For the second time this year, there's a new director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
It's Raymond Poe, for the last 21 years a state lawmaker from the Springfield area and a farmer since 1967.
“If it wasn't for the farmers, and Illinois' one of the biggest, we wouldn't have such cheap food prices,” Poe says in describing agriculture's supremacy in the state. “A lot of people don't understand that, either. If you go around the world, in different countries, sometimes 40, 50, 60 percent of those people's disposable income goes for food.”
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Poe says it will be good to have a lifelong Springfield area resident in charge. “I live five minutes away from the fairgrounds. I've been on the fairgrounds for about fifty years.”
Speaking of the fair, Poe said the selection of a new manager of the state fair should be a collaborative effort; he does not want to make that pick alone.
Poe has missed much of the last year in Springfield because of a rare blood disorder which he says is under control. “The only difference now is that I might get tired a little easier.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner recruited Philip Nelson from the presidency of the Illinois Farm Bureau to run the ag department earlier this year. He lasted a few months before being forced out; fair manager Patrick Buchen left at the same time.