State's Agricultural Boss Touts Renewable Energy in Stateline

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Boone County corn and soybean farmer Larry Anderson says it's about time the federal and state ag leaders truly get behind agriculture.

"Farmers are pretty efficient, and grow a pretty good crop. We can prove that. It's just we need more uses for it, and use it at home," Anderson said.

In recent months, both President Bush and Governor Blagojevich think Illinois farmers get bigger bang for their bushels with their endorsement of ethanol fuel production from corn, and biodiesel from soybeans. That's why Chuck Hartke - the state's Director of Agriculture - is touring the state.

"I think all sections of Illinois, here in Northern Illinois, maybe a little further away from the river markets, this will add a brand new market for those individuals to market their corn," Hartke said.

Many Boone County farmers are also excited about the profit potential for their crops with a proposed ethanol plant in Winnebago County, and a discussed biodiesel plant in Stephenson County.

"It will give us a chance to get better markets up here because there's more demand for the corn and more uses," Anderson said.

This increased demand would lead to a more versatile system of producing corn and soybeans into ethanol and biodiesel.

The land of Lincoln’s corn farmers produce 28 percent of our nation's total ethanol production.

Currently, 11 ethanol plants are in the planning or construction stage across our state. Developers also have their sights set on building at least six bio-diesel plants in the near future.