Peoria's congressional delegation is expressing dismay about the proposed closure of Peoria's Ag Lab in the president's draft 2019 budget.
“Peoria’s Ag Lab, and the researchers employed there, continue to serve a vital role in our local community and I am disappointed to see that the White House once again propose it to be cut," said U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria). "We must remember that the President’s budget proposal is just that—a proposal—and Congress holds the ultimate power of the purse. Similar to last year, this will remain a top priority for me to work in a bipartisan and bicameral way at the local, state, and federal levels to maintain funding for the lab and ensure the facility remains an integral part of Peoria and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research efforts.”
“President Trump’s budget is a disaster for hardworking families across the heartland and I’m going to fight tooth and nail to stop it. If his goal was to punch middle America in the gut, then this budget hits the mark with one broken promise after another," said U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) in a statement on the budget proposal. "Whether it’s undermining Peoria’s economy by closing the Ag Lab, defunding a program that supported Rockford in creating a skills pipeline to help create jobs or eliminating another program that is largely responsible for funding the Q Multimodal station in Moline – the Trump budget would hurt the hardworking families I serve. And by ripping $26 billion out of the crop insurance program, President Trump is signaling to farmers across the heartland that they’re on their own if disaster strikes."
The National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria is perhaps best known as the place where the mass production of penicillin was invented during World War II. The Ag Lab's research generates more than $600 million in annual economic impact and employs 179 people.