Illinois has had a great run as an agricultural leader, says the president of the University of Illinois, but it won’t continue by itself. U. of I. President Robert Easter says we can’t sit on our behinds while other countries are making investments. “I interact regularly with our peer research universities in the major centers in Asia, India and Europe and in particular Latin America, and to some extent Africa, and I have to tell you how impressed I am with the massive investments that those economies are making in the key resources dedicated to research and preparing for the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders,” he told an audience assembled by the Illinois Farm Bureau at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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Easter says Illinois is a great place for agri-business and is the center of the industry, but he says the land-grant university research model must be re-calibrated for a world different than the way it was 100 years ago.