Landowners affected by the wildfires can apply for possible financial assistance through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for range deferment of all livestock grazing throughout the growing season, plant health concerns, and cross fencing assistance.

Although sign-up is continuous, applications for this first funding period will be accepted in county NRCS offices through March 28. In order to apply, landowners must visit their local NRCS office to fill out an application.  Applications will be ranked and those approved for funding will be offered an EQIP contract.

NRCS Acting State Conservationist Salvador Salinas said, “NRCS in Texas is prepared to assist landowners with their efforts to address wind erosion that is continuing to occur due to drought and the effects from wildfires.”

“We want to provide assistance that will enable landowners and livestock producers to accelerate the recovery of the health and vigor of affected grazing land,” Salinas said.

He suggests landowners consult with their local NRCS district conservationist to develop a conservation plan, which can be an effective strategy for pasture and rangeland recovery and mitigating the effects of the dry conditions that Texas is experiencing.

Wildlife habitat can also be impacted by the wildfire and NRCS can provide technical and financial assistance in re-establishing the habitats for desired species.

For further assistance in evaluating your land and planning practices to address concerns following a wildfire, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Soil and Water Conservation District.  For more information and listings for additional USDA Service Centers, look in the Yellow Pages listed under USDA, or access the information on the Texas NRCS website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov

deeann.littlefield@tx.usda.gov