Congresswoman Cheri Bustos was in D.C. last week, and she made time to advocate for her district — Illinois 17th — during the stop, according to a news release from her office.
Bustos met with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Assistant Secretary Ken Barbic on Friday, and asked again that the USDA issue a disaster declaration for the district, which includes portions of Tazewell County.
“I thank Assistant Secretary Barbic for taking the time to meet with me today and hear more about the challenges facing Illinois farmers. It’s clear we cannot wait any longer to issue a disaster declaration, which would provide our agricultural producers with the tools they need to overcome these challenging times,” said Bustos through the July 12 news release.
The Congresswoman first spoke with the USDA about issuing a declaration on June 21, when she asked that Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issue a declaration.
Gov. JB Pritzker followed suit the next week, asking that the USDA issue a declaration for the entirety of the state.
"For months our state has been battling historic flooding, causing untold damage to homes, businesses and farms across Illinois," said Pritzker in the July 3 news release. "For our farmers this has meant delaying, reducing, or even eliminating planting, hurting a core state industry and impacting working families across Illinois."
Farmers in Tazewell County have been impacted by the abnormal weather, many of them saying their planting season was impacted greatly.
Schaer’s Farm Market in East Peoria cancelled their strawberry picking — a regional staple — for the year. Down River Farm’s Evan Barry said the weather led to his decision not to plant his corn crop.
Tazewell County Farm Bureau Manager Emily Rogier said in a June 28 Daily Times report that a 10 to 20 percent yield loss is a "representative" estimate for farmers across Illinois.