Doug Schroeder, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) chairman, highlighted good days for Illinois agriculture plus challenges for the year ahead during ISG’s annual meeting.
“Passing USMCA (United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement) was a good day for Illinois agriculture, and a good return on Illinois soybean growers’ dollar,” Schroeder said. He went on to elaborate how USMCA provides certainty for agricultural trade.
Schroeder also recalled being reached out to by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., after she voted in favor of the USMCA. “She wanted us (ISG) to know as an organization how we had impressed upon her the passage of USMCA,” Schroeder noted.
In December 2019, the biodiesel tax credit received a five-year extension. “Passing the biodiesel tax credit was a good day for Illinois agriculture, and it was a good return on the Illinois soybean growers’ dollar.”
Schroeder noted a challenge ahead will be moving from B11 biodiesel blends to B20 in Illinois. “Nationally, the Renewable Fuel Standard Volume obligation is set to expire in 2023; this is going to be a big challenge.” Since 2013, 300 million gallons of 100% biodiesel were not blended due to Small Refinery Exemptions.
While listening to presidential candidates debate, Schroeder noticed the prevalence of climate change. “Where do you think they’re going to turn to to get the answer on how to fix this?” Schroeder noted. “We (farmers) have to be ready to tell our story. We have to be ready to define the problem and orchestrate a solution or someone else will orchestrate that for us.”
With challenges for agriculture ahead, ISG is looking to not only their 1,000 members, but the 43,000 soybean growers in Illinois. “We need all hands on deck here,” Schroeder said. “I’m honestly excited about where this organization is headed, and I truly believe our best days are ahead of us.”