Illinois senator discusses ag issues with area farmers

Duckworth hears about ag research, transportation and crop insurance, calls proposed cuts 'shortsighted.'

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, talks with Livingston County Farm Bureau President Jason Bunting at the Illinois State University Farm near Lexington. Following a tour of the farm, Duckworth conducted a roundtable discussion with farmers regarding rural development and other ag issues. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, talks with Livingston County Farm Bureau President Jason Bunting at the Illinois State University Farm near Lexington. Following a tour of the farm, Duckworth conducted a roundtable discussion with farmers regarding rural development and other ag issues. (Photo by Catrina Rawson).
By Deana Stroisch

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth toured Illinois State University’s (ISU) Farm Friday, learned about its operation and discussed key agriculture issues with area farmers.

Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, met with a group of about 25 farmers and university officials, who discussed the importance of crop insurance, the potential closing of Peoria’s ag lab, agricultural research and an efficient waterway system.

“I’m so proud to be out here at ISU to tour the farm and hear about the great programs that they’re doing in order to support our farmers,” Duckworth said following her tour. “We have some real challenges coming up with this budget that we’re working on in Washington. The White House’s budget proposal cuts as much as $231 billion from agricultural programs, and that would be devastating for communities all across Illinois, and I wanted to hear from the Farm Bureau and the farmers exactly how they would be affected and what their priorities are.”

Related: Growing coalition fights Peoria ag lab closure. Click here.

Jason Bunting, Livingston County Farm Bureau president, thanked Duckworth for her support of a bill that would give E-15 a Reid Vapor Pressure waiver so higher blends can be used during the summer. He also explained the importance of modern, efficient waterways to help move Illinois products.

Farmers also discussed the importance of crop insurance. President Donald Trump’s budget calls for $28.8 billion in cuts to federal crop insurance during the next 10 years. If approved by Congress, the budget would cap premium subsidies at $40,000 per farmer, limit eligibility for crop insurance and commodity payments to farmers who earn $500,000 a year or less, and eliminate the Harvest Price Option on revenue policies.

Duckworth called proposed cuts to crop insurance “shortsighted.”

“I think many people misunderstand and they think that crop insurance is some sort of government giveaway program, when it actually is a tool,” Duckworth said. “Farmers have to buy crop insurance. They have to make a decision at the beginning of the year whether or not they are going to pay for crop insurance and take that out of their budget.”

She said getting rid of crop insurance would require the federal government to provide disaster relief for farmers should another severe drought occur, like the one in 2012.

“It’s very shortsighted to cut crop insurance because it will cost taxpayers more in the long run,” she said.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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