IL FB Convention photo

NEW ORLEANS — Voting delegates at the 100th annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation addressed some of the Illinois Farm Bureau’s priority issues at the meeting Jan. 14, including submissions on trade, transportation and Health Savings Account reform.

Richard Guebert Jr., president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, joined AFBF President Zippy Duvall and other executive committee members in a breakfast with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. The discussion focused on ways to mitigate the effects of the government shutdown on farmers.

At the full meeting, delegates approved policy urging trade disputes to be resolved through negotiations, “using tariffs or withdrawals from trade agreements as a last resort,” Guebert said in a news release from the group.

Delegates approved language to support Health Savings Account (HSA) reform, including the following pieces: repeal caps on the annual maximum contribution, eliminate the high-deductible health plan mandate from HSA eligibility requirements, allow HSA funds to be used for health insurance premiums and lift restrictions placed on the use of HSA funds for over-the-counter medicines.

“We were also successful with the new policy opposing the creation of a federal vehicle mileage tax which would tax motorists based upon the number of miles driven,” Guebert said.

Delegates also approved Illinois’ policy submittal pertaining to the safety of farmers. This particular policy addressed efforts to enhance the 811 internet-based location service to accommodate whole field utility location services, using whole boundaries.

And finally, Illinois delegates called on the AFBF Board of Directors to develop a national legal advocacy strategy that actively addresses legal or regulatory actions taken by governments, groups or third parties that impact members’ private property rights and production agriculture.

President Donald Trump came to the meeting and spoke to convention attendees.

“The president called attention to passage of the 2018 farm bill, regulatory reform such as the Clean Water Rule proposal and tax reform. He wants to get USMCA passed and wants an agreement with China to help farmers in the long run,” Guebert, who was re-elected to a two year term on the AFBF board, said.