University News

Project EAGER Workshops in Champaign, Carlinville

September 8, 2005

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MACOMB, IL – International markets present enormous potential for Illinois agricultural products. However, many producers and processors are not taking advantage of this opportunity. Project EAGER (Exports: Agricultural Growth and Economic Recovery), a new program at Western Illinois University, is designed to get Illinois agricultural products into foreign markets, which can help regional economies around the state.

“Unfortunately, exporting products involves several management and marketing aspects that many small- and medium-size producers aren’t familiar with, and they don’t have the time and money to overcome these obstacles,” said John Carlson, WIU agriculture professor and Project EAGER director. “The goal of this program is to help producers get through the barriers that keep them from exporting their products.”

Project EAGER meetings will be held Thursday, Sept. 29 in Champaign (IL) at Hawthorn Suites, 101 Trade Centre Dr., and Thursday, Oct. 27 in Carlinville (IL) at the Glades Restaurant, RT 4 South. The registration fee is $10 per person and pre-registration is required.

Project EAGER, which is funded by the United States Department of Education under the Business and International Education program, is comprised of faculty from Western’s College of Business and Technology and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, as well as professionals from Western’s Center for International Studies, Opportunity Returns, the Western Illinois Entrepreneurship Center, the Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

“By utilizing the strength of each of these groups, Project EAGER will provide several aspects of export education, including online educational modules and faculty-led student teams that will partner with a small- or medium-size business that has an exportable product,” Carlson said. “This will not only help these businesses reach their goal of exporting, but will also bring practical experience into the education of WIU students. Our first step in this process, however, is to have meetings at various locations around the state to let people know more about Project EAGER and about exporting in general. The meetings will have presentations on the advantages and disadvantages of exporting and on the nuts and bolts aspects of entering that business arena, such as transportation and documentation issues.”

For more information and to pre-register, contact Mary Holmes, 508 Stipes Hall, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390, or call 309/298-2674.

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing