July 05, 2017

At USDA Lab Facing Closure, Duckworth Discusses Devastating Impact of Trump Budget on Rural Development and Agriculture


PEORIA, IL - Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) toured the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) laboratory in Peoria - which is at risk if President Trump's budget proposal becomes law - to highlight the significant economic harm that its closure would cause the local and state economies. Peoria's National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) is the largest agricultural research center outside of the Washington D.C. area, employing hundreds of scientists and support staff whose jobs would be at risk under the Trump budget proposal. A photo of the event is available here.

"The Peoria Ag Lab is a critical part of this city's economy and the work of the nearly 300 scientists and workers employed here helps our entire nation," Duckworth said."The President's drastic proposed cuts to the USDA undermine its ability to serve rural America, killing jobs and turning our backs on scientific breakthroughs made possible by facilities like NCAUR."

The budget makes over $231 billion in cuts to critical USDA and Farm Bill programs, which Americans in rural communities rely on to improve access to clean drinking water, promote public safety and support their children. It would also eliminate the Rural Economic Development Program that helps rural businesses create jobs, reduce SNAP assistance for working families by more than 25 percent and make crop insurance more expensive for Illinois farmers. These cuts include about a $30 million cut in funding for the Peoria Lab, which would force the lab to close.

NCAUR has a long history of milestones, including the 1941 development of a method to mass produce penicillin - one of the greatest public health advances in modern history. Today, NCAUR invents new uses of agricultural commodities for industrial and food products, develops new technology to improve environmental quality and provides technical support to Federal regulatory and action agencies.

Last month, Senator Duckworth wrote a letter with Senator Durbin and 15 Illinois delegation members to President Trump strongly opposing the proposed budget impacts to rural development.