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Sen. Carper tours ag. sites to highlight importance of USDA funding

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
Norman Pierce chats with Sen. Carper about his farm.

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) is touring First State farms to highlight the role U.S. Department of Agriculture funding plays here.




Carper stood by the fence at Union Ridge Farms to admire several Boer goats.


“Come here! Come here! Got a minute? Come here!…” Carper said.


He emphasized the importance of the First State’s $1.3 billion agricultural industry, and worries proposed cuts to the USDA budget could hurt its long-term health. 


“I’m hugely interested in trying to find the intersection between good conservation programs and profitability for our farmers,” Carper said. “And the idea is - is it possible to have a clean environment and at the same time, create more jobs? Yes.”


Smart investments by government and farmers can keep it growing, Carper said.


“You don’t have to choose between good conservation projects, and be good for the environment and frankly making money by farming, you can do both, and one reinforces the other. I think that’s a great lesson for all of us,” Carper said.


Norman and Gwen Pierce’s farm in Townsend is an example of that, Carper said. USDA funding helped them break their pasture down into four sections for their 20 boer goats, which is called “more intensive grazing.”


“And we rotate them as they eat it down and that prevents us from having to buy so much hay to feed them so it increases our bottom line,” Gwen Pierce said.


“As I move them I would actually go out there and measure how far down they’ve eaten the grass,” Norman Pierce added.


The Pierces also used USDA funds to install automatic water stations for the goats that work and refill year-round.


Carper said he wants to make sure all First State farmers continue to have access to USDA funds to make projects like these possible.

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