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Matthew Parker - 2016 NRCS Earth Team Volunteer

Mathew Parker resides with his family of full time farmers in Bedford County, TN. He has three sisters, three brothers, and three step sisters. They produce beef cattle, free range swine, free range poultry, and farm fresh eggs. They row crop soybeans, wheat, and corn. Currently Mathew’s father, Mark Parker, is working with the Bedford County Soil Conservation District (BCSCD), and Bedford County Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), District Conservationist (DC), Cory Hodge, establishing native warm season grasses (NWSGs) through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).

Active in 4-H, Mathew participated in Livestock Judging, Dairy Judging (went to National Competition with his team, 2014), Public Speaking, Consumer Decision Making, Honor Club, 4-H All-Stars, and Land Judging Team. Matthew was on the Land Judging team for two years. In his final year, at the state competition, he placed in the top five high individuals. His team, Bedford County, earned the honor of participating in the National Land and Range Competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in May, 2016. His team placed 7th in the nation. Matthew placed 17th out of 39 contestants in the individual scores.

Because of his success on the Land Judging team, Matthew has chosen to major in Agriculture, with a concentration in Environmental Agriscience at Tennessee Technological University (TTU) in Cookeville, Tennessee. Mathew has received an Agricultural Scholarship from TTU and a Scholarship from Middle Tennessee Beef Producers in addition to the Hope Scholarship and the Aspire Supplement.

I am Mitchell Aman, NRCS DC for Lincoln and Moore County, TN. The Parker’s are my neighbors and Mr. Parker asked if Mathew could “tag along” with me at work. I took him up on the opportunity as we were short staffed at our Lincoln County Soil Conservation District (LCSCD), Moore County Soil Conservation District (MCSCD), and our NRCS Fayetteville Field Office. It was “ranking/contracting time” and we were stretched thin! My “right hand man”, NRCS Soil Conservationist, Mary Douglas Hastings, was on maternity leave.

Mathew completed his NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Program paper work and immediately became part of our team working with our LCSCD Secretary, Laura Hall, William Simmons, LCSCD Soil Conservationist, Debbie Bruyns, our NRCS Program Support Specialist, and myself. He put together EQIP folders, completed folder reviews, and gathered the correct information to place in the folders from Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG). He assisted in EQIP resource inventory, EQIP checkout, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Buffer layout and checkout, Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) Agriculture Resource Conservation Fund (ARCFund) checkout, and was a keynote participant in the Moore County Farm City Day. Mathew has become a real “Whiz Kid” with the Trimble Global Positioning System (GPS).

Mathew offered all of this assistance as an Earth Team Volunteer while he was completing his Gateway Christian Schools 12th grade homeschool curriculum and while attending freshman courses at Motlow College. During the time that Mathew volunteered in our office he was studying and training for the National Land and Range Competition.

Mathew has been a great asset and is a great example of the benefits associated with the NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Program. We certainly benefitted from his service and he is leaving with training in all aspects of our programs, soil health, residue management, conservation cover and cover crops, plant identification, forage management, livestock management, pollinator/wildlife management, forest management, geospatial processing program (ARCMap), highly erodible land (HEL) determinations, wetland determinations, and soil erosion control. He gained experience in the practices of pipeline design and installation, pumping plant, watering facility, heavy use area, spring development, fencing, prescribed grazing, cropland conversion, stream crossing, and streambank shoreline protection.

Mathew leaves for TTU August 18th and classes begin on August 22cnd. I know that the training he has received while participating in the NRCS Earth Team Volunteer Program will aid him in college and in the future. Mathew Parker well knows that he has a friend to call on. I wish him the best in the future.

Mitchell L. Aman USDA/NRCS-TN
American Indian/Alaskan Native SEPM-TN
District Conservationist Lincoln/Moore County TN
820 William D. Jones Blvd.
Fayetteville TN, 37334
Office: 931-438-2450 Ext. 3

Reviewing EQIP Folders
Moore County Farm City Day
CRP Buffer Measurement