The number of Illinois farmers producing value-enhanced crops has nearly doubled since 1998. Many have experienced an income increase, too, according to a report by the University of Illinois' Value Project.

The study, called “Value-Enhanced Corn and Soybean Production in Illinois,” shows that 7,000 Illinois farmers started producing value-enhanced crops since 1998, bringing the total number to 16,800. In addition, acreage expanded per average farmer from 200 acres to 400 during that period.

“About two-thirds of the 16,800 farmers reported that value-enhanced crops had increased their farm income by an average of 12.5%,” says Burt Swanson, director of the Value Project. “It's estimated that Illinois farmers received a total of about $32 million in additional farm income during 1999 and 2000 from growing value-enhanced corn and soybeans.”

The report identifies markets for value-enhanced corn and soybeans as well as farmers' experiences and interests in these crops. Market and production locations for specialty crops are also listed.

Copies of the report can be obtained by contacting the Value Project office at 217-244-4796, fax: 217-333-5502 or e-mail Swanson at: swansonb@uiuc.edu. Or, write to him at: University of Illinois, 412 Mumford Hall, 1301 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801.