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Gary Heichel Gary Heichel
Professor and Head
Department of Crop Sciences
(217) 333-9480; gheichel@illinois.edu
Bob Hoeft Bob Hoeft
Professor and Interim Head
Department of Crop Sciences


Welcome To Agronomy Day 2004

Welcome to the 2004 Agronomy Day, a one-stop educational opportunity for you to engage the latest knowledge on profitable, sustainable, and environmentally sound strategies for producing food and feed crops, and for protecting natural resources. This year’s theme, “South Farm Centennial” celebrates 100 years of research and education to increase the profitability and sustainability of Illinois agriculture, and is the subject of special guest speakers and of a special historical display. This educational event is a report to Illinois citizens of our progress toward the goals of protecting natural resources and providing consumers with safe and nutritious food as our state expands its leadership role in the global food system of the 21st century.

This 48th consecutive Agronomy Day is a partnership among several academic units in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. It’s one of many approaches that we use to engage the citizens of Illinois on the scope, timeliness, and importance of our educational and research programs.

The Illinois food and agriculture system is in the midst of a changing physical and economic environment. The need for quality and timely information about choice of inputs, crop management strategies, environmental stewardship, and marketing of specialty and commodity crops is compelling. “What’s new?” is a question frequently posed to us. In response to these needs, this year’s Agronomy Day focuses on several dimensions of new technologies to maintain our edge in profitability and sustainability, and new challenges from pests that our state faces in its quest to remain globally competitive: the potential for nematode damage to corn; preparing for soybean rust; web tools for marketing and insurance assessment; invasion of pastures by pigweed; managing soil compaction; update on soybean aphids; soybean yield reduction from ozone; selection of corn for grain composition; the Illinois soil nitrogen test; creating corn with greater nitrogen use efficiency; and detecting plant growth regulator herbicide injury.

Cropping systems cover about 66 percent of the land surface in Illinois. Field, food, and floriculture crops contribute more than $7.3 billion to the Illinois economy, and animal products another $1.9 billion. Processing industries that transform these agricultural commodities into value-added foods, export products, biobased industrial feedstocks, ethanol, and other consumer goods employ about 20% of our citizens and generate a large proportion of state revenue.

Although cropping systems are an important source of Illinois income and employment, they touch the quality of life of all urban and rural consumers in other dimensions. That’s because the building blocks of a quality life and of a profitable food and agriculture system–healthy soil, clean air, healthy plants, sound management and ethics, and nutritious, safe food–are inseparable.

We’re delighted to have you with us, and hope that you will often return to this premier educational event!

Department of Crop Sciences
College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois Extension
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