Thanks to Illinois State Rep. Charlie Meier for being a part of 2024 Soil Health Week and Lobby Day Wednesday March 6, 2024 at the Illinois State Capitol. The Association of Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Districts thanks Rep. Meier sponsoring Soil Health Week legislation, and for supporting the implementation of SB1701, and the work of our 97 Soil & Water Conservation Districts, primed to work with producers and landowners to implement the needed conservation practices to ensure that our water runs clean and our soil remains healthy.

Holding a sign saying "And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said 'I need a caretaker.'"

State Rep. Charlie Meier (sponsor Soil Health Week) speaks as Master of Ceremony Todd Gleason, of the University of Illinois Extension, holds sign reading “And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said ‘I need a caretaker,’ so God made a FARMER” during Soil Health Week Thursday.


We’re trying to make Soil Health Week permanent in the State of Illinois. So, we don’t have to (approve) it every year, to make it a lot easier that we could be talking about something else.


Illinois State Rep. Charlie Meier’s presentation to Soil Health Week Lobby Day (watch on YouTube)

Welcome to Springfield. We’re happy to have you all here today. I still live on our centennial farm in the house that my great-grandparents built. That grandma pulled all the logs home with a team of mules, and then they were cut into board.

So, we’re busy on the farm today. I have my sister hauling corn. I have a neighbor working ground, and we’re also putting anhydrous down because Spring is here. Peach trees and apricots are blooming in southern Illinois, too.

Stewardship Alliance is a great organization and it’s about us all working together. Everybody loves to know where their food comes from. It doesn’t come from Walmart. It doesn’t come from Sam’s. A lot of it comes from farms right here in Illinois.

So, these groups that we’re working with, promoting small farms, orchards, large farms, working together as we move different bills, whether we’re setting up small stores now as we’re trying to do right below Springfield, it’s working very well where you do a self-checkout. They’re not even in there. They have cameras on, they’re selling their produce, their meat there. We’re trying to pass legislation for that.

We’re trying to make Soil Health Week permanent in the State of Illinois. So, we don’t have to do it every year to make it a lot easier that we could be talking about something else.

State Rep. Charlie Meier speaks, wide shot from behind podium.

State Rep. Charlie Meier speaks during Soil Health Week – Lobby Day Wednesday.


I want to talk to you for just a minute though, about my first bill when I was a state legislator.

The first one that I moved, which is going back 12 years ago. There was a nine-year-old girl in my district that made cupcakes, and she took them cupcakes to the nursing home when her grandma went there to do hair, and handed them out,  and people thought they were really good. This girl’s name is Chloe.

So, they started buying them, and then the health department shut them down because they weren’t made in an inspected kitchen. So, this nine-year-old girl couldn’t sell the cupcakes she made.

I come to Springfield. I did not know anything about politics or running bills, and I show up in the committee, and I’ve got 95 health departments in the state of Illinois there against this bill of selling cupcakes. And it seemed simple enough, you know, Chloe handed out cupcakes to everybody to eat. They told me right before we’re ready to start the committee, it would only be subject matter only and there would be no vote. The health departments were going to win this battle.

But Chloe, being a nine-year-old girl and a box full of cupcakes, some of my colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, convinced them to have a vote. 95 health departments against it. It won’t pass. Let him have a vote. Let Chloe have her day.

Well, we passed it out of committee. It went to the House. The first vote, it got voted down in the House. But sometimes people need a little good PR, and Governor Quinn was running for re-election and he heard about that bill and decided it’d be great to sign a bill about cupcakes and a little nine-year-old girl. It was passed.

She went on to on the Junior Cupcake Wars on TV. She had a kitchen donated that they built under her house for her to keep making cupcakes. And we used that bill repeatedly across the state of Illinois to open up all the Cottage Bills we have that are letting you bring your produce from your farms, from your garden and go out and sell it to Illinois residents. So, they know where it came from. All started with that sweet little tasty cupcake.

But it’s by us all working together. These are the things that we can do. And I’m glad to see you here today helping show your support because, you know, they aren’t making any more ground. There’s a little bit growing at the bottom of the Mississippi in Louisiana, but they’re not making more ground.

And on the days that I have a bad day, and I have the great pleasure of getting home, whether it’s eight o’clock at night, midnight, even at four in the morning, I walked down that lane on the same ground that my great grandfather walked down, took his team of mules and horses down, and I look out at the sky and I smell the air and I thank God I’m home and thank God for Illinois and our dirt. Thank you.

Illinois State Rep. Charlie Meier with a line of smiling Conservation Planners

Illinois State Rep. Charlie Meier met with conservation planners from the Capacity Building Initiative and invited them to share his Ski Citrus Soda. The conservation planners (from left) are Brad Duft, Aidan Woltman, Nicholas Werries, Collin Nye, Alexander Daniel, Courtney Lercher, Jamie Davidson, Wyatt Dozier, Hunter Cejka, and Charlie Cole. The planners work out of SWCDs in Bond, McHenry-Lake, Sangamon, Grundy, Monroe, Cass, Winnebago, Scott, Will/South Cook, and Iroquois counties.

See Facebook post with more details on sharing Ski Citrus Soda.

Rep. Meier spoke again for The Art and Science of Soil Health Advocacy in Action Day Thursday March 7.

One of our house employees was in my office, and he said, “I always love that sign up on the wall,” and my sign was given to me by the Murray parents, and it says “On the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said ‘I need a caretaker.’ So, God made a farmer.”

I love that sign. It’s on my wall in my office. Some of you have seen that earlier when you’re in there raiding my Ski out of my refrigerator. But you know, we’re here today celebrating what God’s given us; the soil that we have in Illinois, some of the most productive soil in the world.

Mine in Southern Illinois isn’t quite as good as around here. But we feed our families. We take care of it. We nurture it. We want to make sure the next generation inherits a soil and a land and a legacy that’s better than the one we inherited. That’s what most farmers are trying to do. It’s what we’re trying to do here in Springfield. I’m happy to work with the Department of Ag, Jerry Costello is a farmer, colleague of mine in the house.

We work well together, we’re here to try to make a difference, make things better, and we have to think about the next generation and the generation after. We’ve been on our farm for five generations, we want to make sure it’s there for another five generations. So, we thank you for coming today to support soil health. We will try to get this where it’s permanent, and we don’t have to vote on it annually. But thank you, and have a great day in the Capitol.

Categories: Uncategorized