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

ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s ‘Unchartered Waters’ Quiz Via NatGeo
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Nebraska landscape Photo courtesy of Richard Hurd
ManagementNebraska Water: Another Opportunity To Sell Value
March 8, 2017
Keith Byerly has been an Advanced Cropping Systems (ACS) Manager with York, NE-headquartered, No. 13-ranked CropLife 100 retailer Central Valley Read More
Surface renewal station University of California, Davis
ManagementTechnology Vital In California Water Management
March 7, 2017
In this arid state, producers are exploring new ways to use water more efficiently. Drip irrigation, in particular, continues to Read More
California Crop
ManagementCalifornia Water Saga Takes A Turn
March 7, 2017
Stunning rain and snowfall in California have been making national headlines over the last few months. Initial reaction would be Read More
Trending Articles
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
Latest News
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More
ManagementTalking Responsible Ag
April 13, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the Responsible Ag program with director Bill Qualls. Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Crop InputsWhat do Roundup and Mickey Mouse Have in Common? Califo…
April 13, 2017
(SOURCE: East Valley Times) Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup and many other weed killers, is being added Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSource: ChemChina to Divest Assets to Adama Following S…
April 11, 2017
China National Chemical Corp. plans to redistribute agrochemical assets to its Adama unit after the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta Read More
Farming drone air
Eric SfiligojThe Interest in UAVs for Agriculture Grows
April 10, 2017
At times, it seems as if experts have been predicting “big things” for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for several years Read More
OpinionOpinion: Taking On The Farmers Business Network
April 8, 2017
Well, another round of venture capital funding has come to Farmers Business Network (FBN), followed up with the obligatory feature Read More
Drone
EquipmentFarming Drones: The Future Of Agriculture?
April 7, 2017
Chances are, you already know drones are amazing. After all, this is something DroneLife readers just understand. But if you’re Read More
ManagementFMC-DuPont, Crop Plantings, and UAV Updates
April 6, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Jackie Pucci discuss the purchase agreement between DuPont and FMC, the 2017 crop acreage mix and Read More
Falcon soil sampler
EquipmentSerious Soil Sampling Rigs
April 6, 2017
The industry has seen an increase in automation in sampling equipment, and consultants now often pull cores with an automated Read More
Iowa waterways
FertilizerDow AgroSciences Recognizes Ag Retailers’ Role in Prote…
April 6, 2017
The state of Iowa and its agriculture community have worked for decades to preserve soil health, protect water quality and Read More
Farmer Scouting Weeds in Soybean Field
EquipmentSoil, Scouting Programs Continue To Gain Value
April 5, 2017
How much growers and their retailers utilize soil testing and scouting varies greatly. But they should step up their game Read More
Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC
Precision Ag6 Key Takeaways from Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC
April 5, 2017
Advisory investment group The Mixing Bowl teamed up with Forbes for its New York-based event this year to discuss technology’s Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsQ&A With Pam Marrone On The World’s First All-Biolo…
April 4, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. and Israel-based Ground­work BioAg in February announced successful field trials of the world’s first all-biological comprehensive Read More
Corn soil
Crop NutritionBiostimulants Clamor For A Piece Of The Row Crop Market
April 3, 2017
The question these days isn’t who is venturing into biostimulants — it’s who isn’t. Or more to the point: The Read More