The Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) is now up and running, funding projects to help minimize the impact of farming on water quality within the state of Illinois. NREC recently reviewed and funded several research projects dedicated to improving water quality and nutrient management in Illinois.
NREC is the board that manages a new “fertilizer checkoff.” The idea is not new. In fact, a fund has existed since 1989 for nutrient research and education, but the fund existed within the State of Illinois budget and has been swept for years for other purposes. The NREC funds are managed by industry and agribusiness organizations and used to discover and promote best management practices for using fertilizers on Illinois farmland. Illinois Corn assisted in the development of NREC and has a voting seat on the NREC board.
“Seventy-five cents on every ton of fertilizer is dedicated to NREC. That assures that nutrient recommendations in Illinois are based on the best technology that we have at this time. If we can’t defend our nutrient practices, regulators will fill that void with prescribed regulations. It’s happening in other parts of the country RIGHT NOW.NREC will allow us to address problems, find science-based solutions and apply them to our farming operations. This will benefit us today and into the future and that’s why Illinois agriculture and environmental groups support NREC,” Dan Schaefer, Illinois Council on Best Management Practices.
“I know extension is having great challenges, so it’s a rational thing to shift some of that transfer of knowledge to somebody else. NREC is designed and structured in such a way that they can facilitate doing that through the crop advisors. That’s a system that we’re all familiar with,” Lyn Warfel, Tolono farmer.