Join / Renew Now / MyIFB Log In

Stay Updated

CCFB News» February 2024

Downwind"How about a slogan for 2024?"

02/01/2024 @ 8:30 am | By Bob Rohrer, CCFB Manager

Each and every January, my least favorite responsibility of the job is employee evaluation and reviews. It’s certainly not because we have any major staff issues. In fact, I would put Cook County Farm Bureau staff up against any staff. They are outstanding!


The process requires “judgment”. Most people don’t want to be judged. I get it. I don’t like judging nor being judged (I know “Good looks and athletic body” were already taken).


And yet, evaluations and reviews are part of the job. And, on the positive side,  together each employee and I create objectives, strengthen teamwork, focus on key elements, and reward success. I always want to provide guidance, encouragement, and advice with the intention of making the upcoming year better for our members.


During these reviews, I have to use some big, scary words...“competency” words that are used to create an evaluation baseline on each employee.


Those words include technical competence, planning and organization, problem-solving and judgment, responsiveness to management, initiative, customer service, communication skills, reliability and adaptability, attendance, leadership, teamwork, member focus, proactivity, solution driven work, innovation.


Each competency is assigned a number rating from “outstanding” to “poor”.


Question: Who doesn’t appreciate an “outstanding” rating?


Because, ultimately, it’s you, the member that is judging us: the organization, communications, membership benefits, programming, delivery needs and resources, actions.


To wrap up the evaluation process, I like to provide each employee with some managerial deep thinking, cheerleading, wisdom, motivation. Many times, this comes in the form of a slogan.


My 6-word staff slogan for the year 2024…


“Show up – Work hard – Have fun”


I thought of other potential slogans to use. These slogans did not make the cut:


2024 – Plant and Harvest


2024 – It’s time to harvest


2024 – the GOAT


2024 – At least is not 2023


2024 – Leave it in the hands of “AI”


2024 – Don’t panic, the election will fix it


2024 – Don’t get upset … It’s all about the stories


2024 – At least there’s no cash bond


2024 – Enjoy the bonus day


All right readers… Please evaluate the organization on our “body of work” and not my slogans! The staff of CCFB looks forward to serving you in 2024.



I want to switch gears to help memorialize a friend and leader of the Cook County Farm Bureau…Jim Gutzmer. President Gutzmer passed away suddenly on December 30. It is difficult to describe in words the impact someone makes on others and upon an organization. I will try.


I first met Jim Gutzmer when his name was floated as a candidate for new director of the Cook County Farm Bureau in 1999. He was not born a farmer but married into the Hinze truck farming family. From his work on the farm, Jim certainly became a farmer at heart.


Over his 24 years of service on the Cook County Farm Bureau board, Jim served in nearly every capacity within the volunteer structure of the organization. This includes seven years as President in which the organization was recognized with 2 President’s awards for most outstanding County Farm Bureau in Illinois and the Liberty Bell for outstanding policy implementation and legislative action. Grunt work or leadership… It didn’t matter to Mr. Gutzmer as long as he served members.


Jim spoke passionately with legislators and elected officials about Cook County agriculture. He advocated about quality, affordable food for the public. He enthusiastically promoted ag literacy in the classroom and youth involvement in agricultural careers. He loved Cook County Farm Bureau. He was proud of his Cook County Farm Bureau.


Thank you, Mr. Gutzmer for your leadership quest…now it is time to rest.



Discover What We Do Everyday For You

Sign Up For Our Newsletter