Rep. Sonya M. Harper

Filed: 4/15/2024





10300HB0056ham001LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a


2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 56 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
4    "Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Farmer Restoration Program Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. As used in this Act:
7    "Agricultural conservation easement" means a nonpossessory
8interest of a holder in real property imposing limitations on
9the use of the property to ensure the land remains available
10for agricultural purposes. An agricultural conservation
11easement does not prevent a property owner from constructing,
12improving, or maintaining a primary residence or housing for
13farmworkers on the land unless expressly specified in the
14easement deed.
15    "Costs of acquisition" means out-of-pocket direct costs of
16activities incurred in connection with the processing,



10300HB0056ham001- 2 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1recording, and documentation of an agricultural conservation
2easement, such as appraisals, land surveys, title
3verification, and closing. "Costs of acquisition" do not
4include any costs incurred by a qualified easement holder for
5staffing, overhead, or operations.
6    "Director" means the Director of Agriculture.
7    "Department" means the Department of Agriculture.
8    "Eligible individual" means a resident of this State who:
9        (1) was born in this State;
10        (2) is at least 21 years of age; and
11        (3) is a member of a socially disadvantaged group.
12    "Limited resource farmer" means a farmer with direct or
13indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed
14value in each of the previous 2 years, and who has a total
15household income at or below the national poverty level for a
16family of 4, or less than 50% of county median household income
17in each of the previous 2 years.
18    "New and beginning farmer" means a farmer who has operated
19a farm or ranch for less than 10 years.
20    "Qualified entity" means an organization:
21        (1) that is a nonprofit corporation under Section
22    501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or an
23    organization which has a fiscal sponsor who is exempt from
24    taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
25    Code of 1986; and
26        (2) that has a minimum of 3 years of experience



10300HB0056ham001- 3 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1    providing agricultural services, business assistance,
2    legal assistance, or advocacy services to socially
3    disadvantaged farmers.
4    "Qualified easement holder" means a State agency, federal
5agency, county, municipality, or nonprofit organization under
6Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 with
7experience acquiring, whether through purchase, donation, or
8transfer, an agricultural or other conservation easement.
9    "Qualified farmland" means land that is in agricultural
10production or available for agricultural production, including
11row crops, livestock, nurseries, orchards, or pastures, and
12incidental land that is associated with an active agricultural
14    "Socially disadvantaged farmer" means a farmer who is a
15member of a socially disadvantaged group.
16    "Socially disadvantaged group" means a group whose members
17have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice
18because of their identity as members of a group without regard
19to their individual qualities. These groups include all of the
21        (1) American Indian or Alaska Native (a person having
22    origins in any of the original peoples of North and South
23    America, including Central America, and who maintains
24    tribal affiliation or community attachment).
25        (2) Asian (a person having origins in any of the
26    original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the



10300HB0056ham001- 4 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1    Indian subcontinent, including, but not limited to,
2    Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan,
3    the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam).
4        (3) Black or African American (a person having origins
5    in any of the black racial groups of Africa).
6        (4) Hispanic or Latino (a person of Cuban, Mexican,
7    Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish
8    culture or origin, regardless of race).
9        (5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (a
10    person having origins in any of the original peoples of
11    Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands).
12    "Training" means a program of training approved by the
13Director that:
14        (1) provides an eligible individual with the basic
15    skills to operate a farm profitably with a primary focus
16    on regenerating the soil, ecosystem, and local community;
17        (2) provides a course of study that is equivalent to
18    no less than 30 academic credit hours of study, which may
19    be provided as direct in-field instruction;
20        (3) focuses on low capital-intensive techniques and
21    technologies; and
22        (4) studies local and regional food systems and the
23    market opportunities those systems present.
24    Section 10. Farmer Restoration Program Fund.
25    (a) The Farmer Restoration Program Fund is created as a



10300HB0056ham001- 5 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1special fund in the State treasury. Except as provided in
2subsection (b), the moneys in the Fund, upon appropriation by
3the General Assembly, shall be used for the purposes of the
4program, which include grants for the purchase of agricultural
5conservation easements, technical assistance grants, technical
6assistance provided by the Department, and administrative
7costs incurred by the Department in administering the program.
8    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), moneys may be
9deposited into the Fund from federal grants and gifts and
10donations that are designated and required by the donor to be
11used exclusively for the purposes of the program.
12    (c) Not more than 10% of available funds under this Act may
13be used for technical assistance purposes and administration.
14Not less than 90% of funds available for grants under this Act
15shall be expended for the acquisition of agricultural
16conservation easements. Moneys in the Fund shall also be
17available for the following purposes:
18        (1) To provide technical assistance grants to
19    qualified entities in support of socially disadvantaged
20    farmers who are seeking access to farmland. As used in
21    this Section, "technical assistance" includes, but is not
22    limited to, organizing, advising, counseling, educating,
23    planning, drafting, translating, interpreting, and
24    consulting with socially disadvantaged farmers for the
25    purpose of preparing them for favorable financing for land
26    acquisition or negotiating leasing arrangements.



10300HB0056ham001- 6 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1        (2) To provide grants for the purchase of agricultural
2    conservation easements to qualified easement holders.
3    Moneys from the Fund shall be available in each fiscal
4    year to any qualified easement holder having made an
5    application that has been approved by the Department.
6    Award grants may include:
7            (A) payment to qualified easement holders for the
8        purchase of agricultural conservation easements on
9        qualified farmland; or
10            (B) payment of the costs of acquisition related to
11        the purchase of agricultural conservation easements
12        approved by the program.
13    Section 15. Department responsibilities. Subject to
14appropriation, the Department shall:
15        (1) adopt a scoring process to be used in evaluating
16    applications for agricultural conservation easement grants
17    that prioritizes applications benefiting:
18            (A) socially disadvantaged farmers;
19            (B) limited resource farmers;
20            (C) eligible individuals with a history of land
21        dispossession; and
22            (D) new and beginning farmers;
23        (2) include, as ranking criteria in the scoring
24    process, projects that:
25            (A) leverage local, federal, or private funding,



10300HB0056ham001- 7 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1        including a match requirement;
2            (B) support transition of farmland to next
3        generation owner-operators; and
4            (C) support conservation priorities, including
5        protection of habitat, water quality, watershed
6        conservation, climate resilience, and local
7        conservation plans; and
8        (3) include, as eligibility criteria, projects that:
9            (A) protect farmland that is under threat of
10        conversion; and
11            (B) demonstrate that the parcel proposed for
12        conservation is expected to continue to be used for
13        agricultural production if conserved.
14    Section 20. Farm Conservation Corps.
15    (a) Subject to appropriation and in partnership with the
16University of Illinois Extension, the Department shall
17establish the Farm Conservation Corps to provide residents
18between the ages of 18 and 29 from socially disadvantaged
19groups the academic, vocational, and social skills necessary
20to pursue long-term and productive careers in agriculture.
21    (b) The members of the Farm Conservation Corps shall serve
22as on-farm apprentices, at no cost, to farms that have been
23protected with an agricultural conservation easement under
24this Act or with an annual gross farm income of less than
25$250,000 operated by:



10300HB0056ham001- 8 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1        (1) socially disadvantaged farmers; or
2        (2) beginning farmers.
3    Section 25. Data collection and reporting.
4    (a) Subject to appropriation, the Director shall make
5publicly available annual reports describing data on the
6recipients of the Department programs, including assistance
7from farm subsidy programs, and the amounts of the assistance,
8delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the
10    (b) Subject to appropriation, the Department shall conduct
11research on the status of socially disadvantaged farmers,
12including, but not limited to:
13        (1) the share of land ownership of those socially
14    disadvantaged farmers as compared to all farmers,
15    delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the
16    landowners;
17        (2) the share of the amount of assistance those
18    socially disadvantaged farmers receive from the Department
19    as compared to all farmers, delineated by the race,
20    ethnicity, and gender of the recipients;
21        (3) the share, status, and receipt of loans by
22    socially disadvantaged farmers as compared to all farmers,
23    delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the
24    recipients; and
25        (4) an assessment of the reasons for disparities in



10300HB0056ham001- 9 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1    land ownership, assistance from the Department, and loans
2    for socially disadvantaged farmers compared to all
3    farmers.
4    (c) Subject to appropriation, the Department shall conduct
5research on the demographics and status of farmworkers,
6including, but not limited to:
7        (1) the races, ethnicities, ages, localities, wages
8    and benefits, and working conditions of farmworkers;
9        (2) the economic contributions of farmworkers to the
10    State economy; and
11        (3) the satisfaction of farmworkers with their
12    employment.
13    (d) The Department shall:
14        (1) investigate historical changes in reporting
15    methodology and misreporting of socially disadvantaged
16    farmers in the census of agriculture;
17        (2) develop procedures to ensure that census of
18    agriculture surveys accurately capture the status of
19    socially disadvantaged farmers engaged in urban
20    agriculture; and
21        (3) conduct, concurrently with each census of
22    agriculture, a review to assess:
23            (A) the outreach and methodologies used in
24        conducting the census of agriculture; and
25            (B) how such outreach and methodologies have
26        affected the counting of socially disadvantaged



10300HB0056ham001- 10 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1        farmers.
2    (e) Subject to appropriation, the Department shall
3annually conduct and annually make publicly available reports
4describing in-depth research and analysis of corporate
5(domestic and foreign) land investment and ownership in this
6State with specific attention given to the impact of corporate
7land investment and ownership on:
8        (1) land consolidation trends in this State and in the
9    United States;
10        (2) challenges and opportunities for new and beginning
11    farmers accessing land for farming;
12        (3) challenges and opportunities for members of
13    socially disadvantaged groups accessing land for farming;
14    and
15        (4) crop selection and production trends.
16    Section 35. Rulemaking. The Department shall adopt rules
17to carry out the provisions of this Act, including the
18adoption of rules that establish a process for submitting and
19processing of applications for grants no later than December
2031, 2023. Rules shall align with existing federal and local
21programs to maximize potential for matching funds.
22    Section 90. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
23Section 5.990 as follows:



10300HB0056ham001- 11 -LRB103 03572 BDA 71529 a

1    (30 ILCS 105/5.990 new)
2    Sec. 5.990. The Farmer Restoration Program Fund.
3    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
4becoming law.".