IFB leaders head to DC to advocate for Illinois ag

Delegates from the Illinois Farm Bureau Leaders to Washington trip hear updates on proposed regulations to the livestock industry from RJ Layer, American Farm Bureau Federation's director of government affairs for livestock. (Photo by Timothy Eggert)

Thirteen Illinois Farm Bureau members are navigating the seat of the federal government this week to advocate for ag issues. 

The three-day visit is part of IFB's Leaders to Washington program and dovetails with a similar trip nine IFB members took to the capitol this March. This week's visit will include meetings with members of Illinois' congressional delegation and industry representatives. 

Adam Nielsen, IFB director of national legislation and policy development, said the trip is a valuable opportunity for members to meet directly with their elected officials and share firsthand accounts of how federal policy impacts their farms and businesses. 

"There's no question our members are engaged with these issues daily," Nielsen said. "They see what policies work and what doesn't. This is their opportunity to have that conversation."

Most of the conversation this trip is taking place face-to-face with the relaxing of COVID-19 protocols, a feature participants of the spring trip ran into as they met with officials. 

The near full return to in-person meetings means members have the best chance to share their story, Nielsen said. 

"When IFB members tell their story in a way that is memorable, they maximize their influence with their elected officials," Nielsen said. 

On Tuesday, the IFB delegates received updates on environmental issues, economic and regulatory shifts in the livestock industry and proposed changes to national ag policy from American Farm Bureau Federation staff. 

The group will head to Capitol Hill Wednesday to talk with legislators and staff about topics facing Illinois farmers and landowners, including record-high input prices and supply chain issues. Priorities for the 2023 farm bill are also likely to be shared with policymakers. 

Participants include: Ryan Bailey, Richland County; Mike Book, Lee; Scott Brummel, Kendall-Grundy; Anna Ditchfield, LaSalle; Austin Flamm, Union; Leeson Gord, DeKalb; Jenny Hanks, Macoupin; Sarah Hoerner, Livingston; Robert Klemm, IFB District 11 director, DeWitt; Jacob Miller, Clark; Nowell Moore, Woodford; Roy Plote, DeKalb and Craig Thompson, McLean. 

Follow the group's trip this week on Twitter @FarmWeekNow and @TimothyMEggert.