Dudley Smith, Jr., a landowner with family roots in Christian County, recognized the long-term economic challenges facing agriculture in Illinois and the social impacts of these challenges on rural communities. Mr. Smith’s generous gift to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of ACES includes a farm of ~220 acres located in Christian County and an endowment to support the Dudley Smith Initiative (DSI) in research and outreach activities.

The goal of the DSI is to embrace technological advancements while enhancing resource stewardship and sustainability in agricultural systems. Agricultural community systems include producers, manufacturers, laborers, distributors, retailers, consumers, economies, markets, financial institutions, natural resources, and conservation practices. By understanding the interactions among the components of the agricultural community, the DSI strives for integrated sustainability in Illinois agriculture.

Recognizing that agricultural systems are dynamic and evolve as new knowledge is acquired, the DSI supports research and outreach activities with potential to create new strategies and technological advances that invigorate agricultural systems and communities in Illinois.

More information about the DSI, grants, research projects and events can be found at: https://dsi.aces.illinois.edu/.