Dozens of international buyers in Illinois for grain tour

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Dozens of international buyers are in Illinois this week as the state tries to increase export sales for the grain industry.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is hosting more than 40 buyers from ten countries starting Monday. State officials say the Illinois Grain Tour has generated nearly $200 million in sales annually in previous years. The tour will make stops at Archer Daniels Midland in Decatur, a University of Illinois research plot in Sangamon County, an ethanol plant in Hennepin and the Chicago Board of Trade.

State Agriculture Director Raymond Poe says the tour is necessary because exporting Illinois grain “is vital to the growth of our industry.” The state says nearly half of the soybeans and corn produced in Illinois are exported.