Governor-elect JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton announced the formation and members of the transition’s Growing Our Agricultural Economy Committee.
The committee is the fifth of several working groups of the transition made up of subject-matter experts who will advise and guide the incoming Pritzker-Stratton administration. The Growing Our Agricultural Economy Committee will be chaired by former USDA Rural Development state director Colleen Callahan and former state senator John Sullivan and consist of 22 members.
“Agriculture accounts for one in 17 jobs in Illinois, and JB and I are committed to supporting farmers across our state,” said Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton. “This committee will focus on policies that help our agriculture and rural communities thrive — from investing in farm to market infrastructure and expanding access to capital for family farmers to defending agricultural education and growing rural areas in downstate Illinois.”
GROWING OUR AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Colleen Callahan co-chairs the transition’s Growing Our Agricultural Economy Committee and is the former state director for USDA Rural Development in Illinois. During her tenure, she oversaw a 20% reduction in staffing while still being able to generate a $1 billion increase in the Illinois loan portfolio. Prior, Callahan served as the agribusiness director for WMBD in Peoria, a position she held for 30 years. She was the first female president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
John Sullivan co-chairs the transition’s Growing Our Agricultural Economy Committee and served as state senator of the 47th district from 2003 to 2016 and as chair of the Senate’s Agriculture and Conservation committee. In the Senate, he championed legislation to create jobs, improve industry and infrastructure, and grow the economy. Before elected office, Sullivan managed his family-owned auction business that specialized in farm real estate and machinery.
Scott Bennett, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly
Joni Bucher, President, Illinois Beef Association
Jerry Costello Jr., State Representative, Illinois General Assembly
Ben Curtin, Agribusiness Star, Future Farmers of America
Mark de Souza, CEO, Revolution Cannabis
Tim Drea, Secretary-Treasurer, Illinois AFL-CIO
Rich Guebert, President, Illinois Farm Bureau
Scott Halpin, President, Grundy County Farm Bureau
Sonya Harper, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly
Roger Hugenberg, General Manager, Ursa Farmers Cooperative
Kim Kidwell, Dean, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences
Juan Luciano, President & CEO, Archer Daniels Midland
Ryan McCrady, President, Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County
Paul McNamara, CEO, AgReach program at the University of Illinois
Chris Merrett, Professor and Director, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University
Glenn Poshard, former president, Southern Illinois University
Craig Ratajczyk, CEO, Illinois Soybean Association
Anton Seals, Executive Director, Grow Greater Englewood
Jennifer Tirey, Executive Director, Illinois Pork Producers
Rodney Weinzierl, Executive Director, Illinois Corn Growers Association