From inside the combine, I can almost set aside the year we’ve had. I can just about put out of my mind the chaos and uncertainty that seems to confront us on the news, in our local school board meetings, and as we plan a fast-approaching holiday season that will look different for most. Few things are the same as they were before 2020, except inside this cab.

We’ve faced some tough years, as did the generations before us. This one feels a bit more like a tipping point, though.

In June, the IFB Board held a special board meeting to start to sort through the ways in which our industry was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. And we kept meeting. All summer, time was set aside for important and strategic discussions in which we shared what we were hearing from you, the members, and heard from experts inside and outside of our organization.

To that end, we put together a Board Action Report to help guide board priorities as we head into this election and look toward 2021. This was a different approach to tackling priority issues, and we hope you’ll take the time to provide feedback and improve our plans going forward. We need your input to make this work.

The IFB Board articulated five priority initiatives that will be important no matter the outcome of this election. These are the areas we’ll focus on with the resources we have as food production and consumption patterns, and the supply chain itself, continues to remake itself in the coming months:

1. Build demand for Illinois crops and products by advocating for trade, market development, and research and education;

2. Support county Farm Bureaus, Illinois farmers and farm families through the COVID-19 pandemic and the depressed farm economy with necessary training and tools to remain engaged and supported;

3. Prepare for farm policy shifts by remaining a leader in the development of farm policy and by reflecting the goals and needs of IFB members in the short and long terms;

4. Advocate for the farmer role within the food supply chain by addressing concentration and disruption concerns while exploring options that make our farmers more resilient, including fair market value opportunities for farmers and enhanced profitability through specialty and value-added markets; and

5. Identify climate and conservation policies and programs that fairly compensate all Illinois farmers and rural Illinoisans.

So, now is your chance. You can read the full report on our website at { Report}. We’re collecting your feedback until Friday (Oct. 23).

Are there any additional initiatives you feel we should add to our list? Should any of these come off the list? Are there areas of IFB policy that need to be revisited before our annual meeting Dec. 5? What would you like more information about?

As always, we appreciate being asked to serve on your board, and we ask you to help us guide Farm Bureau into the future. Please contact your district director or leave your feedback on the IFB website at {}.

David Serven of St. Augustine serves as District 8 IFB director.