Davis and Secretary of Army Corps Speak With Farmers and Tour LaGrange Lock and Dam
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), member of both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Agriculture Committee, and R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, attended an Ag Policy Forum at Agriculture Day at the State Fair. They heard from local producers on the importance of good water infrastructure and strong agriculture policy in the upcoming farm bill.
"There's no better display of Illinois agriculture than Ag Day at the State Fair and the crowded room for the Ag Policy Forum shows it," said Davis. "Today, we heard from growers and producers from across Illinois about what we can do on a federal level to help them feed the world. When we work out the details on the final version of the farm bill this fall, I will continue to fight for good ag policy for our farmers."
"As a farmer I know how critical the infrastructure is that allows the food and fiber produced in this country to be shipped all over the world," said James. "I always appreciate the opportunity to hear directly from growers about the issues they face."
Davis and James also toured the LaGrange Lock roughly an hour outside of Springfield, which recently received $10 million in federal funding for repairs. James directs policy for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over lock and dam projects throughout the country.
"Water infrastructure is incredibly important to agriculture and this Congress and administration have made infrastructure investment a priority," said Davis. " The La Grange lock is a perfect example of that money going to repair crumbling infrastructure that is vital to local economies. It's important we continue to invest in our aging locks and dams for Illinois to remain a top exporter of agriculture commodities, which contribute more than $19 billion to our state's economy annually."
"Being on the ground and seeing local projects allows me to see the great infrastructure this nation has, and gives me the opportunity to gain insight on what I can do to make it even better," James said.
Davis explained the importance of locks and dams to his district in an opinion piece in the Washington Times. Click here to read the full article.
Background on LaGrange
The LaGrange Lock is the southernmost lock on the Illinois River and accommodates a heavy amount of barge traffic, that majority of which includes agricultural commodity movement. It was placed into service in 1939 and requires major rehabilitation of concrete, electrical, and mechanical systems. The lock last underwent rehabilitation work in 1988. More than 60 percent of all U.S. grain exports move through these locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, but unfortunately, they are not able to handle the longer barge tows used today.
Background on legislation
Last month, Davis was named to the farm bill conference committee, which is tasked with working out the details between the House- and Senate-passed farm bills. As a freshman on the House Agriculture Committee, Davis served on the conference committee for the 2014 farm bill and now chairs the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research leading on provisions to strengthen agriculture research, provide regulatory relief for farmers, and protect crop insurance. Click here for more information.
In March, Davis voted for a bill to significantly increased funding to rebuild our nation’s transportation and infrastructure. For FY 2018, the bill provides a $3.5 billion increase for highways, $1 billion increase for airports, $1.1 billion increase for transit, and a $1 billion increase in funding for TIGER grants. More information can be found here.
Reauthorizing Water Resources
Davis worked to pass H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act on the House floor, fulfilling the House’s promise of following regular order and keeping Congress on track of reauthorizing WRDA every two years. The bill awaits Senate consideration. Click here for more information.