As I get out and talk to constituents, the common themes run true with the great folks that comprise a very important part of the 104th District. The district comprises a major component in Illinois’ most “Essential Industry” in the words of radio broadcaster Max Armstrong, and those in the profession that is nearest and dearest to my heart, Illinois Agriculture. As I write this update at the end of the 3rd week of September, I am struck by how quiet things are out on the country roads. Usually, combines would be rolling non-stop as harvest would be underway by this time in September.
Yet, this year I believe most farmers are several weeks off from getting started. The corn is just beginning the black layer and the soybeans are just starting to get hints of yellow throughout the fields. The late crop season is indicative of the tough struggle 2019 has been on Illinois farmers.
The record books will count 2019 as a very challenging year for farmers in the 104th and all over Illinois. Early this spring the weather was historically wet. In other “wet” years, opportunities still presented themselves to get Spring work done at some point. That was not the case this year, and the first opportunity to get into a field did not come until the end of May. The weather then remained wet until about the first of July, when it turned off to an opposite direction bringing an exceedingly dry second half of summer. During the critical time for crop development, the weather was punishingly hot and arid. Although you never know what crop yields are going to bring until the combine goes through the field, however these conditions had to take their toll on the crop.
Although conditions have been tough, the markets haven’t responded accordingly. USDA projections remain high and many farmers doubt whether the market reports the traders are receiving are truly reflective of the season’s reality on the farm. Market performance has been further disrupted by the trade dispute with China. These brings in the fifth year that agriculture prices have been depressed and farm incomes continue to decline across the country. I am certain that 2019 is likely going to continue the trend and take a painful toll on Illinois agriculture.
These conditions concern me greatly, because agriculture is the number one industry in the 104th District. It is an industry that is near and dear to my heart. Advocacy for Illinois Farmers is how I got my start in public service and providing an environment where this industry can flourish continues to be a top focus for me as your State Representative.
I am anxiously awaiting the harvest to see what this fall will bring. Regardless of how 2019 turns out, we will work hard to provide a good environment for Illinois Farmers and Illinois Industry alike. Far too often, people in Springfield forget about the voices back on the farm or those on the job. Because of that, I will work harder to make sure your voice is heard at the Capitol. I appreciate your engagement and input, and I look forward to being your vocal advocate for all of the agriculture producers in this state.