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WIU School of Ag to Partner with McDonough Farm Bureau on IFB Nutrient Stewardship Project

March 23, 2016

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MACOMB, IL — The McDonough County Farm Bureau, with the help of faculty in the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture, will head up one of the 15 projects awarded funding from the Illinois Farm Bureau's first-ever Nutrient Stewardship Grant. According to the IFB, the organization has awarded the grants (totaling more than $100,000) to help promote local nutrient stewardship, soil health and water quality projects.

The McDonough County Farm Bureau project was awarded $13,500 and will partner with the WIU School of Ag and a professional laboratory to test farmers' water samples and identify best management practices on fields where samples were taken. WIU Associate Professors Joel Gruver and Mark Bernards will help analyze and compile the data.

"We would like to thank the Illinois Farm Bureau for giving local, county farm bureaus the ability to apply for these grant funds. They have given us the opportunity to educate producers in our county, as well as the ability to benchmark what is happening with nutrient stewardship in our county," noted WIU School of Ag Director Andy Baker. "I would also like to thank the producers in our county in volunteering to participate in this activity, as well as Key Ag Services for assisting us with this project by providing technical lab services. I was quite pleased with the attendance from producers at our initial educational meeting March 2; their attendance certainly illustrates true stewardship among our farmers in McDonough County. We are glad that the School of Agriculture can provide the expertise for this project and look forward to working with the McDonough Farm Bureau, Key Ag Services and producers on this project."

According to McDonough County Farm Bureau Manager Sarah Grant, the staff at the bureau are thrilled about the opportunity to work with local partners on this project.

"The Farm Bureau is committed to helping farmers better understand the loss of nutrients on their farms and how a variety of practices may help them retain some of those losses," she noted.

"We are excited to be working with the McDonough County Farm Bureau, WIU School of Agriculture and local producers to better understand the movement of nutrients though the soil," added Tad Wesley, agronomist, Key Agricultural Services, Inc.

According to the IFB, the projects tackle nutrient issues relevant to local needs, soils and farming practices, with the ultimate goal of achieving nutrient loss reduction goals under the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS).

Announced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in July 2015, NLRS calls for a creation of an Agricultural Water Quality Partnership Forum to "steer outreach and education efforts to help farmers address nutrient loss" (see

For more information, contact Baker at (309) 298-1080 or via email at

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