Illinois farm groups release first-ever livestock report

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Milk Producers’ Association and Illinois Pork Producers Association recently announced the results of a year-long project to determine the true environmental performance of livestock farms in Illinois, as well as the effectiveness of state regulations already in place. 

The project, which examined 30 years of publicly available data from the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), as well as information from other state agencies and academic research, highlights the environmental sustainability and economic impact of livestock farms across the state. 

In Illinois, the layers of regulations and rules are working and working well. Data compiled in the final report show the total number of livestock-related complaints to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency have dipped drastically, down from 259 in 1996 to 24 in 2017.

At a time when farmers are battling record-low income due to dipping commodity prices, the data also show livestock farms across the state are helping to stabilize bottom lines, both for farmers and small business owners. 

“The information contained in the report is astonishing, especially when you see some of those numbers,” said Mike Haag, president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. “An estimated $68 million was invested in construction costs for new or expanding livestock farms in 2017. Plus, when you factor in that livestock farms also create demand for Illinois’ top two crops — corn and soybeans — well, that’s a big deal.”

“We see it again and again, in rural communities across the state,” said Joni Bucher, president of the Illinois Beef Association. “These farms, both large and small, provide for more than just the family who lives there. Livestock production contributes $14.1 billion annually in economic activity in Illinois and adds more than 52,000 jobs. That’s more than just a little ripple in a big pond.”

The 2018 Illinois Livestock Report can be found at

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