A coalition led by the University of Illinois will develop new online tools to inform farmers about key programs included in the Farm Bill.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made $3 million in federal funding available to two coalitions — including one led by the University of Illinois — to develop new online tools to inform members of the agriculture community about key programs included in the Farm Bill.
As the lead for the National Coalition for Producer Education, the University of Illinois will use this funding to reach out to and educate farmers and producers about what participation in programs established by the Farm Bill will mean for their businesses.
“For decades, the University of Illinois has led the nation in efforts to research and develop best practices for farmers and producers,” Durbin said. “This funding will allow the University of Illinois to use its expertise to help agricultural producers across the state – and throughout the country – take advantage of programs in the Farm Bill that best fit their needs.”
“Illinois farmers are leaders in agriculture, with nearly $4 billion in goods exported each year,” Kirk said. “These funds will aid in the training and continued education of our nation’s farmers as they choose between the Agriculture Risk Coverage program and the Price Loss Coverage programs included in this year’s improved Farm Bill. Giving farmers the tools they need to grow production ultimately boosts our state economy, and it is vital that we continue to support these hard-working individuals and their families.”
“We are pleased to lead this national coalition of partners that will develop the online tools producers need to make informed decisions,” said Robert J. Hauser, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This opportunity builds on our strengths to provide real-time resources to farmers in Illinois and across the nation and throughout the world. We are truly grateful to Senator Durbin and Senator Kirk, who advocated on our behalf to help make this opportunity a reality.”
Durbin and Kirk sent a letter in support of the University of Illinois’ application to the program earlier this month. That letter is available here. More information on today’s announcement is available here.
In February, Congress passed the Farm Bill, which will save roughly $23 billion over the next 10 years compared to pre-sequestration budget levels, reform several titles to help producers better manage risk, make key investments in energy and research, ensure programs are in place to help rural communities grow and thrive, and help those most in need put food on the table. More information on the Farm Bill is available here.