Illinois PCM Program Hires New Specialist

The Precision Conservation Management (PCM) program in Illinois has hired Jacob Walker, a Hopedale farmer, to the position of conservation specialist. He started work the first week of April. Walker grew up on a farm south of Armington, where his father raised corn, soybean, cattle, and hogs.He attended University of Illinois, where he earned bachelor's degrees in agricultural engineering and agricultural sciences. Walker assisted with water quality research at the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign as a student. He continued working there part-time during his first years of farming.

As a PCM specialist, Walker will be working with farmers to make field-specific conservation decisions based on their conservation goals, agronomic practices, and financial management. The PCM program encourages farmer adoption of voluntary conservation practices to reduce nutrient loss, increase soil health, and improve water quality. On his own farm, Walker has been working towards these goals by adopting no-till/reduced till practices, spring-applying nitrogen, and splitting nitrogen applications; He also plans to implement the use of cover crops.

PCM is a public-private partnership with 30 partners, including Illinois Corn Growers Association,University of Illinois, Illinois Farm Business Farm Management, and Heartland Science and Technology Group. PCM encourages the use of Natural Resource Conservation Service programs as well as state, local, private, and non-profit programs, where available.

PCM is currently available in 12 counties in Illinois. Walker will be serving a four county area - Livingston, McLean, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties – including the Sangamon, Mackinaw,Vermillion, and Illinois River watersheds. He is based at the Tazewell County Soil & Water Conservation District office in Pekin.