A Publication of WTVP

The Illinois Farm Bureau’s 87th annual meeting took place December 2 to 5 at the Adams Mark Hotel in St. Louis. There were 366 delegates at the meeting to vote on policy of the farm organization. Peoria County was represented by five farmer delegates. A total of 25 members from Peoria County attended.

Ron Warfield of Gibson City in Ford County was re-elected president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Warfield will be serving his fifth two-year term. Phillip Nelson of Seneca in LaSalle County was re-elected as IFB vice-president. He begins his second two-year term.

Farm Bureau is a "grassroots" organization—the policy of the organization is instigated by individual farmer members. If a specific member wants to delete, change, or add a policy, it can be written in the form of a resolution. The resolution is submitted to the Illinois Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee, made up of 18 county farm bureau presidents from throughout the state. This committee is on a rotational basis, and the members change each year. Ted Harding, president of the Peoria County Farm Bureau, served on this committee during 2001.

If a resolution passes through this committee, it is forwarded to the IFB annual meeting, where the 366 delegates vote on it. Resolutions passed at the IFB annual meeting can also be taken to the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in January where they are voted on by farmers throughout the United States.

Some of the resolutions discussed by delegates at the 2001 IFB meeting dealt with global currency relationships, grain code policy, property damage and trespass by recreational vehicles, crop insurance, water quality, soil conservation, and out-of-state hunting permits.

Concerns a strong dollar is weakening U.S. trade spurred delegates to seek scrutiny of global currency relationships. When the U.S. dollar strengthens, U.S. products become more expensive for foreign buyers and U.S. exports slow. Delegates approved trade policy urging increased farmer and government education on the impact of international monetary exchange rates and currency values on ag trade and farm bill spending.

Delegates also revamped Farm Bureau’s grain code policy. This comes as a precursor to the Ty-Walk Liquid Sales Inc. aftermath. Ty-Walk operated grain storage facilities in northeastern Illinois, but this past Summer—with 7 million bushels of corn and several thousand bushels of soybeans missing from their inventory—declared bankruptcy and had to surrender their grain dealer’s and warehouse license to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The state grain insurance fund has a balance of $4.8 million, which isn’t nearly enough to cover the unaccounted for grain. A total of 349 cases have been filed. The Ty-Walk bankruptcy could be financially detrimental to several farmers that did business with Ty-Walk. Delegates debated whether the grain industry alone should bear the cost of raising the grain insurance fund balance or if farmers also should contribute. IBI