Staff of eight Illinois Congressmen and women will travel throughout Illinois this week learning about agriculture. During the Congressional Staff Tour, sponsored by Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board, and GROWMARK, staffers also get to build relationships with Illinois agriculture staff and each other that help our Congressional Delegation work together more seamlessly on agricultural issues.
An annual event, the August 14-16, 2013 tour focuses on regulations and the impact of the implementation of changing laws and regulations enacted by Congress.
Visits to the Indian Creek watershed, a Saunemin, IL hog farm, and dinner at a local corn farm will help the staffers understand the potential impacts of regulations on small family farmers. Livestock farms now face strict and burdensome regulations that can change the entire nature of the industry. Grain farmers are worried about new laws in the Chesapeake Bay area to regulate water quality and are trying to proactively address nutrient runoff in Illinois before similar laws are enacted here.
The Congressional staff will also learn about transportation in Illinois during visits to a rail loadout facility in Kankakee, a GROWMARK river terminal in Seneca, and a lock tour in Utica.
Updates to Illinois infrastructure will continue to make the Midwest one of the most competitive grain producers in the world. Congressional staffers will carry that message to their bosses on the hill.
In past years, the tour has proven not only to be an educational opportunity but also a relationship building opportunity as well. During a time in Washington, DC where politics do not often cross party lines, the staffers welcome the chance to leave Washington and discuss issues together to the benefit of their state rather than their party.
Watch IL Corn’s Facebook page for photos of the tour as it occurs!