Biennial report shows progress of Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

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Biennial report shows progress of Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

The Illinois EPA and Department of Agriculture have released a report showcasing the progress of Illinois’ Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.

Lauren Lurkins with the Illinois Farm Bureau has been involved in the project from the beginning. She tells Brownfield statewide water flow, nitrate and phosphorus loads have gone up since 2013, but the project has made a large impact on reducing nutrient loss long-term.

“I don’t want people to be discouraged that we are seeing ‘more of XYZ’ because really that long term trend of activity, awareness and energy behind this issue is still continuing to increase across the state.”

She says in 2017 the ag sector invested $25 million in these efforts and the number jumped to $33 million in 2018.

She says over the last two years, “Almost 85,000 people have come to events across the state of Illinois and I don’t think we have that sort of track record on any one particular issue over that period of time.”

She highlights some of the practices farmers are implementing.

“We saw cover crop acres increase more than ten-fold between 2011 and 2015 and then yet another jump in the small window of 2015 to 2017. The number of wood chip bioreactors in the state have nearly doubled in two years.”

Stakeholders will review the report and work on plans for the project moving forward at the NLRS Conference in Springfield next month.

Interview with Lauren Lurkins

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