Illinois Farm Groups Request Funding to Safeguard Illinois’ Livestock
Last week, leadership from four Illinois commodity groups and Illinois Farm Bureau worked to increase the Illinois State budget request by $750,000 from the General Assembly’s FY23 budget toward the IL Dept of Agriculture (IDOA). These funds would be used to provide additional field veterinarians and proactive foreign animal disease prevention measures necessary to protect Illinois agriculture in the event of looming foreign animal disease outbreaks.
“With the recent announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirming the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a small backyard flock in Mclean County, the need for these funds is immediate,” says Illinois Pork Producer Association’s Executive Director, Jennifer Tirey. “This recent outbreak proves that a foreign animal disease does not discriminate based on the size of a livestock farm. The devastation could impact the smallest backyard hobby farms, farmers that sell their product at a farmers’ market, small meat processors or our larger producers. We’re also concerned about the potential of an African Swine Fever outbreak in Illinois swine herds. The impact of any of these animal disease outbreaks to Illinois agriculture would be detrimental and being underprepared would only worsen the impact.”
Today, IDOA only has one field veterinarian on staff to serve the entire state of Illinois. Adding veterinarians could mean regionally-defined service areas, even allowing field staff to support vet work on specific species-related issues.
“We hope the collaborative response from our five groups will empower our request,” says Tirey. “We are incredibly grateful to the legislators who stand for the best interests of Illinois agriculture and Illinois farmers.”
Adds Josh St. Peters, Executive Vice President, Illinois Beef Association, “Earlier this winter the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) expressed this issue as a concern to our organizations and we are happy to see the funding secured and look forward to working with the department to protect the ag industry from potential foreign animal disease outbreaks,” he says. “Director Costello, IDOA leadership, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Patrick Joyce (D-Essex), Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) are greatly appreciated by the Illinois ag community for their partnership.”
The Illinois Beef Association (IBA) is a 2,500-member trade association representing every segment of the beef industry in Illinois; also acting as Illinois' qualified state beef council using Beef Checkoff dollars to drive beef demand.
Illinois Corn Growers Association is a state-based organization that represents the interests of corn farmers in Illinois, maintaining a high profile on issues in Washington, DC, and Springfield, IL. Through grassroots advocacy, ICGA creates a future for Illinois farmers in which they can operate freely, responsibly, and successfully. In order to fulfill this mission, the organization conducts governmental affairs activities at all levels, market development projects, and educational and member service programs. For further information regarding their work and involvement, visit their website www.ilcorn.org.
The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) represents more than 1,700 pork producers throughout Illinois and the Illinois pork industry, which contributes more than $1.8 billion and more than 10,500 jobs to the state’s economy. IPPA is comprised of county pork producer groups in approximately 20 counties throughout Illinois. IPPA is an affiliate of the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org and www.ilsoygrowers.com.