June 08, 2020

Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Partnership to host a free 3-part online webinar series

DEKALB, Ill. – The Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Partnership, ISAP, will be holding a free 3-part webinar series exploring the use of land stewardship and soil health management as tools to mitigate production and financial risks. Farmers utilizing soil health practices are finding benefits beyond the farmgate: from buffering extreme weather, to increasing working capital, to meeting changing consumer demand. This 3-week series will be held on June 18th, 25th, and July 2nd from 11AM-Noon, and continuing education credits, CEU’s, will be offered.  

June 03, 2020

Larger-Than-Average ‘Dead Zone’ Expected For Gulf of Mexico

June 3, 2020 NOAA scientists are forecasting this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic area or “dead zone” – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – to be approximately 6,700 square miles, larger than the long-term average measured size of 5,387 square miles but substantially less than the record of 8,776 square miles set in 2017. The annual prediction is based on U.S. Geological Survey river-flow and nutrient data.

May 27, 2020

OSHA Issues Guidance to Help Construction Workers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a webpage with coronavirus-related guidance for construction employers and workers. The guidance includes recommended actions to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

May 22, 2020

Papers Published by the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Provide Evidence that USDA Conservation Practices Work


WASHINGTON, May 13, 2020 – Conservation practices are working to reduce runoff, improve soil quality, and mitigate contaminants in small watersheds across the country, according to USDA’s scientific findings published yesterday in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) collaborated with universities and other agencies and organizations to complete the water-quality studies featured in the journal through USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP).

May 22, 2020

Denitrifying Bioreactor Woodchip Recharge: Media Properties after Nine Years

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

Abstract. There is a lack of information on denitrifying bioreactors treating subsurface drainage water at the end of their initial design life due to the relative newness of the technology and the relatively long estimated life. A denitrifying bioreactor (15 m L x 7.6 m W x 1.1 m D) installed in August 2008 in Greene County, Iowa, was recharged with new woodchips in November 2017 (age 9.25 years), providing the opportunity to evaluate the properties of the wood media at the end of design life.

May 13, 2020

Keegan Kutemeier Selected As One of the National LICA Scholarship Recipients

Keegan Matthew Kutemeier, son of Matthew and Kristin Kutemeier, grandson of Dan and Sylvia Day, all of Gibson City, Illinois and grandson of Margaret and the late Don Kutemeier of Heyworth, IL.


Keegan is a senior at Gibson City Melvin-Sibley High School where he was inducted to the National Honor Society as a Junior and was named an Illinois State Scholar senior year. Keegan has been involved in many leadership roles, including Student Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, GCMS Mental Health Team, Freshman/Sophomore Mentoring, and Rotary Youth Leadership Conference. Volunteering has been a large part of his high school career. Keegan has organized and worked as a volunteer for Red Cross Blood Drives, the local food pantry, Gibson Area Hospital Junior Auxilliary, and at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. 


Keegan excelled as a student-athlete, playing baseball and football all four years of high school. He helped his team win back-to-back 2A state football championships and led the team as Captain to a 9-2 season his senior year. He was a unanimous choice at both Linebacker and Offensive Lineman on the HOIC All-Conference Team and earned a position on the IHSFCA All-State Team. Keegan was also named to the News-Gazette and Pantagraph All-Area teams. His proudest accomplishment to date is being honored as a member of the IHSFCA All-State Academic First Team.


His love for children and football collided senior year when he was allowed to read to an elementary school classroom every Friday morning during the football season. He not only read them stories but served as their human jungle gym, pretend grocery store checker, and had an allergic reaction to their classroom pet rabbit.


Keegan has worked for Day Drainage, "helping Grandpa and Uncle Scott," since he was young, scheduling his workdays around schoolwork and athletic practices. Fitness is one of his passions, which has led him to a tech position at Elite Sport & Fitness, where he teaches a youth class each afternoon.


After graduation, Keegan will attend the University of Missouri, majoring in Bio-Medical Engineering. His plan for the future is to enter the field of prosthetics and artificial organ development.

May 12, 2020

The Latest Research From The NREC Is Now Available!

Funded by Illinois farmers and retailers, the 2019 Illinois NREC Annual Report is now available. This important summary captures the key takeaways from projects ranging from cover crops to biochar used to address excess Phosphorus.

Since 2013 Illinois NREC has invested nearly $23Million into research that is focused on Maximizing Efficiency. Minimizing Losses. and Mitigating Possible Negative Environmental Impacts.

April 07, 2020

NRCS Announces Sign-up & Deadlines for Special Conservation Projects

Champaign, IL, April 6, 2020— State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will be offering special funding for four different projects using the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Producers can apply for assistance through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) which will build on their existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operation through specials enhancements that are offered. Please note that each project is open in specific watershed and counties.

March 31, 2020

NRCS Announces Application Cutoff Dates - Special Illinois Initiatives

Champaign, IL, March 31, 2020—State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced the U. S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer funding for the following Initiatives throughout the state:  Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) and the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). Producers who have agricultural, pasture, or forest land in an Initiative project area can apply for assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to implement a range of conservation practices that will improve water quality, decrease soil erosion, and improve wildlife habitat. 

March 28, 2020

NRCS Announces EQIP Application Cutoff for Three Special IL Projects

Champaign, IL, March 28, 2020— State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer funding for three unique efforts in Illinois during Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. All projects will use the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Below are details and application cutoff dates to note. Each project is restricted to certain Illinois counties.

March 27, 2020

CSP Sign-up for 2020 Begins

Champaign, IL — State Conservationist, Ivan Dozier announced the deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding in fiscal year (FY) 2020 is May 29, 2020. Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest up to $10 million for new CSP contracts in FY 2020.

March 26, 2020

Protect and Restore IL Wetlands

Champaign, IL, March 26, 2020—–Nationally USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $5.4 million in Illinois this year through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to help private landowners, restore and protect critical wetlands. NRCS is announcing the opportunity for landowners to enroll in the program and releasing information on the Illinois Geographic Area Rate Caps for 2020 Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).

March 26, 2020

Multifunctional Perennial Filter Strips

The Gulf of Mexico Task Force has obligated the development of action plans by the 12 contributing states in the Mississippi River Basin to reduce the loss of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) to the Gulf by 45%. With this, I llinois published the "Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy" in 2015 (State of Illinois, 2015). This strategy identified priority watersheds for nutrient loss reduction efforts and outlined the alternative scenarios necessary to achieve the target reduction from both point and nonpoint (agricultural) sources. The agricultural practices i nclude nutrient management, cover crops, reduced tillage, and edgeof-field practices.

March 13, 2020

Champaign, IL, March 13, 2020—Ivan Dozier, State Conservationist, announced the application period for the 2020 Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP-WRE). USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps provide long-term protection of Illinois’ farmland, wetlands and grasslands through ACEP. “The first application cut-off date has been established,” Dozier explains. “Right now we’re accepting applications for Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE). Applications that meet program eligibility and ranking criteria and are received by April 13th will be considered for the 2020 program.”

February 20, 2020

The primary financial assistance program is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forestland producers. To participate, producers can apply for EQIP throughout the year; however, Illinois NRCS has established two application deadlines for March 20, 2020 and April 17, 2020. Producers are encouraged to submit applications by one of the application deadlines if they are interested in the program.

February 14, 2020

New (& Short!) NRCS Conservation Video Series

Champaign, IL, February 14, 2020 –The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is unveiling a new video series, Conservation at Work, which consist of short, 90-second videos that highlight common conservation practices.

February 14, 2020

NRCS Wants Public Input on RCPP

Champaign, IL, February 14, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which helps partners develop and implement unique conservation solutions that engage farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. The rule – now available on the Federal Register – takes effect on publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

December 05, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (December 4, 2019) – Springfield Plastics will be presenting Simmons Cancer Institute with a check for $73,000 from their 2019 Drain for the Cure Fundraiser on Thursday, December 12 at 10:30am at Simmons Cancer Institute. The media and public are invited to attend. Springfield Plastics launched their first “Drain for the Cure” campaign in 2014 and since then, has raised more than $326,000 for Simmons Cancer Institute.

November 18, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Directors of the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the release of the state’s second Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) Biennial Report. This document describes the continued progress being made in Illinois to reduce nutrient losses from multiple sources to improve water quality not only in Illinois waterways, but also in the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.

October 23, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (October 23, 2019) – “Considering Cover Crops?” is a newly-published resource for Illinois farmers that provides a comprehensive guide to the most recent research and intelligence for effectively incorporating a cover crop ahead of corn, soybeans, and wheat. The Guide outlines comprehensive tactics for cover crop use as part of a nutrient management strategy. Research results from planting to termination of cover crops are included...

October 23, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) have announced anticipated application deadlines for competitive grant programs for Illinois Fiscal Year 2020...

October 08, 2019

October 8, 2019 -- (CHAMPAIGN, IL) – With crazy 2019 weather, planting conditions, and harvest delays, talk about cover crops in Illinois might be at an all-time high. If you haven’t yet got on board with all the sustainable and regenerative changes in agriculture, attending one of the January 21-23 seminars might be just what you need...

September 12, 2019

Champaign, IL, SEPT. 12, 2019 – USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced last week the launch of the updated Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Potential partners are encouraged to submit proposals that will improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

April 24, 2019


Join members of the Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Partnership for the second state-wide Risk Management Conference on June 27th at the Dekalb County Farm Bureau in Sycamore, Illinois. We will be bringing farmers, landowners, advisors, and the agriculture industry together to highlight how conservation practices build the resiliency of the farm. From weather and production risks, to economics and growing consumer demand for sustainably-source products - join us to learn more!
Rod Weinzierl, director of the Illinois Corn Grows Association, will be our keynote speaker, fitting all the pieces together to "solve the resiliency puzzle".

Stay tuned for more information regarding the events schedule and registration link. For more information regarding ISAP please visit:

March 15, 2019

March 14, 2019 is National Ag Day, hosted by the Agriculture Council of America.  It is a time when many in the agricultural industry promote awareness and education for the many ways that agriculture affects our lives. Today’s world population growth means today's farmers are responsible for over 7 billion mouths to feed. It is important to recognize the contribution farmers are making to our everyday lives. Agriculture is our nation’s #1 export and a key to sustaining a healthy economy.  From the first seed planted to the meal shared across the table, the agriculture industry has an effect on everyone.  It is a series of vital links in a chain that brings food and clothing to every citizen....

Using cover crops and improving soil health remain hot topics in 2018 and the trend is not fading. In fact, the go-getters have already seeded their cover crops. What’s stopping you? If you still need more information, start making plans now to attend a 2019 Conservation Cropping Seminar event. Upcoming events include two powerful speakers you do not want to miss. Soil sustainability author David Montgomery and Soil Health rock star Ray Archuleta will wow crowds with information and demonstrations. Three new events are planned for January 2019, offering access to valuable information for farmers ready to make important and profitable changes on their ground. According to State Conservationist Ivan Dozier, “These healthy soil power houses will surely have an impact on many Illinois farmers who are still sitting on the fence when it comes to cover crops. If you want proof, don’t miss this. It could be a game-changer.” Register to attend any seminar—January 22nd in Mendota, January 23rd in Springfield, or January 24th in O’Fallon, Illinois at

Springfield Plastics has set forth to raise money to support cancer research at the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University in Springfield. In 2014, they launched their first “Drain for the Cure” campaign and have continued it since raising more than $114,000. Last year’s campaign raised over $56,000 and they are aiming higher this year...

September 17, 2018

"To reach the design storage capacity of 45,611 cuft or 341,193 gal of water, the 11-ft-deep pit was excavated and 2,300 ft of the SaniTite HP pipe from Advanced Drainage Systems Inc. (ADS) was installed..."

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) released the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s budget for conservation programs in the 2019 fiscal year...

December 04, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (December 4, 2017) –  Springfield Plastics launched its 4th Annual Drain for the Cure campaign in October and is excited to announce it has resulted in a donation of $73,236 for the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University in Springfield.  The Drain for the Cure campaign started in 2014 in an effort to raise money for cancer research. Since its inception in 2014, the campaign has raised over $188,000. 2017’s total of $73,236 far surpassed expectations!...

July 26, 2017

Champaign, IL— Will you visit the 2017 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL this summer? It opens August 29-31 and promises to be full of new things to see, hear, and learn about. If you go, be sure to visit the “Partners in Conservation” tent. According to Illinois State Conservationist Ivan Dozier, “Stop by and see us at location 26E in the Southeast Quad. You can’t miss it—just look for big flags and a huge soil pit!”...

July 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2017 – Today the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition (FIFB) released its 2018 Farm Bill recommendations. The National Association of Conservation Districts has been an active participant in the creation of the recommendations, serving on two of the coalition’s working groups to ensure that NACD’s policies and principles were included...

July 17, 2017

SPRINGFIELD—Lincoln Land Community College is offering select courses in agricultural watershed management and horticulture at no cost this fall. Registration is currently open.

The free course offerings are in eight-week modules with evening hours. Courses include...

June 29, 2017

There is a concerted effort underway in Illinois agriculture to reduce nutrient losses and meet the goals of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (INLRS), and Illinois Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) are committed to playing in integral role in this effort.


There are now 64 CCAs in Illinois who have prepared for, and passed, the certification exam to become certified as a 4R Nutrient Management Specialist (4R NMS).  This is double the number of 4R NMS in any other state.  Last year, 45 Illinois CCAs achieved the 4R NMS; 19 individuals recently joined them.  They are: 

June 07, 2017

The Land Improvement Contractors of America have been invited to testify before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry concerning Watershed Infrastructure: Continuing the Mission, Building upon Success.  The hearing will be on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 at 10:00 AM in room 1300 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, DC.  The hearing is open to the public.

March 14, 2017

A new study from the University of Illinois surveyed farmers to uncover the factors that influence adoption of new types of cropping systems. Farmers were more likely to adopt...

May 23, 2017


Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook
(202) 595-9139

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2017 – The National Association of Conservation Districts calls on Congress to reject President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request that includes reckless cuts to every part of USDA, as well as many other federal programs that support voluntary conservation across the country.

The president’s budget requests more than $5 billion in cuts over 10 years to farm bill conservation programs. In FY18, the budget request includes a substantial $350 million cut to mandatory funding for the popular Environmental Quality Incentives Program, it would also cut $91 million from USDA’s Conservation Technical Assistance program – the very lifeblood of voluntary conservation in the United States.

In its budget, the White House says “(a)gricultural conservation planning is not an inherently governmental function,” that the “private sector can provide this service,” and that “(w)hen the Government funds technical assistance, it crowds out private sector competition.”

“We are very concerned that the president’s budget calls for privatizing conservation planning,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said. “The need for conservation assistance is so immense across the country, it will take every dollar from both the public and the private sectors to get the job done.”

The president has requested to cut the Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry program by 46 percent ($98 million) and completely eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 grant program, which helps states curb non-point pollution sources like stormwater runoff. The budget would also eliminate the Watershed Operations and Small Watershed Rehabilitation programs, which help local communities improve water quality, control erosion, and restore ailing infrastructure.

“We can provide a better approach to conservation than this budget proposal,” NACD CEO Jeremy Peters said. “NACD will work tirelessly to educate our lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the critical importance of locally-led conservation, so come fall, they’ll do what’s right by American taxpayers and our country’s natural resources.”

The president’s FY18 budget request also includes a budget-related proposal to eliminate the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and enrollment of new acres in the Conservation Stewardship Program. This proposal also recommends suspending new general sign-up acres in the Conservation Reserve Program through 2020. NACD believes this proposal would severely limit voluntary conservation on the ground, and for this reason, finds it unacceptable.


The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation's 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit:

November 14, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (November 14, 2016) –  Springfield Plastics launched it’s 3rd Annual Drain for the Cure campaign in October and is excited to announce it has resulted in a donation of $54,000 for the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University in Springfield.  The Drain for the Cure campaign started in 2014 in an effort to raise money for cancer research. They were able to donate a total of $22,665 in 2014 and $35,850 in 2015.  2016’s total of $54,000 far surpassed expectations!

October 17, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (October 17, 2016) – A statewide partnership between Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois county Farm Bureaus, GROWMARK, and FS companies will demonstrate and investigate 4R nutrient stewardship practices at the local level. The 4R field demonstration program, entitled 4R4U (pronounced 4R for you), is a pilot program with hopes for a multi-year partnership to bring added use, awareness, and knowledge on nutrient stewardship via the 4R approach. The 4R approach involves using the right source of nutrient, at the right time, at the right rate, and in the right place.

October 12, 2016

URBANA, Ill. — The Midwest, blessed with rich soils and abundant precipitation, leads the country and the world in corn and soybean production. It also contributes the majority of the nitrate load in the Gulf of Mexico, leading to its large low-oxygen “dead zone.” Nitrate applied to farm fields also winds up in local drinking water supplies, which must be removed at a major cost to municipalities. Fortunately, there are ways for farmers to reduce nitrogen loss, and a new University of Illinois Extension booklet provides details on 10 suggested practices.

By Kay Shipman

A newly constructed wetland fills several niches in a Bureau County field near Princeton.


Tile water from a contiguous field will be pumped through the long, narrow, 1-acre wetland that will use vegetation to absorb nitrogen and phosphorous before the water flows into a parallel ditch....

By Dave Cook -


PRINCETON — As nutrient loss becomes a more frequent discussion in agriculture, ways to reduce nutrient drainage into waterways are being developed and shared through multiple educational programs......

Good morning all,


I am excited to share with you a new website that is being released by a collection of ag and conservation groups today to kick off Earth Week! 


The new site, which we are calling the Conservation Story Map, is being released today.  The project was funded by the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices, Illinois Farm Bureau, IL Corn Growers, IL Soybean Association Check-off Program, American Farmland Trust, the Soil Health Partnership, and the Zea Mays Foundation.


This new site gives farmers a place to tell their story and share the best management practices (BMPs) they use on their farms to protect water quality. In addition, the map provides local and regional program and cost-share information for farmers by watershed. The map highlights the diversity of practices used across Illinois.


Check out the map here, and please feel free to share with others:


Thank you,

Lauren Lurkins

Illinois Farm Bureau

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