The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Community

February 13, 2013

Farmers Manage Deer, turning problems into profits

ROCKY MOUNT — Farmers Manage Deer, a two-year program that was kicked off last month, aims to help farmers reduce often-uninsurable crop loss caused by deer. For two weeks during the fall 2013 deer hunting season, the North Carolina Wildlife Federation will lease land from row crop farmers and recruit sportsmen.  Hunters will harvest deer according to a property-specific plan with excess venison donated to charity.  N.C. Hunters for the Hungry will process donated deer at NCDA&CS certified facilities.  “One deer can provide an average of 160 meals,” said Guy Gardner, manager of the Farmers Manage Deer program.

To give landowners the opportunity to enroll land, pledge volunteer support or to learn more about the NCWF Farmers Manage Deer project, a town hall meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the East Carolina Agriculture and Education Center on Kingsboro Road.

“This grant is a wise use of funding,” said State Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow. “This statewide program helps so many people by aiding farmers and agriculture as well as the local community.”

“Deer are the chief culprits in causing an estimated $29.4 million in damage to North Carolina crops,” noted Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler in his letter of support to this project.

Pending the success of the project, William Upchurch, executive director of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, hopes the program can serve as a model that can be applied to other crops and other areas that may be experiencing deer overpopulation.

“This is a positive opportunity to get local civic-minded groups involved as well.” said Guy and Judy Gardner, managers of this program.  Hosting a drop-off site, transporting venison to the processor, and funding the processing costs of deer donated are examples of how the community can get involved.

To register, contact Art Bradley at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 641-7815, or the Gardners at (919) 608-3386 or  HYPERLINK "mailto:%20guyandjudy@ncwf.org" guyandjudy@ncwf.org.

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to all NC wildlife and its habitat since 1945. For more information, visit http://www.ncwf.org/"www.ncwf.org

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