AFBF delegates approve all IFB policy submittals


All of Illinois Farm Bureau’s policy submittals at the American Farm Bureau Federation delegate session were approved — a testament to the time and effort put into the proposals at the county and state levels. 

About a dozen resolutions were brought forth by IFB, which was represented by 19 voting delegates Jan. 23 at the AFBF Annual Convention in Salt Lake City. 

IFB President Brian Duncan called the effort a “huge win.” Illinois’ policy covered everything from carbon scoring to loan provisions for young farmers to food access. 

In the carbon scoring arena, an IFB-requested policy supporting using the Greenhouse Gasses, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model for scoring the carbon intensity of biofuels made from inputs like soybean oil or corn grade ethanol was approved. 

Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Argonne National Laboratory, the GREET model is the aviation and biofuel industries’ favored model for lifecycle greenhouse gas calculations of transportation fuel like Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

Last month, the Biden administration issued the framework for awarding tax incentives around SAF, one that will incorporate GREET. But updates required for agricultural commodities to qualify as SAF feedstocks under that model won’t be released until March 1. 

Duncan also was excited the AFBF delegates supported young farmers by approving IFB’s policy language on farm credit policy that supports improvements in all USDA loan programs that include an option to have six-month pre-approval for a loan and recognizing escalating land and equipment costs when determining the program’s loan cap. 

“I’m just so proud of our Young Leaders,” Duncan told FarmWeek. “They came up with a policy; it is grassroots at work. And it is now an AFBF policy about USDA loan programs and how to make them more functional for our young farmers, and it’s a big win for young farmers.” 

AFBF delegates also approved a number of IFB’s proposals falling under the umbrella of food access, safety and waste, supporting ways to turn non-consumed food into a resource through composting and reducing the regulatory constraints for on-farm materials, urban food scraps and processing facilities. 

This includes support of on-farm composting, streamlining and simplifying the permitting process for compost facilities and a separate permitting pathway for anerobic digestion of source-separated food waste that includes requirements similar to those imposed on composting source-separated food waste. 

Included in the approved food waste policy language is support for strengthening liability protection for food donors and rescue organizations and incentivizing farmers to donate surplus crops and offsetting the costs associated with the donation. 

Another approved IFB submittal supports ethanol and fertilizer plants converting carbon dioxide into green methanol products. Green methanol is produced from low-carbon sources, can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and be used not only as a transportation fuel but also as a feedstock. 

“I think the fact that most of our issues weren’t hardly discussed or debated shows the quality of those submittals at the very base of that process,” said IFB Vice President Evan Hultine. “A lot of work and time and effort and thought went into those at the county level, and it makes for a stronger process, and then an easy lift to get them to the national level.” 

Outside of the delegate session, which included 346 delegates from around the country, Duncan and Hultine both complimented the work of the IFB Young Leaders who were competing in the Young Farmers & Ranchers competitions, including Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture and Discussion Meet. 

Megan Dwyer of Henry County and Clay and Alyssa Abbott of Kankakee County came in fourth place in the Excellence in Agriculture and Achievement Award competitions, respectively. And Austin Granby of Grundy County advanced to the Sweet 16 round of Discussion Meet. 

Hultine, who won third place in the Achievement Award contest last year at AFBF, called Young Leaders a “powerful program.” 

“A lot of people throw a lot of support behind these programs across the country,” he told FarmWeek. “So, for our competitors to come in fourth and in Sweet 16 in the nation, they’re beating out a lot of quality, intelligent, talented people. I couldn’t be more proud of them. They’re friends of mine all across the board, and we’ve been through Young Leaders and many industry things. So to see them get this success is really, really special and I’m just really happy for them.” 

Duncan, who also was previously involved in the Young Leaders program and competed in Discussion Meet, said IFB’s representatives did a phenomenal job at the national level. 

“It was months of preparation, months of work, and they should really be commended,” he said. “How they represented Illinois, how they represented their counties, how they represented themselves here was really something that I think not just Illinois took note of, but the whole delegation.” 


Illinois Farm Bureau policy submittals approved at AFBF 

Food access, quality and waste 

  • Strengthening liability protection for food donors and rescue organizations. 

  • Expansion of tax deductions or credits for food donors to offset the costs associated with food donation. 

  • Incentivizing farmers to donate surplus crops and offset the costs associated with the donation. 

  • USDA and the Food and Drug Administration clarifying food safety donation regulations, for pre-cooked and pre-packaged food items. 

  • The use of composted materials on farms, gardens, and in landscaping operations. 

  • Updating USDA’s definition of compost so that a greater number of potentials buyers are encouraged to purchase compost. 

  • Streamlining and simplifying the permitting process for compost facilities. 

  • Food Permitting exemptions for small-scale and/or community composting operations. 

  • Reducing barriers to entry for composting source-separated organics. 

  • A separate permitting pathway for anaerobic digestion of source-separated food waste that includes requirements similar to those imposed on composting source-separated food waste. 

Energy/renewable fuels/climate 

  • Ethanol and fertilizer plants converting CO2 into green methanol products. 

  • The use of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model for carbon intensity scoring for agricultural biofuel feedstocks. 

  • Research into methods of reducing the amount of CO2, methane, and other ag-related sources of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere that does not involve transporting or storing these gases beneath agricultural land. 

Agricultural credit 

  • Support improvements to all USDA loan programs that: 

  • Include an option to have six-month pre-approval for a loan. 

  • Recognize escalating land and equipment costs when determining the program’s loan cap. 

  • Help producers complete the loan application. 

  • Promote loan programs through podcasts, trainings, and seminars. 

  • Review requirements to graduate a loan for beginning farmers. 


  • A market-oriented system of healthcare and delivery. 

  • Livestock producers voluntarily developing biosecurity protocols for their operations. 

  • Programs, grants and legislative efforts to improve direct-to-consumer market opportunities for specialty crops. 

  • Transparency in the use of federal tax incentives for domestically produced biodiesel, renewable biodiesel and second-generation biofuel and for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property. 

  • Extending the IRS tax code Section 45Z beyond 2027. 

  • Federal incentives for active forest management of privately owned forests and woodlands. 

  • Oppose efforts to designate any national forest as a national park and climate preserve. 


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