Local Economy

Farming and Manufacturing

The economy of the Lower Sugar River Watershed has a strong agrarian base, with many dairy producers as well as farms that grow corn and soybeans. Our large dairy industry proudly supplies milk for area factories including Grande Cheese, located in Juda next to the North Fork Juda Branch of the Sugar River, Maple Leaf Cheese Co-op in Monroe with retail outlet, Maple Leaf Cheese Store located in Juda, Raines Honey Farm near Davis, Illinois selling bee hive poducts and Decatur Dairy with onsite store in Brodhead. A major manufacturing employer, Kuhn North America which manufactures farm equipment is located in Brodhead. Farming and manufacturing require a constant source of clean, healthy water from the Lower Sugar River Watershed. However, it’s important to remember that the health of the land also plays an important role in sustaining a vibrant economy, especially for the farm industry. Soil is one of the farming community’s most precious assets. One of the main goals of the LSRWA is to educate our fellow farm and industrial stakeholders about the benefits of using restoration and conservation best practices. These practices can help maintain a healthy balance in the watershed, protect our plant and wildlife community, and even provide economic benefits!

A Rich History

Historically towns and cities developed along rivers and that is where the economy thrived. Rivers provided the main source of transportation for people and goods, and a source of power. The rich history of the Lower Sugar River Watershed can be found in area parks and museums. Take time to explore and learn about the original uses of the river. For instance, there was a pearl rush along the Sugar River that literally drew people into the river to search for perfect pearls in Sugar River mussels!

Looking to the Future

Clean water has been important for the local economy as long as people have lived along the shores of the Sugar River. We must work together as a watershed community so that future generations can enjoy all of the benefits that clean, healthy water provides.