Nutrient Stewardship Grants Awarded for 2017December 19, 2016
Illinois Farm Bureau Board renewed its commitment to advance nutrient management through local solutions and partnerships with announcement of the second Nutrient Stewardship Grant recipients. “Great partnerships were fostered in year one and we continue to see great partnerships in year two,” said Lyndsey Ramsey, IFB associate director of environmental and natural resources.
An IFB selection committee awarded grants for 18 projects to be implemented in 22 counties by county Farm Bureaus and their partners around the state. IFB awarded $100,000 in total; however, previous recipients were required to surface matching funds and/or in-kind contributions to stretch grant funding. “We saw a lot of good ideas and different ways the state can address the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy,” IFB Director Jeff Kirwan of Mercer County said of the proposals. “Solving nutrient loss issues will take a concentrated effort by everyone,” added IFB Director Larry Miller of Franklin County. “We were pleased with the wide range of proposals and programs initiated by county Farm Bureaus and their partners. We look forward to programs that help our farmers continue working with the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.”
Ramsey noted the selection committee faced a challenging decision because county Farm Bureau proposals were very different and reflected the different nutrient management needs, soils and farming practices in each county. “We wanted projects to be different because we want them to provide the help counties need,” she said.
Grant awardees include:
The IAA Board of Directors is committed to achieving the goals outlined in the state’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Not only have they dedicated funding for programs designed to help farmers implement new practices, but they are implementing good nutrient management right on their own farms. Check out the videos below!
Jeff Kirwan, Mercer County, uses cover crops to scavenge nutrients and prevent erosion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr7mdCrDhpM
Michele Aavang, McHenry County, implements good fertilizer management with manure and split application of N: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uySRBCN5Tjw
David Erickson, Knox County, discusses his no-till soybeans:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KhdNenu520&t=6s
Chad Schutz, Greene County, shows off his cover crops: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE_X0RmWMDg
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.
Local test plots will compare common practices to advanced practices on nutrient stewardship. Some of the types of tests include N-rate trials, use of multiple nitrogen applications, stabilizer utilizations, no-till planting, cover crops, and soil samples.
Illinois Farm Bureau and GROWMARK are providing funds for the project, while FS companies and county Farm Bureaus work together to carry out the 4R field demonstration strategy at a local level.
This winter, each partnership will put a strategy in place with field demonstration days in the spring and summer of 2017. Information will be compiled on an ongoing basis.
4R4U partnerships include:
County Farm Bureaus involved in the partnerships will work with neighboring counties to publicize events.
Did you know you live in a watershed?
What’s a watershed?
A watershed is an area of land where all the water that falls in it drains to a common outlet. It is important to know which watershed you live and work in, to better understand your impact on the water quality downstream. Watersheds can be as small as the size of a footprint to as large as the Mississippi River basin, which includes regions of 31 states that all drain to the Mississippi River, which drains to the Gulf of Mexico. Meaning if you live in Illinois, South Dakota, or Tennessee, the water leaving your yard or farm all makes it way to the same place, eventually.
Click on this detailed map to see the major watersheds of Illinois.
Learn more about your watershed here: https://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/state.cfm?statepostal=IL
Watersheds are important as we think about Illinois’ Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. The US Environmental Protection agency wants everyone to think about their watershed and work to make it better. Some watershed groups exist around Illinois, but many more are needed. Watershed groups can create “Watershed Action Plans” – grassroots efforts to improve water quality – which may also make them eligible for funding opportunities for things like agricultural practices that improve nutrient stewardship and water quality.
Check out this site to see if your watershed has a Plan: http://epa.illinois.gov/topics/water-quality/watershed-management/watershed-based-planning/index
Interested in starting a Watershed Group in your area? Contact Lauren Lurkins or Lyndsey Ramsey for more information, and check out this Guide for Developing a Watershed Action Plan: http://www.epa.state.il.us/water/watershed/publications/watershed-guidance.pdf
Earlier this month, IFB took 15 Illinois farmers and 5 staff members to Iowa to discuss our shared nutrient stewardship and water quality issues, and to learn from Iowa about how they are implementing their Nutrient Reduction Strategy, released two years before Illinois’ strategy.
By visiting Iowa, we learned how collaboration between ag and non-ag partners can work. We visited demonstration farms to see both traditional and non-traditional best management practices for reducing nutrient loss. We learned about unique partnerships that pulled in additional funding for farmers. And we visited with Mayors and city officials from the city of Cedar Rapids, where the drinking water supply is taking a collaborative approach with the farming community to improve water quality.
Read more about the trip from FarmWeekNow:
Trip participants included:
President GuebertDirector, Jeff KirwanDirector, Larry MillerStephen Anderson - Shelby CountyChad Bell - Mercer CountyTerry Boydstun - Knox CountyRollo Burnett - Massac CountyDean Campbell - Randolph CountyLarry Dallas - Douglas CountyMichael Ganschow - Bureau CountyTed Huber - Coles CountyMarty McManus - Rock Island CountyJeff O'Connor - Kankakee CountyCliff Schuette - Clinton CountySteve Turner - Cass County
Mark Gebhards, IFBLauren Lurkins, IFBLyndsey Ramsey, IFBKay Shipman, IFB
Julie Armstrong, NREC
Nutrient Stewardship Grant Renewed for 2017
The Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors has once again committed $100,000 to the Nutrient Stewardship Grant Program for fiscal year 2017. This program is meant to support farmers in their efforts to address the water quality challenges facing Illinois.
A key component of the program is collaboration with partners at the local level. We were encouraged by the partnerships formed during this last year and recognize that in this time of fiscal constraint in Illinois, this program fills a void and allows for progress on this issue when farmers and other groups work together.
Applications should come from County Farm Bureaus. The deadline to submit applications is Monday, October 31st. We are happy to discuss and help with project ideas. Contact Lyndsey Ramsey (firstname.lastname@example.org, (309) 531-1117) with any questions.
NUTRIENT STEWARDSHIP GRANT RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCEDFebruary 8, 2016
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Twenty-nine Illinois county Farm Bureaus have been awarded grants under the first-ever Nutrient Stewardship Grant program. Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) has awarded the grants – totaling more than $100,000 – to help promote local nutrient stewardship, soil health and water quality projects.
“We’re beyond talking about nutrient management and moving to actually help our members adopt and implement strategies and practices,” said Lauren Lurkins, director of environmental and natural resources, IFB. “We’re trying to move the needle, and these grants will help us do just that.”
Projects tackle nutrient issues relevant to local needs, soils, and farming practices, with the ultimate goal of achieving nutrient loss reduction goals under the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS).
Announced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in July 2015, the NLRS calls for a creation of an Agricultural Water Quality Partnership Forum to “steer outreach and education efforts to help farmers address nutrient loss.”
The plan tasks wastewater treatment plants, urban areas and agricultural areas with reducing the state’s phosphorous load by 25 percent and its nitrate-nitrogen load by 15 percent by 2025. These actions will assist in addressing water quality problems in Illinois rivers, lakes and streams. The eventual target is a 45 percent reduction in the loss of these nutrients to the Mississippi River.
“Our county Farm Bureau leaders and staff are excited and empowered,” Lurkins said. “It’s wonderful to be a part of this critical effort.”
A complete list of county Farm Bureau receiving grants – along with partner organizations and project descriptions — can be found in the attached document.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 400,000 and a voting membership of more than 82,000. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.
Final Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy for Illinois has been released!July, 2015
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) have officially released the final version of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (Strategy) for Illinois. Download the full Strategy here.
The Strategy outlines a framework for reducing nutrient losses to improve Illinois water quality and the quality of water leaving the state and making its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including other agricultural groups, wastewater treatment plant representatives, and environmental groups, to develop the Strategy through a process led by the IEPA and the IDOA. Agriculture will continue working to address losses from our family farms, but everyone—whether from rural, suburban or urban areas—will have a role to play.
IFB supports the Strategy because education, outreach, and voluntary, incentive-based best management practices (BMPs) will continue to be the primary tools for addressing nutrient losses from Illinois farm fields.
The focus is on reducing nutrient losses to the environment, not on reducing nutrient use for Illinois agriculture. For agricultural non‐point sources, voluntary implementation of BMPs is expected to build on efforts already underway by farmers throughout the state and in watersheds with existing nutrient management plans. It is expected that the implementation of BMPs will increase with additional outreach, education, and incentives.
This is Illinois agriculture’s opportunity to prove that voluntary conservation does work!!
IFB is a founding member of the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (C-BMP), a coalition of agribusiness and agricultural organizations. C-BMP encourages the adoption of BMPs to protect and enhance natural resources and the sustainability of agriculture in Illinois. It will also serve as an important resource for nutrient management information for farmers. For more information on the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and the “Roadshow” events where the Strategy was introduced to farmers around the state, click here.
Visit the Illinois EPA website devoted to the Strategy, located here.
Illinois Farmers highlight some of the conservation practices they use to reduce nutrient runoff.
Mark Tuttle, farmer from DeKalb County, discusses about his cover crops.
Garry Niemeyer talks about timing his nutrient applications so that his crops in Sangamon County utilize nutrients when they need it most.
David Wessel discusses continuous no-till, soil sampling, split application of N, and other practices he uses on his farm ground in Cass County.
Kris Reynolds discusses his cereal rye cover crop in Montgomery County.
March 12, 2015 WebinarIllinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy: What is it? What does it mean for you?Lauren Lurkins, Director of Natural and Environment Resources
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