PONTIAC – Those involved with local agriculture were honored for their conservation efforts during the 74th annual meeting of the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Partners in Conservation awards were given to the Jim Ifft Family and Joe Bybee. The Iffts operate a grain and livestock operation near Fairbury and Bybee works as a regional representative for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, serving 19 districts and working with the various cost share programs.
“As we’ve gone through the years, we’ve done a lot of conservation things like no-till, buffer strips, minimum till and have moved toward cover crops,” Ifft explained.
According to Ifft, the conservation practices make the operation more profitable and allow his family to do the right thing for the environment. Ifft said the award is not something they expected but consider it a nice honor.
“I’m very fortunate to serve the soil and water districts in northeastern Illinois and of course the great district here in Livingston County,” stated Bybee, who admits there is nothing better than being recognized by those you serve.
Fulton Family Farms received the Conservation Farm Family award. The Fultons have 690 acres along with a few feeder steers and chickens. They no-till soybeans and strip-till corn and have two filter strips. Cover crops were used on 80 acres this past year and they put in a wetland to help control nitrogen runoff from tiles.
“We like to practice stewardship and take care of our farm and help preserve it,” said James Fulton.
Two LCSWCD directors, Chuck Hanley and Marcus Maier, were re-elected to two year terms. Adam Wyant was introduced as the new district conservationist. He has worked in both Wyoming and Illinois.
During his address, Chairman Lee Bunting reminded the audience of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy which has a goal of meeting certain guidelines by 2025. He also explained the Soil and Water Conservation District’s purpose of educating others of practices which protect our natural resources. Bunting noted the state has some cost share opportunities available to growers.
Speaker of the day was Jonathan Coppess, clinical professor with the University of Illinois. He provided a review of the 2018 Farm Bill.