“Illinois has always been—and will always be—an agricultural
state. And this year, we continued to lay the groundwork for a
thriving, sustainable agricultural industry for generations into
the future,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “From waiving all FFA
dues for agricultural education students to issuing hundreds of
cannabis licenses to social equity applicants, 2022 was full of
firsts—and we’re only getting started. My administration remains
laser-focused on growing and supporting our number one industry,
so that farmers and workers have the resources they need to put
food on the table for the people of Illinois.”
“In Illinois, our agricultural industry powers the economy and
feeds the world. Thank you to the Department of Agriculture that
provides resources and support to the skilled farmers,
producers, transporters, and workers who make this possible,”
said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.” The amazing accomplishments
and growth we saw this year will provide momentum for increased
productivity and entrepreneurship in 2023 and beyond.”
“This year has brought much success to the current landscape of
agriculture in Illinois, but also the future of agriculture in
Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director
Jerry Costello. “With the support of the Pritzker
administration, agriculture in Illinois continues to grow. The
Department looks forward to moving our state’s number one
industry forward as we enter 2023.”
Supporting Vulnerable Communities and Working Toward Justice
Issued 88 Craft Grow licenses, 54 Infuser licenses, and 189
Transporter licenses to date. 85% of all new licenses under the
CRTA are equity by ownership.
First Social Equity Craft Grow licensee successfully commenced
business operations. Located in Rockford, Star Buds is 66%
Two licensees were issued operational Infuser permits and
successfully commenced business operations.
Located in Pekin, Illinois, Krown is 51%
woman-owned; MME, Inc., in Homewood, Illinois was also
cleared to begin infusing operations. Both businesses are
Social Equity licensees.
Implemented state hemp program in time for the 2019 crop season.
Illinois is currently entering our fourth growing season with
2,734 acres planted in 2020.
Approved 10 community colleges to participate in the Cannabis
Community College Vocational Pilot Program.
Signed landmark legislation creating a Farmer Disparity Study to
identify and examine the hurdles for minority populations
entering the agriculture industry.
The study is now underway, facilitated by
the Department and research led by the University of
Illinois, Southern Illinois University, Illinois State
University and Western Illinois University.
Bureau of Cannabis materials and Livestock Management Facility
Training translated to Spanish. The state’s pesticide exam is
currently being translated.
Entered into a $14.4 million Local Food Purchase Cooperative
Agreement with the USDA to increase markets for disadvantaged
farmers and to create sustainable infrastructure to connect with
Addressing Climate Change and Leading the Green Economy
Providing financial assistance for cover crop adoption through
the Fall Covers for Spring Savings Program with a minimum of
140,000 acres available in December 2022. To date, over 300,000
acres are enrolled in the program.
Record apiary growth in Illinois, with over 650 new beekeepers
registering in 2022, protecting our pollinators and their
positive environmental impact.
Implemented pesticide-related rules making Illinois one of the
most stringent in the nation on the application of the pesticide
Operated plastic pesticide container-recycling program with over
2 million pounds of plastic collected and properly disposed of
unwanted and unused pesticides protecting Illinois’ waterways.
Pritzker Administration secured $12.9 million in new funding to
support the development of 40 new conservation planning
positions across the state.
The IDOA/NRCS partnership leverages $3.5 million Illinois state
Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy funds with $9.4 million of
federal funds from the USDA/NRCS to deliver over $12.9 million
in new funding to support conservation planning and NLRS
staffing and programming.
Worked with the Indiana Department of Agriculture to be jointly
awarded $7.9 million for a bi-state partnership that brings
together Indiana, Illinois, and 43 partners to work to improve
the overall health of the iconic Kankakee and Iroquois
Launched a statewide study of Illinois producers and
conservation professionals—in partnership with the US Climate
Alliance—to increase the understanding of constraints affecting
adoption of new farm and land management practices that impact
the climate and NLRS goals.Advanced the creation of the Illinois
Climate Smart Partnership and the Illinois Climate Smart
State Fairs & Fairgrounds
Illinois State Fair saw the highest attended fair since industry
attendance calculation were put into effect, beating previous
records also set under the Pritzker administration. Overall
attendance reached 636,700 and weekend attendance during the
fair saw an increase of nearly 95,000 people over 2021.
Celebrated the 100th anniversary of the DuQuoin State Fair with
over 170,100 fairgoers. Recognized the tradition of standardbred
horse racing at the fair by injecting an additional $100,000
into horseracing purses for Illinois bred horses.
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Hosted vaccine clinics on the fairgrounds inside of the Orr
Building for much of 2021 with more than 66,000 vaccines given.
Capital projects on the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds continued,
including improvements to the grandstand, main gate, and roads.
Capital projects on the Illinois State Fairgrounds continued,
including improvements to the Multi-Purpose Arena, 8th Street,
Reisch Pavilion (Illinois State Fair Foundation), and building
and barn roofs.
Securing the Future of Agriculture
In the 2022-2023 school year, FFA dues were waived for every
student taking agriculture education classes across Illinois.
The $550,000 appropriation is spearheaded by State Senator Doris
FFA is a national organization for young adults interested in
leadership and agriculture.
It has been a priority of the Pritzker Administration to make
farming and agriculture more accessible, and these dollars help
to diversify the make-up of the FFA organization.
The elimination of dues makes Illinois a FFA affiliation
membership state, ensuring every student enrolled in
agricultural education will have FFA membership dues
automatically paid, making them a FFA member.
This increases the number of FFA students in Illinois from
23,000 members to nearly 37,000 members.
Marketing Illinois Agriculture
In FY22, $102,637,471 in actual and projected sales was
generated for Illinois agricultural companies as a result of
direct buyer/seller introductions at in-person events.
Other achievements included agreements between the State of
Illinois and foreign dignitaries; co-sponsored marketing events
via strategic partnerships; buyers missions and tours, directly
introducing Illinois agriculture companies to qualified buyers;
Illinois Pavilions at trade shows. In-person shows are starting
to return since the pandemic, which will allow for increased
Hosted Directors of Agriculture from 14 midwestern states in
Chicago, highlighting Illinois agriculture and Chicago’s vibrant
urban farming community.
Re-launched the “Homegrown by Heroes” branding program, with 32
veterans enrolled to date.
Nationally ranked #1 in soy production, #2 in corn production,
and #4 in pork production, offering world-class genetics to
domestic and international partners.
Nationally ranked #1 in food processing with $150 billion in
sales and employing over 86,000 people.
Illinois Agriculture on the Global Stage
Governor Pritzker signed a commitment of $2.6 billion in soybean
and corn purchases by the Taiwanese Government.
The agreement is the second multi-billion-dollar agricultural
deal made between the two countries during the Governor’s time
The letter of intent agrees to the sale of over $2 billion of
Illinois soybeans and $600 million of Illinois corn over the
next two years.
The sale follows the 2019 two-year agreement that authorized
over $2.2 billion in crop sales. The sales will take place over
2023 and 2024.
Accelerating Economic Growth and Creating Jobs
Cannabis production industry now employs nearly 5,000 people in
Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
(CARES), awarded $1.2 million to small and mid-sized meat and
poultry establishments for capacity expansion and $3.5 million
to livestock producers impacted by pandemic related plant
Improving Health Care Quality and Affordability
Advanced the Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI), allowing
for expansion of farmer stress-related mental health initiatives
from a 6-county pilot program to a state-wide program connecting
farmers with mental health resources and providers.
Director Costello toured the state of Illinois making stops in
Springfield, Edwardsville, Champaign, Peoria, Quad Cities,
Kankakee and Carbondale during Mental Health Awareness Month in
May to promote FFRI.
Advancing Public Safety
Worked with the agricultural community to create an online
training course for the handling of anhydrous ammonia,
protecting both growers and the public. Over 12,000 growers
completed the program to date.
Ensured farmers markets were considered an essential service
throughout the pandemic, providing a safe experience for
consumers to purchase of fresh, local products with SNAP food
Inspected over 179 meat and poultry establishments in the State
ensuring food safety for consumers.
Veterinary team worked directly with USDA to manage and mitigate
avian influenza cases in backyard poultry flocks. No commercial
cases in Illinois to date.
Department led pesticide training program, in collaboration with
University of Illinois Extension, pivoted from in-person to
on-line format within weeks to provide a seamless means for
applicators to receive licensure. This created no gap in
services to the agricultural community and now both online and
classroom training and testing are available to increase access.
[Illinois Office of Communication and