S.T.A.R. Program


Earn your conservation stars!

S.T.A.R. is an exciting new program developed by soil and water conservation professionals, always a trusted resource to farmers. The S.T.A.R. program offers farm operators and land owners a simple, free, and confidential tool to evaluate their conservation land management practices. Producers can obtain a STAR recognition rating ranging from one to five stars!

The S.T.A.R. evaluation program assigns points for each cropping, tillage, nutrient application, and soil conservation activity on individual fields. A “science” committee helped establish the recommended practices that determine the various points. The primary purposes being to reduce Nitrogen losses by applying it when it is needed and to reduce tillage to prevent soil losses. The rating can be anywhere from 1 to 5 stars.


The potential benefits and value of using this program include:

Increase net farm income,
Decrease nutrient loss,
Promote producers for new farmland leases,
Assist producers in securing local conservation cost share,
Assist producers in obtaining future market premiums for crops grown using conservation cropping practices,
Assist producers in obtaining documentation in support of water quality issues

Participants of this program will be recognized by the community for their progress in showing that agriculture production can be sustainable. Each field that is rated can have a sign that indicates the S.T.A.R. rating.


It’s easy to get started – contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District to see if they offer the S.T.A.R. Program!


For more information, please contact Bruce Henrickson with the Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District at:

Email: BHenrikson@parkland.edu
Phone: (217) 778-0272



Are you a 5-STAR conservationist?

Sadorus, Ill., farmer Steve Stierwalt estimates 6% to 8% of farmers are using conservation techniques on a regular basis to improve soil health, while another 6% to 8% aren’t interested. In his mind, that means there’s a large group in the middle that could be persuaded to voluntarily pick up more conservation practices. “How do you get to that big group in the middle to really affect water quality and all the rest?” asks Stierwalt, president of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts. “The answer is some friendly competition.”

Read more via PrairieFarmer

Champaign County group hopes farmers reach for the STAR

If a homeowner wants an energy-efficient washing machine, they can look for an Energy Star appliance. If a college wants to show that it’s newest building is “green,” it can be certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program. But if a farmer wants to show that his or her field uses sustainable farming practices, there’s not a popular certification program to turn to. The Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District is hoping to change that with the STAR program, which stands for Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources.

Read more via The News-Gazette

Friday on the Farm with Steve Stierwalt

Each week, ag reporter Ben Zigterman checks in with a local farmer. This week he interviewed Steve Stierwalt, who farms near Sadorus, about the Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources program to encourage sustainable farming methods.

Read more via The News-Gazette.