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McLean County Farms Face Challenges

Written by on September 9, 2020

Photo courtesy to Farmers Bureau 

NORMAL, Ill.- Farm fresh sweet corn is a favorite for most people this time of year. Luckily, the McLean County farms are not being impacted by the pandemic, but they are being infected by another ‘virus’: taxes. 

Roughly 91% of land in McLean County is farmland. There are nearly 1,500 farms covering over half a million acres of land, according to the McLean County Farm Bureau. Farmers produce over $500 million in grain and livestock each year. 

President of the McLean County Farm Bureau Mark Hines says COVID-19 will have very minor effects on this year’s harvest. 

“Most workers have minimal contact with others while operating combines, tractors and trucks to haul the grain,” said Hines. 

The rain received in the area will have a bigger effect on the corn crop, said Hines. 

“Overall, we should have a good corn crop but not a record one,” said Hines. “Soybeans are a little harder to judge before the combines start running, but I expect very good yields.” 

Hines said the wet spring has a lot of impact on the final yields. 

“The wet spring caused planting delays, but the biggest problem was poor plant emergence due to persistent saturated soils and cool temperatures,” said Hines. 

The biggest factor that could hurt farmers in Illinois is the proposed progressive income tax. The current income tax rate in Illinois is at a set rate of 4.95%.  If the progressive tax is passed, the tax rate would change for everyone depending on how much money they make. 

Farmers in the area already face rises in production costs due to increases in license fees, high property taxes and high sales taxes according to Hines. 

“Unfortunately, revenue from the proposed progressive tax structure is unlikely to meet the state’s needs,” said Hines. “Until our state’s politicians get their fiscal house in order, costs will continue to grow and taxes will increase.”