Illinois Looks for Accurate Value of Specialty Crops

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Fruits, vegetables and herbs are a growing segment of the Illinois agriculture economy, but state statisticians are not sure of the crops' true value, but a survey mailed today should help them find out.

The Illinois Agricultural Statistics Service, the University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association compiled a list of about 1,500 producers to ask about their crop.

The only fruits and vegetables listed in the state's annual agriculture statistics bulletin are apples, peaches, sweet corn, cabbage and snap beans, but Illinois growers produce at least 64 vegetables and 15 fruits commercially.

Officials say the survey should provide a more accurate accounting of specialty crops in the state, which should make Illinois more competitive for money that can help develop the industry.