Gov. Bruce Rauner visited Big Prairie Farms in southeastern Illinois to hear from the state’s farmers about how the industry is advancing and what concerns remain, including how public policy impacts their business, according to a recent press release from the governor’s office.
“Agriculture is not just our largest industry; it is Illinois’ most important legacy,” Rauner said in the Dec. 14 release. “That is why it is so important that we remain responsive to the people who own the state’s 72,200 farms. We need their businesses to thrive and we need to help them grow by encouraging innovation and education.”
As a major source of soybeans, corn and swine and 26.7 million acres of farmland, Illinois distributes $8.2 billion of agricultural products internationally each year, making it the third largest exporter of agricultural products in the U.S., the release stated.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
Kent and Melissa Williams, owners of the 5,000-acre Big Prairie Farms in Carmi welcomed farm operators large and small to the roundtable with Rauner. Big Prairie is White County’s largest source of soft red wheat, the release stated. Those who attended heard
“It is exciting to see Gov. Rauner reaching out to learn more about what is going on in agriculture in southern Illinois,” Kent Williams said in the release. “As with most farmers, I see the governor’s agenda as a sense of hope for improvement and better things to come for Illinois.”
This isn’t Rauner’s first foray into agricultural policy. He declared a harvest emergency during this year’s growing season after a drought delayed planting and harvest, the release said.
“Agriculture is at the heart of our economy,” Rauner said. “My administration will continue to fight for a business climate that supports farmers and bolsters Illinois’ economy.”