U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger visited an Ogle County farm last week, where he toured a wean-to-finish, multisite hog operation and discussed trade and the farm bill.
Kinzinger, R-Manteno, met with Keith Poole, Ogle County Farm Bureau president, and his family. In addition to livestock, the family raises corn, soybeans and wheat.
Poole explained his family’s operation, the manure application process, safety procedures and how the family cares for the animals. He also explained how important the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) remains – especially given the state of the farm economy.
“We need NAFTA and other trade opportunities and agreements, so we can continue to market our product,” Poole said. “A market hog at this point is worth $140 to $150. The NAFTA agreement puts another $18 in value on that pig. A lot of time, profit margin is in the $5 to $7 range, so if we would lose $18, we wouldn’t be in a state of profitability.”
The seventh round of NAFTA talks with Mexico and Canada will begin soon. Twenty-eight percent of Illinois exports go to the two countries.
Asked about NAFTA renegotiations, Kinzinger said: “It’s fine to renegotiate terms of NAFTA because the internet didn’t exist, for instance, when NAFTA was negotiated. But it’s way better to negotiate within NAFTA than outside of NAFTA. For agriculture, it’s extremely important. I’ve personally delivered that message to the president, and he seems to be kind of coming around to that realization. We have a really booming economy right now. We don’t need to do anything to stop that.”
Kinzinger also expressed support for preserving crop insurance in the next farm bill. He noted “farmers have already come to the table and given up a lot in past farm bill negotiations.”
Kinzinger said the visit to the Poole farm provided a great opportunity for him to see a livestock operation firsthand and learn more about agriculture’s struggles and successes.
“As we’re looking to work on the farm bill coming up, I think it’s important to see what it is we need to tweak, what is it we need to preserve,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of good information from people. So just being up here to visit today was really helpful.”
Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.