Agriculture – Illinois’ number one industry

Greetings!

As the warm summer months are now ahead of us, the Department of Agriculture would like to take a moment to update you of some important agricultural messages.

Farm Progress Show

In what many in the agriculture industry refer to as the World’s Fair of Agriculture, the Farm Progress Show is the nation’s largest outdoor farm event. This year, the event returns to Decatur, Ill.

Over the years, the Farm Progress Show has evolved to become an important tool to not only educate our nation’s farmers on the newest ­products and farming techniques, but for the United States to market our products, services and techniques to the world. The annual event has become a top destination for the international agricultural community – each year hosting guests from over 70 countries.

Located on the campus of Richland Community College, the Farm Progress Show spans more than 500 acres displaying new farm equipment, seed and crop protection products, and many additional farm supplies and services. This three-day event provides an ­unprecedented opportunity for farmers, ­ranchers and producers to get the inside scoop on the newest products, services and technologies in the market.

We are proud agriculture is Illinois’ number one industry, and it is our commitment to work to see it remain the state’s top business.

Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Illinois is one of numerous states that have developed and ­implemented strategies over the 31-state Mississippi River basin with the intention of improving our nation’s water quality. The Illinois strategy provides a framework for reducing both point and non-point nutrient losses to improve our state’s overall water quality, as well as the quality of water leaving the state and making its way down the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Agriculture Water Quality Partnership Forum (AWQPF) reports that the agriculture ­sector invested more than $54 million in nutrient loss reduction research, ­outreach, implemen­tation and monitoring. These contributions have come from AWQPF ­members and other ­organizations that ­conducted work towards the goal of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS). Because of the ­proactive efforts of the various agriculture groups, Illinois farmers have become broadly aware of a variety of strategies that mitigate nutrient loss through the adoption of best management practices. Highlights include, a move toward split spring/fall nitrogen ­applications and an increasing number of acres dedicated to conservation practices, such as a use of cover crops.

More details about our state’s ­progress in this initiative will be unveiled at the Farm Progress Show this fall.

Harvest Safety/Grain Bin Safety

Speaking of this Fall, before we know it harvest will be upon us. Agriculture is one of the most ­dangerous ­occupations in our workforce. The Department of Agriculture works closely with ­various ­partners, such as Grain Handling Safety Coalition, to educate ­farmers about the importance of ­harvest safety. Working in and around grain is extremely ­dangerous and special care should be taken to ensure the safety of all workers.

Start Seeing Tractors/Share the Road

Slow moving vehicles, like ­tractors, are starting to pop up on area ­roadways. When you come up on a farm vehicle – give that driver plenty of room. Not only does the farmer have a hard time seeing you, but that farmer is busy avoiding passing cars and ­mailboxes. “Share the road” so farmers can ­continue their mission of getting food from our farms to your family.

State Fair Time is Here!

Finally, I would like to ­personally invite you to one of our biggest upcoming events, the Illinois and DuQuoin State Fairs. The Illinois State Fair takes place Aug. 10-20 in Springfield. The Du Quoin State Fair will take place Aug. 25-Sept 4. Both are family friendly and affordable events that help promote our state’s number one industry, agriculture!

Hope to see you there!

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