Rauner cites ag issues addressed, more in need of action

Governor offers examples to strengthen the industry's presence in Illinois during address to IFB voting delegates.

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Gov. Bruce Rauner addresses the nearly 350 voting delegates participating in the business session at the IFB Annual Meeting on Monday.

By Jeff Brown

Gov. Bruce Rauner reaffirmed his support for Illinois farmers and the state’s agriculture industry Monday in addressing Illinois Farm Bureau delegates at the organization’s Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“Our farm families are the backbone of Illinois’ economy, and their success is Illinois’ success,” Rauner told reporters after his address to IFB voting delegates. “We need to do everything we can to support our farm families, help them grow their businesses and help all agriculture businesses across the state of Illinois.”

Rauner cited several examples of this support, including his declaration of the harvest season emergency this fall, which helped farmers transport corn and soybean crops by allowing them to temporarily exceed normal truck weight limits with proper state and local permits. The governor said 2017 marked the first time an Illinois governor has activated that declaration.

He also mentioned a recent announcement by Canadian ag-equipment company Brandt. The company plans to open a manufacturing plant in McLean County, its first facility outside of Canada. Rauner said the plant will employ at least 300 factory workers, engineers and sales staff, with potential for as many as 500 jobs.

“I want us to be the headquarters of the world for agriculture products and food, and agriculture equipment and manufacturing,” Rauner said.

Related: Click here for more from the IFB Annual Meeting.

The governor hopes to loosen licensing requirements for people who want to become agriculture teachers and help make a dent in the large number of vacant ag education positions at Illinois high schools.

And he talked about efforts to continue repairing the Coliseum and other parts of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, hinting at a future announcement of significant private financing to repair facilities that “have been neglected for decades.”

Over 1,900 Illinois farmers and others registered to participate in the IFB Annual Meeting. Rauner addressed the nearly 350 voting delegates participating in its business session.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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