THE OPPORTUNITY HIDDEN WITHIN UNTAPPED ASSETS
Illinois’ food and agriculture system has been a driving force of the state’s economy for centuries and is a globally recognized center of world-class production and processing, business and trade, and research and innovation.
- Food and agriculture represent 9.6% of state economic output ($120.9 billion);
- 1 out of every 17 jobs in Illinois is in food and agriculture;
- The Midwest is one of the most fertile areas for agriculture cultivation in the world;
- Illinois boasts a superior transportation and logistics system;
- The state is abundant in terms of natural resources, including prime farmland and water;
- Chicago is a global magnet and gateway city in terms of business and trade and has the largest concentration of consumers in the Midwest;
- Illinois is ranked 1st in the nation for both processed food sales and food-related patents;
- Top food and agriculture research institutions are advancing global innovation in areas like biotechnology, food health and safety, and regenerative agriculture; and,
- Industry-leading agriculture and food businesses choose Illinois for their headquarters.
No other location in the world is equipped with such world-class assets and representation spanning the entire agri-food value chain. Illinois has a unique opportunity to leverage these untapped resources via a collaborative network to coordinate leadership and catalyze action that could yield novel solutions to some of the sector’s most complex challenges. Doing so will advance the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the sector and position Illinois, and the Midwest, as a global epicenter in agri-food system innovation and impact-leadership for the 21st century.