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Beginning Farmers Cattle Operation Benefits from Initiative for Underserved Farmers

Emma and Percy Brown of Vicksburg, Miss., are beginning farmers whose lives have benefited from funding through the USDA StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative.

Emma and Percy Brown of Vicksburg, Miss., are beginning farmers whose lives have benefited from funding through the USDA StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative.

For over a year, Mississippi retirees Percy and Emma Brown traveled 50 miles roundtrip three times a week from their home in Vicksburg, Miss. to their farm in Port Gibson in order to water their cattle. It was a time consuming process that involved filling up eight barrels with many gallons of water for the growing cattle herd.

That all changed when the Browns, who were new to farming, heard about USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency that helps private landowners implement conservation. They visited the Port Gibson field office and learned that they could receive funding from NRCS for livestock water troughs through the USDA StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative.

The Browns were able to install the farm’s first-ever water troughs with StrikeForce funds. The farm now has two water troughs located in separate pastures. That means that the Browns’ days of hauling water are over, and they can now spend that time on other farm projects.

The national StrikeForce initiative addresses high-priority funding and technical assistance needs in rural communities in 16 states, including Mississippi, with a special emphasis on historically underserved producers and communities in designated counties with persistent poverty. The initiative provides an opportunity for NRCS to work with underserved landowners to determine how to best leverage available financial assistance. Beginning farmers like the Browns are considered historically underserved.

Farmer Percy Brown and Patrick Smith, NRCS district conservationist in Port Gibson, Miss., visit about conservation planning on Emma and Percy Brown’s farm.

Farmer Percy Brown and Patrick Smith, NRCS district conservationist in Port Gibson, Miss., visit about conservation planning on Emma and Percy Brown’s farm.

“We just really wanted to get started and we didn’t really know how,” Percy says.

StrikeForce also helped the Browns install conservation practices such as cross fencing, one key to implementing a rotational grazing system which can help reduce the pressures caused by overgrazing. Negative effects of overgrazing include soil compaction, decreased soil organic matter and reduced forage availability for the livestock.

The Browns now have peace of mind knowing their 15 head of cattle will always have drinking water. The water troughs have also freed up more time for the Browns to enjoy their retirement days working on the farm.

Since the Browns installed two water troughs and heavy use pads on their farm from additional EQIP funds through the USDA StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative, they are no longer spending hours using a water hose to fill up eight water barrels for their cattle.

Since the Browns installed two water troughs and heavy use pads on their farm from additional EQIP funds through the USDA StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity initiative, they are no longer spending hours using a water hose to fill up eight water barrels for their cattle.

9 Responses to “Beginning Farmers Cattle Operation Benefits from Initiative for Underserved Farmers”

  1. Dewberry says:

    how can I find out about farm and ranch loans programs throughout the USA?

  2. Bill n DC says:

    How do they fill up the water troughs?? I don’t understand how this is different?? Why is this a good use of tax payer dollars??

  3. Shelly says:

    In response to both Dewberry and Bill.
    First, the funding is available through this Strike Force Initiative and through numerous programs through the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to agricultural producers. Check with your local NRCS office to apply for technical and financial assistance.
    Bill, by assisting landowners to conserve their land the Country takes better care of the natural resources for future generations. The landowner is involved in both the conservation planning and in paying for the conservation practices.

  4. Todd Epp says:

    Are there any recipients in South Dakota? If so, I may do a story on them. Thank you.

  5. Vernon says:

    In response to Bill n DC.
    You may not be able to tell from the picture at the water trough, but there is a hose to the trough with a device which automatically refills the trough as the water level drops. This means that the farmer does not have to refill the trough as the water is consumed.

  6. R.kumarasamy says:

    very interesting !!

    kumarasamy
    india

  7. waheed says:

    farmers so hard workers

  8. myron betts says:

    What is the water source. Did they dig a well.
    Where is the water coming from.

  9. jake says:

    i would have considered the waters with balls in them to prevent freezing during the winter months and keeps water cool during the summer and reduces alge build up.

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