The Second Congressional District is one of the most diverse regions in our nation. It is a microcosm of our country – home to not only urban and suburban, but rural areas as well. And it is our strong rural sector, with over 1,200 farms, that serves as the economic backbone of our district. Farmers in the Second Congressional District produce $367 million worth of corn, soybeans, and wheat every year that feed our families, fuel our cars, and raise our livestock.
Ensuring we have a strong agricultural sector is vital to the overall strength of our economy. We rely on farmers for everything that we do. I stand for strong federal policies that support family farmers, and ensure they are able to make the investments they need to increase their productivity and meet the nutrition and energy needs of our ever-growing population.
My agricultural priorities are:
- Advancing sound environmental regulations that protect our nation’s air and water without unduly burdening farms;
- Ensuring USDA crop insurance and price support strategies work for farmers, and protect their investments;
- Investing in corn and cellulosic ethanol as a source of clean and renewable energy;
- Promoting comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform that allows for a strong agriculture labor sector;
- Developing an international trade agenda that expands foreign markets for Illinois commodities, while protecting labor, health and safety regulations; and
- Creating federal policies that promote investments in precision agriculture technologies, while protecting our national security and privacy.
More on Agriculture
The recent article entitled “We’re ‘bullseye’ in trade wars” details the real threat that Kankakee farmers are under from President Trump’s misguided and ill-conceived trade war.
If the president continues to pursue his current course of dangerous action, the underpinning of Kankakee’s and Illinois’ economy will fall away.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly released this statement regarding newly announced Chinese tariffs against U.S. agricultural products and President Trump’s escalating trade war:
“President Trump’s misguided and ill-conceived trade war with China and other nations will have a massive and negative impact on Illinois farmers and rural communities.
Farmers now can join the long list of Americans President Donald Trump and his policies have attacked.
Just more than a year ago, rural voters helped propel candidate Trump to the presidency, but since then, his budgets and policies have failed farmers and rural communities. The Trump administration's new budget proposal mindlessly guts $265 billion from agriculture and other programs that are crucial to the survival of rural communities.
An Illinois Democrat says she’s found a way to please everyone in her diverse district with legislation that would alleviate Chicago-area “food deserts” by lifting a barrier to fruit and vegetable production in rural areas.
Rep. Robin Kelly’s “Feeding America through Farm Flexibility Act” would modify a rule that disincentivizes farmers of major commodities, such as corn and wheat, from switching production to fruits and vegetables.
If passed, a new bill would allow grain crop farmers to grow fruits and vegetables on more of their farm program base acres. With the goal of attaching the legislation to the next farm bill, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., cosponsored legislation called “Feeding America through Farm Flexibility Act of 2017.” The proposed law would allow grain farmers to plant an additional 5% of their commodity crop base acres to vegetables if the extra harvest is sold or donated into a food desert with a poverty rate of at least 20%, according to the text of the bill.
The two Illinois representatives in the U.S. House seem far apart in several ways. Mike Bost, a Republican from Murphysboro, represents a district at the southern end of the state. Robin Kelly is a northern Illinois Democrat whose district includes part of Chicago’s south side as well as farms in Kankakee County.
Amid a climate of highly partisan politics, a piece of bipartisan legislation has surfaced in Washington, and it should receive uniform support.
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, the Matteson Democrat who represents all of Kankakee County and part of Will County, has joined forces with fellow U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican from downstate Murphysboro, to introduce legislation called The Feeding America through Farm Flexibility Act.
U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly's diverse district boasts some of the world's richest farmland, as well as Chicago neighborhoods and south suburbs where access to foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables is limited.
Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Mike Bost (IL-12) introduced bipartisan legislation that empowers farmers to help combat food deserts. The Feeding America through Farm Flexibility Act would enable farmers to grow fruits and vegetables on an additional five percent of their acreage without a crop insurance penalty, if the food is sold or donated to food deserts.
"A New Foundation for America" is a peculiar title for President Trump's new budget because it erodes the very foundation of our great nation: our farming communities.
At the 30,000-foot level, Trump's budget cuts $38 billion from Farm Bill programs that help Illinois farmers feed our nation and the world. It also includes a more than 20 percent cut to the Department of Agriculture, meaning higher crop insurance premiums and less marketing support.