Monday, February 11, 2008

Creating a Vision for Illinois Agriculture

Several players in the Illinois agriculture scene have been working to develop a vision for Illinois agriculture. Initiated by the Illinois Farm Bureau, University of Illinois College of ACES and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the visioning process has 5 major objectives;
  • attract capital and human resources to grow the food and ag industries
  • create a favorable business environment to nurture economic development
  • improve community vitality
  • foster innovation in Illinois
  • be a catalyst in collaboration and partnerships to grow and support the ag and food industries.

Illinois Farm Bureau President Phil Nelson commenting on the vision for Illinois agriculture:

FW: How can the IFB-supported long-range Vision for Illinois Agriculture help foster a more favorable statewide climate for ag development?

Nelson: We want to be at the top, as it relates to food production in this country. We are uniquely positioned, given the fact that we’ve got the third largest urban center in the country in
Chicago. We need to tap into that. I believe we have the best soils in this country located in this state. We have some very competitive advantages over a number of states, and we need to capitalize on that. We also want to be the leader in renewable energy. Given our soils and productivity, and given some of the infrastructure we have, I think we can make that happen.

Having said that, we have to be able to attract resources to Illinois, such as venture capital. We want to create a vibrant industry to attract the brightest and the best people to our state, not only in production agriculture but also in agribusiness. You have to have a business climate conducive to those goals.

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