IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Biden announces steps to aid farmers, lower food costs on Illinois trip

The president's visit to an Illinois farm comes as he tries to demonstrate that his administration is taking action to address inflation.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden visited a family farm in Illinois on Wednesday where he announced steps his administration is taking to lower the costs of farming and food.

The president announced that his administration will expand insurance for double cropping, which allows farmers to plant a second crop on the same land in the same year. He also announced the government would increase technical assistance to farmers and double the funding to produce fertilizer domestically.

The visit comes after data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an inflation rate of 8.3 percent in April, driven in part by the rising food prices. The prices of chicken and milk have increased 15 percent over the last year, and beef and flour have gone up 14 percent, the report showed.

Biden said the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have contributed to supply chain disruptions, increasing food prices and shortages in the United States and abroad.

“Right now, Americans are fighting on two fronts. At home, it’s inflation and rising prices. Abroad, it’s helping Ukrainians defend their democracy and feeding those who were left hungry around the world because Russian atrocities exist," he said.

With Ukraine and Russia making up about 30 percent of the global wheat exports, international aid organizations have warned that millions are at risk of going hungry, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Biden said the U.S. was working to address those shortages.

"We can make sure the American agriculture exports will make up for the gap in Ukrainian supplies," he said.

Biden's trip to the Midwest is part of a broader effort to demonstrate that his administration is taking action to bring down inflation, an issue Republicans have focused on in midterm election campaigns.

Later on Wednesday, Biden vowed to "beat inflation" during remarks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Convention.

Biden has pressed Congress to pass measures that he says would cut costs on child care and prescription drugs included in the Build Back Better plan that stalled last year due to opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Earlier in the week, the president delivered a speech about his efforts to tamp down inflation, arguing GOP lawmakers don’t have a concrete plan to address the issue.

Biden has blamed what he dubs "Putin's price hike" for the current economic situation in the U.S., saying the war in Ukraine has led to rising inflation and record-high gas prices.

Last month, Biden announced plans to boost the production and sale of ethanol-blended gasoline in an effort to lower the high gas prices amid rising inflation. He said the Environmental Protection Agency would issue an emergency waiver to suspend a summer ban on the use of a blended fuel.