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Most Of Country's Food Passes Through Illinois

Institute of Government and Public Affairs, U of I

More food passes through Illinois annually than any other state, according to a report from the University of Illinois. 

Civil engineering professor Megan Konar, with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, found that of the 400 million tons of food that move around the country annually, more than 70 million tons pass through the state.

“We have harbors. We have the Mississippi River on the western side of the state—roads, rail, airports. So we just have very central infrastructure, and we also are in a productive location. The combination of the two is really what makes Illinois such a critical food transfer hub.”

Konar hopes her findings encourage Congress to invest in roads, railways and other infrastructure used to transport America’s food.

“The American Society of Civil Engineers ranked Illinois’ infrastructure as a D+. The U.S. as a whole has received a D+. We have finite federal funds available for infrastructure improvements. And so after the study, hopefully they may want to target Illinois since it’s been shown to be such a critical node to the nation’s food transportation network.”

Konar says Illinois’ location and farms are key to why it ranks so high. California and Louisiana were also top distribution states.

Editor's Note: WUIS's Jamey Dunn wrote the original story.