Illinois is home to some of the world’s most productive farmers and farmland. In fact, nearly 75% of our state’s total land area is farmland. The hardworking men and women of Illinois’ agriculture industry make our state a leading producer of corn, soybeans, and swine.
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, marketing of Illinois’ agricultural products generates more than $19 billion annually. Without question, farmers, food processors, and farm machinery manufacturing are significant drivers of the Illinois economy.
Based on the vital role of farmers and others in the agriculture industry to the Sixteenth District, I’ve convened an Agriculture Advisory Committee regularly since 2013. Comprised of farmers and producers from every county in the District, meeting with my Agriculture Advisory Committee has deepened my understanding and appreciation for the challenges and opportunities facing our farmers.
Above all, our farmers need support and certainty from the federal government. Decisions on planting, purchasing, and strategy must all be made months, if not years, ahead of time to stay afloat. For these reasons, I have fought during my time in Congress to pass legislation to ensure the policies and regulations coming out of Washington, D.C., work for the average farmer.
Some of the legislative issues I have been proud to support include:
2018 Farm Bill - H.R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act
· Passed the U.S. House with my support on June 21, 2018
· This legislation supports rural America through rural development loans, nutrition assistance for low-income families, support for land conservation and sustainability programs, and programs to export our agricultural goods to new markets around the world.
· Provides certainty to farmers by reauthorizing farm safety net programs, including Crop Insurance
· Hear more of my thoughts about the 2018 Farm Bill here
· Passed the U.S. House with my support of June 6, 2018
· This legislation is part of Congress’ continued investment in America’s waterways. Vital to transporting agricultural commodities and thousands of other goods, maintaining our nation’s locks, dams, and waterways – including the Illinois Waterway which runs through the Sixteenth District – is essential to our economy
Waters of the U.S. Rule (WOTUS)
· I have voted repeatedly to repeal the misguided 2015 Environmental Protection Agency’s “Waters of the U.S.” rule which broadly expanded the EPA’s authority over waterways to include puddles, agricultural ponds, and farm ditches
Renewable Fuel Standard
· I’ve long supported the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) which provides certainty to farmers in the Sixteenth District and around the country
· The RFS reduces our reliance on foreign-oil and supports domestic fuel suppliers
· I’m a proud original co-sponsor of H.R. 1311, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which removes outdated EPA regulations that prevent retailers from selling E15 during the summer months