Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Press Release

Illinois Grazing Specialist Receives National Conservation Award

Publish Date
cows in pasture

Join us in celebrating Matt Bunger for recently being recognized as the Pastureland Conservationist of the Year!

Champaign, IL — Matt Bunger was recently recognized as the Pastureland Conservationist of the Year at the American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) event. The National Pastureland Award is given each year to recognize employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) who show outstanding service to NRCS, to their clients, and to science through development and implementation of sound technology transfer on grazing land resources. 

Matt Bunger holding award

Matt has more than 33 years of service with NRCS with over 15 years as a Grazing Specialist. He currently serves as the Illinois State Grazing Lands Specialist. During his career Matt worked with agricultural groups and public agencies to build the grazing infrastructure in Illinois. In addition, Matt’s influence extends beyond Illinois borders as he helped create and update grazing conservation practice standards, guidance documents, and training curriculum used throughout the region. 

Matt has been a mainstay speaker at State and Regional grazing conferences for years. He goes to great lengths to support and promote the benefits of grazing for clean water and healthy soils as well as profitability strategies designed for beef, dairy, and other livestock operations. Matt has connected and built NRCS partnerships with countless people and customers to the betterment of our planet’s natural resources. 

According to State Conservationist Ivan Dozier, Illinois NRCS is grateful to have such an outstanding advocate for grazing over the years. “Matt’s conservation efforts and impact on the landscape will be recognized for years to come.  Congratulations again, Matt Bunger.”


Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit