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USDA donates old aerial photos

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
The local office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service donated old aerial photographs of the county to the Franklin County Archives Monday morning in an attempt to preserve them as a part of the county's history.
"We have moved them every time we have moved, and I was afraid they would get lost or thrown out," Conservation Technician Pam Skidmore said.
The photographs donated to the archives were taken in 1949, 1956, 1954 and 1971 by the Farm Service Agency, now known as the Agricultural Stabilization Conservation Office, Skidmore said.
District Conservationist Sharon Anderess said that the Farm Service Agency used the photographs to determine the tracts of land owned and worked by each farmer, and what was grown there from year to year.
"They'd give the farmer a tract number to identify himself so they could base the farmer's pay," Anderess said.
She added that farmers were paid based on the number of acres farmed and what crops were grown.
The photographs were given to the Resource Conservation Office after the farmer service made new ones, and the Conservation Office used them in planning conservation efforts.
"We'd get them old photographs when the farm service would get new ones," Skidmore said. "But, now we use satellite imagery to make conservation plans."
Archives Director Chris Ozbirn said that she has had numerous requests for aerial photography of the county, but until now, the Archives did not have access to them.
"This [the archives] is such a great place for these photos because they are piece of history," Skidmore said.
Ozbirn added that these photographs pre-date the county's lakes, and show the way the land looked before Bear Creek and Cedar Lakes were added.
While the photographs are now housed at the archives, they will have to be keyed so those who look over them will know what part of the county is in each picture.
"We need someone who would be willing to key these," Skidmore said.
She added that anyone who wishes to volunteer to key the photos can contact the archives about volunteering at 332-8827.

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