Tricia Braid

Feb 22, 2019  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Public Outreach

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Thanks to the diligence and hard work of Illinois corn farmers, Illinois corn remains the state’s leading agricultural product. The impacts of homegrown corn stretch far and wide, including adding $17.5 billion to the state’s bottom line. Illinois farmers’ number one priority is to responsibly plant, nurture and harvest one of the most versatile grains used today – corn – which is instrumental to feed the growing population. And they do it all in a way that sustains our economy, our environment and our everyday lives.


“Corn grown by Illinois family farmers provides sustainability in all that we do,” says Don Duvall, Illinois Corn Marketing Board Chairman from Carmi, Illinois. “We’re proud of the impact we have on our economy, our environment and our everyday lives.”


Illinois corn contributes $17.5 billion to the state’s economy, making it the top commodity in Illinois.


The sustainable impact of Illinois corn can be seen throughout the state, and beyond:


Our Economy

  • Local Dollars: Growing corn adds $17.5 billion to the state’s economy.
  • Local Jobs: About 60,000 Illinoisans have jobs because of our animal agriculture industry, and corn provides local jobs - from the grain elevator to livestock farms.
  • Major Industry: With a production value of over $8.5 billion, corn processed for grain is Illinois’ top commodity.
  • Overseas Markets: Exports are the largest market for Illinois corn. With 41% of Illinois corn being exported, this is the largest market for the state’s top crop.

Our Environment

  • Cleaner Air: Ethanol, made with corn, reduces emissions and GHGs by about 40%.
  • Earth-Friendly Plastic: Corn-based plastics are an alternative to petroleum and can be composted.
  • Clean Water: Corn farmers are using innovative farm practices like cover crops, buffer strips at field edges and reduced tillage to keep nutrients in the soil and minimize runoff.
  • Soil Health: Healthy soils mean a healthy crop. Targeted, precision application of fertilizer means less chemical use overall and improved microbial soil health.

Our Everyday Lives

  • Consumer Products: Corn is found in everyday household items, from cleaners to carpets.
  • High Quality, Affordable Food: Corn is a great source of nutrition for our farm animals. Cows, pigs and chickens across Illinois all eat corn.
  • Craft Spirits: Whiskey isn’t made, it’s grown. Corn is at the heart of some of our most popular cocktails.
  • Domestic Fuel: Fueling your ride with ethanol from Illinois corn means less dependence on foreign oil, and it can be found at more than 1,000 pumps throughout the state.


Farm families like Brett and Krista Swanson from Oneida, Illinois, work hard to ensure the corn they grow is sustainable to provide for the next generation. With a young family, the Swanson’s hope their children will continue the farming legacy that runs deep in both Brett and Krista’s families.


The Swanson Family of Oneida, Illinois, take pride in sustainably growing corn to ensure their legacy will continue for future generations.


That’s why protecting and nurturing the land is a top priority for the Swanson’s and many Illinois corn farmers. They want to ensure their most important resource – the soil – remains fertile and productive for generations to come.


The Swanson Family was recently featured in a video highlighting corn farmers and how a simple seed sustainably impacts us all.