Policy Successes at Annual Meeting
Cook County Farm Bureau® members submitted numerous policies to the Farm Bureau delegates during the 2022 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Approved policy items include:
With nearly 39.5 million people or 12.8% of the US population living in low-income and low food access areas, Cook County Farm Bureau identified the need for policy addressing avenues to improve food access for residents not only in Cook County.
Generally, the policy supports incentives, including but not limited to, offering tax credits or breaks to grocery stores in underserved areas as well as calling for the simplification of permitting and launching grocery stores.
Organic certification is designed to create a linked system of compliance providing complete source-to-sale traceability of organic products and accountability at each step of the global supply chain. Certification is key to the National Organic Program.
Revisions include calling for broad availability of information on the USDA-certified organic program, certification process, and labeling requirements, as well as other unbiased information on organic products or production as well as allowing first year organic producer to utilize the organic prices for federal crop insurance. The policy also calls for strict consequences for ACA implicated in domestic or foreign fraud and significant non-compliance.
Specialty crops are defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops including floriculture. Farm Bureau’s language recognizes the importance of specialty crops to Illinois and Cook County’s agricultural industry as well as calling for funding for research, Extension services, pathologists, and entomologists to assist with the growth of the industry.
Government Assisted Nutrition Programs
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a block grant, enacted in 1996 to provide cash assistance to families with children experiencing poverty. TANF guidelines require participants to participate in “work activities” for a minimum of 30 hours per week. There are 12 categories of work activities that can count toward the work rates. It limits the extent to which participation in some types of work activities, including job search or readiness programs, can count for the work rate calculations.
Language approved by delegates support eliminating barriers to access Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits by allowing people who are pursuing education or related job training to qualify for the program.
Farmer Mental Health
In 2022, the Cook County Farm Bureau identified the support of farmer mental health as a priority. To further that priority, Cook County Farm Bureau introduced policy 91 to support mental health and stress management services.
Members are encouraged to contact Bona Heinsohn at 708-354-3276 with any feedback or questions on these policies.