Counties may soon have better options to lease farmland, making it easier for the counties to get the best financial results for the taxpayers they serve, due to legislation sponsored by State Senator Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville).
“These are common sense changes that will help county governments deal with farmland and be better stewards of taxpayer resources,” said Sen. Plummer. “This legislation also makes sure the process is done in the best interest of the public, with full transparency, and not a means for unscrupulous officials to help themselves or their friends.”
House Bill 1076 allows county boards to lease farmland held by the county through cash rent, crop-sharing, or custom farming agreements for up to 5-year terms.
To ensure that process is done in an ethical manner, the bill includes several standards for the process, including requiring a ¾ vote by the full county board to approve leases, requiring a publicly announced process for accepting sealed bids for leases (which must be opened during county board meeting for public review), as well as prohibiting counties from acquiring land solely for the purpose of leasing it.
The legislation passed the Senate on May 19th, and now heads to the Illinois House for a concurrence vote.