If you like to eat, you should like Illinois

More food passes through the Prairie State than any other state in the nation, according to a new study published by University of Illinois Professor Megan Konar. She contends that Illinois is the most critical hub in US domestic food transportation.

Nearly 20 percent of the food Americans eat moves through Illinois – more than 70 million tons per year. That’s enough to keep everyone who lives in the state eating for five and a half years.

As the Food and Agricultural Roadmap for Illinois partnership points out, Illinois has many unique competitive advantages that have turned it into one of the world’s major food hubs. Its fertile soil means it is one of the top states in corn and soybean production every year, and it is the world’s largest producer of several specialty crops.

The state also ranks first in food processing sales and is home to CME – the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace.

Another key factor in Illinois’ position as a global food hub is its access to extensive transportation networks, including more than 1,400 miles of navigable waterways, the world’s busiest airport, more than 2,000 miles of interstate highway and every Class 1 railroad that operates in the United States. The partnership is working on a plan to help make sure Illinois holds onto this important economic position in the 21st century.