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Covington County Conservation Tour Helps Educate State Commissioners

Conservation Showcase

By Patricia Gable, SWCD Education Specialist, Andalusia, AL


(l-r) Covington County District Supervisor Bill Godwin, William Blocker, Deputy Ag Commissioner Wayne Walker, Assistant Ag Commissioner Glen Zorn, Commissioner John McMillan, and NRCS DC Steve Yelverton discuss conservation.

In August 2011, Agriculture and Industries State Commissioner John McMillan, Assistant Commissioner Glen Zorn, and Deputy Commissioner Wayne Walker came to Covington County to participate in a conservation tour sponsored by NRCS and the Covington County SWCD.

NRCS and the District wanted to help the commissioners understand the importance and value of NRCS/SWCD programs, program eligibility criteria, and incentive payments for conservation practices.

NRCS District Conservationist (DC) Steve Yelverton told the group about the difference in regulatory compliance requirements and voluntary, incentive based, locally-led programs that motivate and assist farmers, landowners, and poultry producers in the county. 

The morning began when DC Steve Yelverton presented a PowerPoint overview of the conservation programs available to farmers and landowners, including the numerous projects that have brought funds into Covington County for special projects (dirt road restoration, community facility needs, etc.) including the funding amounts that assisted the county and the landowners.

Then the group, including Representative Mike Jones; FSA CED Doyle Barnes; Soil and Water District Supervisors Mike Birge, Bill Godwin, Don Ingram, Bobby Jackson, and Wayne Reynolds; NRCS Soil Technician Leon Wages; NRCS Soil Conservationist  Josh Halpin; and NRCS DC Steve Yelverton traveled to various project sites throughout the county. 

This field tour and site visit allowed everyone to see firsthand the positive results of projects and incentive programs. Sites included in the tour:

  1. a 319 Program in the Gantt/Pt. A Lake area
  2. a silvopasture where fences, troughs, and pipelines were installed along with planting of Bahia
  3. Straughn School area to observe a drain pipe system and a greenhouse using RC&D funds
  4. George Mims Road to observe an EWP flume
  5. a field tour on the Wiggins farm observing high residue conservation tillage cotton 

The group then returned to the NRCS/SWCD office for a luncheon sponsored by the Farmers Federation.  This gave Commissioner McMillan the opportunity to discuss programs and plans with landowners, NRCS Conservationists, and District Supervisors. 

The representative and commissioners learned the importance and variety of funds and technical support available to the farmer or landowner.  Hopefully, this will help them realize their goals and join in and help care for our land.

The group talked about conservation practices.

NRCS DC Steve Yelverton, (l) discusses conservation practices with Ag Commissioner John McMillan, (c) and Deputy Ag Commissioner Wayne Walker (r).

The group visited several sites in the county.

The group toured various sites throughout Covington County.