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SPRINGFIELD – In honor of National Farmers Day on October 12, Senate Agriculture Chairman Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) are celebrating the hard work and dedication of local farmers and agricultural workers.

“Farmers are passionate about the work they do, and this day is an opportunity to acknowledge the work of the men and women devoted to feeding our community,” said Bennett, who spends the harvest season helping out on his family's farm in Gibson City. “This is the perfect time to thank farmers young and old, past and present."

On this day, Bennett and Joyce are encouraging people to show gratitude to farmers by supporting local farmers’ markets or making charitable donations to area farms.

“While we appreciate and support farmers each and every day, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a new appreciation for the agriculture sector,” said Joyce, a fourth-generation farmer and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Today, we thank our farmers for their contributions to a healthier society and economy.”

The lawmakers are also recognizing the dedicated animals that work alongside farmers every day and help them with daily tasks, such as plowing the field, transporting food and cultivating the soil, especially during the busy harvest season.

As harvest season progresses across the state and farmers face additional stressors, Bennett encourages farmers to sign up for a webinar to learn ways to manage stress. The webinar will be led by the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development on Oct. 14 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. To register, visit tinyurl.com/harveststress.