Central Illinois Farms Featured In National Conservation Tour

Several farmers and other agriculture professionals in Livingston County, IL, will soon be in the national spotlight.

The Conservation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) 2013 Conservation in Action Tour will take place July 9-10 at several sites around the county. This year’s tour brings together agriculture leaders, such as farmers, crop advisers, regulators and lawmakers, from across the country to learn and share conservation practices. The tour emphasizes finding real-world solutions to real-world challenges.

Eric McTaggart, district conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Livingston County is a good place to celebrate the tour’s theme of Community 4 Conservation.

“Conservation in Livingston County is supported, not just in the farming community, but also with our local city communities like the town of Fairbury,” he said. “They all work together. That community involvement, always supporting each other, is there and will be seen on the tour.”

This year’s tour will focus on soil health, nutrient management and drainage water management. The first stop will include an up-close look at aerial seeding of cover crops and a chance to delve deep into a soil pit to explore cover crop root systems at Bachtold Farms. Other topics include rNext, the Kilgus farm will host a session on nutrient management featuring innovative manure management technologies and the latest information on nitrogen soil testing and rate plots.

Finally, discussion on drainage water management will take place at the Trainor farm, which is near the Vermilion River. There, tour participants can view on-farm research on drainage water management, tile installation and outlet monitoring and several other areas.

During the tour, participants will be able to walk demonstration plots and learn about conservation farming equipment, including cutting-edge variable rate fertilizer technology application machinery like the Greenseeker system. They also will be able to talk with area farmers about their experiences with conservation agriculture.

Marcus Maier, a director for the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District, said the tour offers a great opportunity for visitors to see what Central Illinois has to offer.

“The land and soil here are so rich and mean so much to individuals who farm it,” he said. “It means a lot to pass it on to next generation, and the tour is a showcase of how to take care of the land and pass it on.”

McTaggart noted that producers in the area are looking to conservation practices to enhance economic sustainability and protect resources.

“A lot of the farmers here are looking into reinvesting into the land to improve it and to ensure that it’s there and sustainable for the next generation,” McTaggart said. “The tour will be a great way to see a lot of conservation practices on the ground and learn something new to take back to the farm or their community. Hopefully, the message will spread and more people will adopt some of the practices that will be shown on the tour.”

The Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center will serve as the tour base. Call reservations at 800-627-7468 before June 16, 2013, and mention the CTIC Tour to receive a special rate. Registration also is available online.

Those interested in attending the tour must register through CTIC. Registration includes the July 9 evening social and drinks, snacks, bus transportation, breakfast, lunch and dinner during the July 10 Tour. Early registration ends June 12.

Tour updates and other information, including a video featuring Livingston County, can be found at www.ctic.org/CIATours or by contacting Nicholle Vaughn at vaughn@ctic.org or 765-494-9555

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