The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2020 participants learned firsthand about the issues in Illinois state government at The Maschhoffs, LLC State Government Seminar, held January 15-17, 2020, in Springfield.
The seminar began with a discussion on the importance of leaders forming relationships to accomplish policy goals, addressed by long-time contract lobbyist Neil F. Flynn. State Senator Jason Barickman (R-53) then followed, sharing his experiences in running for political office.
That evening, the Class of 2020 traveled to Auburn, Illinois, to visit the Springfield Plastics plant where drainage tile is manufactured for a nine-state area of the Midwest. Brad Baker (IALP ‘12) and his family provided a tour and information on the company and its operations. Following the tour, a reception was hosted at the world headquarters of Brandt in Springfield. Dan Sprague from The Maschhoffs, the largest domestically owned pork producer, was the featured speaker for the evening. He discussed legislative and regulatory priorities for the company and the pork and meat industry.
The second day of the seminar featured discussions on the budget, legislation, and leadership. The budgetary process and requirements were presented by Clayton Klenke, Executive Director for the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. Klenke presented an in-depth analysis regarding the state budget and gave an overview of the process. His presentation was followed by a session with State Senator Andy Manar (D-48) and State Representative Norine Hammond (R-93) that focused on how legislation, programs, and their offices’ effect and serve their constituents.
A discussion on how to identify genuine leadership amid partisan politics was led by David Winters, a former State Representative and Assistant Republican Leader, who is also a 1992 alum of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program. Brian Mackey, a reporter, and journalist for the Statehouse Division of NPR Illinois presented the class with his perspectives on the upcoming 2020 primary and general elections. The final session of the day was highlighted by a discussion with Illinois State Treasurer Michael W. Frerichs, who reflected on his role in public office and touched on the need for effective and genuine leaders in government.
The third and final day of the seminar was held at the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s John R. Block Building, The morning began with a panel session on “Regulations and Legislation Impacting Agriculture and Rural Development”, and was led by Emily Gibbons, Legislative Analyst for the House Republican Staff, and John Teefey, General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The final presentation of the seminar addressed “Deciding How & When to Advocate” and was led by Jean Payne, President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association, and Todd Maisch, President, and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
The IALP Class of 2020’s next seminar will be the Ron and Melanie Warfield International Perspectives seminar on the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus.