New district conservationist helping farmers

John Jeffredo gave up coffee and nuts three months ago and now concerns himself with cotton and alfalfa.

Farmers in the Mohave Valley grow the latter two crops, and Jeffredo is doing all he can to help them as the new district conservationist in Mohave County for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a branch of the U.S.

Department of Agriculture.

"I started in Kingman from 1978 to 1980 under Tom Stehly," Jeffredo said.

"I also worked in the NRCS office in Fredonia from 1986 to 1988 as a soil conservation technician.

From 1996 to December 2002, I was a soil conservationist for NRCS on the big island of Hawaii.

I worked with coffee farmers and macadamia nut producers."

Stehly is now a soil conservationist in the Kingman office under Jeffredo, but there is no resentment over the reversal in their roles.

Stehly, who is contemplating retirement in another year or two, said he is pleased with the way Jeffredo has progressed through a career that he may have helped 25 years ago.

Jeffredo was born in Rochester, N.Y., and grew up in Port Gibson, N.Y.

He followed his parents to Prescott when they retired and, after a six- to eight-month job search, got a position with NRCS in Kingman as a soil conservation technician under Stehly.

"The management duties I now have are quite different from working as a soil conservationist with producers," Jeffredo said.

"There's a lot of paperwork necessary to keep the office running smoothly."

Jeffredo still gets out into the field with Stehly, specifically to administer two programs that gained additional money from passage of the 2002 Farm Bill.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program provides farmers and ranchers with financial assistance for resource issues.

"The program develops controls that will help farmers better protect the soil and improve water efficiency," Jeffredo said.

"It includes land leveling and switching from earthen to concrete ditches, adding sprinkler systems, and encouraging farmers to go to flood irrigation systems that eliminate chemical aspects of runoff."

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program offers financial aid to farmers and ranchers who improve wildlife habitat on their land through measures such as adding watering systems or fencing.

Farmers and ranchers interested in applying to either program may contact Jeffredo at 753-6183, extension 101, Stehly at 753-6183, extension 107, or the Farm Services Agency in Flagstaff at (928) 774-2401.

Jeffredo also designs irrigation systems and offers advice on erosion control and water conservation for improved rangeland health.

Jeffredo received a bachelor's degree in biology from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, in 1999.

In 1977, he received an associate's degree in resource conservation from Community College of the Finger Lakes in Canandaigua, N.Y.