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My heart goes out to all of our farming neighbors. The entire 16th District is experiencing a drought according to the latest USDA report. These hard working folks need support from us in any form we can give right now.

I remember when I was growing up on a farm near Ottawa, Illinois; my father was always watching the sky during the summer searching for signs of rain. Corn crops require a delicate balance and if you have a drought at the wrong time, as we are experiencing now, then you can lose your entire livelihood.

I was pleased to see Governor Quinn visit southern Illinois farm fields this week. I support his letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting seven additional counties be added to the already 26 counties that have received Secretarial Disaster Designation. I hope we get rain before our district becomes part of the severe or extreme category.

I urge all farmers in IL-16 (all that qualify in our state for that matter) to look into the four programs Governor Quinn announced this week. These programs are made possible through a partnership between the Illinois Finance Authority and the local banks. The programs include the Agricultural Restructuring Program, Working Capital Guarantee Program, Agricultural Loan Participation Program, and the Rural Development Loan Program. There is also a new website to keep track of all the latest information related to the drought in Illinois. You can find it at:

Over 50 percent of our nation is dealing with some level of drought. What affects our farms affects all of us—skyrocketing prices, food shortages—the list goes on and on. We all depend on our farmers. When I am elected I will be an advocate for family farmers who have long been taken for granted by Congress, including my opponent Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

I am from a farm family. I understand the history and the struggles of small family farmers. I count them as my friends and I will continue to be their strongest voice in Washington after November 6th, 2012.

Please visit Wanda's campaign web site! Learn more about the issues that concern her, sign up to volunteer, or contribute to this truly grassroots congressional campaign at: Wanda Rohl for Congress

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Conservative Solution (3+ / 0-)

    Is not to worry about Global Warming - just get rid of the Death Tax and it will start raining and save all the Family Farms.

  •  What kind of mechanism is there to get $$s (1+ / 0-)

    to the mythical "family farmer" w/o having the vast majority of funds sucked up by the large scale corporate "farmers"  (that already suckle unmercifully at the goverment teat?)

    •  The Farm Subsidies have to change. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, elizabethawilke

      We do have family farmers left in this country. They may not have the numbers, the profits, or the production of the corporate giants, but they are out there. The way the farm subsidies are currently set up, they favor the highly profitable corporate factory "farmers" who DO NOT need subsidies to run their highly profitable businesses. This setup is also what promotes obesity in this country—encouraging mass production of high fructose corn syrup (which is why you will see food price increases in so many products!). We need to speak up and level the playing field especially for families who want to farm fruits & vegetables!

      •  Thank you for the response (0+ / 0-)

        There seems to be a number of complicated issues going on

        First, absent the current drought, the "family farm" is doing quite well and probably not really in need of added subsidies, e.g. as described here: The Triumph of the Family Farm

        If the current drought is a temporary anomoly, then yeah, hopefully some emergency measures can be put in place to tide farmers over until next year (if, for example, they did not have the foresight to obtain crop insurance, or whatever).

        If the current drought is going to be an ongoing feature of global climate change, then of course things become much more complicated.

        Having said that, the article I posted is more aimed at mechanized crops, such as producing corn either for HFCS or ethanol (neither of which I believe is worthy of governemnt subsidies!) while you mention family farms that focus on vegetables and fruits.

        As I'm sure you're well aware, fruit and vegetable farming depends on "illegal" labor - which has been scarce lately because of the political climate in this country.

        So, until John McCain actually comes through with that offer to pay lettuce harvesters $50/hour, we're in quite the pickle, I believe on this issue since Americans simply will not do this work for $12-18/hour.

        •  I think you raise some valid points. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I would disagree that all family farms are thriving; I think some are, but certainly not all. It's impossible to compete with agribusiness in addition to the subsidies they get, the money and effort they put into lobbying and the money they donate politically.

          I think (though I hope I'm wrong) the drought may be a feature of global climate change and I absolutely agree that makes things more complicated. As a nation, even the climate change nay-sayers, we need to get on board with some new innovation and technology b/c there are many other countries who are and that may make us competitive in that realm, but I digress.

          I think it is a pickle, or a catch-22 (I've been hearing that phrase a lot lately!) Clearly our country is dependent on labor and these hard workers, WHOEVER does it, should be able to do it safely and paid a sustainable wage for the work they do. I actually have cousins and aunts and uncles who farm down south and I just don't know how they do it. I don't think I would make it a week out in the sun working all day like that.

          Sorry to butt in on your response but I think this is an interesting topic. I became a vegetarian (sometimes vegan) about 5 years ago because I was so disgusted by some factory farming practices and exploitations.

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