Renewable energy headlines Illinois Farm Bureau delegate debate

Renewable energy policies took up much of the debate during the delegate session of the 2022 Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago today.

Executive Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Gebhards says when it comes to renewable energy, the organization is focused on finding the balance around private property rights.

“Protection of those private property rights is the core principle of our policy book, so how we go forward and try to find the balance, how we define what these renewable energy projects really are and how they affect our landowners was a focus of a lot of that debate.”

Speaking to reporters after the session, Gebhards said environmental social governance was another hot topic, with members in opposition to the Security and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule for corporations to report emissions. He says that rule includes the entire supply chain for each corporation and would trickle down to the farmer.  

“So the delegates added some language that says we do not want to see ESG (environmental social governance) scores in farm policy in 2023 or in debate of the farm bill.”  

Food access, organic standards, transportation and dairy marketing programs were also debated.

Gebhards says while they have not yet determined which submittals will be forwarded to the American Farm Bureau Federation for consideration, he expects the number to be fewer this year, and some will likely be centered around renewable energy.

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