Conservation activities on farms are most effective when coordinated within a specific community or watershed.
The Vermilion Headwaters Watershed is a 254,322-acre rural watershed encompassing parts of Livingston, Ford, Iroquois and McLean Counties in Illinois. It is a sub-watershed of the Vermilion-Illinois River Basin, which has been identified as one of the top five watersheds contributing the most to nitrogen run-off in Illinois. AFT is working with a well-organized local group of partners and watershed farmers to stem the loss of nitrogen from farmlands.
"When it comes to cover crops- seeding dates and species selection is very important." Kris Reynolds, AFT Midwest Natural Resource Conservationist
Agricultural Innovators Identified
In each watershed, an agricultural adviser, a farm operation and a non-operating landowner was profiled for their use of conservation cropping systems.
John Dassow, Conservation Practices
John Dassow utilizes many conservation practices on his farm. Cover crops, no-till, and erosion practices are used on the farm to obtain and improve soil health and keep soil in place. John is open to trying new practices that will help his land and farming operation become more sustainable.
Chuck Hanley utilizes the Conservation Districts Nitrate water testing program to monitor the amount of nitrates that are being lost from his pattered tile drainage system on his farm. The program has made him more aware of the potential for nitrogen loss and the correlation of the timing of his nitrogen application ahead of his corn crop.
Click here to Watch Chuck's Story for more information.
Sally Lasser, Non-Operating Landowner
Sally Lasser is an non-operating landowner that manages her families farmland in Ford and McLean counties. Sally has an immense passion for conservation that began with her father. The farm was once the site of the Land Improvement Contractors Association demonstration farm that showcased the construction of several erosion control practices including a pond. Sally also utilizes several of the CRP programs on the farm including filter strips, habitat buffers, and pollinator habitats.
Adam Thorndyke, Conservation Practices
The Thorndyke farm incorporates cover crops into their farming operation to help improve soil health, manage weeds, and nitrogen. The farm also utilizes strip-till to place nutrients below the soil surface. They also combine the two practices to optimize soil health and crop performance.
Click here to watch Adam's video for more information.