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
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Latest News
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementCourt Decision Protects Chesapeake Bay’s Water, Wildlif…
July 7, 2015
Today, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the historic clean-up plan for the Chesapeake Bay. Collin O’Mara, president and Read More
Agworld Apple Watch Farm Management
EquipmentAussie Data Management Software Company Making Its Mark…
July 4, 2015
Western-Australia-based Agworld — having fully launched its data management software system stateside last year after a 2013 soft launch — Read More
Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
ManagementUnited Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes Merger & Crop Update
July 2, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the reasons behind the United Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes merger and USDA’s recent Read More
Industry NewsBioSafe Adds To Sales Force
July 2, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the hire of two new members for its service team. David Britt recently joined the team Read More
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementChesapeake Bay Clean-Up Gets Renewed Attention
July 2, 2015
The Chesapeake Bay has been called one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. It’s also one of Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
ManagementBulk Pesticide Compliance: Top 10 Areas Of Improvement …
July 1, 2015
  In honor of the 33-year run of David Letterman’s Late Show, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is happy Read More
Industry NewsArysta North America Hires Midwest Sales Manager
July 1, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the hiring of Brian Battles as the Senior Technical Sales Manager for the Midwest Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Retail FacilitiesBuilding Up Ag Retail
July 1, 2015
In the oftentimes unpredictable world we live in, it’s nice to know some things can be reliably countered on to Read More
Retail FacilitiesMaple River Grain And Agronomy Phases In Site Developme…
July 1, 2015
Marcus Construction helped Maple River Grain and Agronomy in Casselton, ND, with the design-build of its dry fertilizer, liquid chemical/seed Read More
Retail FacilitiesA&B Welding Builds A New Liquid Terminal Hub For Br…
July 1, 2015
To build its new hub facility, Briggs Crop Nutrients enlisted the help of A&B Welding. The result, an efficient facility Read More
Edon Farmers Co-op
Retail FacilitiesNew Marcus Facility At Edon Farmers Co-op Provides More…
July 1, 2015
Edon Farmers Co-Op in Edon, OH, needed a new facility to consolidate outdated locations. Marcus Construction was able to design Read More
Retail FacilitiesKinder Morgan Expands Its Storage With A New Dome Barre…
July 1, 2015
Kinder Morgan wanted additional covered storage at its Dakota Bulk Terminal on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. With Read More
Retail FacilitiesHeartland Tank Protects Fertilizer From Extreme Cold At…
July 1, 2015
The Arthur Companies in Harvey, ND, enlisted the help of Heartland Tank Companies to develop a new liquid fertilizer facility Read More
The McGregor Co. fertilizer loadout
Retail FacilitiesThe McGregor Co. Partners With Kahler Automation To Cre…
June 30, 2015
Kahler Automation helped The McGregor Co. expand its Clarkston, WA, operation with unstaffed loadout technology that enables customers to pick Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Helps CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative Build…
June 30, 2015
CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative in Mooreton, ND, wanted a liquid/dry blender system that could meet the needs of its customers Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes, United Suppliers To Merge Crop Inpu…
June 29, 2015
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, IA, today announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses. Read More