Farmers from Western Illinois had an opportunity to weigh in on a new federal Farm Bill at a congressional field hearing in Galesburg. David Erickson, an Altona farmer and Knox County Farm Bureau president, said he supports eliminating the nation’s debt, but not direct payments to farmers. He says maintaining direct payments for farmers can help in restoring the national economy.



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“Without the assistance of any other government programs, we've invested these direct payments back into our farming operation to reduce soil erosion, improve drainage, limit nutrient run-off and manage prices.” Erickson said. “We made effective use of those dollars, [and] taxpayers reap those rewards with a safe, abundant, low-cost supply of food and fiber.”

Erickson also urged Congress to continue to support foreign trade agreements and other initiatives that provide increased access to foreign markets for U.S. agriculture.

A new farm bill is generally passed by Congress every five years and covers funding for food assistance, marketing, and rural development policies.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) sits on the House Agriculture Committee and recommended Galesburg as a site for the second of four national field hearings.

 (Copyright WBGZ Radio/