News & Publications
"Ag Literacy Pillar 6"
Over the past five months, I have been writing about the Pillars of Agricultural Literacy – Understanding the intersection between agriculture and society. This month, I am writing about the final pillar!
"Ag Literacy Pillar 5"
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. Now on to Pillar 5: The Connection between Agriculture and Technology.
"Ag Literacy Pillar 4"
I have been writing about the Pillars of Agricultural Literacy – Understanding the intersection between agriculture and society. The last three months, I have reviewed pillars 1, 2, and 3. Now on to Pillar4: The relationship between Agriculture and Lifestyle.
"Ag Literacy Pillar 3" (and Jet Fuel)
I have been writing about the Pillars of Agricultural Literacy – Understanding the intersection between agriculture and society. The last two months, I have reviewed pillars 1 and 2 (available on the Cook County Farm Bureau website, www.cookcfb.org). Now on to Pillar 3: The Relationship between Agriculture and Animals.
"Ag Literacy- Pillar 2"
Way back in June, I was sorting and tossing old files of paper and I ran across an American Farm Bureau Federation Foundation for Agriculture document entitled: Pillars of Agricultural Literacy – Understanding the intersection between agriculture and society. Many times, that intersection is at the Cook County Farm Bureau through this Co-Operator publication.
"Ag Literacy Pillar 1"
I was disposing of some piles of old papers (“spring cleaning” every 20 years), and I ran across the American Farm Bureau Federation Foundation for Agriculture document.
"May I Take Your order?"
My wife, the beautiful and talented Mrs. CCFB Manager, has a belief that all people (especially young adults) should be required to be a “server” in the restaurant industry as an important training ground for life and dealing with people. I believe she is correct (not just because she is my wife). Serving as a waiter, waitress, or hostess places a person in the front line.
"I Give Thanks"
People radiating with positive energy. I am envious. Sometimes, I get bogged down in today’s world. The news is negative. Politics remain bitter and nasty. Regulations are growing. Inflation has hit us all. Taxing bodies are seeking more of their “fair share”.
"Wisdom and Advice"
I was in a Zoom webinar the other day when the speaker said, “The phones will be ringing off the hook.” Then she said, “That’s a saying that we are going to have to update!” Outdated sayings and idioms. Created with meaning in context at an earlier time. We still understand the message today, although, we may have forgotten the context.
"The Iconic Tractor"
In the early 1900s, the development and the adoption of the tractor began to influence United States farmers and their production practices. Now, over a century later, we know the tractor effectively revolutionized farming, becoming an essential tool to help manage a volume of farm labor needs. And, in the process, the tractor also became an iconic part of the identity of the farm and the individual farmers that use them.
"The value of free?"
Through the years, I have been heard saying the following phrase: “‘Free’ is one of my favorite words.” Free lunch. Free beverage. Free tools. Free wood. Free equipment. Freedom. I frequently offer “free” advice, especially to my kids. There is something about the word “Free”.
"Retiring an Old Workhorse"
The ditty “the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be” popped into my head as I started to write this month’s column. I could be talking about myself with my whining about aches and pains increasing each day but actually, I’m thinking about my old, snowplow tractor.
"A down-home, country wedding"
My brother and his wife live in what I consider one of the more remote areas in the state of Illinois, Brown County. Mount Sterling, the county seat, boasts a population of 2,100 or so and is the largest town in the county. The total population of Brown County is somewhere south of 7,000 residents. Adding in the deer population would likely double that number. The native standard dress attire is quite casual…mostly camouflage, flannel, and Carhartts. The deer are brown with white tails, also casual.
Have you ever seen the reality show “Alone”? My wife and I have been watching reruns of this History channel show recently. The basic concept is 10 people are dropped into a remote location of the world featuring an unfriendly climate, with bare minimum of tools and supplies and no contact from the outside in a competition to see who can survive alone the longest. While I enjoy the romance of survivalist mentality, I am realistic enough with myself to know that I would not last long at all…I really, really don’t like to be cold, hungry or be eaten by predators.
"The 2020 Obstacle Course"
The year 2020 has been described as Groundhog Day, Disaster 911, the Year of the Pivot, the “Swear” year and At Least It’s Over.
I viewed the year 2020 as competing in a marathon “team” obstacle course. There have been so many obstacles; COVID - 19, social unrest and riots, political elections, shelter-at-home, a dragging farm economy, a wave of community needs, desperation and depression, inability to vacation, and new concepts for work and to connecting with family and friends.
"Today is our intersection with our past and our future"
On Saturday, October 10, the Cook County Farm Bureau “present” intersected with Farm Bureau past and Farm Bureau future during a “Drive Through” Celebration in recognition of our 100-year anniversary. We were pleased that many members stopped by to chat, take a look at past archival materials, talk about the future, and pick up a gift bag. We had a great time.
September 6 was “National Read a Book Day”. Leading up to that day, the American Society of Association Executives posed the following question to its members: What book(s) has had a surprising impact on your life?
"Strange Times Indeed"
These are unusual times. Stressful times. Historic times. Today’s life is being directly affected by COVID-19 and the response to it by government, the media, businesses, workers, schools, churches, organizations, and individuals. At this point, there are two channels of thought for most people…
Last month’s column was about my first paid job as a “weeder” of strawberries at the ripe old age of 14. This month, I decided to go further “into the weeds” on the topic.
"Strawberry Fields forever"
A recent road trip with my wife to see my parents at the farm in downstate Illinois was a pleasant reprieve from the stay-at-home, mundane months of the stay-at-home order. We had not seen them face-to-face since Christmas…not good execution of one of my New Year’s resolutions. The trip brought back some suppressed memories.
"Re-open" Farm Bureau
Re-open Illinois. Re-open Cook County Farm Bureau®? We were fortunate that we never really closed, aside from that sign on our building doors in the village of Countryside that said we were working remotely.
It only took a matter of a few days for a new reality to set in. The realization that there is a new normal. We are in the midst of life-changing events
Farm. Family. Food and “Virus “
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.
The Time Capsule
Over the past month, I made a point of emphasizing to the board and staff of the Cook County Farm Bureau® that this March issue of The Co-Operator publication was going to be part of the documents inserted in the time capsule that will be “planted” March 28th during our 100-year anniversary celebration. The future Cook County Farm Bureau board and staff will open the time capsule in the year 2070, 50 years from now. They will look at this publication and review its words. We don’t want those Farm Bureau leaders of the future to think that their Farm Bureau ancestors were anything but talented, skilled, enthusiastic, witty, thoughtful, and impressive deep thinkers. A lot of pressure to get this right!