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Sun Powers Well at Mississippi Farm

By Justin Fritscher
NRCS Mississippi Public Affairs

Sage Farms installed a solar-powered well in 2011, and it is a life saver for the rancher’s ownersA vacation – even a short one – was once out of the picture for Sarah Harvill and Genette Hunt, operators of a ranch in southwestern Mississippi. Each day, the two had to haul a generator to the fields to pump water for their 40-plus cows.

To run an electrical line would have cost $5,000, and they were spending $1,000 a year in diesel to pump seven gallons of water a day. Complicating things, a pond was not suitable for their central watering area.

Tired of wasting their time and money, they began researching ways to more efficiently bring energy to their farm. That’s when they contacted NRCS and learned how the sun could run their well.

Through the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI), they received a grant to help them purchase a solar-powered well. It cost $2,526, but the benefits are priceless, they say.

The pump was easily installed with the existing well and watering system. The pump system requires a very minimal amount of maintenance and does not have to be attended to on a daily basis.

Harvill and Hunt – co-owners of Sage Farms near Meadville – always dreamed of farming, with Harvell wanting be a cowgirl and Hunt wanting to return to her family land in Franklin County.

Sage Farms is a model farm for NRCS programs. The agency has worked with the farm on hayland plantation, pest management and cross-fencing.

They received the Mississippi Association of Conservation District’s Livestock Environmental Stewardship Award in 2011, and they open up their farm to church meetings and agriculture field days often. Their farm served as the site for Franklin County’s outreach meeting organized by NRCS in fall 2011.