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BLOOMINGTON — A conservation program designed to get more farmers engaged in best management practices that protect water quality and prevent nutrient loss has been awarded a multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Precision Conservation Management (PCM) program was submitted by the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) for funding consideration and the award was announced Friday by Robert Bonnie, the USDA undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment.

Accepting the grant was the association's president, Jeff Jarboe, a family farmer from Loda.

With the funding, "Illinois farmers will really be able to move the needle on making those incremental, voluntary improvements that help improve soil quality, manage our nutrients, and produce a high-value crop," Jarboe said in a press release. "Best of all, we can do all of these things that make sense for the farm while protecting the environment for all Illinois families, including our own." 

Jardoe described PCM as an "innovative public-private partnership service program created by farmers," adding, "The idea is simple: we believe that the main reason that farmers elect to not implement conservation practices on their farms is due to uncertainty about how it will affect their financial bottom line. The PCM program combines farmers' financial goals with their conservation management interests."

The Corn Growers, in the release, said the PCM program's success "depends on a larger partnership with more than 30 other organizations," including the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the University of Illinois, Farm Business Farm Management, and Heartland Science and Technology Group.

More information about the PCM program can be found at www.ilcorn.org/pcm.

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