Durbin Meets with Illinois Corn Growers to Discuss Agricultural Priorities

Climate change and ethanol top meeting agenda

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today hosted a meeting with representatives from the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) to discuss climate change and ethanol issues.


“I firmly believe that we need to make significant efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change on our planet,” said Durbin. “Bringing groups like the Illinois Corn Growers Association to the table and including their concerns in this debate is an important step towards ensuring passage of effective, bipartisan climate change legislation.”


Durbin discussed the Corn Growers’ thoughts and concerns regarding the proposed Climate Change legislation from the House of Representatives and spoke about the current state of negotiations in the Senate.


Durbin also discussed ethanol issues, including increasing the ethanol-blend limit for conventional vehicles. The Environmental Protection Agency has only approved the use of 10% ethanol blended with gasoline (E10) in conventional-engine vehicles. Raising this limit would decrease the amount of foreign oil imported into the United States, increase domestic energy production, and further our push towards energy independence.


“Illinois farmers are ready, willing, and able to contribute to America’s energy independence and security. Decreasing our use of Mideast oil and replacing it with Midwest ethanol is good for everyone but the oil sheiks,” said Durbin. “When we use our state's agricultural expertise to reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers, Illinois farmers win and the whole country benefits.”


Finally, Durbin and the representatives from the ICGA discussed a provision in the Farm Bill law that creates an optional revenue counter-cyclical program designed to improve the safety net for farmers in Illinois by replacing current price-support programs with a comprehensive revenue protection program.


The program, called Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE), is based in large part on legislation introduced by Durbin and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in 2007 called the Farm Safety Net Improvement Act. It will provide farmers with a state-based revenue-counter-cyclical program to protect against losses in both yield and price. In lieu of direct payments, farmers opting into the program would be provided with a fixed payment of $15 per acre.