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CCFB News» October 2019

Downwind"Bits and Pieces"

10/01/2019 @ 7:35 am | By Bob Rohrer, CAE,FBCM, Manager

A few weeks ago, I joined a small group of local farmers from the Commodities/Marketing Team as we stopped into some urban farms scattered through Chicago to say “hi” and to provide organizational assistance. We frequently hear about the differences between urban farms and rural farms, but I find the similarities between these types of farms and farmers to be striking. The common themes include…

  • Access to water for plants whether through mother nature or irrigation
  • The need for quality land/soil for production
  • Government regulations and intrusion
  • Marketing to the consumer
  • Food safety
  • Sustainability
  • Quality labor in terms of individual skills and availability

Farmers are farmers pretty much no matter where the farm is located! (though we kind of knew that already!).  Check out a couple of the photos from that trip in this issue on page 10.




On Saturday, September 12, while I was negotiating through the Chicagoland area traffic from farm stand to farm business during the Farm Crawl, I could not help noticing that many cars’ license plates on the road begin with “AG”.  My first thought was that these license plates were somehow connected with the specialty plates sold by the state of Illinois that salutes agriculture (see below).



However, the plates I kept noticing did not have the specialty plate design. They simply started with the letter’s “AG”. Was this intentional by the state to issue so many Illinois license plates beginning with the letter’s “AG”? Whatever the reason, I would like to thank the state of Illinois for recognizing the number one industry of the state, Agriculture/Farming, by using “AG” so frequently!


We were saddened to learn of former Cook County Farm Bureau Manager Alden Kilian’s passing on September 3. Mr. K was such a strong presence and leader for 18 years during the organization’s expanded growth in members, new headquarters construction, financing and agricultural literacy development. He left “big tracks” when he retired in 1999. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Kilian family.



Our ongoing “trip” into the Cook County Farm Bureau archives this month focuses on the 1990s.  A special “thank you” goes to Bona Heinsohn from our office who read all 100 Cook County Farm Bureau Co-Operator publications as well as all of the board minutes to prepare the 10-year span of history for your review. I especially thank her for not duplicating the 1999 photo of me from The Co-Operator when I became manager at Cook County Farm Bureau. That cheesy mustache that I sported those days was something to behold…


Thanks for the many positive comments we have received regarding these glimpses of the CCFB past as we look forward to 100 years of the Cook County Farm Bureau! Enjoy this months’ time travel back to the 90s…



  • 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.  



  • The Ag in the Classroom department hosted its 3rd Annual Summer Ag Institute, a week-long experience to area teachers to learn about Agriculture & Farm related lessons plans.
  • Mr. Bruce Vincent, a Timber Industry and logger activist spoke at the CCFB Annual meeting about goverment and agency overreach.



  • 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.
  • 54 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.



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