The Illinois Department of Agriculture protects and promotes the state's agricultural and natural resources through services that benefit consumers, farmers and agribusinesses.
Food Inspection To ensure product quality, the department annually examines more than 400 establishments that wholesale meat or meat products to hotels, restaurants, institutions and other establishments. The department enforces regulations on meat and poultry labeling and processing. Staff also license more than 600 meat brokers who buy boxes of labeled meat and sell it in bulk to wholesale or retail establishments. To ensure the quality of eggs being sold or consumed, the agency conducts 10,000 annual inspections at restaurants, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other businesses. Department staff also inspect about 725 Illinois businesses licensed to sell large quantities of eggs to wholesalers and retailers.
Weights and Measurements Certification The agency annually tests more than 91,000 commercial weighing and measuring devices such as gasoline pumps; scales for groceries, freight, coal and trucks; and grain moisture meters. Inspections benefit both buyers and sellers of goods by ensuring the devices' accuracy.
Motor Fuel Quality Testing To help ensure the quality of fuels offered for sale, the department evaluates petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and propane. For example, inspectors may analyze gasoline's octane level, alcohol type and quantity, vapor pressure and distillation points to determine if the fuel sample meets accepted specifications. These inspections help prevent consumers from buying substandard fuels.
MARKETING AND PROMOTION
Agricultural Statistics and Market News Through a cooperative agreement between the state and federal Agriculture departments, the agency publishes weekly weather and crop information, bimonthly farm reports, and an annual summary of Illinois agricultural statistics on crops, livestock and prices. The department also provides market reports on agricultural commodities and current conditions of supply, demand, price, trend, movement and other information affecting the livestock, grain and feed industries.
Agricultural Marketing The department helps Illinois farmers, agribusinesses, food companies and other agricultural entities develop and expand markets for agricultural products worldwide through a number of initiatives. These include the Illinois Products logo program, trade shows, industry tours, retail displays and the Illinois Centennial Farm program. The department's offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and in Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and Belgium work to locate buyers for Illinois products throughout the world. Staff also help develop new uses for traditional farm commodities and markets for alternative agricultural products.
State and County Fair Promotion The department administers and promotes the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and the DuQuoin State Fair in southern Illinois. It also distributes funds to 105 county fairs and expositions each year.
Horse Racing Administration The department determines the eligibility of Illinois-bred horses to participate in the state's horse racing programs. Monetary incentives are offered throughout the year, including a $1 million award for 2-year-old harness horses and a $500,000 bonus for thoroughbreds.
Animal Health and Welfare The department monitors, controls and helps prevent the spread of animal diseases such as pseudorabies, brucellosis and tuberculosis in swine and cattle, equine infectious anemia in horses, and various poultry diseases. Illinois has achieved disease-free status in regards to bovine tuberculosis, bovine and swine brucellosis, and two poultry diseases: pullorum-typhoid and mycoplasma gallisepticum. Animal disease laboratories in Centralia and Galesburg offer diagnostic services for livestock and pet owners. The labs perform autopsies, diagnose diseases and analyze samples to assist regulators, meat inspectors, veterinarians and Illinois citizens. The agency administers regulations concerning animal care and control. It promotes proper care of pets and livestock through licensure and inspection of pet shops, kennels, catteries, pounds, shelters and guard dog services. Department staff also regulate livestock auction markets and dealers, animal transportation, and livestock branding and oversee the proper disposal of dead animals and inedible animal products. The department tracks diseases and movement of honey bees through beekeeper registration.
Environmental Programs The agency administers programs directed toward control and eradication of plant pests and disease. It regulates pesticide use by registering products, certifying and licensing applicators, and investigating suspected misuse. Staff also administer programs concerning proper pesticide record keeping and waste reduction; pesticide and fertilizer storage, containment and disposal; pesticide container recycling; noxious weed control; and other groundwater protection initiatives. A department laboratory tests groundwater, plant, animal and soil samples for pesticide residues. The department also oversees the Livestock Management Facilities program. This program regulates many aspects of livestock production, including setback distances, design standards for waste lagoons, waste management plans, and livestock manager certification.
Land and Water Resources The agency provides financial, technical and educational assistance to Illinois' 98 soil and water conservation districts. Department staff coordinate district programs to reduce erosion and sedimentation, protect water quality, control flooding, plan land use, and enhance woodland, wildlife and recreational resources. The districts promote conservation practices through informational campaigns, educational outreach and technical assistance. Department staff also administer the agricultural components of Conservation 2000, a long-term state initiative to protect natural resources and improve outdoor recreational opportunities in Illinois. The department distributes Conservation 2000 monies used for four purposes: to promote sustainable agriculture, stabilize eroding streambanks, fund a cost-share program for construction of soil conservation practices and assist Illinois' soil and water conservation districts. The department helps organize an annual statewide soil conservation survey which tracks Illinois' progress toward its goal of reducing soil loss on cropland to tolerable levels by the year 2000. Tolerable soil loss is the rate at which the amount of new, naturally produced soil is equal to or greater than the amount lost. More than three-fourths of the state's farmland currently registers within tolerable soil loss limits. The department reviews and comments on state-funded and -regulated projects to protect Illinois' agricultural land from unnecessary conversion to other uses. It works with other state agencies to develop agricultural land preservation policies and tracks the amount of farmland converted by state action. Department staff also provide technical assistance to landowners and local governments wishing to establish farmland protection programs. To ensure farmland disturbed by mining is restored to its pre-mining production capability, the department reviews coal mining permit applications and inspects mines.
AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY REGULATION
Agricultural Products Inspection The department examines feed, seed and fertilizer products for quality and inspects ammonia applicators to ensure safety. Staff test seed for purity, noxious weed content and germination. They also test seed conditions for shipping purposes, check seed bag labels for accuracy and analyze seed quality for individual producers on a fee-for-service basis. The department evaluates feed content and fertilizer quality. It issues certificates of free sale which verify exports meet state and federal quality standards. The department also publishes a directory of limestone sales outlets and product quality.
Grain Dealer and Warehouse Inspection and Licensure In addition to inspecting and licensing grain dealer and warehouse operations, the department administers one of the strongest grain insurance programs in the nation. The Illinois Grain Insurance Fund protects producers against certain losses associated with failed grain facilities and enhances the stability of the grain industry. Department staff also register grain cooperatives and specialty farm product buyers and regulate personal property, commercial distribution and refrigerated warehouses.
For more information, contact: Illinois Department of Agriculture P.O Box 19281 State Fairgrounds Springfield, IL 62794-9281 217.782.2172 TDD 217.524.6858 FAX 217.785.4505
Ag News, Education and Services Toll-Free Hot Line: provides information about the department's programs and services 217.785.9272, TDD 217.524.6858
Automated Market Information Service: provides up-to-date market information 217.782.2055, TDD 217.524.6858
Market News Toll-Free Hot Line: provides access to the latest grain and livestock market news 1.888.458.4787
Motor Fuel Quality Toll-Free Hot Line: provides a way to file confidential complaints concerning motor fuel quality and the accuracy of weighing and measuring devices 1.800.582.0468
Pesticide Misuse Hot Line: provides a means to report potential pesticide misuse 1.800.641.3934 (voice and TDD)
Grain Toll-Free Hot Line: provides information about grain programs and issues 1.800.654.0882