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July 22, 2003

Governor names farmer and agriculture council
Farmers from around state named to council

SULLIVAN, ILL. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today established a 12-member council of farmers and agriculture leaders to assist him in maintaining Illinois agriculture’s competitiveness in the global markets and position the state industry for a profitable future. He announced the Governor’s Advisory Council for Farmers and Farm Families while on a three-day, 14-county bus tour of the state.


“The well-being of our farmers and rural communities is vitally important to Illinois’ economy,” the governor said. “Despite urban development, about 80 percent of Illinois’ land -- or 28 million acres -- still is devoted to production agriculture. And our 78,000 farms provide the foundation for a multi-billion dollar industry that employs nearly one of every four Illinois workers.”


“These jobs are not located only in rural communities,” Blagojevich added. “Illinois ranks among the top states in the nation with 1,700 food companies, many of which are located in the Chicago area.”


The council’s membership includes representatives of the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Farmers Union and the Illinois Beef, Pork Producers and Corn Growers associations, as well as a past president of the American Soybean Association, the dean of the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, an alternative agriculture market development specialist and four farmers.


Its objectives are ambitious and wide-ranging. In the area of economic development, members will work to spur the growth of new agribusinesses and complete infrastructure improvements that are essential to deliver farm commodities to markets. They also aim to improve farm

families’ access to technology and health care.


The council’s market development objectives include identifying the tools necessary to exploit growth opportunities in specific sectors of agriculture and opening new foreign markets to Illinois agricultural products.


The council also aspires to raise awareness about the importance of agriculture to preserve farmland and foster community support for an expansion of the livestock industry. And, it intends to work with government in an effort to make sure agriculture regulations permit farmers to keep producing food.


Illinois ranks second nationally in the production of corn and soybeans and fourth in the production of pork. Sales of Illinois crops and livestock annually generate about $8 billion in revenue, including $3 billion from exports.


A list of the council members follows:


Joe Alford, Girard

Illinois Farmers Union         


Leon Corzine, Assumption

Illinois Corn Growers Association

Dr. Bob Easter, Urbana

University of Illinois

College of ACES


David Erickson, Altona

American Soybean Association



Jim Slama, Chicago

alternative agriculture market development specialist



Maralee Johnson, Springfield

Illinois Beef Association

Jill Appell, Altona

Illinois Pork Producers Association


Mike Campbell, Edwardsville



Paul Schuman, Sullivan

Illinois Farm Bureau

LaDonna Redmond, Chicago

urban farmer


Steve Scates, Shawneetown



Glen Bauman, Mulkeytown



Video Archived Governor's News Conference Archived Governor's News Conference Video 56kArchived Governor's News Conference Video 135kArchived Governor's News Conference Video 300k
Audio Archived Governor's News Conference Archived Governor's News Conference


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