Like other area farmers, Kenny Brummer of the Bishop Creek community west of Dieterich is a keen observer of how the Illinois General Assembly handles farm-related issues.
Monday, Brummer got a chance to tell some of those legislators about his operation and how its dynamics have changed over the years.
Brummer was among several area businesses visited by a group that included several state legislators during the first annual Effingham County Legislative Day. He told the group, which also included a number of state and municipal officials, that farming has become increasingly more complicated over the years.
“Farmers have a lot of things to think about,” he said. “We wear a lot of hats in a day’s time.”
Brummer told the group that increasing environmental regulations are making it tough for family farms to compete with corporate entities.
“EPA rules and regulations are making it tough on livestock farmers, in particular,” he said. “Those regulations are one of the first things that will shut down a family farm.”
Many of those environmental regulations govern how farmers manage the waste from their animals. State Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem, encouraged Brummer to visit Springfield and air his concerns.
“You need to come to Springfield and let us know about those issues,” Cavaletto said.
While a couple of Chicago-area legislators expected to attend Monday’s gathering were no-shows, the only out-of-area legislator — state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Gifford — represents a district demographically similar to the Effingham area, at least in its rural portions.
Frerichs said farmers deal with a number of issues, including an aging population coupled with barriers to entering the field that didn’t exist 50 years ago.
“You need more technical knowledge than you once did,” the senator said. “The costs alone make today’s family farm different than it was 50 years ago.”