Friday, April 01, 2016 11:26 AM
Illinois' 74,300 farms cover nearly 27 million acres -- about 75 percent of the state's total land area.
To better understand agribusiness in Illinois, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is an active participant in the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Adopt-A-Legislator program.
“Agribusiness is vital to our economy,” Cullerton said. “The investments we make into agriculture not only help grow our economy but also puts food on our tables.”
The Illinois Farm Bureau Adopt-A-Legislator Program was created in 2001 to build long-term relationships between urban state legislators and farmers throughout the state. The goal of the program is to create a cultural connection between urban legislators and farm bureau members.
"He's (Cullerton) been really easy to talk to and get to know," Montgomery County Farm Bureau board president Jay Niemann said. "Around us, he's been just like one of the guys. He puts his family first and the great state of Illinois right behind his family. He cares about not only his district but the entire state of Illinois."
Cullerton is “adopted” by the Montgomery County Farm Bureau. He has been traveling to Montgomery County since he was sworn into office in 2013 to learn more about the importance of agriculture and the needs of Illinois farmers.
Last week, to better understand suburban life the Montgomery County Farm Bureau traveled to DuPage County to visit Cullerton’s district office and tour Addison Trail High School’s vocational programs as well as Addison’s local family-owned manufacturer, SWD Inc. and ending with a reception with special guests Addison Mayor Rick Veenstra County Board Members Don Puchalski of Addison, Sam Tornatore from Roselle and John Curran of Downers Grove.
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s recent budget proposals zeros out agriculture education. Cullerton believes this is the wrong direction for the state.
“Studies released show that the average age of Illinois’ farmers is 56 years old,” Cullerton said. “We need to educate our young people to keep agribusiness going.”
Last year, the Illinois Future Farmers of America (FFA), a student leadership group focused on agriculture education, estimated more than over $11.8 million was generated by agriculture education students through entrepreneurial, job placement or agri-science research Supervised Agricultural Experience.
PHOTO: State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) and Montgomery County Farm Bureau kicked off their tour of DuPage County in Cullerton’s Villa Park District Office.
Image courtesy of Mike Plunkett at the Journal News.
Sen. Tom Cullerton
23rd Legislative District
Years served: 2013 - Present
Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); State Government & Veterans Affairs; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities.
Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.