- Ethanol – Illinois boasts 14 ethanol plants in the state, and produces more ethanol than any other state. Ethanol is an alcohol made from renewable resources, like corn. Ethanol-blended fuel reduces carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound emissions and is added to gasoline to reduce oil imports, increase performance and reduce overall costs of transportation fuels. The Prairie State produces 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol annually, from 560 million bushels of corn.
- Processing – Illinois corn that goes for processing is changed into different usable products through a series of events. Corn is soaked and ground so that the germ oil, starch, gluten and hulls can be separated. These items are then made into products like cornstarch, cooking oil, sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, cereal and fuel. Some of Illinois’ crop is used for animal and livestock feed.
- Exports – Illinois exports a good amount of its corn. In 2011, corn accounted for 28 percent of total agricultural exports for the state.
- Meal – Illinois soybeans are dehulled and separated into meal and oil after harvest. Soybean meal is used to feed animals, and is very high in nutrients and protein. In Illinois, animal agriculture – mostly pigs – is the No. 1 customer for soybean growers, and accounts for 94 percent of the state’s total soybean use. The meal is also used in the aquaculture industry to feed fish.
- Oil – Soybean oil from Illinois is used in everything from food to printing ink to fuel. It is most widely used in vegetable oil in the U.S., representing 65 percent of all edible fat and oil consumed by people. Soybean oil is also used to make biodiesel, used by many companies and school districts in the state. The fuel has confirmed performance and environmental benefits, including better fuel efficiency and prolonged engine life.
- Exports – Soybeans are the top agricultural export for Illinois. Fifty-three percent of Illinois’ soybeans are exported, with a value estimated at $3.1 billion.