Politics and farming go together – well, in Illinois, politics goes with everything! On Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair, Illinois Farm Bureau president Rich Guebert said he's glad Republican Bruce Rauner is the governor. “I really appreciate his comments in showcasing Ag Day (and) his commitment to agriculture, the Number One industry in this state,” he said. “My hat's off to the governor and to the legislators who helped make that happen.” The IFB's political arm, ADVOCATE, is in favor of a change in the way Illinois redraws its political maps every ten years. “Is it fair? Is it right?” Guebert asks before marveling at how Indiana's districts conform to county lines.
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One of the ag leaders telling their stories on Ag Day is one of the newest in her position – Jennifer Tirey is in her second month as executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. The longtime Illinois Department of Agriculture employee says her lack of a hog farming background helped. “What they are really hoping that I can do is educate the general consumer and help them understand how important the pig industry is in Illinois,” Tirey says. Illinois has about 2900 hog farms and is Number Four in production – processing some 4.55 million head of hogs annually.