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View from the Cab: Helping the soil

By: Kent Casson

Farmers are encouraged to take care of the soil and water while also helping their bottom line.

Cover crops can do this, according to Jean Brokish, Midwest program manager for American Farmland Trust. Brokish was among those promoting conservation practices during the recent field day held near Fairbury. American Farmland Trust is part of the Vermilion Headwaters Watershed partnership and is a national organization with regional offices.

“In the Midwest, we are really focused on protecting farmland and promoting sound farming practices while supporting policies that keep farmers on the land,” explained Brokish.

Brokish feels there is more awareness of cover crops today and she is seeing an increased use of them. However, there are still plenty of barriers farmers are facing in terms of implementation.

The Vermilion Watershed is a priority watershed with the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and American Farmland Trust has worked with partners to leverage funding for it.

“Funding is certainly one of the barriers farmers have,” added Brokish.

Events such as the recent field day held at Jim Ifft’s farm in Livingston County bring valuable information and resources to growers which can help them make changes and try cover crops on their own operations.

More specific information on the Vermilion Headwaters project can be found at or for more about the American Farmland Trust in general, visit

Last Thursday was a busy but fun day to cover agricultural events in the area with the annual McLean County Chamber of Commerce Ag Awareness Breakfast in the morning and the Prairie Central FFA Hog Roast and Auction in the evening. It is always fun to catch up with everyone at these events as we missed them the past couple of years due to COVID.


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