The Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership (ISAP) brings together diverse member organizations who work collaboratively to encourage the adoption of sustainable and profitable production practices that improve soil health and restore local waters.
Bloomington, Ill. – Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership (ISAP) is excited to announce the publication of Edge of Field Incentive Directory for Illinois. The directory, which is a companion to the 2022 Cover Crop Incentive Directory, was designed to be a quick reference for farmers and conservation partners interested in programs that provide financial and technical assistance for edge of field (EoF) practice implementation in Illinois. For this resource, EoF practices are those practices which intercept, capture, and treat subsurface drainage (conservation drainage practices) or surface runoff at the field level. Conservation drainage practices include bioreactors, constructed wetlands for tile drainage treatment, drainage water management, drainage water recycling, and saturated buffers. Surface runoff practices include vegetated riparian buffers, filter strips, prairie strips, and restored wetlands.
“Incentive programs are exceptionally important for supporting the adoption and implementation of EoF conservation practices in Illinois and across our agricultural landscapes,” notes Adrienne Marino, Water Quality Program Manager with The Nature Conservancy and member of ISAP’s Education Committee. “While benefits provided by EoF practices primarily occur downstream, landowners accrue lost production and installation costs that incentive programs can help offset.”
The EoF Incentive Directory includes information on publicly funded programs at the federal and state levels, as well as privately funded programs throughout Illinois. Some opportunities are available only in specific watersheds or counties. The four-page document includes a brief description, relevant geography, contract length, payment details, and contact information for each program. By viewing the programs side by side, farmers can compare programs and identify opportunities that will best meet their unique needs.
The Directory also includes a “Stacking Matrix” to help users understand which programs can be combined to receive multiple incentives. With so many programs to choose from, and many programs having exceptions or exclusions for stacking, the Stacking Matrix provides a program-by-program guide to stacking opportunities.
“We’ve heard from conservation practitioners, advisors, and contractors in our network that having this type of tool at hand would help them in providing the most up-to-date information on EoF opportunities and in recommending the appropriate next steps for their clients” said Jill Kostel, Senior Environmental Engineer for The Wetlands Initiative’s Smart Wetlands Program and member of ISAP’s Board of Directors. “ISAP’s goal is to raise awareness of the many opportunities available to farmers as they integrate edge of field conservation practices into their operations.”
The Edge of Field Incentive Directory and Stacking Matrix is available to view on ISAP’s website. Inclusion in the directory does not constitute an endorsement of any particular program by ISAP or its members. For information on how a particular program may apply to a specific farm or site, landowners should reach out to the listed program contact. The Partnership encourages farmers, conservation specialists, extension agents, and others engaged with edge of field and habitat practices to share the directory with their networks and to get in touch with any suggested updates to the directory as programs continue to develop and evolve.
As a coordinated and consistent group, Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership focuses on messaging, outreach, training and education for farmers and their trusted advisers to bring together and disseminate new information and lessons learned in plain, practical language. Members work collaboratively to amplify the programs of each organization, share resources to gain efficiencies and identify synergies in achieving soil health and nutrient goals. ISAP’s mission is to create a network to support a systems approach on agriculture lands to improve soil health and reduce nutrient loss.
ISAP’s members include: The Nature Conservancy, American Farmland Trust, Precision Conservation Management, Illinois Corn, Illinois Central College, The Wetlands Initiative, The Zea Mays Foundation, Illinois Land Improvement Contractors Association, Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Illinois Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, University of Illinois Extension, Agriculture Drainage Management Coalition, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Certified Crop Advisers, and Midwest Dairy.