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Illinois Extension wants feedback from Western Illinois landowners about challenges

Adam Kirby is converting his family's farmland into a parking lot for visitors in Goreville, Illinois.
Carolina Hidalgo
St. Louis Public Radio
Western Illinois landowners and farmers are needed for a survey about the challenges they face on their land.

Western Illinois landowners and farmers are the focus of a new survey by the University of Illinois Extension. The extension wants feedback about the challenges they face with their land.

“There could be a lot of soil erosion that might be happening within their farms,” said Amy Lefringhouse, the natural resources educator for the University of Illinois Extension. “In terms of their forest land or their wooded areas, they’re battling a lot of invasive plants and invasive species within their forests.”

Prior to this effort, landowners would turn to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for help, look for programs to save their topsoil and apply for cost share programs and financial assistance to battle invasive plants. Lefringhouse said the USDA would even put different conservation practices in place, such as invasive plant control or prairie or filter strips.

“From what I’m seeing from the extension standpoint, there is sometimes a gap between being prescribed those conservation practices and then the landowner actually knowing how to implement those practices onto their property,” Lefringhouse said. “That’s what we really wanted to ask about in this survey is to figure out what they need educationally to help put those conservation practices in place and help do the work on their land.”

The responses will be turned into educational programs and resources to help landowners become more comfortable and confident with managing their land and water resources. Lefringhouse said the educational programs could include how-to videos, fact sheets, workshops and interactive field days.

“Farmers and landowners are meeting with other landowners that actually have some of these conservation practices in place, and they are actually seeing it on the ground and at a working farm and able to ask questions to that landowner,” she said.

Landowners and farmers in Adams, Pike, Brown, Hancock and Schuyler counties have until Sept. 15 to fill out the 16-question online survey.

Marissanne is the afternoon newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.

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