SPRINGFIELD – The new Illinois agriculture director is excited for the future of the industry in this state.
John Sullivan believes those in ag must diversify and look to the future without continuing to do the same thing over and over.
“We have a lot of new members in the Illinois General Assembly and obviously, they are the ones who determine funding for all of the different programs in agriculture including the county fairs,”
Sullivan told those attending last weekend’s Illinois Association of Ag Fairs convention.
Sullivan feels he has a good handle on farming in general, but still has plenty to learn – especially on the regulatory side of things.
“I am going to work hard and try to educate myself to make good decisions for the state.”
Since agriculture is the top industry in Illinois, Sullivan wants to make sure it is treated as such. With such a huge economic impact, he plans to identify ways to grow rural development across the state.
Sullivan grew up in the western part of the state and was born in Macomb, living near Nauvoo and Hamilton. The Quincy College graduate spent some time in agriculture lending before becoming a partner in the family auction business with his father and brothers. Sullivan had an interest in politics by 2002 and was successful in his run for the Illinois Senate.
The 14-year senator represented 13 counties in western Illinois until 2016 when he returned to the family business before newly-elected Gov. J.B. Pritzker asked him to be director of ag.
“I thought it was a great opportunity and I am really excited to be here,” Sullivan added.