Opportunities for Homeowners, Landowners, and Farmers of Caldwell County

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This week I am going to share the spotlight with Caldwell County’s Soil and Water Conservationist, Savannah Starnes. The Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District is a subdivision of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that promotes the wise use and management of our natural resources: soil, water, air, plants, and animals. The Caldwell Soil and Water Conservation District’s objectives are secured largely through the voluntary cooperation of landowners.

Savannah Starnes

The district also has cost-share programs that the public may not be aware of. Often called “the best-kept secret,” because most people do not know that they are a resource.

Here are three cost share programs offered by the Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District:

The first program is AgWrap (Agriculture Water Resources Assistance Program)

This program is meant for farmers who need access to more water than they currently have for irrigation practices. AgWRAP will identify BMP (Best Management Practices) which includes: water supply wells, conservation irrigation conversion, micro irrigation, and pond sediment removal.

The second program is CCAP (Community Conservation Assistance Program)

This program is meant for home/landowners not involved in agriculture who are experiencing water quality problems on their property. Best management practices (BMP) include:  streambank and shoreline protection, grassed swales, and impervious surface conversion.

The last program is ACSP (Agriculture Cost Share Program)

This is meant for farmers who are experiencing water quality problems on their farms. BMP include: grassed waterways, streambank and shoreline protection, livestock exclusion system, and erosion management.

If you think you are eligible for one of these cost-share programs and would like to know more, call the Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation at 828.758.1111. The Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District is accepting applications for these cost-share programs now!

There are other resources available through N.C. Cooperative Extension of Caldwell County as well. If you are a farmer looking to diversify or expand your business, The WNC Agricultural Options grant may be right for you.

With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions is distributing a total of $216,000 to western North Carolina farmers in 2021. The application deadline is November 20, 2020.

WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers’ risk of trying new ventures and expanding their farms with $3,000 and $6,000 grants. “The WNC AgOptions program is an excellent example of grant funds providing direct support to those who need it most,” said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. “Our farmers are arguably the most important people in our society. I sincerely appreciate the Commission’s interest in supporting western North Carolina agriculture.”

If you would like an application for the WNC AgOptions grant or would like to know more, please contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center at (828) 757-1290.