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


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday will visit a family farm in Illinois to announce steps the administration is taking to lower the costs of farming and food.

The White House says the Covid pandemic and Russia’s invasion into Ukraine have contributed to supply chain disruptions, increasing food prices and shortages in the U.S. and abroad.

“Putin’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine has cut off a critical source of wheat, corn, barley, oilseeds, and cooking oil,” the White House said. “It has also disrupted global supply chains for fertilizer, which farmers depend on to maximize yields.”

As a result of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion, food prices have increased by nearly 13 percent around the world, the White House said.

Biden’s trip to the Midwest comes as he tries to demonstrate that his administration is taking actions to bring down inflation, an issue Republicans have focused on in the midterm election campaigns. The president delivered a speech Tuesday about efforts to tamp down inflation, arguing that GOP lawmakers don’t have a concrete plan to address the issue.

During the farm visit, the president plans to announce 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’ll also announce that the government will increase technical assistance to farmers and double funding for producing fertilizer domestically.

“As the world’s second largest exporter of wheat and soybeans, these actions will help grow new markets for American-grown food, supporting jobs in rural communities across America,” the White House said.

Biden has been blaming 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 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.

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