Directors of Smith County SWCD #426
Pictured from left to right:
Sherwood Harrell, Vice-Chairman; Charles Tate, Member;
Roy Lee Branham, Member; Jim Guthrie, Secretary/Treasurer; James Reynolds, Chairman.
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Smith County Soil and Water Conservation District #426
Congratulations to Smith County SWCD #426 -- Area IV 2018 District of the Year
Submitted by Darin Smith, Smith County SWCD Clerk
Conserving and Protecting the Soil and Water Resources of Texas
Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Smith County was home to one of the first soil conservation demonstration farms. The Duck Creek Demonstration Project was started in 1934 to try out soil and water conservation measures.
December 6, 1941-The Neches-Sabine Soil Conservation District was organized.
The District included the whole of Smith County and the Mill Creek Watershed in Van Zandt County.
In 1985, the district changed its name to Smith County SWCD and contains all of Smith County.
The Smith County SWCD strives to serve the citizens, producers, cooperators, and area youth of Smith County. To promote conservation, best management practices, and to encourage development and conservation of natural resources thereby promoting industry, agriculture, and the environment.
To date, there are over 1300 cooperators on more than 320,000 acres. Main practices include: grass planting, tree planting, fencing, livestock water development, prescribed burning, nutrient and pest management, and erosion control.
For the past 32 years, the SWCD in partnership with the East Texas Farm and Ranch Club and the Cattle-ettes have held the annual hay show. More than $500,000 has been raised since the first hay show. The show encourages producers to test their hay and manage soil fertility.
In 2017, the SWCD held its annual plant identification contest. Annually, more than 75 area youth come through the contest. The contest is based on 50 common plants in East Texas and done in the field. High point senior is awarded a $1000.00 scholarship. A $250 award is given to the top 4-H Chapter. The SWCD is committed to area youth and their education in natural resources.
The SWCD purchased an inflatable Soil Tunnel promoting soil science and soil health. It debuted at the East Texas State Fair and over 22,000 people went through the tunnel. In cooperation with the Upshur-Gregg SWCD, the soil tunnel saw several thousand people come through at the annual Yamboree. Several hundred people went through it at the St. Marks Methodist Church’s Fall Festival. Several hundred elementary school kids went through the exhibit in Kilgore. In all, an estimated 30,000 folks have seen the Soil Tunnel, making it one of the largest Soil Health awareness events in the state.
Other noteworthy projects and outreach:
SWCD purchased a milking cow for Tyler ISD’s Outdoor Education Farm. Doubled the scholarships to Tyler Junior College. Purchased Woodland contest tools for Bullard ISD FFA. Instituted an award for local 4-H chapters participating in contests. Annually allocate $1,000.00 for Cooperators soil sampling. Purchased the Hay Lab-Forage Testing Equipment. Purchased the tables and chairs for Extension Conference and Meeting Room. Sponsor of FFA and 4-H to Wildlife, Woodland, and Land Judging Contests. Support to the East Texas State Fair with Agucation. Urban Wildlife CD. Longtime sponsor of the East Texas Banking and Agriculture Conference. Sponsorship of Spring and Fall Beef Cattle Short Courses.
The Association of