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Hereford Enrolls Acreage in WRP

Alabama Farmer Enrolls 525 Acres in WRP

 

Hereford shallow water area.

Levees were constructed to create a shallow water area on Hereford’s WRP easement.

Marshall County Farmer Robert Hereford first heard about the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) from his neighbor Chris Clay. Clay had enrolled 150 acres of his own property that bordered Hereford’s into a WRP permanent easement.

After assisting Clay with some of the improvements needed for the easement, Hereford looked into putting some of his own land into the program.  Hereford applied to have 525 acres of his farm put into a permanent WRP easement.

“There’s definitely more wildlife,” said Hereford. “Since we’ve put it into WRP, there’s been an increase in both number and diversity of wildlife. It was good farmland and would make good crops, but that land has always been hard to farm and it should be a wetland. WRP is a good opportunity to return the land to what it ought to be.”

Restoration work has been completed, with 35 acres of native warm season grasses and 250 acres of native hardwood trees planted in what was previously cropland. Four shallow water areas have also been developed which now support ducks, geese, and wadding birds. Two bald eagles have also been seen on the property since its enrollment.

 

Shallow water areas were created on Hereford’s property.

Shallow water areas were created on Hereford’s property to provide habitat for water fowl and other wildlife.

“Through this easement, we’ve taken flood-prone marginal land out of agricultural production and created wetland and upland wildlife habitat,” said NRCS Wildlife Biologist Jeff Thurmond. “By enrolling this land along the Paint Rock River, we are also providing a habitat for many threatened and endangered species.”

“Mr. Hereford's willingness to participate in the program has allowed for the permanent protection and restoration of a nearly 700 acre block of land,” said Shawn Manning, NRCS District Conservationist, Guntersville, Alabama.

Hereford and Clay’s properties, along with acreage enrolled by another neighbor, combine to form the continuous block of over 700 acres enrolled in WRP, currently making it the single largest area of WRP enrollment in the state of Alabama.

Hereford still uses the property for hunting

“I think having the property in WRP is worthwhile,” said Hereford. “I still own the property and I got paid what I thought was a fair market value.”

WRP Contact for Alabama:

Robert Beaty
Easements Program Manager
USDA-NRCS
P.O. Box 311
Auburn, Alabama  36831-0311
334-887-4541
Bob.Beaty@al.usda.gov