Cook County Farm Bureau Continues to Work for Members Behind the Scenes!
Farm Bureau continues to actively advocate for issues of importance to member. A brief update of pertinent legislative issues is provided below.
Chicago Horse Carriages
Farm Bureau continues to work with partners to ensure that Chicago horse carriage companies can continue operating despite efforts by Chicago aldermen and radical animal rights group to eliminate carriages.
Carriage horses are an iconic part of Chicago. For many families, carriage horses and their drivers may be only contact they have with agriculture and livestock. Through scrupulous training and handling, carriage horses are comfortable in loud, urban areas.
Chicago’s carriage horses are among the most regulated horses in the country to ensure that they are well cared for in terms of stabling, access to appropriate food and water, grooming, horseshoeing, veterinary care and working conditions. Repeated inspections of the horses and their stables have yielded no humane issues. In addition, the safety record of horse drawn carriages in Chicago is exemplary.
The proposed ordinance would not only eliminate a very popular and charismatic form of tourism for the city of Chicago, it would eliminate jobs and reduce tax revenue to the city and the state.
Farm Bureau is also considering policy opposing efforts to terminate, ban, effectively ban, or create an undue financial hardship relating to the use of horses in commerce, service, agriculture, husbandry, transportation, ranching, entertainment, education, or exhibition.
Cook County farmers have endured five consecutive years of declining income and more than a year of trade policy uncertainty and retaliation that has shut off access to our biggest customer, China. Last year alone our soybean exports were cut in half. Farm Bureau continues to advocate for the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, which improves upon NAFTA. NAFTA has provided tariff free access to two out of three of U.S.’s largest export markets. Under the deal, Canada must import more U.S. milk and provide more favorable treatment for our wheat exports. Cars built in Mexico will require a much higher percentage of U.S. content, creating manufacturing jobs and economic activity in the U.S.
Earlier this summer Farm Bureau issued an action request calling on members to contact their Congressmen to advocate for the ratification of the USCMA. The action request is on-going and meetings with legislators regarding this issue continue.
Cook County Zoning
Farm Bureau continues to dialogue with the Cook County Department of Building and Zoning regarding changes to the Cook County Zoning Code. The ongoing goal of these conversations is to ensure that agriculture remains economically viable in Cook County.
Farm Bureau continues to engage with partners to develop a pilot project to effectively reduce nitrogen and phosphorus entering area waterways. Over the summer, leadership and partners have studied existing projects and discussed nearby projects with area planning authorities.