Deadline to apply is Nov. 16

Farmers and ranchers in Duval County have until Nov. 16 to apply for Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).

Although EQIP is a continuous sign-up program, some producers may not have signed up yet. All eligible applicants will be ranked at the ending period on Nov. 16 for 2008 funding.

EQIP promotes agricultural production and environmental quality. Through EQIP, eligible agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to help install conservation practices and to implement management systems that promote conservation. Financial assistance is on a cost-shared basis, with the producer. Technical assistance, for the program, is provided free of charge by NRCS.

There are a few changes in EQIP for 2008. NRCS is adding another statewide resource concern to the program at the recommendation of the State Technical Committee. Funding will be provided in 2008 for conservation practices that improve habitat for the pronghorn antelope in west Texas. Also new in 2008 will be a process to streamline payments. Instead of the traditional percentage-of-cost rates, NRCS will offer flat-rate payments based on a schedule for each conservation practice. The landowner will know up-front the total amount of his payment should he get accepted into the 2008 program.

For additional information or make to an application, interested farmers and ranchers should contact NRCS at the local USDA Service Center in Benavides, Texas, located at 141 West Main or call (361) 256-3342 ext. 3.