ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A growing number of farmers are incorporating new soil conservation practices on 250,000 acres in central Illinois.
The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture recently awarded its Collaborator of the Year designation to Precision Conservation Management (PCM), a soil conservation program rapidly adopted by 250 farmers in East Central Illinois.
A public relations award and a new $5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant have recently come to PCM, a program of Illinois Corn Growers lead by Dr. Laura Gentry, which is attracting volunteer farmers.
“I believe it’s farmers who have an interest in conservation practices,” Gentry says. “Different ones, for different reasons, different business reasons, for different natural resource reasons; but they do have to see that they are going to get some kind of a payback for the work, the extra work, the extra investment.
“Sometimes they are making equipment changes. They are adding new passes to their operation. So its costing them money in some aspect of this with no guaranteed return for some of these practices.
“That’s the whole purpose of PCM, or what we do really well is helping farmers better understand the financial side of the penciling out of what these conservation practices can mean on their farming operation.”
One of those participants is Tim Mohr of Allerton, who says his neighbors are also signing up.
“There’s lots of guys, I mean PCM has been a widely adapted program I would say in our area, mainly due to their direct involvement, whether it be a cost share, or putting all of our data together,” Mohr says. “Showing us what may benefit a farm and what may not benefit a farm, and not on an individual basis but pooling a number of us together.”