Thanks to Illinois State Rep. Sonya Harper, chair of the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee, for being a part of 2024 Soil Health Week and Lobby Day on Wednesday March 6.  

Rep. Harper has a great document explaining the Illinois legislative process, part of her office’s support of the upcoming Black Farmers and Growers Lobby Day set on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, in Springfield. 

The Association of Illinois Soil & Water Conservation Districts thanks Rep. Harper for her support in the implementation of SB1701, and for supporting the work of our 97 Soil & Water Conservation Districts, primed to work with producers and landowners to implement the needed conservation practices to ensure that our water runs clean and our soil remains healthy.

State Rep. Sonya Harper speaks behind podium

State Rep. Sonya Harper (chair, Agriculture & Conservation Committee) speaks during Soil Health Week Lobby Day Wednesday March 6, 2024 at the Illinois State Capitol.

We don’t have a vibrant economy without healthy soil

Illinois State Rep. Sonya Harper presentation at Soil Health Week Lobby Day (watch on YouTube)

Thank you! Happy Soil Health Week, everyone! Happy Lobby Day!

I just wanted to say thank you so much for being here. The very fact that you’re here means I don’t have to explain the importance of this issue to our state and to its families and our communities.

Over 75 percent of Illinois’ land is under cultivation, and even the parts that aren’t still benefit from nature’s inherent beauty and bounty. Even the very air we breathe comes from plant life, and plant life relies on soil to live. And that’s why it’s so important that we stay engaged and informed and proactive when it comes to the health of our soil.

Now, we know that this is not an issue that grabs the headlines or gets movies made about it or that the school kids … day dream about being involved in, but maybe it should be right? Without healthy soil, you guys know we don’t have the flowers, we don’t have the trees, we don’t have the crops, we can’t feed our livestock. We don’t have the critical inputs for factories and industry. We don’t have a vibrant economy without healthy soil, we don’t eat, and we don’t breathe. Human health, animal health, community health, family health, economic health; every one of these, if you think about it is balanced on top of soil health. Soil, we know, in a way is the foundation for everything else. There’s a reason that civilization was agricultural for millennia before it was ready to industrialize.

I am so grateful to the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and all of the sponsors and all the farmers growers and advocates who are represented here today. You guys know more than anyone that the foundation of farming is people. And when we remember that, and we empower people to take the lead in developing and managing their all-natural food supply. 

That’s how we can all keep Illinois moving forward together. Thank you … I appreciate the work that each and every one of you does here in the state of Illinois.

Categories: Uncategorized