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
StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
HerbicidesNew EPA Glyphosate Restrictions Leaked To Reuters
April 1, 2015
U.S. regulators will put new restrictions on the world’s most widely used herbicide to help address the rapid expansion of Read More
FMC 3Rive 3D
Seed/BiotechFMC’s 3RIVE 3D Turns Heads
April 1, 2015
As winter trade shows tend to go, Commodity Classic tends to be a pretty big deal. You’ve got all the Read More
Nachurs Alpine Solutions, Liquid fertilizer, micronutrients, facility
MicronutrientsYara Launching YaraVita Procote Liquid Micronutrients
March 31, 2015
Yara North America, Inc. broadens its fertilizer coating offerings with the introduction of YaraVita Procote, oil-based micronutrient liquid suspensions that Read More
Industry NewsINCOTEC Board Member To Retire
March 31, 2015
JanWillem Breukink has decided to retire from his position on INCOTEC’s Board of Directors, effective April 1, 2015. This was Read More
MicronutrientsAgrium Deals Michigan Micronutrient Facility To Cameron…
March 31, 2015
Cameron Chemicals, Inc. has announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Agrium Inc. to purchase the Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Creates, Fills New Pacific Northwest Sales P…
March 30, 2015
H.J. Baker announced today that Gary Bingham has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division to further deepen its sales portfolio Read More
Algal blooms
StewardshipStudy: Algae From Clogged Waterways Could Be Used As Bi…
March 30, 2015
Water-borne algal blooms from farm fertilizer runoff can destroy aquatic life and clog rivers and lakes, but scientists are reporting Read More
Young corn plants
Stewardship4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit Coming To DC
March 30, 2015
The annual 4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit will be held on May 12 in Washington DC. The summit will include a full Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More