He arrived mid-morning at the general delegate session of the
Illinois Farm Bureau’s four-day annual meeting, which concludes
Tuesday, Dec. 5. The governor commended the bureau’s work on
nutrient loss strategy, congratulated members on the
organization’s recent centennial and talked about a task force
formed to address a shortage in agriculture education, among
“Thanks for advocating for our farm families. Farm families are
what America is all about – faith, family, hard work, love of
God, love of country, giving back to the community,” Rauner
said. “I’m all for you. Your success is Illinois’ success.”
Illinois is home to 72,200 farms on 27 million acres. Marketing
of Illinois’ agricultural commodities generates more than $19
billion annually, with corn accounting for 54 percent of that
total. Illinois’ food and fiber industry employs nearly 1
million people. The state ranks third nationally in the export
of agricultural commodities, with $8.2 billion worth of goods
shipped to other countries, according to the Illinois Department
The governor said he was honored to assist Illinois’ agriculture
community by signing a harvest emergency Nov. 5 for the first
time in state history. Under a new law Rauner signed Aug. 11,
the declaration permits drivers of trucks carrying agricultural
commodities over state highways to obtain a free permit to
exceed gross vehicle weight limits by 10 percent. More than
1,500 permits have been issued since the declaration.
The emergency provision is in effect through mid-December and
was enacted to help speed crop transport after weather-related
delays affected planting and harvest during the 2017 season.
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Rauner also told the gathering he is committed to
renovating and reopening the State Fair’s Coliseum. The popular,
historic structure first opened in 1901 and was the location of
horse shows and other livestock competitions.
He also talked about job creation, in agriculture and
in all sectors.
“You watch me,” Rauner said. “I will bring companies here on a
massive scale once we’re freed up and we’re competitive in our
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. thanked the
governor for his remarks.
“As our county farm bureau leaders develop the policies of our
organization through our grassroots process, we appreciate the
opportunity to hear from the leaders of our state,” he said.
Also attending the event Monday were bureau Vice President David
Erickson, Director of State Legislation Kevin Semlow and Director of
Governmental Affairs and Commodities Mark Gebhards.
The Illinois Farm Bureau, also known as the Illinois Agricultural
Association, was formed in 1916. The nonprofit member organization
fosters agricultural education and advocates for farm-friendly
[Office of the Governor Bruce Rauner]