Farm and Field

Soybeans, related industries add value to Illinois economy

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 28, 2017 12:01 am

Raising and crushing soybeans and refining soybean oil contributes $17.65 billion in sales output to the Illinois economy, a report funded by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program said.

"Economic Contribution of the Illinois Soybean Industry," a report from Informa Economics IEG, described the critical importance of soybeans to the state's economy based primarily on 2016 data.

Illinois consistently ranks as a top soybean-producing state. The record 2016 crop yielded nearly 593 million bushels and led the U.S.

"The soybean value chain contributes $7.48 billion to gross state product, which measures value added through economic processes. For Illinois soybeans, that value is added when whole soybeans are crushed and the oil is refined within the state," ISA CEO Craig Ratajczyk said. "Plus the industry provides more than 57,200 Illinois jobs."

Because Illinois raises a consistent soybean supply, many businesses that rely heavily on soybeans and soybean byproducts are located in the state.

"Illinois-based industries that use soybeans add even more value to our economy," Ratajczyk said.

The report analyzed the following key downstream industries: making animal feed, raising pigs, poultry and cattle and refining biodiesel.

"Animal feed relies heavily on protein meal like high-quality soybean meal," said Mark Albertson, ISA strategic market development director. "Animal agriculture is the top customer for Illinois soybean meal."

Albertson added that biodiesel production uses soybean oil as a primary feedstock, and Illinois is a prime location for biodiesel plants. The report said the entire Illinois biodiesel industry adds $672 million in sales, $98 million in GSP and nearly 700 jobs beyond the value accounted for within the soybean value chain.

Resource guide

Illinois livestock farmers have a new resource to help better understand environmental regulations, improve environmental performance and help them stay in business.

A free resource guide to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Livestock Rules is available in a swine, beef and dairy version. The guide helps clarify and simplify the EPA rules and identifies best management practices for dairy farmers.

In August 2014, the Illinois EPA Livestock Rules went into effect, and parts of the rules apply to all farms, regardless of their size. The rules require livestock farmers to collect, contain and apply manure in a way that does not cause water pollution and prevent any runoff from feedstuffs and feed storage areas as well as dead animal disposal area.

"The fact is that Illinois livestock farmers are subject to inspections at any time by Illinois EPA and if found not in compliance with these rules can be issued substantial fines and penalties," said Lauren Lurkins, Illinois Farm Bureau director of natural and environmental resources. "All livestock farmers regardless of their size have an obligation to optimize their environmental performance, and this resource guide can help achieve that."

The guides are being provided by the collaborative work of the Illinois Agricultural Coalition which includes the Illinois Beef Association, IFB, Illinois Milk Producers' Association and Illinois Pork Producers Association. Copies of the guide are available by contacting any of the organizations.