Brown Creek Soil and Water Conservation District
Nation's First Soil Conservation District
On August 3, 1937, North Carolina Secretary of State Thad Eure made history when he signed the certificate establishing the Brown Creek Soil Conservation District as the first in the State, the Nation, and the world.
Soil conservation districts were the brainchild of Hugh Hammond Bennett, chief of the USDA Soil Conservation Service (today the Natural Resources Conservation Service), As a federal agency the SCS was charged with helping farmers develop and implement soil conservation practices. Bennett knew that resource needs and conditions varied greatly from one part of the country to the next and even from one neighboring county to the next. To insure that these local needs were properly recognized and met, Bennett helped draft enabling legislation that states could use as a kind to create soil conservation districts. In North Carolina, soil & water conservation districts are directed by a five-person board of supervisors. Most supervisors are elected in the state's general election and others are appointed. They set priorities and provide general guidance for the soil & water conservation activities within the district. The NRCS provides assistance to the districts through staff and other support.
The original Brown Creek Soil Conservation District contained only the parts of Anson and Union Counties within the Brown Creek watershed. Included in this area was the birthplace of Hugh Hammond Bennett, the father of soil & water conservation. In 1947, the boundaries were expanded to include 5 counties, including Anson, Union, Stanly, Montgomery, and Richmond. Over time these other counties formed separate soil & water conservation districts. Today, Anson County retains the original title, Brown Creek Soil & Water Conservation District.
Today, North Carolina has 96 Soil & Water Conservation Districts covering all 100 counties in the state.