Gross Idea Meets Memorable Message

In Illinois, surviving in the state’s contentious political climate forces an association such as ours to define itself in meaningful ways in order to get its image, mission, and policies across to legislators and regulators in a way that is memorable to them. And we mean memorable in a positive light.

When the words “fertilizer and chemical” appear in your association name, some might say that is a challenge. But the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) board of directors and members feel proud of what they do every day to serve their customers, the consumer, and their communities. Maybe our association isn’t politically correct, but we know who we are. We believe that with the right attitude, dedication to compliance, and a good environmental track record, we will continue to cultivate the trust and respect of government officials and the general public. But everyone needs to freshen up their image once in a while, which IFCA did recently.

Supply/Service/Stewardship are the words and the image that IFCA has chosen to identify itself and to represent what its members provide every day to their customers and to the industry as a whole. While Illinois is a major ag state, the business climate is not always what we wish it could be, or should be. A staggering state budget deficit and a large urban population base in Chicago continually force the legislature to look at creative ways to plug budget gaps and to expand government programs for a diverse population. Although agriculture is by far the largest industry in the state, those who work and vote on behalf of ag and rural communities account for less than 5% of the state’s population.

The Latest Challenge

This year, our governor is proposing to tax the gross receipts of all Illinois businesses that supply goods, as well as applying an additional tax on services. For manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers, the gross receipts tax is 0.5%. For services, it is 1.8%.

In an industry of high volume, low margins, and services that are expected but not always appreciated, this proposal is devastating. It is devastating to all industries at the levels being proposed. Despite the belief of some — including the governor — that a gross receipts tax can be diluted by business and passed along to the consumer (for us, the grower), our association and its members know that doesn’t work in the ag input business.

Our association will be fighting this proposal just as it fought, and won, a proposal in 2004 to apply the state sales tax to agricultural inputs. I’m sure the five states that neighbor Illinois are watching closely. Our association has nothing against ag input suppliers in Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky, but frankly we are opposed to giving them a competitive advantage and the ability to cross the state border and sell fertilizer, chemicals, seed, feed, fuel, and equipment in Illinois, free of tax obligation, when our members are shouldered with it.

So it comes back again to this: Supply/Ser­vice/Stewardship. IFCA will be telling its legislators that our members can’t competitively supply product with a gross receipts tax burden. They can’t offer professional service with an additional service tax burden. They can’t promote stewardship when stripped of the financial ability to maintain environmentally sound facilities and hire professionals to apply crop protection products in a judicious manner. Legislators will hopefully realize that someone will be meeting the needs of the Illinois grower. Should it be the IFCA members that believe in stewardship and enhance the economic climate of their local community or should it be someone from another state that hasn’t made an investment in Illinois?

Our association will be working diligently to present its arguments. I trust that this message will be heard by our legislators and that it will be memorable to them as they prepare to vote on the state budget this spring.

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
StewardshipBayer Lands Honor For Bee Care Center, Other Initiatives
June 3, 2014
Bayer Corp. has been named a 2014 Responsible Care Company of the Year by the American Chemistry Council, thanks in large part to its Drive Toward Zero initiative and North American Bayer Bee Care Center. Read More
StewardshipStrip-Tillage: A Sustainable Effort
March 3, 2014
As sustainable agriculture grows in popularity, interest in custom strip-tillage is growing. Read More
StewardshipCTIC Granted Nearly $500,000 To Examine Benefits Of Cover Crops
October 17, 2013
The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) has received a $482,000 Conservation Innovation Grant to study the benefits of cover crops. Read More

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesValent To Discontinue Gangster Herbicide
September 22, 2014
Valent will discontinue Gangster Herbicide after the 2015 growing season as growers can now deploy Fierce XLT herbicide in soybeans. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Crowd Tops 2013 Show
September 19, 2014
The 52nd annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review welcomed more than 130,000 farmers, industry professionals, FFA students and agricultural enthusiasts during the three-day event. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Approves Enlist Following Rigorous Review
September 18, 2014
Dow AgroSciences now awaits EPA registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, the companion herbicide to the Enlist traits, which is expected in the near future. Read More
BlendersYargus Appoints New Plant Manager
September 18, 2014
Steve Shaffer will direct and coordinate daily operations at the company’s Marshall, IL, manufacturing plant, where the Layco line of material handling equipment is produced. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires Kansas-Based Cedar Ridge Supply
September 16, 2014
Cedar Ridge Supply will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
StewardshipSecretary Vilsack Highlights Innovative Conservation Ef…
September 15, 2014
Nearly $16 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) will be awarded to 47 organizations to help develop cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Cargill Lawsuit
September 15, 2014
Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies. Read More
Equipment2014 Farm Science Review Launches Mobile App
September 15, 2014
Smartphone and tablet users planning on attending the 2014 Farm Science Review can now download this year’s customized mobile application. Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Grower Sets Georgia Soybean Yield …
September 15, 2014
Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy's soybeans yielded an astonishing 110.66 bushels per acre, crushing the previous record of 82 bushels-per-acre. Read More
NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More