"These grants will help ensure Illinois farmers continue to practice
the most modern farming techniques, and that our state's rich,
fertile soils remain productive for generations of farmers to come,"
said Agriculture Director Bob Flider. "They will be awarded for
on-farm research and demonstrations, educational outreach, and
university research projects."
On-farm research and demonstration grants are primarily for
producers and farm-based nonprofit organizations. Funded projects
will research and demonstrate production practices on working farms
that characterize a sustainable agriculture system. Individual
farmers are strongly encouraged to apply.
The goal of outreach and education projects is to build
credibility for sustainable agriculture issues. Proposals should
either inform the general public about sustainable food systems or
instruct farmers about the use of sustainable agriculture practices
and alternative marketing strategies.
University research projects should contain clear objectives and
seek to answer questions or address problems in the development of
sustainable agriculture systems.
Any unit of government, organization, educational institution,
nonprofit group or individual is eligible to receive funding through
the program. Individuals may receive grants of up to $10,000, while
governmental units, nonprofit groups, institutions and organizations
qualify for awards of up to $20,000.
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"These grants are targeted toward small but meaningful projects
that address agriculture sustainability," said Laura Sova, division
manager for natural resources. "They advance Gov. Pat Quinn's agenda
to achieve environmental sustainability."
An independent, 11-member committee will review the grant
applications and recommend funding decisions.
The grant program is one component of the department's
multifaceted approach for improving water quality by minimizing the
delivery of nutrients intended for crops into rivers, lakes and
streams. Limiting nutrient runoff is key to reducing the Gulf of
Mexico's hypoxic zone. In addition, projects funded through the
program help demonstrate that voluntary, innovative farming
practices for protecting water quality are indeed working in an
Program guidelines and application forms are available on the
Illinois Department of Agriculture website at
common/SAguidelines.pdf. Questions should be directed to the
program manager, Mike Rahe, at
Illinois Department of
file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]