Simon recently attended her first meeting as chairwoman of the 25-member council. It was revamped this year to include citizen members and the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Simon, the daughter of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, says she wants the council to focus on growing the local food economy and improving emergency response services for rural residents.
She says the council gives a "voice" to rural issues in the state.
The council next meets in October.
Six new citizen members on the council include the chair of the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority, the president of a Moline public relations firm and the director of the McLean County Area EMS System in Bloomington.