CHICAGO - Gov. Pat Quinn spoke to the state's farmers during the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago Sunday.
Quinn told those in attendance that trade and expanding exports continue to be important to his administration. He said exports increased 28 percent in 2011 and more in 2012. He also recognized the importance of transportation infrastructure for moving commodities and inputs and spoke specifically to the challenges on the Mississippi River right now.
"We also understand that getting goods to market is imperative," said Quinn. "This is a very serious challenge, indeed. We've asked the Army Corps of Engineers to put more water from the Missouri River into the Mississippi River, the big river, the one that really connects our entire nation to ports like New Orleans where we can export our goods to the world."
Quinn also mentioned dredging and blasting that need to happen so the necessary navigation can occur, and talked about needed upgrade for locks and dams. He said it is necessary to work together on these challenges like agriculture did last summer during the drought.
"We believe in insurance and we also believe in having our government agencies - our Illinois Finance Authority, our Illinois Department of Agriculture and all our departments - there when you need them," said Quinn. "And so we really still want to work and go forward as we help people recover from a very devastating drought."
Quinn pointed out the importance of getting the state budget under control, saying pension reform has to come first. He talked about rural broadband improvements and touted 4,100 miles of broadband that has been laid across Illinois, particularly in rural areas, during his administration.
Quinn also noted that Illinois Agriculture Director Bob Flider was confirmed last week.
Carrie Muehling can be reached at email@example.com.