Pat HorcherCook County Farm Bureau -Template 2
Pat's children, Asher (center) and Patrick
(right) spend a lot of "quality" time with Dad at the greenhouse.During slower periods, they work on projects together which combine creativity, learning and fun.Wheeling farmer Pat Horcher encourages his two children to be creative.He
often makes cakes from scratch with them, helped them create their own movie so they could understand "movie magic", and worked with his
son to construct what has turned out to be an adult-sized rocking horse.These kinds of activities give Horcher
an opportunity to teach his
children the "how to" of doing things.
"I like teaching my kids how to make things," Horcher
Knowing how things work from the inside out, so to speak, has been a part of Horcher's life.The Cook County farmer learned how to grow and market vegetables at a young age by working with his
father, Michael, and five brothers in the family business.Horcher has learned the insides of local government by serving as village trustee and has gained a greater understanding of the Farm Bureau organization during his terms as a director on the Cook County Farm Bureau Board.
work, family, and involvement with the Village of Wheeling and Farm Bureau
often finds himself spread thin.Nonetheless, he
is more than ready to make time for those things about which he
is most passionate."If I see somewhere where I can help, then I'll do it," Horcher
said."I'm not into these things for the membership of being in a group.I'm involved in things where I feel I can help."
As a youngster growing up on the Horcher
family farm, which has been a mainstay in northwest Cook County since the mid 1800s, Horcher quickly learned the value of hard work on the family farm.His
family operated a large vegetable farm and, in his
teenage years, Horcher
was responsible for helping to market the produce at area farmer's markets.The business has since evolved into Horcher's Country Flowers, and Horcher is now head of the greenhouse production and sales.He
readily admits that competition is fierce for bedding plant sales, and that is the reason why the Horchers
keep their "tray production" minimal."We try to offer things that aren't offered elsewhere," Horcher
explained."We try to produce a product that they (larger scale bedding plant sellers) can't." Pat
puts the finishing touches on a flower arrangement for a funeral.
Horcher's plan is to cater to those seeking an "instant gratification" product.That means using the plants grown in the farm's five greenhouses to preparing pots and hanging baskets of all sizes with a multitude of varieties."We can provide variety and information on plant care," Horcher
Formal classes were one avenue for Horcher
to gain knowledge.He
has also learned a great deal through experiences.The Wheeling flower farmer took a greater interest in local government when the family farm was involuntarily annexed into the village of Wheeling.Instead of being a family farm in the eyes of the village, the Horchers
soon found themselves as a "business" and were required to follow ordinances and procedures. Being a part of the village's business climate, Horcher wanted to get more involved with what village leaders were discussing.
The more village meetings he
attended, however, the more frustrated he
became with what transpired."I was in a room with these people who were decision makers for the village and I didn't feel the right questions were being asked," Horcher
explained.He ran for and was elected village trustee and, ten years later, he continues to get two weekly packets of information that needs to be reviewed prior to the meeting.
Horcher's goal includes maintaining a solid commercial business base."We need to be willing to work with businesses who want to come in, or one who wants to expand," Horcher
said."The residents make up the community, but it is the businesses which subsidize the services."Pat
makes a note on a stack of papers which he
is reviewing as a part of his
Trustee responsibilities on the Wheeling Village Board
. Horcher said the time commitment for the village board business is substantial and he does his part to research issues that are on the agenda.His
experiences in local government have provided valuable insight for Horcher
makes contacts with state and federal legislators with Farm Bureau lobbying efforts."Being involved in local government has helped me understand what these guys (legislators) are up against," Horcher
commented.A member of the Farm Bureau Board since 1994, Horcher has been active in legislative issues and was a key voice in convincing other members of the county Farm Bureau board to join the Illinois Farm Bureau's political action arm, Activator.
"Being a part of Activator
opened the door for us to recognize local legislators who have supported agriculture," Horcher
The Cook County farmer has participated in Farm Bureau's
leadership development programs, the Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) and ALOT II.Horcher
is more than willing to lobby for Farm Bureau
- as long as it is consistent with his
personal views."I agree with Farm Bureau's
purpose, but I don't always agree with the organization's views on some issues," Horcher
said."On those issues where I don't personally agree, I just don't bring them up when I'm lobbying."Horcher
believes Farm Bureau primary job is to "defend a farmer's right to farm" and he
is a defender of private property rights.He is also a member of Farm Bureau's Marketing Committee, which is charged with raising awareness of Farm Bureau and agriculture in Cook County.
In the midst of dealing with issues near to the heart for Horcher
makes time for his
wife, Stacey, and children, Patrick
also tries to make time to release the talents of his
has carved figures out of soap stone, weaved items, and constructed items from scrap wood and pieces of leather."I mostly do it to relax; to have fun," he
"My main goal is to encourage my kids to be creative," Horcher
said."I think it's good because it forces them to think about a subject."Having the experience of looking at things from the inside out has proven to be successful for Horcher
is willing to put forth the necessary effort to make a difference in areas where he
The wings of a butterfly are actually part of a headboard for a bed Pat
is making for his
holds up a wooden scorpion which he
made with the kids.