754 1st St
Lasalle, IL 61301
A major transformation of the agricultural landscape occurred between 1922 and 1940 as soybeans replaced wheat and oats on many Illinois farms, especially in the state’s central prairie region. Decatur businessman A. E. (Gene) Staley is well known for his role in promoting soybeans and finding uses for this new crop. Staley is also remembered for convincing Decatur officials to build a dam on the Sangamon River to provide water for a growing city and for his grain mills. Speaker Steve John will describe how inorganic fertilizers helped drive specialization in corn-soybean production and a decline in livestock in much of Illinois after World War II, resulting in adverse environmental impacts.
Steve John is the co-founder and executive director of the Agricultural Watershed Institute, a nonprofit research and educational organization based in Decatur, Illinois. Mr. John was an environmental planning consultant specializing in watershed management, decentralized wastewater systems, and the links between land use and water quality. He serves on the steering committees of the Green Land Blue Waters Consortium and the Illinois Biomass Working Group.