Gov. Pat Quinn signs the first of several bills and proclamations concerning Illinois agriculture and agribusiness at the Farmers Little Helper exhibit at the Illinois State Fair. He also signed several pieces of legislation and proclamations honoring the anniversaries of Illinois agribusinesses and organizations.
Gov. Pat Quinn signs the first of several bills and proclamations concerning Illinois agriculture and agribusiness at the Farmers Little Helper exhibit at the Illinois State Fair. He also signed several pieces of legislation and proclamations honoring the anniversaries of Illinois agribusinesses and organizations.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. Pat Quinn topped off the Salute to Agriculture Day celebration at the 2013 Illinois State Fair by signing a number of bills concerning agriculture into law.

“We’re committed to agriculture in our state. Our state is the No. 1 agricultural state in the union as far as I’m concerned, and I think most everybody in Illinois agrees,” said Quinn as he sat at a desk at the Farmers Little Helper exhibit at the Illinois State Fair.

“We’re very, very beholden to the men and women of agriculture who work so hard and who are really the key industry in our state of Illinois.”

Quinn also noted that agriculture in the state has the power to bring lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle together.

“We have a number of bills to sign today, and they were passed because of legislators of both parties. There’s no such thing as Illinois Democratic agriculture or Illinois Republican agriculture. We’re all in this together,” said Quinn, who was surrounded by representatives of Illinois’ major agricultural and commodity groups.

Bob Flider, Illinois secretary of agriculture, acknowledged that even as the governor signed the laws and made them official, a balance must be achieved to keep the state friendly and open for business.

“These bills are bills that the industry has worked with us in helping craft and create, and what we’re trying to do is always try to move the ball forward in terms of public health and safety,” he said. “But, at the same time, we want rules that make sense and rules that are workable and business friendly.”

The bills signed by Quinn at Ag Day include:

* House Bill 1272, sponsored by state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Round Lake Beach, and state Sen. David Koehler, D-Peoria, which designates each first Saturday of every month as “Eat Local, Buy Illinois Products Day.” The bill promotes local food initiatives and agribusinesses.

Flider also mentioned the “Buy Illinois Challenge” initiated by the Bureau of Marketing at the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“If every family in Illinois would pledge to spend $10 buying Illinois products, it could be Illinois wine, it could be barbecue sauce, could be any item, numerous items that are produced here in Illinois, $10 a week, that would ripple through the economy to the tune of $2.4 billion and that’s keeping our money local. That’s jobs and helping our local economy and helping where we need it most,” he said.

* House Bill 2783, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, and state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, allows the state to impose fines on egg wholesalers who sell eggs to any person or business not properly licensed by the state. The bill also allows the state to suspend the wholesale license of the offender if the penalties and fines are not paid.

* House Bill 2748, sponsored by state Rep. Josh Harms, R-Watseka, and state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, requires at least two members of the Illinois Finance Authority to have expertise in agribusiness or production agriculture. The IFA provides access to low-cost, non-conventional financing to help businesses, farms, local governments and hospitals acquire capital for growth.

* House Bill 2709, sponsored by state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, and state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, appoints a temporary wheat development committee that will seek new markets for wheat products and provide research for wheat farming and production.

* House Bill 2273, sponsored by state Rep. Patrick Verschoore, D-Milan, and state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, clarifies the state’s Weights and Measures Act as it concerns heavy-truck scales operated by agricultural grain, feed, fertilizer, chemical or construction aggregate producers. The law requires these scales to be certified by the state to help ensure the accuracy of the devices.

In addition, the governor signed and presented proclamations to University of Illinois Extension, marking the organization’s 100 years of service to the state and to Illinois agriculture; to Prairie Farms Dairy, based in Carlinville, marking the dairy’s 75 years in business; and to Brandt Consolidated of Springfield, marking the company’s 60th year in business.