BUNKER HILL – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is encouraging area farmers to apply for the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s “Fall Covers for Spring Savings” cover crop program to receive a discounted crop insurance rate in spring 2021.

The initiative, which Manar spearheaded last year, allows eligible applicants to receive a $5 per acre discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program.

“The Fall Covers for Spring Savings Program has given our farmers the chance to make additional long- term investments in the health of the finest soil in the world,” Manar said. “By continuing to prioritize this program in this year's state budget, Illinois will remain an agricultural standard bearer for decades to come."

The goal of the program is to encourage farmers to plant additional acres of cover crops that are not covered by other state or federal incentives.

“Cover crops are a great way to keep soil anchored, salvage nitrogen, capture carbon and create weed suppression,” said Jerry Costello II, acting director of agriculture. “In the long run, cover crops will help Illinois farmers reduce the need for fertilizer and reach the goals of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.”

Any farmer with coverage through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency crop insurance program is eligible to apply.

Applications will be available in December on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website. For questions or additional information, contact the department at (217) 782-6297.

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GILLESPIE – With the deadline to complete the 2020 Census looming, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) joined with the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, Macoupin County Public Health Department, and local elected officials at a press conference this morning to encourage residents of Macoupin County to complete the 2020 census.

“Completing the census is a simple step people can take to help their neighbors,” Manar said. “An accurate census count gives our communities a chance to properly maintain the quality of our roads, schools, hospitals, and other programs people rely on. Every last dollar is going to count as we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 crisis.”

Nine municipalities in Macoupin County have a response rate of 60% or higher:

  • Brighton: 76.7%
  • Staunton: 75.2%
  • Carlinville: 75.1%
  • Bunker Hill: 73.5%
  • Mt. Olive: 72.2%
  • Gillespie: 70%
  • Virden: 69.4 %
  • Benld: 66.5%
  • Girard: 60.7%

“Census information is used to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to communities all across the country,” Paula Campbell, Associate Director of Health Equity for the Illinois Primary Health Care Association said. “The results will show where communities need new schools, new health clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.”
The Macoupin County Public Health Department has staff dedicated to helping people through the census completion process who can be reached by phone at (217) 854-3223.

“I appreciate the people who’ve already taken a few minutes to get counted, but we have so much more work to do before the Sept. 30 deadline,” Manar said.

Residents can also complete the census for their household at www.my2020census.gov.


SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Secretary of State’s office has extended driver’s license expiration dates by one year for drivers age 75 and older, a move that State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) considers to be a crucial step forward in preventing spread of COVID-19 among older adults.

“Extraordinarily long lines and wait times is just about the last thing seniors ought to be subjected to right now,” Manar said. “I’m thankful Secretary White has offered this extension with no penalty and is continuing to make decisions with the health and safety of older adults in mind.”

In addition to being 75 years of age or older, the driver must have a valid license—drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked do not qualify for the one-year extension. Eligible drivers should soon receive a letter from the secretary of state as proof that they qualify.

For drivers under age 75, expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards and license plate stickers have been extended until Nov. 1, 2020. Customers who choose to visit a facility must wear a face mask. In addition, customers are asked to be patient due to heavy volume and to be prepared to wait outside in various types of weather.

More information regarding services provided at local Secretary of State facilities can be found at www.ilsos.gov/facilityfinder/facility.


SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) announced that the City of Taylorville is the recipient of a $1.5 million infrastructure grant for improvements to East Main Cross Street under the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity’s Fast Track Capital program, which will jump-start projects in underserved areas throughout the state.

Manar advocated to fund these projects during last spring’s budget negotiations.

“The past few months have had devastating effects on communities that were already underserved. Through the FastTrack program, the State is not only bringing jobs to those communities, but we’re also prioritizing long overdue construction projects,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “I commend Governor Pritzker for his continued commitment to ensuring the vitality of the downstate economy during this difficult time.”

The money for the City of Taylorville will be distributed to projects that include:
- Repairing East Main Cross Street;
- Improving curbs, gutters and ADA ramps;
- Rehabilitating utilities along East Main Cross Street from Walnut Street.

Fast Track is one of several new programs created by the State to provide emergency assistance for businesses and communities facing economic hardship as a result of the ongoing pandemic. To date, DCEO has launched more than $300 million in emergency relief programs – with the majority of funding being made available directly to businesses. DCEO is also administering separate programs to administer federal aid to counties and municipalities incurring costs from the COVID-19 emergency response.

COVID19 Updates


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