Steward of the Land

USDA programs have helped Chris improve environmental health on his land.

By: Anna Kearney, FSA

Christopher Sumpter Jr. is a fourth-generation farmer from Borden, South Carolina, where he raises Hereford and Black Angus cattle. Chris is continuing his family’s legacy, running a cow-calf operation and working daily in the pastures.

Preserving Natural Resources

Chris participates in programs from USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service. With the help of the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, Chris was able to install fencing, pipeline, water wells and troughs to help his livestock operation.

Through this voluntary conservation program, NRCS and producers work together to invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.

Chris participates in the Conservation Reserve Program, which provides yearly rental payments to farmers who agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality.

Now dormant, the pollinators he has planted through the program will bring a rainbow of color and a variety of wildlife once they bloom in the spring. Also part of his CRP participation, Chris has planted loblolly pine trees and reiterates how important it is to be good stewards of the land no matter what operation you’re running.

“USDA programs have substantially impacted my operation by helping me to improve my agricultural practices and allowing opportunities to gain more knowledge of the agricultural community,” said Chris. “[These programs] have been a great resource in time of agricultural need.”

Chris is a public servant who spends his time between several different ventures.

Serving the Community

Chris is best described as a public servant who spends his time between several different ventures. He was elected to the Sumter County Council in 2016 at the age of 24 and is the second youngest to serve in the state. In addition to his farming operation, Chris runs an insurance company that supplies life and crop insurance.

Chris is an active member in several organizations, including the South Carolina Landowners and Forestry Association, South Carolina Farm Bureau, Young Farmer and Rancher Association, and the Cattleman’s Association. Chris hopes in the future he can continue to expand his operation if the opportunity presents itself. He wants to create a sustainable operation that is environmentally friendly and good for the land.

His ultimate goal, through his operation and time on Sumter County Council is to “preserve positive opportunities for generations to come.”

More Information

USDA offers a variety of risk management, disaster assistance, loan, and conservation programs to help agricultural producers in the United States weather ups and downs in the market and recover from natural disasters as well as invest in improvements to their operations. Learn about additional programs.

For more information about USDA programs and services, contact your local USDA service center.

For an interactive version of this story, visit #FridaysOnTheFarm

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