The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is reminding agricultural producers interested in participating in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) that the deadline to apply for 2008 funding is Nov. 16, 2007.

“We want to be sure producers are aware of the Nov. 16 ranking deadline,” said Don Gohmert, NRCS state conservationist for Texas. “EQIP funds have been made available to us to fund contracts this fall, and we will be working diligently to do that.

“However, producers should know that if they miss this deadline, sign-up is a continuous process and there will most likely be subsequent ranking periods before Dec. 31 unless a new Farm Bill is passed,” Gohmert said.

Funds have been provided to each county to meet the primary natural resource concerns identified at the local level. NRCS has also set aside funds for statewide resource concerns, which include:

•Water Quantity – Brush management in five areas, primarily in central Texas

•Water Quantity – Irrigation efficiency practices in central, south, and west Texas

•Water Quality and Air Quality – Waste management and air quality practices for beef, dairy, poultry, and swine animal feeding operations

•Wildlife – Habitat emphasis areas across Texas

•Invasive Species – Management of Chinese Tallow and Salt Cedar

•Water Quality – Conservation practices in an 18-county area in south central Texas

•Reforestation – Reestablishment of forest in an 18-county area in east Texas

EQIP promotes agricultural environmental quality and production. Through EQIP, farmers and ranchers receive financial and technical assistance to help install conservation practices and to implement management systems that promote conservation. Financial assistance is generally at about a 50:50 ratio; technical assistance is provided at 100 percent NRCS cost.

To sign up for EQIP or to get more information, contact the NRCS office serving your county. Look in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or find your service center on the Web at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.

You can also get information about Texas NRCS conservation technical assistance and programs at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.