KNOXVILLE (May 19, 2011) -- In observance of National Public Works Week (NPWW) today Knox County wants to highlight the Soil Conservation District and outstanding employee Amy Mann.
“Knox County’s Soil Conservation District is an asset to our community that helps promote proper farming methods that will reduce soil erosion and improve water quality,” said Mayor Tim Burchett. “These are important services that don’t often get the recognition they deserve.”
Amy Mann has been with the Knox County Soil Conservation District (SCD) since January 2008. She and her co-workers partner with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help agriculture producers in our community enhance their farming operations while improving water quality and reducing soil erosion. Mann explains that since agriculture is an unregulated field in the water quality world, federal and state governments have created programs to incentivize good stewardship of the land by offering cost-share opportunities to farmers for installing best management practices to achieve these goals.
“The Soil Conservation Service, now NRCS, and Soil Conservation Districts were formed after the Dust Bowl to eliminate agriculture disasters of that scope and magnitude from happening again,” said Mann. “We assist landowners in Knox County in applying for and receiving these cost-share grant funds, bringing tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy every year. These funds turn over 6-7 times in our community, infusing literally millions of dollars of economic stimulus into Knox County on an annual basis.”
The SCD encourages landowners to fence their livestock out of local streams and rivers to reduce streambank erosion and eliminate pathogen load from animal waste in our waterways. It also assists in the designing of livestock rotation systems to allow forages to rest and regenerate. Additionally, the SCD coordinates education and outreach events for both farmers and school children.
“I’d like more people to know about our conservation programs in general,” said Mann. “I was surprised to find out that not all farmers are even aware of us and the cost-share opportunities and free technical assistance available to them. I believe we are the quintessential resource to the local farmer. It also seems to surprise folks to learn that we will take time to teach schoolchildren about soil erosion and water quality concepts. We are a technical and educational resource to Knox County residents.”
For all the men and women who work diligently to assist farmers in proper erosion control, ensure healthy water resources, enforce public safety codes and all the other countless aspects of public works, Knox County thanks you.
For more information on National Public Works Week, visit www2.apwa.net/About/npww/.