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IDOA Accepting Applications for Cover Crop Premium Discount Program

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced a fall cover crop discount program for acreage in Illinois planted to cover crops in the fall of 2019 that will be planted to an insurable crop in 2020. The program will allow eligible applicants to receive a $5 per acre premium discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program. The program was developed by IDOA and backed by legislative leadership from Senators Andy Manar and Scott Bennet.

“Cover crops are an important part of preserving agriculture,” State Senator Scott Bennet said. “As Senate Agriculture chair, I am encouraged by this program and that it represents another resource to farmers to help ensure the success of Illinois’ agriculture economy.”

“Farmers who utilize cover crops are making an investment in the overall quality of our soil, food and water, as well as their own future yields,” said Senator Andy Manar. “This program will help expand the ecological benefits of cover crops while supporting our local farmers’ bottom line. Prioritizing these best practices is why Illinois remains at the forefront of agricultural production and quality.”

The discount program was designed to promote additional acres of cover crops that are not covered by other state or federal incentives. IDOA will use a combination of tools to verify acres applied for through this pilot program are planted in cover crops. The program is only applicable for those with coverage through the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (USDA-RMA) crop insurance program. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to the USDA-RMA for processing and applying premium discounts to 2020 crop insurance invoices.

“Implementation of best management practices such as cover crop application continues to be a priority of the Department,” said John Sullivan, IDOA Director. “Adopters of cover cropping methods may have incurred additional risk and expenses and this program serves as an incentive for their work.”

Applications are available at Funding of eligible acreage will be on a first come, first serve basis capped at 50,000 acres. It is recommended that those applying for the program reference their Federal FSA-578 form. The closing date to apply for the premium discount is January 15, 2020. Further information can be obtained by contacting the IDOA at (217) 782-6297.


Fighting runoff

Excerpt from The State Journal Register | Nov 21, 2019
Full article located at

State Rep. TIM BUTLER, R-Springfield, traveled to Detroit late last month to be part of a group of American and Canadian legislators interested in finding ways to reduce runoff of nutrients in rivers, streams and lakes.
He was one of 21 lawmakers from seven states and two Canadian provinces that made up the inaugural class of fellows for the Patricia Birkholz Institute for Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Policy.
The institute, named for a late state senator from Michigan who founded the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus, of which Butler is a member, involved extensive discussion about causes of nutrient pollution, and visits to a farm and also a large wastewater treatment plant at Detroit.
“Even though my district doesn’t touch the Great Lakes, a lot of the issues, when it comes to nutrient loading and what’s happening with our wastewater systems (and) ... what’s happening with runoff from agricultural fields, that’s stuff that’s important to my district,” Butler said.
He said, for example, that phosphorous and nitrogen used as fertilizer on farms, and even products used on lawns, can add to runoff problems.
Nutrient runoff has been blamed for “dead zones,” or hypoxic zones, where reduced oxygen in water causes marine life to die or leave. The largest such zone in the United States is in the northern Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Mississippi River.
The issue is getting a lot of attention. Directors of the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency this week released their second Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Biennial Report. And the Chicago Tribune this week ran detailed stories on issues such as algae blooms — including one at Lake Erie that left 400,000 people without drinking water in Toledo, Ohio, for three days in 2014.
Butler said the seminars were paid for by a foundation, and he used campaign funds to pay hotel costs. The Council of State Governments-Midwest provided staff. Such events, Butler said, are good for “the relationship building that goes on and (the) exchange of ideas.”
Members of the group formed a nutrient task force, to help develop more policies for the region.
Contact Bernard Schoenburg:, 788-1540,

S.T.A.R. Presentation

S.T.A.R. and SWCDs were at the forefront of discussion at the Illinois Nutrient Loss Redution Strategy Partner Conference earlier this week at the Crowne Plaza, Springfield. Stakeholders from a multitude of sectors learned how the program is taking a bite at the NLRS!

William Ruckelshaus, Indianapolis native who defied Nixon in Watergate firing, dies 
SEATTLE — William Doyle Ruckelshaus, who famously quit his job in the U.S. Justice Department rather than carry out President Richard Nixon’s order to fire the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal, has died. He was 87.
Ruckelshaus served as the first administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which confirmed his death in a statement Wednesday.
He was born in Indianapolis in 1932 to a line of politically active lawyers. His grandfather had been the Indiana chairman of the Republican Party in 1900, and his father was the platform committee chairman at five Republican Conventions.
Ruckelshaus would follow in their footsteps, working as a deputy state attorney general and serving in the Indiana House of Representatives in 1967, when he was majority leader. His nephew, John Ruckelshaus, serves in the Indiana General Assembly today, representing portions of Marion and Hamilton counties in the Indiana Senate since 2016.
William Ruckelshaus sought national office in 1968, when he made a bid for one of Indiana's seats in the U.S. Senate, losing to Birch Bayh.
The lifelong Republican also served as acting director of the FBI.
But his moment of fame came in 1973, when he was a deputy attorney general and joined his boss, Attorney General Elliot Richardson, in resigning rather than carrying out Nixon’s unlawful order to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.
After Richardson and Ruckelshaus resigned, Solicitor General Robert Bork carried out the firing in what became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre" — prompting protests and outrage around the country.
“He was incorruptible,” longtime friend and Seattle philanthropist Martha Kongsgaard said Wednesday of Ruckelshaus. “It was very disappointing for him to see this happening again in our country, and maybe on a larger scale. Deep decency in the face of corruption is needed now more than ever.”
Ruckelshaus and the environment

Ruckelshaus' civic service and business career spanned decades and U.S. coasts, marked by two stints at the EPA under Nixon and Ronald Reagan and top positions at Weyerhaeuser Co. and Browning Ferris Industries.
Ruckelshaus spent much of his life focused on air and water pollution and other environmental issues. As a young Indiana state attorney general, he sought court orders to prevent industries and cities from polluting waters, and in his later years, he was the Pacific Northwest's most high-profile advocate for cleaning up Puget Sound in Washington state.
As the first EPA administrator from 1970 to 1973, he won praise for pushing automakers to tighten controls on air pollution. Shortly after taking over the agency, he ordered the mayors of Detroit, Atlanta and Cleveland to stop polluting waters and took actions against U.S. Steel and dozens of other water polluters.
Reagan asked him back to the EPA in 1983 to help restore public trust to the scandal-plagued agency. His wife, Jill, likened his return to a "self-inflicted Heimlich maneuver," but Ruckelshaus said he accepted the job because he thought he could right the ship, help staff refocus on their work and reestablish the EPA's credibility.
Several thousand EPA employees greeted his return with thunderous applause. One sign read, "How do you spell relief? Ruckelshaus."
Reflecting on his long career of public service and private enterprise in 2001, Ruckelshaus ranked his time at the EPA as one of the most fulfilling and challenging.
"At EPA, you worked for a cause that is beyond self-interest and larger than the goals people normally pursue," he said in an EPA oral history interview. "You're not there for the money, you're there for something beyond yourself."
'A Republican environmental hero'

He told The Los Angeles Times in 1971 that his personal interest in nature and conservation was rooted in his childhood when his father took him fishing in northern Michigan.
Between his stints at the EPA, Ruckelshaus moved his family and five children to the Seattle area where he had spent two years out of high school as an army drill sergeant at the Fort Lewis. He graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School.
He met his wife on a blind date set up by her Sunday school teacher. It took place at his aunt and uncle's house in Indianapolis, where they both grew up.
In the Northwest, Ruckelshaus led federal efforts to recover Chinook salmon and steered an ambitious state initiative to clean up and restore Puget Sound, where salmon and orcas are in danger.
His focus on a collaborative science-based process helped set the course for the Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency charged with cleaning up the inland waters by 2020.
His daughter, Mary Ruckelshaus, served as the agency's chief scientist at the same time her father led the leadership council that oversaw it.
Denis Hayes, who coordinated the first Earth Day in 1970, once called Ruckelshaus "a Republican environmental hero," and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire described him as "big as the great outdoors."
Ruckelshaus served on the boards of directors of several major corporations. He was senior vice president for law and corporate affairs at the Weyerhaeuser Co., before returning to the EPA for his second term. At the time, some environmentalists criticized his close ties to some of the industries that the EPA regulated.
He was CEO of Browning-Ferris Industries Inc. from 1988 to 1995 and served as chairman from 1995 to 1999. He was also a strategic director of Madrona Venture Group in Seattle, an early backer of companies such as Amazon.


Employees of the Year

Terina Coffey of the Coles County SWCD along with Tara Hopkins of the Edgar County SWCD were named "Employees of the Year" by the ISWCDEA.

Well deserved, congratulations to both!


ISWCDEA Elects New Leaders

The Illinois soil and Water Conservation District Employees Association (ISWCDEA) elected new leadership at it's Annual Meeting on December 4th, 2019. Several new faces joined the ranks of leadership. Welcome, and best of luck in the coming year - the AISWCD values your partnership! 

WATCH: Director Sullivan mentions SWCDs in his remarks. Click the image to view, but you must have a Twitter account to access the video. 
Copyright © 2019 Association of Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Districts, All rights reserved.

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