Illinois needs a strategic plan for agriculture, according to the chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
“Agriculture in Illinois is too important not to be managed with a massive, comprehensive strategic plan,” says Chairman Christopher Kennedy.
He says Illinois is great at producing corn and soybeans, good at food processing, but poor at funding research that will keep the industry going.
“The Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research, also known as C-FAR, at its height was receiving $15 million in state funds. It now receives zero. There is also a $3 million grant program called Agri-First, and again, there is no funding for that program today,” he said.
Kennedy says a strategic plan is needed due to the complexities in agriculture, which include land acquisition and preservation, transportation, the food supply chain, research, and deals with foreign companies and governments. He says in a state where most voters and all the political leaders aren’t farmers, they must be educated to support an agricultural agenda.