Illinois State Conservationist shifting roles
After 40 years with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Illinois State Conservationist Ivan Dozier is retiring.
Looking back, Dozier tells Brownfield technological advancements have been the biggest shift during his tenure.
“For example, when I first walked into a soil conservation service office we did not have computers and now I don’t know how any of us knew how to live without them. The data has progressed and that transfers over to agriculture in the equipment and products they now use.”
He says conservation in agriculture is moving further into the spotlight, which makes it a difficult time to step down.
“Considering the greater attention that some of these natural resource issues have right now from the public and from legislators, it looks like we are going to get some additional resources and that is what makes it exciting. Also seeing all the new people that are coming on board and building new partnerships.”
But Dozier says he is looking forward to watching the next generation of conservationists succeed and wants students to know that careers in ag and conservation are rewarding.
“You can’t say this everywhere, but you can have a 40 year career here and feel really good about what you do and that is the thing that I hope continues and that we see that progress in Illinois.”
Dozier will still be involved in conservation, but now from the producer perspective as he returns to the family farm.
Brownfield interviewed Dozier during the 2023 Conservation Cropping Seminar in Springfield Wednesday.