Understanding Illinois:Specialty Crop Growers Boost Rural Economy

NowlanBy Jim Nowlan
Outside Columnist

Rural Illinois is hurting. Rural and small town Illinois lost 12 percent of its population of persons under age 44 in the decade 2000-2010, according to the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs!

Neighboring state rural populations declined as well, but only by half as much as in Illinois. No one seems to know why Illinois’ rural population fell by so much, but I am guessing one reason is that our big flatland farm operations grew significantly in size, as 24-row corn planters reduced the need for farmers.

I visited recently with Lyndon and Kimberley Hartz of Wyoming, IL about their 10-acre, intensively farmed specialty crop operation, which supports them and pays for five full-time employees in the summer.     Login or Subscribe to read the rest of this story.

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