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FSIA, Farmers Supporting Independent Agriculture, meets Tuesday       Send a link to a friend 

[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 Bank

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 management

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 Mellencamp

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.

About FSIA

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 practices.

For more information, contact Larry Huelskoetter, (217) 949-5471,; or 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

[FSIA news release]

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