Illinois Farmers’ Conservation Efforts

2017-2018 Water Quality Update

Read the 2017-2018 Water Quality Update by clicking on the image below.

2018Water Quality Update

Illinois Farmers’ Conservation Efforts

Farmers are committed to preserving our water and protecting our land. Learn more about how Illinois farmers are implementing good nutrient management right on their own farms!

Jeff Kirwan, Mercer County, uses cover crops to scavenge nutrients and prevent erosion

Michele Aavang, McHenry County, implements good fertilizer management with manure and split application of N

David Erickson, Knox County, discusses his no-till soybeans

Chad Schutz, Greene County, shows off his cover crops



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  • Cover Crop: a crop grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil

  • Reduced Tillage: practice of minimizing soil disturbance and allowing crop residue or stubble to remain on the ground instead of being incorporated into the soil

  • Buffer Strip: Conservation buffers are strips of permanent vegetation that are meant to intercept nutrients and sediment carried by surface water. They do that by slowing down surface water and allowing plants to take up and use the water and nutrients.

  • Bioreactors: Woodchip bioreactors are subsurface trenches filled with a carbon source, mainly wood chips, through which water is allowed to flow just before leaving a field to enter a surface water body.

  • Constructed Wetlands: Man-made systems engineered to approximate the water-cleansing process of natural wetlands. In agriculture, constructed wetlands are used to filter runoff from cropland, feedlots, aquaculture operations and agricultural processing facilities.