New Illinois agriculture director wants to hire more workers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The new director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture wants to hire more people after the agency has gone through repeated cuts over the years.

Raymond Poe is a lifelong farmer and a former state representative from Springfield. He says people probably don’t realize how much the Department of Agriculture does because it’s “essentially a regulatory agency.”

For instance, workers with the department ensure gasoline pumps give customers the correct amount. Department inspectors also make sure meat and eggs sold in stores are sanitary.

Poe says about 800 people worked for the Department of Agriculture a decade ago, and that it’s now down to about 330 workers. He tells the (Springfield) State Journal-Register the department needs more people, and that some people are “doing three jobs.”