Stuart Davis Story
Environmental Quality Incentives Program - Stuart Davis
Adam Eades, district conservationist in Pocahontas, Ark., and Stuart Davis, farmer in Warm Springs, Ark., meet to follow-up on progress made in his operation through the EQIP program.
A Randolph County man with the long-term goal of broadening people’s perception of what it means to “live off of the land”, was finally afforded the chance to add the one ingredient that would allow him to launch his own campaign– an adequate water source.
Stuart Davis, a farmer from Warm Springs, Ark., has a very diverse 5-acre operation. Not only does he produce vegetables to sell locally, but his vision of improving the rural economy of Randolph County has led him into agroforestry with the production of truffles and ginseng. The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) goals of promoting alternative crops fit well into this farmer’s agenda.
When Davis went to the USDA-NRCS office to get technical information on alternative crops, he was informed of the resources the agency could offer him. He had previously “burned out” the only well that supplied water to his home while irrigating the vegetables he sells locally.
“Before the installation of our new water source, my family and I could not wash clothes or take a shower while I was watering my vegetables” Davis said.
Since the implementation of the water well and irrigation pipeline, Mr. Davis was not only able to addressed the resource concerns such as water quantity, and inefficient water use on irrigated land on his farm, he was able to significantly increase his production.
“This is my livelihood,” Davis exclaimed. “I used to go to the back door of restaurants and other local vendors to sell my produce. Now, I’m establishing an expanded local produce stand where I can more effectively market my produce.”
Davis mentioned that without the 90 percent cost-share and taking advantage of the “30 percent advance payment” option for limited resource farmers, he would not have been able to install the well.
“I went to the bank and was denied a loan,” Davis stated. “The advance payment allowed me to secure a vendor and some of the material to get the project started.”
Davis currently produces squash, okra, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins.
Now that he is able to better utilize his land, he has made it his mission to promote the use of alternative crops within the county to provide a better quality of life for the people there. (by Adam Eades, Randolph County district conservationist)