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Save Grassland, Gain Income

Some 45 people were on hand for the Landowners Lunch and Learn event on Wednesday, May 17. Guest speakers from the USDA Farm Service Agency in Columbus County included

Alex Sasser- County Executive Director, Watisha Spaulding - Chief Program Technician, Christy Hayes, Erica Waddell, and Dylan Fisher (all Program Technicians.)

The program introduced landowners to a way for them to convert existing cropland or pasture land into environmental preservation areas

to prevent erosion, improve water quality, support wildlife habitats and ensure good air quality as well.

Existing landowners can participate in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in a number of ways. For those who wish to use the land as pasture, changes in fencing, watering or grazing plans can be implemented. Or, land can be used as buffers and filter areas for wetlands and waterways, which can protect animal, plant and water quality. Other practices may include planting trees (Shortleaf Pine, Hardwoods, Bottomland Timber.)

The benefits to enrolling in the program include payments and financial incentives, depending on the kind of land use and the amount of land. Contracts may include a certain time period (10, 15 or 30 years) or in some cases, may be permanent.

The audience at the event were taking notes and asking very specific questions. A delicious barbecue lunch was prepared by Durkie and Paula Jacobs and served outdoors, with rave reviews from all the attendees.

This program is being supported by the CNEF grant from the Resourceful Communities of The Conservation Fund. The purpose is to support historically underserved and rural landowners in preserving, maintaining, and using their land for social, environmental and personal benefit.

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