A Native Proverb states, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” The Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District recognizes this and uses its cost-share programs to conserve natural resources for future generations.
The Dust Bowl in the 1930s triggered a national concern for soil erosion. This concern led to the establishment of the first Soil and Water Conservation District in Anson County, North Carolina in 1937. Today, county conservation districts provide technical and cost share assistance to farmers and landowners, who want to become better stewards of the land by addressing resource concerns like soil and water quality.
The Caldwell County district offers three cost share programs to eligible applicants: NC Agriculture Cost Share Program (NCACSP), Agriculture Water Resource Assistance Program (AgWrap), and Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP). Nearly 112 contracts have been written since 2008 through the cost share programs to help farmers and landowners implement conservation practices on their properties.
The NCACSP and AgWrap programs are exclusively for farmers, while CCAP is for any other member of the community with a resource concern. These programs provide 75 percent cost share assistance to implement Best Management Practices, or “BMPs” for short.
A popular best management practice in our area is the “Livestock Exclusion” BMP. It provides funding to fence livestock out of perennial streams and to install watering tanks and heavy-use area protection to decrease erosion and improve water quality on livestock operations, but the real benefit is the entire community has better water quality.
The Caldwell County district is actively seeking applicants for the 2021 program year. Applications can be picked up at the local office, located in the lower level of the public library at 120 Hospital Ave. in Lenoir, North Carolina.
Once an application has been received, it will be prioritized among the other applicants based on a points system. The system is a method for evaluating resource concerns.
A community landowner/business owner interested in CCAP must own the land they are concerned about improving.
A farmer interested in ACSP or AgWrap must prove that he or she is a bona fide farmer by providing a copy of one or more forms of specific documentation. The application states three options for proper documentation including a federal tax Schedule F (form 1040) or an equivalent form for the most recent tax year, a farm sales tax exemption certificate issued by the Department of Revenue, or a Forest management plan.
Along with cost share programs, the Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District provides other helpful services to the community.
The district has a no-till seed drill available for rent. The drill is the perfect tool for reseeding pastures, establishing warm season native grasses for wildlife habitats, planting food plots and much more. 50-gallon Ivy Rain Barrels are available for $70 plus tax and are perfect for collecting and reusing rainwater around a home. Also, soil testing kits are available for free, and local staff are happy to assist in retrieving samples. At this time the state soil testing lab has decreased staffing and are only completing diagnostic soil samples. We hope that homeowner soil samples will begin being accepted soon.
For more information about eligibility, program details, available BMPs and other services please contact the Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District at 828-758-1111 or email Savannah Starnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.