U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin visited Bloomington Friday to talk with McLean County farmers about the impacts of last year’s updated farm bill.
After speaking with local farmers, Durbin said many expressed concern about how trade and tariffs are impacting their bottom lines.
“Most of us, certainly those of us in downstate Illinois, understand that trade is essential to agriculture,” the senator said. “And when there’s any problems with trade, there’ll be problems with prices for corn and soybeans and pork and other things, and those were the things that I heard today.”
He said as cost of production rises, crop prices are in flux as the country negotiates trade issues with China and Mexico.
Durbin also discussed the impact of immigration on farming.
One McLean County pork farmer told Durbin he needs migrant workers on his farm at all hours of every day, year-round, to keep up with the farm’s workload. Durbin said livestock and dairy farmers across the state have the same need.
“They understand the need for migrant labor to come in and help them supplement the employment at their operations,” Durbin said. “Employment, I might add, that Americans are not quick to sign up for. These are tougher jobs, and the hours are tougher, and it’s not exactly the first choice for a lot of people looking for a job.”
Durbin’s new role on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry has him visiting farm bureau groups across the state to get up-to-speed on modern farming technology, practices, and concerns. The McLean County Farm Bureau was one of the first.
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