New IDOA director ready to build relations with key ag groups, players

Video: New Illinois Agriculture Director John Sullivan talks about potential next steps for the industrial hemp program.

The first week on the job can be tough and even overwhelming for anyone. That’s certainly true for Schuyler County farmer John Sullivan in his first week as Illinois agriculture director, but for someone who loves the industry as much as he does, it was a welcome opportunity to roll up his sleeves and get to work.

John Sullivan, Illinois agriculture director
John Sullivan, Illinois agriculture director

Sullivan has already met with several groups and attended two major ag events, the Illinois Pork Expo and Illinois Association of County Fairs Convention.

“The promises that I have made to (ag) groups I’ve already talked to, No. 1, I will work hard and I’ll put in the time and the effort,” he told the RFD Radio Network®. “No. 2, I will educate myself on the issues. And No. 3, I will try to make decisions that I think is best for agriculture and the folks here in the state of Illinois.”

He also held his first press conference to introduce himself to media and host a visit from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, where Pritzker announced an $800,000 contribution to the Illinois State Fair Foundation.

Sullivan spent part of his childhood growing up on a cattle farm in McDonough County. He currently operates a cattle and grain farm in Schuyler County.

He hopes to build the state’s agriculture industry so that it continues to provide opportunities for the next generation.

“The ag economy is really one area that is wide open and available for some tremendous growth,” said Sullivan, who served in the Illinois Senate from 2001-17. “My goal is (to work so that) young people in this state, especially in rural areas of the state, (can) stay where they grew up and get a good job, a good-paying job, and work in the ag sector or at least rural development. That is certainly one of my priorities.”

In the meantime, Sullivan plans to remain active in meeting with and getting to know the people he’ll be working with throughout the state.

“The list of requests to have me come and meet with or speak to groups is huge. It’s very long, but eventually I hope to get through all the list,” Sullivan said. “A lot of people want to find out who I am, and really, more importantly, they want me to know who they are and what they do for agriculture here in Illinois. So I will be busy here.”

Audio: Sullivan explains why county fairs are important to him.

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Feeds,Region: Statewide,Ag,City: Bloomington

via FarmWeek RFD Field Notes

February 1, 2019 at 01:08AM

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