DECATUR — About 30 state lawmakers who attended the Farm Progress show Wednesday also received a tour of Archer Daniels Midland Co.
State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, organized the ADM tour before the Illinois Farm Bureau took the legislators on a tour of the Farm Progress Show in the afternoon. The lawmakers, who included Republicans and Democrats, visited the company’s commodities trading floor.
Rose said a quarter of all jobs in the state are related to agriculture, so it was important for legislators to see the scope of it.
“The policies that we vote for in Springfield or Washington, D.C., can encourage that growth and create jobs or they can discourage it and kill jobs. We have to have a broader picture,” he said.
State Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, is the Republican spokesman for the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee. He said the day was important to educate his colleagues who do not have a farming background about how important agriculture is to the state.
Of ADM, he said, “I guess what surprised me more than anything was the unbelievable size. I don’t think I had any concept that it was that significantly large.”
State Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Wheaton, said touring ADM was important to remind lawmakers that what happens in Decatur and Illinois has global reach.
As for what state government should do to help ADM and similar companies, Dillard, who has announced he will run for governor, said, “Get out of their way.”
He said the state should stop “over-regulating and overtaxing” businesses and should work to maintain its infrastructure so that companies that distribute products will have great rail and interstate systems to use.
State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said she came from a farming background but had not attended the Farm Progress Show in about 40 years. She described the show as very impressive.
“Agriculture is no longer agriculture; it’s agribusiness,” she said.