koehler 013124BLOOMINGTON – Members of the Illinois General Assembly joined the Illinois Farm Bureau Wednesday for a press conference discussing the Family Farm Preservation Act – a measure being spearheaded by State Senator Dave Koehler and State Representative Sharon Chung.

“This measure is designed to protect farmers and their families by ensuring they can afford to keep their land,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “In many instances, families have to sell their land after the loss of a loved one simply because it’s too expensive. This will give families the opportunity to continue passing down their farm from generation to generation.”

Senate Bill 2921 is a bipartisan effort designed to protect farm families and their land by updating the Illinois Estate Tax code to include protections in regards to inflation. Legislators and stakeholders at the press conference expressed the need for this legislation and the opportunities it would give farmers and their families who provide food across the state. Chung is championing an identical bill in the Illinois House, House Bill 4600.

“The Family Farm Preservation Act is a crucial step forward in protecting the backbone of our communities – our local farmers,” said State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex). “With this, we are ensuring that these hardworking individuals and families can continue their legacy without the burden of excessive taxation, leaving a thriving agricultural community for generations to come.”

“Our state's economy rests firmly upon the bedrock of our agricultural industry. Yet, this foundation faces a perpetual threat from our state's estate tax system,” said State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris). “Far too often, small-to-mid-sized family farms are forced to sell land that has been in their family for generations just to merely settle their estate taxes. Through this bipartisan proposal, we can help ensure that more family farms remain within their families.”

"Hardworking farmers in our community and all across Illinois are facing enormous economic challenges right now and it is not the time to add to that with overbearing taxes," said State Representative Sharon Chung (D – Bloomington). "I am glad to work with Senator Koehler to fight for the Farm Preservation Act and help relieve the financial burdens on Illinois farmers, people who do so much for this state."

“The estate tax has devastated family farms for decades as these farms are often sold to pay the inheritance tax,” said State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville). “Improving estate tax exemptions for farmers will help save family farms when the farm is passed down to each generation. Family farms treat their farmland like family as it helps provide for their family and produces the crops that help feed the world. Our country has the lowest food costs in the world, thanks to family farms.”

“Passing on the family farm is not just about continuing the business, it’s about preserving family heritage and a way of life,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Brian Duncan. “Yet the current Illinois estate tax often forces families to break up the farm by selling land, livestock or even equipment every time the business passes on to the next generation. A death of a loved one should not be a death sentence for the family farm. IFB thanks Sen. Dave Koehler and Rep. Sharon Chung for introducing the Family Farm Preservation Act and applauds the bipartisan effort of our state legislators to ensure Illinois’ family farms can continue providing food, fuel and fiber without fear of losing the business when a family member dies.”

The Family Farm Preservation Act awaits discussion in the spring legislative session.