Supporting Independent Agriculture, meets Tuesday
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[MAY 24, 2006]
BEASON -- The next meeting of FSIA, Farmers
Supporting Independent Agriculture, will be Tuesday, May 30, at 7
p.m. at the Logan County Farm Bureau, 120 S. McLean St. in Lincoln.
FSIA negotiates "family farm friendly" loans with Regions
FSIA continues to work on negotiating "family farm
friendly" loans with Regions Bank to benefit local family
farmers. Over the past two months, FSIA has been meeting with
agricultural lending staff of Regions Bank to work out the
details of the family farmer loans. FSIA and Regions are working
on establishing a Family Farm Plan that will be an annual line
of credit at a highly competitive rate for local family farmers
who buy inputs from local vendors. Also, FSIA and Regions are
talking about creating operating loans and farmland purchase
financing at highly competitive rates for local family farmers
who are sound community members. FSIA represents the interests
of local family farmers and communities and is working to
partner with local banks and business leaders who truly want to
invest in their communities.
FSIA to meet again with University of Illinois farm
On June 7, FSIA leaders will meet in Urbana with Doug
Beckmann, the senior associate vice president for business and
finance and deputy comptroller to the U of I board of trustees.
This is the second meeting with the University of Illinois. FSIA
is addressing the university's recent farm management decision
to seek high cash rent payments on virtually all of its 26,000
acres of farmland -- land given to the university. This policy
decision is harming family farmers and local communities as the
university attempts to balance its budget on the backs of
families in central Illinois. This decision directly contradicts
the farm management policies recommended by the university's own
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
FSIA sponsors Logan County Ag Day Breakfast
FSIA was a participating sponsor of the 2006 Logan County Ag
Day Breakfast at Lincoln Christian College in Lincoln in March.
FSIA had a display table and distributed promotional materials
to breakfast attendees. Illinois Department of Agriculture
Director Chuck Hartke delivered the keynote address.
FSIA meets with rocker and Farm Aid co-founder John
FSIA leadership met with Farm Aid co-founder and board member
John Mellencamp in Bloomington on April 13. While Mellencamp was
in town, he met with Central Illinois Organizing Project leaders
to talk about the importance of living wage and with FSIA
leaders to talk about saving family farms and rural communities.
Mellencamp spoke about the importance of maintaining the
small-town way of life and lifted up groups like FSIA that are
actively working to make this happen.
FSIA leader participates in national farm panel
FSIA leader Larry Huelskoetter represented the organization
on a "Food and Family Farm" panel in Washington, D.C., at the
35th annual National People's
Action conference in early May. Huelskoetter talked about
the issues facing family farmers in central Illinois and the
steps that FSIA is taking to address these issues. He
highlighted the importance of the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill for
both family farmers and those receiving government food
assistance, and that our elected officials need to be responsive
to the needs of families and communities and not solely to
corporate farm interests.
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FSIA meets with country's most powerful bank regulator about
rural community reinvestment
FSIA met with Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan in
Washington, D.C. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
oversees large national bank regulation and, in its regular review
of bank performance, monitors bank community reinvestment. FSIA made
a report to Dugan about community reinvestment in rural communities
and the important role local banks have in partnering with family
farmers and rural communities. Strong community reinvestment
partnerships are needed in order to save family farms and local
communities from the disinvestment impact of mega-farm operations.
FSIA is "promoting local economics through a faith-based framework
that seeks to establish relationships between landowners and local
farmers." Leadership of the Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency committed to making a visit to central Illinois to continue
the conversation about community reinvestment in rural communities.
FSIA meets with Sen. Obama's staff
FSIA met with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's agriculture
legislative assistant, Todd Atkinson, in Washington, D.C. The
meeting focused on current issues facing family farmers in central
Illinois and the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill. FSIA outlined the problems
that mega-farm operations are causing and raised the issue of
government payments subsidizing mega-farm operations. FSIA believes
our tax dollars should not subsidize farmers who destroy our
communities and natural resources. Obama's staff commented that they
learned more in this brief meeting about issues facing central
Illinois than they do in a year's worth of meetings with lobbyists
and narrow interest groups.
FSIA is a faith-based community organization that represents the
interests of family farmers and local communities throughout central
Illinois. FSIA was started by family farmers in Logan County who
wanted to participate in decision-making that directly affects them
and their communities. FSIA works to ensure the survival of family
farms, preserve the local economy and promote sound land stewardship
For more information, contact Larry Huelskoetter, (217) 949-5471,
Joel Janisewski, (309) 830-2233,
FSIA is a member organization of the Central Illinois Organizing
Project, "a faith-based community organization that empowers God's
people to become full partners in the decision-making process on
issues that affect their families, communities and region." Visit
CIOP on the Web at www.ciop.org.
[FSIA news release]