Andrew Chesney


Andrew Chesney


Senator Andrew Chesney Welcomes IL Director of Agriculture to First Agriculture Advisory Committee Meeting of 2024

Over 60 leaders from the Northwest Illinois farming and agriculture community gathered at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau building on Tuesday for State Senator Andrew Chesney’s (R-Freeport) spring 2024 Agriculture Advisory Committee meeting. Jerry Costello, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, was the keynote speaker.

“Agriculture is the top economic driver in the State of Illinois, and the 45th Senate District is home to hundreds of farms and several agribusinesses,” said Chesney. “It was a pleasure to bring in Director Costello as the keynote speaker for the event. Agriculture and farming leaders could take their questions and concerns straight to the highest-level agriculture official in Illinois.”

Lou Lamoreux, a Lanark farmer and recent recipient of Prairie Farmer magazine’s Master Farmer Award, chairs the committee. On Tuesday, he greeted attendees and provided brief remarks about the importance of a designated committee to discuss agriculture issues and other items important to farmers.

“The turnout exceeded expectations, and farmers appreciated the opportunity to have their voices heard,” said Lamoreux. Having critical decision-makers in the room was very helpful, and it was a great start to our committee’s work for this year.”

Director Costello discussed the vital role agriculture has on the Illinois economy and outlined some of his department’s duties. He also discussed resources available to address farmers’ mental health, the success of the state’s county fair, environmental challenges, and how his department is working to steer more young people toward careers in agriculture.

“We have some amazing agriculture export numbers here in Illinois, but we need to look forward,” said Costello. “There is work to do in engaging and growing the number of farmers we have in this state, and we do that by reaching our youth.”

During an hour-long question-and-answer period, local leaders asked questions about the estate tax and the difficulties it places on farming families, animal-borne disease prevention and response, biosecurity, ethanol usage, and many other topics.

“This event provided an excellent platform for an informative and useful exchange of ideas,” said Chesney. “I know Director Costello appreciated the questions and feedback, and attendees walked away with a greater understanding of how the Department of Agriculture operates in Illinois and how the Director works on their behalf.”

The Chesney Agriculture Advisory Committee meets three to four times yearly to discuss important issues affecting farmers and the agriculture community in Northwest Illinois.

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