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Illinois congressional delegation concerned with farm bill delays

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(The Center Square) – Illinois’ largest industry is still looking for a reauthorized five-year farm bill from the U.S. Congress.

The farm bill is considered one of the most important things that the U.S. Congress needs to do this year, but the status of a renewal is up in the air. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of the year.

“The farm bill is vitally important,” Illinois U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, told The Center Square. “We have to reauthorize it. It has to be done by the end of September. I don’t think we’ll meet that deadline so we’ll need a short extension. But I remain optimistic, by the end of the year we’ll reauthorize it.”

Illinois U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski, D-Springfield, said farm bill “delays would create incredible uncertainty for family farmers and rural communities throughout the Heartland.”

“The Farm Bill is one of the most important bills Congress is tasked with passing this year, but the noise and nonsense in Washington is distracting too many from getting this important work done,” she said.

Budzinski released a Farm Bill 101 webpage where she lays out some of the priorities she’s gathered from farming constituents. Among those are protecting crop insurance, investing in research, rural development, enhancing conservation programs and more.

LaHood laid out other measures farmers are looking for.

“Whether it’s crop insurance, whether it’s conservation measures, whether it’s regulatory measures, whether its help on the RFS or the Renewable Fuel Standards and many other things, [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] and food nutrition programs in there,” LaHood said of the large list of priorities.

But LaHood was confident Congress will get the job done.

“I feel good about getting this done by the end of the year but it is imperative that we don’t let it slip,” LaHood said.

Budzinski’s office said both sides of the aisle need to focus on approving a bipartisan deal.

“One that ensures families can put food on the table, guarantees safety nets that family farmers depend on, invests in research and development and provides desperately needed resources to rural communities,” Budzkinski’s website said.

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