CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois STAR (Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources) is excited to announce open enrollment for farmers for the 2023 crop year. As summer settles in and crops are growing throughout the Midwest, it’s time for farmers and landowners to reap the results of investing in conservation practices on their fields. By participating in STAR, farmers receive a clear conservation roadmap, gain public recognition for their environmental stewardship, create a market signal for supply chain partners, and can connect to opportunities for technical and financial support.

Participation is simple and free. Farmers and landowners can use a Web Application or a fillable “Field Form” available at the STAR Website: or can contact a local Soil & Water Conservation District for help since most of them in Illinois are licensed to provide STAR. Submissions should be made before harvest but can be completed as late as January 31st, 2024. STAR is an innovative tool developed by farmers, for farmers in 2017 by leaders in the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD). Since then, STAR has spread across Illinois and to Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Washington, and Missouri. In 2022, 476 participants on 1,293 fields and 86,871 acres  in Illinois embraced the power of STAR. These farmers have been able to track progress along their conservation journey by answering field specific questions about their rotation, tillage, nutrient applications, and conservation practices. Answers to the questions, protected by data security agreements, are used to determine a field’s STAR Rating of one (1) to five (5) STARS, and farmers are provided with a free field sign to showcase their score. This rating helps farmers to communicate their land stewardship and to position their farms for potential market incentive opportunities. Farmers are also provided with a Conservation Improvement plan to guide future conservation practice decisions along with resources for technical and financial support.

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