Illinois Department of Agriculture increasing conservation staff  

A new position within the Illinois Department of Agriculture will help farmers implement conservation practices.

Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello tells Brownfield they have leveraged state funds with a match from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation District to hire 40 conservation practitioners over the next two years.

“To be out in the field, boots on the ground, working with soil and water conservation districts to make sure that conservation practices are in fact being done the right way.”

He says the department already provides assistance through brochures, phone calls and videos, but having someone in-person to help walk through practices in the field is important.

“It’s a renewed commitment by the Pritzker Administration as far as working toward conservation practices and making sure that our agriculture community is moving forward and thriving.”

He says they will also be revitalizing the 100-acre Henry White farm near Belleville to help show people how climate-smart conservation practices can be used.

“Different people learn in different ways. This will be an area where people can come on site and see how these climate smart agricultural practices actually work.”

Costello updated Illinois farmers on the department’s conservation efforts during the Conservation Cropping Seminar in Springfield last week.

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