to help us to make decisions about animal health and care.


To set the record straight, I care about how my food is grown.  I care about how your food is grown.  But I’m confident about eating the food farmers grow because I know it’s safe.  We feed our families the same food you and your families eat.


Farmers care about the land.  We protect our land, its resources, and our animals so our family can continue to farm for future generations.  We want nothing more than our blue-eyed girl who quietly entered the world one hot Father’s Day and our big-little boy with no official eye color than to farm. 


Related to the big-little boy with no official eye color is that I hate Legos.  I appreciate the educational value that they provide.  I appreciate his love for building vehicles.  I appreciate his imagination.  But I hate Legos.  I hate finding them everywhere.  Stepping on them.  Picking them up.  I hate finding them in places they shouldn’t be.  Like my bed.  The bathroom.


To set the record straight, I enjoy honest and frank conversations.  We need to set the record straight more often.  If you have questions about modern agriculture I’m always here for a conversation.

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