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Trump proving unfriendly to farmers

February 27, 2018

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.

At the recent American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting, President Trump said, "I support a bill that includes crop insurance." It was one of his biggest applause lines.

Yet, just one month after this solemn declaration, the Trump budget slashes crop insurance subsidies by one third, a total of $26 billion over the next decade. That's simply unconscionable, especially at a time of record low commodity prices.

The president also declared last month that "farmers are forgotten no more." Yet, with massive cuts in nearly every farm and rural program, he's forgotten his own promise.

Other Trump budget cuts eliminate the National Agriculture Research and Utilization Laboratory in Peoria, which conducts research that empowers American farmers to feed the world's growing population.

He also eliminates Commodity Certificates, the Rural Energy for America loan and grant program, the Rural Economic Development Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program. These programs are vital to revitalizing our rural communities and helping them succeed.

Farming is the bedrock of our rural economy. Farming families — like all families — deserve policies born of dignity and respect.

I agree with the National Corn Growers Association that these programs should be debated through proper order, under debate surrounding the Farm Bill reauthorization.

I plan to do everything possible to ensure adequate funding for these programs and oppose the Trump Budget. We need programs that help farming families in communities, such as Kankakee County, and throughout America.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson

Represents Kankakee County in Congress