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Heartland Outdoors July 2017 cover catfish flathead rend  lake


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Recent entries

Malone turkey

Conservation Corner

Totally Turtles

Fri, August 04, 2017

NRCS has gone turtle. You heard that right, we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on restoring and managing habitat for the Blanding’s turtle in IL, IN, OH, and MI. The Blanding’s turtle is a large, long-lived turtle featuring a bold yellow throat and a high-domed, dark shell flecked with yellow spots.  The species is currently endangered in Illinois and has been petitioned for a 2023 listing under the Endangered Species Act, unless significant improvements in the turtle’s population can be demonstrated beforehand.

In an effort to proactively boost this turtles populations, NRCS will roll out the 2018 Working Lands for Wildlife Blanding’s Turtle Initiative this fall.  It is our goal that voluntary conservation on working lands, implemented by private landowners, will set this turtle on a secure path to recovery.

The Blanding’s turtle requires large, well-connected wetland complexes consisting of sedge meadows, buttonbush swamps, open bottomland forest, and herbaceous wetlands of varying hydrology.  Also of great importance to the Blanding’s turtle are tree- and shrub-free, sandy, upland nesting areas that lay adjacent to wetland habitats. It is crucial that habitat can be accessed by the turtles without the need to cross roads or risk traffic fatalities. 

Wetland Restoration, Forest Stand Improvement, Brush Management, Herbaceous Weed Treatment, and Structures for Wildlife are just a handful of the NRCS conservation practices that may help bring this turtle back from the brink. 

Spread the word, this fall NRCS will roll out an initiative to help the Blanding’s turtle flourish.  Inquire at your local NRCS Field office for more information.

Adapted from an article by Illinois NRCS State Biologist Jennifer Anderson




Next Level Field Day

Fri, August 04, 2017

Field Day with Brad Zimmerman

August 7 @ 8 15 am to 1 pm

5223 E Queenwood Road Morton IL 61550

Groveland Bible Church

Agronomic Insights

New Ag Products

Marketing Ideas

Precision Ag

Soil Health and Cover Crops

Cost share Options

Sponsors and Speakers Include: IL NRCS, SeedOnomy, Beck’s Hybrids, Conklin, Bottomline Solutions, Pete Fandel from Illinois Central College, and Advance Trading.

Visit for more details or call 309-472-9372 to register.

Breakfast and lunch included for free.  Don’t miss it. 




Precision Conservation Management

Tue, January 10, 2017

NRCS will offer special funding for precision conservation management through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  Precision conservation management is an innovative service program designed to apply financial farm business planning information with precision conservation technology to help farmers make intelligent conservation decisions.  NRCS has partnered with the Illinois Corn Growers Association to help producers address resource concerns, such as water quality and soil health. 

There are several different federal programs producers can apply for and use with this RCPP project. Producers can pick the one that best fits their needs.  The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), offers assistance to help implement practices like cover crops, nutrient management, or saturated buffers.  The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) allows producers to build on their existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operation by adding new conservation enhancements on their land.  The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) can provide long-term financial and technical assistance that helps producers conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits using land conservation easements.  Using the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, producers can restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands for future generations.

The NRCS Precision Conservation Management RCPP project is available to producers with land located in the following counties: Champaign, Christian, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Livingston, Macoupin, McLean, Sangamon, Tazewell, Vermilion, and Woodford.  To take advantage of this special conservation funding opportunity, interested producers should submit an application to their local NRCS field office by cutoff dates listed below:

EQIP January 20, and March 17, 2017

CSP February 3, 2017

ACEP January 20, 2017

Producers are reminded that they can submit EQIP, CSP, or ACEP applications to NRCS offices at any time throughout the year. To verify your eligibility to participate in these program, contact the local NRCS field office or visit the Illinois NRCS website at


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