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Illinois pork, beef producers plan to lobby at state capitol

By TIM ALEXANDER
Illinois Correspondent

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Members of the Illinois Pork Producers Assoc. (IPPA) planned descend on the state capitol in Springfield on March 21 to meet with state lawmakers on a variety of legislative issues.

IPPA’s annual Legislative Day and Reception for pork producers, which is co-sponsored and attended by the Illinois Beef Assoc., will commence with a luncheon and briefing at the Springfield Hilton hotel before attendees travel to the capitol to meet with General Assembly members.

“Pork producers continue to face numerous issues that have an impact on the future of their farms,” said Jim Kaitschuk, IPPA executive director. “Producers must be involved and express their views and concerns to their elected officials. We must provide the pork producers’ perspective to ensure a viable pork industry in Illinois.”

Tim Maiers, director of industry and public relations for the IPPA, provided Farm World with a summary of topics likely to be discussed between legislators and pork producers.

“One of the big issues will be the gross receipts tax and the potential negative impact that this will have on pork producers,” he said.

Other topics IPPA members will raise with legislators, Maiers said, include:

•Universal truck access and 80,000-pound road limits: “There are several bills that would provide universal truck access all allow for divisible roads, etc.,” Maiers said. “This continues to be a big issue.”

•Horse slaughter ban: “There is legislation proposed to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. IPPA is opposed to this because of the potential impact that this legislation may ultimately have on other animals that are currently produced for human consumption and the rationale for the introduction of this legislation,” said Maiers.

•Recreational land use: Maiers said there are several proposals that have been introduced to provide additional enhancements to those activities that would be protected from liability.

•Anonymous complaints: “There is a bill that provides that the EPA may not accept citizen complaints that are anonymous and unaccompanied by the name and mailing address of the complainant,” Maiers said. “IPPA supports this bill to help reduce the number of harassing complaints that are filed against producers.”

•Frivolous nuisance lawsuits against livestock producers: IPPA supports a bill that provides that no person may bring a civil suit based on potential nuisance with respect to a proposed livestock management facility until all required federal, state and local permits and approvals for the proposed facility have been granted.

“This would provide a livestock producer some assurance that if they follow the current laws and regulations that they would be protected from nuisance lawsuits,” Maiers explained.

Current IPPA president Brian Sturte-vant, a pork producer from Lanark, said there are many important legislative issues to focus on and that he hopes for a large turnout from the organization’s members. “All legislative activities such as this are paid for entirely with non-checkoff dollars,” Sturtevant added. “These funds come primarily from support of the IPPA membership program.”

After meeting with legislators, a reception at the hotel will begin at 5 p.m. This will allow producers further opportunities to talk to legislators and staff members in an informal setting.

3/21/2007