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Invasive Species Control Plays Vital Role on Covington County Farm

Conservation Showcase

by Josh Elliott, NRCS Soil Conservationist, Covington County, Alabama

J.P. Riley remembers waking early as a child to help his father milk cows at his family dairy. Rain or shine, summer or winter, they were faithful because they knew that people were depending on them.

It has been many years since the family sold the dairy cows and moved on, but Mr. Riley will not soon forget the memories from the "good ole days." Cow’s still graze the land and Mr. Riley still wakes up early to examine his livestock, but there’s something different about this place now. It is being taken over by a foreigner not welcome in these parts, the Chinese tallow tree (Popcorn Tree).

Mr. Riley has been fighting a battle with this evasive species for years with little success until he found out about a new secret weapon -- Invasive Species Control under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

With assistance from EQIP, Mr. Riley has been able to clear 22 acres of Chinese tallow tree and reclaim the pasture he remembers as a child. In addition to improving the grazing capability of his pasture, Mr. Riley is helping to put an end to the over-run of this invasive species, one tree at a time.