Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB0056
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Full Text of HB0056  103rd General Assembly



HB0056 EngrossedLRB103 03572 RJT 48578 b

1    AN ACT concerning agriculture.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Farmer
5Restoration 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,
17recording, and documentation of an agricultural conservation
18easement, such as appraisals, land surveys, title
19verification, and closing. "Costs of acquisition" do not
20include any costs incurred by a qualified easement holder for
21staffing, overhead, or operations.
22    "Director" means the Director of Agriculture.
23    "Department" means the Department of Agriculture.



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1    "Eligible individual" means a resident of this State who:
2        (1) was born in this State;
3        (2) is at least 21 years of age; and
4        (3) is a member of a socially disadvantaged group.
5    "Limited resource farmer" means a farmer with direct or
6indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed
7value in each of the previous 2 years, and who has a total
8household income at or below the national poverty level for a
9family of 4, or less than 50% of county median household income
10in each of the previous 2 years.
11    "New and beginning farmer" means a farmer who has operated
12a farm or ranch for less than 10 years.
13    "Qualified entity" means an organization:
14        (1) that is a nonprofit corporation under Section
15    501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or an
16    organization which has a fiscal sponsor who is exempt from
17    taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue
18    Code of 1986; and
19        (2) that has a minimum of 3 years of experience
20    providing agricultural services, business assistance,
21    legal assistance, or advocacy services to socially
22    disadvantaged farmers.
23    "Qualified easement holder" means a State agency, federal
24agency, county, municipality, or nonprofit organization under
25Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 with
26experience acquiring, whether through purchase, donation, or



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1transfer, an agricultural or other conservation easement.
2    "Qualified farmland" means land that is in agricultural
3production or available for agricultural production, including
4row crops, livestock, nurseries, orchards, or pastures, and
5incidental land that is associated with an active agricultural
7    "Socially disadvantaged farmer" means a farmer who is a
8member of a socially disadvantaged group.
9    "Socially disadvantaged group" means a group whose members
10have been subjected to racial, ethnic, or gender prejudice
11because of their identity as members of a group without regard
12to their individual qualities. These groups include all of the
14        (1) American Indian or Alaska Native (a person having
15    origins in any of the original peoples of North and South
16    America, including Central America, and who maintains
17    tribal affiliation or community attachment).
18        (2) Asian (a person having origins in any of the
19    original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the
20    Indian subcontinent, including, but not limited to,
21    Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan,
22    the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam).
23        (3) Black or African American (a person having origins
24    in any of the black racial groups of Africa).
25        (4) Hispanic or Latino (a person of Cuban, Mexican,
26    Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish



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1    culture or origin, regardless of race).
2        (5) Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (a
3    person having origins in any of the original peoples of
4    Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands).
5    "Training" means a program of training approved by the
6Director that:
7        (1) provides an eligible individual with the basic
8    skills to operate a farm profitably with a primary focus
9    on regenerating the soil, ecosystem, and local community;
10        (2) provides a course of study that is equivalent to
11    no less than 30 academic credit hours of study, which may
12    be provided as direct in-field instruction;
13        (3) focuses on low capital-intensive techniques and
14    technologies; and
15        (4) studies local and regional food systems and the
16    market opportunities those systems present.
17    Section 10. Farmer Restoration Program Fund.
18    (a) The Farmer Restoration Program Fund is created as a
19special fund in the State treasury. Except as provided in
20subsection (b), the moneys in the Fund, upon appropriation by
21the General Assembly, shall be used for the purposes of the
22program, which include grants for the purchase of agricultural
23conservation easements, technical assistance grants, technical
24assistance provided by the Department, and administrative
25costs incurred by the Department in administering the program.



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1    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), moneys may be
2deposited into the Fund from federal grants and gifts and
3donations that are designated and required by the donor to be
4used exclusively for the purposes of the program.
5    (c) Not more than 10% of available funds under this Act may
6be used for technical assistance purposes and administration.
7Not less than 90% of funds available for grants under this Act
8shall be expended for the acquisition of agricultural
9conservation easements. Moneys in the Fund shall also be
10available for the following purposes:
11        (1) To provide technical assistance grants to
12    qualified entities in support of socially disadvantaged
13    farmers who are seeking access to farmland. As used in
14    this Section, "technical assistance" includes, but is not
15    limited to, organizing, advising, counseling, educating,
16    planning, drafting, translating, interpreting, and
17    consulting with socially disadvantaged farmers for the
18    purpose of preparing them for favorable financing for land
19    acquisition or negotiating leasing arrangements.
20        (2) To provide grants for the purchase of agricultural
21    conservation easements to qualified easement holders.
22    Moneys from the Fund shall be available in each fiscal
23    year to any qualified easement holder having made an
24    application that has been approved by the Department.
25    Award grants may include:
26            (A) payment to qualified easement holders for the



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1        purchase of agricultural conservation easements on
2        qualified farmland; or
3            (B) payment of the costs of acquisition related to
4        the purchase of agricultural conservation easements
5        approved by the program.
6    Section 15. Department responsibilities. Subject to
7appropriation, the Department shall:
8        (1) adopt a scoring process to be used in evaluating
9    applications for agricultural conservation easement grants
10    that prioritizes applications benefiting:
11            (A) socially disadvantaged farmers;
12            (B) limited resource farmers;
13            (C) eligible individuals with a history of land
14        dispossession; and
15            (D) new and beginning farmers;
16        (2) include, as ranking criteria in the scoring
17    process, projects that:
18            (A) leverage local, federal, or private funding,
19        including a match requirement;
20            (B) support transition of farmland to next
21        generation owner-operators; and
22            (C) support conservation priorities, including
23        protection of habitat, water quality, watershed
24        conservation, climate resilience, and local
25        conservation plans; and



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1        (3) include, as eligibility criteria, projects that:
2            (A) protect farmland that is under threat of
3        conversion; and
4            (B) demonstrate that the parcel proposed for
5        conservation is expected to continue to be used for
6        agricultural production if conserved.
7    Section 20. Farm Conservation Corps.
8    (a) Subject to appropriation and in partnership with the
9University of Illinois Extension, the Department shall
10establish the Farm Conservation Corps to provide residents
11between the ages of 18 and 29 from socially disadvantaged
12groups the academic, vocational, and social skills necessary
13to pursue long-term and productive careers in agriculture.
14    (b) The members of the Farm Conservation Corps shall serve
15as on-farm apprentices, at no cost, to farms that have been
16protected with an agricultural conservation easement under
17this Act or with an annual gross farm income of less than
18$250,000 operated by:
19        (1) socially disadvantaged farmers; or
20        (2) beginning farmers.
21    Section 25. Data collection and reporting.
22    (a) Subject to appropriation, the Director shall make
23publicly available annual reports describing data on the
24recipients of the Department programs, including assistance



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1from farm subsidy programs, and the amounts of the assistance,
2delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the
4    (b) Subject to appropriation, the Department shall conduct
5research on the status of socially disadvantaged farmers,
6including, but not limited to:
7        (1) the share of land ownership of those socially
8    disadvantaged farmers as compared to all farmers,
9    delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the
10    landowners;
11        (2) the share of the amount of assistance those
12    socially disadvantaged farmers receive from the Department
13    as compared to all farmers, delineated by the race,
14    ethnicity, and gender of the recipients;
15        (3) the share, status, and receipt of loans by
16    socially disadvantaged farmers as compared to all farmers,
17    delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the
18    recipients; and
19        (4) an assessment of the reasons for disparities in
20    land ownership, assistance from the Department, and loans
21    for socially disadvantaged farmers compared to all
22    farmers.
23    (c) Subject to appropriation, the Department shall conduct
24research on the demographics and status of farmworkers,
25including, but not limited to:
26        (1) the races, ethnicities, ages, localities, wages



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1    and benefits, and working conditions of farmworkers;
2        (2) the economic contributions of farmworkers to the
3    State economy; and
4        (3) the satisfaction of farmworkers with their
5    employment.
6    (d) The Department shall:
7        (1) investigate historical changes in reporting
8    methodology and misreporting of socially disadvantaged
9    farmers in the census of agriculture;
10        (2) develop procedures to ensure that census of
11    agriculture surveys accurately capture the status of
12    socially disadvantaged farmers engaged in urban
13    agriculture; and
14        (3) conduct, concurrently with each census of
15    agriculture, a review to assess:
16            (A) the outreach and methodologies used in
17        conducting the census of agriculture; and
18            (B) how such outreach and methodologies have
19        affected the counting of socially disadvantaged
20        farmers.
21    (e) Subject to appropriation, the Department shall
22annually conduct and annually make publicly available reports
23describing in-depth research and analysis of corporate
24(domestic and foreign) land investment and ownership in this
25State with specific attention given to the impact of corporate
26land investment and ownership on:



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1        (1) land consolidation trends in this State and in the
2    United States;
3        (2) challenges and opportunities for new and beginning
4    farmers accessing land for farming;
5        (3) challenges and opportunities for members of
6    socially disadvantaged groups accessing land for farming;
7    and
8        (4) crop selection and production trends.
9    Section 35. Rulemaking. The Department shall adopt rules
10to carry out the provisions of this Act, including the
11adoption of rules that establish a process for submitting and
12processing of applications for grants no later than December
1331, 2023. Rules shall align with existing federal and local
14programs to maximize potential for matching funds.
15    Section 90. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
16Section 5.990 as follows:
17    (30 ILCS 105/5.990 new)
18    Sec. 5.990. The Farmer Restoration Program Fund.
19    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
20becoming law.