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Soybeans and Associated Industries Add Value to Illinois Economy

Raising and crushing soybeans and refining soybean oil contributes $17.65 billion in sales output within the Illinois economy, according to the Economic Contribution of the Illinois Soybean Industry.  The report from Informa Economics IEG, funded by the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program, describes the critical importance of soybeans to the state’s economy based primarily on 2016 data.

Illinois consistently ranks as a top soybean-producing state.  The record 2016 crop yielded nearly 593 million bushels and led the U.S., according to USDA data.

“Illinois excels at raising soybeans, which add value to the Illinois economy,” says Craig Ratajczyk, ISA CEO.  “The soybean value chain contributes $7.48 billion to gross state product (GSP), which measures value added through economic processes.  For Illinois soybeans, that value is added when whole soybeans are crushed and the oil is refined within the state.

“Plus, the industry provides more than 57,200 Illinois jobs,” he adds.  “Soybeans support domestic economic growth in Illinois, which improves financial security.”

The values in the report capture the economic contribution of the soybean industry by accounting for multiple impacts:

  • Direct economic impacts from soybean farming, crushing and oil refining.
  • Indirect impacts to upstream industries, including farm inputs like seed and equipment.
  • Induced impacts from spending labor income and profits generated by the direct and indirect impacts, such as benefits to housing, medical and grocery industries.

“The soybean industry also creates a strong economic ripple effect in Illinois,” Ratajczyk says. “The value chain has a 2.75 multiplier effect, meaning that for every $1 in gross product generated by the Illinois soybean industry, another $2.75 is created.  The job multiplier is even stronger.  Every job within the soybean value chain supports another 5.53 jobs elsewhere in the state’s economy.”

Associated Industries Add More Value

Because Illinois raises a consistent soybean supply, many businesses that rely heavily on soybeans and soybean byproducts are located in the state.

“Illinois-based industries that use soybeans add even more value to our economy,” Ratajczyk explains.  “Soybean product and industrial development is in our best interest.  Soybean farmers benefit from a strong local market, but the large industry multipliers mean the entire state profits from soybeans.”

The report analyzed key downstream industries: making animal feed; raising pigs, poultry and cattle; and refining biodiesel.

“Animal feed relies heavily on protein meal like high-quality soybean meal,” says Mark Albertson, ISA strategic market development director.  “Animal agriculture is the top customer for Illinois soybean meal.  Illinois meat and poultry products can be considered value-added soybean products that keep more value, development and jobs in our state and the country.”

The report analyzed the full value of the Illinois feed manufacturing and livestock industries because of their reliance on soybeans.  These animal agriculture industries contribute more than $10 billion in sales, $5.1 billion in GSP and 56,500 jobs.

Albertson adds that biodiesel production uses soybean oil as a primary feedstock, and Illinois is a prime location for biodiesel plants.  According to the report, the entire Illinois biodiesel industry adds $672 million in sales, $98 million in GSP and nearly 700 jobs beyond the value accounted for within the soybean value chain.

“Soybeans impact Illinois,” says Ratajczyk.  “The economic input-output modeling in the Economic Contribution of the Illinois Soybean Industry report captures the importance of soybeans and the positive outcomes they create.”

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C., through the Illinois Soybean Growers. 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 www.ilsoy.org.

Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) is a membership organization serving more than 43,000 Illinois soybean growers. ISG provides advocacy in Springfield and Washington, D.C., to promote the interests of Illinois soybean farmers and programs that enhance soybean production and demand. Voice for Soy, the online action center supported by ISG, allows growers to easily connect with legislators and regulators to advocate for Illinois agriculture. For more information about ISG, visit the website www.ilsoygrowers.com.


For more information, contact:
Amy Roady

Laura Temple