IFB seeks nutrient stewardship projects to grow efforts

Some of the 60 field day participants check out installed dispersion lines and control structures for two saturated buffers near Sullivan in Moultrie County. Clint Robinson’s farm is the research site for comparisons of standard and unique buffers.

(File photo by Catrina Rawson)

By Kay Shipman

Despite challenges this year, county Farm Bureaus along with their partners expanded on-farm study of nutrient management practices, shared information with farmers, local officials and the public and continued working toward the goals of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS).

For a fifth year, the IFB Board is investing $100,000 in the Nutrient Stewardship Grant program for county Farm Bureaus to implement local nutrient, soil health and water quality projects. Online grant applications will close Oct. 31.

IFB and its farmer members continue to apply practices referenced in the NLRS, while seeking ways to take stewardship to the next level, according to Lauren Lurkins, IFB director of environmental policy.

“As we think of working toward NLRS goals, we support projects with our farmer members implementing practices, conducting side-by-side comparisons or even trying something new in their fields,” Lurkins said. “In-field projects not only help other farmers learn steps they can adapt and apply, but also provide solid, practical information to diverse partners.”  

In the past four years, IFB has invested more than $600,000, helped with homegrown projects involving local partners and shared information with thousands of farmers, landowners, educators, public officials and others.

This year, 30 county Farm Bureaus and many partners implemented 19 projects that involved research, implementation, education and outreach. The projects highlighted different, critical needs, such as manure management and water quality testing, and fostered unique partnerships, including one with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

The grant projects need county Farm Bureau leadership, which may involve county managers, county Farm Bureau directors, Young Leaders or another county Farm Bureau committee.

County Farm Bureaus are encouraged to work with each other and/or local partners and to rely on IFB staff as a resource.

County Farm Bureaus reapplying for funding to continue a project must specify matching funds and/or in-kind services that will be contributed by the county Farm Bureau and its partners. County Farm Bureaus that didn’t receive a grant previously are not required to include matching funds and in-kind services, but may do so.

Online applications are available at this link. Grant proposals must be submitted through county Farm Bureaus. Contact Lurkins to discuss project proposals prior to submission.