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Duckworth pushes crop insurance in farm bill negotiations

Senator Tammy Duckworth speaks into a microphone. She wears pearls and a white blazer. A blurry, columned government building stands behind her.
Alex Brandon/AP
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said she's pushing for farm safety net programs, including crop insurance, as negotiations continue on a new farm bill.

The Illinois Democrat says farmers need federal backup, especially during this time of weather extremes.

“From central Illinois south, we’ve got… what looks to be a major drought occurring. This is a way for farmers to help themselves. They are folks who oppose crop insurance. We just have to negotiate through all the fine points,” Duckworth said in an interview on WGLT's Sound Ideas.

Much of central Illinois is now in a moderate drought after periodic rains in recent weeks lifted parts of the region out of severe drought. Farmers pay for crop insurance, though a bulk of payouts come from the federal government.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report earlier this year that set the program’s cost at $90 billion from 2011 to 2021. The GAO also suggested the government could reduce subsidies for high-income participants and save money for other agricultural programs.

Duckworth said she believes there's a bipartisan desire to pass a farm bill by the Sept. 30 deadline.

The new five-year bill is expected to reach $1 trillion for the first time.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.