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Illinois counties tops in amber waves of grain

Combine harvests corn in a field
Seth Perlman
AP file

McLean and Piatt counties led the nation in corn and soybean categories last year.

The U.S. Agriculture Department says McLean County farmers harvested nearly 71 million bushels of corn in 2022, the most of any county in the nation. Piatt County farmers averaged 74.2 bushels per acre of soybean yields, again tops in the country.

“Our Illinois farmers have once again proved why agriculture is the No. 1 industry in the state of Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello. “Our agricultural reach goes far beyond our state. In 2022, Illinois exports of corn and soybeans to the world totaled over $3.5 billion.”

The top five corn-producing counties in the nation are all in central Illinois, including in order after McLean: Iroquois, Livingston, LaSalle, and Champaign. In soybean yield, the top 11 counties are all in Illinois. Number two through 11 are Macon, Sangamon, Scott, Logan, Tazewell, Stark, Morgan, Christian, Champaign, and Woodford counties.

“For centuries, Illinois has solidified its status as an agricultural state — and 2022 was no different,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “When we say Illinois farmers do it best, this is what we mean.”

Illinois as a whole remains the second-largest producer of corn in the country, only behind Iowa.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture encourages agricultural producers to complete the 2023 U.S. Census of Agriculture that provides statistical information on the ag industry.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.