Soil and Water - The District Print
Departments - Soil and Water Conservation


Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District has existed for almost 60 years. With most of its Board of Supervisors and staff members having lived here all their lives, you might say caring about our soil and water runs deep! We're part of the community, and it comes naturally to help our neighbors when it comes to conserving those vital resources that we all need. We're lucky, you know -- our water begins right here, flowing from these mountains -- meaning no one else is using the water upstream, before it comes to us.

Our Board of Supervisors represents a broad range of backgrounds and experience. With two supervisors serving on our Board for well over 30 years each, the Board members are knowledgeable in areas like agriculture, forestry, business, agronomy, education and government, to name a few. Each supervisor has served on a variety of boards and understands the commitment needed to administer effective programs.

Haywood SWCD belongs to the Area I Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (16 western NC counties), the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NCASWCD) and the National Association of Conservation Districts. Our supervisors have not hesitated to take on leadership roles within these organizations when needed and to urge other supervisors to get involved. Both James Ferguson and Bill Yarborough have served as President of the NCASWCD and on the NC Soil and Water Commission.



Please excuse us if we brag, but --- with 96 soil and water conservation districts in North Carolina and hundreds of supervisors and district employees that stay busy at the business of soil and water conservation, we feel it says a lot about the Haywood district that the board members or staff are sometimes recognized for their hard work! 

Our latest award recipient is Bill Yarborough, who was just named Outstanding Conservation District Supervisor by the NC District Employees' Association! Bill was recognized during the 2012 Conservation Employee Training workshop in Greensboro, NC. Bill is, despite his busy schedule, an incredibly involved and passionate leader who gets things done on any number of levels. While the nomination for this award meant that several pages were filled with his accomplishments and activities, Bill still cares about invididual local farmers and never tires of trying to help them. Congratulations, Bill!

In 2004  James Ferguson was named the National Conservation District Board Member of the Year by the National Conservation District Employees’ Association. James has always been supportive of the NC DEA and was instrumental in getting it off the ground several years ago, recognizing its importance in helping district employees to network, learn together and increase their efficiency on their jobs.

James has served two terms as the President of the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (NCASWCD) making history as the only supervisor to serve two terms, having also served in 1992.

On January 11, 2012 James was inducted into the NCASWCD's Hall of Fame, the most distinguished honor that can be given to a soil and water supervisor in North Carolina. Only a handful of supervisors have been honored in this way. Two Haywood supervisors were past recipients of the Hall of Fame award: G.C. Palmer, Jr. in 1995 and Pink Francis in 2003. The first ever recipient of the Hall of Fame award was none other than Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett, recognized by any district employee as "the father of soil and water conservation", so our supervisors are in very good company indeed.

Supervisor Bill Yarborough received two awards in 2006 from his employer, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: The Commissioner's Award for Outstanding Service and the State Award of Excellence for Outstanding State Service. In January 2009. he was given additional reponsibilities as special assistant to the commissioner. He has served as Chairman of the Area I Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. In 2011 Bill was inducted into the WNC Agriculture Hall of Fame by WNC Communities for his significant contributions to agriculture.

Congratulations to Kila Thompson who was named the Administrative District Employee of the Year during the NCASWCD's Annual Meeting in January 2012!

Gail Heathman, the District's education coordinator, was named Environmental Educator of the Year in 2007 by the NCASWCD.

In 2003, Haywood SWCD was named NC District of the Year by the NCASWCD.



Haywood SWCD is one of 96 Soil and Water Conservation Districts in North Carolina. Soil and Water Conservation Districts were formed in 1937 - In fact, the first in the nation was the Brown Creek Soil and Water Conservation District in Anson County, NC. Our country owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett, who worked tirelessly to get legislation passed toward forming conservation districts following the devastation by the Dust Bowl.



Haywood SWCD is a part of the North Carolina Conservation Partnership, which consists of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation (NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA), the NC Soil and Water Commission, and the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. What this means to the public is that federal, state and local programs are administered through Haywood SWCD.


Partnership Vision Statement: A dynamic partnership committed to quality leadership and customer service for the conservation of our natural resources.


Haywood SWCD 

A five-member Board of Supervisors governs Haywood SWCD. Two supervisors are appointed and three are elected. The Board meets at the Ag Center at 9:00 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.


Soil and water are fundamental to life itself. Many people don't stop to realize the importance of clean water, nor the value of soil for growing crops and trees - not only to humans, but to all creatures. It can take hundreds of years for only an inch of topsoil to form - and virtually no time at all for it to wash away during a heavy rain if it is unprotected or has been disturbed. One place that it can end up, all too often, is in a creek or river where it then affects water quality and damages habitat for fish. Soil and water are linked to one another - and we depend on both. This, then, is what Haywood SWCD is all about - conserving soil and water through assistance to the public and through education. We offer technical assistance on the following:

  • Erosion Control

  • Drainage System Design

  • Animal Waste Systems

  • Soil Testing

  • Stream bank Stabilization

  • No-Till and Minimum-Till

  • Pond Construction

  • Pasture and Hayland Management

  • Access Road Layout

  • Critical Area Stabilization

  • Grassed Waterways and Field Borders

  • Diversions

  • Heavy Use Areas

  • Forms for Wildlife Planting & Tree Seedlings

  • Sediment Control Basin

  • Watershed Planning

  • Outdoor Classrooms for Schools

Copies of The Haywood County Soil Survey are available at our office.



Equipment: The District has a no-till seed drill and a weed wiper available for lease. Please check to see if they are available by calling 828-452-2741, Extension 3.