Land: A Farmer’s Most Important Relationship With Mother Nature
For most farmers, the land they farm is their most important relationship with Mother Nature, regardless of whether they own it or rent it. The land is the base of their farm. Without it, there is no place to grow a crop or support their livestock.
Farmers are continuously researching, experimenting and learning how to best look after the land in their care. Important strides have been made over the last several decades to improve the quality of Illinois farmland and improve farmers’ relationship with the environment.
There are 72 million acres of farmland in Illinois. Farmers have more than doubled production on this land over the last 60 years, with new research and precision technology enabling them to use fewer inputs while growing a more robust crop.
Farmers employ minimal or no tillage on 72% of Illinois farmland acres. Reducing the amount of tillage helps preserve soil structure and minimizes soil disturbance, which can help improve air and water quality.
Illinois farmers have doubled the amount of cover crops they plant since 2012. Farmers continue to experiment with and expand cover crop use as a solution to protect the soil, improve soil structure and keep important nutrients in place within the soil.
More than 1 million acres of farmland in Illinois are set aside each year into conservation programs, which benefit wildlife and pollinators and protect the most environmentally sensitive land.