The Haywood County Soil Conservation District was organized in 1942 in accordance with the Tennessee Soil Conservation District's Law No. 197 of the 1939 Tennessee General Assembly. The District includes all of Haywood County, the boundaries being the same as those of the County, comprising of 527 square miles or 337,235 acres. Our purpose is to promote the wise use and treatment of all land and resources within their capabilities. The District program is conducted so that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, marital status, or handicap be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or otherwise subject to discrimination under any District program or activity.
The Haywood County Soil Conservation District Plan of Work places primary emphasis on applying conservation to the land and providing information and education to meet that goal. The 1985 Food Security Act Farm Bill and all farm bills since require landusers to actively apply conservation plans and systems in order to participate in farm programs. Those who fail to do so may be denied benefits from farm programs. The District is delegated various responsibilities in carrying out these mandates of the Farm Bills. The District strives to insure all participants are provided the assistance necessary to remain in compliance and to participate in various conservation programs, which are available.
There are many programs and opportunities for landuser assistance. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is well funded for landusers who need assistance to apply many eligible conservation practices on cropland and grazing land. The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is another program that rewards good land stewards who are continually striving to improve their operations and land. The TDA special projects in selected small watersheds also offers funding for conservation measures. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) offers many opportunities to improve wildlife habitat, improve water quality and reduce erosion. Other programs such as the Grassland Reserve Program and the Wetland Reserve Program have opportunities to conserve and protect grasslands and wetlands.
During the 2019-2020 fiscal year those members serving on the District Board were Link Carlton, Chairman; John Willis, Secretary-Treasurer; J. Robert Thornton, Jr.; J. Leslie McCool and Bradley Jones members. In June 2017 the County Budget Committee voted to propose withdrawl of funding for the SCD, which paid salaries for Leslie MCCool, County Technician and Darlene H. Magruder, Secretary. The County Committee's vote to reinstate the funding for the SCD failed by one vote. During the July County Committee meeting a previously absent member recalled the matter at which time partial funding, with funds contributed also by the SCD, to retain the secretarial position was voted on and passed. The partial funding was to retain the secretarial position only.
As of March 31, 2020 the newly appointed Board Member is Robert Allen King. Mr. King took the appointed seat of John Willis who, after over 40 years on the SCD Board, decided to retire. Mr. Willis was also the SCD Board Secretary/Treasurer. In a Board Meeting May 2020 the Board unanimously selected J. Leslie McCool, an acting member of the Board, to be the SCD Board Secretary/Treasurer.
The Haywood County Soil Consercation District is proud to be members of the National Association of Conservation Districts as well as the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts. Darlene Holt Magruder, Secretary is a member of the Tennessee Conservation Districts Employee Association.
As part of the District's ongoing efforts to reach all Haywood County landowners and operators, each fall we host the NRCS Local Workgroup meeting as well as a meeting for Historically Underserved Farmers, Ranchers, and Vegetable Producers. The District also sends notifications, to all those we have email addressess for concerning field days, workshops, crop production meetings, cost-share program funds available, etc.
Our newest endeavor is the sale of dual wall water tight pipe, fittings, hickenbottom intakes and extensions, elbows, rodent guards, etc. We hope to make it more convenient for Haywood County landowners and operators to obtain these items for their conservation needs.
Board meetings are usually held at the USDA Service Center at 1179 South Dupree Street in Brownsville and are open to the public. We may be reached at 731-772-1822 Ext. 3 or 731-741-3005.
The District appreciates the support of the Natural Resources Conservation Service as well as the continued interest and support of the Haywood County Commission, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the Farm Service Agency and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Here at the Haywood County Soil Conservation District we strive to better serve you, the Haywood County landowners/operators, in your efforts to preserve the natural resources of our beautiful county.