NRCS services available to agriculture producers
Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Leon Tillman
The Messenger 06.19.12
By LEON TILLMAN
Special to The Messenger
Agricultural operations vary greatly, from grain crops like soybeans to meat production by raising chickens.
With such a variety of farming operations comes a variety of operators. Some operators have been doing it for years, while others are just beginning; some are minority farmers, while still others are farming with limited income. In an effort to assist each of America’s agricultural producers the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides service to all agricultural producers.
NRCS provides both technical and financial assistance to address natural resource concerns on agricultural operations. The agency assists with solving issues involving soil erosion, soil quality, invasive weeds, livestock water and most recently energy efficiency.
In recent years, the Union City NRCS field office, which works Obion and Lake counties, has assisted an increasing number of beginning farmers.
Beginning farmer(s) by the agency’s definition is an operator or entity that has operated a farm or ranch for no longer than 10 consecutive years. In Obion County, the local NRCS office has assisted several beginning farmers, including Mulvaney Farms and Rance Hooper to name a few. Both operators were able to address resource concerns specific to their operation through technical and financial assistance with NRCS.
Both Mulvaney Farms and Rance Hooper were able to improve their livestock’s water quality through a combination of fencing and water tanks and access ramps. By fencing off their farm ponds and allowing the water to be accessed by a ramp at one point or installing automatic watering facilities, the livestock’s water was less polluted by sediment and waste and thereby healthier. NRCS has also assisted with addressing concerns for poultry operators and row crop producers. NRCS not only assists beginning farmers, but also assists socially disadvantaged producers.
By definition a socially disadvantaged farmer is one who has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. The groups include African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, and Asians or Pacific Islanders. The Union City NRCS field office has also assisted socially disadvantaged farmers.
NRCS has assisted Bobby Berner of Obion County and Edmund Sumara of Lake County with improvements to their respective operations. Berner received assistance with converting his operation from row crop production to cattle production, receiving cost share to sow grasses, install watering facilities and cross fencing. Sumara received assistance with the installation of several erosion control structures and the sowing of grass buffers.
Agriculture producers who operate with a limited income can also receive assistance. NRCS offers additional assistance to limited resource farmers and producers. A limited resource farmer is defined as a person with a direct or indirect gross farm sales of not more than $163,000 in each of the previous two years and with a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four, or less than 50 percent of the county median household income in each of the previous two years.
The Union City NRCS field office is pleased to provide technical or financial assistance to address natural resource concerns of all agriculture producers. Whether the operation has issues with erosion, livestock water, energy use or other agriculture related issues, the local NRCS office can be contacted for assistance.
Obion and Lake counties can contact the Union City field office for assistance at 885-6480 ext. 3.
agricultural operations, agriculture producers, NRCS services