Press Release

Illinois Economy Would Benefit from Expanded Soybean Crushing Capacity

January 28, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, ILL. – January 29, 2013 – Illinois needs new opportunities to expand the state's stagnating economy.  Research funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff suggests that one solid opportunity is literally rooted in the state's farm fields.

Illinois farmers grow the second largest soybean crop in the United States.  Roughly half of Illinois soybeans are exported, while the other half is crushed and processed in state.  According to research produced for the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) by Informa Economics, the Illinois soybean crushing industry already provides more than $2.8 billion in economic output (the value of goods produced, wages, indirect spending and taxes) and nearly 2,000 jobs.  The research predicts that increasing crush capacity by 2.5 million tons annually would add at least $137 million in new economic output and more than 650 additional jobs.

"With Illinois soybean production expected to increase during the next five years, the state can develop policies that will support crushing more of those soybeans locally," says John Hagenbuch, soybean farmer from Utica, Ill., and ISA director.  "And that means supporting markets for soybean products, especially soybean meal."

Soybean meal serves as high-quality protein in animal feed, making livestock and poultry farmers the No. 1 customers for Illinois soybeans.

"Ideally, as Illinois soybean production grows, more can be crushed and fed locally to hogs, poultry and cattle," Hagenbuch says.  "Because of our location and infrastructure, Illinois will continue to export soybeans.  But most of those exports are whole soybeans going overseas to feed livestock and poultry, and Illinois can export meat even more efficiently than soybeans."

Per capita meat consumption and demand for meat, dairy and poultry products continues to increase globally – especially in developing countries – according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Outlook.  The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reports that U.S. meat exports are reaching record levels to help meet that demand.

"We should look for ways to keep jobs generated by crushing soybeans, raising livestock and poultry, and processing meat here in Illinois," explains Hagenbuch.  "By exporting meat rather than whole soybeans or even soybean meal, Illinois gets more value out of one of our most valuable resources – our soil."

The research report also lists several other economic benefits of expanding soybean crushing capacity in Illinois, including:

  • An increase in the basis for soybean prices around new crushing facilities.
  • Transportation costs savings for elevators and livestock farmers.
  • Increased competitiveness for the Illinois meat industry.
  • One-time economic benefits from the construction phase of expansion.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website



For more information, contact:
Amy Roady

Laura Temple