South Carolina NRCS receives financial assistance to help farmers and landowners install conservation practices in StrikeForce counties
COLUMBIA, SC May 20, 2014 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will target $665,000 this year in financial conservation assistance for South Carolina farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in persistent poverty rural areas. These funds will help farmers install conservation practices by providing cost-share to eligible applicants. Farmers who submitted eligible applications by the December 20, 2013, deadline, will be notified if their application was selected for funding by their local NRCS District Conservationist by September 1, 2014.
StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity is a USDA effort that focuses high-priority assistance in rural communities in 20 states with a special emphasis on historically underserved farmers, ranchers and communities in counties with persistent poverty. Since 2010, USDA has partnered through StrikeForce with more than 400 community organizations, businesses, foundations, universities and other groups to support 80,300 projects and usher more than $9.7 billion in investments into rural America.
“Although USDA is always available to help these producers, the targeted funding through StrikeForce, along with the pooling of public resources and local expertise, is continuing to grow rural economies,” said SC NRCS State Conservationist Ann English. “This is a strategy that is working in rural America, and I am pleased that we continue to build on these efforts to bring assistance to areas that need it the most.”
Through StrikeForce, NRCS is now working with 80 percent more farmers and ranchers in the identified persistent poverty counties and has invested a total of $652 million in targeted conversation funding since 2010. “StrikeForce provides an important opportunity to help producers in these priority areas improve their lands or start a career in agriculture,” English said. “We are excited to see such tremendous growth in this initiative and look forward to helping even more producers adopt conservation measures.”
Producers can visit their local USDA Service Center and apply anytime for StrikeForce conservation assistance through the 2014 Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Producers can work with NRCS on a number of conservation activities, including: installing cross-fencing on a ranch to protect soil and help cattle; using prescribed burning to enhance a forest; or installing a more efficient irrigation system to conserve water.
“Conservation efforts help producers make a living while promoting clean air and water, healthy soil and wildlife habitat,” English said. “These practices also give long-term resistance to extreme weather events, including drought and flooding.”
StrikeForce is helping direct needed USDA resources to individuals and communities in South Carolina's 27 StrikeForce counties. The counties are: Abbeville, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, Lancaster, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Sumter, Union, and Williamsburg.
For more information and StrikeForce successes, visit the NRCS StrikeForce webpage or your local NRCS office.