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Morgan County Success Stories

Morgan County Success Stories

Glosson (PDF) (280)html
Bradley (PDF) (275)html
Jones (PDF) (210 KB) html
Hilsman (PDF) (244 KB) html

Third Generation Farmer Grows Operation with NRCS Assistance

Robert Glosson, Jr. prides himself on being innovative. While attending high school, the Madison native decided to venture into raising sheep and goats.
“I bought one and started from there,” Glosson said.

Along the way, Glosson hit a few road blocks in his plan. For starters, he didn’t have an efficient way of getting water to his livestock. “I was carrying water back and forth from one pasture to another. It was very difficult. I did that for two years, “Glosson said.

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist Dennis Brooks has worked with the Glosson family over the years and has seen Robert Glosson, Jr. grow up on the Madison farm. His grandfather operated a Dairy Farm and his father a Poultry Farm.

When Glosson visited the local NRCS office seeking assistance, Brooks said, “I was amazed to see a 3rd generation farmer start a new operation. Usually after the 2nd generation, you don’t see that passion in the 3rd generation,” Brooks explained.

Glosson eventually applied for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Once approved for an EQIP contract, Glosson was able to address his water concerns.
EQIP funds have helped the young farmer install a well on his property and pipeline to develop an alternative watering system. I’m not carrying water around all the time,” Glosson said.

Critical areas have also been treated on Glosson’s farm. Critical area treatment involves planting grass on land that has a severe erosion problem. The grass helps reduce the loss of topsoil. “It’s been very helpful financially and technically,” Glosson said.

Now that Glosson doesn’t have to spend nearly as much time getting water to the livestock, he can concentrate on growing his operation and learning more about NRCS programs that can assist him in meeting his goals.

“It’s a work in progress. I am looking to do more in the future and I hope I can utilize the NRCS’s technical expertise to help me grow as a farmer and a conservationist,” Glosson explained.

Today Robert Glosson, Jr. has expanded his goat operation and is also currently running a Poultry operation of his own. He grows layers for egg production and his operation produces 30,000 eggs daily.

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Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps with Dream

Charles and Karen Bradley had a dream of owning their own farm. Eleven years ago that dream became a reality. “We have always dreamed of owning a farm.

"When the opportunity presented itself to buy our farm in Morgan County, it fulfilled our dream. We have now been farming for 11 years.

We started off with 15 cows, and expanded our herd to approximately 60 cows/calfs, two donkeys, two horses, and two bulls,” said Charles Bradley. The farm is located on Shakerag Road in the community of Buckhead.

The Bradley’s had some concerns that brought them to the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) after reading about the agency in an article in Cattlemen’s magazine.

“There was a lack of water troughs. We had to fill all troughs with water hoses - it took hours – and we needed extra cross fencing to assist with rotational grazing,” said Bradley.

“The Bradley’s came to NRCS because of an insufficient water supply for their cow/calf operation. On a daily basis, water hoses were used to supply troughs to their herd of 65 beef cattle. Due to Georgia’s extreme drought conditions during the summer months, it was difficult to keep an adequate supply of water in the troughs. Also areas where hay was being fed to cattle were badly eroded and a high percentage of hay was lost due to trampling because of mud and muck,” said Dennis Brooks, district conservationist for the NRCS in Madison.

Brooks developed a plan to install PVC pipeline to supply the new concrete troughs with a continuous flow of water.

Brooks went on to say, “The areas around each trough would have a heavy use area installed to prevent erosion. Due to Georgia’s extreme drought, this was the number one priority´┐Żto supply their herd with an adequate supply of water.”

Other problems that were addressed included the installation of cross fencing to help with the rotational grazing; legumes were planted to assist with their prescribed grazing system; and a well was installed to supply water for their new alternate watering system.

All of the Bradley’s problems were solved thru the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Georgia Grazing Land Conservation Coalition (GGLCC). “EQIP will be used to address erosion and hay loss concerns around the hay wagons that are utilized during the winter months,” said Brooks.

Bradley said what he liked best about EQIP was the financial assistance and the ability to install what they needed. “With financial contribution we were finally able to install an automatic watering facility and cross fencing for rotational grazing and ease of watering cattle.”

Bradley says his operation has benefited from the application of the conservation treatments. “The cows always have access to water; my wife’s labor is reduced (thank you), and I have more available pasture areas with cross fencing.”

Bradley’s conservation philosophy for future generations is simple, “Leave the land in better shape than we found it,” said Bradley.

Pat Hardy, the Piedmont Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor said, “These are good folks, trying to leave their farm in better shape than they found it. They believe in being good stewards to their land by applying conservation practices.”

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Conservation Helps Keep Water Clean in Morgan County       

Amos Jones, a farmer since 1962, was concerned about the condition of a dam on his property, the quality of water leaving his property, and the health of his herd which freely roamed in the creek and pond on his land. The surface of the dam on his property had become deeply rutted and disturbed by heavy traffic of cattle moving from one pasture to another over the dam surface.

Cattle use of this area was causing soil erosion into the creek, as well as introducing animal waste into the water. And, his cattle had hoof and leg problems from standing in the water. Jones contacted Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for help. The Madison County NRCS Field Office Staff encouraged Jones to develop an Alternative Watering System and exclude cattle from the natural water sources. A Heavy Use Crossing with use exclusion was recommended to keep cattle out of the area that would contribute to introduction of sedimentation and animal waste into the creek.

Jones implemented many suggested solutions with cost-share assistance through Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Sugar Creek 319 Project with the partnership of the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission. Pat Hardy, Piedmont District Chair Person, noted Jones’ accomplishments, explaining that “by utilizing programs that are available, Jones has improved the quality of his fields and herd health.

He has used Heavy Use Areas to better work his herd to improve their health and in conjunction with these areas, made watering troughs available to his cattle to keep them out of the creeks and ponds.”

By keeping the herd out of the creek and pond, he has eliminated hoof and leg problems and improved the water quality that leaves his property. Jones has also incorporated cross fencing and rotational grazing on his fields to improve forage quality and quantity. He has planted trees along farm boundaries to create silvo-pasture and act as a buffer area between his field and neighbors.

“Jones had made a good effort to improve the quality of his farming operation, not only for himself but as an example for all farmers in his area” said Pat Hardy. Jones, reflecting on the improvements, stated: “By adding these needed improvements, I feel that my fields are in better shape and I’m able to maintain a better forage crop for my livestock that will allow them to gain weight at a rate that is beneficial to my operation.”

He recommends that future generation farmers “work with the NRCS and the Districts to keep educated on current and future help, because without the farming community of the United States, there is no one left to feed the Nation.”

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Water Quality and Farm Production Improved in Morgan County

David Hilsman, a Morgan County farmer, has been farming most of his life. He got his start helping his father run a dairy operation. About 40 years ago, he started a dairy operation of his own. Recently, Hilsman started having major concerns about his operation. He worried about the mud around his hay racks, the cows getting stuck in the pond and degrading the water quality. He wanted and needed a more efficient dairy production.

As Hilsman described it, “the cows were sitting in the pond and I would have to get in my boat and fish them out. When they would go to the hay rack to eat, there would be so much mud and manure; it was a very messy situation. I needed to do something about this because things were taking effect on production.”

Hilsman had heard of USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through word of mouth several years ago. He decided to call the Madison Service Center for help. He applied for and received cost-share assistance via the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and Little River 319 funding and began working with the Madison NRCS to implement practices on his farm. (The 319 Program provides formula grants to the states to implement nonpoint source projects and programs in accordance with Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.)

He installed a new watering trough, a winter feeder, and fenced out the pond. Hilsman said, “the three different practices that were implemented on my farm improved the overall production of my dairy operation. There isn’t really anything I can complain about because everything I needed to get done was finished and my dairy operation has improved.” He added, “the cows sure do love the trough. I think they even love it more than me.

The winter feeder is one of the best things I could have built. It helps me a lot on production.” “Besides the most important thing (cost share assistance),” said Hilsman “I appreciated the improvements that were made on my farm and enjoyed working with the Madison Service Center NRCS conservationists, who developed an excellent conservation plan with me and helped me implement the plan on my farm.”

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