Floyd County Success Stories
Riverbend Farm (PDF) (217 KB) html
Norton (PDF) (217 KB) html
Armuchee (PDF) (261 KB) html
Riverbend Farm is a crop and timber farm of over 1,260 acres, located on the Coosa River in Floyd County.
The farm is owned and operated by James (Jamie) and Kelly Jordan. Other family members that work on the farm are Jordan’s son Jesse, his brother Phil and close family friend Felipe Portelo Morales. On Riverbend Farm everyone looks for a better way to run the farm to help protect our natural resources.
This is evident by the awards that Jamie has received over the years. In 1998, Jordan won the Atlanta Farmer’s Club Farmer of the Year Award. In 2001, the farm received the Merit Award from the Georgia Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. The farm also received Certified Forest Steward designation from the Georgia Forestry Commission in 2008. In 2010, they were honored as the Region I winner for the Governor’s Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Award.
In a typical year, the crops grown on Riverbend Farm include 200 acres of cotton, 400 acres of corn, 500 acres of soybeans and 250 acres of wheat. Jamie and Kelly also have two horses, which they enjoy riding on the farm.
Jordan has participated in many Farm Bill programs including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
Some of the conservation practices installed through these programs include: conservation tillage, conservation crop rotation, irrigation sprinkler system retrofit, irrigation water management, nutrient and pest management, and cover crop. He has also implemented many practices to enhance wildlife habitat including prescribed burning, creation of forest openings, tree and shrub establishment, wetland creation and wildlife wetland habitat management.
Jordan believes they would not have gotten this far without the help of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Without the assistance of the NRCS we would not have been able to accomplish as much as we have. NRCS has great programs that every farmer should be using on their farm,” said Jordan. “This is one of the first farms in the Rome area to implement no-till farming practices.”
Jordan is a 5th generation farmer who grew up up on a 3,000 acre farm in Centre, Alabama. His family has been in the cotton ginning business since the late 1800’s. Jordan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Berry College. It took him seven years to earn his degree because of having to help with the farming and ginning in the summer and fall.
After completing college at the age of 25, Jamie received his calling. “I received my calling as a caretaker of the land. I first farmed Horton Bend Farm in North Floyd County and two farms on the Coosa River then finally accomplished my lifetime dream when I purchased and began farming Riverbend Farm.” said Jordan.
Jordan has dreams for improving the farm. “Jamie’s desire is to make Riverbend Farm better by building up his organic material, improving fertility, leveling the land, providing drainage to help with erosion, improving his road system, and providing better habitat for wildlife by managing the timberland,” said Sheri Teems, NRCS district conservationist in Rome.
Jordan’s focus is not of today but for future generations. “My calling, my goal, my lifetime commitment is to turn Riverbend Farm into the most beautiful, most productive, most efficient farm in the Southeast. To do this takes vision, hard work, and resources - especially money. I don’t see myself as a manager or farmer, but as a bridge builder for those that follow. For I would not be where I am without the sacrifices of stewards that came before me,” said Jordan.
Dan Norton is a Georgia Grazing Lands Conservation Coalition (GGLCC) farmer in Floyd County. He applied for the GGLCC Cost Share Program in 2003 and was selected for funding. While preparing his application, Norton came to decisions about plant adaptations for his farm. Instead of restoring Bermuda grass to the upland areas as it was years ago, Norton established fescue so that these well-drained areas can be grazed when it is wet during the winter.
The bottomland, previously in crops, will be planted to warm-season grasses and be used in summer when there is less likelihood of compaction. As grass sods are rebuilt in the bottomlands, the ability to recover from heavy wet use will improve and the grazing days per year will increase. Norton’s project included installing water lines and freeze proof faucets along fence line partitions in his upland grazing areas, which are planted in tall fescue.
He removed old fence and re-laid them to create long strips, about 400 feet wide, which are subdivided into grazing paddocks by polywire. In 2004, Norton removed 53 large brush piles to develop new pastureland. Norton completed his contract and received his last payment on December 12, 2005.
He completed a total of 9,804 feet of fencing, 5,368 feet of pipeline, and removed 53 piles of brush. When asked how his cost-shared practices have changed his approach to management Norton responded, “These practices have improved our ability to focus on what is good for the grass first and the grazing animal second, while maintaining a high quality environment for the animal.”
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Last year Armuchee Elementary School in Floyd County was named Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) School of the Year and was awarded $3,000 to host a Water Festival. The Water Festival for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders was held on September 15th. The entire school was decorated with water related subjects including water droplets that dangled from the ceiling.
The ceremony opened with performances by the students including a water song and pledge. The Mayor of Rome read a proclamation declaring Armuchee Elementary as the Georgia Project Wet School of the Year and the ceremony ended with a performance from “Mama Bass and the Mudsliders.”
Following the opening ceremony, the students rotated through 30-minute lessons and learning activities. The planned lessons included: The Enviroscape, taught by Petey Giroux, state coordinator for Project WET; Water Quality and Conservation, taught by Jennifer Odom and Leslie Nelson of the Rome NRCS Field Office; The Ground Water Module, taught by Bob Ringer; The Incredible Journey - Flooding in Rome, taught by a representative of the Rome Area History Museum; Canoeing & Water Safety, taught by Mark Lamade from Lock and Dam Park; Sturgeon Tank, by Gary Beisser of GA Fisheries in Calhoun; Stream Monitoring, taught by Eric Lindberg; and Life of a Water Droplet, taught by Joe Cook from Coosa River Basin Initiative; Non-game Endangered Species, taught by Kim Kilgore; and Recycling, taught by Marta Turner, Rome/Floyd Recycling Center.
The Project WET award was presented to Armuchee Elementary at the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia Conference on March 18, 2006 in Atlanta. Project WET is environmental education involving water and the need to preserve and protect it.
The environmental academic focus at Armuchee for the last two years has been on water preservation with activities including a luncheon to help educate the community on the Coosa Watershed, students monitoring the water quality of the school stream, students making 50 rain barrels to distribute to the community and students and teachers building a Three Rivers Garden on the campus.
The teachers and staff are to be commended for making learning about water and the importance of conserving it so much fun! The students were able to recite the path of the brook that runs behind their school all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. They said that the school is next to Armuchee Brook, which leads into Armuchee Creek, which then leads into the Oostanaula River, where it eventually joins with the Etowah River, to become the Coosa River. The Coosa River becomes the Alabama River, which then becomes the Mobile River, which finally empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
Needless to say, we were very impressed with their knowledge!
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