From the Farm: Conservation funding held in Springfield

The Morning Show

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — One of the major agriculture program funding bills in the Illinois legislature has nearly half the members of the Senate as co-sponsors, but is not moving.  With only 5 days left in the legislative session, its programs would expire, hurting rural and city folk alike.

Illinois Senate bill 2474 funds a myriad of conservation programs by providing technical assistance to farmers, says Kris Reynolds of the American Farmland Trust.

“Each county in the state has a local conservation district, and farmers rely on that expertise for guidance on conservation practices,” Reynolds says. “And that would have a really big impact on not getting funding for that or decreased funding. The conservation districts have been getting by, the last several years on limited funding, and its time they get the funding they deserve and we start moving things in a better direction.

“And I think there are so many opportunities around the nutrient loss reduction strategy. Just the opportunities that farmers have to combat climate change, just the practices they can put in place. These practices are not different practices for different environmental concerns, it’s a lot of the same practices. You look at cover crops, and no-till, and nutrient management. Those practices can have a big impact on all those environmental concerns.”

The Association of Soil and Water Districts is lobbying hard for passage of the bill, says Executive Director Grant Hammer.

“Partners for Conservation program is set to sunset at the end of the month of June so that is why there is a sense of urgency and why we are urging lawmakers to take action to renew that conservation program,” says Hammer.” Folks could contact their local state representative or local state senator. The bill is Senate Bill 2474 — again its 2474 and Senate bill 2474 creates the Illinois Partners for Nutrient Loss Reduction Act.”

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