Applications for Conservation Programs Being Accepted at Austin County Service Center

LOCATION, Date, 2015, – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist Brad Kieschnick announces applications for funding opportunities with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are currently being accepted at the NRCS offices located at 520 South Front Street in Bellville. 

NRCS in Texas has received its EQIP funding for Fiscal Year 2015 and will begin ranking and obligating contracts after April 17, 2015. All agriculture producers interested in submitting a contract application for 2015 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 Austin County’s agricultural producers implement conservation practices that provide environmental benefits to help sustain agricultural operations,” says Mr. Kieschnick.

EQIP is a continuous sign-up programs that allow landowners or operators to apply for financial and technical assistance for the application of specific conservation practices; but the deadline for the first 2015 funding allocation is April 17, 2015. 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.

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.  Each county in the state is funded yearly to assist producers financially with these land management practices.

Last year, NRCS in Texas funded over 3,400 EQIP contracts with $82 million to accomplish conservation practices such as irrigation efficiency, minimum tillage, brush management and more on 1.8 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 million in sales of goods and services locally.

For more information, including eligibility requirements, call the USDA Service Center office in Bellville at (979) 865-3139. Service center locations and program information can be found on the Texas NRCS Web site at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.