Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HJR0063
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Full Text of HJR0063  102nd General Assembly




HJ0063LRB102 24207 MST 33436 r


2    WHEREAS, Soil is an essential natural resource, and
3Illinois farmers and professionals play a critical role in
4managing Illinois soil and water resources; and
5    WHEREAS, The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
6of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines
7soil health as the continued capacity of soil to function as a
8vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and
9humans; and
10    WHEREAS, The concept of soil health across the Illinois
11landscape is not new but is only recently recognized as needed
12to prevent soil degradation and combat climate change; the
13degradation of soil can be rapid, while the formation and
14regeneration processes can be very slow; and
15    WHEREAS, The protection of Illinois soil is essential to
16the long term prosperity and sustainability of the soil and
17water resources of our State, counties, and cities, and the
18six basic principles of soil health necessary for that
19protection are to:
20        (1) minimize soil disturbance and external inputs,
21    including reduced tillage;
22        (2) maximize plant and microbial diversity;



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1        (3) maintain the presence of living roots;
2        (4) keep the soil covered, including with cover crops
3    and crop residue, to armor the soil;
4        (5) integrate animals into land management, including
5    grazing animals, birds, beneficial insects, or keystone
6    species, such as earthworms; and
7        (6) incorporate the context of local conditions in
8    decision-making, including for example soil type,
9    topography, and time of year; and be it further
10    WHEREAS, Soil health principles and its associated
11practices of no-till, cover crops, nutrient management plans,
12and longer crop rotations enhance the ability of farmers to
13meet the non-point source pollution goals for nitrate-nitrogen
14and phosphorus; it is essential to reduce the amount of
15nutrients flowing off of farm fields and into our watersheds;
16with these reduced nutrient losses from agriculture lands,
17which are detailed in the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction
18Strategy (NLRS), farmers will be able to meet desired outcomes
19as outlined by the Mississippi River Basin Hypoxia Task Force
20for the Gulf of Mexico; and
21    WHEREAS, Soil health principles provide for the reduction
22of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through the sequestration
23of carbon within the upper reaches of the soil profile; this
24carbon mitigation improves the organic matter content in the



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1soil and provides a stable biome for soil organisms, improved
2nutrient transfer from soil to root, and increases water
3infiltration and water holding capacity; and
4    WHEREAS, Despite soil's importance to human health, the
5environment, nutrition and food, feed, fiber, and fuel
6production, there is little public awareness of the importance
7of soil protection; and
8    WHEREAS, The State of Illinois should be actively raising
9awareness of the importance of soil health and promoting its
10stewardship to safeguard this resource for future generations
11of Illinois citizens; therefore, be it
14SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that we declare the first full week
15of March 2022 as "Illinois Soil Health Week" and the Wednesday
16of that week as "Illinois Soil Health Day"; and be it further
17    RESOLVED, That these two celebrations and their related
18activities will improve the awareness of Illinois farmers and
19agri-business toward the importance of the air and water
20quality environment for all of the citizens the State; and be
21it further



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1    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
2presented to the Director of the Department of Agriculture,
3the Office of the Governor, the Chair of the Illinois Senate
4Agriculture Committee, and the Chair of the Illinois House
5Agriculture & Conservation Committee.