KANKAKEE, Ill. (WCIA) — President Biden and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack visited the Kankakee area farm of Jeff O’Connor Wednesday to visit with Illinois farm leaders.

“Thank farmers, you feed America, you got us through a pandemic and you’re literally the backbone of our country,” Biden said.

Last week the administration announced some initiatives to boost wheat and soybean production through double cropping, as Agriculture Secretary Vilsack detailed yesterday.

“Reduce the risk of double cropping, which will increase supplies and that obviously will help to lower costs and also provide more supply for global food security needs,” Vilsack said. “And doubling the challenge and doubling the resources available to develop our own domestically-produced fertilizer, very important in the long-term.”

The Biden administration is seeking to expand double cropping insurance on 681 additional counties, bringing the total number of authorized counties to over 1,900. Another initiative would cut costs for farmers on precision agriculture to reduce excess nutrient application.

“There’s sensor technology that’s being developed at Iowa State University that suggests that 30 percent of the corn acres in America today, in the Midwest, do not require fertilizer,” Vilsack said. “So, if we can accelerate the capacity of farmers to have that kind of precise information about their farms, we may be able to get them through a process. Maybe not in 2023 but in the future, where they’re not as reliant as they have been, on those inputs.”

A third measure would double incentives for domestic fertilizer production to some $500 million.