CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today tapped Tom Jennings, a long-time Illinois Department of Agriculture employee and current Acting Director, as Director of the agency.
“Tom has worked for the Department of Agriculture his entire career and knows the agency and its responsibilities as well as anyone,” said Governor Blagojevich. “His 30 years of experience as a front-line employee, agency administrator and Acting Director are tremendous assets and I’m pleased to announce that he’s accepted this appointment.”
Jennings began his career at the Department as a grain warehouse examiner in June 1978 after graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in agricultural economics. He has served as Acting Director of the agency since March of this year.
“Agriculture is a rewarding and challenging industry which employs a quarter of the state’s workforce and is critical to the economy here in Illinois. We are a leading producer of crops such as corn and soybeans and also a leading producer of livestock. In addition, we are one of the top states for exports, making agriculture a key component to the bottom line here in Illinois,” said Jennings. “I am honored to be named to this position and I would like to thank the Governor for this tremendous opportunity.”
Prior to his most recent stint as Acting Director, Jennings was the Department’s Assistant Director. He also has served as the Department’s Chief of Staff, Manager of the Division of Agriculture Industry Regulation, and Bureau Chief of Warehouses. He is a board member of the Illinois Propane Education and Research Council, a past member of the Agri-Business Committee of the Illinois CPA Society and current chairman of the Fertilizer Research and Education Council.
Jennings is a life-long resident of Springfield. He and his wife have two children and are actively involved in a small farming operation raising cattle, horses, forage, and row crops.