North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has announced the arrival of a load of equipment that farmers in five Piedmont soil and water conservation districts can rent to renovate pastures damaged by drought.

The North Carolina Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation purchased the five Truax Flex II-88 no-till grass drills, which arrived this week at the Upper Piedmont Research Station in Reidsville.

The drills will go to soil and water districts in Davidson, Guilford, Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties. Each district will get a drill.

The equipment will enable farmers to re-seed existing pastures without plowing.

"Pastures in these five districts suffered mightily during the drought, and the drills will help farmers speed up the renovation process," Troxler said.

Farmers should contact their district office about renting a drill. Districts will set the rental fees, but the foundation has recommended a range of $8 to $10 per acre, said Cecil Settle, the group’s executive director.

"The drills are really good for small operators who might lack the resources to buy one themselves for a small number of acres," he said, adding that the drills can be used with a 40-horsepower tractor.

Using an allocation of $370,800 approved in May by the Council of State, the foundation purchased a total of 25 no-till drills for select districts across the state. The foundation chose districts based on need and pasture acreage, Settle said.

The Council of State is composed of the governor, Commissioner Troxler and eight other elected state leaders.