Farmers advocate for investments to protect Illinois soils and waters

In a series of recent op-eds circulating across Illinois, members of Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s Soil Health Farmer Caucus Lee Curby (Sangamon County), Becky Doyle, of Hickory Grove Pork Farm (Macoupin County), Frank Rademacher of Rademacher Farms (Champaign County), and Gavi Welbel, Co-founder of Zumwalt Acres (Iroquois County) share why they think the state of Illinois should fully fund the conservation programs that enable Illinois farmers to build soil health and keep waterways clean.

These four Soil Health Caucus members have gone the extra mile by sharing their story in local newspapers about why soil health, water quality, and programs that support farmers are vital for us to protect water and reach nutrient loss reduction goals. We are grateful for their efforts. These wins would not have been possible without them!

Need a little inspiration? Read each of their stories by clicking the links below:

CURBY/RADEMACHER: Soil health takes time, start the learning curve now

It’s time for the Illinois General Assembly to join us and help farmers and farmland across Illinois embrace opportunities for conservation success…We cannot waste more time because the challenges around us are growing. Securing our long-term soil health will come in little bits, and we need the support and resources now to get more farmers on our journey.”

(Lee Curby (left): 4th generation farmer from Auburn. Frank Rademacher (right) 3rd generation farmer from Gifford) 

Becky Doyle: Illinois can take next steps to protect soil health

“Most Illinoisans do not realize that the most important resource in our state is right under their feet…Like clear air and clean water, soil health is important to all. Stewardship of our soils is a legacy project for which we can all be proud, and for which future generations will be grateful. The strategic support provided by Senate Bill 3471 will get us back on that legacy track.”

Gavi Welbel: Sustainable agriculture is key to a healthy future

“At Zumwalt Acres, the farming community in northeastern Illinois I co-founded with my twin sister on our family’s farm, we demonstrate regenerative farming and soil health practices…Farming can, and must, be at the forefront of creating a more resilient, healthy, and just environment. Illinois now has tools that prove agriculture can improve water quality and soil health, rather than degrade it, when managed with care. The Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy is a key step forward: giving farmers and rural communities the tools and support they need to take care of their land and waterways that are essential to our future, and, in the process, becoming the leaders necessary for a healthier environment for us all.”

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