Illinois is home to the world's most productive farmers, as was seen in 2014 when our farmers harvested record amounts of corn and soybeans. The 16th Congressional District of Illinois continues to be the main driver behind these record setting harvests with Iroquois, DeKalb, and LaSalle counties all taking their place among the top five counties in the state for highest agriculture sales.
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, marketing of Illinois' agricultural commodities generates more than $19 billion annually. Without question, farmers, food processors, farm machinery manufacturing are significant drivers of the Illinois economy.
I have been honored to convene an Agriculture Advisory Committee comprised of farmers and others in the industry from throughout the Sixteenth District. It was during these meetings that my appreciation for the certainty that is needed for this industry became even stronger. Decisions on planting, purchasing, and strategy must all be made months, if not years, ahead of time in order to stay afloat. It is for these reasons that I have fought during my time in Congress to pass legislation that will ensure the policies and regulations coming out of Washington, D.C., are able to work for the average farmer by giving them a reliable outlook from which to work.
Some of these legislative issues I have been proud to support include:
Farm Bill - Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM)
Passed the U.S. House with my support on January 29, 2014, and was subsequently signed into law on February 7, 2014
This legislation eliminated or combined over 20 duplicative government programs to bring about $20 billion in savings
Provides certainty to farmers by reauthorizing farm safety net programs for five years
Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)
Passed the U.S. House with my support on May 20, 2014, by a nearly unanimous vote of 412-4: and was subsequently signed into law June 10, 2014.
Advocated on behalf of farmers over the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard Delays
As a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee I have been able to take part in hearings with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to push for an on-time release of RFS information
On April 10, 2015, the EPA announced that they would release RFS levels for 2014, 2015, & 2016 on June 1, 2015.