Copy
View this email in your browser
Forward
Share
Tweet
HAPPY HOLIDAYS
DECEMBER MEETING
 
RECAP: AISWCD BOARD OF DIRECTORS MET IN DECEMBER

The AISWCD Board of Directors held its quarterly business meeting December 12th at the Illinois Department of Agriculture in Springfield. 

The Board took action to provide for a number of administrative and governance items relating to the governance of the state association. Some of these items included the following;
  • Set 2020 Board of Director meeting dates, 
  • Adopted a 2020 operating budget (fiscal year begins January 1st),
  • Adopted a 2020 plan of work,
  • Adopted the 2019 Annual Report,
  • Approved the annual audit,
  • Named the 2020 NACD Annual Meeting Delegate & Alternate,
  • Established the committees needed to carry forth the business of the Association over the course of the following year, and additionally, named Committee Chairs, and
  • Set the launch of a spring legislative advocacy campaign to realize increased ops funding as a top Association priority
Members can visit the 'Member Resources' page at AISWCD.org to login and view the adopted operating budget, plan of work, annual audit, and more. Please note, the page is protected by a previously supplied password. Please email info@aiswcd.org with the subject "Password" to obtain password credentials should you need it. Additionally, 2020 board meeting and other important dates can be found using the 'Events' tab.

Above: Snapshots from the meeting. Ag Director John Sullivan (bottom left), stopped in the meeting to visit with AISWCD leaders. 
 
2019 ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP REPORT
VIEW ONLINE AT AISWCD.ORG
CONGRATS CINDY MOON!
NEWS
... ICYMI ...
AISWCD FOUNDATION
NRCS NEWS

For immediate release:
December 19, 2019                                                
Contact: Paige.buck@usda.gov 217-353-6606
 

Submit Input to NRCS on EQIP Rule
 
Champaign, IL, DEC. 19, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), USDA’s flagship program that helps producers plan and implement 150-plus conservation practices on working lands. The rule – now available on the Federal Register – takes effect upon publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.
 
“The Environmental Quality Incentives Program gives Illinois farmers and forest landowners the tools they need to improve their agricultural operations while conserving natural resources,” said Ivan Dozier, NRCS state conservationist in Illinois. “The 2018 Farm Bill further strengthens this popular conservation program so NRCS can better support locally led conservation efforts while helping producers address significant resource concerns on their land.”
 
NRCS will make available $1.2 billion nationwide for interested producers in fiscal 2020. NRCS state offices will announce signup periods for EQIP in Illinois in the coming weeks.
 
Changes to EQIP include:
  • Creating incentive contracts & payments for incentive practices to better support locally led conservation needs.
  • Requiring NRCS to offer an advance payment option for historically underserved producers.
  • Raising the payment cap for producers participating in the Organic Initiative to $140,000 for contracts entered into between fiscal 2019 through 2023.
  • Expanding the Conservation Innovation Grant program, which is funded through EQIP, to include opportunities for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and Soil Health Demonstration Trials.
The 2018 Farm Bill created incentive contracts, which address up to three priority resource concerns within targeted watersheds and other high priority landscapes. While typical EQIP contracts last five years, these contracts last five to 10 years.
The Farm Bill also enabled increased payments for priority practices, through which NRCS can designate up to 10 practices in each state to receive the higher rates.

Submitting Your Comments

NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through February 17, 2020. Submit electronic comments through regulations.gov under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0009. All written comments received will be publicly available on http://www.regulations.gov. Comments can indicate support or offer new recommendations and considerations. NRCS will evaluate public comments to determine whether additional changes are needed. The agency plans on publishing a final rule following public comment review.
 
Applying for EQIP

NRCS provides producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement conservation practices through EQIP. Popular EQIP practices in Illinois include cover crops, nutrient management, conservation tillage, forest stand improvement, prescribed grazing, and practices related to water quality improvement. Implementing conservation practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat while improving agricultural operations.
 
EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis. If a producer’s application is funded, NRCS will offer an EQIP contract for financial assistance for the cost of implementing the practices. Payment rates for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year.
 
For more information on how to sign up for EQIP in Illinois, visit www.il.nrcs.usda.gov or contact your local NRCS field office. 
 
The deadline for submitting comments was corrected from a national release to Monday, February 17.
 
###
IDNR NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2019


IDNR Encouraging Pollinator-Friendly Habitat on Solar Energy Sites
 
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Bees, butterflies, and other insects that pollinate native plant species are disappearing at an alarming rate. As part of a comprehensive effort to expand pollinator-friendly habitat in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is launching a new initiative involving planting pollinator habitat on solar energy sites in the state.
“Some pollinator species, such as the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, have reached critically low population levels and are listed on the federal endangered species list. Others, like the Monarch Butterfly, are being considered for listing as a threatened or endangered species,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “Planting pollinator-friendly habitat is one of the best ways to improve pollinator populations.”
 
Opportunities to create and enhance pollinator habitat exist statewide — from private yards to roadways, and from farms to parks and natural areas. The new initiative to encourage pollinator friendly-habitat on solar energy sites is intended to complement those efforts. 
 
In 2018, the State of Illinois enacted the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Site Act (525 ILCS 55/). This law required the IDNR to create a scorecard, with consultation from the University of Illinois. Before an owner of a solar site can claim to be pollinator friendly, they must achieve a passing score on the scorecard, make the scorecard available to the public, and provide a copy of the scorecard and vegetation management plan to the IDNR and a nonprofit solar industry trade association of the state.
 
While similar legislation passed in Michigan and Maryland, the Illinois Pollinator-Friendly Solar Site Act differs by creating two different scorecards to support the planning of habitat and the evaluation of established habitat. Both scorecards include factors like the number of flowering plants and amount of the solar site that is covered in native species. 
 
The planning scorecard is based on what is planned to be on the site and gives the owner preliminary recognition as “Pollinator-Friendly” for the first three years, giving the habitat time to grow and be used by pollinators. The second scorecard is used to evaluate established habitat to ensure what was planned is what is on the ground. This established habitat scorecard must be completed every five years for a site to retain recognition as pollinator-friendly.
 
The IDNR is providing Solar Site Pollinator Establishment Guidelines and the Illinois Solar Site Pollinator Habitat Planning Form to help owners and managers of solar sites meet the requirements of the scorecards. These documents, the scorecards and other helpful links can be found online at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/pollinatorscorecard/Pages/default.aspx.

 
CSP PUBLIC COMMENT

NSAC Urges Public Comment on CSP

Between now and January 13, 2020, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coaltiion (NSAC) are coordinating a national comment campaign to make sure that farmers (and the broader public) have an opportunity to weigh in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Interim Final Rule.

Click HERE to learn more.

 
... FROM TWITTER ...
... FROM FACEBOOK ...
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

USDA Accepting Proposals for Conservation Collaboration Grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest $35 million in grants to enhance our outreach to the nation’s farmers and ranchers for the delivery and adoption of conservation measures. Proposals are due February 7, 2020, for projects that target agricultural producers in multiple states, including Tribal, socially disadvantaged, limited-resource or beginning farmers and ranchers as well as veteran farmers or ranchers.

Learn more HERE.
 
WEEKLY FUNNY
CLINIC | FEB 1 | MOLINE
VLI SUMMIT | JAN 29 | CHAMPAIGN
INFO / REGISTER FOR VLI SUMMIT
JOB | DELTA INSTITUTE HIRING
VIEW JOB ANNOUNCMEENT
INFOGRAPHIC
NREC EVENT
2020 CCC SEMINARS
GET THE E-NEWS
SUBSCRIBE
VIEW PAST EDITIONS OF THE E-NEWS
YOUR LOGO HERE
Copyright © 2019 Association of Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Districts, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp