USDA targets funds in Texas to help landowners with wildfire recovery, restoration

Special to the Empire-Tribune

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (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.

USDA

“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 said in a news release. “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.”

Currently, eligible counties in Texas include Blanco, Brooks, Brown, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Erath, Grayson, Hood, Mason, Potter, Randall, Runnels, Starr, and Williamson. As more wildlife disaster proclamations occur, those counties will also be eligible.

NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round; however, producers and landowners should apply by July 5 to be considered for this year’s funding. Those will be selected by Aug. 5. NRCS is allowing early start waivers and a shorter enrollment period.

Eligible producers can use the funds to implement eligible practices including fencing, watering facility, range planting, livestock pipeline, and more. To apply for Environmental Quality Incentive Program assistance, and for further assistance in evaluating land and planning practices to address concerns following a wildfire, landowners and managers should contact their local USDA Service Center.