Wise County farmers and ranchers are served by the U.S. Department of Agriculture service center on U.S. 380 West in Decatur.
The center is home to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development.
NRCS is formerly the Soil Conservation Service. The staff, headed by District Conservationist Darnell Willis, furnishes technical assistance to protect, develop and wisely use the natural resources, including soil, water, air, plants, animals and the human element. The motto of the NRCS is “Helping People Help the Land.”
The staff helps landowners control erosion, improve water quality, preserve wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce flood damage and promote good land use. The agency can also determine soil properties and make soil interpretations, using the soil survey produced by the agency.
Other programs include plant material centers to select and develop plants to solve conservation problems; and watershed projects that help local sponsors plan and finance small projects for watershed protection, flood prevention, water quality, agricultural water management and nonagricultural water management such as public recreation.
The agency also manages the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, Grazing Land Conservation Initiative, Natural Resources Inventory, Environment Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Wetlands Reserve Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.
The Wise County Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office, headed by Tracy Meadows, administers the federal USDA farm programs locally. Participation is voluntary and most contracts are one year in length.
Annual programs offered are commodity payments on base farms, insurance-like programs for all non-insured grown crops, including grazed crops and disaster programs designed to provide money for crop, livestock and grazing losses.
They also provide credit to new or disadvantaged farmers and ranchers unable to obtain private loans, maintain annual crop reports and aerial photographs and administer Emergency Conservation Programs (when applicable) designed to help farm operations recover from the effects of severe weather losses.
Rural Development, headed by Area Director Alan Lambright, has a mission of helping the people of rural America develop sustainable communities and improve their quality of life. Rural Development provides funding for water and wastewater systems as well as community facilities such as fire and police stations. To eliminate substandard housing in rural America, Rural Development helps people buy, build or rent decent housing. It also creates jobs by funding the growth and creation of rural businesses and cooperatives.
Other USDA programs help rural towns build or improve community facilities, such as schools, health clinics and fire stations.
USDA also has programs that help rural communities build or extend utilities, including water, electricity and telecommunications services.
- (940) 627-2268
- FSA extension 2
- NRCS and Wise Soil and Conservation District extension 3
- Rural Development extension 4