Our IL Corn office continues to work extensively on preserving the quality of the water in Illinois. What that basically means for us is that we’re working really hard with farmers to help them understand the problem and their opportunities to be a part of the solution. We’re also working with regulators (like the EPA) to show them the progress we’re making with farmers and with other cooperators and interested parties like the National Fish and Wildlife Federation who give us funding for programming to help promote clean water.
One of our biggest pushes right now is to get farmers thinking about testing the water coming off of their fields. (To understand better why water coming off of their fields matters, read this background post!)
You might not have thought about it, but the old adage “April Showers bring May Flowers” comes into play. We all know that it typically rains more often in the spring. As the fields are starting to “wake up” from the winter, they often get tons of rainwater falling on them and the farmers that have applied nutrients for their spring seedlings likely see some of those nutrients washed away in the spring rains.
So we’re starting now. We might not prevent that nutrient loss in 2016, but we hope we’ll help farmers see the nutrients they are losing this spring to help them change their practices for 2017. Farmers definitely want clean water, but they also want their seedlings to have access to all the needed nutrients as they grow. AND they don’t want to watch nutrients they paid for be washed into the ditches and streams in the area.
Farmers want to fix this problem.
Our education starts with water testing sits all over the state. We’re encouraging farmers to stop at their tiles and ditches this spring and bring water samples to testing sites. We want them to see on a weekly basis how changes in precipitation and timing can impact nutrient loss and water quality on their farms.
It’s all about the environment and leaving the resources a little better than we found them. Farmers are definitely willing to do their part – and with a little help and education, we know we’ll get them there!
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Manager