Richard Lyons

Farmer, SWCD

Dick, a former agriculture instructor for 32 years at Lincoln Land Community College and IL State University, is a cash grain farmer for 50 years in South Central IL.  He plants a two year rotation of corn, cereal rye, soybeans and tillage radish/barley/rape/Austrian winter pea. He is a strong believer of using the soil health practices on his farm of: no-till/strip till, cover crops, biodiversity of crops, and a living root throughout the year. 

Dick couples his soil health practices with the conservation practices of nutrient management of N, P, & K on every acre while protecting streams and drainage ditches with filter strips, two-stage ditch designs and streambank stabilization.  Keeping the soil on the land by preventing erosion and keeping the nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorus out of the runoff waters and tile waters for water quality maintenance is the strong moral ethos by which Dick farms and lives. 

Off the farm, he serves an associate director for the Montgomery Co. SWCD, a member of the IL Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy Working Policy Group, a Director of the Illinois Association of Drainage Districts (IADD) Board of Directors, and a member of the University of Illinois’ IL Water Survey advisory committee, Dick served chairperson of the Lake Springfield Resource Planning Committee for 32 years and is a registered lobbyist for the IADD in the IL State Legislature.  In addition, he is a member of the IL Corn Growers Association, IL Stewardship Alliance, Illinois Farm Bureau, the American Farmland Trust and The Nature Conservancy. 

Locally, Dick is a drainage commissioner in the two drainage districts where he farms and is a member of the Lake Lou Yaeger and Glenn Shoals Lake watershed committees in Montgomery County.  In 2021, he wrote the resolution to the Illinois General Assembly for a Soil Health Day and Week in Illinois.  The legislation passed by houses of the Assembly with the Governor’s signature and Soil Health Day and Week was celebrated.  Most recently, Dick was honored by the IL Corn Growers Association with the Mike Plumer Environmental Award for his practices and commitment to saving soil and nutrients in order to enhance water quality. 

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