SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – The Illinois Department of Agriculture alongside the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services announced new grants that would hire more conservation workers. 

The $13.3 million in federal and state grants would allow the hiring of 40 conservation planners across the state. The planners would create and implement new plans to increase conservation efforts.   

“This historic funding increases investments in agricultural conservation and nutrient management rest on human capacity,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker. “Illinois, like other states across the nation have noted, we need strong individual, organizational and societal capacity to design and implement conservation measures, adapt them and sustain their impact over time.”

Experts say soil nutrients in the state are often lost to rivers and streams if not carefully planned, causing pollution.   

 “This effort will support climate-smart agricultural practices, as well as helping to improve water quality across the state of Illinois,” said Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts Executive Director Grant Hammer.