Back in the 1930's, when dust clouds from the Great Plains darkened the eastern skies, our nation was in peril. During the height of this Dust Bowl, Hugh Hammond Bennett provided testimony before a Congressional committee that resulted in the Soil Conservation Act of April 27, 1935, which created the Soil Conservation Service at USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).
Today, our land is in far different shape than it was in 1935, thanks to an ongoing conservation partnership that helps local land owners with solutions to their natural resource problems.
Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District was established by petition and vote of the people under provisions of the Soil Conservation Districts Law of 1937, Chapter 139 of the General Statutes, providing for the creation of Soil Conservation Districts. The District is a governmental subdivision of this State and a body corporate and politic. A Board of Supervisors governs it. The District's responsibilities are to prevent soiled erosion, protect water resources and other related natural resources from abuse and deterioration.
A meeting was held December 6, 1946 with the two appointed supervisors, W. F. Griffin and J. E. Graham, to make application to the State Soil Conservation Committee for a Soil Conservation District to assist people in Cumberland County in solving their soil and water management problems. J. Frank Doggett, Extension Soil Conservationist; and L. B. Laws, Assistant County Agent, explained the District program, the duties and responsibilities of supervisors, and the place of Soil Conservation Districts in an agricultural program. Application was made that night for a District by the appointed supervisors.
Favorable action was given the application by the State Soil Conservation Committee and a charter was issued December 27, 1946 by the Secretary of State, Thad Eure. The first meeting was held January 27, 1947 for the purpose of electing three supervisors to complete the five-member Board of Supervisors allowed under District Law. Present at that meeting were: W. F. Griffin, Acting Chairman; J. E. Graham, Supervisor; J. T. Monroe, County Agent; L. B. Laws, Assistant County Agent; A. A. Cone and C. C. Abernathy, Soil Conservation Service; and J. Frank Doggett, Extension Soil Conservationist.
A request was received from Ray Thaggard, who attended the meeting and acted as spokesman for a group of farmers who needed assistance in farm drainage and land use in their community in the Cedar Creek area. W. F. Griffin, Acting Chairman, discussed the possibilities of obtaining funds for a the new district, since Soil Conservation Districts do not have automatic taxing authority under the District Law.
Charter members of the first Board of Supervisors were: W. F. Griffin, J. E. Graham, Henry Tyson, E. Carl Johnson, and M. C. Williams.