ROCKINGHAM — There is only one week left for candidates to file for a chance to sit on the Richmond County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors.
Three seats on the five-member board are up for grabs this year: two by election, one by appointment. The terms are for four years.
The board governs the district, which is responsible for preventing soil erosion and protecting water and other natural resources from abuse and deterioration.
“The Richmond County Soil and Water Conservation District receives funding that benefits row crop farmers as well as livestock farmers, big operations or small family farms, as well as funding to benefit environmental projects in urban areas,” said Kelsey Lovin, natural resource conservationist with the district. “The focus of the cost share programs that are available are to assist landowners with paying for projects that conserve water quality or water quantity and preserve the land for future use. Many of the projects that are cost shared on are things that farmers do themselves without realizing that there is funding available to assist with.”
Some of those projects include: cropland conversion to grass; pasture renovation; water wells for irrigation or livestock watering; troughs for livestock; abandoned well closures; and dry stacks for poultry houses.
Lovin said landowners are responsible for paying for the projects, but can be reimbursed by the state.
“To ensure that these projects are being used for their intended purpose, spot checks are carried out once a year, for the life of the contract, by the Soil and Water’s Ag Cost Share technician and the board members,” she said. “If it is determined that these projects are being ill-used, the funding is expected to be repaid to the state.”
Tommy Deese and Jared Gainey were both elected in 2014. Gainey eventually stepped down and was replaced by Bill Thompson, who recently turned in his resignation.
Pat Dial had been appointed by the North Carolina Soil and Water Conservation Commission, but later departed and Bill Comninaki was appointed to fill out the term in 2016.
Deese, a farmer and retiree of the N.C. Forest Service, is the only candidate to have filed as of Thursday afternoon, according to Elections Director Connie Kelly.
The filing period began at noon on Monday, June 11, and ends at noon Friday, July 6.
Candidates’ names will appear on the mid-term election ballot in November.
If no one else files, Kelly said, the second elected seat will be determined by write-in votes. Gainey was elected by write-in in 2014, Kelly confirmed.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]