Guebert: New governor, General Assembly raise importance of IFB member engagement

GALC conference provides opportunity for creating connections between farmers, lawmakers.

IFB President Richard Guebert Jr., center, a farmer from Ellis Grove, helped kick off the IFB Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference in Springfield Tuesday during the “RFD Today” radio show aired on approximately 30 radio stations across the state. Show host DeLoss Jahnke, left, also posed questions during the show to Mark Gebhards, right, executive director of IFB governmental affairs & commodities. (Photo by Jeff Brown)

By Jim Taylor

It’s all about building relationships with a new governor and General Assembly seated in Springfield. Illinois Farm Bureau is putting the wheels in motion this week with the Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference (GALC), and one of the items being promoted is the organization’s Adopt-A-Legislator® program.

“We’ve talked for years about the relationships we’ve built with our legislators,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. “The Adopt-A-Legislator program has been a very unique program in the state of Illinois, and a number of other states have tried to mirror what we have here.”

He said much of the credit goes to the county Farm Bureaus across the state for facilitating the program. 

Many of the visits involve urban legislators seeing farming and agriculture up close and personal. That could involve touring a livestock facility or watching the operation of a combine during harvest.

“On the flip side, they take time out of their farming operations to go to that legislator’s specific district and walk the streets and build those relationships within those respective districts,” Guebert said.

More than 400 farmers from across the state attended GALC on Tuesday, taking in sessions on a variety of topics such as trade, industrial hemp, mental health and more.

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