Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District


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Brought to you through collaboration with the Champaign County Soil & Water Conservation District


S.T.A.R. is a FREE tool to assist farm operators and landowners in evaluating their nutrient and soil loss management practices on individual fields. The purpose of S.T.A.R. is to motivate those making cropping decisions to use the “best management practices” that will ultimately meet the goals of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.



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STAR encourages farmers and landowners to use management practices and make decisions that will reduce the nutrient and soil losses on their fields, and in return, they are provided recognition with a field sign recognizing their level of commitment to conservation. The STAR evaluation system assigns points for management activites on an annual basis. Participants answer a series of simple questions about their crop rotation, tillage, nutrient applications, and use of conservation practices to generate their overall field score. STAR relies on the expertise of a local science committee, made up of university researchers, conservation professionals, and farmers, to assign the highest point values to practices identified to address local resource concerns. Scores are converted to a STAR rating of 1 to 5 STARs, with 5 STARs indicating commitment to a suite of practices proven to improve soil health and water quality. Ultimately, this program will help reduce the nutrient and soil losses from farmland over larger areas, and specifically the various watersheds, while engaging key stakeholders from all corners of the agriculture sector - retail, commodity, agency, and farmers.




Raise awareness with every S.T.A.R. field sign you display. Your conservation practices become an opportunity to share and inspire your neighbors.
Contact  or to get enrolled for 2022!

man in a field


STAR was created by the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, a not-for-profit government agency located in central Illinois. The program was developed in 2017 as a means to contribute to the important goals outlined in the state's Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS), a plan developed jointly by the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Since its creation, STAR has been adopted in many counties in Illinois by a multitude of organizations, including many soil and water conservation districts. Other states have also adopted STAR, including Iowa, Missouri, and Colorado to administer STAR in their area.
Endorsed by the
Illinois Department of Agriculture

The following was included in a letter from John Sullivan, Director, Illinois Department of agriculture, dated Novermber 5, 2019:

“The IDOA has reviewed the goals and purposes of the “Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources” or S.T.A.R. program. We have found the program’s goals to be very consistent with that of the Department. Specifically, the Department is supportive of programs and projects that further the appropriate stewardship of agricultureal resources including crop production inputs like nutrients. The S.T.A.R. program is well suited to help accomplish this mission. We believe this program can provide a solid foundation for the future of Illinois agriculture. S.T.A.R. is not only an easy to use and economical tool for participants to evaluate their practices, it is a model that can be replicated in many geographic locations both inside and outside of Illinois. As a result, this letter shall serve as a formal endorsement of the S.T.A.R. program by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.”

**As of FY21, all program participants in the IDOA Partners for Conservation Program will be required to complete the STAR form.
Supported Nation-Wide by
The National Association of Conservation Districts

The NACD passed the following resolution a their annual meeting in February 2020:

“NACD supports Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources (S.T.A.R.) by helping make the S.T.A.R. initiative available to conservation districts nation-wide through education and promotion.