According to Sandy Mitchell, a member of The Alliance’s Ag Committee, the tour started back in the early 1980s and has continued to be an important day for the community.
“It’s just a day when concerned or interested taxpayers can see where their money goes when it comes to agricultural work in the area. It is such a fun day,” Mitchell said. “We loaded up about 40 people on Tuesday afternoon on our Northeast Mississippi Community College bus and made three stops before our banquet.”
The first stop for the group was at the Clifford G. Worsham Surface Water Treatment Facility in Corinth which is run by the Corinth Gas and Water Department. The mission of this treatment facility was relayed to the ag tour attendees which was named after Clifford Worsham, a longtime member of the Corinth Public Utilities Commission.
Worsham conceived the idea of tapping into the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway as a long-term water source for the region several decades ago.
One of the members of the tour enjoyed the first stop at the water treatment facility and was proud that Corinth Gas and Water was able to complete Worsham’s vision.
“I have been looking forward to today to come and see this thing,” said Wayne Gunn of Corinth. “I have been hearing about it. It has been interesting and I am glad Mr. Worsham had the foresight to start this project and finish his vision for this plant.”
After touring the water treatment facility, the bus traveled west on Highway 72 to the farmland of Phillip Mathis. The Mathis farm had a project going to attempt to fix his problem with his cattle crossing over a ditch on part of his farmland.
“The ditch was unraveling and causing Mr. Mathis many problems,” said Mitchell. “The best way we thought we could solve this, of course, was to keep the cattle out of the ditch so, we had to make a good cattle crossing for the cows. We were able to do this and we hope this will help resolve the issues.”
Mike Coleman, a technician for the USDA, was part of the Mathis farm project and explained the details of the work that had to be complete to the touring group.
“We had to bring in a ton of dirt and once we got it balanced out, we were able to get the bank slope on the ditch back to the way it should have been,” Coleman said. “The cows would tear it up when they came to it for water, especially when it was wet and rainy. However, now we got it to where he (Mathis) can maintain it. To help make sure they use the crossing and stay out of the ditch, we will put a two-strand hot wire fence all the way down both sides of the ditch.”
The last stop of the tour was at Larry Rickman’s land which is also off Highway 72. This stream bank and shoreline project began because of a major erosion problem on the backside of the old Corinth Gun Club property creek.
“This project was done with EWP funds,” Coleman said. “It was an emergency watershed project that needed an allocation from Congress. There was a severe bend in the creek and it has been eating away and making an ‘oxbow’ in the creek. We have been losing two to three feet off the edge of the bank every year and the soil loss was tremendous. We took the bow out of the creek and brought in over 500 pounds of rock to help stabilize the bank.”
After the final stop of the bus tour, the group went back to the Mississippi State Extension Center to prepare for the evening banquet.
“This was a great day for everyone and I have had such a good time on these tours. I know the people who come along on the bus do as well,” Mitchell added.