The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) are tackling the conservation staffing capacity challenges by expanding Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy efforts in Illinois, increasing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) technical assistance to Illinois CRP participants, and increasing general conservation planning assistance to Illinois landowners, users, and producers. NRCS and IDOA will hire 40 conservation planners statewide (see map in description for locations)
The conservation planners will increase CRP technical assistance for planning, implementation, and maintenance. They will increase capacity to develop new conservation plans and to conduct conservation implementation follow-up to improve conservation successes. The conservation planners will also support the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) efforts as the latest bi-annual report indicates an increase in overall nutrients being lost to Illinois streams and rivers. In addition, the new planners will be able to assist with the IDOA conservation programs to increase overall producer opportunities to participate in state and federal conservation programs. Conservation planners will provide environmental resource management advice, consult about land use and protection, and engage with multiple stakeholders.