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Conservation planning starts now


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has financial assistance programs to help agriculture producers and landowners implement conservation practices. Although the application sign up is continuous, now is the time to plan before funding becomes available.
The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is one of the largest conservation programs in the current Farm Bill. This voluntary program promotes environmental quality and assists local landowners with technical and financial help to install or implement structural, vegetative and management practices that can benefit the soil, water, air, plants, livestock and wildlife.
To ensure not deadlines are missed, producers are urged to devise a conservation plan with the help of the local NRCS office. Conservation plans must be in place before an application can be completed by the field office staff and funding deadlines are announced.
Both conservation plans and EQIP applications require a farm or ranch visit with the conservation planner to see operations. This allows the NRCS to help identify any resource concerns that need to be addressed. Once a plan is developed, the application can be easily developed.
"Developing your conservation plan now will allow us to have plenty of time to get all of the necessary field work completed. It will allow all paperwork to be checked to ensure you do not miss any deadlines," said Larry Stark, NRCS District Conservationist in Bandera.
"There are other financial assistance programs that might work better for you and the only way to find out is to go to your local field office and get a conservation plan implemented or updated."
For more information, including eligibility requirements, call the USDA Service Center office in Bandera at 830-796-3334. Service center locations and program information can be found on the Texas NRCS website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.