Ezell Branch Jr., a retired teacher from Watson, Ark., has enrolled 12 acres of cropland in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). A water well was installed to help reduce the risk of crop loss from droughts. Since the completion of his project, Mr. Branch has planted okra, sweet corn, tomatoes, peas and other alternatives crops.
“Mr. Branch was recently approved to install seasonal high tunnels "hoop houses" on his farm and to be certified as an organic farmer through EQIP. The high tunnels will extend his growing season,” said Gwen Handcock, Desha County district conservationist, in Desha County, Ark.
Branch is a minority farmer whose farm is located in Desha County, an identified StrikeForce county in Arkansas.