The new director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture should be a farmer, according to the Illinois Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert says he has communicated this to the governor-elect, who will be appointing new leaders for the state agencies under his administration.
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“A farmer, as the director, knows what the wants and needs are of farmers. There are a number of very capable farmers out here that have the business sense and the abilities to work with our legislators, work with industry leaders, whether it’s Caterpillar, John Deere, Chicago Board of Trade, and I think it would be important,” he told reporters Monday morning at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in Chicago.
The current director, Robert F. Flider, has a background in the utility sector, other than having been a state representative and mayor of Mount Zion. Geubert says it’s OK if the new director comes from politics, as long as he or she is a farmer.
Guebert says the new director, whoever it is, will have a hard job just keeping personnel so the department can function. He says he hears a number of retirements are in the offing, and of course lawmakers and the new governor will be looking for places to cut spending.
Guebert says important concerns for a new director will be livestock, and maintaining the current agricultural land assessment system for property tax purposes.