Temple, Texas – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is offering financial assistance to farmers and ranchers that have been impacted by recent wildfires, including animal mortality assistance, deferred grazing and more.
“NRCS in Texas is prepared to assist landowners with their efforts to address wind and water erosion, livestock production limitation, degraded plant condition and other resource concerns caused by the recent wildfires,” Kristy Oates, NRCS state conservationist in Texas, says. “Loss of vegetation not only affects forages for livestock and wildlife habitat, but it can lead to increased soil loss due to erosion by wind and water.”
As of April 4, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott amended the Texas Wildfire Disaster Declaration to include a total of 82 counties. The following counties are now eligible for the EQIP-Wildfire Initiative:
Blanco, Brooks, Brown, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Erath, Grayson, Hood, Mason, Medina, Potter, Randall, Runnels, Starr, Williamson, Andrews, Aransas, Archer, Bee, Bell, Borden, Bosque, Brewster, Cameron, Coke, Concho, Cooke, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Dawson, Dimmit, Duval, Ector, Edwards, Gaines, Garza, Hemphill, Hidalgo, Howard, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kimble, Kleberg, Live Oak, Martin, Maverick, McCulloch, Menard, Midland, Nueces, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Presidio, Reagan, Real, Refugio, Roberts, Terrell, Tom Green, Upton, Wichita, Willacy, Winkler, Wise, Zapata and Zavala counties.
Funding is available through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), which provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits. Professional resource conservationists with the NRCS can visit with landowners about practices such as grazing deferment, reseeding and water development that are effective post-fire strategies to help reduce erosion.
NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round; however, producers and landowners should apply by July 5, 2022, to be considered for this year’s funding. Applications for this enrollment opportunity will be selected for funding by August 5, 2022. NRCS is allowing early start waivers and a shorter enrollment period.
Eligible producers can use the funds to implement eligible practices including watering facility, range planting, livestock pipeline, and more. To apply for EQIP assistance and for further assistance in evaluating your land and planning practices to address concerns following a wildfire, landowners and managers should contact their local USDA Service Center.