Illinois Agriculture


Illinois Agriculture

A Basic Overview of Agriculture in Illinois

  • The state of Illinois is one of the biggest agrarian states in America. The main agricultural produce of the state are corn and soybean crop. The climatic conditions coupled with high quality of soil available ensures that the farmers are able to grow a variety of crops in Illinois like wheat, oats, sorghum, hay and other fruits and vegetables.

  • It is also known for producing certain crops like horseradish and buckwheat. Many farmers also are in to poultry business and keep cattle on the farm as this too is counted under agriculture. 

  • Agriculture is the main occupation in this state and this can be made out by the fact that almost 80% of the land area of this state is covered with farms.

  • If we talk numbers, then this comes up to 28 million acres and a total of 76,000 farms. In the state of Illinois, the average size of a regular farm or a hobby farm is nearly 368 acres. The dominant crops are corn and soybeans.

  • Most of the farms also indulge in fish farming, emu and ostrich farming etc. Very few grow crops like alfalfa or canola etc.

Economical Benefits to the State

  • The agricultural produce/commodities of the state of Illinois generate an enormous sum of $9 billion every year. Out of this nearly 40% is due to the corn produce in the state. The soybean crop makes up for one third of the total.

  • The rest is a combination of livestock, dairy and poultry products. Other big contribution economically to the state and the country is the generation of money and jobs.

  • A lot of agriculture related industries too have come up in Illinois and it has always given a boost to the sometimes slacking economy. The processing and distribution of the agricultural produce is also a multimillion dollarbusiness.

Use of the Agricultural Products

  • The state of Illinois is home to 950 food processing and manufacturing companies. Essentially these companies and industries take the raw material i.e. crops etc and process it in to foodproducts which can then be distributed nationally and globally as well.

  • This is a huge sector both economically and industrially and the total contribution to the economy of the state is roughly around $13.4 billion.

  • Other related industries which depend on agriculture like animal feed, paint, medicines, paper industry etc also benefit from the agrarian culture of the state. Every year Illinois also contributes towards making the environment cleaner as they produce a record of 678 million gallons of ethanol from corn bushels and bio diesel from soybean as well.

Export Business of Agrarian Products in Illinois

  • Out of all the states in America the state of Illinois is at the second position in the list of largest exporters of agrarian products. This export business is huge and is pegged around $4 billion annually.

  •  7% of the total national agricultural exports of America come from the state of Illinois. It is also the second largest exporter of grains and crops like soybean and feed grains. Out of all the grain produced in Illinois nearly 44% is sold to other countries.

  •  Most of the processing and trading is done in the city of Chicago and the marketing is done via international exhibits, trade missions etc. Chicago is also one of the biggest hubs of food related industries and companies in the world.

A lot of laws and regulations have been put in place in order to secure the agriculture related business in the state of Illinois. The government also is very supportive and comes up with new ventures in order to help the farming community. Illinois has had a vast and rich history and has always been considered as the agricultural state ofAmerica throughout the world.

Illinois' Agricultural Outputs

  • corn
  • soybeans
  • hogs
  • cattle
  • dairy Products
  • wheat

Top Commodities, Exports and Counties


Top 5 Agriculture Commodities, 2001
Commodity Value of Receipts Thousand $ Percent of State Total
Farm Receipts
Percent of US Value
1.     Corn 2,971,723 39.4 17.4
2.     Soybeans 2,132,135 28.3 16.7
3.     Hogs 920,218 12.2 7.4
4.     Cattle and calves 527,954 7.0 1.3
5.     Dairy products 300,600 4.0 1.2
All commodities 7,547,087   3.7



Top 5 Agriculture Exports, Estimates, FY 2001
Commodity Rank Among States Value Million $
1.     Soybeans and products 2 1,136.8
2.     Feed grains and products 2 945.7
3.     Other 3 422.1
4.     Live animals and meat 7 260.0
5.     Feeds and fodders 7 82.5
Overall 5 3,056.5



Top 5 Counties in Agricultural Sales 1997
Counties Percent of State's Total Receipts Million $
1.     Iroquois 2.8 240.0
2.     Mclean 2.8 238.2
3.     Livingston 2.5 213.6
4.     Bureau 2.3 198.9
5.     Champaign 2.2 190.0
State total   8,556.5