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Agri-business in the State of Illinois

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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(WEEK) - Illinois has a long huge history of agriculture and you know as the pioneers came last they stopped here, they loved our soil and before you know it we’re one of the top ag states but let’s not forget this is a business.

I talked to Mark Gebhards at the Illinois Farm Bureau for more.

Well, it absolutely is a business Sarah and you’re right - we are blessed with very fertile soils here, some of the most fertile in the United States so many people may not realize that agriculture is the number one industry in the State of Illinois and we talk about it from an industrial standpoint - it’s not just the commercial production of corn and soybeans and wheat andd so forth that you see out there in the fields or livestock production but it’s all aspects of agriculture in terms of food production.

Chicago - many people may or may not realize but the Chicago land area has the largest number of food processors of any given urban area in the United States

It is a blessing to have Chicago as part of our state. It is number one for tourism - it brings people but like you said it’s great for processing and when we produce the raw product of agriculture it is a close place to take it so we don’t have to truck it or rail it three or four states away.

Well absolutely not only is Illinois blessed with fertile soils we are blessed with an infrastructure and part of that infrastructure is the transportation system. So many aspects that are just extremely positive in terms of how do you not only grow the products and the commodities that we produce in Illinois, but how do you get them on the market?

Historically, in Illinois when you think about agriculture I don’t think you can find a state in the Union that has not only the production capability but the outreach in terms of the food that comes from again the farm to the market to the consumers.

We employ over 35-40% of folks directly into the industry and if you compound that number even further when you go into the food side well.

Mark, thanks so much for helping us unpack the fact that agriculture in addition to raising food is also a business.

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