Large land and infrastructure projects are in various stages of completion
At least five Noxubee County farming operations are benefiting from a multi-million dollar land and irrigation infrastructure investment in Noxubee County.
California-based Fall Line Capital has purchased 7,000 acres of farmland – including a 4,500-acre tract between Brooksville and Macon and 2,500 acres east of Brooksville – that it has leased to local farmers.
Since 2016, the operation has dug reservoirs of 200 and 170 acres, respectively, on those properties and begun installing infrastructure to irrigate the land from those reservoirs.
So far, state-of-the-art irrigation infrastructure is 75 percent complete at the 200-acre reservoir, according to Fall Line Capital co-founder Clay Mitchell, while installation hasn’t yet begun in earnest at the smaller lake. Still, he expects both projects to be complete by this fall.
The ponds will catch rainfall and surface runoff to irrigate the land, Mitchell said, without any need for pumping from underground or other surface water sources.
He expects, once all the equipment is in place, for the reservoirs to produce more than 800 million gallons of irrigation water annually.
The project is not just a boon to the agrarian side of Noxubee’s economy, Mitchell said. Fall Line employed local craftsmen, contractors and other vendors to build the project.
“Noxubee County provided the perfect combination of rainfall, typography, soil and people to make a project like this work,” Mitchell said. “The craftsmen there are really exceptional. And that makes it such an incredible place to work in.”
Fall Line has farm investments all over the U.S. that specialize in broad-acre crops, such as grasses, grains and oilseeds, according to its website.
Bridge projects ramping up
The coming months in Noxubee County will be a busy time for road and bridge upgrades, with millions of dollars in projects either scheduled or already underway.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation allocated almost $2.9 million of its emergency road and bridge repair program to Noxubee County. Of the total, $2.15 million has been designated to replace three bridges on Jack Spann Road, all of which have deteriorated to the point of being closed, County Engineer Steve Miller said. The remaining $725,650 is designated to replace a bridge on Butler Road, which now has a reduced weight limit because of its condition.
Contracts for both projects should be awarded by year’s end, Miller said.
A $496,000 bridge through state aid is under construction on Harris Road, while another road project – a $323,000 state aid job to repair the base and level Prairie Point Road – is coming soon.
Macon upgrades airport, sewer system
The city of Macon has recently wrapped up work on a pair of projects totaling nearly $600,000.
Mayor Bob Boykin said the city in December completed a $120,000 resealing and maintenance project at its municipal airport. The project included asphalt sealing and striping of the airport’s runway, taxiway and aprons.
He said that project was 90 percent funded through federal sources, with another 5 percent coming from the state and 5 percent from the city.
Macon has also recently replaced more than 5,000 linear feet of aging sewer pipe from the city’s lift station to its lagoon.
Boykin said the city doesn’t yet have a final closeout cost for the project, but it was projected as a $450,000 undertaking.
“It was a pretty big project,” Boykin said. “It was needed to replace the old force main, which was put in about 50 years ago. We were having maintenance problems on it — it was cracking underground and we’d have to go in and dig a hole and repair it.”
Story by Zack Plair and Alex Holloway
PHOTOS BY Deanna Robinson