The largest employer in Illinois? Agriculture

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 10:05 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(25 News Now) - Did you know agriculture is the largest employer in Illinois? I sat down to talk about the power of statistics with the USDA.

Mark, a lot of people don’t realize what big business agriculture really is. I am here in Springfield, Illinois, at the USDA NASS center and you’re the State Statistician. A lot of folks watching this might not understand what a statistician does for the USDA and how it actually impacts the business of agriculture. Can you do a little bit internal definition for us?

Mark Schluesener: You bet Sarah. One of the things I like to tell people if they’re not familiar with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, I tell them to think about the jobs report, right. The monthly unemployment rate, it makes the news for one day. It’s a big deal and it’s one measure of the US economy done by a group of statisticians and mathematicians and economists. Well, we do very similar things but we’re measuring agriculture. So we’re measuring how many acres of corn been planted, how many acres of soybeans, what’s the price of pork and how many eggs were produced last month. Those are some of the things that we do with NASS and some of the reports that we produce are part of the principal federal economic indicators for the US.

Sarah Michaels: Sure, it reinforces to me on a daily if not hourly basis the absolute importance of agriculture to all components of society and specifically to the state of Illinois.

Mark Schluesener: Frequently people say that agriculture is the number one industry in Illinois. Illinois is the number one soybean-producing state. We’re number four in hog production. We produce the most pumpkins of any state in the United States. We’re also number one horseradish-producing state, and we’re number two in corn production. Illinois is big time agriculture.

Sarah Michaels: Sometimes when people sit down and consume their meal they don’t see the corn or soybeans, but that’s the basis and foundation of how we build the economic structure and allow people in and around the state to have their jobs.

Mark Schluesener: We’ve hear a lot about supply chain problems not too long ago, and almost all the problems we heard about were international shipping of materials. Well domestically we have very few supply chain problems, mostly because we have an excellent infrastructure system. I’d say that we all need a safe and abundant food supply, and our reports help with that. The hard work of America’s farmers and ranchers is very much necessary. We produce a lot of food in this country.

Sarah Michaels: Thanks again for always being with us, and giving me great information.

Mark Schluesener: My pleasure Sarah.

Copyright 2022 WEEK. All rights reserved.