From Field to Finish Line: Corn Leading the Way to Green Solutions

Lindsay Croke

Jun 25, 2024  |  Public Outreach

Illinois runs on homegrown corn. Corn is the backbone of the Illinois economy and now we can count on Illinois corn to make our future more renewable and sustainable.


On June 22, an Illinois farmer running team joined 1,500 other runners at the White Sox “Run your Sox Off” 5K. The event was sponsored by IL Corn and showcased a new running shoe by Saucony that is made with a renewable corn sole, making the shoe more recyclable and friendlier for the environment.


To showcase corn farmer commitment to the environment, IL Corn also sponsored a running shoe recycling event, where runners could bring their old shoes to the race for free recycling and enter to win a new pair of corn-based running shoes before they left the event.


All of this is to remind everyone who lives in Illinois that corn can solve many of the global challenges facing our world today.


From cleaner fuel to biodegradable plastics, from carbon sequestration to the economic impact that powers our state, corn farmers and the crops they grow are quietly working on solutions to the problems that keep you up at night.


And all this courtesy of family farmers, many of which have been farming the same land for generations.


  • There are 71,123 farms and ranches in Illinois in 2022 with an average size of 370 acres.
  • Illinois boasts 26.3 million acres of farmland.  That’s 73 percent of our state.
  • 96 percent of Illinois farms are family-owned and operated.
  • Illinois farms and ranches produce $26.4 billion in agricultural products per year.
  • Less than 1 percent of the corn grown in Illinois is sweet corn (veggie corn). Most of the corn grown in Illinois is field corn, which is a grain used in fuel and animal feed.


Intrigued? There’s more to learn about Illinois corn.


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