DECATUR - Gov. Pat Quinn received a warm welcome Tuesday as he made his way through the Farm Progress Show.
Quinn spent about an hour at the show, walking through several exhibits, shaking hands and posing for pictures along the way. Quinn said he wanted to acknowledge the important role agriculture plays in the state.
"It takes your breath away when you see the mighty machines and everything farmers do to bring crops to market," Quinn said as he stopped in front of the Moline-based Deere and Co. machinery. "Illinois farmers know how to grow crops."
Quinn welcomed visitors from Illinois to the show and, at one point, shook hands with a man who said he was from Indiana. The governor said bringing in visitors from all over the country is an important benefit of hosting the show.
Quinn also visited the Farm Credit Services tent, stopped at the Illinois Farm Bureau exhibit and drank a glass of lemonade from Country Financial Services. At the Archer Daniels Midland Co. display, Quinn chatted with Director of Feed Technology Mike Cecava about the company's corn stover research.
Corn stover is the plant's stalks, cobs and leaves, which ADM is trying to develop as an alternate for cattle feed.
Quinn noted that he had met with ADM Chairman, President and CEO Patricia Woertz in July to discuss the state's business climate and ways to help the company grow and expand.
"Illinois is built on a solid agricultural foundation, and I understand great companies started in Illinois," he said. "If we work together in the Midwest, we can feed the whole world."
Quinn walked with Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson during his visit. Farm Progress Co. President Jeff Lapin said politicians such as Quinn are always welcome to stop by the show.
"This is America's biggest showcase for agriculture," Lapin said. "We want them to see what's going on our stage and support farmers. We hope they come away with support of agriculture."
The visit was a chance for the governor to see what's happening around Richland Community College, said Doug Brauer, Richland vice president of economic development.
"He recognizes the importance of agriculture, and his coming here to see the products and all the people acknowledges agriculture is really the mainstay," Brauer said.
Quinn also addressed his desire not to raise utility rates and said he is still awaiting the gambling expansion bill from the state Senate for his consideration. He said he will thoroughly review the bill once he gets it but has not decided whether he will sign it.