Farm Progress

Dedication to land, cattle and family earned the Phillippes the annual Governor’s Conservation Farm Family of the Year award.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

August 18, 2017

2 Min Read
WINNERS: Members of the Phillippe family gather on stage at the 2017 Illinois State Fair Ag Day breakfast to be recognized as the Governor’s Conservation Farm Family of the Year. The award is sponsored by the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Prairie Farmer.

What does sustainability mean — particularly when you’ve been selected as the Illinois Conservation Farm Family of the Year?

“Sustainability means that land is going to be there for us 10 years down the road,” says Logan Phillippe, who with his wife, Laura, and parents Jim and Cathy, were recognized for their outstanding conservation practices.

Laura agrees, pointing to terraces on their farm that were built by Logan’s grandfather Carl Phillippe in 1934. “Today, they’re still here for our kids.” Laura and Logan are parents to Dean, 7, and Trent, 3.

The Phillippes raise Angus cattle and row crops near Lawrenceville. Carl started the Angus herd in 1947. Today they run about 70 cow-calf pairs and sell beef at a retail store, and as halves and quarters to neighbors.

The Phillippes have installed a variety of conservation measures to manage their land, and use their retail store as a way to share their farm story.

“When customers come to the store and ask about cattle they see in the pasture, I take the opportunity to tell them that by using rotational strip grazing, we are able to cut down on the chemicals we use for weed control because the cows take care of that for us,” Laura says. She’s been known to follow up that conversation by taking them for a Gator ride to the pasture, to see for themselves.

“I can explain the use of cool-season grasses in the spring and fall, and warm-season grasses in the summer months, and how the terraces have stopped the pastures from washing away on all the slopes and hills,” she adds.

Laura and Logan also give tours to local animal nutrition college classes, where they can share their conservation practices on both row crop and pasture acres.

Over time, Logan has converted pasture to rotational and strip grazing, and has switched from barbed-wire fencing to high-tensile fence. Logan used Natural Resources Conservation Service cost-share assistance to install heavy-use area water stations, so cattle can have access to water in every 10-acre grazing strip. He’s put in 2,500 feet of water lines and 10 water stations.

Other conservation practices include grass waterways and structures, no-till and cover crops, critical-area plantings, and ponds.

“This family has been a wonderful example of a farm family doing the right thing for the land, for the community and for each other,” says Wayne Johnson, chairman of the Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District. “They have dedicated their lives to constantly improving and protecting the natural resources on their farms.”

The Governor’s Conservation Farm Family of the Year award is sponsored by the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Prairie Farmer.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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