PEORIA, IL – In April, Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) wrote a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture asking them to end a functional hiring freeze at the Peoria Ag Lab. Specifically, several research positions had been left unfilled as a result of the proposed closure of the lab in the last two Presidential budget proposals. However, LaHood and Bustos worked together to oppose the closure, and support funding for the Ag Lab in the Congressional budget each year.

Today, LaHood and Bustos received a response from USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky that they have authorized the Ag Lab “to hire 7 scientists and 5 support staff” for critical positions.

 “The great minds that continue to bring forth innovative research to help grow our agricultural economy have been vital to the Ag Lab’s continued success over recent decades,” stated LaHood. “I am happy to learn that our work has led to bringing several new jobs for the Ag Lab so that further critical agriculture research can move forward with the support of additional scientists and staff. I am glad that the Trump Administration recognizes the value of the work done at the NCAUR and I look forward to continuing to support the Ag Lab in Peoria.”

“The Ag Lab is essential, not just to the success of the Peoria region, but also to the future of American agriculture,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “I’m proud that our work will lead to several new jobs being filled at the Ag Lab. While I appreciate the Department of Agriculture moving forward with new hiring, we still need long-term assurances from the Trump Administration that fighting to save the Ag Lab doesn’t become an annual tradition.”