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CCFB News» January 2023

Cook County Farm Bureau 2022 Year in Review

01/13/2023 @ 11:20 am

The year 2022 featured plenty of ups and downs for members and the organization. Coming off the 2020 and 2021 pandemic shutdowns and related issues, as an organization, the Cook County Farm Bureau is proud to have provided another year full of service in 2022 to members. Here’s a brief recap of some highlights…




We delivered an agricultural themed basket reward to Farm Bureau members Ross and Roberta Vondrak of for winning the drawing for being one of the members completing all 12 months of the Ag Adventures page word find puzzle in 2021.


The Young Leaders Team collected and donated nonperishable foods, toiletries, and related items as well as cash donations as a part of the service project to benefit area troops.


Nine board members and several spouses attended the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. During the event, the group attended general sessions, hearing from Joe Biden, President of the United States, Tom Vilsack, the US Secretary of Agriculture and Zippy Duval, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.


The Commodity/Marketing Team hosted an informative lunch & learn webinar on Carbon Markets: A Policy Primer featuring, Lauren Lurkins, Director of Environmental Policy, Illinois Farm Bureau.




Farm Bureau launched a Zoom Book Club in 2022.  Participants examined modern agriculture through a deep dive into Tomorrow’s Table.  Authors Pamela Ronald, a University of California geneticist and her husband Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer argued that blend of organic farming and genetic engineering is key to helping feed the world’s growing population. 


The commodity/Marketing Team shared information for farmers/ag businesses about Guatemala´s Seasonal Labor Program through the H-2A guest worker program for seasonal labor.




The Board reviewed and approved the 2022 – 25 Strategic Plan Elements created in February including action items to help achieve Organizational and Board Goals, Implementation of the Volunteer Management System, and a statement on diversity and inclusion: “At Our Table, All Are Welcome”.


The Member RelationsTeam hosted a document shred day on March 12 at Oak Forest COUNTRY Financial office.


The Public Relations Team sponsored our annual Food Checkout Day events to help replenish six Cook County food pantries with needed food and cash thanks to partnerships with the Farm Bureau PR team, board members, COUNTRY Financial agencies, and a host of supporting members. 


The Foundation board announced 6 recipients of the 2022 College Scholarship Program for members/dependents pursuing agriculturally related careers including Jessica Biernacki (Howard Paarlberg Excellence in Agriculture scholarship), Katherine Manika, Jennifer Miller, Matthew Smits, Elijah Floerke, and Andrew Smits.




The Board of Directors, in celebration and recognition of the outstanding volunteers and supporting members, approved a donation of $1290 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository as a part of the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Week in April.


CCFB Team members Bryan Blau and Amy Hansmann graduated from the Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow program provided by the Illinois Farm Bureau.


The Cook County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom program presented an Earth Day teacher workshop in a virtual format.


The Member Relations Team sponsored Member Appreciation Week April 18 – 22nd with many great basket drawings, complementary memberships, prizes, and gifts.


A virtual exchange discussion between the Cook County Farm Bureau Young Leaders in the Wake County Farm Bureau Farmers and Ranchers from North Carolina was on Monday, April 18 with discussion centered around the documentary “Kiss the Ground”





A special Discover Local four-page insert was provided to all members through the Co-Operator publication to help discover greenhouses, garden centers, farm stands, and area landscapers.


We hosted a spring Butterfly Planter Workshop at Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center on May 11th.


The Cook County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom program wrapped up a year of challenging and successful in-person and virtual presentations in Chicago and suburban classrooms reaching 17,240 students from 334 schools.


2022 Recipe Collection was published and distributed through farmstands and to members.


The Cook County Farm Bureau Political Action Committee interviewed many candidates and endorsed several in County Board, Assessor, Board of Review and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District races.


  First place bookmark winner submitted by ViViene from Solomon Elementary








Our Summer Ag Institute returned June 20-22 with 3-day teacher workshop that took educators on the road to learn about our industry up-close with ag professionals.











Members of the Commodities/Marketing Team visited various Community Gardens that received support grants from the Team including 50 Acre Farm, St James Community Farm, Oak Forest Pollinator Garden, St Irenaeus Pantry Garden, Rainbow Beach Victory Garden, and Roots Community Garden.


Farm Bureau “Partied with the Pollinators” through a educational, family-friendly member program providing information on pollinator gardens, Monarch butterflies, Bees and flowering plants.




Cook County Farm Bureau® purchased two lambs and one hog from 4H members during the Lake County Fair in Grayslake.  Meat from the animals were donated to partner food pantries including Church of the Holy Spirit Food Pantry, Elk Grove Township Food Pantry, Elsie’s Food Pantry, Hattie B. Williams, Nourishing Hope, and Share Food Share Love. 



The board, team members, volunteers, staff, Country Financial and the many other members and individuals that supported the July 22 “Evening for Ag Education” Fun’raising Gala in Lemont to benefit the Foundation Ag Lit efforts.


The Yunker Family and Friends!








Young Leaders members enjoyed a cookout and gathering hosted by Young Leader Chair, Blake Lanphier at Historic Wagner Farm (1510 Wagner Rd., Glenview, IL) .


The Ag Literacy program hosted a program at Morton Grove Public Library on Aug 3. During the program, Katrina Milton taught about trees and leaves and how trees are an agricultural crop.





A workshop for teachers and educators was held September 29. The workshop, “Ag-Citing Ways to Add Ag to Your Curriculum,” provided fun ways to integrate agricultural topics into your curriculum through book and project grant applications.


Summer Selfie Contest winners selected from June, July, and August entries. Categories: 1) Farmers’ Markets  2) Crops/Gardening  3)Farm Animals  


Crops/Gardening Winner August Winner- Mariola Bisakowska


The Member Relations Team partnered with AARP to offer a Smart Driver course September 20 and 21 where members learned the current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques, and how to operate your vehicle more safely in today's increasingly challenging driving environment.


The 6th Annual Farm Crawl was held on Saturday, September 17th.  The Farm Crawl featured 24 member Ag locations who graciously agreed to open their doors and offer tour, workshops, programs, specials and discounts on agritourism, pumpkins, honey, activities, and the best of local produce and plants this fall using our Crawl Passport and interactive map.


Cook County Farm Bureau delivered fresh meat to Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry in Oak Forest. 





The 22 Annual Giant Pumpkin, dessert, carving, local honey, and youth contest was held at Puckerville Farms in Lemont which featured great member participation.


The Member Relations Team hosted a Virtual Wills/Trust Seminar and a Shred Day in Rolling Meadows that generated a lot of member attendance and participation.










A free PDCH workshop for a small group of educators was held at the Cook County Farm Bureau with topics of “Branching Out into Tree Science,” agroforestry, Christmas tree farms, maple syrup, and more.


The Commodities/Marketing Team hosted a “Make a Holiday Swag for Door/Mantle” Workshop at member business, West End Florist & Garden Center, Evanston.


Cook County Farm Bureau® actively supported the ordinance to repeal the Cook County’s wheel tax that will be effective June 30, 2023.


Cook County Farm Bureau submitted a grant application for a commercial grade refrigerator for Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry in Oak Forest and the refrigerator arrived in November!  The grant, provided through Midwest Dairy Association, covered the cost and delivery of the refrigerator.


On Tues. Nov. 29, the Cook County Farm Bureau Young Leader prepared and served dinner at the RMH near Advocate in Oak Lawn. 






The Cook County Farm Bureau was recognized at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting with many awards including the Pinnacle Award for top County Farm Bureaus, Eva Manzke as Illinois AITC Teacher of the Year and Greg Stack as Illinois AITC Volunteer of the Year.


Greg Stack was recognized as Volunteer of the year for 2022. Karen Biernacki, Jim Bloomstrand, Ruth Zeldenrust and Janet McCabe inducted into the Master Member Club. A number of members were recognized for their committed responses to FBACT, the Farm Bureau’s legislative contact action request group.





  • The Shop Local Directory available through the Cook County Farm Bureau website expanded for better information and to allow local agricultural businesses to conduct e-commerce through it.
  • The Master Gardner Resource Center and help desk served members from April through November by providing advice regarding soil test results, soil amendments, growing plants guidance, and researching related issues.
  • The “Investing in our Local Communities” annual report summarizing the broad support of the organization in the areas of Investing in Agricultural Leaders, Enriching Local Communities and Championing Area Agriculture.


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