PONTIAC – Members of the Livingston County Corn Growers Association received a legislative update at both the state and federal level this week during the organization’s annual meeting.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of the 16th congressional district described 2017 as a good year, despite the failure of trying to replace a healthcare law.
“We were disappointed by that,” Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger pointed to a rebounding economy and fewer regulations under the Trump Administration. For every new regulation, the president has repealed 22 of them. Kinzinger said the government is letting farmers and small businesses create their own future. He also believes tax reform has been a massive success.
“Now we have a lot of challenges going forward.”
Kinzinger wants to see leaders address the issue of poverty, saying individuals were created to work. He feels some don’t have that opportunity and need to be shown that there is a possibility for good, high-paying jobs.
With farm bill talks well underway, Kinzinger urges farmers to regularly communicate their feelings with lawmakers. Some of the top priorities of the farm bill include preserving crop insurance and maintaining funding for conservation programs.
When it comes to trade, Kinzinger admits he does worry about a trade war but believes the president is using the strong American economy to give us free trade.
State Rep. Tom Bennett of the 106th district also provided an update to those attending the LCCGA meeting. Illinois lawmakers will be back in session April 9 and will be there through the end of May. According to Bennett, legislators will have five working days to get bills out of committees to put on the House floor for discussion.
“We’ll see where all of this goes to,” Bennett said. “Come November, you’ll probably have the most expensive governor’s race you’ve had in Illinois.”
Bennett believes if a Democrat is elected governor in this fall’s General Election, Republicans will have little say on how legislative maps can be drawn.
“The election year is going to have a big impact on what bills get passed.”
The association presented awards to Dennis Haab and Dan Faber at the start of the meeting. Haab received the distinguished service honor for his work with the Livingston County Farm Bureau and local agriculture over the years.
“His wealth of knowledge continues to be a huge asset,” said current Livingston County Farm Bureau president Jason Bunting.
Faber was given the ag educator award. He is a retired ag teacher and FFA advisor with a long career at Flanagan. Faber earned an agriculture education degree from Illinois State in 1975 and started his teaching career at Olympia. He later accepted the position in Flanagan and spent 39 years in the profession.
“I don’t think there’s a county in the state that supports the ag program like Livingston County does,” Faber stated.
Prior to holding officer elections, the association heard an update from president Kent Blunier who reported on the second yield tour conducted last summer and a “Flick on the Farm” event aimed at exposing city residents to country life.