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Illinois Ag News Headlines
Illinois STAR Kicks Off 2023 Enrollment
Illinois Ag Connection - 07/31/2023

Illinois STAR (Saving Tomorrow's Agriculture Resources) is excited to announce open enrollment for the 2023 crop year. The program empowers farmers and landowners to benefit from investing in conservation practices on their fields. Participating farmers gain public recognition for their environmental stewardship, receive a clear conservation roadmap, create market signals for supply chain partners, and access opportunities for technical and financial support.

Participation in Illinois STAR is simple and free. Farmers and landowners can utilize a Web Application or a fillable "Field Form" available on the STAR Website ( or contact their local Soil & Water Conservation District for assistance. Submissions should be made before harvest but can be completed as late as January 31st, 2024.

The STAR program was developed in 2017 by leaders in the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) and has since spread across multiple states. In 2022, 476 participants on 1,293 fields and 86,871 acres in Illinois embraced the power of STAR. By answering field-specific questions about rotation, tillage, nutrient applications, and conservation practices, farmers receive a STAR Rating from one (1) to five (5) STARS. They are also provided with a free field sign to showcase their score, which helps communicate their land stewardship and potentially opens doors for market incentives.

The STAR Science Advisory Committee, comprising industry experts, university researchers, and farmers, developed the scoring system behind the ratings. It encourages both "in-field" and "edge of field" conservation practices to decrease nutrient and soil losses, improve water quality and soil health, and increase farm resilience.

Steve Stierwalt, President of CCSWCD, expressed enthusiasm for the program's success and its role in protecting soil and water resources. STAR aims to make conservation practices easier for farmers to implement, ultimately benefiting farms and society. The team is building partnerships to provide technical and financial assistance to participating farmers, promoting a sustainable future for agriculture.

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