Renewable energy standards the hot topic during Illinois Farm Bureau policy discussion
Illinois Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Affairs says renewable energy issues debated during the group’s annual policy discussion will have the biggest impact on farmers next year.
Mark Gebhards says delegates spent a lot of time deciding their position on the development of statewide standards for renewable energy like solar and wind.
“We talked about the livestock industry and the Livestock Management Facilities Act and how that may or may not be impacted if you start advocating for local control versus statewide standards.”
He says this will be an ongoing discussion and it is important to find the best balance for farmers.
“The message I heard from the delegate body today is we need sort of an overall umbrella of statewide standards, but our counties and local government entities do want to have the ability to protect their respective areas as much as possible.”
He says it has been hard to communicate with the General Assembly on this issue and he is unsure how much legislation on this topic will move next spring considering a shortened session due to the early primary election in June.
Gebhards says delegates expressed the need to partner with Soil and Water Conservation Districts, other ag entities, and local governments to educate the position of agriculture in this space and preserve Illinois farmland.
Gebhards spoke during a press conference Monday closing out the 2021 IFB Annual Meeting in Chicago.