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: Drought.Illinois.gov
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.
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