January 1 through December 31, 2016
The Putnam County Soil Conservation District (PCSCD) takes great pride in presenting our annual report each year. This year, the PCSCD celebrates its 76th year of conservation in Putnam County. The PCSCD works in partnership with local, state, and federal governments to provide conservation services to the citizens of Putnam County. These services include technical assistance, cost-share programs, and environmental education. Those assisted include both farmers and non-farming individuals, community groups and non-profit organizations, government agencies, businesses, and the Putnam County School system. In 2016, the Putnam County Soil Conservation District and its partners invested $440,741.70 into Putnam County to help in the areas of environmental quality and soil and water conservation. These funds helped approximately 3,000 acres in the Putnam County area. In the following paragraphs the funds and acreage is explained in more detail.
The following is a recap of significant PCSCD activities in 2016, with explanations of some of the programs and services offered to the citizens of Putnam County.
The PCSCD helps to provide financial assistance and technical services to farmers and wildlife enthusiasts for conservation practices by using federal and state cost-share programs. Federal programs include the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP), Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA). The Tennessee Department of Agriculture also provides funding for farm conservation, public education and information through its Ag Resources Conservation Fund. All of these programs rely on technical expertise from the District’s partner, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides cost-share assistance to landowners to implement conservation practices on their land. In 2016, $98,653.69 in EQIP money was obligated to Putnam County farmers that were approved for funding. These cost-share funds allowed landowners to install conservation practices on 949.2 acres of farmland. These practices resulted in a drastic improvement in water quality, a significant reduction in soil loss, and improved grazing management.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) provides financial and technical assistance to help land stewards conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. In 2016, $20,632.00 in CSP funding was obligated to Putnam County landowners to maintain enhancement activities that will be installed in 1936.3 acres of farmland.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture provided $12,566.53 in cost-share assistance. These funds target the installation of Best Management Practices to promote water quality in specified watershed areas to monitor water quality improvements. Funding areas are rotated each year. Blackburn Fork, Spring Creek, Calfkiller, and Falling Water watersheds were still targeted during the 2016 calendar year due to high priority ranking.
Funding from natural disasters was allocated to Putnam County in the 2016 calendar year through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program and the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP). In 2016, $308.889.48 in EWP funding was obligated to Putnam County to aid in the natural disaster recovery efforts. Landowners that experienced damage due to the 2015 ice storm made repairs in 2016 through funds provided by ECP.
The PCSCD held its 67th Annual Conservation Awards Banquet on November 11th. There were eight major conservation awards presented to farmers and others that made outstanding contributions in conservation. A team of students from the Cookeville High FFA were recognized for their participation in the regional Envirothon contest. Several students from the UT Extension 4-H group were also recognized for their success in the state 4-H competition in the areas of wildlife, forestry, and land judging. The PCSCD also continued its emphasis on conservation education programs. Education projects included assistance to local schools, the regional Envirothon contest, and the annual Environmental Awareness Day at Upperman Middle School. The PCSCD also participated as a partner with Farm Bureau in “Agriculture in the Classroom” for all county 1st graders.
The PCSCD raised funds for education and other operational needs through advertising in the annual report, the spring tree and shrub sale, geo-tex fabric sales and an equipment rental program. Additionally, the State of Tennessee appropriates a small operations grant for PCSCD use. Putnam County generously provides two full-time employees and occasional funding for special equipment purchases. During 2016, the Natural Resources Conservation Service provided two full-time professional soil conservationists, office space, supplies, and equipment. In 2016, the PCSCD also worked with the Tennessee and National Associations of Conservation Districts.
The Putnam County Soil Conservation District Board of Supervisors is proud of the contributions it has made to the wise use of natural resources. The PCSCD continues its tradition of having a direct, positive impact on the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources on the land in Putnam County, and has also invested in the future of wise land use through the education of current and future generations. The Board looks forward to another year of successful natural resources conservation accomplishments in 2017.
Sam Tays, Chairman
Bob Lee Bilbrey, Vice Chairman
Gary Brewington, Secretary/Treasurer