In its two decades of existence, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s federal Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) has restored more than 2.6 million acres of wetlands habitat across the U.S, creating prime wildlife habitat and helping the environment by holding and cleaning water. This includes over 200 contracts on over 62,000 acres in South Carolina for a total of over $60 million. Some of the wetland sites under protection in South Carolina are home to rare plant species, black bears, and the champion willow oak. Through the program, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help landowners voluntarily restore and protect wetland ecosystems.
The dynamic relationship between people and the land on a unique and pristine island off the coast of South Carolina is chronicled in a newly released video documentary produced by SC NRCS in partnership with the University of South Carolina-Earth Sciences and Resources Institute.
St. Helena Island—A Better Place showcases the people who are passionate about their homeland, about farming sustainably, and about maintaining the deep roots to their heritage. What is so remarkable is that the landscape is virtually unchanged since the island was occupied in 1861.
The USDA-NRCS has worked with private landowners that own small acreages on St. Helena, which is just five miles east of Beaufort County, one of the most rapidly developing counties in the nation. The island is also home to a 1,327 acre Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) easement.
Now, one of the last communities on the East Coast that has not been swallowed up by development and tourism, the island’s future is at a crossroads. The production explores the past, present, and future of the island, as the camera captures the many elements which make this such a magical place.
SC NRCS State Conservationist Ann English announced a prioritized funding sign up deadline for priority assistance from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The deadline is February 15, 2013. There is a continuous sign-up for EQIP, however, to increase your chances of funding, apply by the deadline. Producers interested in applying should visit their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to prepare their applications, or visit the SC NRCS EQIP webpage for more details. The deadline also applies to funding for special conservation initiatives, including the organic, seasonal high tunnels, longleaf pine, and on-farm energy initiatives.
South Carolina NRCS, along with conservation partner Dr. Robin 'Buz' Kloot of the Earth Sciences and Resources Institute at the University of South Carolina, present a series of conservation videos.
Using demonstration plantings, interviews, case studies, and lectures, viewers learn about conservation practices and basic soil health concepts that result in healthy soil and sustainable agriculture.
If you believe USDA improperly denied farm loan benefits to you between 1981 and 2000 because you are Hispanic, or because you are female, you may be eligible to apply for compensation. For more information, go to www.farmerclaims.gov or call the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429