Illinois Farmers Council looks ahead at the future of agriculture

Haley Bickelhaupt

Aug 03, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Ethanol |  Livestock |  Exports |  Farm Policy

Yesterday, the IL Corn Growers Association teamed up with agricultural organizations throughout the state to discuss emerging markets and legislation impacting the industry.  


The 2023 Future of Agriculture Forum was hosted by the Illinois Farmers Council, a coalition of ag-related groups, at Richmond Community College in Decatur, Illinois.


“As a united council for agriculture in Illinois, we are looking at future opportunities for our industry,” said President of the Illinois Farmers Council and IL Corn Growers Association Matt Rush. “Our goal was to bring together leaders in each commodity to discuss what is affecting us now and will affect us in years to come.”


The event featured speakers on the science of carbon capture and storage (CCS), market pathways for biofuels, and the Supreme Court’s decisions on the Waters of the United States and Proposition 12.


Farmer leaders and experts evaluated the impact the Supreme Court’s ruling on the National Pork Producers Council v. Ross will have on livestock and grain production. The case, based on a California ballot proposal titled “Proposition 12”, places stricter housing requirements for eggs, veal, and pork sold in California.


Central Illinois hog farmer and President of the Illinois Pork Producers Association Chad Leman said to meet California’s pork demand under the new requirements, approximately 350,000 sows in the United States will need to change confinement. “This goes far beyond hog production,” said Leman. “It will affect corn producers and soybean producers.”


Leman said his operation markets 110,000 pigs per year and feeds 80-90 million pounds of feed. “We know quite a bit of that is grown here, among our Illinois producers.” He said as producers look to potentially downsize their herds to meet Proposition 12 requirements it will affect pork producer’s demand of corn and soybeans.


In addition to Supreme Court discussions, panelist Dr. Sallie Greenberg educated the council on the CCS process and its ability to positively impact the ethanol industry. She explained the science and safety of the two CCS projects in Decatur, the Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage project, and the Illinois Basin- Decatur Project.


Greenberg said in Decatur, CO2 is injected approximately 6,700 feet beneath the surface in a layer of shale 450 feet thick. “Collectively between the two projects there’s about 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide stored,” said Greenberg.


Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) is a partner in the Illinois Basin- Decatur Project. The company began sequestering carbon in 2001 with carbon dioxide from its ethanol fermentation process. Panelist and Vice President of State Government Relations for ADM Greg Webb said the technology brings a bright future to agriculture.


“We have a vast opportunity in the area of agriculture to meet the carbon intensity aspirations of our consumers,” said Webb. “I believe sincerely that the carbon capture and storage holds a considerable opportunity for our agriculture industry.”


The Illinois Farmers Council is a group of agriculture-related associations from across the state representing farm families, commodities, and the livestock industry. The group is composed of the IL Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Association, and the Illinois Milk Producers Association.