Precision Conservation Management (PCM), the premiere water quality program of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, received over $250,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation this week to continue excellent conservation programming for farmers in 2020 and beyond.
The success of the PCM program is built on the idea that farmers can talk to conservation specialists to understand how the management techniques they implement on their farm might impact overall farm profitability. These grant funds will sponsor a total of five Precision Conservation Specialists in Illinois and Kentucky.
From the grant application, “PCM’s five Precision Conservation Specialists are the lifeblood of PCM. Without them, our program could not do what we are doing to reach out and offer one-on-one technical support to the farmers in our program. It is only because of the specialists’ willingness to lead difficult discussions that we have been successful at convincing farmers to make changes to their farming operations.”
Currently, PCM staff work with over 300 farmers in 16 Illinois counties and 10 Kentucky counties, with approximately 3,500 fields and 300,000 acres in the program.
“PCM’s aggregated and anonymized dataset is used to benefit all farmers by demonstrating the impact of conservation practices on farm financial returns. This program is promoting real change for all farmers in Illinois thanks to the hard work of our Precision Conservation Specialists and the willingness of our farmers to try new practices and measure their results,” said Laura Gentry, Director of Water Quality Science for IL Corn.
“At the end of the day, we must do at least one new conservation practice on each acre in Illinois if we are to accomplish the goals of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. This grant that helps fund our specialists, which in turn enables farmers to try new things and help us understand the financial implications of those new practices, is what will get us there,” said Travis Deppe, Director of Precision Conservation Management.
Maximum utilization of these grant monies will require an almost $300,000 match from the Illinois Corn Growers Association and its partners in the PCM project.