EQIP Funds Can Improve Livestock Forage, Areas For Wildlife Habitat

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been informed that the Tennessee’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has recently received $778,044 in additional funding to help crop and livestock producers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Producers in areas designated as either D3 Drought, Extreme or D4 Drought  exceptional on the recent July 2012 U.S. Drought Monitor maps for Tennessee are eligible to apply for selected conservation practices. These areas include Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Haywood, Henry, Houston, Humphreys, Lake, Lauderdale, Montgomery, Obion, Shelby, Stewart, Tipton, and Weakley counties.

Producers can utilize these funds to improve the drought resistance of their forage base by using one of several plantings of native warm season grasses. Native warm season grasses provide palatable and productive forage during the warm months and are typically targeted for 15 to 25 percent of a farm’s forage acreage, the remainder being in cool season grasses and legumes.

Research by the University of Tennessee has demonstrated summer average daily weight gains of steers of 2.0 to 2.8 pounds per day, significantly outperforming fescue while avoiding fescue toxicity problems. Low inputs on lime and fertilizer make native grasses economically competitive with bermudagrass, a non-native forage that has almost no wildlife value.

Including a native grass forage component on your farm can ensure a greater supply of forage during times of drought. Being deep-rooted, native warm season grasses usually continue to thrive during droughts while most other forages succumb and subsequently are replanted at a cost to the landowner and often taxpayers through USDA programs.  Because native grass forages can help drought-proof livestock operations, offers including conversions to native grasses qualify for extra ranking points and increase an applicant’s chance of getting accepted for EQIP funding.

Landowners can also choose to plant a more diverse stand of native grasses in combination with wildflowers and forbs at reduced seeding rates specifically to benefit wildlife, particularly bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbits, turkeys and songbirds.  Forage stands, particularly of the big bluestem-little bluestem-indiangrass mix, properly grazed, can also provide wildlife benefits.

More information on native grasses for forage and wildlife can be found through the Center for Native Grasslands Management at http://nativegrasses.utk.edu .

Applications for EQIP drought assistance funds can be made at the local USDA Service Center.  Any landowners interested in getting a free wildlife management plan written can also contact a TWRA Private Lands Biologist. See www.twraprivatelands.org or call TWRA at 615 781-6610 for contact information.

Tellico Hatchery Announces Winter Hours

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced winter hours for the Tellico Hatchery in Tellico Plains. Holidays along with hours of daylight and alterations in operations are the primary reasons for changes. Fish eat less during colder months. This reason, along with a reduction of seasonal responsibilities such as mowing grass and hatchery upkeep, means fewer people on staff. ... (click for more)

Wildlife Officer Pete Geesling Honored In Veterans Day Observance Ceremony

Brandon “Pete” Geesling, a wildlife officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Warren County, was one of five veteran state employees recognized during a Veterans Day observance event held at the Tennessee Tower Plaza.     Previously, Mr. Geesling served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a combat engineer which included a deployment ... (click for more)

Larry Schumacher Named Chief Executive Officer Of CHI Memorial

T he board of directors of CHI Memorial and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have chosen Larry Schumacher as the chief executive officer (CEO) of CHI Memorial effective Jan. 4, 2016 . Mr. Schumacher comes to CHI Memorial from Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) based in Springfield, Illinois where he served as system chief operating officer for the past eight years.  ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Under Flood Watch Through Wednesday

With a steady rain set to continue through Wednesday, Chattanooga is under a flood watch. Over four inches of rain are expected in some areas. Here is the advisory from the National Weather Service: ...LOCALIZED FLOODING POSSIBLE ACROSS EAST TENNESSEE AND SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING... .THE COMBINATION OF DEEP SUBTROPICAL MOISTURE AND A SLOW MOVING FRONTAL ... (click for more)

Why Are We Allowing Poor Architecture And Urban Design Downtown?

   Over the past four decades our fair city has enjoyed striking improvements to our City Center and Northshore areas in large part due to citizen input and the guidance of the former Urban Design Studio. We are now widely recognized as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, neighborhood revitalization and good Urban Design. At the most recent City Council meeting, the leader and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In December

As the fallen leaves confirm today is the first of December, my monthly walk in life’s garden is more foggy than fun. In much-older times, good children would get a piece of candy on Christmas Day while bad ones would receive a lump of coal. So here are some things that deserve a helping of both: A PIECE OF CANDY to the amazingly few who can spy a nest of mistletoe high in area ... (click for more)