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RCPP - 2016 Illinois Projects

The application cutoff dates are: January 19 and March 16, 2018
2016 Projects

Improving Oak – Hickory Forest Health in Illinois:
The Illinois Forestry Partnership will address the decline of trees species diversity, specifically the lack of oak regeneration, in Illinois forests. The oak-hickory forest type has been reduced by 16% since 1962 and this reduction will continue if oaks remain underrepresented in the younger age classes. This decline is the result of fire suppression; impacts of exotic/invasive herbs, shrubs, vines and trees; and a lack of applied management strategies to address soil health, water quality, and soil erosion resource concerns on nonindustrial private forest land to restore the appropriate forest cover in the oak-hickory ecosystem. The project will focus on four target areas, covering 37 counties in the State and representing 1.1 million acres of oak-hickory forest type, about half of the remaining ecosystem.

Precision Conservation Management:
The Precision Conservation Management program (PCM) is an innovative service program designed to apply hard-nosed financial farm business planning with precision conservation technology to provide a blueprint for conservation decision making. The goal of PCM is to integrate conservation into the foundational farm management of commodity crop operations. PCM will provide financial impact analysis of conservation practices, technical assistance from trained conservation specialists, supplemental privately-funded financial assistance, data-rich assessment tools to guide producers through NRCS program options, and precision conservation technology to enhance effectiveness and minimize risk associated with conservation practices. PCM is dedicated to helping make the Conservation Stewardship Program the flagship program for producers seeking environmental performance linked to economic sustainability. PCM’s founding mission is to use farmer data to serve farmers’ interests with specific emphasis on conservation adoption. Upon enrolling in PCM, cooperators create a farm profile using PCM’s Farmer Portal, a web interface that quickly, accurately, and securely collects farm data to create a field-by-field inventory of detailed agronomic management practices. After creating farm profiles, PCM specialists offer cooperators a privately-funded incentive to conduct a Resource Analysis and Assessment Plan (RAAP), assessing farm sustainability and identifying natural resource concerns. Using the RAAP, PCM specialists guide cooperators through NRCS program options with a long-term goal of preparing them for the CSP. Finally, cooperators utilize the Conservation Client Gateway to apply for NRCS programs. PCM will succeed in increasing conservation adoption because it approaches conservation from the perspective of the Midwest farmer – protecting business interests while implementing conservation practices that benefit the environment and local communities.

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