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From the Battle Field to the Farm

Having served 22 years in the military, Curtis Lofton knows about hard work, perseverance, and overcoming challenges. However, after trading his combat boots for cowboy boots, Lofton faced one of the biggest challenges of his life.

Upon leaving the military, Lofton decided to start a cattle operation on the very land where he grew up. For years, he helped his father raise cattle and assisted his grandfather, a row crop farmer.Tanya Culbert, Supv. District Conservationist, Curtis Lofton, Farmer, Allen Ross, Soil Conservation Technician, and Cody Cessna, Soil Conservation Technician

“As a child, there was never a time that I did not have a cow,” Lofton said. “I loved to take care of cattle, and I can even remember bottle feeding calves until they were weaned

With land he inherited from his grandfather in addition to the land he purchased from an uncle, Lofton was well on his way to establishing his farm. With his years of experience, Lofton thought it would be a breeze to operate a cattle farm

However, the former Marine was not prepared for the many challenges he faced in keeping his 160 head of cattle and his land healthy. As a Marine, Lofton often relied on his knowledge, intuition, and stamina to solve problems, but in this case, he decided to seek assistance.       

Lofton heard about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and some of the programs NRCS has for beginning and veteran farmers. He visited his local USDA Service Center in Brookhaven, Miss. and discussed the challenges he was facing on his farm.

“I had never heard of NRCS until ten years ago,” Lofton said. “Visiting with the staff at the Brookhaven office and sitting down with them to develop a conservation plan was the best thing I could have ever done.”

“Mr. Lofton had several conservation concerns that needed addressing on his property,” said Allen Ross, NRCS, Soil Conservation Technician. “He had a ditch running in the middle of his pasture. This ditch made it impossible to cross from one side of the property to the other side. We came in and put a stream crossing, which allowed him to have easy accessibility for his equipment and cattle.”

Through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Lofton currently has utilized the following conservation practices which have helped him achieve success on his 308-acre farm:

•          Herbaceous Weed Control

•          Cross Fencing

•          Pasture Planting

•          Water Well

•          Prescribed Grazing

•          Stream Crossing

•          Heavy Use Area

•          Watering Facility

“Lofton has become a model producer,” Ross said. “Every practice for which he was approved was completed on time, and the practices have benefited his farm tremendously.”

Lofton said he is proud that NRCS is helping him succeed in farming.

“I love farming and raising my own meat,” he said. “If I could leave my family and friends with a piece of advice, it would be to work hard and take care of the land. If you take care of the land, it will take of you

Herbaceous Weed Control

 

 

 

 

Herbaeous Weed Control

 

Cross Fencing

 

 

 

 

Cross Fencing

 

Pasture Planting

 

 

 

 

Pasture Planting

 

Watering Well

 

 

 

 

Watering Well

 

Prescribed Grazing

 

 

 

Prescribed Grazing

 

 

Stream Crossing

 

 

 

 

Stream Crossing