Farmers are known as stewards of the land and many take that title seriously. Farmers like Roger Sy make it their mission to promote sustainability on their farms for the benefit of not only their land but also of their neighboring communities. Farmers with this mindset follow the directive of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy in order to reduce waste while maintaining profitability and productivity. Here’s a more specific explanation from the Illinois NLRS page on the EPA website:
The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy guides state efforts to improve water quality at home and downstream by reducing nitrogen and phosphorus levels in our lakes, streams, and rivers. The strategy lays out a comprehensive suite of best management practices for reducing nutrient loads from wastewater treatment plants and urban and agricultural runoff. Recommended activities target the state’s most critical watersheds and are based on the latest science and best-available technology. It also calls for more collaboration between state and federal agencies, cities, non-profits, and technical experts on issues such as water quality monitoring, funding, and outreach.
Farmers who abide by the NLRS strive to implement best management practices (BMPs) on their farm. However, there is a wide array of BMPs to choose from, because conservation needs may differ from farm to farm. So how can non-farmers get familiar with what farmers are doing?
The Conservation Story Map is a place where anyone, whether a farmer or not, a person can explore what BMPs are being practiced across the state of Illinois while introducing real farmers who use them. The website gives farmers a chance to tell their stories and show off their farms while identifying what practices are important to their farm. The map even offers the chance to see how conservation practices differ in neighboring farms.
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to ag, the Conservation Story Map offers a wealth of rich data and resources to understand how modern farmers are stewarding agriculture into the future.