As someone who enjoys Illinois’ outdoors, I’ve been disappointed by comments made by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis regarding the 2018 Farm Bill.
Because Davis is on the conference committee tasked with finding a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill, and considering Davis’s district is overwhelmingly a farming district, I believe his main concern with the farm bill should be assuring adequate funding for the bill’s conservation titles that help farmers keep their precious topsoil on the farm in lieu of letting it run down the river and into our lakes. Instead, he seems more concerned with making political hay regarding proposed work requirements for food stamp recipients.
Representative Davis should be reminded that a majority of Illinois’s rivers and lakes are overwhelmed with pollution, much of it from agriculture runoff, including E. coli bacteria, phosphorous, nitrates, pesticides and literally soil. There is no better example of than right here at home where Decatur residents are paying $91 million through increased water rates to remove all that runoff from Lake Decatur. There is so much sediment in the lake, most of it from soil runoff, that the city has already filled a 523-acre basin.
Most of Illinois farmland is still losing on average five tons of soil per acre per year. That’s our livelihood being washed away every year.
Maintaining key components of the farm bill, such the Conservation Stewardship Program, Conservation Reserve Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will help farmers be more profitable and better stewards of our lands, while helping to clean up our waters
and support healthier fish and wildlife populations. Those are real Illinois values that Rep. Davis should be supporting in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Ronald Moore, National Director, Illinois Division Izaak Walton League of America