Issues of Concern to Agriculture are Many and Ongoing
We continue to monitor the impact of the ever increasing Drought of 2012 at the State level. This will be one for the record books, which will have a negative effect on many in the Agriculture Industry. One of our many concerns is how the livestock industry will handle the higher feed costs and the call of some to question the corn base ethanol mandates set in the renewable fuel standards. It’s vital that we are careful in handling this, and not make a knee jerk reaction that could cost us markets overseas, and hurt our renewable fuels industry. We must continue to reassure consumers that the majority of food items will have a negligible price increase due to the drought.
In regards to the need to be relevant and engaged in the issues that are driving our organization and industry, we analyzed how effective our current programs are. As part of an effort for our organization to adapt to the changing dynamics and look ahead to the issues we need to be prepared to address, the State IFB board approved the establishment of SWAT—Strength With Advisory Teams. These new issue advisory teams will replace the current structure for our GrassRoots Issue Teams (commonly referred to as GRITs). Utilizing the strengths of GRITs and addressing some of the challenges, these new teams will help strengthen the county Farm Bureaus and the organization with well-informed members who will commit to serve for a longer period of time, become experts on priority issues, and help guide the board on the rapid changes and challenges facing agriculture.
We are working on the final details for the new teams and anticipate providing information to the county Farm Bureaus in the next few weeks. The application process will begin September 15 (and conclude in December) in preparation for the 2013 teams. We have had many from Champaign County participate in GRIT’s and my hope is that we receive many applications for our new SWAT.
I continue to be amazed of the involvement of our membership in Champaign County. It is truly an honor and privilege to represent Champaign County along with Douglas, Edgar and Vermilion counties at the State level.