By Kay Shipman
Eighteen county Farm Bureau presidents discussed pressing issues Thursday, advancing Illinois Farm Bureau’s policy process when the Resolutions Committee met in Bloomington.
Unlike previous years, the Natural Resources, State and Local Government, and Agricultural Production and National Issues subcommittees met briefly in earlier conference calls to elect chairmen and vice chairmen without reviewing policy proposals. The Resolutions Committee debated and voted on submittals in a daylong meeting in Bloomington.
“There’s no more important meeting,” IFB Vice President Brian Duncan told committee members seated at tables 6 feet apart. “This is where the grassroots speak … establishes priorities and gives the board directions on how to execute them.” Duncan chairs the Resolutions Committee.
IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. echoed Duncan’s sentiments: “Since the pandemic hit, agriculture has been turned upside down … We have a lot on our plate.”
State government ethics surfaced in a Cook County Farm Bureau proposal to prohibit state legislators from concurrently serving as an elected official and a paid lobbyist. Kevin Semlow, IFB director of state legislation, explained Illinois law allows current state legislators to be hired to lobby units of local governments on behalf of entities. The Resolutions Committee voted to forward the policy proposal to IFB Annual Meeting delegates.
“We (committee members) all agreed that situation was a conflict of interest,” State and Local Government Subcommittee Chairman Leon McClerren of Franklin County said, adding, “I didn’t think that would be allowed.”
Resolutions Committee members discussed crop insurance/grain storage issues related to a LaSalle County Farm Bureau proposal. The committee forwarded the proposal to support a crop insurance program that more closely matches the Risk Management Agency (RMA) moisture shrink, test weight and kernel damage discount schedules to actual grain industry discount schedules.
Agricultural Production and National Issues Subcommittee Chairman Keith Mussman of Kankakee County said numerical differences between an elevator and crop insurance are an issue. “The RMA uses a different scale,” Mussman said. “There can be a discrepancy between what you get paid for (by an elevator) and the RMA numbers. LaSalle County is interested in Farm Bureau looking into it for consistency.”
Committee members discussed at length an Adams County pesticide proposal and a similar one from Sangamon County. They voted to forward a proposal supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s policy that allows the expeditious use of existing stocks of pesticide products whose registrations have been amended, canceled or suspended.
This year, a pesticide situation “caught everyone off guard,” said Natural Resources Subcommittee Chairman Joe White of Kane County. “This policy is going to help our members down the road.”
Subcommittee vice chairmen include Keith Poole, Ogle County, State and Local Government; Dennis Smith, Vermilion County, Agricultural Production and National Issues; and Dave Isermann, LaSalle County, Natural Resources.
Mussman and McClerren noted the resolutions procedure is working differently, but committee members still debated, discussed and worked for the organization. “We’re going to get the business done and a good product forwarded to annual meeting. There was a lot of good conversation,” McClerren concluded.
The Resolutions Committee will return Nov. 4 to consider additional proposals and those held for additional discussion.
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.