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Conservation Officers Target Agriculture Runoff

By Daniel Cherry | Published 22 May 2012 06:43pm | comments
Farmer Bill Purvis shows grass he uses to feed his cattle

Conservation officers are hoping to reduce water pollution across Mississippi by stopping water from running off farms. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how agriculture runoff poses a threat to marine life and also threatens drinking water quality.

On Bill Purvis' farm in Pelahatchie, he's showing state natural resources conservation officers how he's created grazing area for his cattle that doesn't use fertilizer and reduces how much water runs off his land.

"You've got Dallisgrass and Bermuda Grass in this, and it's all tender and juicy. It's got no fertilizer on it."

Mississippi conservation officers are promoting practices like that used on Purvis' farm. The state received 1.2 million dollars to implement efforts to reduce runoff. One area is Ashlog Creek, a tributary of the Ross Barnett Reservoir...the main drinking water supply for Jackson. John Sigman is in charge of the Pearl River Water Supply District.

"Getting into the streams and getting into the drinking water supply, and then the city has to deal with it through the big treatment plant down there, and it costs them money on that end too. All these things are beneficial. The more we can keep all these nutrients and soils on the farm the better off everybody is."

The money will be focused on 3 problem areas. Ashlog Creek, Tippah Creek, and Porter Bayou feeding into the Sunflower River. Curt Readus is the Acting State Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He says keeping fertilizers and sediments out of waterways is good for everyone.

"If we can take care of what we've got in place right now, if we do that during our generation, these lands will be available for the food and fiber of the nation for the future."

Farmers and foresters located along these 3 waterways have until June 15th to apply for grants from the NRCS.


Farmer Bill Purvis shows grass he uses to feed his cattle



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