USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announces applications for funding opportunities with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program are currently being accepted at the NRCS office located at 210 W. Ikard Street in Henrietta.
NRCS in Texas will begin ranking and obligating contracts after Jan. 17. All agriculture producers interested in submitting a contract application for 2014 should do so before this ranking deadline.
EQIP — one of the largest programs in the Farm Bill — is a voluntary conservation program that promotes environmental quality and assists producers to meet local, state and federal regulations. EQIP is a valuable tool to help Clay County’s agricultural producers implement conservation practices that provide environmental benefits to help sustain agricultural operations. EQIP offers technical and financial help to install or implement structural, vegetative, and management practices that can benefit the soil, water, air, plants, livestock, and wildlife.
EQIP is a continuous sign-up program that allows landowners or operators to apply for financial and technical assistance for the application of specific conservation practices; but the deadline for the first 2014 funding allocation is Jan. 17. Contracts are offered periodically depending on budgetary allocations. Applications made after the deadline will be considered in the next funding cycle.
Higher priority will be given to those applications that address national, state and local priorities and provide higher cost efficiency. This year the Local Work Group for Clay County set brush management as the high priority on native rangeland, livestock water development on pastureland, and conversion to perennial, warm-season grass for grazing or haying on cropland.
Last year, NRCS in Texas funded more than 4,500 EQIP contracts with $91 million on 3.6 million acres across the entire state. In addition to helping our environment, Farm Bill conservation program funds support rural communities. In Texas, it is estimated that each dollar of NRCS and private matching expenditures on NRCS conservation programs generates an additional $2.54 in sales of goods and services locally.
For more information, including eligibility requirements, call or come into the USDA Service Center office in Henrietta at (940)538-4681, xt.3. Service center locations and program information can be found on the Texas NRCS Web site at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.