Program Information

Landowners in any County can apply for cost-share funding. There are a host of programs, both federal and state, that provide cost share funds for Ag BMPs. EQIP, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, is the most commonly applied for federally funded program. It, like all other programs, is a reimbursement program, meaning that the landowner pays for the installation of the Ag BMPs up front, and NRCS reimburses the landowner after NRCS personnel ensure that the BMP was installed correctly. The reimbursement rate for this program is 75% cost share. That DOES NOT mean that the landowner willnecessarily receive 75% of his or her actual costs for installing a BMP.  What it does mean is that the landowner will receive 75% of the statewide average cost of installing a BMP. It may cost $3500 on average to install a watering facility in Knox County, for example, while in Hawkins County it may cost closer to $2000 on average. NRCS takes the average cost of installing a watering facility over all 95 Tennessee counties and sets a “payment rate” for that practice each year. NRCS will reimburse a landowner up to this amount for installing that practice. These practices & associated rates are listed in NRCS’s “Payment Schedule”. NRCS publishes a new Payment Schedule each year to adjust for inflation and other variables. This way, we can tell a landowner exactly how much they will get paid for installing a practice, before they install it.

TDA uses this payment schedule as well for their cost share programs. TDA’s most commonly used program is the Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund (ARCF). Your District has to apply each year for funding from this program. The State Soil Conservation Committee is a TDA committee and directs a set amount of funds each year to each District who applies for ARCF funds. This is where your Board of Supervisors comes in. Your Board of Supervisors is responsible for then directing those funds to landowners in your County.

Depending on your situation, the Conservationist(s) will direct you to apply for one or more programs to increase your chances of getting your conservation plan funded with cost-share dollars. We walk you through the entire process to ensure your success. Please don't hesitate to call us with any questions you may have about our programs.

We can be reached at (865) 523-3338 x 3, Monday through Friday 8am - 4:30pm.

These websites will offer more information on most of our cost-share programs:

Tennessee NRCS website: http://www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/

Tennessee Department of Agriculture website: https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/conservation.html

 

Board and Staff

 

Knox County Soil Conservation District partners with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect and conserve the natural resources on agricultural land in Knox County. The District and NRCS share field office space at the USDA Service Center located on New Harvest Lane.  The two District employees are employed by Knox County and are managed by the Stormwater Department of Knox County as well as the Board of Supervisors.  Knox County currently employs a Soil Conservationist and a Program Coordinator.  

  

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Luke Shoffner, Soil Conservationist, Knox County

865-523-3338 x 3

 

 

Cynthia Foster, Program Coordinator, Knox County

865-523-3338 x 3

 

 

The District Conservationist and the Soil Conservationist are the only federal employees at the Knox County field office and manage the field operations and all federal contracts generated throught the Knox field office.    

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Mary Collier, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS

865-523-3338 x 3

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David Gentry, Soil Conservationist, USDA-NRCS

865-523-3338 x3

 

The Knox County Soil Conservation District is supervised by a 5 member Board. The Board directs the funds of the State of TN Dept. of Agriculture's Ag Resources Conservation Fund to local Knox County landowners who participate in the TDA's cost-share program. The Board has 3 elected positions and 2 appointed positions (each office serves a 3-year term, and elections and appointments are staggered so as to provide some continuity of Board makeup).

Soil Conservation Districts in Tennessee hold elections every three (3) years for three (3) of the five (5) positions. The other two seats are appointed alternately during non-election years. Knox County SCD held our election in March of 2022.

Our current Board of Supervisors is:

Bill Hill, Chairman

Smiley Clapp, Vice Chairman

Calvin Thompson, Secretary

Broadus Hubbs, Treasurer

Richard Neal, Liaison

Call us at 865-523-3338 x 3 with any questions or concerns.

Geo Fabric

Photo Geo FabricThe Knox County Soil Conservation District has geotextile fabric for sale:

Specifications and Pricing are as follows:

15' x 60' bundle of 6 oz. fabric for $144/bundle

Call us at (865) 523-3338 x 3 to arrange to pick up your fabric.

 

 

 

 

Knox County SCD Conserves Soil and Water Resources

                                                                                                                                                                                                

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The Knox County Soil Conservation District (SCD) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Knoxville Field Office are work in partnership to help landowners in Knox County conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources.  We provide technical and financial assistance to landowners to help them install agricultural best management practices (BMPs).  Read more below to learn about our projects and see before-and-after BMP photos.

The Knox SCD seeks to help farmers cost-effectively improve operations on their land and conserve natural resources, ensuring that we leave a positive legacy for future agriculturalists.  In pursuit of that goal, we provide technical and financial assistance to farmers in Knox County.  Just a few of the BMPs we assist in installing are:

  • Heavy-use area protection
  • Livestock watering systems
  • Cross fencing for rotational grazing
  • Exclusion fencing and stream corssings
  • High tunnels
  • Wildlife and forestry practices

We also provide low-cost rentals and sales on equipment and materials such as:

  • No-till drills
  • Lime-spreader
  • Geotextile fabric
  • Soil-testing kits

Cost-share funding is available through the USDA-NRCS Enfironmental Quality Incentives Program, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund, and other programs.  You can read more about these options on the "Programs and Services" tab.  If you have questions about a resource concern, installing a BMP on your property, or whether you may be eligible for cost-share funding, don't hesitate to contact us at our office today!  We are always happy to answer any questions or schedule a field visit to your property.  

 Here are some photos of recently installed Ag BMPs on Knox County farms:

Photo exclusion fencing before

   Exclusion Fencing Along a Creek

(Before & After)

 

Photo exclusion fencing after 
 Photo heavy use area before

 Heavy Use Area Protection Pad

(Before & After)

 Photo heavy use area after
 Photo stream bank access point

 Stream Access point

(Before & After)

 Photo stream access point after
 Photo watering trough before

 Watering Trough

(Before & After)

 Photo water trough after
 Photo streambank stabilization before

 Streambank Stabilization Project

(Before & After)

 Photo streambank stabilization after

 

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