The Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership has launched an interactive Conservation Story Map to showcase sustainable agriculture efforts across the state and tell the stories of farmers, service providers, conservation specialists, ongoing research, and demonstration sites that are successfully adopting, exploring, or promoting conservation cropping systems and conservation drainage management.
The Conservation Story Map features a directory of Service Providers across the state who are providing on-farm services which support farmers as they adopt conservation practices. The Story Map includes description of services, contact information, and counties served by each service provider to help farmers choose the best fit for their farm and connect with entities local to their area.
In Southwest Illinois, farmers can use the Story Map to get in touch with Bryan Fairfull of M&M Service Company. Bryan works as the Agronomy Marketing Manager at M&M Service Company, based in Carlinville, Illinois, and offers a suite of seeding, tillage, and nutrient application services.
A strong advocate for farmers and their success, Bryan grew up on a farm in northern Macoupin County. “While people working in agriculture might only be 1% of the population, we are a very important industry that makes a difference in everyone’s lives, from inner city to rural community,” shares Bryan. In college, Bryan got his start as an intern with FS Growmark and has spent his whole career at M&M Service Company.
Bryan now manages all the agronomy marketing, product procurement, and precision agriculture within M&M Service Company, serving Macoupin, Madison, and Montgomery Counties. Some branches of M&M Service Company have been operating since the 1920’s, and many multi-generational farms have been loyal customers since then, giving Bryan the chance to work with 4th or 5th generation farmers.
One main resource concern Bryan works to address is nutrient runoff. Bryan and his team provide tailored solutions for nutrient management based on the field, crop, product, and application method. Bryan’s team is trained on the 4R’s of nutrient management – right rate, right source, right placement, right timing – so they can make the best possible recommendations to their growers. Variable Rate Technology (VRT) has been utilized by M&M services for 20-30 years, and Bryan recommends VRT as the most economical way to apply fertilizers, such as lime, to a field. VRT applications are based on soil tests, yields, and soil types to ensure that nutrients are applied precisely where they should be in order to be most effective for the plant.
Because of his connection to the area and commitment to improving nutrient management, Bryan joined the Upper Macoupin Creek (UMC) Watershed Partnership as a member of the Steering Committee. He viewed himself as a strategic partner, and he was committed to sharing what he learned with his salesmen so they could in turn pass that information along to their customers.
Bryan remembers that when the project began, there was a lot of buzz in his community about the importance of the UMC watershed, what it means to Illinois, and how significant it is to the Mississippi River Basin as a whole. Because of the outreach efforts of the UMC Watershed Partnership, Bryan has noticed more farmers in the watershed making “significant adjustments to their sustainability and stewardship practices.”
Bryan finds it incredibly rewarding when farmers are able to find success when implementing new practices, especially those that support their field’s soil health and their local water quality. By exploring the growing list of Service Providers on ISAP’s Conservation Story Map, you can get in touch with service providers, like Bryan, who are committed to ensuring you can find success as you transition to a conservation cropping system on your farm.
The Service Provider Directory includes retailers, equipment dealers, and consultants who can support your adoption of conservation practices. Whether you’re looking to grow cover crops for the first time or implement no-till on your farm, the Service Provider Directory on ISAP’s Conservation Story Map can connect you with service providers in your area who can provide support and guidance.
You can explore the Conservation Story Map on ISAP’s website to get in touch with conservation agriculture specialists and farmers, explore research and demonstration sites evaluating the impact of conservation practices, and find a service provider near you who can support your transition to a conservation cropping system.
Are you a leader in conservation agriculture in Illinois? Add your own pin to the map to help tell the story of state-wide efforts to support healthy soil, clean water, and profitable farms in Illinois!