U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) today voted for a drought relief package that would help farmers in Southwestern and Southern Illinois and passed the House of Representatives. The bill continues the following four agricultural disaster assistance programs that expired last year: the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, Livestock Indemnity Payments, Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish, and the Tree Assistance Program.
Costello emphasized that while he voted for the bill, the best course of action is to pass a full five-year Farm Bill. The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill earlier this year, and the House Agriculture Committee has approved its version of the bill. Both bills would also extend the disaster assistance programs.
"There is no reason not to consider the Farm Bill," said Costello. "The bill we voted on today is at best a partial solution to the problems our farmers face. We should take the opportunity to provide them with the certainty of a five-year bill and the reforms and cost savings that would be achieved. There is bipartisan support for this approach, and we should move to finish a final version of the Farm Bill for our farmers and the American people."