Governor, agriculture leaders work
to strengthen Illinois' livestock industry
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SPRINGFIELD -- On Thursday
Gov. Rod Blagojevich called together leaders of the agriculture
community to lay the groundwork for future plans to build up
Illinois' diminishing livestock industry. The Livestock Summit,
which met at the Illinois Department of Agriculture in Springfield,
gathered representatives from the Illinois Pork Producers, Beef
Association, Poultry Association, Meat Processors, Milk Producers,
Sheep Industry, Corn Growers and Soybean Association, along with
various state agencies, to discuss concerns that will help in
formulating future solutions.
"Illinois is the number one producer of
soybeans in the nation and the second largest producer of corn, yet
our livestock production ranks 22nd," Gov. Blagojevich said. "We
have the land and the resources to build the livestock sector of our
agriculture industry, create more jobs and optimize our capability
to be an even stronger agricultural leader on a national and
international level. In working together with industry leaders,
we're searching for ways to best use those resources to stimulate
livestock production and, in turn, the Illinois economy."
In 2003, the livestock industry
generated cash receipts in excess of $1.5 billion and contributed
$3.4 billion in total economic activity for the state. While
livestock receipts nationwide have gone up 40 percent in the last
decade, the trend in Illinois continues to move in the opposite
direction. In 2003, Illinois recorded 4 million hogs, down from 5.7
million in 1990 and 6.6 million in 1980. The cattle inventory also
fell, to 1.3 million in 2003 from 1.7 million in 1990 and 2.7
million in 1980.
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"Reversing this gradual decline of
our livestock inventory is critical to the future of Illinois'
number one industry," Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said.
"Illinois already produces the crop needed to feed its livestock. In
addition, as our ethanol production grows, the byproduct of ethanol,
distillers grain, would serve as a great source of feed for a
growing livestock industry. These various sectors of agriculture
will feed off each other, which will in turn feed millions of
dollars into the Illinois economy."
Along with identifying industry
concerns, representatives from the Illinois Department of
Agriculture, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Illinois
Department of Revenue, the Illinois Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity, and the Illinois Finance Authority also
discussed their roles in the livestock industry.
from the governor's office]