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Agroforestry Review in Perry County

Conservation Showcase

 

Cattle resting in silvopasture.
Perry County landowner Roy Barnett converted some of his timber stand for silvopasture to graze cattle and grow trees at the same time.

By Tim Albritton, State Staff Forester, NRCS, Auburn, AL

Agroforestry practices are not widely known or practiced throughout Alabama.  NRCS staff likes to promote them and highlight their use whenever we get the chance. 

In September 2012, the opportunity to review a good agroforestry practice came about when the lead forester from the National Agroforestry Center came to visit Alabama --Richard (Rich) Straight is the Technology Transfer Lead with the USDA’s National Agroforestry Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Rich had some other stops to make in Alabama, but he also wanted to visit some agroforestry practices in action.

I had previously worked with Perry County NRCS District Conservationist Sutton Gibbs and knew of a landowner that had recently converted a pine stand into a silvopasture under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The landowner Roy Barnett was currently using silvopasture and was very pleased with the improvement to his grazing potential.

Silvopasture is an agroforestry application to establish a combination of trees, shrubs, and compatible grasses or legumes on the same acreage to: 

 

improve water quality

reduce erosion

enhance wildlife habitat

reduce fire hazard

  • provide forage for livestock and to produce wood products

  • increase carbon sequestration

  • provide shade and shelter for livestock
  • provide forage for livestock and to produce wood products

  • increase carbon sequestration

  • improve water quality

  • reduce erosion

  • enhance wildlife habitat

  • reduce fire hazard

The visit provided an opportunity for others interested in the practice to review the silvopasture and discuss its many benefits. Tim Albritton presented some information on converting a pine stand to a silvopasture and brought along a poster to view that explained the process.

group touring silvopasture.
Partial members of the agroforestry review (l-r): Tim Albritton, NRCS State Staff Forester; Roy Barnett, Landowner; Charles Holmes, Soil and Water Conservation District Board; Rich Straight, Technology Transfer Lead, USDA National Agroforestry Center, Nebraska; Sutton Gibbs, Perry County NRCS District Conservationist; and Cedric Hudson, Alabama Forestry Commission, Perry County.

attendees view poster.
Attendees review and discuss a poster about silvopasture.

Southern of Fed Coop, timber thinning.
P
anoramic view of the staff of Federation of Southern Cooperatives (Epes, AL) and Tim Albritton I reviewing their recent timber thinning.  Photo by Rich Straight.

Others attending the review were Eddie Jolley, Alabama NRCS Conservation Agronomist; Charles Holmes, Soil and Water Conservation District Board; Sutton Gibbs, Perry County NRCS District Conservationist; Tim Albritton, Alabama NRCS State Staff Forester; and Brigetta Giles, Forester with the Alabama Forestry Commission.  

Everyone agreed that it was good to review and discuss practices and ensure landowners accomplishing their contracted goals and objectives. It was unanimous by the team members; the silvopasture practice is working wonderfully.