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Local News Archives for 2020-04

2020 FCI Agriculture Scholars Named

This is the 17th year of the Farm Credit agriculture scholarship program which has awarded a total of $516,000 to 387 students since 2004 - $60,000 was awarded this year to 30 students. Scholarship selections are based on a combination of academic achievement, participation and leadership in school and community organizations, and the applicants commitment to an agricultural career.

Farm Credit Illinois scholars represent tomorrows agricultural leaders, says Rod Stoll, vice president of marketplace engagement for FCI. Investing in their education today on behalf of our cooperatives members will help positively shape the future of the industry and Rural America.

The following nine local students were selected to receive a 2020 Farm Credit agriculture scholarship:Anne Becker of Jacksonville (Morgan County) will graduate from Jacksonville High School and attend Oklahoma State University to study agricultural leadership. She is the daughter of Todd and Jane Becker.

Mackenzie Harmon of Morrisonville (Christian County) will graduate from Morrisonville High School and attend Lincoln Land Community College to study agricultural communications. She is the daughter of Bill and Wendy Harmon.

Kelsey Knebel of Pocahontas (Madison County) will graduate from Highland High School and attend Kaskaskia College to study agriculture. She is the daughter of Jeremy and Kim Knebel.

Reagan Kulenkamp of Carlinville (Macoupin County) will graduate from Carlinville High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agricultural and consumer economics, agribusiness markets and management. He is the son of Roy and Cathy Kulenkamp.

Carlie Mettler of Highland (Madison County) will graduate from Highland High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study animal sciences. She is the daughter of Dustin and Rene Barr.

Tanner Mickey of Taylorville (Christian County) will graduate from Taylorville High School and attend Lake Land College as an agriculture transfer. He is the son of Jon and Carla Mickey.

Samantha Mies of Loami (Sangamon County) will graduate from Waverly High School and attend Kansas State University to study agricultural economics, concentrating in international trade and development. She is the daughter of Ted and Julie Mies.

Eric Schafer of Owaneco (Christian County) will graduate from Taylorville High School and attend Butler Community College to study animal science. He is the son of Aaron and Sue Schafer.

Matilynn Thornsbury of Shipman (Macoupin County) will graduate from Southwestern High School and attend Lincoln Land Community College as an agriculture transfer. She is the daughter of Matt and Kendra Thornsbury.

USDA NRCS to Provide Over $1.5 Million to Improve Water Quality

DEKALB, Ill. Today, American Farmland Trust, the organization behind the national movement No Farms No Food, will partner with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide over $1.5 million to improve water quality in two Illinois watersheds. The funds are from the NRCS landscape-level water quality effort, the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, MRBI. This will benefit AFTs projects and efforts in the Upper Macoupin Creek, UMC, and Vermilion Headwaters Watershed, VHW. MRBI supports the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, or NLRS, with the ultimate goal of improving water quality, restoring wetlands and enhancing wildlife habitat while ensuring the economic viability of agricultural lands along the nations largest river.

The UMC and VHW flow into the Illinois River and ultimately into the Mississippi River. Both have been identified as priority watersheds by the Illinois EPA and the Illinois NLRS. AFT leads local partnerships in both watersheds, working to achieve the 25% reduction in total phosphorus loads and 15% reduction in nitrate-N loads needed by 2025 to hit the water quality goals identified in the Illinois NLRS. Cover crops, no-till/strip till, nutrient management, constructed wetlands, reduced tillage and buffers are just a few of the practices that reduce nutrient loss and are eligible for MRBI program funding.

The MRBI funding provides NRCS technical assistance and financial incentives to farmers and landowners that voluntarily adopt several conservation practices including cover crops and no-till/strip-till that will ultimately reduce the amount of nutrients being lost from agricultural lands in the Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed and Vermilion Headwaters in Illinois, said Kris Reynolds, AFT Midwest deputy director.

The need to move the needle on production agricultures contribution to our nations water quality grows stronger every day, said Ivan Dozier, state conservationist for Illinois NRCS. The same is true for changes were seeing towards building healthy and resilient soils. NRCS funding and technical support thats available through MRBI offers farmers in these watersheds a powerful way to learn how to make those critical changes and customize it for their operation, their land, and on their soils.

Over the next four years, NRCS will work with AFT and local partners to prioritize the implementation of practices that address nutrients of concern in each watershed area. This funding signifies a continued commitment to achieving the goals of the Illinois NLRS as both watersheds have high nutrient losses.

$606,652 will be invested in practices to reduce phosphorus loss in Upper Macoupin Creek Watershed $980,856 will be invested in practices to reduce nitrate loss in Vermilion Headwaters Watershed Previous MRBI funding has enabled AFT to successfully work with 32 farmers to adopt conservation practices on 3,372 acres totaling $653,882 in financial assistance in UMC and 56 farmers to adopt conservation practices on 7,911 acres totaling $1,272,568 in financial assistance in VHW. By joining in voluntary conservation efforts, farmers in these watersheds can help protect water quality while maintaining or improving farm profitability. The adoption of a well-managed conservation cropping system leads to improved soil health and less erosion, better drainage with more moisture when you need it, and reduced fuel and fertilizer costs.

Individuals interested in applying for funding should contact their local NRCS office before May 1, 2020:

Upper Macoupin Creek Contacts:
NRCS Carlinville Field Office | 300 Carlinville Plaza, Carlinville, IL 62626 | Phone: 217-854-2626 ext. 3, OR
AFT Midwest Conservation Technician, Sarah Blount | Phone: 765-256-0660 | Email: sblount@farmland.org

Vermilion Headwaters Contacts:
Pontiac NRCS Field Office | 1510 West Reynolds, Pontiac, IL 61764 |
Phone: 815-844-6127, ext. 3, OR the Paxton NRCS Field Office at 217-379-2371, ext. 3.

Davis Introduces Bipartisan Pandemic Rapid Response Act

Washington, DC -- U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) introduced the bipartisan Pandemic Rapid Response Act, which establishes a true bipartisan commission to analyze our nation's response and make recommendations to better prepare our country for any future pandemic. The bill is closely modeled after the establishment of the 9/11 commission.

"While our focus now is on helping Americans through this pandemic, we are going to need to look at our response, without finger pointing or politics, to see what we've learned from the first pandemic I've experienced in my lifetime," said Davis. "I've worked to ensure this bill is bipartisan, that the commission itself is not swayed to one party or the other, and that the administration is brought in. This commission will also engage the international community to determine the impact the response of other countries had on the U.S. The only way this country is going to get the answers we need is if create a true bipartisan commission and this bill does that."

Davis introduced this bill with the following cosponsors: U.S. Reps. David Trone (MD-06), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Fred Upton (MI-06), Peter King (NY-02), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Joe Wilson (SC-02), Mike Simpson (ID-02, Don Young (AK-At-large), Frank Lucas (OK-03), David Joyce (OH-14), Dusty Johnson (SD-At-large), and John Moolenaar (MI-04).

The Pandemic Rapid Response Act:

It's equally bipartisan: Establishes the National Commission on the COVID-19 Pandemic, which would be made up of 10 experts (a chair and vice chair chosen by House and Senate leadership as well as 8 other members that will be chosen on a bipartisan basis) from fields like governmental service, biological science, higher education, and medicine including hospital experts and administrators.

The President is brought in: To ensure the administration has a say in the process, the President will have the ability to make at least one appointment to the commission.

Creates a national plan: The commission will analyze and make recommendations to the President and Congress regarding a comprehensive national plan to respond to future global and national viral outbreaks and medical emergencies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Look at the impact other countries had on the U.S.: Additionally, the commission will build on reports from the intelligence community as well as other information and investigations that have been conducted by various federal agencies, Congressional committees, and international organizations, like the World Health Organization.

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