The state budget impasse was a big concern at the Illinois Farm Bureau's annual meeting, and the governor wasn't on hand to speak to farmers' worries outside of a brief visit.
Gov. Bruce Rauner didn't address the delegates at the Chicago meeting this week, as he had done the past two years as a candidate and governor-elect. Mark Gebhards, the bureau's director of governmental affairs and commodities, says Rauner did make an appearance at a reception.
Click here for summary
"I heard a few folks kind of ask whether or not he was or wasn't coming. I didn't hear a lot said about it," Gebhards said. "Our president has a reception or luncheon where he was able to come in, and just for a very brief time, kind of visit with some of the folks in the luncheon, but he did not address the delegate body as he had the last couple of times."
A spokesman from the governor's office said Rauner attended the reception "to spend time with IFB members on a personal level."
The delegates did pass a measure calling on Rauner and the General Assembly to pass a budget for the current fiscal year "as soon as possible."
The concerns from farmers about the lack of a budget aren't just about the state's overall fiscal health. According to Gebhards, bureau members are worried about the lack of funding to agriculture programs, like soil and water conservation districts, county fairs, of the University of Illinois Extension.