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
For more information on NREC, including a five-minute
informational video, go to
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Nutrient Research &