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Funds available to preserve local farmland

By Staff
Kim West
Franklin County Times
Local farmers have until Sept. 30 to apply for funds to preserve their farmland.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, which shares office space in Russellville with the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, is now accepting applications for its cost-share program, which is designed to address natural resource concerns on farmlands.
"We get money from the Farm Bill that is assigned to the county," said Robert Clement, watershed coordinator for the district. "Farmers can sign up for conservation practices, such as cross fences, wells, water troughs and a variety of other conservation practices."
Clement said different farming methods benefit from land conservation.
"Anyone who does poultry farming to cattle farming to even road cropping and forestry can apply," Clement said. "Farmers can sign up for certain practices – whatever practice they're interested in – if we have that program."
The grant process includes a written application, which will be reviewed by the NRCS. Cost-sharing is a voluntary conservation program that addresses threats to soil, water and related natural resources through contracts, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site. Last year 1,188 contracts totaling approximately $13.9 million were awarded in Alabama.
"Farmers have to come in and get an application, and then it must be approved," he said. "And a grant winner must follow federal standards."
The conservation office is located at 13150 Hwy 43, Suite 7A in Russellville. For more information, call the office at 332-0274 or visit the Alabama NRCS site at www.al.nrcs.usda.gov.

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