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Farming Together – It’s a Family Tradition

Posted by Natural Resources Conservation Service, Louisiana Public Affairs on July 06, 2016 at 08:15 AM
Kobe Williams, son of Travis Williams, holds an NRCS partnership sign as Elvadus Fields looks on.

Kobe Williams, son of Travis Williams, holds an NRCS partnership sign as Elvadus Fields looks on.

Soil erosion and drainage problems were plaguing Horace Robinson, Calvin Williams, and Travis Williams, a family of soybean farmers in the Mississippi Delta Region of Louisiana. They weren’t quite sure what to do to combat these problems while maintaining a productive farm.  

Enter Harvey Reed and Elvadus Fields.

Spreading the Word about StrikeForce
Harvey Reed, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Cooperatives, teamed up with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity. Along the way, he recruited Elvadus Fields, director of the Delta Regional Outreach Center. Together, through a series of workshops and field days they’re letting farmers throughout the Delta region know what StrikeForce has to offer. 

“USDA’s StrikeForce is a step forward to reaching socially disadvantaged farmers and small farmers,” said Fields. “USDA has been a helping hand all along, down through the ages. But with the way the agriculture business works today, we really need something like StrikeForce to reach out to these individuals who need assistance the most.” 

In the Right Place at the Right Time
Horace, Calvin, and Travis found themselves at one of these workshops in Franklin Parish where they own and operate a farm handed down to them from their parents. When the men were young, the Robinson and Williams families combined their lands to run one farm together and support each other. Today, the younger generations of the two families are following the same path.

But Horace, Calvin, and Travis realized that to have healthy land to pass down to their children, they would need to reduce soil erosion and make sure that their soil stays healthy, productive, and capable of supporting the future generations.

The StrikeForce workshop helped them realize that they could identify solutions to the erosion and drainage problems with help from NRCS.  



How NRCS Helped
NRCS conservationists visited the men’s farm, evaluated where conservation improvements could be made, and with the farmers’ help began working on solutions. The farmer-trio decided to apply for financial assistance through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to install the conservation practices that would save the farm. With land-leveling and grade-stabilization structures, the irrigation and rain water would be better managed and more evenly dispersed across their farm, providing a drainage system for overflow and solving many erosion problems.

“These practices are really going to help our operation,” said Horace Robinson. “With erosion you lose a significant amount of topsoil, and we can’t afford to keep losing our greatest resource or having our water runoff into the streams and water basins.” 

“It really means a lot to our family to be able to continue to pass down this great (family) relationship and this healthy land to our children,” said Calvin Williams. “Hopefully they will do the same for theirs.” 

To learn more about USDA StrikeForce or assistance available through EQIP, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov or your local Service Center.

Tags: Louisiana, StrikeForce, EQIP, soil erosion

categories Discover Conservation , Conservation Programs, Farmer & Rancher Stories

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