Bloomington, IL 61705 USA
+(217) 239-1016
info@precisionconservation.org

About Us

PCM – An Innovative Farm Program Puts Farmers First

The Farmer’s Perspective – It’s Where We Begin

Precision Conservation Management (PCM) is the premier conservation program of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. Initiated through funding by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Our connection to farmers is what makes our programs and services different.  We combine precision technology and data management with farm business and financials to help farmers manage, adopt, and adapt conservation practices long-term and improve on-farm decision-making.

Our number one goal is to integrate conservation practices and financial data to help farmers understand how specific management changes can impact both their environmental impact and their bottom line.  We seek to enhance the effectiveness of conservation for the farm operation, while helping reduce complexity and manage the risks associated with practices.

PCM’s Objectives

1

Significantly reduce the environmental impact of commercial agriculture on waterways and soils

2

Reduce the farmer’s risk while maintaining farm business economic viability

3

Demonstrate that environmental goals can be achieved without regulation
WHO DO WE SERVE?

#1 FARMERS
We take a farmer-first approch. Always.

We use farmer data to serve farmer’s interests. Our connection to the Illinois Corn Growers Association assures that the best interest of the farmer is at the heart of everything we do.

Who Else Do We Support?

#2 CONSERVATION SERVICE PROGRAMS

Our PCM Specialists make it their business to discover every opportunity for PCM farmers to participate in programs that benefit their farm business. PCM’s supply chain partnerships also make it easy for farmers to connect to programs and services via our website and the Farmer Portal.

#3 POLICY MAKERS

The on-farm data PCM analyzes and aggregates help us fight for more informed, long-term conservation policy.
Having a farmer-first organization at the table to develop conservation policy with access to unbiased field-level data, is among the biggest benefits to the farmers we serve.

#4 THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Consumers are demanding environmentally-friendly products. Our work helps commercial companies make the promises customers desire in a way that does not cause a negative impact at the farm level.

PCM’s Origins
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Innovation Through Conservation

Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) has developed Precision Conservation Management (PCM), a farmer service program helping farmers adopt conservation practices in a financially responsible way, as a response to the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. PCM aims to meet the management needs of farmers by making possible the integration of agronomic information with financial and environmental analytics. Through collaborations with more than 30 partners and the development of a farmer-friendly data collection platform, PCM offers one-on-one technical support, data analysis, and an environmental evaluation through the Field to Market’s Fieldprint Calculator 3.0.

The project was made possible through a funding agreement between IL Corn and NRCS in the agency’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In 2015 they were awarded $5.35 million in RCPP project funds, while bringing an additional $13.5 million from other partners to help fund the program. Currently, PCM staff work with 250 farmers in 16 Illinois counties and 10 Kentucky counties, representing approximately 250,000 acres of row crop agriculture. As a commodity crop program, IL Corn has the objective of ensuring that PCM data represents most Midwest farming operations and can be applicable to the broader farm population.

“Farmers sometimes have difficulties making good conservation decisions, when there is very little information on the economic benefits of implementing conservation practices,” said Shannon Allen, Illinois RCPP Coordinator for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “This PCM project is providing the economic information to farmers so they can make an informed decision.”

By joining PCM, farmers agree to allow IL Corn to collect and anonymize data in a way that demonstrates how conservation practices affect both farm income and local resource concerns. One advantage of PCM to individual farmers is the robust support system available through the Specialists’ network. The PCM Specialists’ offices are centrally located in local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)/NRCS offices so that they have access to conservation and technical resource systems.

PCM staff work directly with farmers to input management data into the PCM Farmer Portal, a secured and encrypted data platform. Data is then used to generate a comprehensive, sustainability-focused Resource Analysis and Assessment Plan (RAAP) that provides direction to the farmer in evaluating and considering changes to production practices. Currently, the focus of PCM’s assessment includes tillage, cover crops, and nutrient management. RAAP reports additionally provide meaningful comparisons to allow an individual farmer to contrast themselves with results of farmers with different farming practices. The PCM Specialist works closely with the farmer to review the results of the RAAP and to identify practices the farmer might consider adopting. Based onthe farmer’s business and Man speaking about PCM to a group of younger farmersconservation interests, the specialist helps make connections with a wide variety of technical support and local incentive opportunities (e.g., NRCS cost share; cover crop incentives offered by ICGA and ag retailers). Once conservation practice recommendations have been determined, PCM Specialists then connect the farmer with their NRCS district conservationist to move forward with Farm Bil program applications. PCM data is used to generate a variety of reports that are made available to farmers across the Midwest to assist with financially sound conservation decision-making. 

PCM STAFF

PCM Specialists

PCM’s Precision Conservation Specialists are the lifeblood of our program. They offer one-on-one technical support to farmers in our program. Specialists compile and review custom farm reports, assess farm data, demonstrate agronomic strengths and weaknesses, and discuss how each farm compares to other farms in their region. They also connect farmers with federal, state and local programs – making it a priority to attend annual training to stay informed about new programs and technology useful to PCM farmers. 

Kiela Martin

Precision Conservation Specialist

kmartin@precisionconservation.org
309-445-2418

Serving the North Central Illinois Region

Dave Fulton

Precision Conservation Specialist

dfulton@precisionconservation.org
217-871-0435

Serving  the Pivot Illinois Region 

Clay Bess

Precision Conservation Specialist

cbess@precisionconservation.org
309-445-0278

Serving the East Central Illinois Region

Shane Sinclair

Precision Conservation Specialist

ssinclair@precisionconservation.org
309-445-5017

Serving Christian, Macoupin and Sangamon counties

Chris Stewart

Precision Conservation Specialist

cstewart@precisionconservation.org
270-205-2258

Serving Kentucky (the Lower Cumberland, Lower Green, and Purchase Regions) and Illinois (Christian, Logan, Todd, Daviess, Henderson, McLean, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves and Hickman counties)

PCM Specialists are successful at helping farmers make changes, large & small, because they can demonstrate continuous improvements – even in times of financial distress.

PCM Leadership

Building and growing the PCM program requires leadership, tenacity and a wide range of skillsets. Our founders are visionaries and wholly committed to farmers and to economically viable precision conservation. 

Travis Deppe

Director of Precision Conservation Managment
tdeppe@ilcorn.org
309-557-3257

Mr. Travis Deppe leads IL Corn’s water quality and sustainability initiatives focused
on implementing the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and meeting supply
chain sustainability demands. In partnership with others, he develops and implements
education, outreach and research to help Illinois corn farmers reach their nutrient loss
goals and engage in the sustainability conversation. He most recently was the nutrient
management project lead on GROWMARK’s Sales Agronomy team. Earlier, as a research
technician at Purdue University, he conducted and supported numerous research
projects mostly focused on soil health and mitigating nitrogen losses via cover crop
assimilation in varying crop production scenarios.

Dr. Laura Gentry

Director of Water Quality Science, IL Corn
Adjunct Professor, University of Illinois
lgentry@ilcorn.org
217-244-9165

Dr. Laura Gentry’s work focuses on watershed research to support agriculture water
quality initiatives and nutrient management. She most recently served as research
assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, specializing in
the sustainability of high-yielding corn production systems, residue management and
reduced tillage, and production and sustainability of annual bioenergy crops. Previous
to her position at UIUC, she was an assistant professor at North Dakota State University.
Her Ph.D. studies focused on the effect of tillage, rotation and organic amendments on
nutrient cycling.

Dr. Gary Schnitkey

Professor, University of Illinois
schnitke@illinois.edu
217-244-9595

Dr. Gary Schnitkey is a professor and farm management specialist in the Department
of Agricultural & Consumer Economics, University of Illinois. His activities focus on
farm management and risk management, including examination of issues impacting
the profitability of grain farms such as corn-soybean rotations, machinery economics,
and factors separating profitable from unprofitable farms. Schnitkey performed
economic analysis for the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and the economic analysis
for conservation practices through the PCM program.

Glen Salo

Consultant, & PCM Techology Partner
CEO, Heartland Science & Technology Group


Mr. Glen Salo, an electrical engineer and entrepreneur, has successfully established multiple technical teams and organizational units to support government programs, private industry, and public good missions for small, large, and independent not-for-profit businesses. Heartland operates the PCM Farmer Portal, and continues to develop and expand it’s supporting data analysis technologies.

PCM FOUNDERS

TRUSTED COLLABORATORS
UP & DOWN THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Forming Meaningful Partnerships While Maintaining a Farmer-First Ethic

Conservation is not just farmer’s responsibility – it’s the responsibility of everyone up and down the entire food supply chain. PCM is committed to building meaningful partnerships with a farmer-first ethic.

Founding Agencies Include:
Illinois Corn Growers Association
Heartland Science & Technology Group
Illioins Farm Business Farm Management Association
University of Illinois College of ACES
Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

PCM PILLAR PARTNERS

PCM Pillar Partner

Illinois Corn Growers Association

IMPROVING BUSINESS & REGULATORY POLICY

Illinois Corn Growers Association is a state-based organization that represents the interests of corn farmers in Illinois, maintaining a high profile on issues in Washington, DC, and Springfield, IL. They aim to create and maintain opportunities for Illinois corn farmers to capture more value for their product. In order to fulfill this mission, the organization conducts governmental affairs activities at all levels, market development projects, and educational and member service programs. For further information regarding their work and involvement, visit their website www.ilcorn.org.

PCM Pillar Partner

University of Illinois

COLLEGE OF ACES

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) has been an integral part of the University of Illinois from day one. Although proudly ranked among the top 30 agricultural schools worldwide, today we are more than agriculture. ACES is a diverse college with top-rated programs in engineering, finance and economics, nutritional science, and more. While our faculty and student body have various specialties and areas of interest, we are all working toward a common goal of improving daily life for people around the world.

PCM Pillar Partner

Heartland Science & Technology Group

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH & ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT

Heartland Science & Technology Group is committed to solving technical challenges of national, local, and public interest by engaging in scientific research and engineering development, providing and maintaining technology solutions, and facilitating and managing collaborative partnerships. 

As the founding technology partner of PCM, Heartland was at the table at PCM’s inception. As a trusted partner, Heartland continues to maintain and evolve the PCM Farmer Portal, it’s data and tools – and provides security services to manage and protect farmer data.

Heartland Science and Technology Group is a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit corporation in Champaign, IL, founded by experienced engineers, researchers, and business professionals devoted to technical excellence and responsiveness to client needs.

PCM Pillar Partner

Illinois Farm Business Farm Management

DECISION MAKING ASSISTANCE

FBFM is a cooperative educational-service program designed to assist farmers with management decision-making. It provides financial and production business analysis reports along with an experienced Farm Analysis Specialist to help interpret analysis reports and counsel on management problems. FBFM cooperates with the University of Illinois, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and University of Illinois Extension, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and local FBFM Associations.  The participating farmers are members of the association. They elect representatives to serve on board of directors to provide for the services and establish policy. 

PCM Pillar Partner

National Resource & Conservation Service

FUNDING FROM US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

NRCS provides America’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistane to voluntarily put conservation on the ground, not only helping the environment but agricultural operations too. 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) draws on a long history of helping people help the land. For more than 80 years, NRCS and its predecessor agencies have worked in close partnerships with farmers and ranchers, local and state governments, and other federal agencies to maintain healthy and productive working landscapes.

PCM FUNDERS

We are grateful to the following agencies for their financial support:

PCM IN-KIND SUPPORTERS

We are grateful to the following agencies for their in-kind support:

Contact Us

Precision Conservation Managment

Address:

C/O Illinois Corn Growers Association
14129 Carole Dr., Bloomington, IL 61705

Phone:

+1 217-239-1016