The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center in Pulaski is fortunate enough to be able to help producers throughout Giles County.
Our office consists of two federal agencies — the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) — and one county agency, the Giles County Soil Conservation District (GCSCD). We are located at 1024 Mill St., in the Green Acres Village shopping center, in Pulaski.
To quote U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, our job is “to Do Right and Feed Everybody.”
NRCS has been tasked with helping producers to address resource concerns affected by agriculture. The resources addressed include water quality, soil erosion, soil health, vegetation production and health, etc. These resources can only be targeted through a voluntary approach by producers throughout the nation.
The producers come to the NRCS office and request assistance from us. This assistance involves a technical approach to developing alternatives for the producer to consider.
There are also financial assistance programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE). These programs utilize federal funding to provide a practice incentives payment to producers who are willing to implement practices that will benefit our resources and their operation. The average amount of practice incentives brought into Giles County annually is around $750,000.
The Soil Conservation District (GCSCD) is not only part of the county government but also a part of the state government. GCSCD also has a board of directors consisting of five local producers elected by the landowners of Giles County. They are Chairman Larry Dickey, Treasurer Ben Jackson, Russ Underwood, Chris Edgmon, and James McCormack.
The GCSCD employees are to protect and conserve the natural resources of the county for landowners, land users, units of government, educators and organizations by finding and taking available technical, financial and educational resources and making them available to our clients. The district utilizes programs such as the Agriculture Resources Conservation Fund (ARCF), 319 Watershed Grants and aids in the implementation of the federal programs. Annually these programs provide producers with an average of $250,000 in cost share assistance.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) serves all farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the administration of various programs including disaster relief, conservation programs and loan programs.
The FSA County Committees are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA and consist of local farmers and ranchers who are elected to serve on the committee. Elected committee members use their judgment and personal knowledge to help with decisions necessary to administer FSA programs. The Giles County FSA Committee consists of Chairperson Eddy Petty, Vice-Chairperson Dwight Watson, Bartt McCormack and Advisor Patricia McDougal.
Presently, the FSA office is conducting sign-up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which is available to assist crop, livestock and dairy producers. Sign-up continues through Aug. 28.
For additional information on any programs mentioned, visit farmers.gov or gcscd.com, or call our office at 363-2675.