Illinois Farm Bureau

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The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) is a nonprofit U.S. organization controlled by farmers who join IFB through one of the 96 county farm bureaus in Illinois. The organization's legal name is the Illinois Agricultural Association. IFB was founded in 1916 by a group of farmers who met at the University of Illinois to discuss the need for agricultural education, better information for farmers, and more effective farming practices. Today, IFB represents two out of three Illinois farmers. It is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation. IFB is the founder of COUNTRY Financial.

Organization and mission[edit]

IFB is involved in passing legislation and lobbying lawmakers about agricultural issues, and county farm bureaus provide a professional staff in accessible locations around the state. Together, IFB and the county organizations were instrumental in bringing soil and crop specialists to each county. These professional farm advisers were the forerunners of today’s cooperative extension service. They help supply farmers with the latest agricultural research information and make on-the-farm analyses and recommendations about production challenges.

IFB’s stated mission is to improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life. The organization focuses on these areas:

  • Operating the farm successfully
  • Service to members
  • Government and politics
  • Education and information
  • Professional development
  • Operating IFB professionally

IFB attempts to:

  • Tell the farmer’s story to the public
  • Update members on new technology and information that impacts agriculture
  • Represent farmers in local, state, and national legislative and political activities
  • Provide marketing and education services to help IFB members improve their net farm income

IFB has been criticized as too dominated by large agribusiness operations and unresponsive to environmental concerns about pesticide use, water quality and other issues. IFB is also known for its historical association with State Farm, the largest personal lines insurer in the United States. The organization is governed by a twenty-member board of directors who are elected to two-year terms; the president and vice-president of IFB are also elected every two years. IFB’s state office is located in Bloomington, Illinois.

History[edit]

After its founding in 1916, IFB was initially concerned with nuts-and-bolts issues like control of insect pests, protection of livestock from disease, and the construction of better rural roads. During the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression, IFB worked to aid farmers in economic distress and to modify federal government farm regulations to favor agricultural interests.

After World War II IFB began to get involved more directly in governmental issues such as taxation, the federal budget deficit, and agricultural subsidies. IFB worked on water availability issues and helped farmers in other parts of the country facing weather-related problems. IFB has also devoted more effort to public relations campaigns about agriculture and the realities of farm life.

External links[edit]