Bloomington, Illinois — Participation in the Precision Conservation Management program continues to grow as growers look to implement conservation practices.
PCM is a free service that combines precision technology and data management with agricultural business and finance to help farmers manage, adopt and adapt efficient conservation practices over the long term and improve their bottom line.
PCM is a program funded by the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association and is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, PepsiCo, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and Environmental Defense. received a grant from fund.
PCM was created as a result of a USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant.
Greg Goodwin, who grew up on a small family farm in Crawford County, took the helm earlier this year as PCM Director and provided an update on a program launched in 2015 to provide one-on-one support to farmers. provided.
“We expect about 50 to 100 new farmers to join the program this year, and hopefully a little more than that. I know the number,” he said.
“We are excited to see the program continue to grow. We have many new staff members who have been with the program for over a year, as well as new staff members who have just joined.
“We will continue to partner with farmers, encourage their adoption of conservation management, and aim to support them throughout the process, combined with appropriate incentives and programs.”
Farmers can sign up for PCM. www.precisionconservation.org.
“From there, they can click the ‘Contact Us’ button, which will connect them with someone in their area who will partner with them one-on-one,” Goodwin said.
“Currently, we are only in about 30 counties in Illinois. We are growing in scale and aim to expand to other parts of the state in the next five years.”
Once a farmer is interested in signing up, a conservation professional will be the point of contact, provide one-on-one technical support, and enroll the farmer on PCM’s Farmer Portal platform.
“We are able to register farmers at any time of the year. Our staff will work with them to collect management records, which will be presented to the Illinois Farm Business and the Average Economic Cost Tables produced by Farm Management and the University of Illinois Extension. ,” said Goodwin.
“Depending on the time of year, we have two main data collection periods, June and post-harvest, so farmers can spend four to six hours a year with an expert.
“We will compensate you for your time. You will be paid $500 when you enroll, then another $250 when you are in the program for 12 months, and then you can participate indefinitely.”
One of the benefits of this program is that PCM specialists connect farmers with incentive programs. This includes things that are not generally known.
“There are flagship federal programs that farmers are generally aware of, and they set aside specific pools of those funds for farmers participating in our region. There are also many online programs that are likely to start rolling out,” Goodwin said.
“For example, the new Climate-Smart Commodities program partnership includes nearly 70 nationwide pilot programs with varying levels of funding, from about $20 million up to $100 million, all It aims to register farmers and has various incentive programs.There.
“That’s our role from a farmer services perspective, to help them navigate the space and understand what opportunities are out there. Some of these are: , available only at the county level.
“We try to understand the needs of farmers in each region better and serve as a resource for them to navigate the sector.”
Farmers participating in PCM receive a customized resource analysis and evaluation plan each year. This plan will provide farmers with guidance in evaluating and considering changes to their production practices. Currently, PCM assessments focus on tillage, cover crops and nutrient management.
“Each February or March, we meet with all the farmers we work with to deliver these RAAPs one-on-one through our conservation professionals. We provide a suite of sustainability metrics through our
“In a customized report, any of the fields you enroll will be compared to yourself over time and to other participating farmers in an anonymous, regional and state-level aggregated manner. ”