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CCFB News» April 2020

DownwindFarm. Family. Food and “Virus “

04/01/2020 @ 7:00 am | By Bob Rohrer CAE, FBCM, Manager

We thought the 100- year celebration of the Cook County Farm Bureau organization was a big deal until a more serious matter impacted all of us, COVID-19. We canceled the open house and made other organizational decisions to follow conventional wisdom and accommodate health and safety advice by the experts. We will still celebrate the 100 years of the Cook County Farm Bureau at some point…it is 2020 all year long.


I should dedicate a column about the coronavirus but what has not yet been said? The news, impact, and ramifications have changed by the hour, if not the minute. It’s like chasing the tail of a pig…fast, always moving and quite stinky. This does seem like a “life altering” event that will impact Americans’ activities in the future. There will evolve a new normal.


We will see changes in government rules and regs, new attention to healthcare service system and health safety protocols, economic ramifications that could last for years, stricter travel between countries, and more. There are new phrases in the English lexicon… social distancing, flattening the curve, virus tracker, electrostatic disinfection, acute respiratory illness, nonessential business travel, self – quarantine amongst others.  


I do need to turn off the coronavirus brain for a bit and return, at least briefly, to the world of Farm, Family, Food™! Please indulge me the next few minutes to try to distract in hopefully in a more lighthearted manner.


This year’s National Agriculture Week just happened to occur at the same time as our 100-year celebration was scheduled in late March. Our Farm Bureau founders were excellent planners to sync up the start date of the organization with this year’s National Agriculture Week. (Our founders were dealing with the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu 100 years ago – not the kind of symmetry I imaged)


I view National Agriculture Day as a great day to celebrate in the vein of other important national holidays such as Sweetest Day, Boss’s Day, April Fool’s Day, and even Groundhog Day!


Put your mind to work imagining a life without agriculture. Let me help with answers in case you didn’t get there yourself…

  • We would be hungry (agriculture provides food)
  • We would be naked (agriculture provides clothing)
  • We would be cold (agriculture provides building materials for shelter)
  • We would be immobile (agriculture provides ethanol fuel for our vehicles)


Without agriculture, most of us would need to become farmers rather than doing whatever occupation we’re doing so we could have food, fiber, fuel, and materials. Thankfully farmers allow us to be Farm Bureau managers, accountants, nurses, teachers, marketers, scientists, entertainers, salesmen, administrators, drivers and so many other jobs and careers.


Here is a quick illustration of how agriculture was a vital part of my recent anniversary. My wife and I  took a weekend trip to Galena to celebrate (I might have also been celebrating National Agriculture Day, but don’t tell my wonderful wife that). We drove our vehicle fueled by farm produced ethanol to Galena. We wore clothes of cotton, wool and other farm produced fibers. We stayed in a B & B constructed of wood and other farm related natural resource products.


We dined (romantically) at the Log Cabin Steakhouse in Galena featuring meat sourced from a local farm. While staring at the menu (when I should’ve been staring at my wife), I debated about what amazing chunk of farm raised meat to order. The T-bone is a classic. King filet mignon could be most tender. The ribeye cut will be most favorable. The New York cut sounds worldly. Perhaps I should add a little surf to my Steak. The porterhouse advertised as “a Man’s Steak” (I’m pretty much a man). So many great options for a meat lover!


My wife, after prolonged staring at me, pointed at the menu. There, in the entrée section, was a plate listed as the Bit O’each - the Original Farm Bureau Special, a pork chop and a steak! My mind said, “Meat with a side of Meat… Genius!”


Every day should be celebrated as National Agriculture Day (just like I celebrate my anniversary with my wife every day…see how I did that). Think of it this way, National Agriculture Day is a great day to celebrate the fact that the world doesn’t have to hear me whine about being hungry and see me naked and shivering while pushing my truck with its gauge on empty. Truly a reason to be thankful!


Please stay healthy!


Bonus food facts:

Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza per day.


We are eating 900% more broccoli today than we did 20 years ago.


It takes 24 to 26 hours for a hen to produce an egg.


Asparagus is a member of the lily family.


Fresh apples float because 25% of their volume is air.


Noodles got their start in China, not Italy.


Bananas are 99.5% fat-free.


20 tart cherries per day can reduce inflammatory pain and headaches.

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