As much as six inches of rain pummeled Champaign County last summer, flooding roads, basements and sewers and causing tens of thousands of dollars in repairs to residents' homes.
Chris and Barb Genzel have lived in the same house in Urbana for nearly 40 years and they say their house has never flooded. "Behind our house is a farm at a lower elevation, and our house backs up to a drainage ditch. We knew we were never going to flood," Chris Genzel said recently.
As a result of the Farm Bill passed by Congress a year ago, efforts to increase wildlife habitats and natural areas that filter fertilizer run-off will receive less funding and result in fewer acres of conserved land. As of December, there were 9,770 acres set aside in Champaign County for a program in which the federal government rents land from farmers for conservation purposes.
Jenny Mennenga farms corn and soybean with her husband between Le Roy and Farmer City in central Illinois. This past harvest brought Mennenga’s farm record corn production, though soybean yields were just “fairly average.”