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Success Stories NRCS Assistance is Vital to Survival of Farm | Mississippi

NRCS Assistance is Vital to Survival of Farm

Jeannine May, PAS
November 1, 2007

One visit to the Foote farm and you quickly witness a landscape that is very pleasing to the eye. Behind Lee Foote's current home is the old house where he grew up. It still has wavy glass panes in the windows from decades ago.

Mr. Foote. In the summer, lush vegetable gardens with okra, squash and red juicy tomatoes produce enough to meet the needs of the Foote family and plenty more to share with friends and neighbors in the community. The old well, where the family obtained their water years ago, still yields a cold glass of water.

This farm has been in existence since 1923, when Foote's grandfather settled on the land. "Conservation is very, very important in my operation because of the many things that it provides for the health of the farm. My farming operation could not survive without the assistance that I have received from NRCS." stated Foote.

NRCS programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and others, have been utilized to install cross fencing, implement prescribed grazing practices and utilize pest management techniques.

The whole farm plan concept that Murray Fulton, district conservationist, uses with Mr. Foote addresses all resource concerns on the farm. According to Fulton, the major resource concerns on this farm relate to water quality and NRCS has helped implement conservation practices to address sedimentation and nutrient management.

Mr Foote.Working with the Farm Service Agency, highly erodible land was enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Best management practices, such as riparian buffers, are used to improve the water quality in perennial streams on the farm. These practices combined translate into improved aquatic habitat as well as better habitat for upland game including deer, turkey, squirrels and song birds which are abundant on the Foote farm.

He has annual production from hay and cattle and also markets timber on a three-year rotation. The timber stand ranges from 7 years of age through saw log class timber.

Mr. Foote's operation is typical of many well-run commercial cattle farms in the southeast. However, he uses specialized forage varieties and incorporates them into his haying and grazing program.

"If you are a farmer, then you want to take care of your land. It has been passed on from generation to generation and I think that those of us who come into possession of it ought to be good stewards of the land." said Foote.

Mr. Foote, with NRCS assistance, is contributing to a better quality of life on the farm and to the entire community where he lives.