By Patrick Baron
BLOOMINGTON – U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, whose district includes parts of McLean, Peoria, and Tazewell counties and all of Logan and Woodford counties, spoke in front of a crowd of farmers on Wednesday at the Asmark Agricenter in Bloomington.
The Peoria Republican discussed what he hopes 2018 will hold in store for farmers across the state, including the Farm Bill that is up for a vote in the nation’s capitol this year. He believes the bill is important for crop insurance and ensuring that farmers won’t be over-regulated by the government.
“We’re working very hard with the agriculture community here in central and west-central Illinois to make sure that we protect farmers’ ability to do what they do best – which is to be good stewards of the land – to make sure they’re producing the best yields every year,” LaHood explained.
LaHood said crop insurance can be costly, but it is a vital safety net for farmers. He also said he wants to see more bipartisan efforts to enable corn, soybean, and commodities from Illinois to be traded around the world.
LaHood also touched on the importance of agriculture education, particularly in urban areas like Chicago, where some young students might be unaware how much agriculture impacts their daily lives.
“Ag is the number one industry in Illinois, it’s not anything up in Chicago,” LaHood explained. “So we have to do a better job, and I know at the state level we help out with that a little bit and at the federal level, in supporting education programs.”
LaHood highlighted schools like Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois that provide agriculture programs, but noted the state should have more resources dedicated to promoting agriculture education at all grade levels.
Patrick Baron can be reached at email@example.com.