State conservation funds available to Hoke farmers

This July 2017 file photo shows an irrigation system at a farm in Farmville. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RAEFORD — The major cause of water quality problems in North Carolina and in much of the United States is nonpoint source pollution.  In many places, damage to our water resources comes from soil erosion, excessive fertilizer use, animal waste contamination, and improper use of agricultural chemicals. 

The North Carolina Agricultural Cost Share Program (ACSP) helps address nonpoint source pollution by providing technical and financial resources through a voluntary, incentive-based program designed to improve water quality through the installation of various best management practices (BMPs) on agricultural lands directly involved with agriculture production. 

Hoke Soil and Water Conservation District received its cost share allocation from the State of North Carolina for nonpoint source pollution control for agricultural activities. These funds are available to assist farmers and landowners to install conversation practices, which help decrease the amount of sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, chemicals, and other pollutants in the ground water.

The District received $34,999 for program year 2022-2023, which began July 1, 2022 and will run until June 30, 2023. Landowners may apply for cost share assistance to install conservation practices such as stripcropping, terraces, grassed waterways, animal waste management, agrichemical handling facilities, water control structures, conservation tillage

and no-till incentive payments. There are also many other practices that Hoke Soil and Water offers through these funds. 

In addition to the NC Agriculture Cost Share Program, Hoke County Soil and Water received $11,000 in funding for the Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program (AgWRAP). The purpose of the AgWRAP program is to identify opportunities that increase water use efficiency, availability and storage, implement best management practices (BMPs) to conserve and protect water resources and increase water storage and availability for agricultural purposes.

If you are a landowner or renter of an existing agricultural operation that has been operating for more than three years, you are eligible to participate in the North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program.

The North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program is successful because of the grassroots efforts of your local soil and water conservation district. Your district works with agricultural landowners and renters to develop and approve individual conservation plans, identify the best management practices (BMPs) best suited for your particular operation, design BMPs and help ensure their longevity, acquire preliminary approval of a Cost Share contract.

Landowners in Hoke County may contact the Hoke Soil and Water Conservation District for more information pertaining to the North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program and the Agriculture Water Resources Assistance Program. The District office is located in the Robert A. Wright Agriculture Building, 645 East Palmer Street, Raeford, NC 28376. You may also contact the office by phone at 910-848-8032, Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm.