The animals we raise
The future of Illinois’ environment, economy, and rural communities relies on a thriving livestock industry. Livestock farms continue to reduce their impact on the environment, become more sustainable, and drive the Illinois economy.
Livestock farms are economic engines for Illinois. Livestock farms, along with meat and dairy processing, contribute $14.1 billion annually in economic activity in Illinois and are responsible for 52,124 jobs throughout rural and urban areas of the state.
Livestock farms invest in rural communities of Illinois – keeping people in the state. An estimated $68 million was invested in construction costs for new or expanding livestock farms in 2017. Livestock creates demand for Illinois’ top two commodities, corn and soybeans, consuming an estimated 112 million bushels and 36 million bushels, respectively.
91,500 jobs in Illinois come from livestock farming and related economic activity.
$24 billion in economic activity in Illinois is generated from livestock production and related economic activity.
What’s the #1 contributor to the Illinois economy? Meat processing from livestock farms.
Dairy Statistics for IL :
#22 in milk produced by dairy producers
82,000 cows milked–each cow provides an average of 2,445 gallons of milk
Dairy led to more than 20,656 Illinois jobs (dairy production & food processing)
Illinois produces $48 million in dairy products
Illinois farmers create $118 million in economic impact from dairy exports
Caring for animals is always a top priority of livestock farmers. A livestock farmer’s success depends on healthy animals.
Raising livestock looks different than it did in years past, thanks to new technology and improvements in animal care. For example, raising livestock indoors keeps animals out of harsh weather conditions and protects them from diseases, parasites, and predators.
Livestock organizations have developed programs to educate farmers about best management practices in animal care, food safety, worker safety, public health, and much more. Programs such as Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), Pork Quality Assurance (PQA), and Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) educate farmers about best management practices to ensure animals are well cared for and quality food products end up on store shelves. Many meatpacking and milk processing companies required that farmers participate in these programs to ensure humane treatment of animals and ensure their products meet quality standards.
One common area of concern revolves around the use of antibiotics for livestock health. Strict federal guidelines are in place to ensure the safe and necessary administration of antibiotics, often done so under the supervision of trained veterinarians. Farmers take the response use of antibiotics seriously and continue to reduce their use. According to the U.S> Food and Drug Administration, the sale and distribution of medically important antibiotics for food producing animals has fallen 43% since 2015. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also inspect an test meat and diary products to ensure that consumers are always provided with safe and wholesome options.
Environmental issues are rare on Illinois livestock farms. Multiple layers of state and federal regulation are in place to give Illinois a very comprehensive and robust regulatory program. Complaints regarding livestock farms, submitted to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, have declined drastically.
This work, however, is not only accomplished due to the regulations in place. Illinois livestock farmers are voluntarily working with U.S. Department of Agriculture to invest in improving their environmental performance. In 2017, these joint efforts resulted in $10 million of investment to improve the environment.
Illinois livestock farms continue to become more sustainable. With continued efforts, we’ve been able to reduce and reuse many of the resources from our farms. By using manure in place of traditional fertilizer, we can produce more food with fewer resources.