Illinois Farmers Lobby Against Measure They Say Would Hurt State’s Ethanol Industry

Illinois Farmers Lobby Against Measure They Say Would Hurt State’s Ethanol Industry

SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — The Illinois Farm Bureau is joining the Illinois Associated Builders and Contractors in opposing a measure to require prevailing wage for entry-level laborers working in refineries.

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert said at Tuesday’s Ag Breakfast in Springfield that for agriculture to thrive in Illinois, it needs four things: “Great trade agreements” and exports, growth in the livestock industry, and “a renewable fuel industry that works well.”

“[Ethanol] provides another opportunity for us to market the goods that we so well raise here in this state and that’s corn or soybeans made into biodiesel,” Guebert said.

He urged the room full of farmers to oppose Senate Bill 1407. He said it would limit future markets for corn and soybeans.

“Forty-two percent of Illinois corn goes through an ethanol plant. Twenty percent of the distillers’ grains are fed to livestock in the state of Illinois,” Guebert said.

The builder’s group previously said Senate Bill 1407 will hurt its apprenticeship programs.

One of the co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate, state Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, said he wanted to see how negotiations on the bill go in the House.

“I would like to look at the information again on what’s been taking place in the House in terms of negotiations,” Villivalam said.

The measure is up for final passage in the House. If it’s amended there, it would go back to the Senate for concurrence.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker hasn’t taken a position on the bill.

“There’s a negotiation discussion going on,” Pritzker said. “I know because I’ve heard a little bit of it between Democratic leaders and Republican leaders so we’ll have to see how that ends up, but at this point, I know that they’re lobbying on their position but we’ll see if they’re able to reach some sort of agreement.”

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