Illinois is the Pumpkin State. Normally, known for its corn and soybean production, Illinois was once again named the nation’s top pumpkin producer according to the USDA vegetable report released this past week.
Nearly 18,000 acres were planted with pumpkins last year in Illinois, the most of any state. For other crops, Illinois farmers planted 6,500 acres of sweet corn by comparison. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 97% of pumpkins grown were used for processing: “17,600 acres were harvested, and the total value of production was more than $22 million. About 60% of that value came from pumpkins for processing.”
Schleusener says that even though there was a lot of pumpkins, sweet corn was a lucrative crop: “The total value of utilized production for Illinois sweet corn last year was $17.4 million, up 77% from the previous year. More than three-quarters of that value came from fresh markets of corn.”
Schleusener says another interesting fact from the report is that farmers planted 11,200 acres of snap beans in 2021. That number is down by 22%.