The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission has made 60 percent cost-share grant funding available for area farmers interested in implementing best management practices (BMPs) on farms, for the purpose of improving production efficiency and protecting surface water quality.
The Middle Coosawattee Watershed 319 Grant will distribute $200,000 in funding for agricultural BMPs on farms inside the watershed. Practices are designed to increase the efficiency of farm management and decrease negative environmental impacts.
Gordon County had a total farm production value of $208,470,036 in 2009. While the state of Georgia saw a 3 percent decrease in the number of farms between 2002 and 2007, the number of new farms in Gordon County increased by 4 percent. $198 million of the county’s farm production was from poultry/eggs and livestock, according to the 2011 Georgia County Guide published by the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.
According to the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission:
This demonstrates just how economically important agriculture is to Gordon County.
Not only is farming economically important for a community, it also provides for strong environmental stewardship. Farmers care about the preservation of the land on which they live and work. They must make decisions every day that affect the future, and balance food production with land and water preservation.
Practices such as stackhouses for poultry litter, heavy use area protection, cross fencing for grazing operations, and buffer fencing for streams, are just a few of the grant funded practices that are available through this project. Implementation of these best management practices provides an opportunity for agricultural producers to be proactive in improving water quality in their own watershed.
The Talking Rock Creek, Little Scarecorn Creek and Salacoa Creek watersheds are included in the project area due to their status as impaired waterbodies, as listed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Landowners that potentially contribute sources of nonpoint source pollution inside their watersheds can make significant improvements to local streams by utilizing practices that have been shown to improve water quality.
If your farm is in one of the aforementioned watersheds and you are interested in applying to this program or you would like to find out more information about this grant opportunity, contact Project Coordinator Leigh Rush at 706-295-6131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.