2017 Edge of Field Bioreactor
Less than 4 weeks after the 2017 Farm Progress Show denitrifying woodchip bioreactor installation, ILICA was back at it again constructing another high profile bioreactor near Geneseo, IL at the end of September. Illinois Farm Bureau, forming a partnership with ILICA, NRCS, and the University of IL, found progressive farmer, Todd VerHeecke, in Henry County interested in constructing a bioreactor on his farm. Fast forward many meetings later and technical assistance from the NRCS bore specifications for a 6'x32' bioreactor near the edge of one of VerHeecke's fields to treat approximately 7 acres of tile drainage for nitrate removal. Under the lead of ILICA member Ballegeer Excavating from Geneseo, ILICA completed a majority of this bioreactor's installation the day before an open-to-the-public field day, leaving as many aspects of the practice exposed as possible for viewing. During the 2 hour field day, approximately 60 attendees witnessed first-hand what goes into constructing this new conservation practice, what it does, how it works, and why it's important here in IL. All partners were on hand to answer questions from attendees, which included media, producers, and contractors. Attendees were treated to lunch at the end of the event.
This demonstration was considered a great success, meeting all of the goals of the recently developed partnership. With the primary goal of moving the needle from discussion on edge-of-field water quality practices to implementation of these practices on the landscape, this partnership with IFB, ILICA, NRCS, and the University of IL hopes to continue to implement more of these types of conservation practices over 5 years throughout Illinois, gathering additional and valuable research data on their proven effectiveness. Without the concerted effort and expertise of our volunteer members, associates, and partners involved, ILICA would not be capable of this critical type of industry and public education, which is so crucial to helping Illinois attain its nutrient loss reduction goals. THANK YOU to all the following involved with this great project.
Thank you also to Todd VerHeecke and ILICA volunteers: Dave Ballegeer, Jake Ballegeer, Joe Ballegeer, Lee Bunting, Brian Brooks, Tyler Brooks, Mike Masscho, Bill Doubet, Bill Dean