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View from the Cab: Watching the issues

By: Kent Casson

WOTUS, a new farm bill and trade are just a few of the topics leaders in the ag industry are keeping a close eye on as we roll through 2023.

Adam Nielsen, director of National Legislation and Policy Development with Illinois Farm Bureau, addressed the recent Agronomy Day meeting hosted by the Livingston County Farm Bureau. He reported Senator Dick Durbin joined the Ag Committee, serving on a couple of subcommittees.

“It is good to have someone from Illinois on the Senate Agriculture Committee,” said Nielsen.

Senator Tammy Duckworth was re-elected to the Senate serving on the Environmental and Public Works Committee. Nielsen says Farm Bureau has worked with Duckworth since she was a representative in the suburbs.

“She’ll be an important player in this Congress as well.”

Nielsen called WOTUS, or the Waters of the United States rule, regulatory overreach which basically tells people how to farm. He refers to it as a “thorn in our side.”

Those attending Agronomy Day also learned total direct government payments to farmers are expected to decline in 2023, something Nielsen says agriculture will have to react to if it hasn’t already. We will likely get back to a normal situation where if a farmer has a bad crop year, crop insurance payments will kick in.

“It’ll be interesting to see if the input side of the equation adjusts,” added Nielsen.

A new farm bill is becoming more important with ad-hoc disaster assistance going away. Nielsen doesn’t foresee many changes in policy as a new bill is drafted with the 2018 farm bill in place now. Farm Bureau will be reviewing policies and making specific recommendations.

The farm bill must happen in 2023 since there could be problems if it ends up being pushed into 2024.

Nielsen also covered the renewable fuels industry which still has a large impact on Illinois agriculture.

“This administration does seem to be friendly to ethanol and biodiesel,” explained Nielsen.

The biggest issue on the trade front currently is the GMO corn situation with Mexico. Nielsen feels we have plenty of leverage in many ways.

“Pressure can be put on them to back down from that.”

This is something to watch as plenty of corn goes to Mexico.


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