Illinois Department of Agriculture

What You Need To Know About Bad Seeds & 'Brushing'

Jul 31, 2020
Connie Kuntz

It can be nice when a friend secretly leaves a bouquet of flowers on your doorstep on May Day, but what if you receive a package of unsolicited seeds in the mail? 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture says don’t plant them, don’t even open the package.

Hemp Is Used For More Than Just Oil

May 26, 2020

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for this year’s hemp growing season. Hemp has many uses. Some include the production of cannabidiol or CBD oil, hemp oil and industrial purposes. The season started out slow for one northern Illinois farmer.

Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE 11/22/19:

This week, following a bipartisan letter Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to address propane supply shortages, the FERC announced that farmers in the Midwest will receive temporary emergency shipments of propane.

Wikimedia Commons

The Illinois Department of Agriculture recently treated several northern Illinois counties for gypsy moths.

  The Illinois Department of Agriculture heard from the public on Tuesday regarding proposed rules for the state's industrial hemp program

John Sullivan was chosen by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to head the Illinois Department of Agriculture, succeeding former director Raymond Poe. 


Illinois lawmakers approved legisltation that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is derived from the cannabis plant, but it has a non-drug use. It can create bio-degradable building materials, paper, textiles and more.

Washington State Department of Agriculture

The Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to spray about 37,000 acres of farmland Wednesday to combat gypsy moths.

Gypsy Moths are a non-native species that feed on over 250 varieties of plants, but are particularly attracted to oak and willow trees.  Large numbers of the moths can defoliate plants, leaving them much more vulnerable to environmental stress.


Two Illinois lawmakers have proposed a plan to offer tax credits to biotechnology businesses in hopes of boosting agricultural jobs in central Illinois.

The Decatur Herald & Review reports the legislation, introduced by state senators Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) and Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), would provide incentives to produce and sell new renewable products made from biomass and other renewable sources.

Manar says the state is strategically poised to lead the development of new renewable products.

Scott Schirmer / Illinois Department of Agriculture

Corn may be ubiquitous in DeKalb County, but it isn't immune to external threats.

A sample from a corn field recently tested positive for bacterial leaf streak. DeKalb is the first county in Illinois to have a USDA-verified case of the disease.

It’s similar to symptoms of gray leaf spots – which farmers come across frequently – except bacterial leaf streak cannot be treated with fungicides.

Illinois To Drop Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Oct 26, 2015

Illinois is joining several Midwest states in lifting an internal quarantine of the Emerald Ash Borer. It is an invasive beetle native to Asia that has been destroying ash trees around the state.

Restriction of firewood movement helped contain the pest, but the number of affected Illinois counties still increased.

Scott Schirmer is the Plant and Pesticide Specialist Supervisor for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. He says discovery of the beetle in 10 new counties led to the decision.

Illinois officials say the threat of bird flu required limits on poultry at this year’s Illinois State Fair.

This strain of avian influenza entered the U.S. last December. So far it’s infected flocks in all the states surrounding Illinois.

State Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson says it’s resulted in 48 million birds either dying or being killed. Because of that, he says bird exhibitions at the state fair will be limited to Illinois birds.

Residential Fight Against Emerald Ash Borer

May 10, 2013
Mike Moen

The Emerald Ash Borer continues to spread in northern Illinois. Experts say it’s inevitable the tree-killing insect will reach new territory. They urge communities in its path to take steps to reduce the impact. But it’s not just a problem for local officials. Residents have also joined the fight.