The Illinois livestock industry is poised to set a record in 2014 with 110 notices of intent to construct filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture as of August. A notice of intent to construct is the paperwork filing that a farmer must submit to begin the process of building or expanding a livestock site according to the Livestock Management Facilities Act (LMFA).
The previous record was 142 notices in 2007. Last year ended with less than 100 notices filed.
The 110 notices already filed this year equal about 60,000 animal unit spaces and about $42 million dollars of investment in Illinois.
“There is a real opportunity in livestock in Illinois right now,” said Nic Anderson, Illinois Livestock Development Group Business Developer. “The corn crop is expected to be huge, prices are low, and margins are good. The best margin exists for poultry growth simply because the building costs for hogs and cattle have escalated.”
In fact, Illinois is seeing some poultry growth in the state. Farbest Foods, one of the largest turkey producers in the U.S., is headquartered in Indiana and has started contracting turkeys from the eastern part of the state. Anderson estimates that about 10 new turkey finishers are going up in Illinois.
However big growth opportunity is offset by challenges. One challenge to all the growth we’re seeing in Illinois is the time it takes to get through the process outlined by the LMFA. Another challenge is the wet weather we’ve had this summer and additional difficulty meeting building deadlines.
“It is taking producers a long time to get through the LMFA process, and that’s frustrating for farmers who want to capitalize on an opportunity. But it also means that the Department of Ag is doing its due diligence on these livestock sitings and making sure that the LMFA is being enforced. The integrity of the LMFA is preserved, and that’s an important benefit for growth of livestock in Illinois,” Anderson said.
Anderson indicates that Illinois livestock really can’t grow fast enough to capture the advantage indicated by the marketplace.
“There’s still money to be made. There should not be an empty barn in Illinois,” he said.
Illinois Corn continues to participate in the livestock “boom” in Illinois through investment and participation in the Illinois Livestock Development Group and a grant program to help smaller livestock farmers with siting requirements in the LMFA.
If you are a grain farmer looking to diversify or add a son or daughter to your family farm, call Nic Anderson today.