Sprucing up the place; IPPA restarts tree buffer program

Taylor Wildermuth, Henry County pig farmer, poses next to a line of trees on his farm. The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) recently restarted its tree buffer cost-share program to help farmers around the state make better use of trees and shrubs to improve the environment and aesthetic appeal of their farms. (Photo by Jenny Ring, IPPA director of communication)

Hog farmers looking to enhance the environment and aesthetic appeal of their farms have an opportunity to do both through the return of the Illinois Pork Producers Association’s (IPPA) tree buffer cost-share program.

IPPA relaunched the popular program this spring in hopes of branching out its benefits to more hog farmers around the state.

“We recently reopened our tree buffer grant program (for the first time since late 2019),” Jenny Ring, IPPA director of communication, told the RFD Radio Network. “We have another round of funding available for farmers.

“The purpose of this is to get farmers to plant trees, specifically around new pig barns, or anywhere you need a little landscaping to (help the farm) look pretty and help recycle some clean air.”

Hog farmers interested in the program can visit ilpork.com to submit an application or contact IPPA. Those approved for the program will be reimbursed up to $2,500 toward the purchase of trees or shrubs for the farm.

Trees offer a number of benefits on farms, including the establishment of windbreaks, to recycle air and add curb appeal.

Farmers involved in the tree buffer cost-share program also get an opportunity to consult with Ted Funk, environmental engineer for IPPA, funded in part by the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program.

Funk or local University of Illinois Extension staff can help farmers determine the best tree species and strategic placement of the trees for their farms.

“It’s exciting to work with pork producers who are committed to making their farms look great by using some strategic landscaping vegetation,” Funk said. “I’m pleased to see the continuing interest of Illinois commodity groups in helping make healthy, attractive communities.”