Economic Development Council announces gain of 500 jobs during first quarter

Illinois State University hosted the quarterly update on McLean County’s economic progress. (Blake Haas/WJBC)

 

By Blake Haas

BLOOMINGTON – Despite the lack of a Farm Bill to promote job creation locally, Bloomington-Normal added 500 jobs in the first quarter this year.

With questions lingering about trade in the nations capital, Director of National Legislation and Policy Development with the Illinois Farm Bureau, Adam Nielsen, said the Farm Bill will help local farmers with lingering questions about their crops during BN (Bloomington-Normal) by the Numbers quarterly meeting.

“The Farm Bill is very simple. It provides for and supports the production of agricultural commodities in a way that allows farmers to weather the storm (from) a natural disaster or a price disaster if there is a policy for example,” said Nielsen. “…And we were putting an embargo on a certain country and the price fell off we would perhaps see some relief in the Farm Bill. It also helps farmers address conservation issues, water quality and respond to some of the demands of that are being put on them today to change the way that they are doing things so they can reduce nutriment loss coming off of their farms.

Nielsen added that everyone is feeling the pinch with trade questions lingering especially farmers in McLean County.

“The McLean County farmer understands that things are not great right now,” Nielsen said. “The trade policy has been all over the place and they (are) feeling it right now in terms of prices and that we are in the fifth year of a farm down turn. (There is also) not the capital right now to spend and reinvest. They (McLean County farmers) are kind of weathering the storm. What I would say to them is we (Illinois Farm Bureau) is working very hard with their policy to try and get the best Farm Bill that we can here in the next couple of weeks and give them five more years of certainty.”

Nielsen said millions of people around the country can benefit from the Farm Bill with crops being an everyday essential.

“A lot of people forget about this is that it provides for the basic nutritional needs of everybody,” Nielsen added. “There are many millions of people across the country who receive SNAP (Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, which is the largest program in the farrago. So we are supporting production, conservation and were supporting nutrition.”

Neilsen added that everyone around the country can feel the pinch and its only going to get worse.

“Farmers are consumers (and) they are also consumers of business services,” said Nielsen. “We will eventually feel it. We have fortunately had harvests and good years, our exports are going to be impacted and the prices right now are dropping.”

Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.haas@cumulus.com.

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