Unpacking the proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation legislative package reveals optimism. The Illinois Corn Growers Association (IL Corn) is appreciative of the commitment to biofuel infrastructure and new conservation investments outlined in the current draft policy. A concern all along has been how these programs would be paid for and we are happy to hear the House Ways and Means Committee plans to preserve stepped-up basis. We will oppose any changes to the current estate tax exemption and continue to watch for any new amendments that will negatively affect family farm succession. Illinois family farmers rely on tools like stepped-up basis and estate tax exemptions in their succession plans and we will continue to advocate for such provisions.
IL Corn is very supportive of expanding fueling capabilities and infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol. Infrastructure is critical as we move to higher blends of ethanol such as E-15 and to eventually E-25 and E-30 to fully realize the significant carbon reductions and clean air benefits that a high octane/high ethanol blend can provide. Biofuels should remain a key component of climate smart ag initiatives looking to offer a clean and renewable energy source.
Achieving the goals of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and improving sustainability across all Illinois farms is high priority and a new conservation program is something to be excited about. Streamlining a program through FSA will offer a simple approach to generating a response that can drive adoption at a scale needed to truly achieve our nutrient loss goals. It’s time to think outside of the box and look beyond investing in existing programs if we want to see a level of conservation adoption surpass the current rate. A unique challenge remains to be the high percent of land owned by non-operating landowners and we are pleased to see this new program starting to address this barrier. Giving farmers the resources to transition their management practices to a more stewardship focused system, such as utilizing cover crops, makes good environmental and economic sense.
IL Corn is committed to helping deploy climate smart ag practices on all acres across Illinois. Practices like cover crops, reduced tillage, and more efficient nutrient management practices are some of the key areas being invested in. Precision Conservation Management is a program developed by IL Corn looking at the economic returns of such investments and management changes, which needs to be a part of all climate smart ag conversations.
Illinois Corn Growers President, Randy DeSutter said “while we still have to ensure protections are in place to allow family farms to transition without penalty, we are excited to see new investment in conservation programs outside of the Farm Bill. We want to thank Senator Stabenow for her commitment to this effort and standing strong in ensuring these programs made it into the current draft language.”