BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Getting the farm bill across the finish line before 2018 ends and getting ongoing trade issues solved rank as the top issues facing Illinois Farm Bureau members as they head to the polls Nov. 6.
“We’d much rather be selling soybeans and shipping them than storing them,” said Adam Nielsen, director of national legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
As farmers and rural residents whose livelihoods are connected to farming and agriculture prepare to head to the polls to vote on Nov. 6, Nielsen outlined the national issues that will be top of mind for many.
“Somebody who has been helpful on the farm bill or who will help is good, somebody who has committed to get one passed before the end of the year and remove one more bit of uncertainty that farmers face,” Nielsen said.
Illinois currently is represented on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee by Rodney Davis, D-13; Mike Bost, R-12; and Cheri Bustos, D-17.
Nielsen said he would urge ag voters to ask where their preferred candidates stand on the farm bill.
“As members of Congress are home, I think one of the questions that should be asked of them is what are you going to do to get this farm bill across the finish line?” Nielsen said.
When making decisions on issues and candidates, Nielsen said the Illinois Farm Bureau Friend of Agriculture award is a good place to start.
“Those are the people who have demonstrated they can get things done on our behalf,” said Nielsen.
As harvest finishes throughout the state and grain piles get bigger, Nielsen also highlighted trade as a vital ag voter issue.
Storage An Issue
“It’s frustrating when product isn’t moving and the basis is where it’s at, when it’s harvest and storage is an issue,” Nielsen said.
Where a candidate stands on trade and the newly-minted United States Canada Mexico Agreement is another important question for voters to ask.
“That’s another area of inquiry that members should feel free to explore with their member of Congress and the candidates. Where do you stand on trade? Are you going to be able to support the president’s USMCA?” said Nielsen, noting the agreement will preserve access for ag products to two of the U.S.’s largest markets — Canada and Mexico.
A candidate’s position on regulation, including environmental and transportation regulation is worth considering.
“Where a candidate or incumbent has stood on taxes is very important as is where they stand on regulations, those that affect ag producers like the WOTUS rule and trucking issues, like ELDs,” Nielsen said.
Statewide, ballots will include elections for governor and lieutenant governor, Illinois attorney general and members of the Illinois general assembly.