A diverse group of Illinois ag leaders announced a new program for protecting the state's water quality at the Farm Progress Show.
"Keep it for the Crop by 2025", or KIC 2025, was announced at the Illinois Corn Growers Association's booth. The Illinois Council on Best Management Practices will implement the KIC 2025 program. According to CBMP director Mike Plumer, the program will focus on encouraging farmers to be better stewards in the application and management of nitrogen.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has identified six priority watersheds for nutrient reductions including Lake Bloomington, Lake Vermilion, Lake Decatur, Vermilion River (Illinois Basin), Salt Fork Vermilion River (Wabash Basin) and Lake Mauvaisse Terra. IEPA's Bureau of Water chief, Marcia Willhite, notes that each of these lakes and watersheds have water quality problems due to too much nitrogen or phosphorous, or both.
To encourage farmers to reduce nutrient runoff, the KIC 2025 program emphasizes the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship: right source, right rate, right time and right place.
CBMP members include ICGA, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Syngenta Crop Protection.
According to Jean Payne, president of IFCA, the industry is also working to secure dedicated funding from the ag sector for KIC by 2025 with state legislation that creates the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council. In the meantime, start-up funding for the program is being provided by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Soybean Association and IFCA fertilizer manufacturer members Agrium, CF Industries, Koch Fertilizer, The Mosaic Company and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.
Phillip Nelson, President of the Illinois Farm Bureau, reinforced that Illinois producers are major stakeholders in this efforts. "We have always believed that farmers are among the original stewards of our soil and water," Nelson adds. "KIC by 2025 will provide the resources, knowledge and outreach needed to ensure that growers make the best possible decisions when it comes to implementing practices that protect our streams and rivers and further enhance nutrient efficiencies in agricultural production."