It is hard to believe that summer is wrapping up and coming to a rapid close. The weather of the summer has been interesting to say the least. Finally, parts of my district received some small but much needed rain this week that will hopefully help the soybean crop. This summer has posed some tough challenges for the State’s number one industry and the number one industry of the 104th District, Agriculture.
Spring brought constant early season rain, and in my memory, I can’t remember a year where crop plantings were delayed so late. The rains subsided just enough around June 1 for most farmers to finally get the crop in the ground, but it remained abnormally wet for most of that month. Then around the fourth of July the weather changed course and the dryness came in taking its toll on the crops.
Normally when weather presents problems in the growing season, the commodity markets respond accordingly. This year’s peculiar situation has many farmers constantly monitoring the production reports from the USDA and keeping up on the various Trade War worries. All of these various challenges have kept an already depressed grain market down, compounding fears of what this year holds in store for Illinois Farmers.
Regulatory issues, such as the use of Dicamba herbicide have presented other challenges to area farmers, often causing crop damage exacerbated in unfavorable weather conditions and pitting neighbor against neighbor. These issues are real, and I have been listening to many concerned constituents throughout the district. As a decision maker for a district that is largely agricultural and someone that comes from a farm background with a stake in our family farm, I greatly worry about the toll this year will take on our farmers. When this growing season is in the books, we need to take a hard look at these issues and figure out what solutions the State can offer to alleviate these pressures on the industry. Advocacy in agriculture is a passion of mine, and I will do everything in my power in the next legislative session to do what we can to help the Farmers of Illinois.
This week I attended the University of Illinois’ 62nd Annual Agronomy Day. It is a great event that showcases Agronomic Research that is taking place at the University. The research has real world on farm applications that can help Farmers increase production and profitability. I especially enjoyed Tour A, presenting research dedicated to creating a huge increase in corn yields. As world population and economic activity around the world continues to grow, we will need to learn how to produce more food, on fewer resources, on the same amount of land, and in an environmentally friendly way. This research is critically important to achieving that goal. I am proud that the 104th District is home to part of the University of Illinois’ important Ag Research and Agronomy Day.
One of my favorite tasks in my role is the opportunity to speak to groups in the District. The Danville Kiwanis Club is a group that has been doing great things for the community in Danville for a long time. On Thursday, I was honored to be their guest speaker and offer an update on the Spring session. It was a good time and the group had some interesting questions on the presentation, asking about things like the minimum wage increase and the Capital Bill. Everyone I talk to continues to be concerned about the fiscal health and future of our State.
On Thursday evening, I received an invitation to, A Night Honoring Outstanding Women Educators, a local Teacher’s Appreciation Dinner. The night was a positive event, honoring some outstanding women who dedicated their professional lives to teaching young people. Events like these are very important to me, because there were many teachers in my life that have helped me get to where I am today. That group includes the two most important teachers in my life my Wife, Brandy, and my Mom, Linda. I appreciate all they have done for me, and I was happy to be present at an outstanding event!
The highlight of the week was taking an afternoon out of the office to work with my good friend Rev. Frank McCullough. Rev. McCullough is the Pastor at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Danville, IL. Rev. McCullough has been working on an addition to his Church, and I was able to get out and help with some construction. We were able to frame up some walls for the addition. It sure felt good to get a hammer in my hand and do a little physical labor. I think it is our duty as elected officials to be present in the community and to pitch in and help with projects where we can. It is a bonus for me to get to build something. Being a part of creating something and seeing the project completed is a truly rewarding experience. I want to thank Rev. McCullough for letting me get out and swing a hammer again, it has been awhile and it sure felt good.
There is one week left of summer. I plan to enjoy it and to make the most of it, continuing my work in the district. It has been a good summer and fall promises nothing less. I’ll continue to be out and about, talking to you, and planning for our next legislative session. Together we will prepare to meet the challenges that future presents.