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Farm policy, animal health and trade discussed at Illinois listening session

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue heard concerns from Illinois farmers about crop insurance as well as trade and animal health.

Cattle producer Joni Bucher commented about beef trade to Secretary Perdue at an Illinois farm Monday.  Bucher – president of the Illinois Beef Association – says the U.S. is less competitive now that Japan has raised its tariff on beef to 50 percent.

“That’s going to be a real issue for us in the arena of trade,” Bucher told Brownfield Ag News Monday, near Rochester, Illinois.  “That opens the door for competing countries to go back in and take that market share, so that’s a great concern.”

Bucher urged Secretary Perdue to push for a bi-lateral trade deal with Japan, especially since the Trump administration has pulled the U.S. out the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Illinois Pork Producers Association President Jason Propst is concerned that the U.S. is under-prepared for animal disease outbreaks.  He told Secretary Perdue Monday $150 million dollars annually should be appropriated for five years to build up a foot and mouth vaccine bank.

“God forbid, if it does happen, we know we’re going to have vaccinate our way out of it,” Propst told Brownfield, after making the suggestion to Secretary Perdue.  “We need to make sure we have the vaccine available to do so to minimize losses to our industry.”

Secretary Perdue countered to Propst that the actual amount might be closer to $25 million annually.

It was the commodity title on the next farm bill that was on the mind of Illinois Farm Bureau State Director Troy Uphoff, who made it clear to Secretary Perdue that crop insurance should be left as is in U.S. farm policy.

“It provides a valuable floor to our producers,” Uphoff told Brownfield.  “We don’t need any changes to the Federal Crop Insurance Program.”

Bucher, Propst and Uphoff were among those who spoke at a listening session on Secretary Perdue’s RV Tour through Illinois.

AUDIO: Joni Bucher (2 min. MP3)

AUDIO: Jason Propst (4 min. MP3)

AUDIO: Troy Uphoff (3 min. MP3)

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