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Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

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McLean County Farm Bureau board members Pat Bane, J.C. Zimmerman, Carl Neubauer, Mark Hines, Scott Hoeft & Fred Grieder participated in the policy resolution process as delegates at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting.

Delegates to the 101st Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting participated in one of the organization’s longest-lasting traditions: grassroots, member-driven decision making to set the organization’s policy for the coming year.

The delegate body took action on a couple of sense of the delegate body resolutions, including one that calls on the Illinois General Assembly, governor and legislative leaders to get a state budget completed for fiscal year 2016.

“We know that Soil and Water Conservation Districts, University of Illinois Extension Service, and county fairs have all felt the negative impacts of not having a budget in place,”  said Mark Gebhards, director, Governmental Affairs and Commodities, IFB. “The delegate body simply wanted to send a message — a strong message — to get this budget done as soon as possible and that certainly was conveyed through that sense of the delegate body resolution.”

Delegates also focused their energy on several important resolutions, including property rights, renewable fuels, local government, transportation and nutrient management.

“Property rights have been one of the core principles that the IFB has included in the policy book for many, many years,” Gebhards said. “And it’s important now because of the multitude of utility projects either underway or proposed in the state of Illinois. The resolution focused on making sure that the Illinois Department of Agriculture has the enforcing ability that it needs to enforce the ag mitigation agreements that the companies would enter into and the Illinois Department of Agriculture would enforce on behalf of the landowners.”

Delegates also discussed the need to ensure markets for their products, especially given the current commodity prices.

“There was some emphasis placed on the renewable fuels industry,” Gebhards said. “The delegates were interested in making sure that IFB looks for all opportunities to use renewable fuels, whether that means flex fuel vehicles, or various state agencies and federal agencies using that renewable fuel as part of their day-to-day operation.”

Delegates also debated the need for a reduction in units of local government, funding for transportation and infrastructure, and the need to follow the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.

To finish the delegate business, the delegates reelected President Richard Guebert, Jr., of Ellis Grove, and Vice President David Erickson, of Altona.

Delegates also confirmed the election of four new members of the IFB Board of Directors.

  • Michele Aavang of McHenry County, District 1
  • Jeff Kirwan, Mercer County, District 3
  • Tamara D. Halterman, Grundy County, District 5
  • Troy Uphoff, Shelby County, District 11.
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