The number of head of cattle in Illinois are increasing according to some recent data compiled by the Illinois Livestock Development Group.
Analyzing both the number of animal spaces in Illinois (the number of cattle we can accommodate) and the Notices of Intent to Construct (the first step with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to build or expand your livestock facility), we have seen a significant increase in the past five years.
This means a lot of things:
- Profitability is returning to the cattle industry. I know non-farmers don’t like to hear it, but farming is both a lifestyle and a business. Farmers can’t farm unless they can feed their families. When we see farmers increasing animal spaces or building new buildings, that means that the economic signals are telling them that now is a good time to raise cattle.
- Illinois is a great place to raise cattle. Water isn’t a concern for Illinois farmers needing to water their livestock nor is feed. In fact, feed is much cheaper in Illinois where you don’t have to add the cost of transportation. Feeding livestock where the feed is, makes economic sense and saves energy.
- Monoslope buildings* and rubber matting on concrete slats are improvements to cattle housing that are making a huge difference in the industry. These new improvements are making cattle comfort a priority and also minimizing injury. Happy cattle and healthy cattle are a priority for Illinois.
- The Illinois Livestock Development Group has a “man on the street” helping livestock farmers through the rules and regulations about building livestock facilities. The rules and regulations are there to protect farmers, non-farmers and cattle, but sometimes they can be hard to understand (aren’t most laws!?) and difficult to navigate. Having someone on hand to help farmers figure out what the rules and regulations say, helps them choose the right site for their new building and build away!
*Monoslope buildings are barn structures with a roof that is high on one side and low on the other, with one slope. By facing the monoslope’s high opening to the south, the barn that serves the dual task of shading the herd in the high summer sun and warming it in the low winter sun. At the same time, the design also manipulates airflow to reduce heat and humidity in the summer and impede cold north winds in the winter.