Rob Shaffer, an El Paso farmer and secretary of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), was recently elected president of the Illinois Livestock Development Group (ILDG).
"I hope to carry on the tradition and follow the wonderful examples of past chairman, Curt Rincker, and retiring board members, Bill Christ from Illinois Corn Growers Association, and Phil Borgic from Illinois Pork Producers Association," Shaffer notes. "The position gives me a good platform as a livestock producer and soybean farmer in Illinois to help further the mission of ILDG to increase livestock production here."
Shaffer hopes to raise the awareness level of and encourage support for animal agriculture in Illinois. More livestock mean more jobs and taxes and a better basis for corn and soybean prices. He says ISA's number one priority for the current fiscal year is the animal agriculture industry, which includes hogs, poultry, dairy and beef cattle and aquaculture.
"We are ready to help grow the industry in Illinois," says Nicole Boettger, ISA animal agriculture lead. "With Rob's can-do attitude and leadership strengths, we can highlight for our investing farmers that animal ag is very good for them and their communities. This shows not only a strong commitment with dollars, but also personal time investment by ISA leaders."
ILDG says the Illinois livestock industry has been shrinking, while the industry grows nationwide, noting in the past 10 years that Illinois livestock receipts fell from $2.3 to $1.7 billion. ILDG as a coalition of commodity representatives, understands the economic and social impact that the decline has on the entire state. ILDG's (www.illinoislivestock.org) mission is to, "promote, develop and facilitate strategies to increase livestock production in Illinois."Shaffer will serve with Chad Schutz, White Hall, vice president representing Illinois Farm Bureau; Mike Haag, Emington, treasurer representing the Illinois Pork Producers Association; and Doug Scheider, Freeport, secretary, representing the Illinois Milk Producers Association.