Illinois Budget Impasse Hurting Land Conservation
If the state budget impasse continues, farmers and land-owners in Illinois could lose a key agricultural program. That's according to directors of the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts, who are urging residents to contact their elected officials tomorrow, and complain about the lack of funding for the agencies.
The 97 districts identify local soil and water resource needs, and provide land users with information and financial assistance for conservation. Rich Stewart, from the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District, says the districts have been "zeroed out" of the new state budget, and their funding has been suspended.
He says if a budget is not passed, the districts' employees will lose their health insurance by the end of the month.
Without adequate funding for Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Stewart says there will be less land conservation. And it'll be difficult to follow through with programs, like the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, which is mandated by the Illinois EPA.
All of the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts are asking farmers, land-owners, and local residents to participate in the "Legislative Call-In Day." They should contact their senator and representatives tomorrow at 10 am, and call the Governor and House Speaker's offices at 10:30 am.