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Thursday  Jul 09, 2020  05:56 PM

Local News


Jerry Costello II to lead the IL Dept of Ag

Mon, 02 Mar 2020 10:19:33 CST

Gov. J.B. Pritzker Friday appointed Jerry Costello II to lead the Illinois Department of Agriculture, pending Senate approval.

The law enforcement director with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) since May 2019, Costello of Smithton, served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019. His term included serving as chairman of the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee. Costello also served in the Pritzker-Stratton Agriculture Transition Committee.

“Our agriculture sector drives our state’s economy to the tune of $19 billion every year, and I’m confident that Jerry’s deep experience will bring a steady hand to the department and continue the impressive growth of this vital industry,” Pritzker said in a prepared statement.

“Today, the announcement by Governor Pritzker naming Jerry Costello II as the next director of agriculture shows the governor’s commitment to the largest industry in the state,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. “We realize the governor had a tough decision to make in naming a new director of agriculture from the qualified candidates who had applied.”

Guebert noted Costello “has a proven record in supporting agriculture,” supported agriculture on key legislation and championed supportive efforts. The president mentioned Costello’s support for enhancing tax incentives for biofuels, grant programs for agricultural education teachers, increasing highway access for agricultural commodities and advocating for key agricultural programs in the state budget.

In a prepared statement, Costello expressed his honor “to continue serving the people of Illinois.” He added he is excited to lead the department he “once oversaw in the state legislature.”

The acting director continued, “As a leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine, Illinois is home to the most dedicated farmers in the world, and I look forward to partnering with them to grow our state’s agricultural economy.”

A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Costello served as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm. Following his military service in Iraq, Costello joined law enforcement in Illinois, advancing to become an assistant chief of police.

Born and raised in Southern Illinois, Costello’s family raises crops and cattle on a small farm in Franklin County. Costello lives in Smithton with his wife Lori and their three children.

“We look forward to working with Director Costello in his new role,” Guebert added. “Since his election, the governor has worked hard to choose people to run the Department of Agriculture who take pride in ensuring that the agricultural community is well represented. We believe Jerry Costello will continue in that tradition.”


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