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Signing Contract

Independent Contractors: Classify Carefully

Many businesses use independent contractors to help keep their costs down and provide flexibility for short-term needs. But the question of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor is complex. Be careful that your independent contractors are properly classified for federal tax and employment tax purposes, because if the IRS reclassifies them as employees, it can be an expensive mistake.

Men at a table.  Click to read about edge of field practices

Farmers & Ag Professionals Cultivate Conversations on Edge-of-Field Practices

On June 25th, Illinois farmers, landowners, and agriculture professionals gathered at the Knox County Farm Bureau building in Galesburg for “Cultivating Conversations: How and Why Farmers Implement Edge-of-Field Practices.” The event was co-hosted by the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership (ISAP) and Illinois Extension, featuring a presentation from Catherine DeLong of Iowa State University Extension.

Tractor in Field

Cuts to Soil & Water Conservation Districts Budgets Could Limit Assistance to Farmers

Soil and water conservation districts aren't high-profile agencies, but they fill an important niche in supporting Illinois agriculture. Major funding cuts in the new state budget may noticeably hamper those efforts.

The districts work with farmers to provide supplemental funding for expensive projects like erosion prevention, dam and reservoir maintenance and flood control.

Click to learn about JULIE law changes

The Law Is Changing! What You Need To Know

Significant revisions to the Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act (JULIE Law) go into effect January 1, 2025. 

Learn more about these legislative changes and how they will impact the way you do business. Attend an in-person or virtual New Law Workshop presented by JULIE's Damage Prevention Managers.

Trench box.  Click to read about trench safety.

Five Tips for Working in Excavations, Trenches

While trenching work is necessary in laying the foundation for utilities, pipelines and other projects, they also pose significant safety risks if not managed properly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established guidelines and standards (OSHA 1926 Subpart P) to ensure the safety of workers involved in excavation activities. Here are five essential tips for working around excavation and trenches safely.

Workers drinking water. click to read about heat protection laws.

First Heat Protection Standards for Workers Proposed by Biden Administration

President Joe Biden’s administration unveiled its long-awaited proposal to protect workers from extreme heat at what might appear to be an appropriate time—amid a record-hot summer with millions of Americans sweltering under heat advisories.

Classroom.  Click to read about the water management forum

Check it Out: LICA Water Management Forum

On June 13-14, the Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) hosted its first-ever Water Management Forum.

Held in collaboration with the Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), the Forum served as a platform to bring together contractors, farmers, government officials, the education community and other industry leaders in water management solutions. The Forum showcased equipment and solutions, with education sessions on drainage research to enhance water management practice.

Body of water. Click to read article about drainage.

The Pipe is Filling

Although not foreign to the audience of Drainage Contractor, there is a crucial yet overlooked component to production and sustainability: drainage systems.

These systems are essential for managing water levels and optimizing soil conditions. They get recognized for increasing yields and profitability but misunderstood about their potential to improve nitrogen fertilizer management, reduce N2O emissions, pesticide transport, and surface runoff. 

3 Ladies in blue shirts.  Click to read about drought.

Maximizing Midwest Drought Resilience Through Sustainable Solutions

Fortunately, despite warmer temperatures compared to previous years, adequate rainfall has spared Indiana and Illinois from drought conditions so far. However, the upcoming weather in July and August will determine if sufficient water is available for crops. Should conditions mimic the severe drought of 2012, having effective tools readily available to manage dry periods throughout the growing season becomes crucial.

Wheat Field

As Illinois session Ends, Lawmakers’ Attempt to Reinstate Wetland Protections Fails

Among the bills that did not pass is a piece of legislation that sought to restore protections for wetlands stripped last year in a United States Supreme Court decision. In May 2023, federal protections for wetlands were gutted, weakening Clean Water Act protections for millions of acres of wetlands across the U.S.

Computer Software Guidance. Click to learn more about remote ticket entry.

Become a Remote Ticket Entry User

Remote Ticket Entry (RTE) is a convenient way to submit your own notice of proposed excavation created specifically for professional excavators.  RTE is fast and easy to use allowing you to submit your information using the same maps and tools as our call center agents.  Simply complete a FREE one-hour online training to get started. Register now!

Excavator digging.  Click to read about law changes.

New Law Changes Coming in 2025

HB5546 was approved by the Illinois General Assembly this spring and presented to the Governor’s Office for final action. The bill includes amendatory language to the Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act to enhance public safety, minimize risks to excavators, prevent disruptions and aid in the expansion of vital public services. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2025.

Excavator.  Click to read an article about nitrate reduction from field run off

Living on the Edge

With growing concerns about climate change and water quality, edge-of-field practices are coming into sharper focus since they’re designed to slow, filter, and process both surface and subsurface runoff from farm fields.

“Leading at the Edge,” a report published in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the Meridian Institute and the Soil and Water Conservation Society, outlines some of the benefits of edge-of-field practices: 

Lake.  Click to read about water conservation.

Progress in Freshwater Conservation: ADS Foundation's Impactful Partnership with The Nature Conservancy

At Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS), we are passionate about safeguarding the world's most precious resource: water. In 2023, the ADS Foundation announced a three-year gift of $500,000 to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to support critical freshwater conservation projects across the United States. 

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Mitigating Agricultural Nitrate Losses

Reducing nitrogen losses from cropland is often a conversation filled with blame, demands and broader agendas. But if we stick to the basics, don’t we all agree that it is a good idea? For farmers, it may be solely an economic goal, striving to save money on fertilizer. Others may be concerned about drinking water or the seasonal hypoxic area in the Gulf of Mexico.

Farming Field. Click to read about ag drainage recycling.

New Report Shares Latest Research on Potential for Ag Drainage Water Recycling

What if Iowa farmers could collect field drainage and rainfall to supply the right amount of water at the right time for crop production – and improve water quality in the process? That dream is coming closer to reality, thanks to the emerging technology of drainage water recycling (DWR) already in practice on several Iowa farms.

Man in a field.  Click to read about woodchip bioreactors.

Corn in the USA

Bioreactors are seen as an increasingly important tool in agricultural water management. A new Iowa-based research project hopes to provide landowners with more options, flexibility and resources to implement those bioreactors.

As subsurface drainage – in particular, nutrient transport from subsurface drainage – is subject to increasing scrutiny for its role in downstream water quality issues, farmers have been in a tough spot. For all its potential links to adverse water quality, subsurface drainage also has an undeniably positive relationship with crop yield and quality. 

Excavator. Click to read about neighboring landowner practices.

Neighboring Landowner BMPs

All contractors have been there: you’re working for a landowner or tenant on a project that is “land locked” between neighboring properties. It could be standing crop, limited equipment loading/unloading access, or inadequate bridge crossings. Or maybe you have access to your project site, but your project area includes work at or near the property line of a neighbor’s. 

ADMC.  Click to read about Ag Drainage Management Coalition survey

ADMC Checks the Pulse

ADMC is seeking to learn about the needs of contractors in order to enhance its own offerings as a coalition, learn where to focus and serve as a true representative body for thew water management industry and its contractors.

Control structure near a cornfield.  CLick to read about tile drainage.

Tiling to Cope with Extreme Wet Weather

Introduced to agriculture in the United States in 1838, the practice of tiling fields has become increasingly important as heavy rain events have occurred more frequently.

The frequency of extreme, single-day precipitation events remained mostly steady between 1910 and the 1980s but has risen substantially since then, with climate change as a major contributor, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

AISWCD. Click to read about state cuts to swcd.

Proposing A Path Forward Despite State Cuts to SWCD Funding

Illinois’ 103rd General Assembly has finalized the FY25 budget. While many are celebrating, we on the frontlines of soil and water conservation are yet again disillusioned by a frontal attack that has landed at our doorsteps. 

Hazard communications.  Click to read the OSHA press release.

Department of Labor Announces Final Rule Updating the Hazard Communication Standard 

The Department of Labor today announced a final rule from its Occupational Safety and Health Administration that will update the current Hazard Communication Standard to better protect workers by improving the amount and quality of information on labels and safety data sheets and allow workers and first responders to react more quickly in an emergency. The updates take effect on July 19, 2024. 

Aerial View of River. Click to read about ADMC.

ADMC to Meet with NRCS Leadership to Provide Key Feedback on Practice Scenarios & Payment Schedules

ADMC has been granted meeting with National NRCS leadership on June 17th to provide key feedback to continue to improve conservation drainage related practice scenarios and payment schedules and to seek clarification about previous requests. 

Excavator.  Click to read about woodchip bioreactors.

Land Manager Adds Second Woodchip Bioreactor

With an excavator, plastic and a carbon source, a section of land can be transformed into a practice that helps improve water quality and reduce nitrate loss.

On May 9, Lyle Hughart stood close by as a crew of workers dug out a 16-by-70-foot pit. The crew was preparing for the installation of a woodchip bioreactor on Hughart’s rented land in Heyworth.

Construction workers.  Click to read about end of day reporting.

What is an End of Day Report, and Why Does it Matter?

As a manager, staying on top of your team’s daily activities, challenges, and achievements is key to making informed decisions about projects and processes. One powerful tool that can help you maintain clarity and control is the End of Day (EOD) report.

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Celebrating Wetlands: Nature’s Conservation Superhero

May is a wonderful time of year, full of many things to celebrate: spring finally arriving across the country, crops growing in the fields, and future Natural Resources Conservation Service employees graduating from college and high school. It’s also American Wetlands Month, a time to recognize wetlands’ conservation “superpowers” and thank our customers who have enrolled more than 2.9 million acres in NRCS wetland easement programs. 

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Farmers Share Real-Life Experiences of Using Edge-of-Field Conservation Practices

When it comes to farming, experience is often the best teacher. This June, producers can get answers to their questions about installing edge-of-field conservation practices by connecting with farmers who have first-hand knowledge at the “Cultivating Conversations: How and Why Illinois Farmers Implement Edge-of-Field Practices” panel discussion for west-central Illinois.

USDA image.  Click to learn about training future conservation leaders.

USDA Announces 28 Host Organizations to Train Future Conservation and Climate Leaders

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has selected 28 organizations to host members of USDA’s Working Lands Climate Corps (WLCC), an effort that will train the next generation of conservation and climate leaders, providing technical training and career pathway opportunities for young people and helping them deliver climate-smart agriculture solutions for farmers and ranchers.

Man shoveling in a ditch.  Click to learn about farmers adapting to climate change.

Midwest Farmers Adapt to Increase in Climate Change - Induced Spring Rainfall

Waiting on the weather is an old story in agriculture, but as climate change drives an increase in spring rains across the Midwest, the usual anxiety around the ritual of spring planting is expected to rise along with it. In Ohio, for example, farmers have lost about five days of field work in the month of April since 1995, according to Aaron Wilson, the state’s climatologist.

Tablet with an excavator.  Click to learn about training for excavators.

Essential Training for Excavators

JULIE offers comprehensive FREE online training courses for professional excavators working near underground utility lines. More than 1,200 professional excavators have already signed up for the course.

Garden.  Click to read about urban agriculture.

USDA Seeks Members for Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking nominations for four positions on the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. USDA will accept nominations from May 7, 2024, to July 7, 2024. The 12-member Committee, which first convened in March 2022, is part of USDA’s efforts to increase support for urban agriculture and innovative production. 

Topography.  Click to read about LiDAR.

How LiDAR is Evolving & Changing the Drainage Industry

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology is a valuable tool in the planning and design of tile drainage projects.

Contractors can use LiDAR to generate topography maps to give them an idea about the shape of the land to plan a drainage system without physically driving to a field to collect data, explains Nate Cook, Cook’s AGPS LLC. This allows them to create an estimate of the drainage layout and its cost.

Ag field.  Click to read about Farm Bill updates.

Farm Bill Draft Expected by Memorial Day

E&E News’ Marc Heller reported earlier this week that “House Agriculture Chair Glenn Thompson said Tuesday he’ll release a farm bill draft within a month and have it ready for the panel’s consideration before Memorial Day.”

2 men standing in a field. Click to read about controlled drainage systems.

SDSU Researchers Explore Automated Controlled Drainage Systems

Wet springs, dry summers. That's been the trend in eastern South Dakota, and farmers aren't particularly thrilled. But what if early rains could be saved, and utilized, as relief for a later dry spell?

It may no longer be just wishful thinking. Researchers in South Dakota State University's Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering are investigating if an emerging technology — automated controlled drainage systems — could hold the answer.

2 men standing by a pond.  Click to read about ag drainage.

New Report Shares Latest Research on Potential for Ag Drainage Water Recycling

What if Iowa farmers could collect field drainage and rainfall to supply the right amount of water at the right time for crop production – and improve water quality in the process? That dream is coming closer to reality, thanks to the emerging technology of drainage water recycling (DWR) already in practice on several Iowa farms. 

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Get Your Copy of the 2024 Excavation Safety Guide - Pipeline Edition

April is Safe Digging Month, and the 2024 Excavation Safety Guide - Pipeline Edition has been sent to more than half a million excavators.  A PDF copy can be downloaded here.  Additional printed copies may be requested using the online order form.  These copies, and shipping, are at no cost. We hope you will find it a valuable resource.

A pond with grass around it.  Click to read about Iowa swampbuster rule.

Swampbuster Rule is Unconstitutional, Says Iowa Lawsuit

The Agriculture Department violates the Constitution by barring farmers from its support programs if they plant crops on wetlands, said an Iowa lawsuit that challenges the four-decade-old Swampbuster rule. The Pacific Legal Foundation, which won a Supreme Court decision last May that narrowed federal protection of wetlands, is one of three conservative law firms representing the plaintiff, CTM Holdings LLC.

Rolls of black drain tile.  CLick to read about cover crops and drain tile.

Cover Crops & Drain Tile: A 2 Step Approach to Water Management

Farmer Joe Breker of Havana, N.D., says starting cover cropping in the early 2000s was a way to manage excess water in fields, but the addition of drain tile systems in 2005 proved to be a game-changer.

A pit with corncobs in it.  Click to read about corn cobs reducing nutrients.

Corn Cobs Can Improve Performance, Reduce Costs of Water Quality Bioreactors

Corn cobs may perform better than woodchips to reduce nitrates in water quality bioreactors -- and for a lower cost -- say Iowa State University researchers. The challenge is getting an adequate supply of corn cobs.

A roll of black tile in a field. Click to read about managing drainage structures.

Managing Controlled Drainage Structures in Spring and Fall

Some producers voluntarily invest in control structures given their benefits for water conservation and crop yield. Long-term research at The Ohio State University has shown a 6% yield increase for corn and 3.5% yield increase for soybeans within the elevation zone influenced by controlled drainage, compared to a free draining outlet. 

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Evaluating Controlled Drainage Systems: Yields and Costs

With mounting pressure to increase crop yields and protect the environment and following best management practices, controlled drainage may provide the best of both worlds.

Laura Christiansen, associate professor and faculty extension specialist at University of Illinois’ crop sciences department, once described controlled drainage as “one of the few water quality drainage practices that we promote that has the potential to provide a yield benefit.”

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What is Hindering Edge-of-Field Conservation Adoption?

Why aren’t more farmers installing saturated buffers, bioreactors or wetlands that enhance water quality?

Well, the report Decoding Iowa Farmers’ Understanding of Edge-of-Field Conservation Practices from the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach shows a significant lack of awareness and understanding of these edge-of-field conservation practices. 

Wetland.  Click to learn about SB 771

As Feds Stand Down, States Choose Between Wetland Protections or Rollbacks

For 200 miles, the Wabash River forms the border between Illinois and Indiana as it meanders south to the Ohio River.

On the Illinois side, lawmakers are scrambling to pass a bill that would protect wetlands from development and pollution, in order to safeguard water quality and limit flooding. But in Indiana, state policymakers hastily passed a law earlier this year to roll back wetlands regulations, at the urging of developers and farm groups who said such rules were overly burdensome.

Pond in a field.  Click to learn about water recycling

How Saving Excess Rainfall Can Benefit Your Operation

Focusing on continually improving their fourth-generation farm, Kellie and A.J. Blair added a center pivot to one of their Iowa operations last year. But rather than a traditional setup, the couple installed a drainage water recycling (DWR) system to help them better use excess rainfall from the spring to water crops during the dry summer. 

Streambank Erosion.  Click for more info about an erosion webinar.

Streambank Erosion in Illinois: Webinar

To keep water clean, we need to know how much phosphorus is coming from different places, like runoff. Right now, we're not paying enough attention to how erosion along streams adds phosphorus to the water. This means we might think farms are polluting more than they really are, and we're not focusing on fixing this extra source of phosphorus.

Woodchips in a field.  CLick to read about denitrifying bioreactors.

Applied Denitrifying Bioreactor Cost Efficiencies

Adoption of edge-of-field conservation practices, such as denitrifying bioreactors, may be intrinsically linked to barriers associated with cost. However, most previous bioreactor cost efficiency assessments assumed values for either costs and/or nitrate removal

Soil Health.  Click to learn about nutrient management.

Stacked Practices: The Key to Phosphorus Loss Reduction

Soil health alone will not achieve our water quality goal. Nutrient management is a good start, but it's best when combined with water management to achieve our water quality goal.

Corn  fields.  Click to read about draught.

…and Prepare for Dry

While some are experiencing too much water, some don’t have enough. Has drainage water recycling advanced enough to become a game-changer?

Prairie.  Click to read about USDA investing in climate  solutions.

USDA Makes $1.5 Billion Available to Help Farmers Advance Conservation and Climate-Smart Agriculture

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the availability of an historic $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2024 to invest in partner-driven conservation and climate solutions through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The NRCS is accepting project proposals now through July 2, 2024.

Green USDA logo. Click to read about Ag and Innovative production grants deadline.

Applications for USDA Urban Agriculture & Innovative Production Grants Due April 9

The USDA is accepting applications for grants to support urban agriculture & innovative production. Applications for USDA’s Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production grants are due April 9, 2024.

“This grant program has proven very popular and impactful in recent years, and we look forward to partnering with more communities nationwide to strengthen local food systems and increase access to healthy foods,”

Lady with a hard hat.  Click to read about a Women in Construction docuseries.

John Deere Sponsors Women in Construction Docuseries, Women at Work: Breaking Barriers

In conjunction with the celebration of National Women in Construction Week and International Women's Day, John Deere Construction & Forestry announces its $125,000 sponsorship of the "Women at Work: Breaking Barriers" docuseries by non-profit organization.

Produced by Jennifer Todd, President of LMS General Contractors​ and founder of A Greener Tomorrow, the series aims to inspire the next generation of tradeswomen and support the current workforce of women in construction.

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Agricultural Producers to Conserve Land through Climate-Smart Easements

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest about $138 million of financial assistance from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in history—in 138 new climate-smart conservation easements, through which farmers and ranchers are conserving wetlands, grasslands and prime farmlands. 

Illinois EPA logo. click to read about funding opportunities for watershed management projects.

IL EPA Offers Two Funding Opportunities for Watershed Management Projects to Address Nonpoint Source Pollution

Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim today announced a total of $4.75 million in funding through the release of two Section 319(h) Grant Program Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to address nonpoint source pollution. Illinois EPA is seeking proposals for watershed-based planning projects and watershed-based plan implementation projects to prevent, eliminate, or reduce water quality impairments to Illinois’ surface and groundwater resources.

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Even Construction Companies at Risk of Damage Caused By Deepfakes

Even in construction deepfakes are a very real, very costly issue. The result of a fake video or image could be lost income, employees walking off the job or even an indefinite halt to the entire project. Getting out in front of the deepfake as soon as you can is the key to saving not only your company's reputation but the bottom line.

Bobwhite bird.  Click to read about a conservation pilot in Alabama for producers and wildlife.

USDA Launches New Bobwhite Conservation Pilot in Alabama, Enhancing Opportunities for Producers and Wildlife

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the launch of a new Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) conservation effort – the Northern Bobwhite Pilot Project, which offers agricultural producers and landowners the tools to conserve wildlife habitat for northern bobwhite quail by improving East-Central grasslands while achieving other critical conservation benefits, including sequestering carbon and improving water quality and soil health.  

Creek running through a field.  Click to read "A Robust Dataset for Drainage".

A Robust Dataset for Drainage

Subsurface drainage is a must for many growers who need to remove excess water from their lands in order to ensure suitable crop growth conditions.

In some cases, however, subsurface drainage can lead to serious problems. In the U.S. Midwest, for instance, some drainage practices provide a pathway for nitrogen and phosphorus loss into waterways, which can create environmental problems as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.

Aerial View of Field. Click to read more about tile drainage.

2022 Ag Census Reveals Surprising Trend In Acreage of tile Drainage in the Midwest

Subsurface tile drainage is concentrated in the corn belt (Figure 1). It accounts for a considerable portion of the cropland harvested in the Midwest, especially in states that are dominated by rain-fed agriculture and have poorly drained soils that require drainage (Figure 2). These states have some of the world’s most fertile soils that require subsurface drainage for crop production.

Arial View of Green Field.  Click to read about working lands climate corps initiative.

USDA launches Working Lands Climate Corps initiative

The USDA has launched the Working Lands Climate Corps initiative to train the next generation of conservation and climate leaders.

As part of the American Climate Corps initiative, the Working Lands Climate Corps will provide technical training and career pathway opportunities for young people, helping them deliver economic benefits through climate-smart agriculture solutions for farmers and ranchers. The Working Lands Climate Corps, in its first cohort, will aim to create service opportunities for more than 100 young people.

Green USDA image.  Click to read about 2024 RCPP application cutoff date.

NRCS Announces 2024 RCPP Application Cutoff Date for Precision Conservation Management

State Conservationist Tammy Willis announced that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funding for the Precision Conservation Management in several counties in Illinois. Illinois NRCS has partnered with the Illinois Corn Growers Association to help producers address sheet and rill erosion on farm ground in the project area.

Farmer. Click to learn more about  2023 inflation reduction act.

NRCS and the Inflation Reduction Act FY 2023

Fiscal year 2023 was truly groundbreaking. The dedicated team at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) along with our conservation partners successfully implemented conservation practices on America’s working lands while rolling out the largest conservation funding opportunity the agency has ever received through the Inflation Reduction Act, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

Robin. Click to read about 2024 RCPP application cutoff for working lands, water, and wildlife.

NRCS 2024 RCPP Application Cutoff Date for Working Lands, Water, and Wildlife Partnership

State Conservationist Tammy Willis announced that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funding for the Working Lands, Water and Wildlife Partnership for select counties throughout Illinois. Illinois NRCS has partnered with The Conservation Fund to help producers address resource concerns, through the planning and implementation of cover crops.

Green USDA image.  Click to read about Ag Land Conservation Easements.

Ag Land Conservation Easements with NRCS & Entities

NRCS State Conservationist, Tammy Willis announced funding is now available for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE). The program provides an opportunity for landowners to place land into an easement while continuing to produce an agricultural commodity. 

An anchor lady.  Click to read about the farm bill work expected in March.

Chairman Thompson: Farm Bill work is expected in March

The Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee says March is still a possibility for a new Farm Bill; however, there are no guarantees.

Glenn GT Thompson told Brownfield Ag News the month of March would be the first time the House would have enough time to work on the new Farm Bill, but the markup and voting process takes at least three weeks.

A man with grey hair wearing a blue and white checkered shirt. Click to read  AISWCD Welcomes Dr. Michael Woods as New Chief Executive Officer

AISWCD Welcomes Dr. Michael Woods as New Chief Executive Officer

Woods, with more than 30 years of community organizing, education, and government experience is an accomplished and visionary leader, and brings a wealth of experience to AISWCD. With a proven track record of driving growth and innovation in the agricultural industry through conservation and education, Woods is poised to lead AISWCD into a new era of inspiration and service.

An overhead view of a yellow trencher plow trenching a field. Click to read Drainage Conference: Speaker spotlight

Drainage Conference: Speaker spotlight

The first annual North American Drainage Conference will take place virtually on March 5.

For $20 USD, contractors, landowners and all those interested in drainage and water management can tune in for half a day of engaging educational content focused on tech, tools and the future of drainage.

Session speakers, titles and descriptions have now been announced. Our speakers include, but are not limited to:

An excavator digging in a pit of woodchips.  2 men in orange shirts shoveling. Click to read  Applied Denitrifying Bioreactor Cost Efficiencies Based on Empirical Construction Costs & Nitrate Removal

Applied Denitrifying Bioreactor Cost Efficiencies Based on Empirical Construction Costs & Nitrate Removal

Adoption of edge-of-field conservation practices, such as denitrifying bioreactors, may be intrinsically linked to barriers associated with cost. However, most previous bioreactor cost efficiency assessments assumed values for either costs and/or nitrate removal. The objective of this work was to use actual construction costs as well as monitored nitrate removal to develop empirical cost efficiencies for eight full-size bioreactors in Illinois, USA.

A group of people wearing white and black holding a large check. Click to read Springfield Plastics Donates $850,000 to Illinois & Iowa Cancer Centers Since 2014

Springfield Plastics Donates $850,000 to Illinois & Iowa Cancer Centers Since 2014

Springfield Plastics, Inc. has donated more than $850,000 to Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, and John Stoddard Cancer Center of UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, Iowa, over the past 10 years through its Drain for the Cure fundraiser.

A drawing of a field with a river, pond and ditch next to it. Click to read  Is Drainage Water Recycling for You?

Is Drainage Water Recycling for You?

The February issue of Ohio’s Country Journal featured an article by Greg LaBarge on “What is drainage water recycling?” (https://ocj.com/2023/02/what-is-drainage-water-recycling/). I decided to continue this conversation, especially for those who may have started wondering what it would take to implement drainage water recycling (DWR) and irrigation for field crops. Let’s try and address some additional questions on DWR. 

Office Employees. Click to read  Farm Bill Reauthorization Push Early in 2024

Farm Bill Reauthorization Push Early in 2024

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson said Thursday that he now hopes to move a new farm bill by March. Meanwhile, his staff has started briefing farm organizations and other groups this week on possible sources of funding that face resistance from Democrats.

“When I look at the calendar in the first quarter, the first month we get to that has the contiguous weeks that we need is March,” Thompson told reporters Thursday.

A jar full of water with the water splashing over the top. Click to read  The Ultimate Guide on Water Conservation: How To Save Every Drop

The Ultimate Guide on Water Conservation: How To Save Every Drop

Water conservation is all about taking good care of our precious water supply. Water is vital for all life on Earth, including plants and animals, and it plays a crucial role in farming and keeping our crops healthy.

But, let’s be honest, water isn’t exactly cheap. It might not seem like a big deal when you’re using a little here and there, but trust us, it can really put a dent in your wallet, especially during those scorching summer months.

the back of a girl with black hair wearing a yellow hardhat and vest standing next to a man in a blue hardhat and checkered blue and white shirt looking at a white tablet. Click to read  Tips for Attracting Gen Z to Important Skilled Trade Jobs

Tips for Attracting Gen Z to Important Skilled Trade Jobs

Skilled trades and the tradespeople responsible for this work have long been an important part of our society — responsible for building, repairing and maintaining many facets of our everyday life. However, over the years, fewer people are entering these professions.

A water control structure with a solar board on top sitting in a harvested field. Click to read  Why Farmers Should Care About Drainage Water

Why Farmers Should Care About Drainage Water

Drainage water management has previously focused on just getting water off the landscape.

The focus has now changed to managing water and treating it as a resource to benefit crop yields and reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that flow into surface waters.

A green image with an INRC logo and the words Water Quality Research Tours Summer 2021 below it. Click to read  Iowa Nutrient Research Center Highlights Recent Findings from Water Quality Projects

Iowa Nutrient Research Center Highlights Recent Findings from Water Quality Projects

The Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State University is releasing highlights of recent activity summarizing benefits to the state of Iowa from investments in nutrient research.

“INRC-funded research provides Iowa-relevant science to enable informed decisions and priority setting for the benefit of farmers, agencies and organizations that work in the arena of land-use and water quality,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the endowed dean’s chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State, and a representative on the INRC Advisory Council

Pipe coming out of the soil and draining water.  Click to read  States Ahead of Nitrogen Reduction Goal

States Ahead of Nitrogen Reduction Goal

The massive ongoing effort to reduce nutrient runoff across multiple states in the Mississippi River basin is beginning to pay off, according to a new EPA report to Congress on the work of the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force.

Image of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report cover in front of a body of water with green trees in the background. Click to read  The 2023 Illinois NLRS Biennial Report is Now Available

The 2023 Illinois NLRS Biennial Report is Now Available

The 2023 Biennial Report, its executive summary, and appendices are now available on the Illinois EPA website at go.illinois.edu/NLRS

A media release announcing the report was posted to the Illinois EPA website and Illinois.gov news website and sent to the Illinois EPA's media lists. Illinois legislators also received the report, along with a letter highlighting key points from each sector.

A man with brown hair and brown beard wearing a blue and white checkered shirt. Click to read  Purple Wave Auction Announces New Territory Manager

Purple Wave Auction Announces New Territory Manager

Purple Wave Auction is happy to announce that Zack Witvoet has joined our team as a territory manager.

Purple Wave Auction, headquartered in Manhattan, Kan., is a leader in online, no-reserve equipment auctions serving ag, construction, government, and fleet industries, providing opportunities for customers to buy and sell used equipment with confidence.

A man and woman in yellow vests and white hardhats talking in front of a yellow dozer. Click to read  John Deere Makes Donation Match to Construction Angels

John Deere Makes Donation Match to Construction Angels

Continuing its commitment to the safety and wellbeing of the construction industry, John Deere announced that it is committed to matching donations, up to a total of $100,000, made to the Construction Angels nonprofit organization from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023.

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Minnesota Construction Contractor Faces $1.8 Million in Trenching Hazard Penalties

Despite signing a 2021 settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that included a promise to protect its employees from potentially deadly trenching and excavation hazards, a Minnesota construction contractor was again found endangering employees in June 2023 as they replaced a residential water main and 20 separate curb stop valves for house connections in Minot. 

Man in a black shirt standing in a field. Click to read  2023 ADMC President’s Report

2023 ADMC President’s Report

In the climate of increasing environmental concerns and shifting policies, ADMC has continued to play a pivotal role in promoting sustainable and responsible drainage practices. With a membership base that is both engaged and growing, we have made significant strides in advocating for innovative solutions that balance the needs of agriculture with broader environmental stewardship.

A white, orange and blue flyer that says Drainage Innovation Webinar Series. Click to read  Drainage Innovation Webinar Series.  Click to register for the Drainage Innovation Series

Drainage Innovation Webinar Series

The first Drainage Innovation Webinar of this season is just around the corner.

This year’s webinars will focus on identifying common issues with drainage systems, drainage effects on soil health, and advances in automation for controlled drainage and drainage water recycling. 

New to the webinars this year is the availability of continuing education credits through Certified Crop Advisors. Viewers can earn 0.5 credits in soil and water management per webinar, or 1.5 total.

Register today for all three webinars.

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2024 Overholt Drainage School

Save the date for the 2024 Overholt Drainage School, which will be held from Monday, March 11 – Thursday, March 14 at the Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex, 2510 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210.

An aerial view of a small town with several grain bins, a grain bin dryer setup, and houses. Click to read  Nitrate Contamination of Minnesota Waters Shows Little Sign of Going Away, Despite Years of Effort

Nitrate Contamination of Minnesota Waters Shows Little Sign of Going Away, Despite Years of Effort

Minnesota has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of effort to reduce nitrate that's contaminating drinking water and rivers. The progress so far: negligible.

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Alliance Formed to Protect Crane Operators

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today signed an agreement with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators and the NCCCO Foundation to protect workers who operate cranes better.

The two-year agreement will provide certified crane operators with training and resources to reduce and prevent exposure to the four construction workplace issues that contribute to the majority of hazards in the industry: falls, caught-in or between objects or machinery, struck-by objects or equipment, and electrocution.

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USDA Streamlines Regional Conservation Partnership Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced improvements to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) as well as an unprecedented $1 billion investment to advance partner-driven solutions to conservation on agricultural land through 81 projects. Four Illinois projects will receive $42.7 million in funding.

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AGC Moves to Block Davis Bacon Expansion

The Associated General Contractors of America filed suit today in federal court to block the Biden Administration’s unlawful effort to expand the reach of a decades-old law that governs wage rates on federally funded construction projects. 

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Farm Bill Extended for One Year in Funding Deal

A stopgap government funding bill that includes a one-year extension of the 2018 farm bill easily passed the GOP-controlled House Tuesday after Democrats more than made up for the desertion of hardline GOP conservatives who were unhappy the legislation includes no spending cuts. The Senate approved a similar bill Wednesday night.

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LICA Meets with NRCS Leadership

Nick Yaksich, National LICA’s Director of Government Relations, joined other industry stakeholders in a briefing conducted by NRCS Chief Terry Cosby and his staff. The Chief opened with the NRCS’ accomplishments from FY 2023 and expressed optimism for FY 2024.

A man in dark colored clothing standing next to a pit full of woodchips in a field.  The sun is setting in the background. Click to read about edge of field practices.

Podcast - Edge of field N and P reduction strategies: What to know about conservation drainage practices

In this episode of the Nutrient Management Podcast, we’re talking about edge of field N and P reduction strategies. What is an edge of field practice and why are they used? What specific practices do our panelists have experience with, and which have the most potential for use in Minnesota?

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How Machine Control Helps Construction Professionals Regain Control of Project Accuracy, Waste

AEM's new report, Benefits of Construction Technologies and their Impact on Society, details how four key innovations are helping construction sites become safer and more productive, while also reducing their environmental footprint.

One of those technologies, machine control, is changing the way earthmoving and paving tasks are completed. 

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Did Controlled Drainage Help Your 2023 Crop Yield?

If you practice controlled drainage during the growing season, do you think that controlled drainage helped your crop yields in 2023? It may be too early to answer this question, as many of you are still waiting to finish harvest. But if you are wondering about the role that controlled drainage played this year, I will give you a few tips on how to answer this question.

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How Tiny Wetlands in the Midwest are Combating the Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone

On fields, fertilizer components like nitrogen and phosphorus help to spur crop growth. But as water runs off farmland, it carries leftover nutrients downstream, where it can contribute to major environmental problems. Excess nitrogen can threaten safe drinking water.

A bean field with a book in front of it that says: Soil Properties & Functions".  Click to read about soil health practices.

An Introduction to Soil Health Practices

ISAP has published a new resource for Illinois farmers and farm advisors that clearly communicates the role of soil health practices in addressing agronomic challenges and resource concerns.
ISAP’s “Introduction to Soil Health Practices” identifies and explains the cause of several conditions that often lead to common resource or agronomic concerns for farmers, including erosion, compaction, weed pressure, and nutrient loss.

A digital image of a field with water around it.  It shows where and how the water drains from the field. Click to read about strategies to reduce phosphorus loss.

Strategies for Reducing Phosphorus Loss

The substantial contribution of event flows to P loss during the non-growing season calls for a system of stacked practices to reduce P loss from both surface runoff and drainage discharge. Generally, there are four strategies to address both water quality and crop production needs:

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2024 Conservation Cropping Seminar: January 31

Attention Illinois Farmers! The annual Conservation Cropping Seminar will be taking place January 31, 2024 with both virtual and in-person options. The event will be held from 9am-3:30pm with the in-person attendees meeting at the Illinois Department of Ag Building in Springfield, IL. 

A field with green bean plants and brown harvested stalks on the ground. Click to read about Illinois inflation reduction act funding with act now.

Illinois Inflation Reduction Act Funding with ACT NOW

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Illinois State Conservationist Tammy Willis announced a new statewide funding opportunity for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funded by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The new EQIP-IRA ranking pool will offer five management practices to include conservation crop rotation, cover crop, no-till, reduced tillage, and nutrient management. 

Image of a handshake with green trees, a brown cow, and brown buck deer standing above them. Click to read about 1 Billion investements in 81 projects.

USDA Streamlines Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Invests Unprecedented $1 Billion in 81 Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making historic investments to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and streamlining the program to make it work better for producers and partners. This combination will deliver conservation at a scale never before achieved through RCPP.

A man in a green suite, woman in a blue top and pants, woman in a white top and blue pants, man in a blue blazer, and woman in a black top and tan pants standing in a hallway smiling. Click to read about the Diesel Tech Lab at Lincoln Land College.

Lincoln Land Community College Names Diesel Technologies Lab in Honor of Roland Machinery

Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) in Springfield, Ill., announced Oct. 17 it has received a major gift from Roland Machinery Co. (RMC), also of Springfield, and has named its new Diesel Technologies Lab in honor of the Roland family.

A man in a white hardhat and yellow shirt digging with a shovel in a trench next to an excavator bucket. Click to read about excavtion hazards.

US Department of Labor Cites Contractor for Excavation Hazards After Deaths of Two Workers

The two employees were attempting to remove soil from below a concrete slab located within a trench when the slab broke apart and collapsed, fatally crushing both workers. U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found that Triumph Construction failed to:

  • Support the concrete slab, exposing both employees to the danger of a collapse.

  • Instruct employees on safe methods to remove the slab and provide supervision to ensure those methods were followed.

  • Construct the excavation's protective system based on designs in accordance with OSHA standards.

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Employee Handbook Review - Make Sure Yours is Up to Date

As you should be aware, there has been a rush of legislative and administrative changes throwing old employment practices into disarray; changing precedent, instituting new standards for classic employment benefits and rights, and redefining the responsibilities and duties of employers to their employees. We have seen this arrive on the federal and state level, so the reach of these changes cannot be underestimated.

A grey and white image with the state of Illinois and the words Paid leave for all workers act. Click to read about Illinois Paid Leave

Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act to Take Effect January 1, 2024

On March 13, 2023, the Paid Leave for All Workers Act was signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker to take effect on January 1, 2024.

What employers are covered under the new law?  Private and public employers with at least one employee. Also includes State of Illinois, local governments, and political subdivision employers.

Water. Click to read about army corps and WOTUS.

EPA & Army Corps Sign Coordination Memos on WOTUS

In September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released two joint coordination memorandums on jurisdictional determinations 1) under the 2023 waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule (as amended in September) and 2) under the “pre-2015 regulatory regime” that is in effect in the 27 states where the Biden Administration’s rule is on hold. 

Several black tiling tubes next to a blue trencher machine in a field. Click to read about tile rules cuasing problems down stream.

N.D. Drain Tile Rules Cause Problems Downstream

For farmers who face wet fields that limit their productivity, drain tile can be a savior. But it comes with a hefty price tag. Beyond the financial cost, some farmers face a moral dilemma: Water moved from the tile system must go somewhere.

An orange block looking person with the letter "P" on it riding in a red roller coaster cart. Click to read about phosphorus concentration rates.

Phosphorus Concentration Fluctuates Rapidly Like a Nutrient Roller Coaster

Researchers at Michigan State University Extension have been pondering a crucial question for a while: How can we achieve our objective of minimizing phosphorus (P) runoff into Lake Erie? Understanding the timing of P loss is instrumental in shaping our decision-making process.

Aerial view of a body of water with green fields on each side of it. Click to read about datasets for drainage.

Tools of the Trade: A Robust Dataset for Drainage

Subsurface drainage is a must for many growers who need to remove excess water from their lands in order to ensure suitable crop growth conditions.

In some cases, however, subsurface drainage can lead to serious problems. In the U.S. Midwest, for instance, some drainage practices provide a pathway for nitrogen and phosphorus loss into waterways, which can create environmental problems as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.

Man in a yellow shirt and cowboy hat standing in a field with a white presentation board. Click to read about drainage water recycling. Click to read about drainage water recycling.

Diving Into Drainage Water Recycling Systems' Effects on Corn Yield

As more research goes into drainage water recycling systems, a new report from the Transforming Drainage project shows that drainage water recycling systems not only provide a benefit to the environment, but can also improve corn yields.

Aerial view of a large field with tiling machines laying drain tile. Click to read about balancing fields while holding onto nitrogen.

How to Balance Draining Fields While Holding Onto Nitrogen

As most kids know, a big pile of mud can be a load of fun.

But not for farmers. Muddy fields mean too much water. And too much water means crops might not grow well.

Farmers often install underground drains, called tile drains, in waterlogged soils to help move the excess water away quickly. The drier soils are beneficial to their crops.

But there is one potential downside: nitrogen.

Hands in the Soil. Click to read about soil health management systems.

Study Shows Positive Impact of Soil Health Management Systems

The Soil Health Institute and National Association of Conservation Districts announced the results of a nationwide study that demonstrates how improving soil health can help farmers build resilience and improve profitability across a diversity of soil types, geographies, and cropping systems.

A farm field and barn drawing with the words "Farm Bill" under it. Click to read about the farm bill.

Now From Someone Who Really Knows About the Farm Bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he’s fairly confident that Congress will succeed in either passing an extension to the 2018 farm bill or finish up work on a new one by the end of the year in order to avoid severe repercussions of doing nothing.

The consequence of doing nothing would be the automatic onset of so-called “permanent” farm bill provisions created in 1938 and 1949 that are idled every time a new farm bill is enacted. The 2018 farm bill technically expired on Sept. 30, but it’s not until 2024 that farm commodity and dairy support programs are superseded by permanent law.

A green field with a blue sky and mountains in the background that says "The Farm Bill" in the middle. Click to read about the farm bill.

Go or No Go: My Take on Farm Bill Reauthorization

Limited floor time for debate and bill consideration is a common rationale for Congress not to consider must pass bills like the appropriations and farm bills. The unexpected leadership battle in the House – hopefully resolved by the time you are reading this – has delayed the House from formally meeting. Now the tragic war in the Middle East will push other issues to the back burner as the Administration and the Congress determine the best response.

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Ag Land Conservation Easements with NRCS & Entities

NRCS State Conservationist, Tammy Willis announced funding is now available for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agriculture Land Easements (ACEP-ALE). The program provides an opportunity for landowners to place land into an easement while continuing to produce an agricultural commodity. 

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Illinois Wetland Reserve Easement Sign Up for FY 2024 is Here

Tammy Willis, State Conservationist, announced the first application cutoff period for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Agricultural Conservation Easement Program - Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE) of December 1, 2023. The purpose of the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) program is to help landowners to restore, enhance and protect habitat for wetland wildlife on cropland and adjacent acres.

A yellow excavator, dozer, and crawler moving dirt in a large open area surrounded by green trees. Click to read about LICA's View.

LICA's View: A Proud Tradition 

The Land Improvement Contractors of America is honored to be part of Drainage Contractor’s  50-year anniversary. Drainage is the foundation upon which LICA was built.

In 1938 a group of terrace contractors in Missouri got together to form the Missouri Terracing and Conservation Contractors Association. In 1948 the Michigan Farm Trenchers Association was formed. Contractors in Iowa and Minnesota in 1949 formed the Midwest Drainage and Soil Conservation Contractor Association, and in 1952 the Kansas Conservation Contractor Association was formed. 

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NRCS Conservation Easements Available for Flood Prone Illinois Lands in Alexander County

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Illinois will be holding a final sign-up period for the Floodplain Easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP-FPE).  Landowners impacted by flooding from the breach of the Len Small Levee in 2016 and subsequent flooding from additional years are encouraged to apply.

An aerial view of a rural field area surrounded by green, tan and orange trees, a road going through it with a couple houses. Click to read about climate smart practices on ag lands funding.

Biden-Harris Administration Makes Available $3 Billion for Climate-Smart Practices on Ag Lands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making more than $3 billion in funding available for agricultural producers and forest landowners nationwide to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices in fiscal year 2024 as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The announcement comes as the Biden-Harris Administration hosts the first-ever White House Climate Resilience Summit.  

A white image with the words "Drain for the Cure" in green and pink. Click to read about Drain for the Cure.

10th Annual Drain for the Cure is Here

Springfield Plastics is kicking off its 10th Drain for the Cure fundraiser. The fundraiser supports cancer research, prevention, and treatment at Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, and John Stoddard Cancer Center at UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, Iowa.            

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Improving Drainage Systems + Protecting the Water Quality of Fairmont's Chain of Lakes

The long-term impact of agricultural drainage on water quality can be mitigated with properly designed improved drainage systems. Using a nutrient treatment train technique, ISG is providing additional water storage, nutrient reduction, velocity reduction, protection against streambank erosion, and overall water quality improvements to Fairmont’s Chain of Lakes.

A green corn field with the words "Are these tools in your toolbox? Bioreactors" on the front of it. Click to read about bioreactors.

Are These Tools in Your Toolbox? Bioreactors

Bioreactors, an emerging edge-of-field practice, are becoming more prominent in agricultural settings. Dr. Reid Christianson, former research assistant professor of Crop Sciences at University of Illinois, and Dr. Bryan Maxwell, a visiting assistant research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, explain how bioreactors work and the steps towards getting one installed.

A grassy field with white and yellow flowers and the words "Are these tools in your toolbox? Prairie strips" on the front. Click to read about prairie strips.

Are These Tools in Your Toolbox? Prairie Strips

Prairie strips are notably not a very well-known conservation practice, despite their many benefits. Prairie strips are a conservation practice that uses strategically placed native prairie planting in agricultural fields.

A man in a straw hat standing next to a man in a grey shirt in a greenhouse full of green plants. Click to read about Conservatoin assistance to underserved producers.

USDA Invests $70 Million to Expand Conservation Assistance to Underserved Producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $70 million in partnerships that will improve outreach to underserved producers and communities to expand access to conservation assistance, including programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as career opportunities. 

Man in front of a white truck.  Click to read about Agri Drain's Charlie Schafer.

Agri Drain, ESE Founder Charlie Schafer Earns IAWA Private Impact Award, Honored at Iowa Watershed Awards

Agri Drain Corporation and Ecosystems Services Exchange (ESE) founder and leader Charlie Schafer has been named the winner of the 2023 Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) Private Impact Award, which will be presented at the Iowa Water Conference next week in Altoona.

A yellow back filler machine following a yellow trencher that is trenching through a grassed waterway. Click to read about ISAP seeking conservation drainage project sites.

ISAP Seeks Conservation Drainage Project Sites

The ISAP team is accepting conservation drainage practice site recommendations via an online form through Friday October 13th. The team is especially interested in opportunities to install practices to treat areas larger than 50 acres or to treat multiple tile outlets, projects that integrate conservation drainage practices into new tile designs, and projects that leverage resources from USDA programs such as CRP or EQIP. 

A farm field with one side green and the other side tilled with trees in the background. Click to read about soil health and nutrient loss.

The Quick and Dirt-y on Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus (DRP)

A hot topic in soil health and nutrient loss over the last few years has been Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus (DRP), a form of phosphorus that is dissolved and readily available to plants and algae. DRP differs from the phosphorus loss we usually hear about, which is tied to soil particles, also known as Particulate Phosphorus (PP). 

A yellow trencher machine with a blue background. Click to read about Port Industries Trencher.

Mastenbroek and Port Industries Unveil American Bulldog Trencher

Mastenbroek in partnership with Port Industries recently unveiled its first-ever utility trencher designed specifically for the North American market. Port Industries provide full aftermarket parts, sales and service to support the dealer groups offering the Mastenbroek line of products in North America.

A group of people standing in a grassy field. Click to read about the benefits of saturated buffers.

Benefits of Saturated Buffers for Farmers

Now’s the time to be thinking about adding an environmentally friendly practice to your operation.  There are quite a few out there and we learn about one that comes with 100% cost share. Saturated Buffers were on display at a Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day during their Summer Series of over 40 different farms across the Midwest.

A blue triangle that says LICA on it and the words "LICA Educational Foundation for Veterans" underneath it. Click to read about donations to LICA Foundation for Veterans. Click to read about LICA educational foundation for veterans.

BigIron Makes Inaugural Corporate Donation  to LICA Educational Foundation for Veterans 

BigIron, a leading name in the online auction industry, has made the first corporate donation to the LICA Educational Foundation for Veterans, marking a significant milestone for the Foundation’s mission of supporting veterans in their transition to new careers in heavy equipment operation. 

An aerial photo of a blue ocean. Click to read about new tools for tracking algal blooms.

NASA Scientists Test New Tool for Tracking Algal Blooms

y the time they were over, a series of massive algal blooms along the west coast of Florida in 2020 would be linked to some 2,000 tons of dead marine life around Tampa Bay. The human costs were stark, too, including a double-digit increase in asthma cases in Sarasota and Pinellas counties, and estimated losses of around $1 billion across economic sectors from tourism to fisheries.

Green Water. Click to read about nutrient and sediment losses in tile drainage.

Trade-offs in Nutrient & Sediment Losses in Tile Drainage from To-till vs Conservation-till Cropping Systems

Nutrient and soil loss from agricultural areas impairs surface water quality globally.In the Great Lakes region, increases in the frequency and magnitude of harmful andnuisance algal blooms in freshwater lakes have been linked to elevated phosphorus(P) losses from agricultural fields, some of which are transported via tile drainage.

A white image that says State LICA Insurance Program. Click to read about Prins/UFG insurance and LICA Program.

UFG Insurance & Prins Insurance Announce State LICA Insurance Program 2022  Dividend Results

UFG Insurance strives to uphold its policyholder promise to ensure businesses are financially prepared to overcome losses with its trustworthy insurance protection. The carrier is proud to have fulfilled this important promise for the members of the State LICA Insurance Program last year.

A white image with a blue raindrop and the letters NRCS. Click to read about NRCS staff hosting stakeholder briefing.

NRCS Staff Hosts Stakeholder Briefing

The quarterly briefing by NRCS Chief Cosby occurred this week. Below are the highlights on the staff presentation regarding climate change programs, a key priority for USDA.

Climate Smart Practice Update Notes – Dana Ashford-Kornburger.

Thank you all for the continued input and feedback on activities that provide mitigation benefits. Especially those stakeholders that have provided scientific literature and/or participated in State Technical Committees at the state level. Many states are building out Climate Change subcommittees of their State Technical Committees, so this is a great place to give input for state initiatives and provide feedback.

Water. Click to read about Admin rewriting WOTUS after court ruling.

Administration Rewrites WOTUS After Court Ruling

Pursuant to a May 25 U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Aug. 29 revised its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule defining what constitutes a protected waterway under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Despite directives from the Court, the new rule makes only marginal improvements to EPA’s previous version, which took effect March 20.

A body of water surrounded by tan grasses and 2 white sheds in the background. Click to read about scaling up drainage water recycling.

Scaling Up Drainage Water Recycling

“In the Midwest, farmers often have to deal with both too much and too little rain in the same season,” says Chris Hay, Ph.D., senior research scientist with the Iowa Soybean Association. “Trends of more rain in bigger events in the spring and longer, more frequent periods of drought in the summer are expected to continue.”

A man in a gray shirt and blue jeans standing in front of a group of people in a field.  Click to read about the sangamon county nutrient stewardship field day.

Rich in Collaboration: Sangamon County Nutrient Stewardship field day

Bright yellow excavators dug up rich Sangamon County soil as more than 100 people arrived by hayrack to watch the cultivation of a cross-collaboration partnership.

The first Nutrient Stewardship field day of the summer, hosted at Pickrell Farms in rural Buffalo Thursday, demonstrated work being done with edge-of-field practices to help reduce nutrient runoff as part of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.

A green and white triangle with the words Illinois Chapter Land Improvement Contractors of America. Dedicated to professional conservation of soil and water. Click to visit the ILICA home page at https://www.illica.net/

Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association, Inc.

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