Applications for funding opportunities with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) are currently being accepted at all NRCS offices across Texas. 

 NRCS in Texas recently received its initial allocation of program funding and will begin obligating CSP contracts after January 7 and EQIP and WHIP contracts after January 28, 2011. 

 EQIP is a “working lands” conservation program that assists private landowners with conservation measures that address priority resource concerns as identified by local farmers and ranchers. 

 WHIP is designed to benefit wildlife on primarily wildlife land although agriculturally productive operations may qualify for funding. 

 CSP rewards farmers and ranchers for current conservation management and encourages additional practices and enhancements to further benefit the environment and reduce priority resource concerns. 

 All of NRCS Farm Bill Programs are voluntary and have a continuous sign-up with periodic ranking cut off periods.  NRCS encourages any person interested in participating in their programs to contact the local field office, usually located at the county seat.

 The NRCS administers both programs and provides technical assistance to landowners.  2010 represents the 75th year of NRCS "helping people help the land.” Since its inception in 1935, NRCS has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.

 For more information on any of these programs, or to find your local NRCS service center visit http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/.