Carroll County Success Stories
Lovvorn (PDF) (288 KB) html
Robinson (PDF) (232 KB) html
Simpson (PDF) (228 KB) html
Steve Lovvorn owns and operates a cattle and poultry farm in the Lower Little Tallapoosa River (LLTR) watershed. The LLTR is in an active Public Law-566 Watershed Project with a large concentration of poultry and cattle operations within the watershed.
Concerns have been raised about excess nutrients and sediment having an impact on the watershed. The construction of the poultry houses on the rolling topography in Carroll County resulted in substantial fill being required for several of the houses. The concentrated roof runoff from the houses caused erosion on the side slopes of the pads. Mr. Lovvorn requested assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to alleviate this erosion problem.
In addition to causing offsite sedimentation problems, the erosion also threatened the structural integrity of the poultry houses. Grade stabilization structures were installed to collect the roof runoff water at the top of the slope and safely pipe the water to the bottom of the slope.
Lovvorn has been very pleased with the solution to the situation. “Before installing the structures, I was unable to safely mow the slopes of the pads due to the gullies, now I can easily maintain the slopes without fear of the tractor turning over in one of the gullies.” Lovvorn has also installed a Dead Bird Compost Facility and a Dry Stack Facility to handle the poultry mortality and poultry litter generated by the operation.
Application of the litter and compost material to the pasture fields was applied according to a Comprehensive Waste Management Plan. With these practices, he has been able to store and compost the material in an environmentally friendly manner and retain valuable nutrients that would have been lost.
To improve the condition of the pastureland, Lovvorn has cross fenced the pasture to provide more control over the grazing characteristics of the livestock. This practice has reduced overgrazing of the grass and improved the utilization of the available forage. Livestock Water Facilities and Heavy Use Areas were installed to provide alternate water to livestock, thus reducing impacts to streams on the property.
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Charles Robinson has been a citizen of Carroll County for 81 years and in the farming and cattle business for 55 years. Robinson says he is just a kid who loves to farm and play golf. The farm is located in Bowdon off of Kansas Jake Road. According to Natural Resources Conservation Service maps, the farm is approximately 72 acres.
Robinson is the third generation of his family to farm this land. Robinson first learned about NRCS in the late 1950’s. Then it was named the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), and was widely known at that time for pond design. Robinson helped other farmers construct ponds designed by SCS, and recalls that as one of his earliest memories of the SCS. Robinson had water quality issues on his farm that prompted him to phone NRCS’ Carrollton Field office.
Shemekia Mosley, a Soil Conservationist, provided technical assistance on three stream crossings, a watering ramp for his pond, and two heavy use areas. These practices are frequently used by his cattle and farm equipment to allow for minimal disturbance to our water supply. They were financed, in part, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Robinson is to be commended on his conservation efforts.
As a participant in EQIP, he is required to complete only one practice within the first contract year; however, Robinson completed five of the six practices designed for his farm within the first year. That is an impressive accomplishment for any farmer. Robinson stated that his farm has truly benefitted from EQIP because NRCS worked very closely with him through the entire process.
He believes that EQIP and NRCS have helped him to meet the goals of the farm, and especially important to him, to prepare for future generations to come. “We are to be good stewards of the land, and it is our responsibility to take action to protect our natural resources for future generations,” said Robinson. Charles Robinson’s farm truly is a “success story” of farmers and NRCS working together to protect our land and natural resources.
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Sheila Simpson grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado where she had the opportunity to visit and work with several long-term ranchers who willingly shared their knowledge and techniques. Simpson was fortunate to receive hands on training as local ranchers rounded up and branded their livestock.
She and her family were also avid participants in 4-H, showing and raising horses and cattle. But only recently did she return to her ranching roots after 15 years in corporate America. “I wanted a career change and most importantly I wanted to teach my kids to have a love and respect for the outdoors, animals, and the land,” Simpson stated. So, two years ago with 15 acres and three dairy goats, the 7B Bar Ranch was born in Carroll County.
With limited acreage, Simpson searched for agricultural products that could be produced on her land and ones in which she could make a profit. The Carroll County Cooperative Extension Agent urged her to consider sustainable ranching and that took the form of goats and ducks. Simpson currently raises dairy goats for pet milk, soaps, and lotions, as well as duck eggs for Atlanta pastry chefs. Simpson found a niche market for her products and through her involvement in the Farmer’s Fresh Food Network, her products reach consumers in the surrounding areas, including Atlanta.
As with anything new, there was a learning curve for Simpson and with increased knowledge, she became aware and desired to practice environmentally sound ranching practices on her land. Simpson needed help with how to improve the quality and quantity of forage, the source and availability of water for her livestock, and ways to improve soil quality. After learning about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) from the local extension agent, Simpson contacted District Conservationist Sam Sharpe.
Sharpe recommended a rotational grazing system to increase the quality and quantity of forage available to the goats, a well in conjunction with heavy use area protected watering facilities for an alternative water source, pasture and hayland planting and critical area planting in areas where erosion was occurring and where soil improvement was needed. Simpson applied for the EQIP program and was funded as a Limited Resource Farmer. Simpson was solely responsible for coordinating, installing, and assuring that all EQIP funded conservation practices were installed according to NRCS standards and specifications.
EQIP allowed Simpson to make much needed conservation improvements in a timely manner, which otherwise would have taken years to complete. When asked what she liked best about EQIP Simpson stated that “the conservation plan developed by NRCS and the financial assistance provided to me have been crucial to the success of my ranching efforts.”
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