Underwood concerned about farming obstacles

Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, is pressing the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for information about the challenges facing farmers in her district and across the country.

Underwood wrote a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue about the Trump administration's efforts to address the obstacles farmers are facing, including planting delays due to market uncertainty and extreme weather, according to a news release.

“The farmers I represent in DeKalb, Huntley, Minooka and so many other communities are optimistic, hardworking and resilient,” she said in the release. “Farming is hard work, and they take its challenges in stride.”

Underwood cited historically low corn and soybean planting. In Illinois, only 45% of corn has been planted, compared to a 98% five-year average, and 21% of soybeans have been planted, compared to an 84% five-year average. Many of the hundreds of farmers in Will County have experienced similar struggles, planting only a fraction of their corn and soybeans due to heavy rainfall.

Underwood also asked Perdue for information on what the administration was doing to support agricultural communities hurt by planting delays.

She specifically wanted a detailed outline of a newly proposed 2019 plan to support farmers and any additional information about how the $16 billion in programs was being allocated.

“I know from conversations with farmers in my district that what they want and desperately need is a free and fair market to sell the world-class crops they produce,” Underwood said in the letter.