Illinois Farm Bureau proposals help shape national policy

Trade, transportation, health care among issues addressed at AFBF meeting.

IFB President Richard Guebert Jr., front, was among 21 farmers representing Illinois at AFBF's 100th Annual Convention. 

Voting delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Meeting, including 21 delegates from Illinois, addressed Illinois Farm Bureau’s priority issues, such as submittals on trade, transportation, legal advocacy and health savings account (HSA) reform.

“Our delegates were instrumental in promoting and debating several key policy resolutions to promote and protect the interests of Illinois Farm Bureau members,” said IFB President Richard Guebert, Jr.

Delegates approved language to support HSA reform, including: 

- Repealing caps on the annual maximum contribution.

- Eliminating the high-deductible health plan mandate from HSA eligibility requirements.

- Allowing HSA funds to be used for health insurance premiums.

- Lifting restrictions placed on the use of HSA funds for over-the-counter medicines.

“We were also successful on the new policy opposing the creation of a federal vehicle mileage tax (VMT), which would tax motorists based upon the number of miles driven,” said Guebert.

Delegates also approved Illinois’ policy submittal pertaining to farmers’ safety. This policy addressed efforts to enhance the 8-1-1 internet-based location service to accommodate whole-field utility location services, using whole boundaries.

And Illinois delegates called on the AFBF Board of Directors to develop a national legal advocacy strategy that actively addresses legal or regulatory actions taken by governments, groups or third parties that impact members’ private property rights and production agriculture.

Guebert joined AFBF President Zippy Duvall and other executive committee members in a breakfast Monday with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. They discussed ways to mitigate the effects the government shutdown could have on farmers.

Delegates approved a Sense of the Delegate Body resolution that urges the administration and Congress to work earnestly and cooperatively to reopen the government as soon as possible.

Guebert was re-elected for a two-year term on the AFBF board, representing the Midwest region.

Video: Following the end of Tuesday's business meeting, AFBF's 100th, Duvall talked about the organization's mission.