Bill Helping Farmers Reduce Costly Erosion and Runoff Advances to State Senate

A bill green-lighting the inclusion of soil health best practices among the list of resources that local Soil Water Conservation Districts are allowed to provide Illinois farmers advanced out of the Illinois State House chamber yesterday by a unanimous vote.

HB 2737, sponsored by State Rep. Michael Halpin (D – Rock Island), will help farmers implement soil health practices that protect clean drinking water and reduce costly erosion and runoff.

“I want the farmers in my district  to get all the resources they need,” said Rep. Halpin. “That includes greater soil health practices to improve their land.”

“The Soil Water Conservation Districts are an important resource for farmers in Illinois; they are the boots on the ground advancing conservation practices in support of implementing the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy,” said Eliot Clay, agriculture and water programs director, Illinois Environmental Council. “Soil health practices are a valuable tool in farming efficiency that benefit both farmers and those who live in surrounding towns and cities.”

HB 2737 now heads over to the Illinois State Senate for consideration.

“We appreciate Rep. Halpin’s support for farmers and the Districts that serve them,” said Liz Moran Stelk, executive director, Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “A clear focus on building soil health will make Illinois agriculture more resilient in uncertain weather conditions like the disastrous Midwest floods. In a tight farm economy, we have every reason to focus our collective energy to reduce costly inputs and mitigate risk.”

Liz Rupel, policy associate, and Rebecca Osland, government relations for Illinois Stewardship Alliance pose with Steve Stirwalt, president of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Rep. Costello and Rep. Halpin, who sponsored the SWCD bill.