BLOOMINGTON, ILL – January 12, 2017 – Illinois has regained the title of top soybean-producing state, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released this morning. The crop production annual summary from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) ranked Illinois as producing nearly 593 million bushels of soybeans in 2016, up from 544 million bushels in 2015. The average yield was 59 bushels per acre, up three bushels from last year. The 2016 crop was harvested from 10.05 million acres, up from 9.7 million acres last year. Illinois has been ranked in the top two soybean-producing state spots for the past five years.

“We are excited to regain the title as top soybean-producing state,” says Daryl Cates, soybean farmer from Columbia, Ill., and ISA chairman. “We have some of the best producers in the nation. This could not be possible without the 43,000 growers in the state who continue to adapt new practices and methods that preserve soil and grow high-quality beans to reach top yields.”

Cates says ISA strives to be a go-to resource for farmers who are looking for new research, sustainability and technology that they can adopt on their own farms.

“For ISA, creating yield-boosting opportunities for soybean farmers is a priority,” says John Longley, soybean farmer from Aledo, Ill., and ISA Production and Outreach Committee chair. “By educating producers through articles, webinars and events such as our Soybean Summits and the ISA Yield Challenge, we are able to offer resources to farmers to become the most knowledgeable, sustainable and profitable soybean growers in the world.”

ISA also works on what happens after soybeans are harvested, through several market development projects.

“Knowing that we are the top soybean-producing state is about more than the high yields our producers achieve,” says Craig Ratajczyk, ISA CEO. “This also is about our customer service. At ISA, our focus now is getting the product out efficiently to market and creating demand for our soybeans. We recognize that market access is vital and work collaboratively to ensure that.”

Sixty percent of the soybeans grown in Illinois are exported each year with a value estimated at $3 billion. ISA works to build relationships in these markets by hosting approximately 30 trade teams a year and visiting companies overseas. ISA representatives also work closely with state agencies and national groups to promote soy from Illinois, as well as tout the strategic advantage of rail, road and waterways that many other states do not have.

Illinois farmers are well on the way to ISA’s goal to utilize 600 million bushels of soybeans by the year 2020. To learn more about ISA projects and the checkoff, visit


 The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, issues analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C., through the Illinois Soybean Growers. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality, most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website

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