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CCFB News» January 2022

Downwind"Ag Literacy Pillar 5"

01/03/2022 @ 8:35 am | By Bob Rohrer CAE, FBCM, Manager


I have been writing about the Pillars of Agricultural Literacy – Understanding the intersection between agriculture and society. The last four months, I have reviewed pillars 1, 2, 3 and 4 as shown below (the previous columns are available on the Cook County Farm Bureau website,



Now on to Pillar 5: The Connection between Agriculture and Technology


The limited space I have to write about this topic will make it very difficult to cover the many advanced connections between Agriculture and Technology. There is simply not enough space to cover biotechnology, farm equipment technology, advancements in knowledge and research, and environmental improvements. I will go with an abbreviated version.


Biotechnology is really a collection of technologies that are applied to agriculture to solve problems and enhance the final product. Many times, biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are terms that are used synonymously. There are people concerned about GMOs and biotechnology and this column will not change those minds. For those that may be unsure, do not care, or support biotech, here are a few of the attributes of GMOs from the farm and hunger perspective:

  • Better yields providing more food for the hungry on the planet
  • The ability to deliver positive health traits through food to improve global human health
  • Improved shelf life reducing food waste in the United States and around the world
  • Production advantages including less water use, reduced soil erosion, reduced chemical use, and reduced fuel consumption which please and excite all of us

For those that “follow the science”, various GMOs have food safety and quality track record of over 30 years of use by millions of consumers.


And, I’ve said it several times in the series, “Isn’t it great that there are farmers that produce using a variety of methods for food production to meet the various demands and expectations by different consumers”. The non-GMO label on foods can be found readily.


Of course, technology and agriculture stretch well beyond biotechnology and GMO. Robotics and automation, global positioning, computer integration, self-driving tractors, target specific crop protections, food as medicine and vaccines, traceability and food safety, renewable energy, earth friendly practices, water protection, and carbon dioxide sequestration all deserve space in this column!


If a disgruntled employee is not pleased nor content, I must be a gruntled employee. Somehow, the word just doesn’t sound pleased and contented.


I am disgruntled about lawlessness. The Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting was held at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago the first weekend in December. While walking on the sidewalk downtown, a lady “talking to her demons” took a swing at my wife, missing fortunately. A couple of our board members witnessed a “flash mob” of young people who decided that walking on cars stopped at a red light was a good idea. There were reports of shootings next to the hotel.


While news reports wrapping up each weekend focus on murders and carjackings in Chicago, crime has not been isolated to the city. A carjacking recently occurred near our home in the southwest suburbs. My wife tells me that car dealerships along the Ogden Road area where she works have been victims of smash and grab break-ins. I received a phone call from the owner of the bike shop where I had my bike in for a winter tune-up. The owner was sorry to inform me that the bike shop was broken into, and my bike was one of the bikes that was stolen.


The “new normal” is used to describe recent changes in society. If this lawlessness is the new normal, society should find it unacceptable. I know I do.

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