Family Food Bytes
VIRTUAL SCHOOL LAUNCHES ONLINE AG CLASSES (FarmWeek) - The school year recently commenced for Illinois Virtual School agriculture students – a first in the online school’s history. The online school for the Illinois State Board of Education has students enrolled in introduction to agriculture, agriscience and veterinary science this semester, said Kip Pygman, director of Illinois Virtual School. Virtual School also hired three online ag teachers, Mallary Jenness, Ben Alexander and Joseph Walker. All three are Illinois certified ag teachers. Pygman said online ag classes through Virtual High School give an opportunity to students whose districts don’t offer agriculture classes as well as those whose districts do. For example, an agriculture student might enroll in online veterinary science, which isn’t offered at his or her high school.
Virtual School works with about 550 public, private and home schools across the state. Students attending partner schools may create an account and request a course. Virtual School then sends that request to the local school’s contact person who determines if the student may register for the online class. For more information or to enroll in an Illinois Virtual School online ag class, visit ilvirtual.org.
COUNTRY CEO TO RETIRE (FarmWeekNow.com) – Kurt Bock will retire as COUNTRY Financial’s chief executive officer on Jan. 31 after serving in the leadership role for seven years. During his tenure, Bock led COUNTRY through many changes, including an increasing focus on analytics, strategy and its customers. He also led two mergers.
RECORD NUMBER OF ILLINOIS STUDENTS STUDYING AG, JOINING FFA (FarmWeek) - Illinois students boosted enrollment in high school and middle school agriculture classes to record levels during the 2017-18 school year. They also swelled state FFA membership rolls to a record number. Those records may be broken in the near future. This fall, 12 new or reopened agriculture programs joined existing ones around Illinois. During the most recently completed school year, districts reported 33,050 students studied ag, a 4.4 percent increase over the previous year. Mindy Bunselmeyer, executive director of the Illinois FFA Association, reported 18,453 students belonged to the Illinois FFA, a 5.2 percent increase.
MEET A FARMER at MSI! (FarmWeek) - Farmers from 10 states on an American Farm Bureau Federation panel (Promotion & Education Committee) recently shared farm experiences with exhibit guests at the Museum of Science & Industry. Illinois Farm Bureau and county Farm Bureaus in Illinois (including Cook CFB) helped create the Farm Tech exhibit at the Chicago museum that opened in October 2000. It includes modern farm machinery; a robotic milking simulator; a “soy shed,” which offers visitors an opportunity to see just how many common-day products contain ingredients from soy; and other items that demonstrate the science behind today’s agriculture. The MSI exhibit reaches hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with the museum attracting 1.5 million visitors last year, including 365,000 children visiting as part of a school group.
Matt Porth (black shirt), Museum of Science & Industry volunteer coordinator, helped AFBF Promotion & Education Committee members from 10 states participate in ‘Meet-a-Farmer’ event in Chicago (Photo courtesy of AFBF)
About Family Food Bytes: This is a collection of articles gathered from both mainstream and agriculture media and is designed to keep you informed as a member and leader within the Cook County Farm Bureau organization. The articles summarized above are not intended to represent Cook County Farm Bureau policy or positions, but rather to provide members an idea of what is being reported regionally, nationally, and globally.