SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Researchers who want to study environmentally friendly approaches to agriculture are getting some state financial help.
The state has announced 270-thousand dollars in grants for studying and trying out innovative farming practices.
State officials say the grants are funding nine educational outreach programs and seven farm or university research projects.
The topics studied include the use of cover crops in northern Illinois to maintain pumpkin production.
Department of Agriculture spokesman Chuck Hartke says the state's fertile farmland is one of its best assets. He says the grants will make sure the most environmentally responsible farming techniques are used.
The awards are part of the Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program. It studies ways to protect natural resources without affecting profits.