Oconee County Success Stories
Breedlove Farm (PDF) (456 KB) html
For three generations, the Breedlove family in Oconee County raised their children on the family homestead. Ann (Breedlove) Powers wanted to do the same thing. Rising property taxes, increasing pressure to sell to developers in this highly lucrative market, and the cost of maintaining the farm was making hanging onto the land more and more difficult.
That’s when the Powers family heard about something called the Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program (FRPP) and made a visit to the United States Department of Agriculture Service Center in Watkinsville. The first step was to develop a conservation plan for the farm with the help of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS provides the technical expertise on the land that helps determine the best use of all their resources in a way that conserves the natural resources for future generations. To participate in the federal conservation programs, you must have a conservation plan.
Cost-share programs from USDA’s Farm Service Agency, NRCS, the Georgia Forestry Commission and others helped provide the funds to implement the farm renovation. Large riparian buffers were established and alternate water sources for livestock were constructed to help keep water clean and safe. Trees were planted to provide habitat for wildlife.
Nutrient and pest management assistance is provided on an ongoing basis. Now the heart of the farm, the home place, has been preserved through the joint efforts of the Athens Land Trust, Oconee County, the Georgia Greenspace Program, USDA-NRCS, the Oconee County Partnership for Farmland Protection and, of course, the Powers themselves.
The development rights for 60 acres has been purchased using funds from Oconee County’s GA Greenspace grant and USDA-NRCS’s Farmland Protection Program. These rights are held in perpetuity by the Athens Land Trust through a conservation easement.
The fourth generation, Frances and Will Powers, agreed to carry on the agricultural heritage of their ancestors and have ensured that the agricultural benefits will be available to residents of Oconee County for generations to come.
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