Illinois corn makes
top-shelf whiskey.

You’re welcome.


Take a tour of Whiskey Acres in DeKalb. You’ll see how two local farm families are turning some of their best homegrown Illinois corn into award-winning whiskey – while caring for the land and protecting our natural resources.

Thirsty? There’s corn-based craft spirits and signature cocktails from Whiskey Acres and other Midwest distilleries at the Heartland Spirits Fest. It’s Saturday, May 20, at Chicago’s Concord Music Hall. Eat a good breakfast first. Details here.

See how Illinois corn is grown from planting to harvest here.


The U.S. produces about 40% of the world’s corn.

The Unexpected Life of a Corn Kernel

You probably know corn best when biting into a juicy cob of sweet corn, or tossing a perfectly salted piece of popcorn into your mouth. But the corn we grow is much more than that. Follow along as we show you the surprising things a simple corn kernel can do.

Cycle of Sustainability

Just like you probably follow the 3 R’s in your home – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – many farmers are applying those same philosophies with a “closed-loop system" to make sure the farm can be passed to future generations. 

Cycle of Sustainability

Reduce

From about April to October, farmers spend time nurturing their crop. Modern technology helps farmers better protect the environment by reducing fertilizer and pesticide application. In fact, 1 pound of applied nitrogen now produces 22 more pounds of grain than 40 years ago.

Reuse

When the crop is harvested it’s used in many different products, like ethanol, food ingredients and livestock feed. Corn and corn byproduct – dry distillers grains – are fed to pigs, cattle, chickens and turkeys.

Recycle

Manure – a nutrient-rich animal byproduct – is applied to fields as a natural soil fertilizer to help grow a healthy, productive crop. And, the recycling of this naturally occurring product further reduces farmers’ needs for synthetic fertilizers.

Growing Our State

It really is true: Illinois runs on homegrown corn. Beyond the corn-based products that line shelves at the grocery store, corn production supports the state of Illinois in a lot of other ways, too. Take a look.

Growing Our State - Illinois

In 2013, there were over 2.1 billion bushels of corn produced.

The annual contribution to the state's economy included more than $17.5 billion in output.

Illinois corn also is a big contributor to the diets of cattle, pigs and poultry. In 2013, 115 million bushels went to feeding livestock in Illinois.

The production and processing of corn employs nearly 100,000 people in the state of Illinois.

Fuel Facts

1.6 billion gallons of ethanol are produced annually in Illinois.

More than half of Illinois' corn production goes to the state's ethanol plants.

Corn grown in Illinois is used to produce 15% of the ethanol consumed in the U.S.

A single bushel of corn weighs about 56 pounds, which is about the same as a large bag of dog food.