The Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board remain committed to supporting voluntary opportunities for corn farmers to invest in and put into use best management practices that enhance environmental quality. ICGA vice-president Gary Hudson offers his support through his role at IL Corn, and also as the Chair of the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC).
The Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC), has announced the first slate of projects that it will fund to fulfill NREC’s mission to enhance nutrient utilization, increase crop production and protect water quality. NREC is funded by a 75 cent per ton assessment on each ton of fertilizer sold in Illinois; the money generated by the fertilizer assessment is held outside of state government and is managed by a 13 member Council made up of representatives from agriculture organizations, environmental organizations, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Gary Hudson, who represents the Illinois Corn Growers Association on NREC and is Chair of NREC, is pleased that the Council was able to fund projects that address critical needs in water quality, crop production and education about nutrient stewardship practices. “Illinois agriculture must increase our productivity and demonstrate environmental responsibility, and NREC provides a sustainable source of funding for these endeavors” he said. “The Council faced a difficult task in evaluating 30 projects submitted to NREC for consideration and determining which ones are best suited to address the challenges faced in both crop production and water quality. The projects that the Council selected to fund will result in valuable information to farmers and enable agriculture as a whole to make improvements in both of these vital areas.”
Of the projects submitted for consideration, the Council chose a variety of projects that focus on crop production and environmental protection needs, including an agronomic and environmental assessment on the use of cover crops in a corn/soybean rotation, a new evaluation of Illinois’ phosphorus and potassium recommendations for various crops, studying how various application methods can reduce phosphorus runoff and furthering education regarding nitrogen management practices through the “Keep it for the Crop” nutrient stewardship program. The Council also approved new programs managed by the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP) to study water quality on the farm through a “Discovery Farm” approach as well as a joint project between CBMP, Soil & Water Conservation District, NRCS representatives and the Champaign-Urbana and Greater Chicago Water Reclamation Sanitary Districts, looking at nutrients from both a point and non-point perspective and working together to find economically viable ways to reduce nutrient losses in critical watersheds. NREC will also fund a new on-line training program that provides critical information to farmers to improve the safe handling of anhydrous ammonia during transportation and in-field application.
For more information on NREC, go to www.illinoisnrec.org.