Davis visits two Illinois farms, discusses ag issues

Illinois farmers happy to give the House Ag Committee member an update of what's happening on farms, including rising health care costs.

Davis _visits _two _illinois _farms _discusses _ag _issues _1_636609605864392649

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, visited the farm of Mike Stacey, right, in Macon County this week.

Davis helped Stacey plant soybeans.

(Photo by Ryan Whitehouse, IFB associate director of national legislation and policy development)

By Deana Stroisch

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis helped plant corn in Madison County and soybeans in Macon County this week, learned about the latest technology and listened to the concerns of famers.

Front of mind for Mike Stacey: The rising cost of health care.

“It’s getting out of control,” Stacey said. “My wife and I pay a little over $20,000 a year for health insurance. That was a subject I wanted to visit with the congressman about because it’s getting unaffordable.”

Stacey, who serves as Macon County Farm Bureau president, grows corn and soybeans with his son. Davis visited on the first day of soybean planting.

“I think it’s always good to have the congressman come out and visit the farm,” Stacey said. “He’s on the Ag Committee. He needs to know what’s going on out here in the farm community.”

Earlier in the day, Davis visited the farm of Steve Koeller near Godfrey where he helped plant corn. Davis said he hopes to come back in the fall to help harvest some of the seeds he planted on both fields.

“Today’s really been about learning for me,” Davis said. “I’d never been around a planter, and I was able to get to know the products they use, get to know what they have to go through to get those products into the ground.

“When you get in a tractor with someone, you can’t really predict that they want to talk about an issue like health care affordability,” Davis said. “But that’s what’s great about visits like this. It gives me a chance to really understand what our farmers are going through.”

Davis also discussed other ag issues, including:

- Farm bill: Davis said he’s “very supportive” of the House version of the bill, which he said builds upon the “successes of the 2014 farm bill” for agriculture. He also supports a new requirement in the bill that calls for work-capable adults ages 18-59 to work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week to receive nutrition assistance. The bill passed the House Ag Committee on a party-line vote of 28-20.

“The Democrats, unfortunately, did not want to help us write a bill,” Davis said. “They offered zero amendments. And that’s really frustrating to me because four years ago, a lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle worked together to amend the bill that we may not have liked completely, but ended up being a very good bill for taxpayers and producers,” he said.

- China tariffs dispute: Davis said he plans to fight for farmers as well as his constituents in the steel industry. He pointed to 2,000 workers who lost their jobs at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works plant in southern Illinois. After President Donald Trump announced plans to implement a 25 percent tariff on all steel imports, U.S. Steel announced plans to call about 500 of those employees back to work.

“We have to have a domestic steel industry to produce the products that I got to ride in today,” Davis said. “We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think China is going to trade unfairly – not just on steel – but also when it comes to agriculture. We have to do a better job of holding them accountable. And let’s make sure they don’t do anything to hurt Illinois agriculture.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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