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Partnerships Fueling an Outreach Movement

 

Keel, Alice Love,  and Eddie May
(l-r)  Mr. Jimmy Keel, producer; Alice Love, Alabama NRCS Agricultural Outreach Liaison; and Eddie May, Coosa Valley RC&D Executive Director works in hoop house.

By Alice Love, Agricultural Outreach Liaison, NRCS, Auburn, AL 

Alabama NRCS, in partnership with Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, demonstrate techniques at outreach meetings to enhance the knowledge and skills of participants using conservation Best Management Practices (BMPs). 

Financial assistance for the demonstrated BMPs are offered thru NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) with a special emphasis toward underserved participants. 

Mr. Jimmy Keel, a Tallapoosa County three-year seasonal high tunnel (hoop house) and transiting organic producer, is one of many that have benefited from this outreach approach. His primary crops are tomatoes, rattle snake beans, sweet corn, and strawberries. After three years of production, he will solarize his high tunnel for the first time this year.  Solarization is when you use clear plastic to create a green house effect to help prevent or limit diseases and nematodes’ within the structure. 

Mr. John Neighbors, of Neighbors Farms in Tallapoosa County, was also connected to financial and technical assistance through this "Partnership Outreach Movement." He recently planted forty-eight acres of long-leaf pine trees with financial assistance through EQIP.

Coosa Valley RC&D Council's is supporting local produce businesses. This is displayed through a recent purchase of blueberry plants that will be used in future outreach workshops focusing on BMPs such as micro-irrigation.

Papas Produce Sign


Sign tells buyers that Keel produce is locally grown.  He also complies with State Growers Permit requirement that states; “Produce that is sold - must be grown by seller”.

Keel demonstrates staking tomato plants
Mr. Keel demonstrates staking tomato plants in his seasonal high tunnel or hoop house.      
Elijah Moore, John Neighbors  and Alice Love

 

(l-r) Elijah Moore, Mr. Keel, and Alice Love.