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2013-06-09 / Business

Additional drought relief funding for Texas landowners available

Conservation Conversation
Robert Schmidt
NRCS District Conservationist

In response to the ongoing drought in Kleberg and Kenedy counties, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering additional funding for agriculture operators in the county wishing to address plant health conditions on their land through the agency’s “Environmental Quality Incentives Program.”

“With so much of the area suffering from a lack of rainfall, this funding will help farmers and ranchers apply conservation practices to reduce the impacts of drought, while improving soil health and productivity,” John Prukop, Chairman of the Kleberg- Kenedy Soil and Water Conservation District in Kingsville, said.

Through this additional EQIP funding, the NRCS will work with landowners in providing assistance to establish and improve plant health on their private lands.

Applications will be accepted in NRCS field offices until June 14. Funding priority will target 129 counties, including Kleberg-Kenedy counties, which are designated as extreme drought (D3) or exceptional drought (D4), according to the current U.S. Drought Monitor map.

Priority counties will be adjusted as the drought changes.

Prukop suggests that landowners visit the NRCS field office for a free consultation and to develop a conservation plan, which is an effective management strategy for pasture and rangeland recovery, along with helping mitigate the effects of Texas’ current drought conditions.

Also as a reminder, producers have until Friday, June 14 to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program.

The CSP rewards producers for on-going conservation activities and any additional enhancements that are agreed upon to protect and improve their resources out on the landscape.

This is a five-year program and you must have control of the land for the five years to be eligible.

Also, sign-up for a “Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program," is taking place.

The WHIP program is for developing high quality habitat that supports fish and wildlife populations of national, state and local significance.

Eligible lands include grassland, rangeland and pastureland and the length of agreement is from one to 10 years.

Interested landowners should contact the local NRCS or SWCD in Kingsville at (361) 592-0309 Ext. 3, or come by the USDA Service center at 401 E. King Ave., Ste. 100.

More information can be found on the Texas NRCS Web site at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.

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