maconplotSPRINGFIELD – Federally insured local farmers who utilize cover crops are now eligible to receive a discounted crop insurance rate under a new program advocated by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) Wednesday announced its cover crop discount program for acreage in Illinois planted to cover crops in the fall of 2019 that will be planted to an insurable crop in 2020. The program will allow eligible applicants to receive a $5-per-acre premium discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program.

The program was an initiative of State Senators Andy Manar and Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

“Farmers who utilize cover crops are making an investment in the overall quality of our soil, food and water, as well as their own future yields,” Manar said. “This program will help expand the ecological benefits of cover crops while supporting our local farmers’ bottom lines. Prioritizing these best practices is why Illinois remains at the forefront of agricultural production and quality.”

“Cover crops are an important part of preserving agriculture,” Bennett said. “As Senate Agriculture chair, I am encouraged by this program and that it represents another resource to farmers to help ensure the success of Illinois’ agriculture economy.”

The discount program was designed to promote additional acres of cover crops that are not covered by other state or federal incentives. IDOA will use a combination of tools to verify acres applied for through the pilot program are planted in cover crops. The program is only applicable for those with coverage through the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (USDA-RMA) crop insurance program. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to the USDA-RMA for processing and applying premium discounts to 2020 crop insurance invoices.

“Implementation of best management practices, such as cover crop application, continues to be a priority of the department,” said IDOA Director John Sullivan. “Adopters of cover cropping methods may have incurred additional risk and expenses and this program serves as an incentive for their work.”

Funding of eligible acreage will be on a first come, first serve basis capped at 50,000 acres. The closing date to apply for the premium discount is Jan. 15, 2020.

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SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was honored today with the Jim Guilinger Legislative Award by the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education for his efforts to expand and promote agricultural education in Illinois schools.

The award was presented individually to a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including State Representative Norine Hammond, State Senator Dave Syverson and former State Representative Don Moffitt.

“Agriculture is a driving force of our state’s economy. It’s imperative that we do everything we can to strengthen and expand agricultural education and expose our students to the many promising careers offered in this industry,” Manar said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and I’ll continue to use my voice to advocate for strong investments in the next generation of farmers and agricultural workers to ensure Illinois remains a world leader in agricultural production.”

Manar has been a staunch supporter of agricultural education in Illinois and led the fight to protect agricultural education programs and funding against budget cuts by the Rauner administration during the 2015-2017 budget impasse.

ILCAE is an advocacy group focused on legislation, funding, and promotion of agricultural education and serves as an advisory council for the initiatives of the Agricultural Education line item.

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SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) welcomed members of the Decatur Leadership Institute to the Illinois Capitol yesterday.

The Decatur Leadership Institute is a program facilitated by the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce that helps prepare local leaders to meet the present and future challenges facing the Decatur region.

“I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with this group of leaders and contribute, in a small way, to their understanding of the policy-making process and overall experience with program,” Manar said. “It was clear from our conversation that they’re a sharp and motivated collection of professionals representing a diverse range of organizations invested in Decatur’s future. I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish as graduates of the program in the coming years.”

The group’s visit was the last of 14 once-a-week sessions for the program’s current class.

“After touring local businesses and organizations in Decatur for the past 12 weeks, it made sense to end our DLI visits at the Capitol where we got to see how advocacy, business interests, and local leaders all play a part in creating state laws and policies,” said Melanie Bilbrey-Snively, a program participant and Marketing Specialist at Decatur Earthmover Credit Union. “It was great to see leadership in action.”

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SPRINGFIELD – Throughout American history, only 32 individuals have lain in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, an honor reserved for the most esteemed American military heroes and statesmen. A resolution approved unanimously today by the Illinois Senate seeks to extend that privilege to the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II as a tribute to all 16 million Americans, often referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” who served in our Armed Forces from 1939 to 1945.

Senate Joint Resolution 50, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), would urge President Trump and the United States Congress to take all necessary measures to ensure the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from World War II be offered a state funeral, including, but not limited to, the option to lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

“An understanding of the Greatest Generation’s immeasurable sacrifice is something that all Americans share, and it’s something that has the power to unify Americans in a way that transcends our current divisions,” Manar said. “It would block out the political noise of the day and bring us together in reverence of the intrepid Americans who fought and died to ensure that the United States remains a beacon of hope and a blueprint for democracy across the globe.”

The President of the United States has the sole authority to designate a state funeral, while Congress reserves the authority to allow an individual to have their remains lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol.

Of the 353 Americans who have been awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of heroism during World War II, only two are alive today: Charles H. Coolidge of Tennessee and Woodrow Williams of West Virginia.

The Medal of Honor, presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress, is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is conferred upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through acts of heroism at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged against an enemy of the United States.

SJR 50 will now move to the Illinois House for consideration.

 

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