Farm Progress

The first application deadline for NRCS special initiatives is Jan. 19. Growmark announces its 2018 FFA essay contest winners. Two Illinois soybean farmers take on national biodiesel leadership roles.

January 12, 2018

3 Min Read
CONSERVATION INITIATIVES: Farmers with agricultural, pasture or forest land located in a defined initiative project area can apply for assistance through EQIP.NRCS

Application dates approaching for NRCS special initiatives

Illinois State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announces the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service will offer funding for these special conservation initiatives in the following counties: 

Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI)
• Clinton Lake – portions of DeWitt, McLean and Piatt counties
• Crow Creek West/Clear Creek – portions of Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties
• Upper Macoupin Creek – portions of Macoupin County
• Vermilion Headwaters – portions of Ford, Iroquois, Livingston and McLean counties

National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)
• Douglas Creek Watershed – portions of St. Clair County
• Crooked Creek-Bon Pas Watershed – portions of Richland, Wabash, Edwards and Lawrence counties
• Lake Vermilion Watershed – portions of Vermilion County
• Lake De Revey Watershed – portions of Vermilion County
• Painter Creek Watershed – portions of Vermilion County
• Lake Bloomington-Money Creek Watershed – portions of McLean County
• Blue Mound-Money Creek Watershed – portions of McLean County

Monarch Butterfly Project (Monarch)
• available in all Illinois counties

Using the Environmental Quality Incentives Program’s technical and financial assistance, farmers can install a variety of conservation practices that improve water quality, decrease soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat. 

To compete for funds in one or more of these initiative project areas, farmers must complete and submit an application by one of two cutoff dates: Jan. 19 or March 16. Contact your local NRCS field office to obtain more details about a specific initiative and to see if your land is located in one of the project areas. More information is available at

Source: NRCS

FFA essay contest winners announced

Ross Tompkins of Smithboro, Ill.; Anna Campbell of Hamlin, Iowa; Chloe Momphard of Troy, Mo.; and Audrey Pelikan of Jefferson, Wis., have been named state winners of the 2018 Growmark essay contest for FFA members. The theme of this year’s contest, now in its 25th year, was “How can cooperatives demonstrate their value to the next generation of agriculturists?”


WINNER: Smithboro’s Ross Tompkins was named a state winner of the 2018 Growmark essay contest for FFA members.

Tompkins is a student at Mulberry Grove High School and a member of the Mulberry Grove FFA Chapter. His FFA advisor is Matt Elam. Campbell is a student at Audubon High School and a member of the Audubon FFA Chapter. Her FFA advisor is Brittany Elmquist. Momphard is a student at Troy Buchanan High School and a member of the Troy FFA Chapter. Her FFA advisor is Rob Calvin. Pelikan is a student at Jefferson High School and a member of the Jefferson FFA Chapter. Her FFA advisor is Gary Olson.

Each state’s contest winner receives a $500 award from Growmark at his or her state FFA convention. The winner’s FFA chapter also receives a $300 award in honor of the member’s accomplishment.

Four runners-up in each state receive a $125 award. The Illinois runners-up and their FFA chapters are: Brynn Bergen, Mercer County FFA, Seaton; Mackenzie Brackett, LeRoy FFA, LeRoy; Connor Sullivan, West Prairie FFA, Colchester; and Sean Welch, ROWVA FFA, Knoxville.

Source: Growmark

Illinois soybean farmers take on national leadership roles

Jeff Lynn, Oakford, Ill., was recently appointed as a board member and Mike Cunningham, Bismarck, Ill., was re-elected vice chairman of the National Biodiesel Board governing body. Lynn and Cunningham were also re-elected to posts on the National Biodiesel Foundation — Lynn as president and Cunningham as director.

NBB is the leading U.S. trade association representing biodiesel and renewable diesel. The leadership team on the governing board comes from all sectors of the industry, including renewable energy groups, industry leaders and other state soybean association leadership. NBF works closely with NBB to accomplish outreach, education, research and demonstration activities for the advancement of biodiesel.

Source: Illinois Soybean Association

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