R.F.D. NEWS & VIEWS: Illinois Corn rep says farmers should embrace both parties

By Tim Alexander for Chronicle Media

Lindsay Mitchell, communications director for Illinois Corn, advises farmers to consider candidates on both sides of the political aisle in order to support those who best represent their family and business interests. (Illinois Corn photo)

This week’s offering of farm and rural news headlines is topped by words of wisdom from Illinois Corn’s Lindsay Mitchell as voters prepare to visit their polling places for the 2022 midterm elections. Please read on … and Vote!


Illinois Corn rep: Farmers should embrace both parties

BLOOMINGTON — As the midterm elections draw nearer, Illinois Corn communications director Lindsay Mitchell has a message for farm families: it can be contradictory to one’s best interests to identify too closely with one political party at the voting booth. Mitchell authored a recent blog (read it at www.ilcorn.org) that included an issue-by-issue assessment of how political parties and candidates line up on matters that are important to farmers and rural life. She advised readers that becoming more familiar with each individual issue, candidate and party platform can result in a more informed and beneficial farm vote. Mitchell, who has 20-plus years experience in agricultural communications, also added these personal observations:

“I might introduce myself as a wife or a mother. I might call myself a Christian in some circles or identify as a farm kid in others. I probably include my county of residence to some and to others that I’m a University of Illinois alum. But only recently have I considered a new identifier — political party,” Mitchell wrote to Illinois Corn members last week.

“There’s no secret here. Your political identity has become a new, important way to show others who you really are and what you stand for. If you say you’re a Republican, perhaps we assume that you’re worried about state and national debt, government overreach, and legal abortions. If you introduce yourself as a Democrat, you’re probably thinking about immigration, social programs, and gun control.

“But what if you’re a farmer? What if the thing you’re worried about is your business and your family legacy? What if you were a farmer first and a Republican or a Democrat second? Being a farmer first is going to make this political identity a bit trickier for you. Or, I should say, being a farmer first is going to make voting according to your political identity trickier. The thing is, if you’re voting as a farmer first, you’re voting for different candidates, right and left, because those candidates encourage agriculture and the business climate that supports agriculture.”

According to Mitchell, agriculture, and the policies that support a booming ag economy, don’t fall along party lines. “Farmer first voting isn’t right or left,” she said.


New tax credit available to agribusinesses

MORTON — In other news heading into next week’s election, the Pritzker administration announced last week that a new tax credit will be available to owners of agritourism businesses in Illinois. The Agritourism Liability Insurance Tax Credit program will allow entities or individuals who operate agritourism businesses in Illinois to apply for a tax credit equal to 100 percent of the liability insurance premiums paid by that individual or entity during the taxable year or $1,000, whichever is less.

Operators of agritourism businesses will be able to claim the credit on their 2022 tax returns, according to Kristi Jones, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, who joined pumpkin farmer and agritourism business owner John Ackerman and family at Ackerman Farms in Morton to announce the program on Oct. 27.

“Agritourism takes on a lot of risk and pays a high cost for liability insurance,” Jones told RFD News & Views. “It’s a risk that they are so cognizant of every day in their industry.”

Visit illinoisagritourismcredit.com for more information on the specifics of the program.


Analysts: Holiday dinner cost will be higher

BLOOMINGTON — Analysts are warning that tight supplies of both turkeys and hams will add more cost to your holiday dinner meals this year.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner and retailers are concerned that they may have to do with fewer turkeys,” according to one of last week’s CME Group Daily Livestock Reports. “Some 5.4 million turkeys were lost to bird flu in the spring and another 2.2 million birds have been destroyed since late August. Hams being the alternative, retailers are looking to have enough around.”

However, prices for ham could remain elevated, as USDA’s latest hogs and pigs report suggests hog slaughter could run about 1.5 percent lower in the fourth quarter compared to last year — while domestic and export demand continues to run high.

“Consumers have a choice of what to cook for Thanksgiving and Christmas, whether it’s the traditional turkey or ham,” said Daniel Bluntzer, market analyst with New Frontier Capital Markets. “Ham prices have been high for months but, relatively speaking, they’re not up as much year-over-year as turkey.”

The Illinois Farm Bureau noted that buying from local farmers is a good way for consumers to ensure the price, availability and quality of their holiday meat selection. (IFB news)


Report: Pure biodiesel effective at decarbonizing heavy-duty trucking

BLOOMINGTON — A study led by ADM confirmed what the Illinois Soybean Association had hoped to prove: using 100 percent biodiesel (B100) in new Vector System advanced fuel systems can effectively decarbonize heavy duty trucking. ADM, along with ISA, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, and others, completed an almost 1.3-million-mile field trial demonstrating the Optimus Vector System’s viability on Class 8 Mack tractor-trailers.

“Five B100 trucks were compared against a control group of five identical trucks that operated on ADM’s conventional diesel fuel, which is an 11 percent blend of biodiesel (B11). Both groups of trucks ran similar routes over like duty cycles and in the same conditions. Upon review of the data provided by the trial, the study confirmed the significant environmental and operational benefits of B100 as well as showcasing The Vector System’s ability to unlock these benefits for a new segment of heavy-duty transportation,” reported FleetNewsDaily.com.

Read more about the study at www.fleetnewsdaily.com.


Illinois Farm Fact:

“Agritourism operation” means an individual or entity that carries out agricultural activities on agricultural property and allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy those activities. (Illinois Department of Revenue)