A popular congressman found a friendly audience in Lincoln on Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) was largely preaching to the choir when he discussed agricultural issues at a forum in the college gymnasium. Farmers from Schock’s district were impressed. “Right now the drought up in our area is just horrific,” said Lee Hager, who farms near Wyoming, Ill.
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“There are some decent fields, because there have been a few little stray showers. But if you didn’t get those, you just have pool cues out there.” “I think Aaron’s on the right path of getting a farm bill,” said Richard Carroll of Brimfield. “In ’88, we didn’t have a federal crop, and to get a disaster payment through Congress now would be impossible like they did in ’88.”
Warren County farmer Ray Gillen, who said his first impression of Schock was a good one, says it’s all relative: “(Things in my area are) better than down here. We’re crying up there, but we are not hurt as bad as they are. The farther north you go, the better the situation is. We’re going to have a crop. It’s going to be very down, but we’re going to have a crop up there.” Gillen not only wanted to hear Schock and another congressman, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, but he also was part of a farm expo in the gym. Gillen was promoting the use of pennycress to corn and soybean farmers.