USDA Secretary talks with local farmers - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

USDA Secretary talks with local farmers

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CHENOA, Ill. (HOI) -- -

The country's top Ag official came to central Illinois today to get input from our local farmers on what belongs in the latest farm bill.

It's all part of U.S.D.A. Secretary Sonny Perdue's 'Back to Our Roots' tour across the Midwest.

Monday Perdue stopped in Chenoa at the Evergreen FS plant, a local farm supply company.

The meeting gave farmers an insight to what Washington D.C. is working on when it comes to agriculture.

"Our farmers are the best stewards of the conservationists and they're working very hard to make sure out waterways are safe," said Perdue. While on the topic of waterways, Perdue added "our president is working hard to make sure these waterways continue to work so this fertile Mississippi Valley area can continue to feed the world."

Evergreen FS Manager Kendall Miller spoke to HOI News about the meeting. Miller said the Secretary of Agriculture "has your back, and has similar views and viewpoints of the major concerns that we have as a retailer, or that we have in farming."

Economic and environmental issues within agriculture are the root of why Secretary Perdue wants to meet with farmers across the Midwest as officials look to develop the 2018 Farm Bill.

Secretary Perdue's message: make farming a more independent industry and protect the farmer.

"I like principal-centered legislation and the principal of the farm bill that I would advise congress toward is a balanced approach where farmers are given the freedom to farm, but not farming for programs," said Perdue. He also calls for "a safety net for what they do," saying his goal is to letting farmers farm for the market, and make their decisions based on what they see.

That message hit close to home for McLean County farmer Brian Loeffler who likes that open market concept.

"In an open market everything will seek it's level and I'd like to see that carried through in agriculture because I feel for a time it hasn't been," said Loeffler.

Extensive details of the 2018 Farm Bill aren't known yet since officials are just starting to look into what the bill will include.

A farm bill gets passed by the Department of Agriculture roughly once every five years.

Each time an agriculture bill is passed legislators decide various nation-wide regulations for the farming industry.

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