Illinois has a deep heritage in agricultural research, marked by many notable advances that have improved quality, production and safety. While our state may be better known as a leading producer of corn, soy, pumpkins, swine and other commodities, it is the research that helped us achieve this distinction and is the focus of this issue of ISTC Catalyst.

As home to more than 950 food manufacturing companies, Illinois is well-equipped to turn the state’s crops and livestock into food and industrial products. Food processing is the state’s number-one manufacturing activity, adding almost $13.4 billion annually to the value of Illinois’ raw agricultural commodities. It is only natural, therefore, that Illinois is also a leader in Food Safety & Agricultural Research.

Through world-class research centers and programs such as the USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and the National Food Safety and Technology Center at IIT, Illinois is at the forefront of improving the contributions from our agricultural sector, including efforts to improve sustainability, enhance storage and advance product protection through application of state-of-the-art technologies.

We encourage you to browse through the videos and articles in this issue that detail the exceptional Food Safety & Agricultural Research in Illinois.

Watch and Listen:

Farm Industry News interviews UIUC Professor Grift regarding the future of robotics on farms


Illinois State University offers leading Agriculture Education program


Catalyst Exclusive Guest Commentaries

Innovation at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research
Most people who are familiar with agricultural research have some acquaintance with the USDA ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois. It is one of Illinois’ greatest research assets, having a broad research program that includes food safety, functional foods, crop bioprotection, bioenergy, renewable products and bio-oils. Producing information and technologies that enable food producers and processors to provide safe, secure, and healthy foods and improve the consumers’ quality of life is critical to the NCAUR mission.  What most people don’t realize is that NCAUR does so much more than “just” agricultural research.

National Center for Food Safety and Technology Takes Food Safety Technology in New Direction
A new working group forming at Illinois Institute of Technology’s National Center for Food Safety and Technology (IIT NCFST) is advancing a hot new twist on a “cool” food safety technology. NCFST expects that its High Pressure Research Consortium (HPRC) will drive next-generation scientific advances in commercial applications for the food industry and improve public health protection. The formation of the NCFST High Pressure Research Consortium (HPRC) follows a highly successful seven-year, industry-supported collaborative Dual Use Science and Technology (DUST) contract that resulted in development of a novel food sterilization technology, pressure assisted thermal sterilization (PATS).

Corn Farmers Model Sustainability
Agriculture is Illinois’ largest industry, contributing billions of dollars to the state’s economy each year. And corn is the largest contributor, providing food, feed, fiber and fuel. The corn industry helps sustain thriving processing, manufacturing, export and livestock sectors in our economy. In fact, the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) make their home in McLean County, IL, the top producing corn county in the entire nation yielding 77 million bushels of the total state production of 2.3 billion bushels in 2007. In Illinois and across the country, corn farmers are growing more with less, utilizing technology to write a sustainability story that is unheard of today.

Learn more about Illinois’ accomplishments in Food Safety and Agricultural Research:

More News:

Illinois State University Hosts Science & Technology Week – April 12-16, 2010

Science and Technology Week celebrates advancements in the field of science and technology, as well as the hardworking, dedicated students and professionals who make those advancements possible. Past keynote speakers include: television host and Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. Tim Gunn, chef Charlie Trotter, television personality Bill Nye, theoretical physicist Brian Greene and more.

Schedule of Events

Register for the 2010 BIO International Convention Today!

Monday-Thursday, May 3-6, 2010 | McCormick Place Chicago, IL

Heal, Fuel, Feed the World.
The BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry and attracts the biggest names in biotech, offers key networking and partnering opportunities, and provides insights and inspiration on the major trends affecting the industry.