Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media

A huge new rail yard has been buzzing on the outskirts of Decatur, Ill. Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) recently opened the 275-acre facility that would be at home at any major port city on the coast. But it’s in the heart of Illinois farm country because farmers have been taking advantage of a new method of shipping out their products.

Illinois owes thousands of jobs to a decades-old federal tax break aimed at encouraging companies to export products. Those jobs will be in jeopardy this spring, though, if Congress repeals the break, as the European Union is pressuring it to do, without cushioning the financial blow. 

Two of Illinois’ largest exporters, Boeing Corp. and Caterpillar, would be particularly hard hit and have been lobbying Capitol Hill in the hope of influencing the final legislation.