Local Policies and Priorities
Farm Bureau is committed to improving the economic well-being of agriculture and enriching the quality of farm family life.
Farm Bureau recognizes the important conservation efforts of our farmer members. That includes educating the public about practices being used on the farm. Since before the release of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS), through two years of implementation, to now, our members are educated about the issue and making improvements for the benefit of Illinois and our neighbors downstream.
Farm Bureau remains committed to communicating with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture on issues related to farm operations and the environment.
Farmers make up less than two percent of the population. However, every Illinois farmer feeds approximately 155 people. With this discrepancy, Farm Bureau recognizes the importance of engaging everyone from elected officials to the food and agriculture industry. By creating lasting relationships with leaders from various backgrounds, Farm Bureau can help spread the word of Illinois agriculture’s benefits to an audience that wants to know more about what farmers do.
Philosophy and History of the Cook County Farm Bureau
Created by farmers in 1920, Cook County Farm Bureau® exists to strengthen the agricultural community and bolster the voices of agriculturists in Cook County. Our organization embodies a vision in which the people of Cook County recognize and value the importance and necessity of agriculture and agri-industry in our region.
As a grassroots organization, the strength of our organization is in our members. Cook County Farm Bureau® members establish our policy, agenda, mission and goals.
Cook County Farm Bureau® strives to educate youth, and in doing so, their families about the connection between the food that they eat and who produces it. Through fourth grade presentations, teacher seminars and farm tours more than 25,000 students per year interact, on a first-hand basis, with the Cook County agricultural industry through our Ag in the Classroom program.
Our organization strives to bridge the gap between agriculturalists and consumers through programs, marketing materials and informational brochures regarding Cook County producers and products. This facilitates a direct marketing approach, in which local farmers produce fruits, vegetables and fiber for local consumers.
Since our inception in 1920, Cook County Farm Bureau® has strived to serve our members through member benefits, programs and tours. Not only do our members determine the policy and direction of their organization but they determine what additional benefits the organization should offer to fellow members or those individuals interested in becoming a member. Cook County Farm Bureau® is comprised of both farmer member and non-farmer members.
Through grassroots lobbying and relationship building with local elected officials, our organization seeks to bridge the gap between our urban neighbors and our agricultural future. The leading strategic goal of our organization is to ensure that the interests of agriculturalists are protected during local, county, state and national policy decisions.
Cook County Farm Bureau® is a member-orientated, member-driven organization and the policies and recommendations enumerated below solidify our position that our policies and recommendations reflect the thinking of a majority of our members.
Status and Activation of Resolutions
Policies of the Cook County Farm Bureau® are subject to review at any official meeting of the Cook County Farm Bureau® Board of Directors (“Board”).
Adopted resolutions and recommendations state the current position of the Cook County Farm Bureau®.
Resolution submittals to the Illinois Farm Bureau® shall be reviewed and approved by the Governmental Affairs Committee (“Committee”) prior to being reviewed and approved by the Board. Upon approval of the Board, staff and Governmental Affairs Chair (“Chair”) shall submit the resolutions to the Illinois Farm Bureau® Resolutions Committee in accordance with the established and published deadlines and in the manner prescribed by the Illinois Farm Bureau®. Committee and Board approval shall require a majority of those present voting in the affirmative.
Additional policy concepts, separate from submittals made to the Illinois Farm Bureau® that are local, regional or organizational in nature, may be proposed as a result of the Viewpoint Survey and otherwise. Upon the review and approval of the Committee, Viewpoint and all new Cook County Farm Bureau® policy recommendations shall be submitted to the Board for review and approval. Upon approval, these recommendations shall become policy of the Cook County Farm Bureau®. Committee and Board approval shall require a majority of those present voting in the affirmative.
If a policy recommendation is submitted to the Board or by the Board, the Board may act on it without it first being submitted to the Committee. The Board may refer the recommendation to the Committee for further review.
Staff shall be responsible for maintaining and publishing a current copy of Cook County Farm Bureau® policy book.
Cook County Finance
Government economic policies should be designed to encourage economic stability, to increase productivity, to improve our competitive advantage and to promote a high level of economic prosperity. Taxes should encourage, not penalize, success and encourage savings, investment and entrepreneurship.
- A sound tax system that incorporates fairness, responsiveness, stability and efficiency.
- A balanced budget accomplished through spending restraint and reducing the rate of government growth, rather than by increasing taxes.
- The elimination of the one percent sales tax increase implemented July of 2008 and July of 2015.
- A reduction in the county sales tax levy to a level that is competitive with neighboring counties in order that businesses are not adversely affected.
- The lease of Midway Airport to a private operator.
We oppose increased taxes unless accompanied by significant spending cuts.
Cook County Government
- Reducing the number of affirmative votes needed to override a Cook County’s Presidential veto to a three-fifths majority.
- Combining the property and tax functions of the County Recorder, Clerk and Assessor Office, providing that such action is demonstrated to be fiscally prudent and in doing so does not jeopardize customer service.
- Eliminating the elected office of Recorder of Deeds and merge its functions into the Clerk’s office.
- Implementing an independent committee to conduct all county hiring.
- Conducting a complete audit of services and departments to determine which aspects are running efficiently and which aspects should be modified or eliminated.
- Conducting a full county employee audit, including the formalization of job descriptions and qualifications.
- Conducting a review of the county’s contract compliance department in order to identify any irregularities and mismanagement of county funds.
- Eliminating county contingency funds.
- Establishing a set date on which property tax bills are mailed.
We oppose the imposition of an additional tax on homeowners in the unincorporated areas of Cook County to fund county services.
Cook County Health and Hospital System
The Cook County Health and Hospital System (“System”) is one of the nation’s largest public health care systems. The System delivers integrated health care services, regardless of individuals’ ability to pay. Approximately one million patients utilize System services making it the largest provider of uncompensated health care in Illinois and the third largest provider in the US.
- The Cook County Health and Hospital System Board of Directors remaining independent.
- Restructuring the Health and Hospitals System in a manner that promotes reform, reduces waste and maintains quality patient care. To that end, we will work with like-minded parties to surface potential reforms.
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
- Farming on unrestored Forest Preserve acres conducive to hay and row crop farming.
- Additional Forest Preserve parcels being made available for hay or row crop farming.
- A separate governance board for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
- The Cook County Sheriff’s department policing the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
- The focus of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County remaining both public use and preservation.
- Limiting the acres that the Forest Preserve District of Cook County can possess at 68,000 acres as set forth by the Cook County Forest Preserve District Act (70 ILCS 810/21).
- A three-day horse tag.
- The proceeds from the sale of bridle tags being used exclusively to fund projects on horse or multi-use trails.
City of Chicago
We support additional food trucks being licensed for high-density neighborhoods.
- Encouraging the growth and enhancement of animal agriculture in Cook County. We support the rearing of traditional and non-traditional livestock.
- Assisting municipalities to draft municipal ordinances supportive of raising bees, if Farm Bureau assistance is requested.
- The rearing of livestock regardless of the number of animals or production type provided that best management practices are adhered to in order to provide for the health and safety of the animals, the environment, and public health.
Approved: May 11, 2016
Updated: December 11, 2019