As a young girl growing up in central Illinois, few things made me happier than family trips to my grandparents’ farm in Milford, Illinois.

I’d spend hours outside on the farm, playing with the baby pigs while taking in the sights, sounds, and yes, the smells. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and nearly every one of my cousins are family farmers. That’s why it’s personal when I say I have a deep-felt appreciation for farmers, and for the critical role agriculture plays in keeping our communities great places to live, work and raise a family. That’s also why, as a new member of Congress who sits on the House Agriculture Committee, giving family farmers the certainty and predictability they need to grow our food and power our economy by passing a farm bill has been one of my top priorities.

After lots of hard work, for the first time since 2008, Democrats and Republicans were able to find common ground and finally pass a long-term, bipartisan farm bill. Here’s how the legislation will help our region:

While I’m encouraged about finally passing a bipartisan, five-year farm bill, I will not rest in advocating for our agricultural economy. I’ll make sure our region always gets a seat at the table and that our values are taken into consideration. This will ensure that future generations of Illinoisans are able to have the same appreciation for farming that I found as a child on my grandparents’ farm. iBi