Davis honored by organization

Staff Report

March 12, 2014

ASHEVILLE — A Ronda resident has been honored by a state organization for his contributions in soil and water conservation.

Dr. Bill Davis served as the president of the North Carolina Foundation for Soil & Water Conservation until August 2013 and was recognized at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts in Asheville last month.

“In the late ’90s, Bill Davis shared an idea with the N.C. Soil & Water Association that a foundation was needed to support the work of local districts,” said Jimmy Gentry, N.C. State Grange president and N.C. Foundation president, during the recognition. “This idea led to the formation of the N.C. Foundation for Soil & Water Conservation in 2000. Mr. Davis was selected as the first president of the foundation, a position in which he remained until 2013.

“He ably led the foundation into a healthy entity that has successfully supported soil and water efforts across North Carolina.”

Gentry reported that during Davis’ time as president, about $15 million was secured to “conduct water projects, purchase grain drills, close inactive lagoons, provide leadership training and build outdoor classrooms along with other important initiatives.”

In addition, the N.C. Foundation for Soil & Water Conservation funded $281,607 in projects in Wilkes’ district for projects including resource management systems on cattle farms, waste storage pond closures, McGee Center, poultry waste management and no-till drill.

“More recently, the foundation entered into an ambitious agreement with the military to preserve flight training routes in several counties in eastern North Carolina,” Gentry reported. “Bill was, and is still passionate about the foundation and the services provided. He knew that in order for the foundation to survive, adequate financial resources would have to be generated.

“Bill found supporters to fund the daily work of the foundation. Grants were secured to fund the local projects,” he said. “He believed that to secure the long-term existence of the foundation that an endowment would be needed to provide ongoing funds to assist with daily operations. Before he retired as board president, this initiative began and is under way. The goal is to raise $2 million to begin this endowment.”

The mission of the foundation, which is headquartered in Raleigh, is “to promote wise use and treatment of land, water and related resources leading to healthy economic growth and development of North Carolina and its people and to the enhancement of the natural environment of the state.”