My family and I had the opportunity to take a drive down to Missouri this past summer and I noticed a repetitive theme that played out along our 450 mile journey. The theme was very green and featured a taller plant and a shorter plant. The taller plant, corn, occupies 12 million acres of land within Illinois and represents our largest agricultural crop. The shorter plant, soybeans, comes in a distant second occupying 8 million acres. For those of you who are not familiar with an acre, it is an area of land that is a little smaller than a football field. Illinois' 75,000 farms cover more than 26.9 million acres -- nearly 80 percent of the state's total land area. Looking at last year's receipts, Illinois farmers contributed a whopping 17 billion dollars to Illinois' economy.
Here in McHenry County, we plant 120,000 acres of corn, 58,000 acres of soybeans and 3,000 acres of winter wheat. A modest amount of this grain production is fed to our county's livestock. Another modest portion goes to regional ethanol plants and food processors. The lion's share however is not only headed out of our county, but out of our state. Some of this grain hops a ride on a train to chicken producers in the Southern States and some of it finds its way onto an ocean going vessel headed to countries around the world. Last year's corn, wheat and soybean production added 100 million+ dollars to our local economy.
McHenry County Farm Bureau is honored to present the "Friend of Agriculture" award to our Illinois General Assembly Members and our Congressional Representatives. Senator Althoff, Representative Franks, Representative Tryon, and Representative Wheeler earned the award for their outstanding voting records and accessibility ratings.
As busy as this summer has been, I am sad to see it ending. Being selected to serve as the McHenry County Farm Bureau intern is one of the best things to ever happen for me. I have seen, tried and learned more things than I could ever have imagined.