Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB3556
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Full Text of HB3556  103rd General Assembly




State of Illinois
2023 and 2024


Introduced 2/17/2023, by Rep. Sonya M. Harper


New Act
30 ILCS 105/5.990 new

    Creates the Black Farmer Restoration Program Act. Creates the Black Farmer Restoration Program within the Illinois Department of Agriculture to support current Black farmers and to encourage the growth of Black farmers into the field of agriculture. Creates the Black Farmer Restoration Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. Provides that the Fund shall consist of gifts, grants, donations, and appropriations which must be made to support the Program. Provides that expenditures from the Fund must be used exclusively to pay costs, fees, and expenses necessary to administer the Program. Establishes requirements and limitations for the Program. Establishes the Farm Conservation Corps to provide training in an on-field environment for socially disadvantaged residents. Provides that the Director shall make publicly available annual reports describing data on the recipients of the Department programs, including assistance from farm subsidy programs, and the amounts of the assistance, delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the recipients. Defines terms. Effective immediately.

LRB103 30147 RLC 56571 b





HB3556LRB103 30147 RLC 56571 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 Black
5Farmer Restoration Program Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. As used in this Act:
7    "Agricultural easement" means a nonpossessory interest of
8a holder in real property imposing limitations on the use of
9the property strictly to agricultural purposes. An
10agricultural easement does not prevent a property owner from
11constructing, improving, or maintaining a primary residence or
12housing for farmworkers on the land.
13    "Director" means the Director of Agriculture.
14    "Department" means the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
15    "Eligible individual" means a resident of this State who:
16        (1) was born in this State;
17        (2) is at least 21 years of age;
18        (3) has previously identified as Black or African
19    American; and
20        (4) has at least one parent of African ancestry.
21    "Qualified entity" means an organization:
22        (1) that has a fiscal sponsor who is exempt from
23    taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal



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1    Revenue Code of 1986;
2        (2) that has a minimum of 3 years of experience
3    providing agricultural services, business assistance,
4    legal assistance, or advocacy services to socially
5    disadvantaged farmers; and
6        (3) in which at least one-half of the members of the
7    organization's board of directors are Black.
8    "Socially disadvantaged farmer" means a farmer who is a
9member of a socially disadvantaged group.
10    "Socially disadvantaged group" means a group of people
11whose members have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice
12because of their identity as a member of a group without regard
13to their individual qualities.
14    "Training" means a program of training approved by the
15Director that:
16        (1) provides an eligible individual with the basic
17    skills to operate a farm profitably with a primary focus
18    on regenerating the soil, ecosystem, and local community;
19        (2) provides a course of study that is equivalent to
20    no less than 30 academic credit hours of study, which may
21    be provided as direct in-field instruction;
22        (3) focuses on low capital-intensive techniques and
23    technologies; and
24        (4) studies local and regional food systems and the
25    market opportunities those systems present.



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1    Section 10. Black Farmer Restoration Program. The Black
2Farmer Restoration Program is created within the Illinois
3Department of Agriculture to support current Black farmers and
4to encourage the growth of Black farmers into the field of
5agriculture. The Black Farmer Restoration Fund is created as a
6special fund in the State treasury. The Fund shall consist of
7gifts, grants and donations, and appropriations which must be
8made to support the Program. Expenditures from the Fund must
9be used exclusively to pay costs, fees, and expenses necessary
10to administer the Program.
11    Section 15. Department and Director responsibilities.
12    (a) The Department shall:
13        (1) purchase, from willing sellers, available
14    agricultural land within this State at a price no greater
15    than fair market value; and
16        (2) convey grants of the purchased land to eligible
17    individuals at no cost to the eligible individual.
18    (b) A land grant to an eligible individual may not exceed
19one hundred acres.
20    (c) Eligible individuals:
21        (1) An eligible individual seeking a land grant shall
22    submit an application on a form and in a manner approved by
23    the Director that must include a legal description of the
24    eligible agricultural land.
25        (2) The Director shall give priority to applications



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1    to:
2            (A) socially disadvantaged farmers;
3            (B) eligible individuals with a family history of
4        land dispossession;
5            (C) eligible individuals with experience in
6        agriculture, including experience obtained through the
7        provisions of this article; and
8            (D) eligible individuals who are veterans.
9        (3) The Director may grant an application submitted by
10    a qualified entity on behalf of one or more eligible
11    individuals seeking a land grant. An application submitted
12    by a qualified entity for more than one hundred acres must
13    include a proposal for how the land will be subdivided and
14    separately conveyed to multiple eligible individuals.
15    (d) Granted land.
16        (1) The Director shall attach an agricultural easement
17    to the land before it may be conveyed to the eligible
18    individual or qualified entity.
19        (2) The recipient of the land grant may sell the land,
20    but the Department has the right of first refusal to
21    purchase the land at the appraised value of the land to
22    convey to another eligible individual pursuant to the
23    provisions of this article.
24    Section 20. Farm Conservation Corps.
25    (a) The Department shall establish the Farm Conservation



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1Corps to provide residents between the ages of 18 and 29 from
2socially disadvantaged groups the academic, vocational, and
3social skills necessary to pursue long-term and productive
4careers in agriculture.
5    (b) The members of the Farm Conservation Corps shall serve
6as on-farm apprentices, at no cost, to farms with an annual
7gross farm income of less than $250,000 operated by:
8        (1) socially disadvantaged farmers;
9        (2) beginning farmers; or
10        (3) farmers operating certified organic farms.
11    Section 25. Data collection and reporting.
12    (a) Generally. The Director shall make publicly available
13annual reports describing data on the recipients of the
14Department programs, including assistance from farm subsidy
15programs, and the amounts of the assistance, delineated by the
16race, ethnicity, and gender of the recipients.
17    (b) Research of socially disadvantaged farmers and
18ranchers. The Department shall conduct research on the status
19of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, including, but
20not limited to:
21        (1) the share of land ownership of those socially
22    disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as compared to all
23    farmers and ranchers, delineated by the race, ethnicity,
24    and gender of the landowners;
25        (2) the share of the amount of assistance those



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1    socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers receive from
2    the Department as compared to all farmers and ranchers,
3    delineated by the race, ethnicity, and gender of the
4    recipients;
5        (3) the share, status, and receipt of loans by
6    socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as compared to
7    all farmers and ranchers, delineated by the race,
8    ethnicity, and gender of the recipients; and
9        (4) an assessment of the reasons for disparities in
10    land ownership, assistance from the Department, and loans
11    for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers compared
12    to all farmers and ranchers.
13    (c) Research of farmworkers. The Department shall conduct
14research on the demographics and status of farmworkers,
15including, but not limited to:
16        (1) the races, ethnicities, ages, localities, wages
17    and benefits, and working conditions of farmworkers;
18        (2) the economic contributions of farmworkers to the
19    Illinois economy; and
20        (3) satisfaction of farmworkers with their employment.
21    (d) Census of agriculture. The Department shall:
22        (1) investigate historical changes in reporting
23    methodology and misreporting of Black farmers and ranchers
24    in the census of agriculture;
25        (2) develop procedures to ensure that census of
26    agriculture surveys accurately capture the status of



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1    socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers engaged in
2    urban agriculture; and
3        (3) conduct, concurrently with each census of
4    agriculture, a review to assess:
5            (A) the outreach and methodologies used in
6        conducting the census of agriculture; and
7            (B) how such outreach and methodologies have
8        affected the counting of socially disadvantaged
9        farmers and ranchers.
10    (e) Corporate ownership of farmland. The Department shall
11annually conduct, and annually make publicly available reports
12describing, in-depth research and analysis of corporate
13(domestic and foreign) land investment and ownership in
14Illinois, with specific attention given to the impact of
15corporate land investment and ownership on:
16        (1) land consolidation trends in Illinois and in the
17    United States;
18        (2) challenges and opportunities for new and beginning
19    farmers and ranchers accessing land for farming or
20    ranching;
21        (3) challenges and opportunities for members of
22    socially disadvantaged groups accessing land for farming
23    or ranching; and
24        (4) crop selection and production trends.
25    Section 35. Rulemaking. The Department shall adopt rules



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1to carry out the provisions of this Act.
2    Section 90. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
3Section 5.990 as follows:
4    (30 ILCS 105/5.990 new)
5    Sec. 5.990. The Black Farmer Restoration Fund.
6    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
7becoming law.