A booth at the farmers market
The Land Connection

As the number of farmers markets grow across the state, inconsistencies in regulation for the farmers who travel from county to county has become apparent, but new legislation intends to remove some of the barriers. 

When John Beetz’s great-great-grandfather came to America from Germany in the mid-1800s, he worked as a longshoreman in New York. Then he turned to farming the fertile soil in north central Illinois.

Succeeding generations built on their ancestor’s legacy. And today, Beetz and other members of his extended family farm 8,000 acres near Mendota in LaSalle County. In fact, they operate one of the largest farms in the state. Yet they remain dependent on federal farm subsidies.

Farming is as fickle a calling as politics, and every farmer expects a bad year now and then. But 2001 was the fifth in a string of bad years. In April, a bushel of corn fetched $1.87 on the open market and soybeans were bringing $4.23, in both cases much less than it cost to grow them.