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Illinois agriculture invests in nutrient research and water quality

New fertilizer assessment to fund Nutrient Research & Education Council

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[November 12, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- An assessment has been established on Illinois fertilizer sales to fund nutrient research at state universities and improve water quality.

The assessment was authorized in legislation (HB 5539) signed into law in August that had the support of both agricultural and environmental interests. The bill created the Nutrient Research & Education Council, a 14-member group comprised of representatives from farm, fertilizer, university and environmental organizations, as well as the directors of the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, to provide leadership for the program.

The council has set the assessment at 75 cents per ton. Fertilizer dealers must remit payments on a semiannual basis to NREC as a condition of their license to sell fertilizer in Illinois.

"Through the NREC, Illinois agriculture is taking a strong leadership role in defining and funding programs that will assure we utilize new information and technology to manage our soil and water resources not only for today, but also for the future," said Robert Flider, acting director of the Department of Agriculture.

The tonnage assessment on fertilizer to fund the department's fertilizer quality, safety and inspection program has not changed. That remains at 25 cents a ton.

Last year, Illinois agriculture groups launched the "Keep It for the Crop," or KIC, nutrient stewardship program. KIC identifies and promotes practices that enhance nutrient uptake and reduce nutrient losses from the ag sector -- a win for farmers and for the environment. NREC will support the KIC program as well as invest in nutrient efficiency and water quality research at state universities.

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"Illinois must have a water-quality strategy that balances crop production needs with water-quality goals," said Dale Hadden, who serves as a grower representative on the council. "NREC will provide the structure to continually identify nutrient practices that farmers can adapt to their own unique fields, soil types and cropping systems to increase nutrient efficiency, which goes hand in hand with productivity, profitability and environmental responsibility."

For more information on NREC, including a five-minute informational video, go to

[Text from file received from the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council]

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