Funding for Illinois ag conservation programs need a boost

Illinois receives significantly less funding compared to neighboring states for conservation initiatives like the Environmental Qualities Incentive Program and Conservation Stewardship Program.

Max Webster, Midwest Policy Manager for American Farmland Trust tells  Brownfield from 2009-2019 compared to Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri…

“Illinois received 15-51% less funding than every other upper Mississippi River state and over that 10-year period those funding disparities end up to in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Webster says those disparities are significant since some of the largest sources of nutrient runoff into the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico come from Illinois waterways and current funding from these programs is not enough to correct the losses.

He says state and local programs are important to help make the case why the federal government should be allocating money to your state and in Illinois the Partners for Conservation Fund has played a large role in that. The Partners for Nutrient Loss Reduction Act currently moving through the Illinois senate would reauthorize the fund.  

“If that funding went away then a lot of the state programs that are needed to match and bring those federal dollars into the state and needed to leverage private investments, those go away and would put us at an even greater disadvantage.”

Webster says the companion bills, SB2474 and HB1792 must pass this year before the fund expires.

Interview with Max Webster

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