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Illinois corn farmers join other environmental advocates in our state, nation, and around the world in celebrating Earth Day, the one day each year that officially marks the everyday choices made on their Illinois family farms. Earth day is Friday, April 22.
As has been long said of them, farmers really are the original environmentalists as they depend on the longevity of natural resources to provide stability for their families, and by extension, the families of consumers that rely on farm production.
To share their stories and stimulate discussion on this topic, Illinois corn farmers, with the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB), have partnered with other farm and environmental groups to create the Illinois Conservation Story Map. This interactive, web-based system allows interested parties to learn more about so-called best management practices, environmental incentive programs on farms, and also about the individual farmers that use them.
Don Guinnip notes in his conservation story that his family has been farming the same ground since 1837. To preserve water quality for his family and others, he has installed conservation features and uses best management practices. “As the water moves through this mini watershed on this farm, we hope it comes off clean, and leaves the nutrients in the soil here when it goes. That’s our plan on this watershed.” Guinnip serves on the ICGA board of directors.
“We raise corn and beans, hogs and grandchildren,” says Pat Dumoulin in her conservation story. Dumoulin is on the ICMB Board of Directors. She has been farming with the family for 3 generations over 60 years. One of the first ever contractors in the Conservation Stewardship Program, Dumoulin encourages other farmers to utilize programs like CSP and to integrate best management practices on their farms. “I would certainly encourage everyone to participate in best management practices because they are profitable to you, and that really is the bottom line. The other side of it is that they are all good for our environment. And those kind of win-win situations are so good for everyone.”
Guinnip and Dumoulin are featured on the story map with roughly four dozen other such stories from around the state. The interactive Illinois Conservation Story Map is viewable from the IL Corn website at www.ilcorn.org/nutrientstrategy.