Illinois Farm Bureau awards grants to conservation projects

Aerial view of farm, red barns, corn field in September. Harvest season. Rural landscape, american countryside. Sunny morning

The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) has awarded 27 grants to County Farm Bureaus (CFBs) across the state with a view to supporting nutrient stewardship and pollinator conservation. The funding is intended to support local, farmer-led conservation efforts, some of which were on show at a nutrient stewardship field day in Sangamon County in 2023.

The IFB’s commitment to enhancing environmental stewardship and promoting the conservation of pollinators is evident in its support for a range of projects, including crop programs, nutrient stewardship field days, watershed outreach, and pollinator seed distribution, advanced research, community outreach, and educational opportunities on best practices.

Since 2015, the IFB has disbursed nearly $1.17mn to over 150 county-led nutrient projects. Furthermore, for a third consecutive year, it will distribute grants for programs and materials supporting pollinators and monarch butterflies. This year, 25 CFBs will collaborate on 18 Nutrient Stewardship Grant projects, while 13 CFBs will undertake nine Pollinator Conservation Grant projects. The initiative includes a partnership with local FS companies and GROWMARK to provide discounted pollinator seed at local FB locations.

The Nutrient Stewardship Grant program aligns with the IFB’s efforts to support the state’s Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) by focusing on education, research support, implementation efforts, and demonstrating progress towards the Illinois NLRS goals. Similarly, the Pollinator Conservation Grant Program is designed to facilitate locally led pollinator projects, developed in response to CFBs and farmers’ interest in accessing additional support for pollinator-related programming and materials.

The projects range from supporting research and data collection on nutrient management to establishing cover crop demonstration plots and promoting soil health practices. Educational events and field days are planned to share knowledge and results with farmers, landowners, and the public. Pollinator conservation efforts include developing habitat demonstration plots, enhancing pollinator gardens, and distributing seeds and educational materials to support pollinator-friendly environments.

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