[Originally posted December 14, 2016]
IL Corn and the ag industry has introduced some management practices and talked about some concepts that are different for farmers, trying to help them improve the water quality coming from IL farms.
Farmers are anxious to learn, some are trying out a few new practices, others are watching and learning from their neighbors, but …
WE NEED MORE FARMERS TO TRY MORE CONSERVATION PRACTICES.
Farmers are farming because they love it, but also because they need to provide for their own families. So trying something completely new, and risking tens of thousands of dollars or more in the process, is a scary thing.
Research tells us that trying cover crops will cost *this much* and improve soil health *this much* while also decreasing nutrient loss *this much.* But the research put into practice on some farms doesn’t always work out exactly the same. Farmers get nervous to try new things … and that’s understandable!
But Santa, we’ve got to make our water quality better. We’ve got to lose less of the expensive fertilizer we’re putting on our fields. We’ve got to invest in our land and preserve it for future generations. Farmers definitely want to do this! It is their core value and the foundation of their farming business.
So one thing we’d love for Christmas is for more farmers to TRY a new conservation practice on their fields this year. Maybe they just try it on one field, maybe they branch out to several. Maybe they talk with a neighbor and try the same thing she had success with in 2016. We’re making progress, but MORE progress would sure be nice.
Whisper in their ears – would you Santa? We’ll keep providing the outreach, education, and programming in the meantime …
Note: In 2016, IL Corn offered several new educational programs for farmers! These are just a few:
- cover crop coupons – to try cover crops at a reduced cost for the first year
- field days – to see how different management techniques were actually working on farms in Illinois
- interactive maps – to help farmers understand when to apply nitrogen and when not to apply
- Precision Conservation Management – a pilot program that helps farmers understand conservation practices AND the financial implications that correlate with them
- water testing – to understand how much of the expensive fertilizer a farmer was losing from his/her field