The Demonstration Center, located in Metcalfe, Miss., is the first of seven sites in the United States selected to commit to operating the model farm using National Resource Conservation Service’s Core 4 Conservation Concept of better soils, cleaner water, greater profits, and a brighter future.

At a formal signing of the agreement at the DCDC headquarters, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) announced that he is working on securing a $1.425 million Congressional appropriation for the demonstration farm for the 2003 fiscal year.

“I am going to support the work being done here,” he said.

A non-profit corporation serving the four-state Delta region, which includes Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee, the demonstration farm was established in 1999 on 638 acres of land in Metcalfe, Miss.

“Our mission is to demonstrate Delta-specific conservation practices in a working farm environment. At our center farmers can learn best management practices for their own crops, which ultimately saves them money and helps the environment, ” says Hiram Boone, director of the Delta Conservation Demonstration Center.

The DCDC can also show non-farmers how to take their own land and make it profitable. The model farm demonstrates how to grow food crops on small plots of land.

“We are trying to establish a farmers’ market in Greenville, Miss., so surrounding families can grow food crops around their houses and take it to the market to sell,” says Boone.

The DCDC provides an excellent learning atmosphere for a wide range of people, according to Boone. “People who have never been on a farm before can come here and see what it is all about. They can even ride a tractor.”

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com