You know how here in Illinois folks say things like, “don’t like the weather? Wait ten minutes.” Well, that warning seems to be coming true more frequently these days. 2019 kicked off with turbulent weather—an arctic blast followed by a healthy dump of snow and we were well on our way to an exciting year. Then a very wet spring drenched the countryside, delaying planting, and sparking worry among folks trying to plan for certain outcomes in uncertain times.
The ups and downs continued throughout the year and by the end of 2019, we had lived through some of the worst flooding Illinois had seen in 25 years. Not only the spring deluge, but many sporadic, heavy downpour events caused flash floods across our state through the fall. All the while, the rain was taking some of our soil and fertility along with it.
Since we can’t control the weather, we’d better get to work controlling the things that we can. And that includes implementing or improving practices that maintain our soils and keep this vital resource in place. To help farmers and landowners assess their practices and increase the ability of their land to retain its soil and nutrients, Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District has developed a tool that can help farmers evaluate their operation’s conservation practices. S.T.A.R. (Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources) guides individuals in taking inventory of practices that increase soil and nutrient retention. It can also help you to determine which practices will be most beneficial to your operation and your goals.
Anyone interested in learning more about conservation practices that can help to keep your nutrients and soil on your land is invited to join us at an informal mixer at Riggs Brewery on February 18, 2020, at 5:00pm. The Riggs brothers grow grain for their beer on their family’s centennial farm in Champaign County. They have personally used the S.T.A.R. tool to evaluate and improve their conservation practices and will be on hand to discuss their experience. We will also be joined by resource conservationists, technical service providers, and farmers to share their knowledge and experience with reducing soil and nutrient loss. The event will also announce a new conservation planning series for farmers and landowners kicking off later in February. We hope to see you there!